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Film tells Dirty Thirty story


A film has been made paying tribute to the group of Leicestershire pitmen who stood alone in the county in support of the miners' strike during the 1980s.

The documentary – The Story of the Dirty Thirty – is to be premiered at Phoenix Square, in Midland Street, on Friday.

It tells the story of the few Leicestershire miners who supported the year-long miners' strike of 1984-85, when just 30 miners out of 2,500 in the county's coalfields went on strike in solidarity with colleagues in the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

Based on a book written by Ashby author David Bell, which came out in 2009, it has been co-written, co-directed and co-produced by independent film-makers Len Holden and Brian Langtree.

Len, 67, from Market Harborough, said: "It was Brian's idea to make a film about the Dirty Thirty after reading David's book. We got talking and thought it would be a great subject for a film.

"It's got a bit of everything – you've got 30 men who went against the whole of their mining colleagues in Leicestershire.

"I think it's a story of heroism. When the Yorkshire miners, returned to work after the strike, they did so to the sound of brass bands.

"For the Thirty it was different – as well as being defeated, they were isolated and alone."

Brian said: "It's a fantastic story and one worth telling."

The Thirty ended up becoming a cause célèbre for the striking NUM members.

David Bell, 73, said: "They were from pits in Bagworth, Ellistown and Whitwick, and travelled the world, selling badges, mugs and plates, and making speeches to support the other striking miners.

"I was a supporter and helped organise food collections for the families.

"They refused to call themselves heroes but that's what they are to me."

The film includes film footage from the time, old photographs and interviews with four of the Thirty – Mike "Richo'' Richmond, Darren Moore, Mel Elcock and the late Malcolm "Benny'' Pinnegar, the figurehead of the group, who died in April, aged 67, from cancer.

Len said: "We completed the film in about a year and, fortunately, managed to interview Malcolm before his death."

The film also features interviews with other protagonists, including Kay Smith, of the wives support group, railwaymen from Coalville who refused to move coal during the strike, and miners who did not support the strike.

Mel Elcock, 63, of Loughborough, will be among eight of the Thirty attending the premier. He said: "We see the film as a memorial to Benny, and also Keith Mellin, who passed away recently, aged just 54.

"The strike seems a long time ago now but I thing about those days.

"Looking back now, the only thing we lost was money but we won respect and friendship from all over the country and even abroad.

"After the book, then a song being written about us and now this film, it feels like we are being immortalised – we're going to go down in history and it's very humbling."

The film premiere is being staged by the Leicester Trades Council, who organise a reunion for the Thirty and their supporters every year.

It will include an introduction by the filmmakers and will be followed by a performance of the Red Leicester Choir.

The evening starts at 7pm, finishing at 9pm.

Tickets cost £3 and will be available on the door.

Film tells  Dirty Thirty story

Survivor is model example


A breast cancer survivor is preparing to take to the catwalk to show other women there is hope after being diagnosed with the disease.

Sarah Turner, of Plungar, in the Vale of Belvoir, is modelling in the Breast Cancer Care charity's London Fashion Show on Wednesday.

The 38-year-old is one of 24 men and women who will be showing off designer clothing from the fashion world's elite in the sophisticated surroundings of the Grosvenor House Hotel, in Park Lane.

Sarah, who has been in remission for the past two years, remembers the moment she was diagnosed with cancer.

"It sounds dramatic but in February 2010, at the age of 35, my world changed forever," she said. "When I was diagnosed with breast cancer it came as a complete smack in the face."

The news seemed more unfair as Sarah and her husband, Alex, had been celebrating the birth of their first child, Lizzie.

With the support of family, Sarah underwent immediate treatment, beginning with four months of chemotherapy, followed by an operation to remove the tumour and a further month of radio therapy.

Although Sarah has been in remission for more than 18 months, the ordeal still haunts her. "It was 12 months of turmoil and a huge emotional roller-coaster," she said.

"I am still recovering, but with the help of my family friends and Breast Cancer Care, I have come through the other side.

"I found most of the support for patients seemed to be aimed at women over 50, but it changed when I saw a leaflet about Breast Cancer Care.

"They were amazing and have a group called the Lavender Trust for younger women, which organised peer group sessions and had a phone service where you could speak to other people in the same position."

One of the toughest things for Sarah was losing her hair during treatment.

However, it inspired her to give up her high-pressured job as a personal assistant in London to start her own business – Elizabeth Rose London – making fashionable hats and headgear for women suffering hair loss.

She has been involved in organising this year's fashion show, a highlight of London Fashion Week, but admitted she was scared at the prospect of walking the catwalk.

Models will parade clothing from fashion houses such as Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood.

"I'm terrified, to be honest," said Sarah. "But excited too."

Husband Alex, 44, said: "Sarah's got nothing to worry about, I'm sure she's going to be a natural. To me, she is and always was glamorous."

Breast Cancer Care chief executive Samia al Qadhi said of the models: "Their courage is an inspiration."

To sponsor Sarah, visit:

www.justgiving.com/ Sarah-Turner20

Survivor is  model example

New path is a step in the right direction


Residents are celebrating the completion of work on a new footpath connecting two villages.

People living in Anstey and Thurcaston previously had to walk along a grass verge to get between the two villages.

Now, thanks to a group of hard-working volunteers, a new connecting footpath has been created off Cropston Road.

The work has been funded thanks to a £9,311 grant from Leicestershire County Council's Big Society fund, with Anstey and Thurcaston parish councils contributing £1,000 as well.

Blake Pain, the county council's Big Society spokesman, said: "This is another outstanding example of the Big Society grant aiding local communities to take responsibility for a local issue, while also helping to demonstrate real community action."

Previously, residents had to go via Cropston to walk between the two villages.

The new footpath, along Anstey Lane, now provides a direct pedestrian route.

For more information about the Big Society Grant Fund, call 0116 305 7269 or go to the website:


New path is a step in the right direction

School garden is tribute to former pupil killed in crash


A primary school garden based on a design by a former pupil killed in a car crash has been opened in her memory.

The Kelly Bulmer Sensory Garden has been opened at Oakham CE Primary School.

Kelly, who died aged 17, was one of two passengers killed in a car accident close to Manton, near Rutland Water, in August 2010.

She designed a garden while she was a year five pupil at the primary school and the garden is based on her design.

Kelly's dad, Keith and mum, Pat, a teaching assistant at the school attended the opening.

Mrs Bulmer said: "I think it is lovely there is a permanent memorial of Kelly. She loved being at the school.

"It makes it all the more special that it's Kelly's design and it is lovely how her drawings have been interpreted.

"I don't know what I was expecting but it is lovely. It was an emotional day. I was overwhelmed, speechless."

Mrs Bulmer requested purple flowers to be included, which was Kelly's favourite colour.

The garden has a quiet seating area with a water feature and is surrounded by flowers and a gravelled area.

There are also vegetable beds and sculptures of birds hanging from the trees.

Kelly had drawn the picture, which was recently found, as part of a school garden project.

Head teacher Joan Gibson said: "There is more than the shape of Kelly's design here, the garden is saying something about her, about how beautiful she was, her generosity and her kind spirit.

"It will help us to remember her and everyone we have lost. It is a very special place."

The garden, which was funded by the Rotary Club of Rutland, was opened by the Rural Dean of Rutland, Canon Lee Francis-Dehqani, who read two poems in memory of Kelly.

The Oakham in Bloom committee also helped with planting and the garden was built during the summer holidays by Craig Piggot, whose wife, Sarah, is a teacher at the school.

The garden will be maintained by the school's gardening club and Kelly's parents also hope to add their own touch with flower-shaped seats, assisted by the parent teacher association.

Children at the school last year raised more than £300 for the Derbyshire Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance in Kelly's memory.

Under-used bus service hoping to boost numbers


Concerns have been raised that fewer than 250 people a day are using a 1,000-space park-and-ride terminal to get into Leicester city centre.

Latest figures show an average of 248 people a day used the £5.25 million terminal at Birstall, to the north of the city, from the beginning of June to the end of August.

Officials from the city and county councils admitted numbers were lower than expected at the site, which opened in July last year.

They hope the service will ultimately cover its own costs but currently it is being heavily subsidised by the authorities.

The estimated subsidy for this year, for Birstall and its sister site in Enderby, is nearly £500,000.

The services were established to cut congestion, reduce carbon fumes with low-emission buses and, with the help of bus lanes, give people a quicker journeys.

Birstall county councillor Roger Wilson said: "I am sad to say the new site is very much underused.

"If you were to go during the week between 9am and 10am or 5pm and 6pm, it would always look very empty. Those are periods when we'd hope it would be busy.

"I support park-and-ride but it is having its problems and something needs to be done to get the numbers up."

In order to boost passenger numbers, a "Free Fridays" initiative is to be launched in October.

Passengers travelling from Birstall, Enderby and the third site, Meynell's Gorse, to the west of the city, will not be charged before 9am.

County Hall transport spokesman Lesley Pendleton said the use of the Birstall site was increasing slowly.

She said: "It's getting towards where we want it to be passenger-wise. but we have to do more to promote it with drivers and convince them it is a viable, affordable and convenient option.

"Passenger usage continues to increase and planned promotions will continue this increase across all the sites operating into Leicester."

Park and ride passengers using the buses yesterday said although the service was good, it would be hard to boost numbers significantly.

Helen Scruton, 39, of Loughborough, said she occasionally used the service to shop in the city centre.

She said: "It's good, well run and not too expensive, but nowhere near as good as being able to drive to within five minutes of where you want to go and park up.

"I think I'm fairly typical of most people and I just prefer having a car."

Alan Grant, 69, of Quorn, said: "It's a shame to see the big old car park mostly empty but I don't think you'll ever convince the vast majority of drivers to put the environment before their own convenience.

"I try and tell as many people as possible how good it is but, for most people, using it is a novelty rather than a norm."

Under-used bus service hoping to boost numbers

Slot machine raider jailed for stealing coins from pubs


A convicted gambling machine raider has been jailed for 18 months after stealing coins from pubs in Leicester and Southampton and a snooker club in Watford.

Thomas Wheatcroft (31) was jailed at Oxford Crown Court in October 2010 for three years and four months for using electronic devices to extract cash from machines all over the country.

He was released on licence but, in July, was doing the same at Riley's Snooker Club, in Watford, the Salisbury Arms, in Southampton, and The Goose, in Leicester.

Last week at St Albans Crown Court, Wheatcroft, of no fixed address, appeared for sentence having pleaded guilty to three counts of theft.

Prosecutor Robin Miric said: "He was involved in taking money from gambling machines at licensed premises. One of the men involved would distract the licensee and the money would fall into the tray. A towel would be placed in the machine's tray so it would be a soft drop – with no noise being made."

In all, the police recovered £1,067 from Wheatcroft.

Defence barrister Frederick Hookway said Wheatcroft had been recalled to prison from the previous sentence.

Judge John Plumstead ordered £355.66 be paid in compensation to each of the three victims.

He told Wheatcroft: "The people who have these machines rely on them to support their businesses. Unless you change you will spend longer behind bars."

Tributes to former county council chief


Tributes have been have been paid to a former county council chairman who died last month.

John Howard passed away in hospital, aged 83, on August 21.

On Wednesday, Leicestershire county councillors held a minute's silence in memory of their former colleague during a council meeting. Mr Howard was a county councillor for Burbage from 1977 to 2001 and was elected as chairman of the authority in May, 2000.

Bosworth MP David Tredinnick said Mr Howard lived in Burbage for more than 50 years and was always keen to be involved in the local community. The civil engineer became president of the Burbage Carnival committee in 1979 and was chairman of Hinckley Civic Society and Burbage Residents' Association as well as president of Burbage Crusaders Bowling Club.

He was also a scout leader and school governor. Mr Howard also served as a parish councillor for Burbage for many years.

Mr Treddinick said: "John was a great servant to Burbage and the wider community in Leicestershire.

"He worked extremely hard on education and lifelong learning issues and was always a determined campaigner for what he believed was right.

"John achieved a great deal for the community he loved during many years of public service and he will be missed by his family and friends.''

Magical, musical night as readers meet Curve stars


Two hundred Mercury readers got the chance to mingle with the cast of hit musical Finding Neverland after taking advantage of our ticket offer.

We had 200 half-price tickets up for grabs, and all were snapped up by readers wanting to see the show.

Produced by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, the musical had its world premiere at Leicester's Curve theatre on Saturday, with U2's Bono and The Edge in the audience.

After watching the production on Thursday, Mercury readers got the chance to meet cast members at an exclusive after-show party.

Pensioner Violet Ken-nell was among those who took up our offer, buying a ticket for herself and one as an early birthday present for her friend, Ronagh Harlow.

Violet, 78, of Eyres Monsell, Leicester, said: "It is the best musical I have ever seen. I have been to see shows in the West End in London and this is just as good as any of them. It is wonderful to have this on our doorstep in Leicester."

Ronagh , 75, of Eyres Monsell, said it was the perfect birthday present.

She said: The show was tremendous. It was so good there was a standing ovation at the end and we all were on our feet."

Reader Thomas Mitchell went to the show with his mother. sister and grandmother.

Thomas, 24, of Glen Parva, said: "To get to see such a great show and then meet the cast, who were lovely, was too good an opportunity to miss. I chatted to the leading lady, Rosalie Craig, and she was so down-to-earth. It was a brilliant evening all round."

Mercury editor Richard Bettsworth, who also watched the show on Thursday, said: "It is already clear that Finding Neverland is a stunning success and there was once again a standing ovation at Thursday night's performance, when many of our readers watched the show as part of our readers' event with Curve.

"The Mercury event included an invitation to an after-show reception with members of the cast, and this was the icing on the cake in a hugely enjoyable evening.

"The reception was well-attended and the stars chatted to people with warmth and charm. I am grateful to them for their support for this event and to the staff at Curve for helping us to put on this readers' evening."

Mr Bettsworth said it was a nice surprise to see the Mercury featured in the show.

A mocked-up copy of the paper is flashed up on a giant screen of newspapers containing reviews of a play written by JM Barrie.

Curve deputy chief executive Stella McCabe said: "The Finding Neverland company really enjoyed meeting the Mercury readers and it was lovely to hear how much they had enjoyed the show.

"It is the first time we have worked with the Mercury on an event such as this. We are delighted it was such a success and look forward to many more in the future."

British stage and screen actor Julian Ovenden plays JM Barrie, while West End actress Rosalie Craig takes the role of Sylvia.

The show, directed and choreographed by Olivier Award-winner Rob Ashford, runs until October 13.

For information and tickets, visit:


Magical, musical night  as readers meet Curve stars

Police across city given new hi-tech 'body cams'


Police are using the latest in body camera technology so they can capture vital information when responding to incidents.

Over the past 18 months, officers have been trialling the cameras, which can be attached to officers' uniforms.

They are now set to be rolled out across the city.

The devices enable officers to view and record incidents as they happen, proving vital when taking a case to court and getting justice for victims of crime.

Sergeant Chris Blount, a response officer from the city, said: "We will gather as much evidence as possible from a scene but cameras provide a case with evidence you cannot get anywhere else, giving a clear picture of an incident.

"This is vital in deterring, investigating and detecting crimes of all types, from drugs offences to domestic incidents, and to have the best technology available will help us do just that."

Inspector Rob Randell, one of the city's operational command inspectors, said: "Camera technology has significantly developed since we began using them.

"The new cameras will enable us to get an even better and clearer image of the incidents and scenes that we attend.

"These cameras will benefit victims hugely, and I hope that they feel reassured that we are always looking for new ways to investigate and detect the crimes they report.

"CCTV can prove to be invaluable in court and also in identifying those criminals who cause misery to members of the public.

"It really is a vital element of policing."

Police across city given   new hi-tech   'body cams'

Leicester Tigers Julian Salvi: Referees must be consistent


Leicester Tigers flanker Julian Salvi has called for more consistency from referees in the wake of the club's large penalty count this season.

The Aussie openside was not hiding away from the fact that several of Leicester's penalties in games against Saracens and Harlequins were "silly mistakes".

But he says that the players' job of reading what a referee will allow and, will not allow, during any specific game is becoming harder and harder.

"It would be good to get consistency across the board," said the 26-year-old on the eve of today's Aviva Premiership clash with Exeter Chiefs.

"You always have to adjust during the game to what they are allowing.

"You can do something that's fine and then you get penalised for the same thing the next time you do it.

"If they could be a bit more forward in their communication and make certain things clearer, as a player, it makes things a lot easier."

Reducing that penalty count has been a major focus at Leicester Tigers' Oval Park training ground, in Oadby, this week.

Against Saracens at Wembley Stadium a fortnight ago, Tigers would have come home empty-handed had fly-half Owen Farrell not missed four out of five make-able kicks in the first half of the 9-9 draw.

And in the 22-9 defeat at Welford Road by Harlequins last week, Tigers were heavily punished by referee Dave Pearson and then Quins' kicker Nick Evans made them pay with the boot as they consistently infringed.

"Last weekend, I got a few steals early on and thought I was right for a third one, only to get penalised." said Salvi, who has been in superb form this term.

"If you give penalties away early, it lets you know what is appropriate and also what is not.

"But if you don't, it can take time to adapt.

"Sometimes, you get done for something you have been doing all game.

"It can take a good half-a-game to feel your way through and see what you can get away with.

"All referees officiate differently – but if they could become more consistent, it would make it easier for all of us opensides.

"You have to go into games asking how they are going to referee it. And even then, it is sometimes different in reality!"

Tim Wigglesworth in the man in the middle today as Salvi starts his fifth game of the season.

The Aussie admits his side will have to improve their attitude against a visiting side that did the double over Leicester last season.

"We didn't lack desire last week but we thought that we could just go out there and win by playing the way we had been playing.

"You can't do that against a quality side," admitted a disappointed Salvi.

"We said that we have to be a lot more accountable in training and make sure that we do all our jobs right and don't go into games lacklustre.

"It's a different focus on Exeter.

"They like to use their strike runners like Sereli Neqelevuki and use their forwards around the corner.

"The onus is there to shut them down and slow down the ball by tackling them backwards.

"We were disappointed to lose twice to them last year and we know the type of game that they bring.

"They have good players and are doing well again in the Premiership.

"As long as we can shut down their runners and make it a nightmare at the breakdown for them, we will be alright," added Salvi.

Care homes sold for £3.2m, but council to wait for cash


Council bosses have completed the £3.2 million sale of nine care homes to a private firm, but told the company it can wait a year before it pays the majority of the cash.

Yesterday, Leicestershire County Council agreed to transfer the homes for the elderly to Essex-based Southend Care and took a £100,000 downpayment to seal the deal.

The Tory-run council has agreed to give the company until September 2013 to pay the remaining £3.1 million.

The authority insists the transfer of the homes, which have 350 residents and 450 staff, will guarantee their future because the council cannot afford an estimated £4 million worth of required upgrades and the continuing day-to-day running costs.

Southend Care set up a new company, Leicestershire County Care Ltd, to run the homes from yesterday. The new company has committed to providing the £4 million worth of improvements.

County Hall's opposition Liberal Democrat group said the Conservatives had taken a huge risk by allowing Southend Care to defer the payment should the firm be unable to raise the cash in 12 months.

They are also concerned about standards in Southend Care's seven homes, where only one is meeting all essential standards, according to the care home watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Conservative cabinet member for adults and communities councillor David Sprason said: "This a very good deal which will avoid the closure of the homes as well as secure improvements that the county council simply can't afford. I am delighted it has gone through.

"Officers have done due diligence on this and are happy.

"If the company cannot pay at the end of the deferment period the homes will come back to us. But that is very unlikely.

"In 12 months the company will have had a full year's trading under its belt and it is looking to borrow from the banks."

He said Southend Care's £3.2 million offer was the highest of any of the original bidders for the care homes.

He said: "We will also get interest on the deferred sum and we have an agreement that rates will remain the same for residents so the charges cannot be whacked up. The county council will save £375,000 a year in the costs of running the homes."

Coun Sprason said he was aware of Southend Care's issues – shown in the CQCs latest inspection reports – with its existing homes, but said they were moderate or minor.

He said: "There is nothing serious there and the issues have been resolved. The CQC is out of date."

Liberal Democrat adults and communities spokesman councillor Sarah Hill said: "I certainly would not accept a deal like this with my own property so why do the Conservatives think it is fine to do it with council property.

"We would have stopped to think about this and gone back to some of the other firms that bid for the homes.

"The Tories say they cannot afford to keep the homes but last time I looked they had £110 million in reserves.

"We are also concerned about the CQC reports on some of Southend Care homes. We would have waited until inspectors had gone back in."

A CQC spokesman said there were no serious faults with the firm's existing homes but said some were still falling short of essential standards of care.

The Leicester Mercury tried to contact Southend Care's director Dr Davie Vive-Kakanda, but a member of staff said he was on three weeks' leave.

Life-saving research at new £16m centre at University of Leicester


Scientists working on revolutionary treatments for cancer, heart disease and other life-threatening conditions have welcomed the opening of a £16 million research centre at the University of Leicester.

The Central Research Facility is used by up to 200 staff working on 40 projects including experiments using rats and mice.

But the scientists say the new scanning techniques and other equipment housed in the three storey building will reduce the number of animals needed for essential research.

Professor Mike Barer, director of research in the school of medicine, biological sciences and psychology, said research based on animal studies in Leicester had been critical to several medical advances including major improvements in kidney transplantation leading to higher success rates and microwave-based treatment of tumours in the liver.

He said: "More recently there have been breakthroughs in heart disease treatment that have improved the use of artery-widening stents and pioneering work on the implantation of devices that alleviate heart failure.

"Research in Leicester has also led to the establishment of facilities benefiting the nation as a whole. The life-saving Leicester ECMO unit, which effectively breathes for critically ill patients, and the Leicester bone bank are important examples."

The new 4,500 sq m building off Lancaster Road, which replaces laboratories from the mid-1970s, will house up to 25 staff at anyone time in a clinically clean environment.

People entering the building have to don sterile clothing and equipment taken into the building takes an hour to be sterilised.

Professor Barer said: "The facility provides an exceptional environment for both animals and investigators.

"Of particular note are the new facilities for imaging applied to animals so far fewer subjects will be required to achieve valid results.

"The University of Leicester is recognised nationally as a leading centre standing up for animal research for medical benefit conducted within a clear moral and ethical framework balancing consideration of humans and animals."

Dr Karen Brown has led research in the use of the spice turmeric in the fight against bowel cancer which continue in the new centre.

She said: "Some research on animals is essential, but the new imaging techniques will allow us to be more efficient and will reduce the need to euthanase the animals. The monitoring of tumours can be conducted on MRI scans."

City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby, who opened the centre, said: "The University of Leicester has a well-deserved, worldwide reputation for its pioneering research, which has been key to many life-saving medical advances.

"The opening of this new facility shows the university's continued commitment to breaking new ground.This is something that the whole city can take pride in."

Centre director Heather Sanders said: "This is an exciting day for medical research."

She said the new facilities provided a much better environment for the animals than the old buildings.

The Central Research Facility at the University of Leicester is part funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Life-saving research at new £16m  centre at University of Leicester

Thugs kicked my pet dog to death, says Leicester attack victim


A gang of thugs kicked a man's dog to death during an attempted street robbery.

Dhiren Chudasama was attacked while he was walking Giggs, his brother's 10-month-old Jack Russell, in Thurnby Lodge, Leicester, on Thursday evening.

Three men, whose faces were covered by hoods, confronted the 24-year-old and told him to give them some money.

When he refused, one of the men held Mr Chudasama to search his pockets while the others repeatedly kicked the defenceless animal.

They ran away when Mr Chudasama managed to fight back.

He then took the paralysed and bleeding Giggs back to his brother's house nearby, where he died a short time later.

He said: "I can't understand how someone could do this, there are no words to describe what these men did.

"I was taking care of Giggs for my brother because he was on holiday. I was going to the shop, so I decided to take him with me for a walk.

"We were waiting to cross the road and he was sitting at the kerb when the three men approached us.

"One stood behind and the others told me to give them my money. I'm not even sure that they intended to rob me, I think they were just out to cause trouble.

"They started kicking him, I'm not sure how many times. One of them was holding me and I tried to push him away. I know I managed to hit one of them because there's a bruise on my hand. The dog was paralysed and bleeding, so I took him to my brother's house, but he died there.

"I just can't believe anyone would do this. We are all very upset, especially my brother."

Giggs' owner, Keval, 31, said: "He's only a small dog and he would never hurt anyone. He was my little baby. I can't describe how I feel about these men."

The incident took place at 6pm in Brook Road on the estate. Police believe the men ran away towards nearby Scraptoft Lane.

Detective Constable Jonathan Davies, said: "This was a callous crime which has left the victim and his family extremely shocked and distressed. We need to catch those responsible for this despicable crime.

"The incident took place during the evening at a time when most people are returning home from work, so we would urge anyone who witnessed any part of the incident to contact us immediately. We would also appeal to anyone who may know the identity of those responsible or has heard rumours locally to contact us.

"During the incident, the victim pushed one of the suspects away and he may have received an injury to his face.

"If you know someone who has an unexplained injury since yesterday please contact us.

"Any calls received will be treated in confidence."

The suspects are white men and are thought to be in their early or mid-20s.

One of them wore a black hooded tracksuit top and black tracksuit bottoms.

The second has a freckled face, thin eyebrows and dark blonde hair. He was wearing a black Nike Airmax hooded top and dark grey tracksuit bottoms.

The third suspect was wearing a black hooded coat and blue jeans.

Contact Det Con Davies 101 or Crimestoppers, which is anonymous, on 0800 555 111.

Thugs  kicked my  pet dog to death, says Leicester attack victim

Pensioners conned by 'despicable' roofer William Wallace, Leicester court told


A roofer who fleeced nine vulnerable elderly people out of £50,000 by overcharging them for work has been jailed for four years.

Judge Simon Hammond imprisoned William Wallace telling him that his offences against the pensioners were "despicable and heartless".

Prosecutor John Hallissey told Leicester Crown Court this week how Wallace drove one 85-year-old woman to her building society so she could pay him.

He said Wallace, 39, of Justin Park caravan park, Northampton Road, Market Harborough, charged the woman £21,800 for work worth about £500.

Mr Hallissey said the woman, who is now dead, was intimidated by Wallace who was described by the judge as a large imposing man.

He said Wallace had preyed on his victims in Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Suffolk during 2011.

Wallace pleaded guilty to nine charges of fraud involving victims ranging in age from 70 to 88.

Mr Hallissey told the court that Wallace had 51 previous convictions including dishonesty, harassment, theft, burglary and handling stolen goods.

Judge Hammond said to Wallace: "You basically ran a business during 2011 to defraud and exploit and extract money from vulnerable elderly victims.

"The system was to arrive unannounced at a house to claim there was a defect on the roof and offer to rectify the defect.

"Sometimes you quoted for work, sometimes not. You often said there were future works that had to be made.

"You would then charge extortionate amounts of money. Sometimes a little work was done with little value, sometimes none at all was done."

The judge told how one pensioner, who was charged £14,950 by Wallace in July 2011, had to get a loan.

He said: "This victim had to get a loan just to get by because she had been fleeced of all her money."

Judge Hammond told Wallace: "Any right-minded person would find these offences despicable, pitiless and heartless. You would often go back for more and more money.

"The courts have a duty to protect the vulnerable members of our society."

Jagvir Sangherra, for Wallace, said his client had been guided by other people.

Mr Sangherra said Wallace, a father of five, had been battling a dependency on class A drugs and had been struggling to hold his marriage together.

He said: "Mr Wallace was a drug addict and dependent on alcohol and he was perhaps being used by others, who are possibly more sophisticated than he is."

Two other men who helped Wallace launder the cheques through their bank accounts were each jailed for six months.

Lee Warburton, and Craig Taylor, both of Whitehaven caravan park, in Green Lane, Market Harborough, pleaded guilty to the charges of money laundering.

Mr Hallissey said the pair were not involved in any contact with the elderly victims.

David Charman, representing both Taylor and Warburton, said his clients were horrified when they learned what their back accounts were being used for.

After the case, Pc Alex Walker, who was the investigating officer, said: "These were despicable crimes against vulnerable people.

"Wallace targeted the victims over a number of months and charged extortionate amounts of money for incomplete and an unsatisfactory standard of work.

"We are pleased he has pleaded guilty to these offences and we hope this conviction sends a clear message to those who believe they can target the elderly or vulnerable in this way, that we will catch up with them."

Pensioners conned by 'despicable' roofer William Wallace, Leicester court told

Crimewatch appeal in hunt for thug who kicked Leicester traffic warden in head


Police hunting a thug who kicked a traffic warden in the head are following up new lines of inquiry as a result of two appeals on national television.

CCTV footage of the attack in Braunstone Gate, in Leicester's West End, was featured on BBC 1's Crimewatch on Thursday.

It was also broadcast on ITV show This Morning last week.

The footage of the attack, which happened at 12.10pm on Saturday, September 1, appears to show one of three men spitting at the warden – possibly at his pocket book – as the group passed him.

One of the men then kicked the warden in the head or face, causing him to fall unconscious to the ground.

The warden, who has asked not to be named, told the Leicester Mercury at the time: "I have seen the footage and I was very shocked when I saw what this man did to me.

"I really don't know why someone would do this, but I do believe he will face justice one day. It is only a matter of time.

"I am recovering and I am fortunate that the injury to my head is not more serious."

A Leicestershire Police spokeswoman said: "We have received some calls as a result of the appeals and we are following up a number of lines of inquiry as a result.

"We would still urge people to come forward to help us catch the people responsible."

The attack was captured by CCTV cameras outside a Braunstone Gate shop, Bob Young's electrical store.

Mr Young said: "It would brilliant if the men who did this could be caught. It was a horrible attack and I am sure this man would do the same thing again if someone bumped into him accidentally or did something he didn't approve of.

"He needs to be brought to justice and I would be over the moon if my CCTV footage helped do that."

The men – who are white, believed to be eastern European and in their late 20s or early 30s – walked away towards the nearby Tesco supermarket.

Anyone with information about the incident should contact Pc Leigh Spencer by calling 101, or Crimestoppers, on 0800 555111.

CCTV footage of the attack can be viewed at:


Crimewatch appeal in  hunt for thug who kicked Leicester  traffic warden in head

Thompstone marks Tigers debut with hat-trick

Leicester Tigers 30 Exeter Chiefs 8

Winger Adam Thompstone scored a hat-trick on his league debut for Leicester Tigers as they enjoyed a comfortable Aviva Premiership win over Exeter Chiefs.

The former London Irish man scored one in the first half and two after the break as the home side got back to winning ways after two games without victory.

Fly-half Toby Flood kicked 15 points as he nailed six from six with the boot against an Exeter side that did the double over Tigers last season.

Thompstone's first score came in just the seventh minute and his second arrived with a simple run-in after a pass from fellow debutant, Dan Bowden, on 45 minutes.

His third and final try came thanks to a wonderful chip through from Matt Smith, who celebrated a man-of-the-match performance 24 hours after getting engaged.

Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill said he was delighted with his team performance after Scott Hamilton, Boris Stankovich and George Chuter were all late pull-outs from the match-day squad.

"We did very well to cope with the changes that we needed to make and it was an excelletn all-round showing," he said.

See Monday's Mercury for a full report.

Middlesbrough vs Leicester: Dyer ends Boro's perfect home run


Substitute Lloyd Dyer's last-gasp goal earned Leicester a deserved 2-1 win and ended Middlesbrough's 100% home record in the process.

Nicky Bailey opened the scoring for Middlesbrough with a stunning 30-yard drive early in the second half but it was all Leicester after that, with Jamie Vardy slotting in the equaliser and Dyer's deflected effort winning it at the death.

It was the Foxes' fourth victory in five matches but the first points they have taken on their travels after three defeats.

Bailey and Merouane Zemmama were the only survivors from Boro's midweek Capital One Cup victory at Preston while the Foxes named an unchanged line-up following their impressive 3-1 Championship win against Hull last Sunday.

The home side had the first chance of the game when Justin Hoyte cut in from the right and fired in an effort which brought a decent stop from Kasper Schmeichel.

At the other end, David Nugent, who scored a hat-trick against the Tigers, saw a shot deflected just over the crossbar by Andre Bikey.

Middlesbrough's on-loan midfielder Josh McEachran fizzed a right-footed drive wide before Leicester lost Ritchie De Laet to injury, with highly-rated youngster Liam Moore coming on.

Vardy should have done better with a shot from just inside the area which was straight at Boro goalkeeper Jason Steele as the game continued to flow.

Jonathan Woodgate, whose career has been dogged by injuries, was forced off in the 37th minute with what looked to be a recurrence of a niggling hamstring problem.

His absence was noticeable from a Leicester set-piece shortly afterwards as Nugent rose highest to head over the crossbar.

Tony Mowbray's men took the lead early in the second half. There looked to be nothing on when Bailey picked the ball up 30 yards from goal but the midfielder let fly with a stunning shot into the top corner.

Middlesbrough came agonisingly close to doubling their advantage moments later, hitting City on the break, only for Lukas Jutkiewicz to slam a shot against the crossbar.

They were made to pay as Leicester equalised from their next noteworthy attack.

Nugent's shot deflected into the path of Vardy and he steered the ball past Steele for his fourth goal of the season.

Leicester spurned two gilt-edged chances to take the lead as Dyer cleared the bar from six yards from fellow substitute Andy King's lay-off.

King then found himself with space in the area but his close-range shot was palmed away by Steele.

The visitors were well on top as Anthony Knockaert's corner picked out former Middlesbrough defender Sean St Ledger but his powerful goalbound header was expertly tipped away by the keeper.

Nugent headed wide before Leicester grabbed the winner their second-half pressure had deserved.

Knockaert passed the ball wide to Dyer and his shot took a wicked deflection and looped over Steele.

Knockaert should have sealed victory late on when he was sent clear one-on-one with Steele. He took it around him but sub Seb Hines was on hand to hack the ball to safety.

Middlesbrough vs Leicester: Dyer ends Boro's perfect home run

Swimmers make a splash at Rutland Water


MORE than forty people braved the chilly air to take part in Epilepsy Action's first charity swim at Rutland Water. 

In total 41 people donned a wetsuit and took to the 15 degree C water - with one swimmer choosing to swim without a suit - on Sunday morning (September 30), to take part in either the 500m, 1,000m or 1,500m race. 

People of all ages and abilities took part with the youngest swimmer being 15 and the oldest 72. 

Dan Richardson from Peterborough took part in the 1,000m, he said: "It was alright really. It was a bit nippy at the start but it wasn't too bad once you got going. I'm not sure at this stage how much I've raised."

Organisers plan to make the swim at Rutland Water an annual event with the aim of having 300 people - the maximum allowed to swim at any one time - next year. 

Fundraising manager for the East Midlands, Joanne Burrows said: "When we found out swimming was allowed at Rutland Water we were delighted and will be pushing to get 300 people here next year. 

"Hopefully it will take place at the same time every year. Autumn gives the water time to warm-up over the summer.

"Our goal is to make at least £5,000 from today's event. The money will be used to fund our free helpline, have support nurses in hospitals, we also lobby for better health care as well as supporting research."

Smaller fundraising events planned this year include a two week tea break at Stamford hospital, a wine tasting evening and a spa day at Ragdale Hall. 

To find out more about the events and Epilepsy Action website at www.epilepsy.org.uk 

Swimmers make a splash at Rutland Water

More wet and windy weather to come

A very unsettled week of weather is expected once again.
The latest weather models continue to show an Atlantic dominance bringing periods of heavy rainfall and strong winds to many parts of the U.K.
Despite the pattern being rather mild for the time of year with an unsettled theme, later in to the period there is strong indications of the weather turning much colder from the North, with overnight frost, low day time temperatures, and possibly snow for Scotland and Northern hills.
With recent flooding events across much of Yorkshire and the North East, further heavy rain falling on already saturated ground will cause a few problems, especially with river levels already high.
If you want weather updates and accurate weather information, and the latest on snow forecasts come winter, follow our facebook page;

More wet and windy weather to come

Armed siege at Leicester house


A five-hour armed siege at a house ended when police led a handcuffed man from the property.

Armed response officers were called to the three bedroom home in Mulberry Avenue, Braunstone Frith, after reports of a disturbance shortly before 7.50am.

Nearby residents were told to stay indoors while others, nearer the incident and dressed in their nightclothes, were told to leave their homes, and the road was sealed off.

After several hours of talking, a 26-year-old man was led from the back of the house into a waiting police van shortly after 12.45pm.
Neighbours said the man was understood to be brandishing knives at the house.

Superintendent Steph Pandit said; "The officers dealing with this incident have done an exceptional job in bringing it to a successful conclusion.  These sorts of incident are never easy to deal with and I'd like to thank all the officers involved and I'd also like to thank local people for their patience while officers dealt with the situation."

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