THE Stratford Mop of 1914 appeared little changed from previous years. Wartime austerity had not yet set in and few people foresaw that the conflict would be lengthy. One of the great traditions of the fair was its roasts. No less than five oxen and seven pigs were rotating on the spits outside the pubs on the big day. The excursion trains brought their usual hundreds of revellers from Birmingham and other centres of population. None of Stratford’s conscripts had yet embarked overseas, although just five days before, a regular with the South Wales Borderers, Sgt RH Savage, had been the first Stratfordian to fall victim to the war. He had been struck by shrapnel at the Battle of the Aisne and died of his wounds in Bournbrook Military Hospital.
Four years ago Ellis Holtom, of Stratford-upon-Avon, was born with half a working heart. Later, the Herald featured his condition as a tribute to the work of Birmingham Children’s Hospital where he was treated. Now, to mark Congenital Heart Defect Week his mum, Vicki, updates his story. . .
ALL 326 local planning authorities in England, councils like Stratford-on-Avon District, need a local plan. The core strategy is a component of that local plan. It contains all the local district wide policies that need to be considered when processing planning applications. New development needs to satisfy local needs, helping to realise the hopes and ambitions of its communities and protect them from situations they fear. New homes and places to work should provide then with a healthy lifestyle, a pleasant place to live, good recreational facilities and above all the infrastructure that enhances their quality of life. The buzzword to describe this is ‘sustainable’.
THE poor are paying more than they should be for their energy, according to damning new evidence from Stratford-upon-Avon’s Citizens Advice Bureau. Prepayment meters (PPMs) are costing users in fuel poverty a “disproportionate amount” for what little gas and electricity they can afford, the bureau has found. There are around 7.2 million people on prepayment meters in the UK and several thousand in the district of Stratford. Despite Stratford’s reputation as an affluent area, the bureau is being forced to come to the aid of more and more people living in fuel poverty on an increasingly regular basis.
LONELY hearts seeking romance online have been duped out of more than £100,000 in recent months, fraud investigators have revealed.
Police say the number of internet romance scams is on the increase across the Warwickshire and West Mercia region and are warning people to be on their guard.
Some send money for fake medical problems while others have been blackmailed after performing sexual acts in front of web cams.
In one incident, a Warwick woman, who did not wish to be named, parted with almost £30,000 after meeting a man online claiming to be an American soldier living in Birmingham.
He persuaded her to forward money to help set up a business deal while he served in Afghanistan, promising to pay her back on his return.
The money was never repaid. DC Tina Athwal, fraud investigator with the economic crime unit for the two forces, said: “As use of the internet for dating purposes increases, so do the number of scams associated with it, and the amount of money lost.
“Once fraudsters have gained the trust of their victims, they begin to request money under the guise of various false eventualities.
“These could be anything from a medical problem they have to claiming to be military personnel based overseas and needing funds for flights home or early discharge.
“In other instances, as the online relationship develops, the exchanges become more intimate and the victims might be asked to share intimate pictures or perform sexual acts in front of a web cam.
“These images or videos are then used by the criminals to blackmail the victim into handing over money.”
In another incident, a South Warwickshire man, who wished to remain anonymous, exchanged messages with an attractive woman via text and e-mails.
They actually met in person and she promised to marry him after visiting relatives in America. He later received an email saying she had spent three months in hospital after a crash in the States and had been fined for overstaying her visa.
The victim sent £26,000, but on closer inspection the paperwork he received was fake and the social network used had no established background, appearing to have been set up as a front.
DC Athwal said people should think twice before taking a relationship “offline” and be extremely wary about sending money to people following internet contact.
“We are dealing with people who become victims as a result of doing nothing more than looking for a relationship and, after believing stories they’ve been told, have parted with large amounts of their hard-earned money.”
She said the following tell-tale signs would help identify an online dating fraudster:
If you are a victim of romance fraud, or suspect you are dealing with a fraudster, report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre by calling 0300 123 2040 or by visiting www.actionfraud. police.uk