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.
SIX suspected paedophiles have been arrested in South Warwickshire as part of an unprecedented six-month national investigation.
The UK-wide operation, revealed to the public yesterday, snared a total of 660 suspected paedophiles, including 11 from Warwickshire, six from the south of the county.
The National Crime Agency has been sending intelligence to 45 police forces in recent months about suspected paedophiles believed to be sharing indecent images of children online.
Acting on this intelligence, police confirmed yesterday 11 suspects had been arrested, all of whom are currently on police bail while further investigations take place.
“This is the first time we have been able to speak about the operation publicly because our priority has been to protect children, identify offenders and secure evidence,” explained Detective Superintendent Steve Cullen, head of the Protecting Vulnerable People department at Warwickshire and West Mercia Police.
The majority of the suspects were not previously known to the police.
“They are now, and they will stay in our sights,” warned DS Cullen. “Child abusers need to know that the internet is not a safe space for them to operate. They leave a digital footprint and we will find it.”
Many of them had some form of access to children.
Thirty-one children in the Warwickshire and West Mercia areas have been protected from harm and in in total, more than 400 children across the UK have required protecting.
“We have been able to identify victims and ensure they get the proper support and care,” said DS Cullen.
“Children are victimised not only when they are abused and an image is first taken. They are victimised repeatedly every time that image is viewed.”
‘Protecting’ has a very specific definition in England and Wales. It is linked to an investigation carried out jointly by the police and Children’s Services when there is cause to suspect a child is suffering, or is at risk of suffering, significant harm.
Urging people to report suspected child abuse to the police, DS Cullen said: “We still have a lot of work to do to assess what offences have been committed and, where we have sufficient evidence, to charge those we have arrested.”
During this operation the National Crime Agency targeted offenders accessing child abuse images online.
However police are also working with the Worcestershire-based Lucy Faithfull Foundation, who are trying to prevent sexual abuse online.
Their helpline is receiving an increasing number of calls from men concerned about their online behaviour.
“Thousands” of men have called about their possession of indecent images of children, and thousands of women have called concerned about their partner’s behaviour towards children.
The Stop it Now! helpline provides support for those who have offended online to take responsibility for their abusive behaviour, and manage the future risk.
“Not only do children continue to be harmed by this inappropriate use of their images, but also the offender risks losing friends, family, job, reputation and more should their offending come to light,” said Donald Findlater, from the Lucy Faithfull Foundation. Call 0808 1000 900 for confidential help.
If you have concerns about a child or young person, or if you are a child or young person and someone has asked you to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable, either on or offline, please call the non-emergency police number, 101. You can also report it online at www.ceop.police.uk