Category Archives: crimewatch

400% Increase In Coronavirus Scam Alerts And Frauds

Updated figures show there have been 105 reports to Action Fraud since 1 February 2020, with total losses reaching nearly £970,000. The majority of reports are related to online shopping scams where people have ordered protective face masks, hand sanitiser, and other products, which have never arrived. Other frauds being reported include ticket fraud, romance fraud, charity fraud and lender loan fraud. See more here: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/alert/coronavirus-related-fraud-reports-increase-by-400-in-march.

Get Safe Online has issued some tips on how to help avoid being scammed: • Be wary of approaches from supposed travel agents, tour operators, airlines, cruise companies, insurance companies or compensation firms promising to arrange travel, accommodation or event entry refunds: they may well be fraudulent. If in doubt, call the company you have been dealing with, on the phone number you know to be correct. These approaches can take the form of emails, texts, social media posts, direct messages, online advertisements and phone calls.

• Be wary of ads for products such as facemasks, hand sanitiser, vaccines, cures and hard-to-get • goods, as they could be for non-existent products. Never pay by bank transfer, and where possible pay by credit card as doing so provides additional protection.

• As always, don’t click on unknown links in emails, texts or posts, or email attachments. They could link to websites that capture your passwords and other confidential details or cause a malware infection, both of which can result in financial or identity fraud. They could also link to adult, hate, extremist or other content.

Read Get Safe Online safety advice about avoiding online coronavirus-related scams and working safely from home during the outbreak here:  https://www.getsafeonline.org/coronavirus/

To report crimes and scams please follow this guidance: • Call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or report incidents of fraud online and offline at http://www.actionfraud.police.uk.. • Call 101 to report non-emergency incidents to your local police. • Call 999 if you’re reporting a crime that’s in progress or someone is in immediate danger. • Call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 to report crime completely anonymously.

Residents Warned To Be Aware Of Doorstep Scammers

Lancashire residents are being warned about multiple cold call incidents that have been taking place over the last few weeks. High pressure doorstep sales tactics are being used on home owners to try and persuade people to pay for poor goods or services.

Static caravan owners are advised to beware of rogue traders selling floor insulation. One resident in Fylde paid £4,000 before realising the work had not been carried out. Also in the Fylde area, information has been received that doorstep callers are selling household goods, claiming to be on a ‘pre-release’ scheme from Kirkham Prison

and trying to ‘turn their lives around’. The prison has no affiliation to such a scheme and this is false.

Trading standards advice is to say no to cold callers at all times and to search around for the best deal without being pressured into making a decision on the doorstep. People can use the Lancashire Safe Trader scheme to find a reputable tradesperson to do work.

County Councillor Albert Atkinson, cabinet member for technical services, rural affairs and waste management, said “Everyone should be aware of cold callers and we advise that the public always say no to them. They use tactics like persistent phone calls or visits, which pressure vulnerable people into paying for work that is carried out to a poor standard or does not get completed. There are still plenty of reputable firms out there that can be used instead of accepting the services of cold callers.”

Lancashire County Council is also advising people to avoid maintenance contracts on previously installed solar panels. This follows a report from a retired lady with memory difficulties who paid £20,000 for one of these contracts.

Other phone and online alerts include scam Amazon calls. In one variation, the caller claims the householders Amazon account has been renewed and asks for their bank details where they claim a refund will be issued.

In addition, Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service is asking people to stay vigilant against fraudsters posing as enforcement officers and bailiffs. The scammers phone members of the public and claim they owe the caller money.

Consumers are also advised to be wary after a number of complaints by people who responded to online adverts for companies offering to supply carpets on easy payment terms. This is actually likely to cost more for customers and in some cases the carpets have not been fitted until weeks after the payments have begun, with a range of reasons provided. Any refunds on deposits are being made difficult for customers to get back.

County Councillor Atkinson added “People need to be extremely wary of these schemes. Card details should never be given out over the phone. The court service may contact you by phone to discuss a warrant of control and may take debit or credit card payments, however, they will never telephone you to ask for your bank details. Always contact trading standards for advice if you’re unsure about anything.”

Contact Trading Standards service via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline, 03454 04 05 06.

“Oliver” Aka Clive Grunshaw “Twist” Is Back!

He’s announced his Annual Precept Consultation 2020-21 Version.

There’s a certain inevitability about the annual “Oliver Twist” police precept grab. It has an unusual “twist” this year. Mr Grunshaw has previously had less police officers, so he needed more precept. This year he is having more police officers, so he needs more precept! Probably his annual 5%?

“Due to the General Election there is a delay in the confirmation of the level of central government funding for 2020/2021, the uplift to the funding for new officers, and the flexibility to raise the precept, meaning that timescales are tighter than ever. My survey launched last week and is open until 9am on Friday 17th January.

“Running Lancashire Police costs over £286m a year, with almost 72 per cent of this coming from Central Government funding, and the remainder being raised by the Policing element of your Council Tax bill. I’m required by law to set the policing element of the Council Tax bill every year. This decision is made by taking into account lots of things, including what you, the public want your police service to look like against how much you want to pay for it.

“Despite having saved over £86m from the police budget since 2010, last year, thanks to the support of council tax payers, I’ve made good on my promises in 2019 and investment was made back into policing here in Lancashire, with the creation of Task Force teams covering every district across Lancashire, focusing on reducing and preventing crime and dealing with the issues that matter most to people.

“Specialist target teams were also strengthened tackling cross border crime and criminality, alongside burglary and robbery and there was an investment in detectives following public feedback to prioritise investigations around major crimes, child exploitation and domestic abuse.

“There’s some positive news this year, as we know that there is government funding for some additional officers, but that does also come with additional costs. Lancashire is growing as a police force and the costs of running it will go up proportionately. There are also the standstill pressures, including inflation and statutory pay rises which unless they are addressed by government will leave the force with a £7m deficit.

“My current proposal this year is to increase the precept to meet some of the pressures that are coming through alongside a plan for savings to meet the deficit, rather than to seek cuts, but I want to hear what you have to say”.

Don’t suppose two words, one being “off” will work?

Courier Fraud. Please Do Not Believe Any Callers Asking For PINs Or Passwords

Lancashire Police

Our Police have reported that in the last two days “We have received three reports of Courier Fraud in the Burnley area, with each victim handing over £4,900 to scammers. We believe these offences are linked and we are urging people to remain vigilant throughout Lancashire.

In all instances, vulnerable and elderly members of the community have been targeted with phone calls from an individual claiming to be from the bank or Police.

In these instances, the victims have been told not to inform any friends or family, withdraw large volumes of cash or purchase euros and hand them over to a ‘courier’ who has later visited their property with a pre-agreed code word.

Fraudsters are highly persuasive and use an array of systems and tactics to appear like legitimate organisations. In both of these instances mentioned, the fraudsters held the victims phone line open all day to ensure that should the victim call their genuine bank or police, they could intercept the call.

Please do not fall for this fraud in West Lancashire

Clearly, these instances are highly emotive and extremely distressing for the victims, who are now left feeling vulnerable and without their cash over the festive period.

If you have loved ones, friends, family or neighbours that could benefit from this advice, please remind them that their bank or the police will NEVER:

• Phone and ask you for your PIN or full banking password.
• Ask you to withdraw money to hand over to them for safe-keeping.
• Ask you to transfer money out of your account.
• Send someone to your home to collect cash, PINs, cards or cheque books.

If you have information or concerns regarding Courier Fraud you can call 101, or 999 if it’s an emergency.

Thanks. Lancashire Police

Crime And Policing In Aughton, Latest Published News

From the Minutes Of Meeting Held On Monday, 14 October 2019

The Chairman welcomed the representatives from Lancashire Constabulary, Chief Inspector Ian Jones, Sgt Billy Matthews and PCSO Jillian Reid who would be speaking on ‘the Policing of Aughton’ during Public Question Time.

PUBLIC QUESTION TIME – the Chairman adjourned the meeting at this stage and welcomed Mr Clive Grunshaw, the Lancashire Police & Crime Commissioner and Chief Inspector Ian Jones

who gave an update on ‘the Policing of Aughton’ since his last visit in May 2019. With regards to the anti-social behaviour issue, he said the police had not been fully aware of what was going on in Aughton and he was grateful to the Parish Council and some local residents for pointing out what was happening, where and when. Aughton ranked high in the County for nuisance and antisocial behaviour but a plan had now been put in place to try and eradicate this.

He had looked at what there was for youth in the area and, although it was not his role, he had gone to the Police & Crime Commissioner for assistance and funding to: • Set up a Boxing Club in Ormskirk. • Set up a New Zone Bus to visit the hotspots in the area. • Working with the police cadets. • Try and educate youngsters through the schools on knife crime, drug use, etc.

He went on to: • Give an update on the serious incident, with the use of firearms, at a property in Back Lane, Aughton. • Noted the problems at the Quarry Woodland, off Delph Lane, on the park off Cherry Tree Lane and the site off Winifred Lane including the playarea, car park, bowling green and Sports Pavilion area. • Give a brief update on the proposed dedicated Task Force of Police Officers to be introduced in West Lancashire to tackle the issues that matter most to local residents, eg nuisance & anti-social behaviour, drug-dealing, etc. • PCSOs were now trained up on pedal cycles and were being trained to operate speed guns. • The introduction of ‘mini police’ – school children to encourage parents not to park on yellow lines outside schools etc. • Finally, the CBM vacancy on his team had now been filled and the officer would be taking up the post as soon as possible.

A question and answer session then took part with the Chief Inspector on various issues including Working with the British Transport Police at both rail stations in Aughton; Mischief Night – all police staff were on duty – problem youngsters to be taken to a dedicated area in Skelmersdale awaiting ‘parental release’; Police/Public Protection Orders; Reassurance to stop antisocial behaviour; Drug taking by youngsters and how the police were trying to deal with the problem, mainly through the parents; Police numbers reduction over the last few years but the force now hoped to get back to the previous level of officers for Neighbourhood Policing – Task Team, Response Team, Neighbourhood Team; Questions on the statistics produced on the Police Website; the problems with the ‘101 service; Suggestions for engaging with young people and the older youths; Aughton Police Station, Neighbourhood Watch & refurbishment of Skelmersdale Police Station.

The Chairman thanked the Chief Inspector and his staff for attending the meeting and said he hoped they would return to Aughton at a future meeting to give a further update on the Policing of Aughton.

Mr Clive Grunshaw

the Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner, was then invited to speak. He touched on his role as the PCC for the last 7 years and then covered 3 main aspects: • the Budget – cuts in budget, reduction in police officers, policing to threat, harm and risk, cuts on all services. • the Police & Crime Commissioner Plan 2016-2021 which outlined the priorities for Lancashire Constabulary over the coming years, and • the Chief Constable, who was responsible for policing but he was accountable to the Police & Crime Commissioner.

He spoke about the proposed increase in police officers by the Government and the allocation for Lancashire; the proposed introduction of dedicated Task Force Officers to give ‘visibility’, TACOS and the Drone Team, the need to reconnect with the Neighbourhood Force and empower with the community; and finally, Our Lancashire and the Volunteer Partnership to be launched on ‘Lancashire Day on 27 Nov’.

A question and answer session then took place with Mr Grunshaw on various issues, and he responded accordingly. He said local residents could contact him direct through his website http://www.lancashire-pcc.gov.uk which also covered in detail many of the issues raised above. The Chairman thanked Mr Grunshaw for visiting Aughton to update local residents on Policing in Lancs.

Minute 11186 CHAIRMAN/VICE-CHAIRMAN/PARISH CLERK’S OCTOBER MEETING WITH THE LOCAL POLICE – a brief report was given on the informal meeting held 9 October 2019 – PCSO Jillian Reid attended.

There had been 21 reported crimes since the last meeting (September, 17 crimes) (August 14 crimes) (July 21 crimes) including 4 domestic incidents, 2 malicious communications, 4 cases of assault, 1 harassment, 4 burglary in a dwelling (Long Lane, Scarth Hill Lane, Holly Lane, Liverpool Road), 3 criminal damage excluding a vehicle (Delph Common Road, Town Green Lane, Delph Park Avenue), 1 case of arson (domestic related), 1 missing from home incident (person found), 1 vehicle crime (Moor Hall).

In Aughton, other than reported crimes, there had been 98 incidents. Discussion took place over the many youngsters on bikes riding around the Parish in the dark without lights on their bikes (dangerous and intimidating). The Public Bowling Green and the rear the Sports Pavilion were still considered ‘hot spots’ now particularly late evening. Pavement parking in Granville Park and Town Green Lane were also reported.

“Task Four-ce” Pessimism?

In September the Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw

announced “A dedicated task force of police officers is being rolled out across Lancashire this month, tackling issues that matter most to people. The taskforce is split into proactive teams of four or five officers spread across nine areas in the county, with the responsibility for tackling local priorities including drug dealing, anti-social behaviour and burglary, alongside disrupting organised crime group activity and targeting outstanding offenders”.

Mr Grunshaw said “The Government’s funding announcement at the end of last year made it clear that the only way to raise funds to put extra officers on our streets, which the people of Lancashire consistently tell me is what they want to see, was to fully utilise the council tax flexibility given to Police and Crime Commissioners. This was the only option provided by Government to protect and bolster policing here in Lancashire and not using it would have meant a further cut to the budget and 125 fewer police officers. Thanks to support from the public, I’m pleased to say that for the first time since 2010 investment is being made into policing here in Lancashire with additional officers going into every district, focusing on reducing and preventing crime and dealing with the issues that matter most to people”.

So West Lancashire will have a Task Force. Ch Supt Sam Mackenzie of Lancashire Constabulary said “The introduction of these officers is great news and puts extra officers into our communities. The roll out of the Neighbourhood Policing task force will help us to continue tackling key crime hotspot’s and allow us to be more proactive in preventing the crimes that concern us all the most. I expect their impact to be significant in every corner of the county. I believe these officers will make a real difference in our community and look forward to seeing the effects they have”.

But “Sceptical of Aughton” who might be me, or you, has a cynical view of the concept. He’s a retired police officer who wrote to the Champion

and foresees the four, maybe five officers actually being somewhat depleted by annual leave, rest days, and sickness, leaving not much officer time to deal with burglary, drugs, anti-social behaviour, target outstanding offenders, and assist in tackling Organised Crime Groups. Not to mention the practical garaging of vehicles and storing equipment. 

As “Sceptical of Aughton” says, all the above doesn’t leave much time to have a “significant” impact on anything. We hope he is wrong, but we share his misgivings.