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Mercedes seized as uninsured driver is caught by officers

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Motorway roadworks speed limit could be increased

Roadworks sign on the motorwayImage copyright PA

Speed limits for motorway roadworks could be raised in England under plans aimed at reducing congestion.

Currently the normal speed for such stretches of road is 50mph (80km/h).

But trials carried out by Highways England found drivers’ heart rates were lower when they drove at 55mph (88km/h) and 60mph (96km/h) through roadworks.

The government-owned company said the new limits could come into effect in some areas this year, but unions warn it would put motorway workers at risk.

Highways England recruited 36 participants for two trials and provided them with dash cams and watches with heart rate monitors and GPS trackers to monitor their reactions to driving through the quicker speed limits.

The tests took place at 60mph on the M5 between junction 4A (Bromsgrove) to junction 6 (Worcester), and at 55mph on the M3 in Surrey between junction 3 and 4A.

The study found 60% of those who drove in the 60mph trial zone had a decreased average heart rate, while it was lower for 56% of those on the 55mph journey.

But trade union Unite, which represents road workers throughout the UK, said the proposed speed increases ignored the safety of those maintaining motorways who “work in already very dangerous conditions”.

A spokesman said: “Sadly, in recent years there have been several deaths of motorway workers and these changes will make their work even more dangerous.

“Already motorists frequently drive into coned-off areas. At increased speeds, it will make such potentially lethal accidents even more common.”

Accelerating past

According to the Times, the study suggested that motorists felt more relaxed travelling at higher speeds, partly because they had a greater ability to accelerate past heavy goods vehicles.

Jim O’Sullivan, chief executive of Highways England, told the paper that the 60mph limit was “something that we want to introduce to as many roadworks as possible”.

He said: “If we’re going to have this volume of roadworks we need to have some serious thought about how we improve the customer experience.”

But Mr O’Sullivan said that lower speeds were likely to be maintained in areas with narrow lanes, contraflows or where workers are close to the road, due to safety reasons.

Highways England has been testing different speed limits since September 2016 as part of a wider initiative to assess the benefits associated with increasing speed limits through roadworks.

Those trials on a section of the M1 near Rotherham and on the A1 between Leeming to Barton examined the safety implications of the scheme as well as the journey time benefits for drivers travelling through roadworks.

Spen Valley Scout and Guide Band still hitting the high note 40 years on….

FROM humble beginnings the ‘Music, Marching & Friendship’ is still going – 40 years on.

According to Carl Nelson, assistant band master of the Spen Valley Scout Band, the band was formed during a scout meeting in 1977 when one of the original founders – Maurice Kitchen – brought an old rope bass drum and pig skin purchased from a jumble sale.

Members Neil Ellis and Andrew Kitchen strapped on snare drums with belts and Maurice invited Bob Pickles from the Dewsbury Pipe Band to teach some marching with a bass drum and two snares. After approaching fellow founder, Brian Ellis, the 9th Spen Valley Scout Band was formed.

Trumpet players Anthony Ellis and Richard Durrans were the original members, with many more joining the ranks over the years, including Guides, prompting the name change to the 9th Spen Valley Scout & Guide Band.

Carl recalls at that time there were 24 Scout and Guide bands in West Yorkshire and for many members being part of the band has been a real family affair. Carl and his wife, bandmaster Joanna, met through the band.

Says Joanna: “I have been in the band for 33 years and have had some amazing experiences, made some fantastic friends and even met my husband!”

“For the last 15 years I have been bandmaster to an amazing bunch of people. I feel privileged to be able to call them my friends.

“And, just maybe, some of us will be here in another 40 years to celebrate another milestone of Music, Marching & Friendship.”

It was during David Durrans’ tenure as bandmaster in 1981 that the 9th Spen Valley Scout and Guide Band became a district band with a new name – The Spen Valley Scout & Guide Band.

Over the years members have competed in prestigious events and competitions. In 1999 the band made its debut at the Birmingham International Tattoo as part of the National Youth Marching Band.

The millennium brought the opportunity for six members to perform in The World Association of Marching Show Bands in Canada with the United Scout & Guide Bands of Greater Manchester

In 2002, the year Joanna became bandmaster, the band performed at Disneyland Paris in the Disney Parade.

Other highlights include performing at ‘The White House’ in Gilwell Park for the then Chief Scout, Blue Peter presenter, Peter Duncan.

The band also performed as part of the mass Scout & Guide Band at the European Jamboree, Eurojam held in Essex in 2005, in the World Scout Jamboree in 2007 and members rubbed shoulders with Royalty when they performed at the St George’s Parade, Windsor celebrating the work of the recipients of the Chief Scout award.

Members have participated in the London Lord Mayor’s parade, spent a day with HM Royal Marines at their School of Music in Portsmouth and in 2016 they played at the unveiling of The Scout Memorial Project at the National Memorial Arboretum.

The band’s recent 40th anniversary celebrations, held at St Luke’s Church, Cleckheaton, prompted some of the band’s former members – who hadn’t played in the intervening years – to pick up their instruments once again for a reunion concert involving past and present players.

Rape trial jury shown sex tape clips

A JURY sitting in the case of a man accused of rape has been shown clips of sex tapes on the request of the defence.

Brad Conway, formerly of Wibsey, Bradford, is on trial facing nine rape charges, two charges of sexual assault, two of voyeurism and single charges of harassment to commit rape and false imprisonment.

The defence is maintaining all five women involved in the case consented to sex.

The videos had been taken from the defendant’s hard drive when he was arrested.

A woman giving evidence said she had been forced to take part in the clips against her will.

Taking the stand at Bradford Crown Court yesterday, the

fifth woman to give evidence against 36-year-old Conway said she was scared of him a lot of the time.

He was bribing her “that he would expose things” and was manipulative and frightening.

Asked why she had met another witness and exchanged text messages she said: “It was because she was some support. Someone who had known him and his ways and understood.

“She was the only person who really knew the situation I had been in.”

Conway’s barrister Stephen Uttley said one of the text messages to the other woman said he (Conway) was “going to be arrested” after the woman had asked if she had heard anything.

The two women had also exchanged texts referring to investigating officer DC Emma Simpson.

“One text said: “What did you tell the police?”

“Why did she ask that?” said Mr Uttley.

“She was wanting to know how it (the interview) went with the police,” the woman in the stand said.

Mr Uttley asked the witness how she knew the defendant was going to be arrested.

She said DC Simpson had told her how the case was progressing.

In regard to the text messages between two of the witnesses, Mr Uttley asked if the police had told her not to discuss anything with any witnesses.

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The woman replied: “I don’t remember the police saying that, but I would not have done any way.”

Mr Uttley said he knew she had filled out a compensation claim and asked if she was looking at seeking a payout.

She said yes, because of the suffering Conway had caused her.

When suggesting that all sexual activity with Conway was consensual, the witness answered. “I disagree.”

The trial continues.

Brad Conway rape trial jury shown sex tape clips

A JURY sitting in the case of a man accused of rape has been shown clips of sex tapes on the request of the defence.

Brad Conway, formerly of Wibsey, Bradford, is on trial facing nine rape charges, two charges of sexual assault, two of voyeurism and single charges of harassment to commit rape and false imprisonment.

The defence is maintaining all five women involved in the case consented to sex.

The videos had been taken from the defendant’s hard drive when he was arrested.

A woman giving evidence said she had been forced to take part in the clips against her will.

Taking the stand at Bradford Crown Court yesterday, the fifth woman to give evidence against 36-year-old Conway said she was scared of him a lot of the time.

He was bribing her “that he would expose things” and was manipulative and frightening.

Asked why she had met another witness and exchanged text messages she said: “It was because she was some support. Someone who had known him and his ways and understood.

“She was the only person who really knew the situation I had been in.”

Conway’s barrister Stephen Uttley said one of the text messages to the other woman said he (Conway) was “going to be arrested” after the woman had asked if she had heard anything.

The two women had also exchanged texts referring to investigating officer DC Emma Simpson.

“One text said: “What did you tell the police?”

“Why did she ask that?” said Mr Uttley.

“She was wanting to know how it (the interview) went with the police,” the woman in the stand said.

Mr Uttley asked the witness how she knew the defendant was going to be arrested.

She said DC Simpson had told her how the case was progressing.

In regard to the text messages between two of the witnesses, Mr Uttley asked if the police had told her not to discuss anything with any witnesses.

MORE TOP STORIES

The woman replied: “I don’t remember the police saying that, but I would not have done any way.”

Mr Uttley said he knew she had filled out a compensation claim and asked if she was looking at seeking a payout.

She said yes, because of the suffering Conway had caused her.

When suggesting that all sexual activity with Conway was consensual, the witness answered. “I disagree.”

The trial continues.

One of longest serving police horses in Bradford dies unexpectedly

WEST Yorkshire Police mounted section has announced the unexpected death of one of its horses.

Police horse Connor, age 19, joined the force on October 7, 2003, and had served for 14 years.

He was one of the longest serving horses in the mounted section and took part in the policing of countless football matches, patrols, demonstrations and ceremonial events across the Force during his service.

Connor was admitted to an equine clinic in North Yorkshire on Monday, October 16 after becoming unwell. Exploratory tests revealed an untreatable tumour in his abdomen.

He died at midnight on Wednesday.

Inspector Julie Fitzpatrick said: “Connor was a handsome, hardworking and consistently brave horse who was popular with the team at Carr Gate and the public alike.

“He policed many significant events across the Force during his long service. Standing at almost 18 hands his size was matched by his huge personality both on and off the yard.

“His unexpected death has come as a massive shock to the team and he will be sadly missed.”

Blast-off for museum’s programme of space-themed half-term fun

CHILDREN can shoot for the stars at a series of space-themed half-term activities at the National Science and Media Museum.

Nine days of free family fun begins tomorrow, as part of Bradford’s Family Learning Festival.

Taking inspiration from being the first venue on the national tour of Tim Peake’s space capsule, the museum is launching a raft of space-themed activities.

John Darnbrough, the museum’s learning programme developer, said: “In addition to seeing the incredible display of the Soyuz TMA-19M capsule which carried Tim Peake from the International Space Station back to Earth, visitors will be able to build and test their own balloon-powered Mars rover, design a Space Mission Patch, make a mini rocket to launch across the museum and have a go at astronaut training exercises.”

Also throughout the half-term, the Picturehouse will be screening Wallace and Gromit’s trip to the moon in A Grand Day Out, as well as animated aliens the Floogals, in the museum’s cinemas. Cinema admittance fees apply.

Gas works set to cause disruption for four weeks on major route in Bradford

MAJOR upgrading work has begun to the gas network in Girlington, Bradford.

Northern Gas Networks is carrying out the £50,000 scheme as part of its ongoing infrastructure improvements.

Engineers will replace more than 100 metres of existing metal gas pipes with more durable plastic pipes.

The project is expected to take about four weeks to complete and has been planned with Bradford Council to start during the school half-term holiday to try to limit initial disruption.

Temporary traffic lights will be in place in Thornton Road throughout the works, with advance warning signs in West Park Road.

Part of Young Street will also be closed for the duration of the project, with a diversion route in place.

Bus stops within the closures will be temporarily suspended and move to alternative locations.

Anna Mycoe, business leader at Northern Gas Networks, said: “We have been working closely with Bradford Council to carefully plan these works in order to minimise any disruption to customers.

“We would like to apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused during these works, and thank our customers for their patience and support in getting them completed as quickly as possible.”

MP to meet bosses over controversial car park

SHIPLEY MP Philip Davies will meet the private company behind a controversial car park next week.

Bradford Council had run the Oastler Road, Saltaire, car park under lease from 2004, offering 20 minutes free parking, and earlier this year the lease was taken over by Birmingham-based Smart Parking.

But since then, many angry drivers have been stung with £100 fines, not realising Smart Parking now required them to log their car’s registration for the free 20-minute stay.

Now Mr Davies will meet with Smart Parking on Monday demanding answers, claiming drivers have been “ripped off” by parking at the site. 

He said: “I am looking forward to thrashing things out with them, I have a lot of questions and I want answers.

“My constituents are being ripped off by the draconian fines they introduced, have put up inadequate signage and I want to know what they are going to do about it.

“It has also come to my attention that the land is not able to be used for a car park – there is no licence.

“This was the case when it was Council run too. No licence means no fines and they should be paying back these fines.”

Smart Parking took over the running of the car-park in June from Bradford Council and changed the long-standing rules on parking.

Customers still receive 20 minutes free parking but only if they log their registration number and display a ticket in their vehicle. Many people were handed fines of £100 since the changes were introduced.

Smart Parking was ordered to shut it down and refund thousands of pounds in fines slapped on unsuspecting motorists.

Bradford Council took the dramatic step after receiving a host of complaints about the way Smart Parking was running the site.

The authority was able to step in after discovering that the patch of land had never legally been turned into a car park and was still part of the public highway.

The Telegraph & Argus have contacted Smart Parking today, but have yet to receive a response.

Dark past

Wartime prisoners in AlderneyImage copyright Alderney Museum
Image caption Four major camps operated in Alderney between 1942 and 1944, named after the German North Sea Islands Helgoland, Borkum, Norderney, and Sylt

The western-most concentration camp in the Third Reich, Lager Sylt, was located on British soil – only about 70 miles south of Bournemouth on the island of Alderney. Should this camp and other relics of the Channel Islands’ occupation by Nazi Germany be developed into tourist attractions?

Arrive in Alderney at its small and ageing airport and you will see an island map, pointing out Victorian forts, a Roman nunnery and World War Two coastal defences.

There is, however, no mention of the four wartime camps that housed thousands of slave labourers, many of whom died as part of Nazi Germany‘s attempts to turn Alderney into a fortress island.

Image copyright Alderney Museum/Trevor Davenport
Image caption Workers were kept in conditions of “deliberate inhumanity” with beatings, disease, and starvation rife, according to a post-war report

It is these locations that Marcus Roberts, director of the National Anglo-Jewish Heritage Trail, believes should be developed as “sites of memory”, in part to boost the island’s flagging tourism industry.

“Alderney is perhaps the best place to go to understand the realities of the Nazi slave labour system,” he said.

“People could go and understand what the consequences of tyranny are and the mistreatment of other people.

“I think there’s a role for respectable tourism, which would be part of the overall tourism strategy for the island.”


Alderney occupation

Image caption V1 rockets were developed in nearby Cherbourg
  • Demilitarised in 1940, along with other Channel Islands
  • Occupied by German forces in July 1940
  • The most heavily fortified Channel Island as part of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall
  • Nearly all of Alderney’s population was evacuated to England
  • Four labour camps were established – named after the German islands Borkum, Helgoland, Norderney and Sylt

Mr Roberts believes there were significantly more forced labourers on Alderney than post-war reports stated, including about 10,000 predominantly French Jews.

Albert Eblagon survived Norderney and described to Israeli journalist Solomon Steckoll in an account published in 1982 how fellow prisoners were beaten and starved to death.

Some aged over 70, they worked up to 14 hours each day building the island’s fortifications.

“Every day there were beatings, and people‘s bones were broken, their arms or their legs,” he recalled.

“People died from overwork. We were starved and worked to death; so many died from total exhaustion.”

The number of his fellow prisoners and forced labourers who did not survive has been contested, ranging from an official post-war report that stated 389 deaths, to as many as 70,000.

Image copyright Marcus Roberts
Image caption Marcus Roberts says his research has shown a greater number of Jews were killed on occupied Alderney than has been previously estimated

Focusing on this traumatic past led to Mr Roberts being accused of promoting Alderney as a “bone-yard” and making it less attractive to visitors.

In response, he wrote a letter to the Alderney Journal in June defending his research and pointing to nearby northern France where military cemeteries are popular tourist attractions.

The number of people travelling to and from the island by air has fallen by more than a quarter in the 10 years to 2016, although there was a slight rise in summer 2017 compared to the year before.

But developing the island’s former Nazi sites for visitors is something States of Alderney Vice President Ian Tugby is against.

“We’re supposed to be a lovely island, going forward,” he said.

“I’m more interested in the future, basically, than what’s gone on in the past, because the past is gone.

“We can’t change it, and do we want to continue to drag up the downside of what went on in Alderney all those years ago?”

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Image caption The entrance posts of Lager Sylt, the western-most concentration camp in the Third Reich

Alderney’s camps

The four major camps were run by the Todt Organisation, responsible for Nazi Germany’s military and civic engineering.

Sylt, the only concentration camp, was taken over by the SS Baubrigade in 1943, part of the so-called death’s head formation, which ran concentration camps.

More than 40,000 camps and incarceration sites were established by the Nazis across Europe for forced labour, detention – and mass murder.

Alderney inmates were predominantly Russian, and comprised of prisoners of war, forced labourers, “volunteers” from Germany and occupied countries, Jews, and political prisoners.

Helgoland and Norderney, today a campsite, both had the capacity for 1,500 forced labourers.

Borkum housed specialist craftsmen, many ordered there from either Germany or occupied countries, with between 500 and 1,000 prisoners at the site.

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Mr Tugby’s voting record in the island’s parliament suggests he is serious.

In 2015, he and fellow Alderney-born politician Louis Jean were the only two politicians to vote against designating Lager Sylt a conservation area.

Economic independence for the island, reliant on its larger neighbour Guernsey, lies in approving a £500m electricity cable project linking France and Britain through the island, not in promoting its wartime occupation, Mr Tugby said.

Image caption The FAB Link project will run through a conservation area, at Longis Common, but developers say the cable would avoid known World War Two burial sites
Image caption Graham McKinley voted in favour of Lager Sylt becoming a conservation site, and would like the dark past of the three other island forced labour camps to be made more apparent to visitors

However, fellow politician Graham McKinley, who voted in favour of Sylt being protected, would like to see a similar memorial to the one at Sylt (pictured above) at the three other forced labour sites, including Lager Norderney, the largest, which is today home to Alderney’s campsite.

“There should be some sort of memorial put up there, and some sort of indication that that was happening.”

People would visit sites like these, he said, if they were more aware of the island’s “unique wartime interest”.

“Look at the prisoner-of-war camps in Poland and in Germany which attract an enormous amount of visitors every year and bring in much-needed revenue,” he said.

“We need that sort of thing.”

Image copyright Alderney Museum/Trevor Davenport
Image caption Alderney’s population was evacuated ahead of its occupation, with few local eyewitnesses to what happened in the island’s camps

Unlike with the island’s plentiful occupation-era coastal defences, there is little remaining of the forced labour sites, except for entrance gates and the odd structure.

Sylt is protected after Alderney’s government designated it a conservation area in 2015, while the other three sites could yet be afforded similar protection under a plan awaiting government approval.

The 2017 Land Use Plan would see the sites where the forced labour camps stood, and other locations of wartime significance, registered as heritage assets.

Only development that is “sensitive to the former use and history of these assets” would be permitted at the wartime sites, under the plan.

Image copyright States of Alderney
Image caption Various parts of Alderney, highlighted in purple, have been identified as “unregistered heritage assets of significant value”

Such protection is long overdue, according to Trevor Davenport, author of Festung Alderney, a book on German defences on the island.

Despite a long association with protecting World War Two sites, Mr Davenport does not, however, want to see former forced labour sites developed for visitors.

“I have no objection to people being made aware of the labour camps,” he said.

“But it is not, unless you are a ghoul, a heritage issue that needs promoting, except as part of the overall occupation story.”

Image caption The Alderney Museum in St Anne is home to a small section telling the story of the island’s forced workers

Certainly, the island’s tourism body Visit Alderney is reluctant to promote this part of the island’s history above any other.

“Our tourism focus remains on the historical importance and education of all our heritage periods,” a spokeswoman said.

“The local population are respectful of our past whatever the historical period.

“Promoting tourism and respectful memoriam should not be confused.”

Image caption Former forced labour camp Norderney is today home to Alderney’s campsite
Image caption The Hammond Memorial overlooking Longis Common contains tributes in many languages to those who died constructing this small section of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall

But for Marcus Roberts, encouraging people to come to Alderney to consider what happened there during the Nazi occupation makes sense both financially and morally.

Not only was this important for the descendents of Nazi Germany’s victims, he said, but also for the historical record.

“It’s not just an island matter; it does affect people literally from around the world.

“Each person who died was someone’s family, someone’s son, and all lives are valuable.”