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Tyres explode as crane fire closes M62 near Rochdale

Image copyright Peter O’Dea
Image caption Firefighters are tackling the blaze on the M62

A large fire involving a mobile crane closed both carriageways of the M62 in Greater Manchester.

Four fire crews arrived at the blaze on the westbound carriageway between junction 21 for Milnrow and junction 20 for Rochdale at about 20:30 BST.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said the heat had caused the vehicle’s tyres to explode.

Diesel has leaked onto the motorway and a hazardous materials officer has been sent to the scene.

In a statement, the fire service said: “Four fire engines from Heywood, Rochdale and Chadderton were mobilised to a fire involving a mobile crane on the M62 westbound carriageway.

“The vehicle was well alight on arrival of crew and the heat had caused the vehicle’s tyres to explode, which could be heard across parts of Rochdale and Oldham.”

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus are tackling the fire with two hose reels, the fire service added.

Greater Manchester Police and the Highways Agency initially closed both carriageways.

A spokesperson for the Highways Agency said the fire had caused “long delays”.

The eastbound carriageway reopened at about 23:30.

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Joseph Parker beats Hughie Fury on points to retain WBO heavyweight title

Joseph Parker has now won all 24 of his professional fights

Hughie Fury failed in his first shot at a world title as New Zealand’s Joseph Parker retained his WBO heavyweight championship with a controversial points win at the Manchester Arena.

Parker was the aggressor throughout, with Briton Fury happy to box off his jab, and the visiting fighter finished strongly, landing solid shots late on.

The scorecards were divided, one had it a 114-114 draw, the other two giving it to the champion by 118-110.

Fury’s camp was angry at the verdict.

Not for the first time in recent weeks, scorecards in a world title fight will draw scrutiny. Fury’s camp feel hard done by but their man perhaps paid the price for caution throughout.

He made Parker miss a lot but the victor landed enough solid work to ensure his rival rarely came forward to take control.

It led to a second defence of the title, though it is unlikely this display will send the statement through the heavyweight division that Parker hoped for on his UK bow.

Leaping and chasing – how the fight played out…

Joseph Parker has won 18 of his 24 bouts by knockout

Parker, boasting a far superior knockout percentage, was prepared to chase early, leaping in with club-like swings which failed to register anything meaningful against an opponent repeatedly circling the ring and jabbing tamely.

One of Parker’s lunges saw him picked off with a sweet right uppercut in the fourth but Fury ended the round cut above his right eye when another leap forward by his rival saw the pair clash heads.

A brief switch to southpaw from Fury in round five did little to change the flow. He moved, Parker chased and landed three right hands, the third one powerful – up and under the guard of his 6ft 6in opponent.

A right uppercut and later a counter-right from Fury caught the eye in six but he was not landing anything telling enough to dent Parker’s confidence. In the ninth, the champion delivered the heaviest shot of the night, a left hook finding the target and briefly leaving Fury desperate to cling on.

The sound of an overhand right from Parker thudded around ringside in the 10th. He clearly wanted to make a statement but in truth, much of his work to eventually pin his man into corners was wasted with inaccurate shots when up close.

But late on his conditioning looked clear. His camp had spoken of this being the best version they had seen of their man in training and two overhand rights – the first finding Fury’s jaw – were stinging.

The aggressor was getting his rewards late on but both camps entered the ring to hail their man the winner on the bell. One of Fury’s team made the sign of the cross three times before the decision. It proved ineffective. The scores read were arguably a touch harsh but Parker’s camp could convincingly argue Fury only ever did enough to try to pinch the fight.

A stepping stone

The watching Tyson Fury won the WBA, IBF and WBO titles when he beat Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015 but has not fought since

It seems strange to consider a bout for a WBO title once held by the likes of both Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko as a contest for the right to be considered a viable opponent for the division’s two biggest names.

World titles should represent the pinnacle. But many in the media felt Parker viewed this as little more than a stepping stone en route to a meeting with either American WBC champion Deontay Wilder or Britain’s Anthony Joshua, who holds the other two belts in the heavyweight division.

Parker’s team was adamant this would be comprehensive, pointing to 16 months of inactivity for his 23-year-old rival. The opponents the champion had faced also looked tougher on paper, with a combined 108 defeats compared to over 200 losses on the records of Fury’s previous rivals.

Perhaps those slightly tougher examinations shone through, though Parker will need to impress much more if he is to land his shot at Wilder or Joshua. The plan is now for him to train in Las Vegas, while spending more time building a UK profile.

He may prosper more against men prepared to trade. But against the very best, his at times wild swings must become more crisp, more accurate. Still, he is unbeaten, a world champion and will have options.

Where now for Fury?

Fury suffered a cut above his right eye early on in the fight

Fury’s promoter, Mick Hennessey, claimed “corruption” in the scoring in the immediate aftermath.

The bulk of media ringside had his man beaten, though far more narrowly than a 118-110 margin.

Fury placed his head in his hands on the decision. He carries the burden of his older cousin Tyson Fury’s name and arguably lives in the shadow of the former world champion, who begged the crowd for more noise from ringside before the first bell.

But Hughie Fury showed enough here to suggest he can come again. Recent years have seen him battle illness and he still has a UK Anti-Doping charge to answer.

With 21 fights, he has amassed experience and there was some nice elements to his evasive work. But it will perhaps take the introduction of an added dimension if he is to ever make a mark at world level. Time is on his side.

Your pension savings are under threat from scammers like never before

AT ITS best, planning for retirement can be a complicated, time-consuming and confusing business.

At its worst, it can be the nightmare from hell, presenting a head-bursting, life-changing minefield of bureaucracy and a seemingly endless array of financial options.

The whole business took a huge change for the worse in 2015 when the Government’s pension reforms gave the over-55s an even bigger range of choices as to how they can use their retirement savings.

That’s not to say that the new freedoms introduced at the time were not welcome – and widely praised – but they made life for those approaching retirement quite a lot harder, especially for people who found just balancing the weekly household budget a challenge.

By far the biggest problem was that they opened a mass of opportunities for scammers and fraudsters to exploit.

West Yorkshire Trading Standards was among the organisations that spotted the potential for trouble and issued warnings at the time.

As David Lodge, head of West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service, put it: “There is a scam out there for everyone, but we know that our older, more vulnerable residents often fall victim to scams all too easily.

“As we continue to raise awareness across West Yorkshire of the tactics commonly being used by criminals to trick people out of their cash, we hope to build resilience in communities and prevent residents from becoming prey to fraudsters.”

His comments were, to coin a phrase, right on the money.

Up to the end of May this year, Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre, had recorded more than 2,900 cases of pension scams, with more than £43 million of retirement savings lost.

Action Fraud says: “Pension scammers promise to convert pension funds into cash before retirement, or in some cases they may suggest people can take more than 25 per cent of their pension pot as cash.

“Criminals are believed to be fraudulently exploiting the pension liberation process in a number of ways. These include: failing to advise members of the tax implications of receiving cash from their pension; failing to advise members of the full extent of fees to be paid in relation to any onward investment; and falsely representing anticipated levels of returns when investments are either non-existent or incapable of providing such a return.”

They say the scammers have a variety of tricks designed to catch out the unwary or confused.

They may claim that you can access your pension pot before age 55; approach you out of the blue over the phone, via text message or in person door-to-door to entice you with upfront cash; offer a free “pension review” or try to lure you in with so-called “one-off” investment opportunities.

Earlier this year, the Serious Fraud Office launched an investigation into storage unit investment schemes, touted as a growth industry and potentially highly profitable, amid fears that large numbers of people had lost big sums of money after investing their pension pots in them.

One man was apparently persuaded to transfer almost £370,000 out of his NHS workplace pension into a storage unit scheme with an alleged eight to 12 per cent return and was likely to lose all his money as a result.

It’s hardly surprising that people fall for such scams when all most of us want to do is ensure as comfortable a retirement as possible.

Last year, Citizens Advice estimated almost 11 million consumers had received unsolicited contact about their pension in the previous 12 months.

It prompted them to carry out a survey of 2,000 people which found that three out of four people were confident they could spot a pension scam.

But when they tested them with three similar pension advertisements, only one of which was legitimate, 88 per cent of those who took part chose the two ads containing scams. Most of those fooled said they had opted for the ones offering the biggest potential returns.

The Pensions Regulator suggests five steps to avoid becoming a victim of a pension scam:

• If you are cold-called about your pension, just hang up

• Check the credentials of the company and any advisers – who should be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority

• Ask for a statement showing how your pension will be paid at retirement, and question who will look after your money until then

• Speak to an adviser that is not associated with the deal you’ve been offered, for unbiased advice

• Never be rushed into agreeing to a pension transfer

But is that enough to safeguard your precious retirement savings?

The Government’s Work and Pensions Committee this week launched an inquiry into the reforms to find out whether they are achieving their objectives and whether enough is being done to prevent scams and mis-selling.

Although for many people the choice of what to do with their pension savings in preparation for retirement is the biggest financial decision they will make, the committee says research by the Financial Conduct Authority suggests people are making their pension choices without the support available, increasing the risk they will not get the best value from their savings.

Of people aged 55 and over planning to retire in the next two years, just seven per cent had used the free and impartial Pension Wise guidance service.

Committee chairman Frank Field said: “Pension freedom and choice liberated savers to choose what they wanted to do with their own money. This was welcome, but as with any radical reform it is important to monitor its practical effects closely to ensure it is working as envisaged.

“In this case it is vital that adequate support ensures people are equipped to ensure they don’t make decisions they subsequently regret.

“I am particularly concerned that savers are more vulnerable than ever to unscrupulous scam artists. This policy must not become the freedom to liberate people of their savings.”

The committee has asked for written evidence submissions by October 23 but it’s not known how long it will be before it makes its recommendations.

In the meanwhile, there can be just one simple message for those seeking to invest their retirement savings: be very, very careful.

HOW TO GET HELP

For advice on pensions and scams:

pensionwise.gov.uk or phone 0800 138 3944

pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk or phone 0300 123 1047

thepensionsregulator.gov.uk

citizensadvice.org.uk or phone 03454 04 05 06

To report scams:

actionfraud.police.uk or phone 0300 123 2040

Just For Pets to go into administration

Just for PetsImage copyright Google
Image caption Just for Pets has 25 stores across England

A pet shop chain with 25 stores across England will go into administration, bosses have announced.

Just for Pets, which runs the bulk of its shops in the Midlands, has been making a loss, its owners Wynnstay said in a statement.

Changes in buying behaviour, competition and greater cost pressures were blamed for the company’s demise.

“This has been an extremely difficult decision to make,” said group chief executive Ken Greetham.

“We will be working closely with advisers to ensure that Just for Pets employees, customers, suppliers and Wynnstay shareholders are best served.”

Car chase driver is ‘caught by his own dash cam’

A RECRUITMENT consultant who led police on a near-100mph chase before ditching his car and then claiming it had been stolen has been jailed.

Abdurrahim Mahmood, 26, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and intending to pervert the course of justice as Bradford Crown Court heard he had been “caught by his own dashcam.”

Prosecutor Richard Walters told the court that just after midnight on March 26, police had seen Mahmood driving a silver BMW on Keighley Road in Bradford with his girlfriend and her nephew also in the car.

After he failed to stop, a five-minute pursuit ensued, with Mahmood seen weaving in and out of traffic, ignoring red lights, and forcing motorists to take evasive action at junctions.

Describing one moment of the chase, which took in streets including Ingleby Road, Great Horton Road, and Cemetery Road, Mr Walters said: “Police are doing 98mph and the defendant is still pulling away at that stage.”

After managing to evade officers, Mahmood dumped the car and fled the scene before police arrived and seized the vehicle minutes later.

At 12.24am, Mahmood called police to state that his car had been stolen, claiming he had no knowledge as to how it had been taken.

Later that day, he went to Trafalgar House police station in Bradford to make a statement confirming his false account of events.

Mr Walters told the court that unbeknown to Mahmood, officers had removed his dashcam from the car when it was recovered, which showed the defendant and his passengers in the vehicle.

“He was caught by his own dashcam footage,” said Mr Walters, adding that Mahmood later gave full admissions to police.

Peter Hampton, for Mahmood, of Sherwell Rise, Allerton, Bradford, said his client had “exceptional” mitigating circumstances that could spare him immediate custody.

He said: “The defendant, through recent local press, is aware the court will take a tough stance on this offence.

“But he is not one of those individuals who some say are blighting the streets of Bradford with reckless and dangerous driving in cars which are uninsured and sometimes stolen.

“If he had intended to drive in the manner he did, you can be assured that recording equipment would not have been there.

“He is usually a careful and competent driver. This was an aberration in sheer panic.”

Mr Hampton said that after falsely claiming the car had been stolen, Mahmood requested a voluntary interview with police in which he admitted all offences.

He said he was currently working in recruitment specialising in the aerospace industry, and that an immediate jail sentence would “destroy his career.”

Describing Mahmood’s driving, The Recorder of Bradford, Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC, said: “There was a wholesale ignorance of not only the road laws, but you, the passengers in your car, the police, and others. It is a bad case.”

While acknowledging that Mr Hampton had put forward “powerful” mitigation on Mahmood’s behalf, Judge Durham Hall said he could not suspend any jail term due to the gravity of the offence.

He said: “It is a tribute to your normal character that you have a dashcam. But what you said was immediately contradicted by the footage in that dashcam.

“The courts in Bradford will not cease from its efforts to try and deter this prevalent offence.”

Mahmood was jailed for 13 months, and will be banned from driving for two years upon his release.

Almost 400,000 Britons hit by data breach

EquifaxImage copyright Reuters
Image caption The massive data breach is being investigated by US and UK data watchdogs

Data about British people “may potentially have been accessed” during the data breach at the US credit rating firm Equifax.

The UK arm of the organisation said files containing information on “fewer than 400,000” UK consumers was accessed in the breach.

Last week, Equifax revealed details of the hack and said data on more than 143 million Americans was taken.

The US Federal Trade Commission is investigating how the data was stolen.

Information released when details of the breach were disclosed suggest that hackers got at Equifax’s internal systems between mid-May and the end of July this year when the company discovered it had been penetrated.

Data on social security numbers, birth dates and addresses, was taken during the incident.

Equifax is now facing dozens of legal claims over the incident.

Protecting data

In a statement, the UK office of Equifax said an internal investigation had shown that data on UK consumers was accessed during the hack.

It said data on Britons was being held in the US due to a “process failure” which meant that a limited amount of information was stored in North America between 2011 and 2016.

The information held included names, dates of birth, email addresses and telephone numbers. No addresses, passwords or financial data was involved.

Equifax said that because the data on UK citizens was limited it was “unlikely” that those affected would suffer identity theft.

It said it would contact those affected and offer them free ID protection services that would alert them to any attempt to carry out fraud with their details.

“We apologise for this failure to protect UK consumer data,” said Patricio Remon, president at Equifax’s UK office, in the statement.

“Our immediate focus is to support those affected by this incident and to ensure we make all of the necessary improvements and investments to strengthen our security and processes going forward,” he added.

It said it was co-operating with the Financial Conduct Authority and the Information Commissioner’s Office on their investigations.

Equifax has set up a website – equifaxsecurity2017.com – to keep people up-to-date with what is happening and to provide advice.

FC Cologne fans bring West End to standstill ahead of Arsenal match

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Media captionThe Germans are playing Arsenal in the Europa League this evening

Thousands of German football fans brought parts of central London to a standstill ahead of their team’s Europa League match against Arsenal.

Some 20,000 FC Cologne supporters have come to London, and briefly brought the West End to a halt as they marched down Oxford Street.

It is the first time in 25 years Cologne has played in an international club competition.

Police said flares were let off but reported no ‘significant disorder’.

The Bundesliga estimated around 20,000 fans had travelled to the capital to support their team.

It added only 2,900 tickets had been allocated to the away fans for tonight’s match at the Emirates stadium in north London.

In a statement the Met Police said: “At around 15:00 BST on Thursday, 14 September a large group of football fans gathered in Oxford Street.

“The group was at the location for about 30 minutes whilst they boarded public transport to travel to a football match this evening.

“They did throw bottles and let off flares, but there was no significant disorder, police were on scene and there have been no arrests. The group has now left the area.”

Bestival defends drug policy after Louella Michie death

Louella MichieImage copyright Zoe Barling/PA Wire
Image caption Louella Michie, 25, was found dead in a wooded area on the edge of the festival site on Monday in the early hours

Bestival organisers have defended their drug policy at the event following the death of a 25-year-old woman.

Louella Michie’s father, Holby City actor John Michie, said his daughter appeared to have taken an “illegal substance” before her death.

Her body was found in woodland on the edge of the Lulworth site on Monday.

A festival spokeswoman said the event had a “zero tolerance” to the use of drugs, with searches and passive drugs dogs at all entrances.

Bestival, which is organised by DJ Rob da Bank and his wife Josie, said its team had worked closely with its security contractor and Dorset Police to “deliver a safe event” at the Lulworth Estate.

A statement said “amnesty bins” were available on the approaches to entrances for people to get rid of any drugs.

It said the search operation at the entrances was “well resourced”, and anyone who “failed” or refused to be searched was refused entry.

People found to have quantities of illegal drugs for supply were detained and handed over to police, the statement said.

The festival spokeswoman said the team was “devastated” by Miss Michie’s death.

Posting a thank you message on Instagram to festival-goers and the event’s staff, Rob da Bank said: “My thoughts remain with the family and friends of Louella.”

Image copyright Bestival
Image caption The four-day Bestival event was held in Dorset for the first time this year

In a statement about the policing of the event, Ch Insp Chris Weeks said the force and festival had worked closely together.

“Event security used a number of tactics to identify drug use, including sniffer dogs at entrance points,” he said.

“Police officers were also proactively patrolling the site throughout the whole event.”

The force said 88 crimes were reported during the event with 36 arrests made, 27 of which were drug-related.

Image caption Louella Michie’s father John Michie currently stars as Guy Self in Holby City

Following an inconclusive post-mortem examination, further tests are being carried out so see if there were any substances in Ms Michie’s system.

Police arrested her friend Ceon Broughton, 28, on suspicion of her murder and supplying a class A drug on Monday.

Mr Broughton, from London, was released under investigation on Tuesday.

Bestival was first held in 2004 at Robin Hill on the Isle of Wight, but the four-day annual event was held at Lulworth Estate for the first time this year.

Hurricane Irma: UK’s aid budget cannot be spent on overseas territories

Navy vessel in Caribbean bayImage copyright MOD
Image caption The army has been landing aid vehicles on Anguilla’s Sandy Bay Village beach

The UK‘s £13bn aid budget cannot be used to help the British overseas territories hit by Hurricane Irma, the BBC has learned.

Under international aid rules, Anguilla, Turks and Caicos and the British Virgin Islands are considered too wealthy to qualify for assistance.

Instead, the UK‘s emergency relief will have to be funded by various budgets from across government.

The government has pledged £57m so far to help with recovery efforts.

The Department for International Development denied that its response to the crisis had been affected by any budgetary considerations.

In a statement it said: “This is an unprecedented disaster. It is absolutely right that the UK responded immediately to the people affected.

“This has been our primary focus and continues to be our priority. We are looking at how the current overseas aid rules apply to disasters such as this one.”

‘Scanty resources’

There are very strict international rules about what officially counts as foreign aid.

These are agreed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, of which Britain is a member.

And these rules make clear that only the poorest countries can receive what is known as official development assistance or ODA.

The OECD confirmed that Anguilla, Turks and Caicos and the British Virgin Islands do not qualify for this official aid. Their national incomes are too high.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The Royal Marines have been helping to repair damage at the Princess Alexandra hospital in Anguilla

One well-placed minister told me this made it harder for the government to raise the funds needed – and he claimed five times as much money would have been available if the official pot of aid could have been used.

“These millions (announced by the government) are non-ODA,” he said. “Therefore they come from rather scanty resources.

“This great pot of ODA, necessary for development, needs to be spent on crises like this and we have to find a way of doing it.”

The Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson visited the British Virgin Islands and Anguilla and promised £25m more relief money – on top of the £32m already being spent in the region.

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Media captionBoris Johnson: “You can’t but be affected by the scale of the devastation”

The Department for International Development insisted that the fact that the territories were not eligible for official development assistance had not affected the UK’s emergency relief.

And officials categorically denied that five times as much money would have been available if ODA could have been used.

A DFID source said: “Claims that we could have provided five times as much money are absolute nonsense. These are British people on British territories and in times of crisis we stand by them.

“Absolutely nothing held us back in sending help. Our response was based on need alone.”

‘Emergency appeal not justified’

The problem for the future is that a lot more money is going to be needed to help the long-term reconstruction of the three territories and that will put a huge strain on government budgets if official aid cannot be used.

The MoD says it is funding its response from cross-government funds.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption In Haiti, many roads were blocked or damaged by the storm, hindering recovery operations

It has also emerged that the group of charities that form the Disasters Emergency Committee are refusing to launch an emergency appeal for the three British territories.

The committee said that the scale of the damage on the islands did not justify an appeal.

In a statement, the DEC said: “Many of the islands that have been affected are supported by wealthy nations such as the UK, France and the US, and those governments are providing the assistance needed.

“The DEC and its members have been closely monitoring poorer islands such as Haiti, but the current assessment is that the scale of the long-term damage to infrastructure and livelihoods is not at the level which justifies DEC members collectively appealing to the UK public for funds.”

Graham Taylor ‘warned of abuse’ at Aston Villa

Aston Villa team photoImage copyright Tony Brien
Image caption Aston Villa first team squad photo 1988-89, featuring manager Graham Taylor (bottom, centre) and Dave Richardson (next to him)

Ex-Aston Villa manager Graham Taylor was warned about the abuse of young players in the 1980s, the FA‘s inquiry into sexual abuse has been told.

One victim told the Victoria Derbyshire show he was advised to “sweep it under the carpet” and not tell the police.

A new document appears to show paedophile Ted Langford worked as a scout for Villa almost two years after staff were first warned about him.

A club spokesman said safeguarding was of “paramount importance”.

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Media caption‘They told me to sweep it under the carpet’

Langford, who is now dead, was convicted in 2007 of historical abuse against four boys, three of whom were linked to Aston Villa football club.

Tony Brien – who has waived his right to anonymity – revealed on the Victoria Derbyshire programme in January that he was abused numerous times by Langford while playing for a local youth team from the age of 12.

Aged 16, Mr Brien was signed for Leicester City by then youth team manager Dave Richardson, recommended by Langford, who was a part-time scout for the club.

Two years later, in the summer of 1987, Mr Richardson joined Aston Villa as assistant manager and Langford moved with him.

Later that season Mr Brien said he decided to call Mr Richardson to warn him about the scout’s behaviour.

Mr Brien, aged 18 or 19 at the time, claimed he had a number of conversations with Mr Richardson and later a single conversation with manager Graham Taylor, but was put off from going public with the allegations.

‘Burst into tears’

In oral evidence to the FA‘s independent inquiry into sexual abuse, he said: “They discouraged me from going forward and never offered me a chance to go to the police or anything like that.

“I went into the kitchen at my mum’s and my mum said, ‘Well?’ And I just said, ‘They just told me to sweep it underneath the carpet.’ And I burst into tears.”

In his interview with Victoria Derbyshire, Mr Brien added that Mr Taylor had said to him: “Look, you’re a young lad starting out in the game. I know you’ve just made your debut. Could you really be dealing with all the obscenities from the terraces? So I just suggest you sweep it under the carpet.”

Mr Brien played for Leicester City and number of other league clubs. He never played for Aston Villa. In December 2016 he first gave a police statement outlining allegations against Langford and the response of Aston Villa FC.

Graham Taylor died of a heart attack in January.

Dave Richardson told the Victoria Derbyshire programme in January that he could not recall having a conversation with Tony Brien and strongly denied he would have advised the player he should not go public.

Image caption Ted Langford was sentenced to three years in prison in 2007 for sexual abuse between 1976 and 1989.

“The bottom line is once he’d rung me, [I would have said] ‘We’re dealing with it, it will be dealt with in such a way whereby you don’t have to worry’,” he said at the time.

“I wouldn’t brush it under the carpet.”

The BBC now understands a second victim of abuse, who wishes to remain anonymous, has come forward saying he made similar complaints about Langford in the late 1980s.

His lawyer said he was visited at his house by someone he now believes to be Graham Taylor, and another unidentified man, who he says both deterred him from taking the matter any further.

“They should have done more to protect children in their care,” said Dino Nocivelli from solicitors Bolt Burdon Kemp. “My clients have been let down and other children have been abused due to the lack of action from Villa staff.”

Scout sacked

Mr Richardson said in a statement issued in January through his lawyers that he was first made aware of “alarming allegations” against Langford shortly after he joined Aston Villa in the summer of 1987.

He said he spoke to Graham Taylor and chairman Doug Ellis and an internal investigation took place.

“I took these extremely seriously and began making inquiries. These led me to speak to the parents of two young footballers at Aston Villa who each told me their sons had been abused by Ted Langford,” he said.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption This letter given to the Victoria Derbyshire programme suggests that Langford was still acting as the club’s official representative until at least March 1989.

Mr Richardson said the parents involved did not want the matter reported to the police but, after consulting with Mr Taylor and Mr Ellis, Langford was sacked by the club.

He said earlier this year that he acted “rapidly” to deal with the situation.

“As soon as we got more information, as soon as I knew, we brought him in and we got him out of the way,” he said.

But the programme has now seen a document that shows Langford was still acting as the club’s official representative until at least March 1989, almost two years after Mr Richardson said he was first made aware of the allegations.

When asked to respond to the latest information obtained by the programme, Mr Richardson said he did not consider it appropriate to comment while the FA independent inquiry was continuing. He said he would co-operate with the inquiry if he was asked to do so.

It is not clear what happened to Langford after he was sacked by Aston Villa although it is thought he continued to work in junior football in the Birmingham area.

In 2007, the scout was convicted of a range of sexual offences against boys that took place between 1976 and 1989. He died in 2012 after his release from prison.

A spokesman for Aston Villa said: “Aston Villa would encourage anyone with any allegation or concern regarding safeguarding or other potential wrongdoing to contact the relevant authorities.

“Allegations relating to Ted Langford and involving the club are subject to ongoing legal proceedings and it is therefore not appropriate for the club to comment further on this matter.”

Former chairman Doug Ellis, now 93, could not be reached for comment.

Watch the Victoria Derbyshire programme on weekdays between 09:00 and 11:00 on BBC Two and the BBC News channel.