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Tag Archives: UK

Model Chloe Ayling kidnap case a publicity stunt, court told

Lukasz Herba and brother Michael HerbaImage copyright Italian Police
Image caption Lukasz Herba, left, and his brother Michal are suspects in the alleged kidnap

Lawyers for the brother of the alleged captor of British model Chloe Ayling say the entire case could be a “sham”, invented as a “publicity stunt”.

Michal Konrad Herba, 36, is accused of conspiring with his brother Lukasz Herba, who is in custody in Italy, to abduct 20-year-old Ms Ayling.

His lawyer told the extradition hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court that the case had a “set of anomalies”. Mr Herba has denied involvement.

The court is set to rule on Friday.

Prosecutor Florence Iveson said Mr Herba has been requested by the court of Milan in relation to a single offence of kidnapping arising from events between 11 and 17 July.

“The allegation is that Mr Herba acted in complicity with his brother, Lukasz Herba, and other unidentified persons to kidnap the victim in Milan,” she said.

“It is said she was drugged and kidnapped and a 300,000 euros (£270,000) ransom was demanded.”

Michal Herba has been in custody since his arrest in the Tividale area of Sandwell, West Midlands, in August.

‘Tabloid press release’

Ms Ayling has said she was drugged and bundled into the boot of a car after being tricked into attending a bogus photo shoot in Milan on 11 July.

But Michal Herba’s lawyer, George Hepburne Scott, said: “There is a real risk that the entire case is a sham.”

Referring to “open source material”, Mr Scott said: “The same complainant, it seems, generated publicity from the fact she was near the scene of a terrorist attack at the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

“Prior to the release of the complainant, the kidnapper apparently issued a press release to a tabloid newspaper setting out that this lady was being held for auction.”

He told the court of an alleged incident during which Ms Ayling and her captor went shopping for shoes and called it a “wholly anomalous feature of a hostage situation”.

She also went to breakfast with the kidnapper before her release when they found the British consulate was closed, Mr Scott added.

“This case has a unique set of anomalies which might lead to the conclusion that the Italian authorities have been duped and that their process has been abused,” Mr Scott told the district judge.

Michael Herba’s lawyers argued that any extradition could breach his right to a family life under the Human Rights Act, as he has a heavily pregnant girlfriend in the UK.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Speaking after the alleged abduction, Ms Ayling said she feared for her life

Mr Scott also said there was a lack of “particularity” in the allegations, which refer to a “strong body of evidence”, including DNA samples, statements from the victim, and telephone wire taps.

District Judge Paul Goldspring said much of the material relied on by Mr Scott came from press reports, which he said did not prove any of the theories in the case.

Ms Ayling, from Coulsdon, south London, says she travelled to Milan on 10 July for a photo shoot.

Italian police say she was attacked by two men, drugged with ketamine and abducted, apparently to be sold in an online auction.

She is believed to have been transported in a bag to an isolated village near Turin, but was released on 17 July.

Speaking after the alleged abduction, Ms Ayling said she feared for her life throughout the “terrifying experience”.

“I’m incredibly grateful to the Italian and UK authorities for all they have done to secure my safe release,” she said.

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Dark web drug supermarket duo from Huddersfield jailed

Ross Brennan and Aarron GledhillImage copyright North Yorkshire Police
Image caption Ross Brennan and Aarron Gledhill were jailed by a judge at York Crown Court

Two university friends who bought and sold the deadly drug fentanyl via the dark web have been jailed.

Ross Brennan, 28, and Aarron Gledhill, 30, made hundreds of thousands of pounds mixing and selling the high-strength painkiller and other drugs.

At least 70 people have died in the UK in the last nine months after taking fentanyl, often when mixed with heroin.

Brennan and Gledhill, both from Huddersfield, pleaded guilty to drug and money laundering offences.

Brennan was jailed for 13 years and eight months while Gledhill was sentenced to three years and nine months by Judge Andrew Stubbs, at York Crown Court.

More stories from across Yorkshire

Image copyright North Yorkshire Police
Image caption The two men ran a “sophisticated online drug dealing business” from Brennan’s flat in York
Image copyright North Yorkshire Police
Image caption North Yorkshire Police uncovered the drugs operation after making a routine welfare check

North Yorkshire Police uncovered the operation when a neighbour raised concerns for the welfare of Brennan, who has autism.

Det Supt Steve Thomas said: “What we found was a production laboratory for synthetic drugs and more traditional drugs.

“[We also found] computer equipment that over the weeks and months revealed a sophisticated drug dealing business operating on the dark web under the guise of a business called ‘Savage Henry’.”

Image copyright North Yorkshire Police
Image caption Brennan and Gledhill sold drugs via the dark web site AlphaBay

Brennan and Gledhill made up to £1,000 a day operating the illegal online supermarket for two years on a site called AlphaBay.

The duo bought, mixed and sold the drugs, including fentanyl crystal meth and cocaine, using a copy of Chemistry for Dummies before posting them on to people across the UK.

The force said it could only estimate the number of transactions that took place as they used data-shredding software, but the site had received more than 4,000 reviews.

Their operation was said to be worth between £275,000 and as £1.5m, depending on the fluctuating value of the virtual currency Bitcoin they traded in.


Image caption Fentanyl is considered to be 50 times more potent than heroin

What is fentanyl?

Fentanyl – which hit the headlines after it was linked to the death of US singer Prince – is an extremely strong painkiller, prescribed for severe chronic pain, or breakthrough pain which does not respond to regular painkillers.

It is an opioid painkiller, which means it works by mimicking the body‘s natural painkillers, endorphins, that block pain messages to the brain.

According to America’s Drug Enforcement Agency, it is considered to be 50 times more potent than heroin.

The risk of harm is higher if the wrong dose or strength is used.

Typical symptoms of a fentanyl overdose include slow and difficult breathing, nausea and vomiting, dizziness and increased blood pressure.


Det Supt Thomas said: “These are two individuals who clearly didn’t give any consideration to the welfare of their customers. They were only interested in the profit.

“These are people who had downloaded a ‘Chemistry for Dummies’ guide and then sent out potentially dangerous substances, that on any occasion could have resulted in a serious impact on someone’s health or even death.”

Image caption Det Supt Steve Thomas said Brennan and Gledhill showed no concern for the people they supplied

He said Brennan would exaggerate his autism and present himself as someone who “struggled to cope with normal life and society” but was really a “sophisticated criminal who was trying to pull the wool over a number of agencies’ eyes”.

Officers had discovered encrypted messages from Brennan in which he “pretended to be more ill than he was”.

“They also knew that what they were selling was potentially dangerous, that’s the thing that really put a chill through the investigation team.

“They knew that they were harming people and yet they continued to sell. They put money and profit above the welfare of their customers.”

Four people who bought drugs from Brennan and Gledhill have died, though police said they cannot prove if their deaths were directly linked to the Savage Henry website.

Brennan, of Great Northern Street, and Gledhill, of Almondbury Bank, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import class A drugs, conspiracy to sell class A drugs and concealing criminal property.

Brennan also admitted three charges of making indecent images and one of distributing indecent images. He has been put on the sex offenders register for 10 years.

Is your Bradford postcode in car crash scam UK top 30?

FIVE postcode areas of Bradford are among the UK’s top 30 ‘crash for cash’ hotspots in the county, according to a study.

The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) has ranked the top 30 postcode districts for fraudulent scams.

‘Crash for cash’ scams are where a fraudster, or group of fraudsters, stages an accident by deliberately causing a collision on the road, solely for the purpose of financial gain. The IFB’s rankings also include incidents where fraudsters have damaged their own vehicle, often with a sledge-hammer or blunt object, to make it appear as if it has been involved in an accident.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The UK's top 30 postcode areas for crash for cash' scams have been revealed. Picture: Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB)

The BD8 postcode, featuring Manningham, Girlington, White Abbey, Four Lane Ends, Whetley, Westbourne Green, West Park, Lower Grange, Rhodesway, Crossley Hall, Fairweather Green, Belle Vue, and BD9, including Frizinghall, Heaton, Daisy Hill, Haworth Road Estate, Chellow Heights and Chellow Grange, were ranked joint fourth.

Meanwhile BD3, including Barkerend, Bradford Moor, Thornbury, Eastbrook, Pollard Park, parts of Laisterdyke, Undercliffe, Wapping, finished in seventh place.

The BD7 postcode, which includes Great Horton, Lidget Green, Scholemoor, Horton Bank Top, Horton Grange, was 12th in the list, while BD5, which covers Bankfoot, Little Horton, West Bowling, Canterbury, Marshfields, Ripleyville, was ranked 21st.

These criminals often target innocent road users to profit from fraudulent insurance claims, putting motorist’s lives at risk.

Fraudulent motor claims submitted following the accident can also result in false personal injury and credit hire claims.

Such scams are estimated to cost the industry £336 million each year, with a single collision potentially worth tens of thousands of pounds.

Birmingham has the highest level of representation on the IFB’s map, with ten postcode districts featuring, including the top three postcodes.

Councillor Shabir Hussain (Lab, Manningham, which is in the BD8 postcode) said it was unfair that the crash for cash scams have seen innocent driver’s insurance premiums rise.

He said: “These are unbelievable figures.

“No wonder people have huge insurance premiums in our area.

“It’s very shocking and innocent people are having to pay more.”

Cllr Mohammed Amran (Lab, Heaton, within the BD9 postcode) said it has been a problem highlighted to him by residents at a number of ward councillor surgeries.

He said: “We are working closely with then police to stop these scams in our area.

“The high insurance premium figures because of these scams are killing people.

“It’s really unfair for good drivers to be affected by it.

“It has been raised to us a number of times by members of the public.

“These scams are causing us all havoc.”

Jason Potter, head of investigations at IFB, said “Bradford has five postcodes that feature in our top 30 postcode district hotspots data, three of which are in the top ten, indicating that there have been a higher number of crash for cash incidents in these areas.

“However, crash for cash is a nationwide problem that cannot be ignored.

“Last year, this type of fraud cost £336m, which is not an insignificant amount, and shows there is still a lot of work to be done.”

The IFB says it is working closely with police and insurers to clamp down on these criminals and ultimately taking them off the roads and putting them behind bars.

Uber using aggressive tactics, says Sadiq Khan

London Mayor, Sadiq KhanImage copyright Stefan Rousseau
Image caption London Mayor Sadiq Khan chairs Transport for London

London Mayor Sadiq Khan says Uber has put “unfair pressure” on Transport for London (TfL), with an “army” of PR experts and lawyers.

The mayor says Uber has made “aggressive” threats about taking TfL to court.

On Friday, TfL denied it a new licence to operate in London, citing concerns over public safety and security.

However, Uber says it has followed TfL rules and works closely with the Metropolitan Police.

In a tweet on Sunday, Uber said it would challenge the TfL decision “in the courts to defend the livelihoods of drivers and the consumer choice of millions of Londoners who use Uber”.

What does the Uber ban mean?

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who is also chairman of TfL, defended the organisation: “What you can’t do is have a situation where unfair pressure is brought on a quasi-judicial body, where there are officials working incredibly hard.

“I appreciate Uber has an army of PR experts, I appreciate Uber has an army of lawyers – they’ve also made aggressive threats about taking us to court.”

While Mr Khan chairs the TfL board, according to the organisation, he was not involved in the process of deciding whether to issue Uber with a licence.

That is handled by TfL’s taxi and private hire department.

Uber is keen to hold talks with officials from that department “as soon as possible”, Fred Jones, a senior executive with Uber in the UK, told the Today Programme.

Image copyright Getty Images

Mr Jones said that Uber was “not clear” about the issues raised by TfL when it denied the company a licence.

One of the points raised by TfL was Uber’s “approach to how Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks are obtained”.

That part of the process was not even handled by Uber, said Mr Jones. Instead, the drivers organised their own DBS check and took that paperwork to TfL.

TfL then reviews that application before giving the driver a licence allowing them to drive for Uber.

TfL would not elaborate further on its issue with the way in which Uber organises DBS checks, because that would be likely to come up when Uber appealed against the decision.

It would only repeat that it was Uber’s “approach” to DBS checks that was the problem.

More than 730,000 people have signed an online petition in a bid to keep Uber operating in London after its licence expires on 30 September.

Aldi reports record sales but profits drop amid price war

Woman shopping at AldiImage copyright Getty Images

Aldi has reported record sales in the UK and Ireland for last year but its profits have fallen sharply amid a fierce price war among supermarkets.

The German discounter said sales rose 13.5% to £8.7bn in 2016, but operating profit dropped 17%.

The chain blamed the fall on its “continued investment in prices and infrastructure”.

Aldi chief executive Matthew Barnes said its strategy was to offer “the lowest prices in Britain”.

“We’re doing everything we can to insulate customers from those cost increases, making sure our prices are the lowest in the UK, every day of the year,” he said.

Aldi, which currently has 726 stores in the UK, said it planned to open a further 70 this year and would invest a further £459m.

The German chain currently has a 6.9% share of the market, according to the latest industry figures from Kantar Worldpanel.

This figure makes it the fifth-biggest supermarket in the UK after Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons.


Analysis: Emma Simpson, BBC business correspondent

Aldi only has around 1,700 products, compared to the 20-30,000 items you find in a typical big supermarket.

And 94% of these are private label. Not being beholden to big brands enables it to buy products more cheaply – passing on the savings to customers while still making decent margins.

Opponents vent against Aldi’s own label products where the packaging looks incredibly similar to the big household brands, and supermarkets have complained about its advertising tactics. But that hasn’t put off shoppers.

Boss Matthew Barnes is adamant that Aldi will always be cheaper.

That’s one reason why its profits fell for the second year in a row.


Diabulimia

Just over a year ago Lesley and Neal Davison received a phone call telling them their daughter was about to be sectioned.

She’d tried to kill herself.

For years Megan had been keeping a secret. She had an eating disorder. But she hid it so well, nobody in her family ever realised.

On 4 August, aged 27, she hanged herself and left a six-page suicide note.

Megan had diabulimia.

The term refers to the combined impact of type 1 diabetes with an eating disorder.

The condition is not yet medically recognised.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSLjM6cZaTo

“She left us a very detailed note and she felt there was no hope for her, that there was nothing in place to help people with her condition,” her mum Lesley tells Newsbeat.

“In the absence of the help she needed, she couldn’t see any way of carrying on.”

Type 1 diabetes is an irreversible autoimmune disease which requires constant care.

Megan Davison suicide note

Every time a patient eats carbohydrates they must also inject insulin.

They must check their blood sugar levels frequently. People with type 1 diabetes need insulin to stay alive.

Diabulimia refers to diabetic people who deliberately take too little insulin in order to lose weight.

Doing this can be incredibly dangerous.

Megan Davison

Image caption “That’s Megan,” says her mum Lesley. “That’s how I’ll remember her”

“The one thing that not taking your insulin does, is you lose weight – you have an ideal tool,” explains Lesley.

She says that “Megan sometimes looked a bit thin but there was never anything that would indicate anything extreme”.

Experts say there are potentially thousands like Megan who are seemingly living a “normal” life but hiding their illness.

The leading type 1 diabetes charity JDRF estimates 60,000 15 to 30-year-olds are living with T1 in the UK.

Lesley and Neal Davison

Image caption Lesley, Megan’s mum, says “she hid a great deal from us, we had no idea she was not taking her insulin”

Professor Khalida Ismail is lead psychiatrist for diabetes at King’s Health Partners, London.

She runs the only outpatient clinic in the UK specifically for people with diabulimia.

“You can look quite well and have a normal body size,” she tells Newsbeat.

“And yet because you’re restricting insulin, you are running very high blood sugars and you are increasing your risk of diabetes complications.”

She explains that this can include damage to the eyes, kidneys and nerve endings.

After Megan’s death her family found there was an “inner circle” who knew more about her illness, including three friends and her boyfriend of six years.

“Like the loyal boyfriend, I was sworn to secrecy,” Andy tells Newsbeat.

Megan Davison and boyfriend Andy

Image caption In her suicide note Megan asked Andy to become an “honorary Davison”

Megan and Olivia Davison

Image caption Olivia Davison says her older sister was, “immense, because she was just Megan”

In her note Megan talks of her treatment in an eating disorder inpatient unit.

She describes managing her own insulin because “not one member of staff on the ward was even trained to administer insulin let alone understand it”.

“They gave me back my insulin because they couldn’t figure out the doses.

“It’s the equivalent of giving an alcoholic vodka or giving a bulimic a bottle of laxatives.”

Megan Davison

Image caption This picture appeared on Megan’s funeral order of service – she loved elephants

Her parents want Megan’s story to be known to help other families.

“The information they’re getting is just wrong for them,” says Lesley.

“It might be the best that’s available for the moment but it isn’t anywhere near good enough.”

She adds that Megan “needed something that was specific” to the condition and “not a sort of ad hoc of pieces that didn’t really do the job”.

DWED (Diabetics With Eating Disorders) campaigns for the omission of insulin for weight loss to be recognised as a mental illness.

Founder Jacqueline Allan says diabulimia is still not viewed in the right way.

“The second you stop taking your insulin you’re in the same amount of danger, regardless of your weight.”

Prof Khalida Ismail

Prof Ismail agrees and says psychiatrists need to “wake up” to diabulimia.

“The condition is very hidden,” she says. “Diabetes teams don’t know how to talk to patients about it.

“Eating disorder teams only see the extreme cases.”

She wants diabulimia to be recognised formally.

“Once psychiatrists start talking about it, debating it, awareness will grow.”

Megan’s dad Neal says they knew so little they would have been in “no-man’s land” without the letter.

“I honestly don’t know how we would have coped with it.”

“She didn’t want us upset,” adds Lesley. “Ad yet you end up devastated because nobody has been able to help her.”

Tim Kendall, NHS England’s national clinical director for mental health, tells Newsbeat that “people are waking up to it”.

“I was involved in producing the NICE guidelines on eating disorders and we devoted a whole section on how you manage people who’ve got diabetes and an eating disorder.

“We’re now disseminating that around the country.

“NHS England is integrating psychological services with physical health, including placing 3,000 new mental health therapists in GP practices.

“We have been asleep, no doubt, but we are waking up.”

For more information on diabulimia you can look at these information and support pages.

Find us on Instagram at BBCNewsbeat and follow us on Snapchat, search for bbc_newsbeat

Brexit: Fresh round of negotiations to take place

EU and UK flagsImage copyright PA

Brexit Secretary David Davis will lead the UK team of negotiators into their fourth round of talks with EU officials in Brussels on Monday.

It will be the first opportunity for the European delegation to respond to Theresa May’s speech in Florence.

Mrs May aimed to restore momentum to a process that was stalling.

Key figures such as EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier described her tone as constructive, which should improve the atmosphere of the talks.

But EU negotiators will be expecting more detail on, for example, what payments the UK is prepared to make as it departs.

Next month, EU leaders are due to decide on so-called separation issues – including the rights of citizens, the Irish border and the “divorce bill” or financial settlement – to allow talks to move on to the future of the bilateral trade relationship, as the UK would like.

For the moment, the odds seem to be against that test being passed at the first opportunity, said BBC Europe correspondent Kevin Connolly.

Budget black hole

In her speech on Friday, Mrs May offered to continue paying into the EU for a two-year transition after the UK leaves in 2019 to ensure the bloc is not left with a budget black hole.

The prime minister sought to reassure member states that they would not lose out financially during the current EU budget period, which runs to 2020.

She also confirmed there would be no restrictions on EU citizens coming to the UK during the transition period, but after Brexit they would be registered as they arrived.

Mr Davis has insisted that Mrs May’s speech was not influenced by a 4,000-word article by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, in the run-up to the event, setting out his own vision for Brexit.

The speech “had been coming for a long time”, he said.

Meanwhile, the UK and Scottish governments are due to hold a fresh round of talks on Brexit in London.

Scotland‘s Deputy First Minister John Swinney and Brexit minister Mike Russell will meet First Secretary of State Damian Green to discuss concerns about the EU Withdrawal Bill.

And Mrs May holds talks in Downing Street with Irish premier Leo Varadkar, in her first meeting with an EU leader since the Florence speech.

X-rays of rare Degas sculptures reveal artist’s secrets

Degas x raysImage copyright Fitzwilliam Museum
Image caption X-rays reveal how artist Edgar Degas built his wax sculptures

Scientists have used X-ray images to show that the artist Edgar Degas used everyday objects, such as bits of wine corks, to bulk out his wax sculptures.

Only three of the artist’s rare beeswax creations – depicting dancers – are held in the UK.

Conservation scientists at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge have analysed the sculptures ahead of an exhibition of Degas’s work.

The unorthodox method was discovered when the fragile pieces were X-rayed.

Edgar Degas died on 27 September 1917, at the age of 83.

The artist was famous for his oils on canvas and prints and identified particularly with the subject of dance. One of his most notable artworks is the bronze ‘Little Dancer of Fourteen Years‘, which is held in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Image copyright Fitzwilliam Museum
Image caption Degas’s wax sculpture ‘Dancer Bowing’

The trio of dancers in Cambridge – ‘Dancer Bowing’, ‘Dancer with a Tambourine’ and ‘Arabesque over Right Leg, Left Arm in Front’ – are rarely put on public display because of their fragility.

All are modelled in beeswax and are impressed with Degas’s fingerprints.

A spokesperson for the Fitzwilliam Museum said: “The use of ordinary shop-bought armatures, wine bottle cork and old floorboards – confirm Degas to have been a highly unorthodox sculptor who used unconventional working practices, in terms of materials and technique, which resulted in the frequent loss of his wax sculpture.”

Image copyright Fitzwilliam Museum
Image caption ‘Arabesque over Right Leg’ by Edgar Degas

The works were among 75 pieces discovered in Degas’s studio in Paris after his death 100 years ago. The majority are now held in the National Gallery of Art, in Washington, USA.

Many were cast in bronze after his death but a number of original, experimental wax sculptures still exist.

It’s believed Degas “bulked out” a wire frame within each piece by adding lightweight domestic objects he had lying around his studio.

Wine bottle corks were used as fillers in the head, chest and abdomen cavity of the ‘Dancer with a Tambourine’, experts revealed.

Image copyright Fitzwilliam Museum
Image caption ‘Dancer with Tambourine’ by Edgar Degas

Victoria Avery, keeper of applied arts at the Fitzwilliam Museum said: “Degas defied tradition as well as contemporary practice to resist having his sculpture cast in bronze.

“It is therefore deeply ironic that Degas’s fragile and deliberately ephemeral, one-of-a-kind sculptures are now best known from their durable bronze serial casts, displayed in public and private collections across the globe.”

Degas: A Passion for Perfection, opens at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge on 3 October.

Birmingham tops ‘crash for cash’ postcodes hotspots

A car crashImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption “Crash for cash” occurs when a road accident is caused by a fraudster

Birmingham has topped the UK’s “crash for cash” postcode league – the second time in a year the city has featured in a table of hotspots for the crime.

“Crash for cash” scams are run by fraudsters who manufacture collisions with other road users, hoping to profit from insurance claims.

In the table, compiled by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), Birmingham had 10 of the top 30 postcodes for the crime.

Manchester, Bradford, London and Oldham also featured on the list.

‘Nationwide problem’

In total, Birmingham has 10 postcodes on the list. Washwood Heath, Aston and Small Heath were the three worst postcodes for the crime in the UK.

In Bradford, Frizinghall and Manningham came joint fourth for the numbers of fraudulent claims, while in Manchester the M8 postcode, which includes Cheetham Hill, was ranked sixth.

A survey carried out by insurance company Aviva in 2016 said 25% of its 3,000 crash for cash claims last year were in Birmingham.

“We don’t know the exact reason Birmingham features so heavily in these surveys,” said Ben Fletcher, the director of the IFB, a not-for-profit organisation set up to detect fraud.

“Obviously, this is a nationwide problem and we have investigations that range from Kent to the North East, but large urban areas tend to be the focal points for these kind of crimes.”

The data applies to the past 12 months. In total, there were 55,573 personal injury claims linked to scams in the UK, the IFB said, costing the insurance industry a total of £340m a year.


Image caption The number of induced accidents is stabilising, the IFB says

Tell-tale signs that you’ve been in a “crash for cash” scam:

  • The other driver seems suspiciously calm
  • They have already written down their insurance details before the accident happened
  • Any injuries appear to be completely at odds with the force of the impact
  • If you think you have been targeted, note as much information as you can, take photographs and call the police to report your suspicions

‘Catastrophic’

RAF engineer Richard Turner, from Cosford in Shropshire, was caught up in a cash for crash scam.

In October 2014 he was driving over a traffic island on the A41, following a black BMW and an older car.

The BMW suddenly changed lanes, then the other car slammed on the brakes, forcing Mr Turner to crash lightly into the back of it.

His suspicions were raised when the male occupants of the vehicle exited clutching their necks.

Image copyright Kate Turner
Image caption Richard Turner was penalised by his insurance company after being the victim of the scam

As he exchanged details, Mr Turner tried to ring the other driver’s number – only to discover it did not work.

He also noticed the driver seemed uncomfortable with him taking photographs of the damage and calling the police to report the crash.

Mr Turner drove home but returned to the island a short time later when he noticed the same cars repeating the same trick three times.

He filmed them, rang the police and posted the incident on social media.

One man who contacted him on Facebook said the scammers had forced a crash with his wife, who was heavily pregnant at the time.

“This is not a victimless crime,” said Mr Turner. “Although I told the men I knew it was a scam when they tried to settle the claim, I still had to pay around £400 a year extra to my insurance company in case they did try to force a claim.

“And in the case of the pregnant driver, a crash could have been catastrophic.”


The top 10 crash for cash locations in 2017:

Birmingham

Bradford

Manchester

London

Oldham

Liverpool

Bolton

Sheffield

Liverpool

Wakefield

Source: The not-for-profit organisation Insurance Fraud Bureau


Newspaper headlines: Brexit battle and Germany election

Image caption The row in the Tory party rumbles on in the Daily Telegraph, which says allies of Chancellor Philip Hammond have accused Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson of being “simple-minded” over Brexit and warned that the transition period may need to be extended until after the next election.
Image caption The Metro says Theresa May has a fight on her hands to stay in Number 10, with up to 50 Conservative MPs said to want her out. “The prime minister is struggling to keep a lid on Brexit tensions after failing to heal divisions within her cabinet over the manner of the UK‘s departure from the EU,” it says.
Image caption The i reports that Brexit Secretary David Davis is ready to mount a leadership bid if Mrs May is forced from office. The paper describes how the prime minister is fighting for her future after the cabinet’s EU truce unravelled.
Image caption The Daily Express says fears of “a new Franco-German plot to sabotage Brexit”h and keep the UK tied to Brussels have emerged. The paper reports that a fresh plan by French President Emmanuel Macron to offer the UK a flexible new membership deal is expected to win the backing of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Image caption The Guardian focuses on the election in Germany, saying that Angela Merkel secured her fourth term as chancellor but with her authority diminished after her conservative bloc failed to halt the march of far right-wing populists.
Image caption On the same story, the Times says the far-right “stormed” into the German parliament for the first time in 50 years as it capitalised on fears about the influx of migrants under Mrs Merkel. “More than five million voters ignored appeals from Mrs Merkel and other mainstream leaders not to back the Alternative for Germany (AfD),” it reports.
Image caption The Financial Times says Mrs Merkel is heading for her fourth term as German chancellor after winning the election, despite a sharp fall in support for her conservative Christian Democrat-led alliance.
Image caption The Daily Mail says patients trying to see a GP are being screened by receptionists in a controversial scheme designed to cut the number of appointments. According to the paper, the scheme was devised to reduce “avoidable” appointments but campaigners say it is “absolutely ridiculous”.
Image caption The Sun says a holidaymaker got home from France – and found an Ethiopian illegal immigrant hiding in the boot of his van. He had apparently been driven all the way from Calais to Wales.
Image caption The Daily Star leads on the decision by Fifa to allow the England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland football teams to wear poppies. The four associations were fined when they did so last year.
Image caption The Daily Mirror also has a poppy story, saying that Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen has complained that he cannot buy wreaths on expenses. The Mirror says he complained: “There are huge costs which can’t be claimed.”

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