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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. so it's goodbye from me.
The headlines tonight: One of the biggest cold calling
The advertising company who conned people out of thousands of pounds.
The brutal, honest and awful truth is that Best cost them at their
home. They were in debt aged 80 on a pension.
Also tonight: An unbearable sight and stench of animal waste -
complaints from local businesses near an abattoir.
The Worcestershire woman who lost half her body weight in a year -
I have gone from having no confidence to having quite a bit of
confidence. To going out, enjoying life... Forget Bollywood, I'm in
West Bromwich for the UK premiere of a Punjabi film shot in Birmingham
and the Black Country. And if you think it's been
cold today, temperatures are going to drop even further
as we head towards the weekend, It has become the biggest
cold-calling scam A multi-million pound fraud
which started with a phone call selling advertising space
and resulted in people being conned The final sentences
were handed down today. Kiera Byrne from Coventry was given
a 23-month suspended jail sentence The fraud was uncovered by BBC
Inside Out six years ago. That led to a huge operation
by Trading Standards teams, unpicking the true extent
of the fraud and the families who'd For years, Jonathan Rivers
masqueraded as a legitimate businessman, employing 250 people
at twelve different offices. His company, Wyvern Media,
cold-called customers offering them advertising space
in local newspapers. What happened to my parents is
astonishing. Seven years on, it still keeps me awake at night. This
man was one of hundreds conned by rivers who used his businesses to
rip people off. Among them Jon Moyle
from Shropshire, who back in 2010 When Wyvern Media spotted he wanted
to rent out an apartment they cold-called him relentlessly,
pressuring him into Over a two-year period they took
over thirty thousand pounds. They just persist of the whole time.
I just wanted to get rid of it because I had so much else on my
mind. In reality, the adverts Wyvern Media
pressured customers into buying Most were in free newspapers
with tiny circulations. This is the rest of the property
that we seized from Derby. The five year investigation by Trading
Standards, led by Steve Wyatt became the biggest in their history. They
pick the elaborate web of companies that Jonathan Rivers used to conceal
his fraudulent activities. When you will be complicated, but we didn't
have any idea just how big this was going to get.
But justice came too late for victim Jon Moyle, who died.
The brutal, honest, awful truth is that this cost them their house.
They were in debt, aged 80, on a pension. My mother was ever so brave
and she put the house on the market for my dad, but within about a month
of that happening, February 2011, my mother died.
And Jonathan Rivers is currently serving a six-year sentence.
The manager of the investigations team at Nottinghamshire County
Council Trading Standards is James Delaney.
I spoke to him a little earlier about the work involved in bringing
This was the largest investigation that the Trading Standards team has
been involved in. It focused on a group of companies called the Wyvern
Media Group that sold advertising and published it. It involved a
network of up to 90 companies that produced 230 plus publications.
What were the challenges you faced investigating this scam?
Absolutely. They set of the business itself, how it was organised, it was
an industrial scale fraud. And the challenges that were identifying how
far this company actually reached. Won so huge distress to the victims?
Yes. The victims in that case, unfortunately, are no longer with us
today, but I have no doubt in my mind that the stress that was caused
to them through those actions will have impacted on their final years.
Scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated, what can people do
I would ask anybody to be extremely wary about any business who cold
calls them, especially if they try and pressurise them into making a
decision or a sale there and then. I would always advise people to do
their own research. So don't make decisions on the spot. On the
sentencing, a suspended sentence of 23 months. What is your reaction? In
terms of the sentences that were given out today, I would say we were
disappointed that they did not get custodial. However, this was part of
a much wider investigation. We have had 12 convictions now and over 15
and a half years worth of custodial sentences handed down as part of the
overall operation, so as a whole, we are extremely pleased with the
result. If you have a similar story or have
been the victim of a scam, do get in touch. You can contact us in the
usual ways. That's the plea from businesses
near an abattoir in Birmingham, who say the sight and stench
of animal waste is unbearable. Midlands Today has been shown images
of what appears to be blood outside It previously traded as Mr Meats,
but lost its licence following an investigation
by the Food Standards Agency in October 2015,
following years of complaints. The abattoir now has
a new license to operate. You may find some of the images in
Ben Godfrey's report distressing. These images appear to show
animal blood in the yard of AJ Meats in Digbeth,
an abbatoir supplying halal meat. We're told they were
taken this morning. When we arrived trade
was continuing, from the roadside there were no visible
signs of waste. But surrounding firms
have had enough. It is so bad, the smell is pungent
and stronger we all suffer around it. All the businesses are generally
suffering. We to the problems last time they would sort it out and
there will be more stringent rules in place that would stop them
starting up again. 2015, when piles of sheep
carcasses and offal appeared in the same yard, discarded
and exposed to the elements. At that time, it was run
by different company, known as Mr Meats, who were eventually
shut down by the food watchdog. So what did the new
owners have to say? We have tried on several occasions
to get an answer from the company, but as you can see, nobody is
responding. A short time later,
we were approached by a worker. He told us they were a clean
operation but added that occasionally there may be some
spillage of waste while Tonight, the Food Standards Agency
told us following complaints they have stationed an official
there this week to work They add, "In October 2016
conditional approval was granted "The FSA will continue
to monitor their compliance "with the relevant
requirements of food law." Local businessman Peter Hughes says
the authorities must be tougher. The new owners have barely been
operating to months. When the temperature increases what
is the smell going to be like then? Won they would say this is an
abattoir, there will be some smelly, inevitably? That is fine and we
understand the kind of animal smells that you would expect of an
abattoir. The real issues here are the poor controls.
Whether they like it or not, all eyes are on them.
An entire lorry-load of old fridges and freezers have been dumped
The 21 appliances were pushed off the back of a truck
The lorry was caught on CCTV but had no number plates.
The fridges have since been disposed of.
Walsall Council say it's the latest in a catalogue
of flytipping problems, which cost the taxpayers four hundred
We want them to prosper, to look good.
Nobody, at the end of the day, wants to turn down a road and see
such a dangerous site of fly-tipping without a care for any of the
The funeral of a teenager who died after a long
running battle with cancer, was held at the Coventry
15-year-old Rosie Abbott was diagnosed in 2012,
but embarked on a series of fundraising events raising more
Two years ago she won the Radio One Teenage Hero award.
Hundreds paid tribute at her funeral, including friends
Whatever's happening to her, she would just get on with it.
Everyone would just feel so happy around her.
You could be having a very bad day and
she would come down as she would just smile
She was the most incredible person ever.
Really inspirational and just really kind.
Police have released footage of a Walsall shopkeeper
The man seen here attempted to raid Kobani Stores
on West Bromwich Street using a hand gun just before midnight
Police have praised the owner of the shop who sprayed mace
in the face of the robber, who then ran off.
Officers are asking anyone who recognises
The headteacher of a school in Birmingham has written
to parents, warning them not to allow their children out
It follows an attack on a group of Year Ten pupils on Friday night,
in which a teenager was wounded with a knife.
A local shopkeeper and a cyclist were also attacked by
Our reporter Nicola Beckford is at Colmers School in Rednal now.
There was an extraordinary series of attacks last Friday in South
Birmingham and as you say, it happened at around nine o'clock, the
first attack. The shopkeeper was attacked. He was attacked outside a
shop by a mob of youths. Up to 20 of them attacked him. But he was
determined to defend his shop. It is not the first time this has happened
and he was not going to take this. So he went out to try and fight them
off, but he was set upon with hammers. They beat him to the
ground, he did not want us to show that moment. Then, a cyclist was
attacked at Macdonald is on the Bristol Road just outside. And it
finally culminated with a group of boys from Colmers School being
attacked, one was stabbed. What have the school had to say? I spoke to
the head teacher today and they are in deep shock. They say they are
recovering, but they are indeed in deep shock. He sent a letter to
parents and carers and in it, you said that until the size, identity
and group of the known, I asked you to bring your children from being
out in public after dark. In other words come he does not think it is a
good idea for children and his pupils to be all sides night
unaccompanied. I also spoke to some local people to get their reaction
about this and this is what they said.
And especially in the supermarket car park.
There, after ten at night, you will see nothing but
So where is the safety for the public around here?
There's been a lot of trouble since that college down there was built.
You get gangs and kids coming from the
But after 13 or 14, if there's two or three,
Mr Doherty, the headteacher, said these were nice boys, not boys
looking for trouble. The police said they have arrested five people for
robbery and assault and the boy and the shopkeeper are both recovering.
Thank you. Bed blocking continues to be
a problem for six health trusts in our region,
which have recorded their highest ever number of days lost to delays
in discharging patients. The incidents happen when patients
no longer need to be in hospital, but other suitable care
isn't in place. Areas affected include
the Wye Valley, But in Dudley, health services
are being radically re-organised so more patients can be kept
out of hospital. They are trying to create a ?3.5bn
ten-year contract to bring health Here's our Health Correspondent,
Michele Paduano. My hips hurt, my back hurt and I was
in terrible pain. And that was it. I was just feeling very down.
Barry Rose is one of the 2% most in need of long-term care in Dudley.
He has diabetes and severe arthritis, but isolation was also
He's one of 30 cases being discussed at this team meeting.
The last solution was to get him to a breakfast club
With the breakfast club, I can now talk to the people who I find all a
lot worse than I was. It makes me feel better. And it is the best
thing I've ever done. Simple interventions like this can
keep poorly patients out What we've seen so far is like a 30%
reduction in GP visit since the projects began. It saves probably
around ?2000 estimated based on 38 clients.
It might seem obvious to get everyone who delivers care together.
But traditionally, it doesn't happen.
The social worker works for the council.
This nurse for a mental health trust.
This man has the task of creating one ?350m
They want us to work across the organisation and within the NHS, to
work better together and provide them in much better coordinate care.
We would use the team and terminal without Walls, enabling our staff to
work effectively with each other. But there are consequences,
particularly for hospitals. These are big changes. At least ?30
million and rumour has it up to ?50 million of funding that goes to the
hospital will now go to this new organisation. And then there are
fears its privatisation, the private company taking over the whole
contract. The NHS here thinks it's
the right way to go, bringing care closer
to those who need it. A whistle-blower has claimed that
staff at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch were pressured
into admitting patients to a "virtual ward" to avoid
breaching the government's But the Worcestershire Acute
Hospitals Trust says while it's found cases of "poor recording"
by staff, there is no evidence staff were trying
to defraud the system. Thanks for joining us
on Midlands Today, we'll have your detailed weather
forecast to come shortly. Also in tonight's programme: Rolling
out the red carpet for the premiere of a film made in the Midlands
with local talent. And the mystery of the animal graves
next to a small Shropshire Church - A woman from Worcestershire's lost
half her body weight and is now free from diabetes,
after having a gastric We filmed Michelle Clayton last
February, as she prepared She told us she was doing it so she
could see her daughter grow up. I don't feel like I'm missing out
on anything, which is half the Michelle Clayton's unrecognisable
from when we filmed her a year ago. I have three or four
Slim Fasts a day. This was the mum from
Pershore preparing for her It's just a whole
life-changing scenario really. Gone from having no confidence
to quite a bit of confidence, Here you go, this is my typical
lunch, on a side plate. And that is enough
for me to fill me up. And there's no going back
to big meals, but this sacrifice means she'll get
to see her daughter grow up. She even told me I am
quite a trendy mum now. She's come back to the
Worcestershire Royal Michelle's weight loss means she no
longer has type-two diabetes. Looking at the results,
you've done really well. She's now no longer having
any treatment for her diabetes and that is a major,
major benefit for her and her future And with soaring costs
for treating diabetes, the NHS is increasing its spending
on operations like these. In this region, we are seeing
progress in more funding for this type of and it is being
recognised that these patients can benefit hugely from this
kind of treatment. For Michelle, it's time to get out
of the baggy jumpers The red carpet premiere
of a new film shot and made across Birmingham and the Black Country
is taking place in My Beloved Non-Resident
Indian is a comedy about a young man coming
from the subcontinent to the Midlands for the first time
to impress his girlfriend's mother. He soon realises the streets aren't
necessarily paved with gold. It was written and directed
by a film-maker from Shirley, and recruited around 150
local actors and crew Our reporter Amy Cole
is in West Bromwich for us now. From tonight's UK premiere
here in West Bromwich, to the film being jam-packed
with landmarks and popular sites Apologies for the loss of sound
that. Archaeologists have been racing
against time at a dig next Experts have discovered evidence
of a much larger church But they have been up
against the clock, because a wedding is due
to take place this weekend In amongst a big housing development
in Shrewsbury, there's a tiny 12th And in front of it,
archaeologists called in as part of planning conditions
who have uncovered foundation showing the church
was once much bigger. Surrounding another 17 metres
from the original church They found an ancient
animal burial ground. What we have here is a double
animal burial, which is incredibly unusual in itself and
complete with a prehistoric flints tool at the base, we have a calf
buried with a pig. This is a very large dog that
appears to have died in childbirth and is
buried with six chickens. I've never heard of
anything like it before. So this could mean these
predate the church, so they were here well before
this was consecrated ground, or there is some
other bizarre explanation. Well, there are builders
working, there's archaeologists digging,
it is chaos here! But in the church, it's
like entering a completely different Services continue as normal
amid the busyness outdoors. What do worshippers think
of the discoveries? We are absolutely
amazed and thrilled and think perhaps now our church
will be on the map. People will actually
know we are here. I grew up around here,
so it is lovely to know that this site is much richer
than we ever thought And the priest now knows his church
once had a bigger presence. Everybody has thought
this is a tiny little church and even refer
to it as a shed, totally inconsequential
and on the edge of Shrewsbury, and yet, obviously, once, it was much
bigger and much more important. The animal and some
human remains will eventually be reburied in a funeral
service and the ground will be made into a car park, but with special
building material which will be And the Archaelogical team have been
in touch with us today to say that at the end of today's dig,
they uncovered a wooden doorpost which they believe could be the key
to proving that an Anglo Saxon It'll now be sent off
for dating and analysis. Let 's receiving can return to the
film premiere. It is great that this film features some landmarks on
popular sites from Birmingham and the Black Country. Let 's talk to
the producer now. It is very showcased in the film. What did you
go to Birmingham? I've lived here the last 26 years, I am from
Wolverhampton. Basically, all the other film-makers go for London and
they underestimate the Black Country. There is so much to
explore. That is why we decided to shoot in Birmingham. Of course, it
has its world premiere and is being shown worldwide. Do you think it
will attract other Indian -based directors to maybe think about
coming to the West Midlands to shoot here rather than go to London?
Definitely. We were talking yesterday to other directors and
they are planning to shoot in Birmingham. They have already
scripted the films and they are already planning to shoot here in
Birmingham. That is great news. And also joined by this actor, who will
you will probably recognise from Goodness Gracious Me! What is it
like being in this form? You play the father of the main character's
girlfriend. I was involved from day one. He turned up with this piece of
work with the script and we looked at it and the audience he was
looking to make it four, by setting it in Birmingham... And yet the
other 50% is out in India! It has been a real joy working with the
crew that has come from India, working in Birmingham and I am so
happy that as a location, that this film has been made here. Lets hope
for big audiences both the and in India.
Yes, there have been reports. But there is the potential of this
weekend to see some snow falling somewhere. It is very cold out
there. This is a scene repeated right away across the West Midlands
Today. We had slate grey skies everywhere. It has been very cold
and temperatures only got a tee-macro Celsius in some places and
we are already in minus figures in places. This weekend, it will stay
increasingly chilly. It will be very cold. Temperatures staying around
zero. We have plenty of cloud to, and we could start to see some
wintry showers. Tonight, we still have that is delete feed drinking
game that much colder air. It is starting to establish itself and
will be a chilly night. As we see those winds blowing game, that cold
air Contin used and eye on the map because it is a very cold night. We
are starting to see the cloud squeeze out the odd shower as that
means the colder air. It is likely to fall as sleet, possibly snow. It
probably won't cause too much trouble. Temperatures of minus one.
A little better in the centre of the region. There is an ice risks
tomorrow morning, so take care. We continue to see wintry showers
through the day and it will be a cloudy day, with temperatures not
doing well at all. They should get to about 2-3 C at best, but the wind
will be stronger tomorrow, so it's will feel colder. Tomorrow night,
cold. Starting to see a little more in the way of wintry flurries as we
head over night and again, temperatures dip to minus one.
Saturday, more organised showers blowing from the east and there is
the potential they could cause snow accumulations at low levels.
Goodbye, I will be by later. OK, everyone, have you got
your bamboo sticks? If you just paint
what you want to paint, I've turned around,
my painting washes away. ..and take on
The Big Painting Challenge. Remember, you're not painting