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Welcome to South East Today, I'm Polly Evans.
A huge jump in the number of people smuggling operations disrupted -
as MPs discuss issues uncovered by this programme.
A vicious attack left Alfie Peak severely disabled -
His partner Tanya talks about their remarkable relationship.
Life has been really, really hard. Emotionally, really draining and
really difficult. The inspirational teacher whose son
has made a documentary on his battle License to sell - gadgets designed
for real life British spies are set And the Sussex folk star
who couldn t sing for 30 years is recognised for her huge
influence with a national award. BBC South East Today can exclusively
reveal that there's been a significant spike in the number
of people smuggling operations The 32% jump was revealed
at a special meeting called which discovered smugglers in Paris
putting people on lorries transporting produce
for the supermarket chain Lidl Here's our Special Correspondent,
Colin Campbell. It was an investigation revealing
how Paris had become a hub for TRANSLATION: They will fit
you in a way that even the We exposed a gang offering
us guaranteed passage to England in the back of trucks,
transporting produce for the Our findings prompted
two Kent MPs to demand a private meeting
with Government ministers. What the BBC did was
absolutely fantastic. That was the sort
of evidence I think They can't be everywhere
at all times. Top marks to the BBC
for what they did. Let us hope that that is
another route into the country, big smuggling operations,
worth ?5,000 per person, big. show an increase in the targeting of
smuggling gangs by the authorities. In 2015, 140 smuggling
operations were disrupted. Last year, that figure
went up to 185. We understand the Home Office
expects the figure for this While some consider
positive news, others believe their fight against
smuggling gangs is being hindered. We will argue they are not
succeeding in combating illegal We're having some success,
but the sad reality is we are increased attendance
of getting across the borders. As we showed last autumn,
the demolition of Calais' migrants can has resulted
in gangs targeting UK bound vehicles The Home Office say
they are working closely with their French counterparts to break
up the smuggling operations. Carling, your investigation has been
dropped -- brought up at a Government level. Will there be a
change in border protection? The French police are actively
investigating this gang which we infiltrated. They are now the focus
of a French and British joint investigation. Ongoing. Cooperation
between the French and British authorities is essential to crack
down on this kind of organised criminal gang network which crosses
borders, as we discovered. The Home Office says that is what is
happening, good cooperation with the French authorities. The union you
had fun in my reports say they are concerned. 15% cut which they are
worried to have a significant impact on the border force's ability to
fight crime. An MP said he was encouraged, but is concerned about
the reef forming of camps in France. -- reef treble.
Four years ago, Alfie Peak was beaten almost to death
in Bexhill after an argument over a bag of chips.
The four men who kicked and punched him unconscious
were jailed last october for a total of 55 years.
Despite suffering life-changing injuries,
which have left him only able to communicate though a keypad,
Alfie and his partner Tanya have now had a baby -
Nine months ago, their little boy, Marley, was born.
Jon Hunt has more on their remarkable story.
Father and son. Alfie and eight-month-old Marley.
Bringing joy to a family after so much sadness and tragedy.
He is really giving us something to look forward to.
And a future, really, which is something we kind
Our future had gone, it has been taken.
That is exactly how Alfie described it to people before,
that he felt his life was over with, really.
Alfie Peak suffered a catastrophic b injury after being set
upon outside a takeaway in Bexhill in 2013.
Four men were jailed for the attack in October
which left Alfie unable to walk or talk.
Alfie was unconscious on the floor, and he was continued to be beaten
Tanya White has stood by Alfie throughout his long rehabilitation.
He is trying to learn to walk again, the signals from his brain
It has put pressure on the couple, and Tanya admits that there have
been times where she has wondered if she could stick with it.
Everything is really difficult for him.
That has spilled out onto all of his family and friends.
Emotionally, really draining and really difficult.
I know you feel because you cannot do all those other things that it
But one day you will realise that you are an amazing dad.
The couple say the attackers took everything from them.
But their bubbly new baby boy is making life worth living again.
Well, Jon Hunt joins from Bexhill where the family home is.
Jon - Alfie is clearly on a journey of rehabilitation -
He is determined to walk again. He has yet to take any steps on his
own. He is being helped out physiotherapists using a walking
frame. He was present at the birth of his son and would like to have
two my children in addition to the two that he already has. -- two more
children. In terms of the attacker, the couple say they feel nothing but
hatred and anger towards them. Alfie is upset by the length of their
sentences. He says he is suffering a life sentence and sees no reason why
they shouldn't either. In a moment, the Sussex man
who survived breast cancer - urging other men to look
for the telltale signs he missed. When English teacher
Paul Norman started to have difficulty moving normally,
he was at first diagnosed Tragically, he was actually
suffering from a rarer and even more devastating condition -
Multiple systems Atrophy - which gradually shut down
all his body's physical systems. His son Will, a student
at Sussex University, has released a documentary
about his father's last months - including the moment he went back
to his old school to deliver What do you think of alcohol? It is
good. You have tried it? Yes, sir. You don't have to call me serve.
This, says will Norman, was typical of his father's teaching style,
funny, unorthodox, inspiring. He was channelling Kilroy or Jerry Springer
offers he like to get the to think differently. Slowly, and at a was
ravaging his body. -- Multiple systems Atrophy. His son wanted to
get his father 's thoughts while he still could.
We'll organised -- Multiple systems Atrophy organised him to go back to
his old school. People think because the body doesn't function properly
that the brain doesn't operate as well. I feel like Steven Hawking,
except I have a better voice. People have said, oh, hi, I was taught by
your dad. They said they didn't like school but your dad made it worth
it. He shaped the two who I am. He was a great English teacher. I love
English so much and I think it is because of your teaching and the way
that you inspired me. Paul Norman loved making this film, says his
son. For city-mac, it is a reminder, if he needed one, of his exceptional
father. -- for Will. Rescuers searching for a kayaker
missing in Scotland since Dominic Jackson, who spent most
of his life in Sussex, was reported missing
on Sunday night. He'd failed to return from a sea
kayaking trip in Portsoy, A kayak believed to belong to him
was recovered earlier this week. Scottish Police said a body
was recovered from the water The bosses of a carehome
in Herne Bay have pleaded guilty to health and safety failings that
led to the death of Joan Daws was a senior carer
at the Laleham Residential Home when she suffered fatal crush
injuries after a large chair tipped The case has been sent to Canterbury
Crown Court for sentencing. Brighton has spent nearly half
a million pounds on a set of a 100 new high tech bins -
which keep rubbish completely The council says the new solar
powered bins can hold eight times more rubbish -
because they compact it down - and they contain special sensors
which email the refuse team to let Our environment correspondent
Yvette Austin has this report. Stealing a chip.
It is what seagulls do. Our seafront restaurants and cafes
are a prime destinations for But they are not
welcomed by everyone. Rodney Posner, who runs
the Meeting Place cafe in Brighton has been shooing
them away for years. You have to be firm
with these birds. If they come up to you,
you need to be firm and shoo them The birds learn very
quickly, this is I will hang around,
jump on the table. And when it gets too much
to bear, people are calling John Butler, an expert
in bird control. We've put up wires and a system
to keep the seagulls away because they have
been taking the food because they have been
taking the food off people's tables whilst
they They might go on the lamp
post, on the statues, on People are talking about a cull,
but it won't happen. There is a suggestion
that the council's new Costing ?500,000 for
100, they alert to the Most importantly, they close
completely, meaning the seagulls You have to shut the
lid, which is great. I can't see a seagull
getting in there. We have open ones on my
road that seem to be I don't like them because it is not
nice catching the bin because it is I don't like them because it is not
nice touching the bin because it is But I suppose if it stops seagulls
going in there and it For many, the birds
are peoples friends. And so food will always
be found in the city. This was discussed in parliament.
joins us from Brighton. This was discussed in parliament.
Will it help? David's -- David Cameron's Government committed money
for a cull Baty did happen. Herring gulls are on an endangered list.
Their numbers have declined by half since 19 69. Many people love them.
There will be no quick fix. Kent County Council has agreed
to increase council tax by 4%, that will add around an extra
45 pounds a year The extra revenue will help
fund adult social care. Councillors have also agreed
measures to save the council millions of pounds after Government
funding cuts. A pedestrian's died after being hit
by a car on the A27 The driver of the car,
a 58-year-old man from Climping, has been arrested on suspicion
of causing death Despite treatment by paramedics,
the 59-year-old victim The road was closed
for much of the morning, Four years ago, Roy Collins
from Bexhill was diagnosed It's incredibly rare for men -
only 350 cases a year are recorded - After chemotherapy and
a mastectomy, Roy has now been But he's urging other men to check
themselves regularly. He only discovered the problem
when his wife realised What you can see is all that
remains, a nice, neat scar. Roy had to have a large
tumour removed. He was diagnosed with
breast cancer after his wife, a nurse, noticed
something wasn't quite right. I was climbing out of
the shower one day and Theresa noticed there
was something wrong with my right nipple,
it was a little bit inverted
and she asked me what was wrong with it and I said,
I don't know, it's probably
just COLD or some such. Roy went to his Dr Who
referred him to the I'm being told it's a six
centimetre lump, needs to be removed along with
the rest of the breast. It's also gone to the lymph nodes,
so they'll have to come And I said to her, look, whatever,
whatever you need to do, if it's radiotherapy,
chemotherapy, drugs, whatever, crack on and do it,
you are the experts, just get rid of Roy says he just did not know men
could get breast cancer, and Certainly there are a lot of men
who are not read that breast cancer can affect them,
and that's probably because the disease is a lot
more common in women. Over 50,000 women are
diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the UK and for men
that figure is 350. Roy has now been
given the all clear. His message to others
who find changes in their The number of people smuggling
operations disrupted jumped by a third last year -
the spike was revealed at a meeting between MPs and the Government,
prompted by our investigation into smugglers putting
people on lorries in Paris Winger Tom Varndell is poised
to break the Premiership's all-time She's one of folk music's most
revered song collectors and vocalists, but for more than 30
years she was famous Shirley Collins from Lewes last
recorded new music nearly forty years ago by which point her voice
was, she claimed, But now she's been nominated for two
prestigious music awards, The 81-year-old singer's work has
influenced the likes of Billy Bragg And is now in line to win Radio 2's
Folk Singer of the Year. # Is labouring boy #.
With her strong singing style and story telling, Shirley Collins... I
was so shocked that I lost my voice. I could not sing the songs I was
required to do. It was relating. -- humiliating. A Hastings girl, she
was at the core of the folkrock seen in the 19 cities. There are so many
songs connected to Sussex that's not a a lot of people know about. It is
the most beautiful music. Now 81, 58 years since her last performance,
she is back with a new album. # I met an old man #.
The reason behind her return, possibly coaxing by her fans. She
has a fire you don't see with many people. It is wonderful to behold.
Her enthusiasm for talking about the music, relaying the stories around
the music, it has was been there. It is back that she is -- it is good
she is back performing. The award ceremony live on BBC Radio 2 is on
April the bed. How would an 81-year-old celebrate her when? I
wouldn't hardly's. If I lose, I will be gracious.
A rare collection of original hidden weapons and secret gadgets
designed for British spies, and troops caught behind enemy lines
the kind of things that inspired Ian Fleming
when he created James Bond, are being auctioned
They date from the Second World War onwards and include a fountain pen
concealing a dagger spike, and a watch that doubled
Robin Gibson has been to take a look.
They look like props for a vintage James Bond movie.
Oddball gear designed by white coated boffins who spent
their days thinking up as our weapons and secret gadgets to break
their agents on the ground and of one tight spot or another.
To the naked eye, this looks like an ordinary fountain pen.
When it unscrews, it reveals quite a sinister dagger.
This would have been used by an agent, if need be,
to fight his way out of a corner or to eliminate an enemy sentry.
This watch concealed a microphone to record conversations.
A garrotte made of jagged wire conveys its horrific use.
They all dates back to the Second World War, and were
issued to agents and commandos dropped behind enemy lines.
The items range from the gruesome to the
Here is a uniform badge which unscrews to
reveal a compass, useful for an escaping RAF pilot.
A key, the end unscrews to leave a compartment useful for a
They are keeping it to keep the history and
Edward Toms, who is now 96 and lives in lives in hive, was attached
to both the SAS and special operations executive during World
We all have buttons that could be used as compasses.
The SOE laboratory was in the natural
The SOE laboratory was in the Natural
And it was where all these gadgets would be
Murderous weapons may not be everyone's cup of tea, not least
that the auction takes place on Valentine's Day.
But the collection is expected to go for thousands of
As Wales and England prepare to go head-to head
But one Kent-born player will be concentraing firmly
Winger Tom Varndell is poised to break the Premiership's
Varndell was born in Ashford in 1986 and started to play rugby
He has actually played for four times for England
But one more try will see him pass Mark Cueto's record of 90 -
and become a rugby legend in his own right.
His side Bristol face Harlequins tomorrow night,
There are not many who can keep up with Tom Varndell.
One of the fastest rugby players around.
You usually have to wait for the replay
With Leicester, Wasps and Bristol, he has turned
So many, one more try this season will take the
On the wing, on the end of most of the
moves, and any player least -- wants to leave their mark on the game.
If I can do that with my try scoring then it would be fantastic.
The Ashford born winger has played 12
seasons in English rugby's highest level.
He has run in 90 tries, a figure that putting puts him level
with Mark Cueto, the master try scorer from sales charts in England.
A man who knows the miles that goes into every finish.
All was one of the fastest guys in the premiership.
From an athletic point of view, there isn't anyone
I think he is creeping into his 30s now, so to still keep in the
shape that he is in is doing really well.
But there is a difference between the two men.
Mark Cueto played 55 times his country, the Kent
born speedster just for
COMMENTATOR: Dream debut for Tom Varndell at 20.
England represent a Varndell rarity - a chance missed.
I would have loved to have more opportunity.
I would love to have had a bit more of a shot, I think.
What I like about the England setup at the
moment is they are giving young boys a chance.
If you play out wide, there is no time for looking back.
As he prepares to go full throttle into
his next record, against Harlequins on Friday, but Varndell's career has
taken him from Kent, Leicester, London and Bristol, a career that
There is a major house fire in Saint Leonards on West Hill Road. The Fire
Service cannot confirm whether there was more than one person at the
property. The police and six Fire crews are there on the scene. Road
closures in place. Now, we will check the weather. You
mentioned snow and they are. I wouldn't get the toboggans out
quite yet. But when Terry mist to come. Certainly over the next couple
of days. Today was cold and clothing. We have a drizzle coming
out of the cloud. The sun has set and it is falling as flurries. Over
the next 36 hours, the risk of wintry weather. The winds are
slightly changing direction through Saturday. A north-easterly. From the
North Sea, increasing the risk of potentially seeing some of the white
stuff. As we head into the weekend. Let's see what is going on overnight
tonight. Some showers coming through here and there. Not too much in the
way of settling snow. Other higher ground, a dusting perhaps,
temperatures in our towns staying ever so slightly above freezing.
Another cold, cloudy and grey day. Maybe I slowly at times.
Temperatures once more will struggle, like today. Not much above
two or three degrees. Here is the good stuff. If you like something
wintry, overnight into Saturday we will see showers pulsing to worse
as. Where they do fall, especially over higher growth, you can... Lower
levels, really just a dusting of snow to start your Saturday. Through
the day on Saturday, still the risk of showers. The temperatures have
started to come up a bit on Saturday. It will be still be a cold
day because it will be rather windy. But we will lose the risk of snow.
Back later, goodbye. 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