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Hello and welcome to Inside Out, here's what's coming up tonight:
The aggressive sales tactics by a newspaper group that left small
businesses thousands of pounds out of pocket.
You almost feel violated don't you? You know. You feel - can you trust
anybody after this? You certainly can't trust yourself.
The battle over badgers, lovable but the farmer's worset nightmare.
Other forms of wildlife certainly could carry BTB, but badgers are
the one that seem to be blamed. I'm am definitely in favour of the
cull if it would deal with the TB in the area and in the UK.
The Duchess of Bedford is now opening the first all-woman flying
meeting. And we celebrate the pioneering
women who first took to the skies here in the South.
I was never stopped doing anything because I was female but I've
always been looked after. I'm John Cuthill and this is Inside
First tonight, advertising in a local newspaper might seem a cheap
and easy way to sell something or promote a business but we've
discovered one publisher with some pretty pushy tactics when it comes
to putting ads in its papers and it's cost some of you thousands.
Paul Swaffield from Weymouth owns race horses and he's often placed
ads in newspapers to sell them. But when he was approached out of the
blue by a newspaper group it triggered a series of events that
left him thousands of pounds out of pocket.
They say we have distribution in your area. It'll boost your sales
We've got 15,000 of these papers in your area.
How did you get involved with them? Did they find you or did you find
them? They found me. There's various
methods I've learnt that they use. You advertise in your local paper,
they see the advert, they ring you up and say, "We have a new paper
out with wide distribution, it'll really boost your business," la-la-
la and you give them a go I suppose and that's what happened to me.
Then another newspaper rang me up and another and another and there
all the same people really, undera different guise.
So instead of bringing in customers, things ground to a halt. Paul
discovered he was paying for additional adverts and the payments
were mounting up. I wasn't looking at my credit card.
It comes a month later or whatever. I got a new secretary and she says,
"What is all this?" We stopped the cards, notified the bank.
What are we talking about then? �7,000. Just over �7,000 off three
or four different credit cards. And why I showed them three or four
different credit cards? I would be bombarded: That one doesn't work...
There's a deadline... "Well, yeah, all right" you know? I did stop
them all. A little bit late you might say.
But it was much more than advertising that Paul received. He
was even given an unexpected award by the newspaper group.
They even made me businessman of the year, sent me an award. Well,
how the hell that would ever happen? I was the only one in it I
should think! I don't know. I have rung up other people who have whole
page articles in their name and similar to myself along the bottom
it says sponsored by EP Swaffield and this is a big company and
they'd never even heard of them and yet they had two pages of their
information. I felt a fool. I felt a fool because it had been going on
for four or five months. But time goes on and there was a lot going
on. Well, you almost feel violated don't you? And you feel - can you
trust anybody after this, you know. You certainly can't trust yourself.
You think your judgement is just... How could this happen to you?
Paul's testimony indicates he was duped by Wyvern Media, sometimes
known as Journal Group Production Company Limited, which claims to
own 28 different newspapers. The company told us that while Mr
Swaffield will have received many calls offering adverts it was
unlikely that all of them would have been from Wyvern Media. They
added that advertising is very hit and miss and they give no
guarantees of response. Paul isn't the only customer
getting harangued by Wyvern Media's call centre. 80-year-old John lets
out a house in France and agreed to advertise. But the calls kept on
coming in. Oh, constantly. Six, seven, eight
calls per day from each of the different publications. It was a
very difficult time for me because my wife was very ill and I found it
difficult to deal with these people that were keeping phoning all the
time and I just wanted to get them off my back.
John was bombarded with calls from other newspapers like the Central
Advertiser and the North Thames Press. Eventually he contacted
police. When I arrived at the address. I
could see that John was clearly distressed. He'd got his head in
his hands all the time I was talking to him. Over about half-an-
hour there were nine calls. They were coming from different
companies so we stopped the two numbers so they couldn't get
through on the landline so they were then phoning on a mobile for
three different numbers. Very persistent.
But the Police couldn't help John because it was a civil matter.
Things got so bad that in four consecutive days the Derby based
group took up to six payments each and every day, totalling more than
�10,000. I felt it a huge tragedy that because of some flimsy bits of
paper and someone's need to get a commission, they lost a home that
they'd lived in and loved for 50 years. My mother died in February
and I think she died broken hearted. So what does the company have to
say about John's case? Well, in a letter Wyvern Media told us staff
have no way of knowing if their customers are frail or vulnerable
and that John freely signed all the orders he placed. They say that if
the company becomes aware of unethical or harassing conduct they
take appropriate action to ensure it doesn't re-occur.
Caroline Lumsden and her husband share their time between the UK and
France where they run a business renting out holiday cottages. They
have an annual budget of �500 set aside to advertise them. I was away
for ten days and my husband rang me and said that a newspaper had rung
him and they said they implied that it was something to do with a
France show and he got the feeling that it was something quite big and
really worth it. He said, "Shall we spend half our budget on this?" And
I said, "Yeah, if you think it's good, go ahead." He said, "Well,
they sound really nice and plausible," and all the rest of it,
so we took out an advert for �250. Then someone would call from a
different office and paper but Caroline's husband assumed it was
the same one, checking up. They would email and say, "Please
confirm" and he would think it was the same advert so agree without
reading it, after all he hadn't asked for any more advertising.
The phone would go up to 20 times a day followed by e-mail followed by
faxes saying, please confirm because we've got a deadline. In
the end he had no idea which paper he was talking to, who it was cos
they'd only say their first name and he just didn't know where he
was and he thought in his own mind that they were the four original
people and he was just confirming and confirming and confirming.
By the time I arrived back we had had, from eight newspapers, 21
adverts and the money taken from our account.
But because Caroline's husband couldn't remember placing the ads,
concerns set in over his mental health.
I've never seen my husband in a state like that. He's always been
quite a forceful jolly sort of intellectual character and to
suddenly have people just hounding him like that and he just said, "It
must be me, I think I'm going ga- ga." He said, "I think there's
something going on here." Until I realised the scale of the
hounding, until I'd been home for a few days, I actually rang up our
doctor in Gloucester and came back over here to have a test for
Alzheimer's. He came over, we had the test and I think I did worse
than he did and he was absolutely fine. They said, nothing - just
natural old age, memory is a little bit... But you're absolutely fine.
But it was the way he'd been hounded and he's just a different
person now. He doesn't like to answer the phone so much in case
it's these people and he gets caught out again and he's just lost
a bit of confidence I would say. I need to see if anyone else can
back up what our disgruntled advertisers have told us. Student
Ryan Brailsford only managed three days with the Greater London
Chronicle, one of the titles owned by Wyvern Media.
On my first day one of the members of staff in the office actually
said to the room at large, "This is the biggest legal scam out there
today," and at that point I just sat there thinking to myself, this
is quite serious. But in just three unpaid days Ryan
didn't have a lot of experience, so we found another ex employee happy
to talk about unauthorised payments. Her words are spoken by a
researcher to conceal her identity. Well, calls started coming in from
customers we knew our office had sold to and they were claiming that
payments had been taken out of their bank accounts without
authorisation. Basically we all kept our heads down and we didn't
dare say anything. We knew we could be out of a job at any time.
Wyvern Media says it has never been the organisation's practice to take
unauthorised payments from customers. It adds the company now
records all sales calls and that complaints have dropped to three or
four a month out of thousands. Paul Swaffield persisted with his
complaint but the whole experience has left him regretting the day he
agreed to advertise. Eventually I got �900 but it's only
the tip of the ocean with the stress it's caused and then you
have you know arguments with the bank about the legitimacy of it all.
It's just horrendous. It really gets to you. I certainly have never
had a reply from an advert. And don't forget, if you think you
have a story for me, drop me an email. Address coming up at the end
of the show. Next, as an outbreak of TB in cattle gets ever closer,
is Sussex really the best place to test out a cull of badgers? And
irony of ironies, it's not a black Badgers have a special place in
many people's hearts. They are not as harmless as people might think.
They carry a disease that attacks cattle, bovine tuberculosis. It can
cause chronic wasting, debilitation and death. In fact more than 25,000
cattle are slaughtered each year because of it. The disease can be
passed to humans through animals but cases are rare. Over the past
25 years has been spreading. So far Sussex only has a few pockets of
infection compared to places like the South-West. But at this farm in
Oxfordshire, John has been getting a taste of what farmers in the
South-East are likely to face in the future.
He has had to slaughter 127 of his herd after a TB outbreak on his
Producing milk is seven days a week, 365 days a year, and to have it
stopped for the best part of 12 months is devastating.
Government says badger culling could be the answer, to stop the
disease spreading. It is looking for areas to try it out. Roger
Waters runs a cattle market in Hailsham and he wants action before
the problem gets worse. I am definitely in favour of a cull if
it is going to deal with the TB in the area and in the United Kingdom.
Scientist Timothy Roper from Sussex University has been studying
badgers since the '80s. They are part of the cattle TB problem, no
question about that. We know that from the culling trial that
happened a few years ago, when the badgers were culled, the rate of TB
in cattle went down. A culling trial took place six years ago in
Britain, an experiment where badgers were killed to look at how
BTB spreads. But the animals involved started behaving in an
unpredictable way, moving around and affecting results. The overall
rate of TB did indeed go down, but just outside the culling areas, it
went up. Therefore, the findings were open to interpretation. Now
people are saying East Sussex is an ideal place to do another study, to
find out more about the phenomenon that surprised everyone. It was
called the perturbation effect. Badgers are territorial and
normally stick to their own areas, but when disturbed by the cull,
they spread into neighbouring zones, and the number of infected cattle
in those areas went up. Because badgers are social animals, they
live in a fairly close link to the community and defend their own
territory. Once they start getting culled, that is disrupted. You do
not have as many badgers to maintain the borders, so other
badgers start coming in. Then you can get the disease being spread
between the badgers. The Government is concerned about badgers
wandering, so it is looking for places to cull where badgers will
find it difficult to spread out. That is why some say this area in
East Sussex, between Eastbourne and Brighton, could be the ideal place
for a cull. Hemmed in by a railway line, a river and the A27, it is
not impossible for badgers to cross, but it is more difficult. There are
physical boundaries available. We have, obviously, the sea to the
south and the river Ouse, and the A27 and the Eastbourne to Brighton
railway. And the area ticks another important box. It has a high
incidence of bovine TB. That is why cows here have to be tested every
year. If they have been exposed to TB, they will get lumps on their
skin and they will have to be killed. Roger Waters says another
reason why East Sussex would be a good place is the infected area is
small, making it easier to perform a trial. We are a small area here.
So we could have a cull and see if it is effective. But it is not just
a case of geography. To make a cull work, it would need the agreement
of the majority of landowners, which is why farmer Stephen Carr
has his doubts. I think they require something like 75 or 80
percent of the land area within the cull area to be committed to the
project. And that could be very difficult, where you have public
bodies like water companies or the National Trust, or other areas
where they might be subject to people not wanting the cull to
But could there be another way of dealing with the problem? We have
come to this farm in Buckinghamshire, just as it is
starting to get light, to find out. The Badger Trust says vaccination
is the answer. Injections are being mixed up as part of a pilot study.
And after a walk into nearby woodland, it is not long until we
see a rather bleary-eyed looking badger. With the permission of a
local farmer, volunteers here have been trapping badgers and injecting
them with a vaccine to protect them against getting TB. Simon Boulter
is one of the volunteers. He says a study will help the trust see
whether vaccination is viable. can stop badgers getting TB. The
main job is actually reducing the severity of an infection, it
catches them right before they become too infectious, so you are
reducing badger-to-badger transmission of bovine TB. It will
take time for badgers to build up resistance to the disease and not
everyone is convinced it will work. Not all badgers are trappable, some
are just too shy. So it seems to me that if the vaccination is going to
be rolled out on a large scale, then we will have to have an oral
form of vaccine, something that can be put out in bait for badgers to
The Government says it won't consider vaccination without a cull,
because there is not enough evidence it will work. Weanwhile,
the Badger Trust says alternatives must be explored properly and
badgers are being unfairly blamed for spreading the disease. Other
forms of wildlife can certainly carry BTB - deer, rats and quite a
lot of other mammals. But badgers are the one that seem to be being
blamed. Back in East Sussex, Stephen Carr says the trial won't
work and the Government plans won't make any difference. I am afraid it
is very much shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. It
is decades too late. The National Farmers Union says if we don't act
now, the disease will continue to rise. We need a cull to bring this
disease under control and without that, we believe, and it has been
shown elsewhere in the world, that unless you deal with the problem of
wildlife, unfortunately, you will not get on top of the problem.
the Badger Trust says it will fight any plans for a cull. We are
looking for an answer. An answer that will work. Not just to kill
because we have got to do something. If plans get the go-ahead, a cull
could happen as early as next May. It is clear the problems have a
devastating impact on some farmers, with feelings running high. Some
say we are running out of time if we want to protect cattle and the
countryside from bovine TB Next, it is 100 years since the
first woman took to the skies and earned her female pilot's licence.
Hilda Hewlett, 1911, Brooklands airfield. But a century on, what
Charlotte Croney takes off from Compton Abbas airfield on a
training flight. You have control. As she climbs, there is just one
thing on her mind - getting her pilot's licence. I love the feeling
you get when you first take off, because you are distancing yourself
from the earth and you were going off and you are totally free. It is
that feeling of total freedom that our love.
If she succeeds, 17 year-old Charlotte will be part of an
exclusive group. Just 6% of British pilots are women. That is far fewer
than top managers, politicians and lawyers.
As a woman entering a profession that has been dominated by men for
100 years, since it really started, I think there will be barriers that
over time, I think those barriers have weakened. I think that
attitudes towards female pilots has changed over the past few years.
100 years ago, it was a different story, when Hilda Hewlett, known as
Old Bird, became the first woman pilot. Hilda Hewitt was here at
Brooklands, she came in 1910, it was here that she became the first
English woman to get a pilot's licence and she was the only woman
in the aviation village. Brooklands airfield in Surrey was
once at the cutting edge of aviation. It was a playground for
wealthy pioneers to push at the limits of speed and daring. And at
the heart of it all was Old Bird, Hilda. She was probably quite
daunting. She was tiny, very energetic, very decisive, and I
should think she was pretty single- minded.
Hilda took up flying at the age of 47, leaving her husband and
children at home and dropping out of high society. She took to the
skies as Britain's first lady pilot, unaware of her place in history.
anybody had asked Hilda Hewlett if she thought she was ground-breaking,
she would not have really seen it that way, because she was just
doing what she wanted to do, without any help from anybody else,
she just did it with her own will and determination.
Old Bird had paved the way for many to follow. The 1920s and 1930s saw
a surge in jet-setting women. Duchess of Beaufort is that cutting
the ribbon to open the first all- women flying meeting.
Flying became an exciting pastime for those who could afford it.
Molly Rose, whose father was a successful aircraft manufacturer,
couldn't resist having a go. I got my flying licence when I was just
17. I learned to fly when I was 16. I got my flying licence and my
driving licence at the same time. But I was very fortunate to have
the opportunity. But the age of pleasurable flying
was about to be cut short. Over the radio go messages, and it's in the
recall of Cabinet and Parliament. We stand firm unsecure behind our
mighty defences. Behind her ear for us, better trained than ever before.
-- R Air Force. With the onset of war, women with
Molly's skills couldn't be overlooked and they were called up,
not to the front line, but to the ATA. The delivery of new aircraft
is the responsibility of a vast organisation known as the Air
Transport Auxiliary. With men of 14 different nationalities in its
ranks and also helping in this important work are several women.
Molly was stationed at Hamble airfield on the Solent, one of only
two all-female bases. The job of ATA was really those delivering the
aircraft from the factories to the squadrons. But also sometimes
taking them on for maintenance and we were incredibly lucky to have
the opportunity. There was no way in normal times we would have had
the chance of flying these aircraft. The daily delivery of aircraft is
on the a man's job. Training machines and other less powerful
planes are piloted by the women and it is a job they are doing
exceedingly well. But Molly's wartime career almost
came to an end when she was asked to collect a plane from the
Midlands. Then he has to fight and I got was coming to -- coming face-
to-face with one over the cost falls to stop I tried going over it,
I had to abandon it. To my horror, I found, I think it was somewhere
near Chipping Norton, I was saved at tremendous they are horrible
instant by the fact I had enough power to get over the hill.
But as quickly as they had been recruited, women were soon cast
aside. Factory workers, engine drivers and female pilots were
encouraged back to the kitchen sink. This was the moment I had been
living for. John was coming home. I hurried to the station and stood
there, waiting. When Molly heard her husband
Bernard was to return home after years as a prisoner of war, she
readily gave up flying to care for him. Suddenly, there he was. It was
asked to, alone. There were so many things I was going to say. Just to
hold him again was more than enough. Life for Molly returned to normal
and talk of heroic deeds were forgotten. There had been a lot of
brave women before that, the ones that flew into the blue, people
like Amelia Earhart and Amy Johnson. The people that really did go off
without any radio contact, without any contact with anyone. Except to
get where they were trying to go. They were the brave ones. I think
the end of the war is probably the biggest blow to women's aspirations
in aviation, because they had been there, seen it and done it, they
were flying the bombers, flying up a whole range of military aircraft.
And overnight, it was, Surrey girls, back to the home! -- sorry.
But women had made an impression on aviation, and the following decades
brought more and more opportunities. One of the first women to pilot a
British Airways plane was Caroline. There were not many of us at the
time, British Airways to come the first female pilots in 1986. So
although some of the more minor airlines had been recruiting women
before then, there were not that many around. Some of the older
captain's, the more traditional ones, were a little bit reticent
about flying with women. Generally, we did not get rostered to fly
together, just to keep the cockpit harmonious. But generally, when one
could demonstrate that one could do the job just as well as any man,
there was not a problem. And 100 years after Hilda Hewlett
gained her licence, the desire for women to spread their wings remains
strong. It is quite blustery on the approach of the way in. Just kind
of go with it. But Charlotte doesn't just want to
fly. She wants to be Top Gun! ultimate goal would probably be
flying fighter jets with the RAF, which is a huge challenge, and they
think it is 1,000 people at apply to get to be pilots. I have got
nothing to lose by trying, so I may as well. It is just a case of
having the self-belief, you need to believe you can do it.
Can I have a portion of chestnuts, please? That's just about it for
next week, I will see you next time. Don't forget we are back early in