25/02/2013 Inside Out South


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Hello from Cowshot, welcome to Inside Out, we are marking a


special anniversary. Here is what else is come up tonight:


With five suicides in the last year alone, we ask what can be done to


stop false prize promise letters from ripping off our loved ones.


She overdosed on anti-depressants, and tried to kill herself and left


me a note saying, she didn't know how I would bury her, because there


is no money. Is modern day technology makes us


ill, we meet the south's Wi-Fi refugees. I was getting pain so


severe in my head, it was like someone of putting cattle prods


into my brain and shocking my brain. I take to the skies to celebrate


Cowsho it's glorious centinary as an airbase. Everybody wanted to get


involved in aviation, and this little lady of the space shuttle of


its day. This is Inside Out for the south of England.


First tonight, prize-promise letters, we got a huge response and


you are still e-mailing stories. Tonight we asked if anything else


can be done to stop the misery being delivered to our doors.


"dear Mrs Elizabeth, I hasten to write to you because the time is


very important for you. You must read what follows very carefully,


because it concerns you, personally. You and you alone." I love letters,


I love receiving letters, which I do. Because it is an interest, if


you know what I mean. When 87-year- old Elizabeth was widowed, she


started replying to prize-promise letters. It wasn't long before she


thought she had hit the jackpot. Last December I won a prize of


�130,000, so they said. So I wrote in to claim it. But it wasn't as


simple as that. You had had to buy something, every time I sent a


letter I had to buy something. This is how they held my me in a vice,


kind of thing. This is parcel from Fiderma, creams


I bought in desperate hope I would get my cheque. They cost me a small


fortune. Elizabeth has spent most of her pension trying to claim her


�130,000 prize, she she still believes she's going to get. I have


great trust in people. I'm a Christian, I have faith, a lot of


faith in people. I never give up. These are the sorts of letters that


are sent to people like Elizabeth, falsely promising prizes and the


Government is starting to take notice. At the beginning of this


year, MPs met to debate the issue. It is absolutely my belief that


Government takes this matter seriously. What we are talking


about here is very cleverly customised scams. Once a scam has


entered into the mail system, Royal Mail have a duty to deliver it.


Once a scam comes to light, the victim and the family suffer a


large range of emotion, anger, shame, upset, and in some cases,


where the loss is so big, suicidal thoughts, and as we heard this


morning on television, five suicides last year alone.


warden found her, she had her head in the cat litter tray. She


overdosed on anti-depressants and tried to kill herself. She left me


a note saying she didn't know how I would bury her, because there was


no money. Ruth's 77-year-old mum is now recovering at home after her


attempted suicide. She didn't want to be identified in our


investigation. So we will call her June. June is bombarded with up to


30 pieces of scam mail a day. And numerous telephone calls. She sold


everything, I think it must be in the region of �500,000. She has all


this stuff she doesn't need, for the hope it will get put into a


drair somewhere to -- in a draw somewhere to get money. There is


nothing she needs no, food in the cupboards, all this rubbish. My dad


came in after the warden had found her, he came into the flat and


discovered the suicide note after the ambulance crew had shown it to


him. He discovered the pictures of me and my brother, throughout our


lives had been placed face down, or put into the corner or in a drawer.


The idea that we couldn't see what she was doing to herself, even


though they were only pictures. Obviously she was mentally there.


She knew what she was doing. She tried to protect us in a way.


we were filming June's postman delivered yet more scam mail.


have been a postman for 20 years, you sort of get used to it. There


seems to be more of it now knocking B I feel sorry for the elderly


people. The one who is the mail is being taken from. But really I'm


just delivering T There is not a lot I can do. Something should be


done about it. I don't know what the answer is.


We have spoken to several posties across the south, every one of them


has told us of their frustration when it comes to trying to stop


scam mail. When I speak to postal workers they always make the point


to me that they know who the victims are on their rounds, they


would love to be able to do something to stop it. Currently


there isn't legislation that enables Royal Mail to identify


which is scam mail and which is not, and actually it is really easy to


tell the difference. They can't act to stop this mail getting through.


I think there needs to be a change in legislation so that Royal Mail


can be part of the solution, not part of the problem.


Here at Royal Mail's largest sorting office in the UK, billions


of letters are processed every year. Millions of which will be scam mail.


So would a change in legislation help protect people like Elizabeth


and June. We really don't need more law. There is enough law, there are


enough powers across the agencies that can police the mail and can


police fraud. It is not an issue of power, it is an issue of the fact


that we need to know exactly what's coming in, and we need the right


people to make a value judgment and advise us where there is something


illegal taking place. If we are aware that have fact we will


respond to it, we are not lacking in the power to do so. We are


merely lacking in intelligence from time to time. We have plenty of


evidence that some mail companies are sending out false prize-promise


letters. In fact, a Belgian court ordered that Vital Beauty would be


fined 100 euros for every letter they continued to send out. They


changed their name to Vital Nature and carried on. As for Royal Mail,


they continue to deliver these fraudulent letters.


Why do you think we still have this problem, it is not a new problem.


The company and the prize-promise scheme we have been investigating,


we have been following it for years. Here we are saying we need evidence.


It almost sounds like you are catching up? I don't know about


catching up. The difficulty that we have is that this is a fraud which


is perpetrated because of the quality of our service, ironically,


relatively quickly. I will also say that, of course, these sorts of


frauds are not in any way unique to the postal service. So they are the


same sorts of frauds as a boiler room scam, involving telephone


calls, they are the same sorts of frauds as internet e-mail fishing


frauds. It doesn't justify them. I know there is lots of different


frauds, but let's sort out the ones you can effect? The point I'm


trying to make is there has always been fraud. And we have always


attempted to counter it. You may you will take action, but you need


information to take action on. I find it incredible that no-one has


come forward? I am honestly saying to you, if I am given information


on any of the frauds that you have knowledge of, we will look into


every single one, because I suspect that many of them are similar. We


will look into every single one and work with agencies, and we will


make sure that we take every possible step to counter these.


postmen and women say they have no difficulty in spotting these scams.


The envelope alone is a big enough clue. To be honest, it is all


plastered over the front cover, normally. All sorts of names,


advertisments, quick, follow the deal now, �400,000, take it, phone


up. All that sort of stuff. It is easy to identify, absolutely.


the bosses seem to have a lot more trouble identifying what is scam


mail and what isn't. They have asked to see it, so here it is.


Meanwhile Elizabeth is still clinging on to the hope that her


�130,000 prize is on its way. That's mine. That's my letter.


mew month ago Elizabeth wrote to the company who had promised Heren


cheque. "Dear Sir, my profuse thanks for my prize, at last I am


getting my prize..." But Elizabeth is about to have her dreams of a


windfall crushed. Her unread letter was rescued from a bin by a


whistleblower at a Hampshire firm. The business acted as a middle man


for foreign companies falsely promising prizes. They have stopped


working for one such company, but it has come too late. For Elizabeth


the reality is just sinking. could cry. I could cry. Every year


�2.5 billion is conned out of scam mail victims, like Elizabeth, who


trusted the post delivered by Royal Mail. For years various authorities


have known about the deceit, and postmen like Rob, would dearly like


to see action taken. To be frank we don't feel we should be obligated


to deliver the stuff. We see the customer every day, we don't want


to see fall-out from anything we deliver. To a certain extent we


feel personally responsible. Don't forget, if you think you have


been a victim of a scam, the same or a different one, e-mail me.


Talking of e-mails, these days we surround ourselves with technology.


There is mobile phones, there is wireless Reuters, all manner of


gizmos and gadgets. But some people in the south think the technology


itself is making them ill. They are taking drastic measures to avoid it,


as we report. You can't avoid it, mobile


technology is everywhere. Though you can't see it, a lot of people


believe that electromagnetic radiation, from the devices we have


come to love, could be causing some serious health problems.


People who say they are affected by this increasing amount of 21st


century technology are finding it increasingly difficult to get away


from it. Especially in a densely- populated area, such as southern


England. Called Wi-Fi refugees come to spots like this. An isolated


area in Hampshire to try to get away from it all. I have come to


meet one of them. I have been passionate about


technology since childhood, even before teen, 10, 11 I got an


electronics kit and started designing my own circuit, I


designed a rain detector for my mother, so she knew when to get the


washing in, et cetera. Phil has become a recluse from so. He


travels around southern -- from society. He travels around southern


England in his caravan, trying to avoid technology, as he says he's


an electrosensitive. All was fine until things started going wireless.


The first time I got symptoms was when my father got a Bluetooth


hands-free kit for his vehicle. He asked me to pair it with his phone.


In doing so, when they went into pairing mode, I started getting


aching, really uncomfortable aching pain in my haertd, and pressure on


the temples, -- in my heart, and pressure on the temples and pain in


the brain. Phil now lives on the poverty line, making ends meet as a


gardener. His symptoms increased when he moved near an army base in


Berkshire. Within a couple of weeks I was the illest I was ever been in


my life. Within days I was suffering a persistent headache


like none I have had before, it was crippling. I was getting tinnitus,


a hum and high-pitched tinnitus that would vary, this aching pain


in my heart, and my heart would race and skip, change rhythm. It


was like someone was putting cattle prods into my brain and shocking my


brain. Phil's not alone. Headmaster and science teacher Paul thought he


knew all about technology. But when severe headaches prompted a trip to


his GP, he was surprised today hear what his doctor suggested might be


the cause. The doctor pulled out of his cupboard a computer hub.


Identical to the one that was in the bedroom at home. And asked me


if I had got one of these devices, which of course we had. We were


actually living on top of it. Especially during the night. It was


switched on 24 hours a day. I should have perhaps realised as an


e-computer teacher the significance of it. Because -- an ex-computer


teacher the significance of it. Because I turned the switch on the


hub and turned the signals during the night, there was an immediate


affect within a short space of time. Within a span of four days the


headaches had completely gone. This man is a professor at the


local university, he said the tests showed that people who felt they


were wrongly exposed to magnetic field led to many health problems.


He said it led him to think that these effects were imagined rather


than real. When we talk about electrosensitivity, there is


evidence, at least in the large majority of people who suffer from


the illness, that this seems to be occurring through psychological


mechanisms. But that does not preclude people having fiscal


symptoms. And objectively measurable fiscal changes. The body


of evidence has got larger and larger over the years. And we can't


say that none of these people has the illness caused by


electromagnetic fields, because we haven't tested everybody. We can


say we tested large numbers of people, a in those large numbers of


people it doesn't seem to be caused by the exposure to electromagnetic


feels. Dennis was a professor in physics at Bristol University,


spesisinging in radiation effects on humans. He's convinced people do


suffer. Because of this assumption that this is all in the find,


rather than a physiological response, I think the research has


gone in the wrong direction. We know about the acute symptoms from


geomagnetic storms, which are the same sort of signals you have from


Wi-Fi and mobile phones. So why should it come as any surprise that


there are also reports of electrosensitivity from these man-


made sources. This GP on the Dorset-Somerset


border says's treating several patients for electrosensitivity,


and claims that citiblgs are approaching the problem from --


critics are approaching the problem from the wrong angle. There is a


presumption of no harm from all of this technology. Even though it is


new. For a long time tobacco was safe, lead in petrol was safe, hide


drojated vegtable oils and fats were safe. In five years time we


will look back and say, oh my God, there is a major problem that we


haven't been observing. In Hampshire Wi-Fi refugee Phil


wants to know if he has managed to find a spot away from the


electromagnetic fog that he claims is blighting his life. There is an


unusual physicist on hand who makes a living advising on such matters.


Guy Hudson. First off is pulse microwave. And reassuringly very,


very low signals. You are actually pretty clear on this. It is one of


the best places I have found since I have been a refugee. When levels


are at this kind of stage I won't be symptom-free, I'm likely to


still have sleeping problems and the tin tis and head pains at peak


-- tinnitus and head paips at peak times. Generally I can cope. Phil


has managed to find a sanctuary in the countryside, despite of the


scientific evidence, that suggests no link to health problems, Phil


claims the number of Wi-Fi refugees is growing, and that those who


suffer from the effects need to have the condition recognised.


people happy to go with the official story, think we have a


right one here and walk away or change the subject. That is really


isolating. For many people that is too much. In the last few months we


have lost two more electrosensitives who have


committed suicide. And you know, I sorry, it breaks my heart, excuse


me. Some people will avoid the exposures as long as they can to


reduce the symptoms. The more you can try to get on with life and not


worry about it the better. It is easy to say that for me, much


harder for someone who suffers from the illness.


Finally tonight, we are here at Cowshot to mark 100 years of a


quite remarkable slice of the south's aviation history.


Cowshot today, a water sports playground and outdoor activity


centre, which this year celebrates its 50th an versery


But 100 years ago, the wind and waves were being put to a use, to


develop a brand new type of aircraft, that used the sea as its


runway. 100 years ago, a decade after the


first powered flight by the Wrigh Brothers, this entrance to


Southampton would become a cutting edge testing ground. On March 29th


Cowshot opened his doors as an airbase to test on water. This back


boat could take off from sea and land. The hull, mate on the Isle of


Wight, was laminated plywood sewn together with copper wire, basic


but it worked. There was possibility to have aircraft that


could operate from the water where were explored, dark clouds were


gathering over Europe. With the outbreak of World War I, this


technology would soon be put to the test. In 1917 a plane from Cowshot


sank a German U-boat, by dropping a 100-pound bomb, held in place by a


sling, and released when a pilot pulled the string. After the war,


Cowshot, now RAF Cowshot, would take centre stage in glamorous


speed contest. The trophy was a highly prestigious competition to


build and race the fastest sea planes. An elite group of pilots


was formed to fly them. Cowshot was their base. In 1931 the contest was


held here N both years the British entry was designed by RJ Mitchell,


the man who went on to develop the Spitfire.


The supermarine sea plane is lovingly preserved at the Solent


Sky Museum here in Southampton. When Mitchell designed this he


designed this primarily to win the Sneider Trophy race, but also how


are we going to design modern aircraft. That is the way he looked


at designing this lady. Almost a million people in 1929, 1931,


watched the Sneider Trophy, it wasn't just a race it was pan-


national thing. You could equate it to the 1960s space race, where


someone gets so far technology, then another and another. In 1931


the race for supremacy reached its climax. Having won the contest


twice before, Britain was flying for the right to retain the trophy


forever. Everything depended on the speed of the aircraft and the skill


and nerve of their pilots. Nobody had ever been faster than in these


types of aircraft at this time. They were a third faster than the


standard RAF fighter of the day. This little lady was the space


shuttle of its day. At a speed averaging 340 miles per hour, the


S6B supermarine piloted by Flight Lieutenant Boothman won the trophy


for Britain. It would be the last trophy contest, and the whole event


was commemorated in this film made by the manufacturers of the super-


fast aircraft. As for the pilots, Aviation was the new thing, and


everybody wanted to get involved. Particularly young people with


aviation. You had all the photographs of these supermen,


these pilots, who became the rock stars, the football stars of their


day. Everybody wanted to get involved in aviation. They were the


hero of the time. It must have been an amazing sight. Hundreds of


thousands of people lining this very beach. None of them could have


known that another world war was on the horizon. And once again,


Cowshot would play a key role. This time servicing and maintaining the


nation's flying boats. In particular the Short surrenderland,


the backbone of coastal command. Nicknamed the Monster of the Air,


the surrenderland was developed as a long range control aircraft.


Capable of 16-hours in the air. Weighing in at 20 tonnes it was a


formidable weapon. Invaluable in seeking out and destroying U-boats.


Here at Solent Sky is one of the few Sunderlands remaining. This one


has been modified into passenger plane. But you can imagine the fear


it engendered when it was bristling with guns. It is only when you sit


here in the cockpit that you realise how epic this bit of


machinery is, it would have been a welcome sight to allies out in the


Atlantic and the channel. Because it had this fiercesome reputation.


It was defended to the hilt and it absolutely terrified the Germans.


This is an interesting one. It is the Guinness Book of Records, and


it shows I have flown more different types of aircraft than


any other. That as command pilot. Cowshot flew pilots out to seize


war machinery, captain Eric Brown was one of the plunderers. His task


was to confiscate German sea planes and fly them back to could you. The


biggest was the Viking. To get it into the air, he coerced a German


pilot to show him how it worked. The pilot was a Luftwaffe captain.


We set off up in the fuel. He had the thing at full throttle, we were


pounding along, I began to worry. Because the noise was colossal as


the thing bashed through the water. But the German pilot wasn't ready


to surrender his aircraft. He had rigged it so it couldn't take off.


I could feel the rudder it was moving under me, but I hadn't felt


the stick move at all. I thought why wasn't he easing back. So I


give it a jerk and found it was locked. So I said to my engineer,


cut the throttles, and fell him, I used the word "fell" him. Which he


did. He put the throttles and he gave this chap a colossal punch in


the jaw. Knocked him unconscious in the


left-hand seat. 26-year-old Captain Brown had foiled the sabotage


attempt and the Viking was flown to Cowshot where technicians examined


its secrets. A few years later the airbase took part in one more


daring task. In 1948 surrenderland aircraft from Cowshot were once


again called into action. Not as fighting machines, but on a mission


of mercy to Germany. It was the Cold War and west Berlin was


blockaded by the Soviets. Surrenderlands flew more than 1,000


sort at thiss to the Berlin lake, bring -- sorties, to the Berlin


lakes bringing in supplies. These British aircraft saved lives.


Despite heroic roles like this, Cowshot's days as a flying base


were coming to an end. It closed as a Royal Air Force station in 1961,


and the site gradually became derelict. Its buildings and hangers


standing unused. But then just two years later a brand-new chapter of


a quite remarkable piece of the south would begin. Half a century


on, the activity centre and some of those original buildings are still


going wrong. -- on.


That's it for now. And indeed for this series. We are always looking


for your stories. If there is an issue you think we should be


covering, we are only ever an e- mail about.


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