05/11/2012 Inside Out Yorkshire and Lincolnshire


05/11/2012

A report from Holland to discover how the problem of sexual grooming is being tackled there and a look at what lessons can be learnt here.


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Transcript


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Welcome to the programme. Here is what is on the show tonight. Are we

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doing enough to protect our children? I hope that my brothers

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were in England will do the same. The business promising to buy your

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home, but at what cost? The teenager who is sleeping his life

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away. This is the 4th time it has Never before have there been as

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many questions about whether we are doing enough to protect our

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children. There are claims about white girls being targeted by gangs

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of Pakistani men. And claims that authorities have turned a blind eye.

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Is enough being done to stop the abuse? What we're talking about is

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hard core criminality. Nine men have been sentenced. The shame is

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I'm Mohammed Shafiq, a broadcaster in my own right and CEO of the

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Ramadhan Foundation. Our organisation works to build a

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better understanding between Britain's diverse communities and

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that is why I am on a personal journey across the north of England

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and to Holland to discover more about the realities of grooming and

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Recent scandals have raced questions about how the system

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failed to prevent this crime. This is the street where the

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Rochdale groomers operated from. A recent local council report

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admitted that the police and social services repeatedly failed to

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listen to the cries for help of the victims. I want to know what it is

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that social services missed and what were the consequences.

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I think what's really important is the starting point is that it can

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happen to any child. Hilary Wilmer is an expert on

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identifying the signs so many social workers and police officers

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seemed to have missed. A definite pattern of behaviour in both the

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groomers and their victims. Grooming is a highly sophisticated

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thing and the men know exactly what they are doing. She's come to

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address the professional women members of the Soroptimists. Even

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in leafy Harrogate in North Yorkshire there's an acceptance the

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problem can be found in virtually all towns and cities. And as girls

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and parents from across the North have told us, most victims are not

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from a children's home or a dysfunctional family. You will find

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what you hear next disturbing. men had given vodka or, cigarettes

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and alcohol. I remember talking to a young guy and we ended up in a

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hotel. I walk up with no clothes on. She may be passed from man to man.

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If I think I would calculate it, there would be about 30 men. There

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are a couple of you. You have a daughter that you love falling

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apart in front of you in the most horrific circumstances. It affects

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all aspects of your life. There were loads of times I tried

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overdosing. I cut myself. I did not want to live because of all that

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happened. In the cases of the victim and parents we spoke to,

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their horror and suffering are compounded by complete failures by

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police and social workers to take action. It does appear that social

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services have said it is a lifestyle choice and that these are

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child prostitutes. We gathered photos, mobile phone numbers and

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gave them to the police. We gave them, the evidence, on a plate. I

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think if I had had help then I would have stopped earlier or not

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started at all. You think that if the police step in or social

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services that they will help you, that it would make arrests more

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likely. But that's not what happened. Some police forces and

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social service departments have recently dedicated more staff and

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introduced more training to tackle grooming. But given the failures by

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authorities right across the North that we've uncovered, it's fair to

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say that strategies to get gang grooming off our streets are still

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patchy in England, which is why I've come here to Amsterdam. In

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terms of initiating an integrated approach, Holland is ten years

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ahead of Britain. Police and social services began to knit together a

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national approach a decade ago. organisations have combined their

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efforts in terms of solving this problem. And in the spirit of this,

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the mosques of Amsterdam have played their part. I've never

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flinched from saying my British Pakistani community should confront

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child sexual exploitation and this man has done the same in Amsterdam,

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by campaigning against grooming within his Moroccan community.

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There was a problem in my own neighbourhood of people grooming. I

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started to make alliances with mosques all over Holland. Here in

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Holland, you have taken a proactive stance. It is important to take

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responsibility. I think it is very important as an imam to take

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responsibility to raise social issues, put them on the agenda and

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to get rid of the taboos within the Muslim communities. I think that

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for England and other countries, it's important that younger, new

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imams develop mosques which are prepared to tackle the issues of

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modern day society. Young people are looking for mosques that are

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relevant. We have put forward a lot of anti- propaganda. Back in West

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Yorkshire, there is a resonance. It's a message I want to take back

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home. But the reaction of English mosques is in my view complicated

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by hostility from the far right and the English Defence League which

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called this demonstration in Keighley following allegations of

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child grooming. Whilst the English Defence League call for the

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Pakistani community to stand up and take action, a youth group has been

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doing just that just a few miles from that demonstration. Only a few

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weeks ago, they were here on Our doorstep. This is an anti-grooming

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workshop, attended by members of Keighley's Pakistani community.

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It's run by volunteers and as far as I know it's completely unique.

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Imagine how people will perceive this? We have received no support

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from the government or financial backing. The groomer is isolating

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the victim. We talk about situations like this. We start with

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general studies. Schools are taking more precautions in educating young

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people. It is not often that I am speechless tonight has been an

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amazing experience. If we can realise this in every part of the

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country, we can start to a eradicate this evil. This

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educational video is encouraging victims to speak out and be heard.

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I still believe that there is an over representation of Pakistani

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men convicted of child grooming and my community has to confront this.

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At the same time wider society has to also recognise that 80% of child

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sexual abuse is carried out by white men. For me the story

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shouldn't be about comparing the racial identity of abusers but be

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about protecting vulnerable young victims. Still to come. We have the

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story of Sheffield's very own Selling a house can be hard work.

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But it is not nice to find out that some people can be looking out to

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make money off your back. But the slump in house prices has created

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new opportunities for property firms to make a quick buck from

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desperate home-owners wanting to sell. Whatever your reasons you

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need to sell your home fast But we've discovered that, instead,

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Gateway Homes and a sister company are delivering long delays and

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swingeing last minute price cuts. I feel violated, used, abused,

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cheated. It made not only myself but my whole family including the

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grandmother ill. This sounds like an abuse and that is a very good

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reason to have more regulation and I think they should. Tonight we're

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shining a light into the workings of one of the North's biggest house

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buying companies and show you just how they manage to make money out

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of vulnerable and desperate home owners. Times are good for Nick

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Statman. He's director of Gateway Homes UK and eight other property

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companies. On one of his websites he boasts he owns almost 200

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properties. He's also a keen amateur boxer. From his

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headquarters in Leeds he runs a network of agents who bring in the

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customers. Malcolm Haywood wanted to sell his house quickly. What

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attracted me to Gateway Homes was that they offered a service that

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was going to be quick. Gateway agreed a price of �120,000. But

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just before the deal was done Gateway knocked 30% off the price.

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He refused to sell. I was very angry. Very angry indeed! I thought

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this would be a quick method of doing a deal. Gateway Homes leave a

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very nasty taste in the mouth. Every time I open the paper and see

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their ad it really makes my blood boil. He's not the only one. Pat

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Hardy from Broughton on Teesside signed the same contract with one

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of Nick Statman's other companies, Tom Craven Property. The day before

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the removal men were due to arrive I got a phone call and this

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gentleman said we have a problem Mrs Hardy. I had agreed to sell the

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property at �75,000, they offered �40,000. I said no and put the

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phone down. Yes, you heard right. Tom Craven had slashed its offer

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almost in half. The next day the price was upped to �50,000 but the

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deal still collapsed leaving Pat high and dry. They made me feel

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like I was worthless. What we had worked for for years to put into

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the property, they were saying it was worth nothing. Pat found

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another buyer and sold for �75,000. And we've unearthed many other

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stories just like Pat's. Aggressive price drops and long delays. Can

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you see how many complaints we received for Gateway Homes? This

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trading standards office has received 40 complaints, mostly from

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the North, which it's yet to investigate. Probably the most

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common complaint we have had is in relation to the actual purchase

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price. They have agreed a price for the property and then right at the

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last minute the company has substantially reduced the purchase

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price and in many cases that has left the vendor in a difficult

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financial position. I've spoken to a number of people who've told me

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that Gateway reduced their offer by anything between 16 and more than

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50%. What's more, we spoke to a member of staff at a company which

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used to handle legal paper work on So whole process went smoothly.

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Took a matter of weeks to complete. The gentleman came and led us to

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believe it would be plain sailing and sorted within weeks. In fact,

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it was strung out over a long time. Natalie was selling the house for

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her grandmother. She expected a quick sale. Instead she was forced

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to wait six months before the deal collapsed. Pastore is just one of

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the number we came across. The is people are vulnerable on desperate

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to sell. They want the money and want it now. The longer it goes on,

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the worse their situation will be. They need the money to pay off

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creditors. Perhaps they have lost their job, perhaps they are getting

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divorced, they need it now. Along it goes on, the greater the

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bargaining position will be in favour of the company. Why did

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latterly just walk away? She had signed a contract lasting 12 months

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will stop she believed she had no choice but to sell to Gateway Homes.

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This is the contract. At the bottom it says this document is binding

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and should be signed only if you understand the contents. No one

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would have signed if they had. Oh contract which lasted for seven, 10

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or 14 days would be reasonable. This sign is the homeowner in four

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year which should have been a speedy transaction. It is a badly

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drafted document. Whoever wrote it had no intention of being first. It

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is entirely in favour of the buyer. It is so badly written it is

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probably unenforceable. contract allows Gateway Homes to

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walk away for any reason it likes. Literally, any reason. It does not

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have to stick to the price it quotes at the top. Is it time for

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Government intervention? We would like to see legislation brought to

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bear in this sector of the market. It would provide a point of

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reference and a code of conduct. Remember this flimsy contract, at

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the one that gives the company all of the wriggle room. There is one.

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We have not mentioned. It allows Gateway Homes to market the

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property to a third party, before it has even bought it. That is what

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happened to Carol. I lost my business. It seems the easiest

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solution. After long delays, a price drop and feeling trapped,

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Carol was shocked to find her house was advertised on the internet for

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�50,000 more than she was being offered. I was amazed. It is

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terrible. Seven months of a night nurse. Unbelievable. The carol did

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eventually sell her house to Gateway Homes, but it was anything

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other than quick. Nine months of waiting. We want to depart the

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concerns to Gateway Homes. At the boss declined our invitations for

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an interview but issued a It says Trading Standards have

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never investigated Gateway Homes and has no plans to. None of the

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complaints have been formal complaints. What about the contract

:18:06.:18:10.

and advice given to its sales agents? Gateway Homes says it

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offers transparency and the initial contract is jargon of free and easy

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for the customer to understand it without the need for legal advice.

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It is separate to a formal sale contract. Then there is a last-

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minute price drops of up to 50%. Gateway Homes says on occasion a

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revised offer is necessary after a valuation from a surveyor. The

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customer is free to walk away. Finally, the delays of up to nine

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months on the promise of quick sales, Gateway Homes says it

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involves a minority of cases with unforeseeable delays during the

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conveyancing process. And their services greatly appreciated by

:18:50.:18:54.

many customers. What is the advice to anyone considering selling their

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house this way? Take independent advice before any talks with the

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company about a contract to sell a property. I asked, are you sure you

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have to do this? Have you explored every other avenue? It is a nuclear

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strategy, once you have sold the house, it has gone. My advice,

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please don't go near Gateway Homes. These companies do not do what it

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says on the tin. Sleeping Beauty syndrome only

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affects about 40 people in the country. One of them is Mitchell

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Baldwin from Sheffield. And he is sleeping his life a wave. Doctors

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cannot find a cure. I spent some time with the family to find out

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how they are coping with family life.

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He is your typical teenager, full of beans and chips. Then this

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happens OK, I can hear the groans from all you parents of adolescents.

:20:05.:20:12.

But this is no dose of teenage lazyitis. He's been like this since

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Monday and it's Thursday. It's the fourth time it's happened since

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September last year. It's like a coma. When he has been asleep for

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about five hours. I wake him up and ask him if he wants a drink and he

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will say yes. Do you want to go to the toilet? It's almost as though

:20:34.:20:38.

Mitchell has regressed to the time when he was a baby. In this state

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he needs round-the-clock care as he's incapable of looking after

:20:40.:20:46.

himself. It is terrifying when your child is not responding and his

:20:46.:20:50.

unconscious. It is even worse when no one can tell you what is going

:20:50.:20:55.

on. Mitch's first attack happened last year on holiday in Turkey. It

:20:55.:21:04.

was a terrifying experience for the whole family. He slept all the way

:21:04.:21:08.

home on a coach and on the aeroplane. We were waiting to get

:21:08.:21:12.

on the plane and he laid down and went to sleep on the chairs. Back

:21:12.:21:15.

home in Sheffield he was rushed to hospital. Despite extensive medical

:21:15.:21:20.

tests, doctors weren't sure what Mitch's problem was. Until finally,

:21:20.:21:23.

he was diagnosed with Kleine Levin syndrome after his third attack and

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months of anxiety. It is an extremely rare condition and nobody

:21:31.:21:37.

knows the cause of it. It is a condition in which people have

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recurrence episodes of profound sleep. From anywhere between a

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couple of days and the far end is about 80 days. They started

:21:46.:21:52.

gradually wake up. As they wake up they have behavioural changes. They

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become dis inhibited. They often eat excessively and then gradually

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recover and return to normal between attacks. Eventually these

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episodes will remit. On average we say it takes up to about eight

:22:06.:22:10.

years before they completely go away. But right now that's cold

:22:10.:22:13.

comfort for Mitch and his family. In his waking moments between bouts

:22:13.:22:23.
:22:23.:22:28.

of deep sleep he can be confused and emotional. Come on. You are OK.

:22:28.:22:33.

We are here for you. No one likes it, Mitchell. Mitch's dad Wayne

:22:33.:22:37.

arrives back from work to take over his son's care. But it's a quick

:22:37.:22:45.

change around as it's Nicola's turn to go out to work. I will see you

:22:45.:22:51.

later. Mitch has to come too as he can't be left home alone. I will

:22:51.:22:56.

see you later, are you coming to pick me up at 7pm. He won't

:22:56.:23:01.

remember anything about this journey. We tried to carry on as

:23:01.:23:06.

normal as we can. Even a little bit of fresh air might help him. We

:23:06.:23:12.

feel helpless, we don't know when he is going to wake up. I am upset

:23:12.:23:17.

he will miss a lot of his life. He should be out playing football with

:23:17.:23:25.

his mates are now. We are home now. We cannot do anything, other than

:23:25.:23:32.

just be here for him. A lot of the Times this is all I ever do. I am

:23:32.:23:37.

here in case he opens his eyes. I don't like to be too far away from

:23:37.:23:41.

him just in case I am not around, or his mum is not around, he gets

:23:42.:23:51.
:23:52.:23:55.

upset. He probably won't wake up The next day and Mitch is still

:23:55.:24:02.

asleep. And his Dad's bedside vigil continues. We leave the curtains

:24:02.:24:06.

open in the day so if he does wake up he knows it's day time. It's

:24:06.:24:09.

Saturday morning and Mitchell usually bounds out of bed to enjoy

:24:09.:24:17.

the weekend. We would have been going out as a family if the

:24:17.:24:21.

weather was fine. Going to the park, but we have to keep looking after

:24:21.:24:27.

him the best we can. This syndrome is puzzling. You get a little bit

:24:27.:24:31.

of hope, and then it snatches it back off You Again and he goes back

:24:31.:24:36.

into this. So another wasted weekend for the Baldwins as they

:24:36.:24:39.

wait for him to emerge for his slumber. Three days later and Mitch

:24:39.:24:42.

looks like he's beginning to emerge from his sleep. He's sufficiently

:24:42.:24:49.

roused to come downstairs and join his dad in the land of the living.

:24:49.:24:58.

You get the first signs, and then it starts her. Sleeping for about

:24:58.:25:05.

12 days. And then the rest of it is confusion. But the next moment

:25:05.:25:15.
:25:15.:25:16.

Mitch has gone again. Lights out. And then he starts singing.

:25:16.:25:25.

Football chants, pop songs. Are you doing requests Mitch? And his

:25:25.:25:34.

behaviour becomes less inhibited, I think is the term. I know it won't

:25:35.:25:39.

harm him in any way. That is the most assuring thing for me and his

:25:39.:25:44.

mum. But while he is asleep like this, I think it is arming him

:25:44.:25:49.

because he is missing school, missing work experience. -- harming

:25:49.:25:55.

him. This last episode came on just as Mitch was on a work experience

:25:55.:25:58.

placement at a phone shop. He was unable to complete it. He's still

:25:58.:26:08.
:26:08.:26:08.

not better but he wanted to go back today to thank them. Hello, Mitch.

:26:08.:26:12.

What is this? It's is a card for you. The effort of delivering the

:26:13.:26:15.

card seems to have taken its toll. And Mitch is feeling decidedly

:26:15.:26:21.

sleepy again. Fangs, Mitchell. You'll have to come back down when

:26:21.:26:27.

you are less tired. Back home and it's back to horizontal for Mitch.

:26:27.:26:30.

Finally three weeks after it started, Mitch is back with us. But

:26:31.:26:39.

sadly it's raining outside and he's missed all the nice weather. I feel

:26:39.:26:49.

a lot better today. I only came out a bit and got 100% better. It is

:26:49.:26:53.

like life is passing me by without me experiencing it. I do not like

:26:53.:26:58.

it. I am always thinking when the next one will happen. But those

:26:58.:27:02.

concerns aren't on his mind today. More pressing is dealing with a

:27:02.:27:06.

fear of heights as Mitchell enjoys a special day out with his mates.

:27:06.:27:11.

He's celebrating his 15th birthday. Are you tired? I am all right.

:27:11.:27:18.

is not tired today. I think about it before I got my illness four

:27:18.:27:22.

star RPE is missing for a couple of weeks, and then he is the missing

:27:22.:27:27.

and back again. It is not fair on him. He is missing exams.

:27:27.:27:29.

summer holidays are over and Mitchell is looking forward to

:27:29.:27:38.

starting a new school year. First day back today at school. I missed

:27:38.:27:44.

last term. I am in school for maybe a week. It is like going somewhere

:27:44.:27:48.

where you used to be and you have not been there for ages. It is

:27:48.:27:53.

strange going back. One does the future hold? Nobody knows of any

:27:53.:27:56.

effective treatment for the conditions. Nobody knows of

:27:56.:28:01.

anything that will prevent the attacks. He has missed over three

:28:01.:28:05.

months of this year. If you are saying to somebody, I am sorry but

:28:05.:28:09.

I might be out of work for a long time because of my illness, how is

:28:09.:28:16.

the boss of a company going to look at that?

:28:16.:28:20.

That's almost it, but before we go, if you watched last week he will

:28:21.:28:24.

remember the story of an incinerator plant for North

:28:24.:28:27.

Yorkshire. It was approved, but campaigners say they will keep

:28:27.:28:32.

fighting and it might still end with a public inquiry. If you have

:28:32.:28:35.

a story you would like us to tell or you would like to Leader comment,

:28:35.:28:42.

Inside Out travels to Holland to see how the problem of sexual grooming is being tackled and asks what lessons can be learnt here. Also Chris Jackson investigates the firm that promises to buy your house, but at what price? And Toby Foster meets the teenager who spends much of his life asleep.


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