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This is East Midlands Today with Dominic Heale and Anne Davies. Our
top story tonight - eight and half years in jail for a former company
boss who swindled his way to a fortune. Yes, Max Fraser was the
mastermind behind a �100 million fraud which saw hundreds of people
lose their jobs. Also tonight, a moment of panic as
armed police swoop on a busy shopping street. There was a guy,
must have been about five metres away from me. Police surrounded him.
There must have been at least 15 of them.
Plus... Do people know we have no choice but to close the school?
Return of the Iron Lady, but what do they make of the film in Mrs T's
home town? Eight, nine, ten... And find out
why they're counting all the Good evening and welcome to the
programme. First tonight, a Leicester businessman has been sent
to jail for masterminding a fraud involving "staggering" sums of
money. Max Fraser conned finance companies into lending him more
than �100 million. He enjoyed a luxury lifestyle, driving racing
cars and using the company yacht but his deception had far-reaching
consequences. It led to hundreds of workers losing their jobs, and
devastated the lives of his wife and two young children. Sarah Teale
This is Max Fraser. The mastermind behind one of the biggest frauds of
its kind in this country. But his deception had a massive impact on
those he employed and the companies he conned. Max Fraser was a very
charismatic, intelligent man. Very articulate and very persuasive.
to some of the documentation that was generated during the
investigation. Leicestershire Police spent four years
investigating him to get to the bottom of an extremely complex
fraud which darted back in 2001. Fraser and a plastics company based
in Leicester. -- ran a plastics company. It is still run today but
legitimately. Back then, the, was to get finance for these, expensive
extrusion machines. Using false invoices produced by Stoke-on-Trent
company H T L, he persuaded more than 30 banks and financial
institutions to finance 700 of the machines. In reality, only 111 of
them actually existed. In six years, he got finance worth �110 million.
What was his motivation for doing all this? Purely to benefit for
himself? I suspect he had two motivations. The first was for
financial gain for himself but also secondly for the company. He wanted
the company to be the No. 1 global company in the world for extruded
material. I believe his initial motivation was that and the only
way he could obtain finance to build these machines, because they
will be in line than themselves, was through fraudulent activity --
they were building than themselves. And they were robbing Peter to pay
Paul. He would have to get finance at the end of the day to pay off
the other financed. Max Fraser had all the trappings of the luxury
lifestyle. A �1 million pad here which he used to live in. He also
enjoyed the use of the company yacht, raced four different sports
cars and is said to have had flying lessons. Over-thirties finance
companies have lost over �50 million -- over 30 finance
companies. Is there knowing how many people he has had an impact
on? There is no way of knowing the full impact but it is fair to say
that hundreds of people have lost their jobs. His Finance employees
have lost their jobs and other people who were creditor was.
for Leicestershire Police, this has been one of their most complex
investigations. We have recovered over 50,000 documents as a result
of the inquiry which all had to be examined individually. That takes
time. We took over 200 witness statements, so all the victims. So
yes, it was a very complex and time-consuming operation. David and
Elizabeth from Hege T L were jailed for five years and three years
respectively. Leicester Crown Court was told that he had believed he
could trade his way out of trouble but took complete blame for the
devastation he had caused his wife and two young children. Mike
Fraser's family were not in court today to hear him sentenced to
eight years, eight months in prison. The judge told him that he had
risked the businesses and the livelihoods of those who had placed
A woman who says she has been made seriously ill by the controversial
PIP breast implants says the private clinics who put them in
should now have to replace them. Tonight though the Government has
ruled there isn't enough evidence to recommend the routine removal of
the French-manufactured implants. Tara Smith from Newark in
Nottinghamshire has set up a Facebook group to campaign to help
women caught up in the scandal. Our health correspondent Rob Sissons
reports. 700 women have joined this Facebook campaign. She had two set
of PIP implants and paid herself in the end to get them removed but
believes private clinics should now for others three removal and
replacement. I think the clinics should be giving money back and
public that the person decide whether they want to go. You have
got to remember, we do not trust our clinics any more. She says she
did not like her body before the implant and it was initially
pleased but told me the first pair ruptured and have the second pair
of PIP replacements removed as concerns were raised. You can see
the runny liquid and I can't believe I have them inside me for
three years. Some commentators said it would be wrong for the
Government to pick up the bill. insurers for the suppliers and for
the clinics have been suggested to get together amateur medical
removals and perhaps fund the operation. This woman understands
the clinic that put the implants in is no longer in business. It took
me a lot of time to find a clinic that I trusted. I read into it for
a long time and I feel let down now Many of these implants have been
put in for aesthetic or cosmetic reasons in the private sector.
There have been very few put in by NHS trusts. Certainly in Leicester,
University Hospital have never put any of these in so patients who
have had reconstructive surgery have nothing to worry about.
after spending �23,000 on her breasts on credit cards, Tara
Still to come on the programme, the rising costs of renting and buying.
As private sector rents rocket, we talk to the couples struggling to
afford a home of their own. And after all the excitement of the
past few days, the weekend is looking a much calmer affair. All
Armed police descended on part of Nottingham city centre this
afternoon after reports that an armed robbery was under way. It was
just after three o'clock that officers were called to John Lewis
in the Victoria Centre as Tom Brown reports.
Scenes you would not normally associate with the January sales.
This afternoon, Nottingham's bargain hunters were interrupted by
armed police following reports of an attempted robbery at John Lewis.
I was outside the Victoria Centre going into town. A number of police
cars pulled up with blue lights. Being a photographer, I hung about.
They were shouting at an individual as tell you be built to stand still.
Then they put the weapons and the red dot on his chest. The incident
lasted less than one hour. Witnesses say the police were
professional but that did was worrying to see them armed on
Nottingham Street. There must have been at least 10, 15 of them
pointing guns. He did not seem to be armed. It shook me up quite a
bit. Police arrested the man on suspicion of attempted robbery.
Although they say it there is no evidence that a firearm was used
and nobody was injured. Council tax in Leicester could rise
by 3.5% from April. The news comes as the City Council reveals its
latest proposals to make �40 million of cuts to its budget. �17
million could come from adult social care services, whilst the
future of Leicester's day care centres is also under threat.
There's still no word though on what will happen to the city's care
homes for the elderly. CCTV footage has been released of
two potential witnesses after a serious assault in Leicester. It
happened on the Thursday before Christmas at around 5:30pm on
Myrtle Road in the city. 23-year- old Salem Bahrami was stabbed in
the chest. He remains in hospital in a stable condition.
There's a warning tonight that the cost of privately renting a house
in the East Midlands will rise again in 2012. Demand is increasing
because many first-time buyers are struggling with the big deposits
needed for a mortgage. All this as the Government and developers try
to get more people onto the property ladder with interest-free
loans. Mike O'Sullivan looks at the prospects for tenants.
This couple are renting a house in Derby. They are both in work but
the bigger deposits mean that buying a house is not affordable
straight away. It is impossible. For somebody our age, it was not
feasible, the amount we are earning. I could not say how many people are
even close. maybe a couple of years down the line but at the minute,
impossible. Absolutely impossible. The latest figures from the group
that owns the property firm in Derby shows that private rents
dipped for the first time in 10 months in November. The average
private rent in the East Midlands now stands at �542 per month. In
one year, high demand has meant that figure has gone up by nearly
4%. There's not enough supply for new rental property and we are not
building enough houses to begin with. There are not enough
incentives for buy-to-let developers to provide the sector
enough houses to rent. In Oakham in Rutland, this house and developer
told me how they are trying to help struggling first-time buyers.
Around 20 new-build homes on the site will be offered for sale under
the Government's Firstbuy idea. They will be seeing a five-year
interest free loan for up to 20% of the purchase price. The level of
interest we have had in a short period of time has been higher in
other areas than we operate in. There has not been a lot of new-
build development here for the past 10 years so there is a huge demand.
Back in Derby, Charlotte and down say they will buy one day. Her --
hopefully. I would not want to be renting in two years. Demand for
rented property will continue to increase this year according to the
property company. We heard in Mike's report there
about the Government's Firstbuy idea in which they team up with
housing developers to help first- time buyers with deposits. It's run
in our region by the East Midlands Housing Association in Coalville.
Let's speak to the person who's looking after it, Gail Davies. How
much difference can Firstbuy really make to someone who's struggling to
buy? It is there to help first-time buyers get that first step on to
the property ladder. To overcome the difficulties that they are
finding at the moment with deposits. The scheme is designed to give them
the 20% equity loan which is jointly funded by the homes and
communities Agency and the developers with them finding 5% to
purchase the other 8%. If that makes sense for. You have got 400
people who have taken up this form of help. Why are not more people
taking up the idea? It is interest free. It is for the first five
years. The scheme has only been running since September last year
so it is actually increasing all the time with numbers of people
that I interested. It is down to the developers really, to promote
the schemes more. Some of them are doing sterling jobs on doing that.
Very briefly, have you got enough money for the demand for this
scheme? There is not a budget as such as far as the area is
concerned. We are looking to help 10.001st time buyers on to the
property ladder nationwide up until 20th March 13 -- 10,000 first-time
buyers. That is good news, let's hope the scheme has more success in
the future. Thank you. Leicester City fans travelling to
Nottingham for tomorrow's FA Cup third round match against Forest
have been warned by police not to go to pubs around the stadium. Away
fans will be allowed to drink within the City Ground and at the
bar inside Notts County's Meadow Lane. But police say pubs between
the station and the stadiums will not be letting Leicester fans in,
before or after the match. Police in Leicester say they're
worried about the number of arrests for drink-driving over Christmas.
119 people were charged during the force's month-long campaign.
Officers say the number of young people drinking and driving is
particularly worrying. They're warning motorists that they will
continue to target drivers who are over the limit.
The Derbyshire student aiming to become the youngest Briton to ski
to the South Pole says her expedition has been delayed. 21-
year-old Bryony Balen had hoped to arrive by 17th January, exactly 100
years after the first British expedition reached the pole. Bryony
and her team have had to face temperatures as low as minus 20,
but she says the trip's still been a great experience.
Just like the lady herself, it seems that the new Hollywood
portrayal of Lady Thatcher is dividing opinion. Today one group
in Derbyshire staged a protest to claim that the new Meryl Streep
film The Iron Lady manages to rewrite history. But as you might
imagine, it's received a much warmer reaction in her home town of
The honourable gentleman knows very well that we have no choice but to
close the school. It is time in and its cinematic quality have already
been questioned but today, it was the film's portrayal of Margaret
Thatcher as a champion for women that was being queried. Maggie,
Mikey, Out, Out, out. These women claim they are the real Iron Lady's.
They supported miners in the North Derbyshire area during the miners'
strike and together they came together to stage a protest outside
their local cinema which is showing the new film. I have to protest at
a film that appears to be rewriting history, that presents her as a
heroine and her feminist icon. She, as far as I was concerned, never
stood up for women at all. We do not want to sensationalise the life
of a lady who caused so much trouble and devastated the lives of
so many people in the past. And we think it is it too serious a
subject to be trivialised by Hollywood. But unsurprising the
pout, The Iron Lady which goes on general release today has received
a much warmer reaction in muddy's home town of Grantham. It is good
they made a film about her because it put Grantham on the map. We have
got to be proud that she is from Grantham. It has not got a lot
going for it so at least she was here at the right time. There is an
argument for it being left until she has died but I think it is fair
I am sure Grantham has got a lot more going for it.
Still to come on the programme, a head-count down at the zoo. Do they
have more meerkats or are they minus a meerkat or two? Apparently,
it's not easy to tell, so at Twycross Zoo they're having a
Colin is here with the sport. Foxes, Rams... Meerkat as well apparently.
Very good! It's one of the biggest weekends of
the season for football fans, the third round of the FA Cup. And we
have a mouthwatering game in prospect as Nottingham Forest host
Leicester City. Leicester are certainly going to make a game of
it and so are their fans. The Foxes will be taking 8,000 supporters
which, incredibly, should be almost half the crowd. Here's Ross
Leicester against Forest always arouses the passions but this FA
Cup tie has really captured the imagination of those in blue.
Forget about comparing the meerkats, this is about comparing the
Leicester and Forest fans. Foxes are taking double the normal
allocation to the City Ground and cove -- could even out in the home
faithful. It is because of the Rover, it is incredible. Sport at
heart. Bragging rights, the East Midlands want to beat them. We will
definitely make a massive difference. Forest are struggling
to sell that many tickets so for us to have got that many and fought
them being the home side, it is showing what great support we have
got. The Foxes may well need big backing. They have not won at the
City Ground for 39 years. Throwing away a two goal lead at there in
August but in Nigel Pearson, they have a manager who is going all out
for Cup success. I still have huge respect for our domestic support.
In the days now where European football I think is taking centre
stage, I think for a majority of football fans in this country, the
FA Cup still has huge meaning for. The League may be the priority for
Leicester this season but try telling that to the 8,000 fans at
So clearly down that end of the A46, they are more than up for it. What
about the Reds? Well, they've had the perfect start to 2012. A
victory, finally, ending a miserable run of results. And in
Steve Cotterill's sqaud is a man very keen to make his comeback.
A familiar face, he is back where Over the years, I am trying to keep
an eye on them, but I am back there. It was not planned that way but it
is nice to come back to this situation. He spent seven years in
his first spell at the City ground scoring for fun and now he has
returned wiser but with one thing on his mind. I am always determined.
It is extra special for me to try to do it well whenever I play and
try to score as many goals as possible. His career has seen him
play in the Premier League and in China recently. Now he has returned
to familiar ground, rejoining his boyhood club until the end of the
season. It will bring us that physical strength, and he has a
happy thing of getting a goal or two. Mal is a man on a mission.
The man who scored Derby County's winner in the 2007 play-off final,
Stephen Pearson, has left the club. He's joined Bristol City on a free
transfer. Meanwhile, the Rams face Crystal Palace in the FA Cup.
They go into the game as the form team in the country. Derby were the
only side to win all three of their matches over the Christmas and New
Year period but they face a side with great cup pedigree. The win at
Old Trafford was stunning. They have got the semi-final coming up
and I hope they have got one eye on that but I am sure they will keep
their good form. Notts County travel to Doncaster
for their FA Cup tie and there's full match commentary on all those
games on your BBC local radio station.
In rugby, Leicester Tigers will be shorn of another star player for
tomorrow's Premiership game with Wasps. Fly half Toby Flood will be
out for up to six weeks with a knee injury, joining fellow England
internationals Manu Tuilagi and Louis Deacon on the injury list.
And that complete my animal run with the Tigers.
Just in time for our Animal list. There's a new census taking place,
but it's not to count people. Instead, it's a tally of animals.
It's all happening at Twycross Zoo. So are they missing meerkats? Have
a few monkeys gone over the wall? Right, one, two, 3, four elephant.
Going pretty well so far. The big count is on. Exactly how
many animals are there at Twycross Zoo? Meal, or to the point of
counting the animals? It is important for us to know how many
we have got in the zoo so the end- of-year stocktaking is a good way
of doing that. I expecting any surprises? The keepers keep a check
on a daily basis so they do know what is going on each day but we
have had quite a few births that we have not found. Some of the
There should be about 180 different species and they all have to be
counted. That is around 1,000 This is a very unusual enclosure.
The leaf cutter ants marched right through the toilet building.
3,000,001, 3 million and 2, keep still! 3 million and six leaf
cutter ants, there you go. thanks, but we can't one whole
colony as one. -- we count one whole Colin Nish. It will take
It is a bit like counting your outfit, an impossible job! And now
I love counting the near cats. I am sure all the animals have enjoyed a
much quieter day that we have had today. We have certainly had
lighter winds and the weekend as a whole will be a calmer affair than
we have been used to. This was the sun rise this morning, absolutely
stunning. Thank you to rob descending this in. It almost looks
like the bird was jumping for joy as the sun was coming up. Send your
e-mails in with your pictures. This morning, we woke up with the
glorious sunrise and a much nicer way to start the day. We gradually
saw an increase in cloud as we went through this afternoon. Bigger gaps
between the isobars and that is why we have had these light of winds
but we have still got a warm front followed by this cold front and
this will be pushing through this evening. We could see some
outbreaks of rain as we go through the next few hours. The cloud has
increased this evening and with it, we are starting to see the light
rain and drizzle at times with the wind strengthening with gusts of up
to 35 mph, nothing as strong as what we had earlier in the week. It
will become drier towards tomorrow morning and we will even see some
clear skies before the end of the night. Temperatures dropping down
to 6 or seven Celsius. Her as we start Saturday, we are in for a
promising start. Lots of sunshine, particularly in the east towards
Lincolnshire and Leicestershire. They keep most of the sunshine
tomorrow and you will notice that cloud coming in and with it, you
might just get some showers across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, the
Peak District. For most, it will stay dry feeling a bit breezy at
times but not particularly windy. Sunday it should stay mostly tribal
with temperatures around nine Celsius put into the new week, we
keep hold of the cloud but the temperatures are in double figures