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rest of the week. Thank you.
This is East Midlands Today with Dominic Heale and me, Anne Davies.
Tonight: Jailed ` the Czech family guilty of benefit fraud on an
industrial scale. The gang flew in scores of East Europeans to claim
tax credits worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. It was very
sophisticated and ruthless. They were very successful for a short
period of time. Also, the campaign to prevent more young people like
Joe from dying from heart conditions. SADS is twice the number
of cot deaths. We cannot afford to lose people's lives. And we will be
visiting this 1930s cinema. Good evening and welcome to the
start of a new week here on East Midlands Today. First tonight, a
family from the Czech Republic has been given jail sentences totalling
14 years after stealing ?750,000 in tax and benefit fraud. They were
stopped from stealing a further ?500,000.
The gang brought people in from Europe to stay in Nottingham, and
then controlled their bank accounts to make the fraudulent claims. The
court heard that all the proceeds of the fraud have either been
transferred abroad or gambled away. Here's our chief news reporter,
Quentin Rayner. Alena Lackova was the only member of
the gang not jailed today. She received a two year suspended
sentence. How do you justify this huge benefit fraud? Do you think you
should apologise to the British taxpayer? Do you have anything to
say? She's pictured here with her husband, Jan Lacko from the Czech
Republic. Also convicted are Lackova's nieces Iveta Ferkova and
Magdalena Ferkova. She, along with her former partner Julius Ziga, were
those leading the scam. Over two years the gang arranged for people
to travel from the EU states of the Czech Republic and Slovakia to
Nottingham, with the promise of legal employment. They'd be
temporarily put up in one of a dozen houses rented by the gang, who'd
then act as interpreters to get them a national insurance number and open
a bank account. Claims for tax credits and child benefits were
made, which were channelled into bank accounts controlled by the
fraudsters. The foreign nationals were then told there was no work and
sent back home after a few days. It is only a two`bedroom house and
there were up to 30 people at any one time inside. There was a group
of them outside. A woman took a lot of money out of her bag and put the
rest in. They had a different brand`new car every week, we were
living next door to them. Bthey were very determined. Talk about the
number of people involved. Whenever they were questioned or challenged,
they would drive people back over here to answer questions to
effectively fill HMRC into believing them. Surveillance pictures caught
the gang at tax offices accompanying people to make fraudulent credit
claims. Lists of PIN numbers were seized which controlled scores of
accounts. This bank in Mapperley was one of those used by the family. In
all, 124 bank accounts were set up to receive cash from 77 false tax
credit claims totalling over ?500,000. The gang was stopped from
stealing a further half a million pounds. The family was withdrawing
over ?30,000 a month and spending it in casinos and on luxury cars. But
how were they able to exploit the benefits system for so long? It
didn't take two years to catch them, it took a while to identify
that the claims were being made fraudulently. Once that was
identified, we acted quickly and dealt with it effectively. I can't
believe it has taken so long. You have people around here who actually
need that money and a few have people like that bringing people
into the country, it is not right and not fair. Sentencing the gang,
the judge said he was now satisfied they'd stolen at least ?750,000 in
tax credits by cynically and greedily exploiting the system.
Magdalena Ferkova, who was described as a brazen liar, wasn't sentenced
today ` she's currently on the run. The judge ruled that the three sent
to prison will face eventual deportation.
The daughter and son`in`law of an elderly Nottinghamshire couple have
made their first Crown Court appearance charged with their
murders. Susan and Christopher Edwards are accused of killing
William and Patricia Wycherley. Human remains were found in the back
garden of their former home near Mansfield last month. The police say
the couple had been shot. The Wycherleys had been missing since
1998. A trial is expected to start next June.
Firefighters staged another two`hour strike across the East Midlands
earlier today. The walk`out from six until eight o'clock this morning was
the third in recent weeks by members of the Fire Brigades Union. It's
part of a dispute with the Government over pensions and changes
to the retirement age. During this morning's strike, only crews in
Leicestershire attended any incidents. We simply cannot carry on
doing our job in our late 50s because we will not be fit enough.
Two thirds of firefighters face the sack. We cannot accept it and we
have got nothing left that we can do to demonstrate to the government
that we are not going to accept these proposals.
Still to come ` bus passengers fight plans to cut services to cut
services across Leicestershire. The proposals could save three
quarters of a million pounds a year ` but villagers fear it'll leave
them feeling isolated and alone. Tens of thousands of workers will
see an increase in earnings after it was announced that the so`called
"living wage" will be going up. The national announcement was made
in Nottingham this morning, increasing the hourly rate by 20p to
?7.65. Nottinghamshire Police is now the first force in the country to
commit to the wage. Sarah Teale reports.
The new living wage figure is ?7.65. A 0
The new living wage figure is ?7.65. A welcome announcement for
supporters of the living wage. It's not enforced by law like the minimum
wage of ?6.31, but campaigners say employers should feel a moral duty
to pay it to staff. Academics at Loughborough University have worked
out the increase based on the real rising cost of living. The East
Midlands has the highest number of people earning under the living wage
than any other government region in England. That's around 300,000
people. The majority are women in retail, hospitality and catering. A
strong supporter of the living wage is 18`year`old Jhudari Scholar from
Sherwood. Family life is really hard and difficult for us growing up. One
of seven, his mother had three jobs. He says the living wage would have
made a huge difference to their lives. Things like being able to
come along to my parents evenings, being able to help out with my
homework, being around to help my sisters when we needed her. More
East Midlands employers are supporting the living wage. Many
councils have already committed to it. Nottinghamshire County Council
says 2,000 staff will get the living wage from April. And today,
Nottinghamshire Police announced it would be the first force in the
country to sign up. There are 4500 people who work for Nottinghamshire
but I don't want to stop there. We have listened to all of our
contractors and we say when we put our services out in the future, we
want you to pay their living wage to. Many employers say they can't
afford to pay the living wage, but campaigners argue it makes strong
business sense, improving staff retention and motivation. Sarah
Teale, BBC East Midlands Today, Nottingham.
A short time ago I spoke to George Cowcher of the Derbyshire and
Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce. I asked him if paying the living
wage would be an unwelcome burden for business. We think it is up to
individual companies to decide how much they wish to pay their
employees. A national minimum wage is very important and we have always
supported that, whether people go above that is up to them. Many
different companies Rob Ward there are workers in different ways, some
pay more on training and some give other forms of support. `` many
different companies reward their workers. You don't want to seek
where urgent? That always had an effect on the market. And that will
be not necessarily helpful in terms of employing more people. You are
being diplomatic. I wonder whether what we might see is a two tier
system developing where some companies offer the living wage and
others don't and those others will have problems recruiting. We are
going to move into a tightening labour market and employment levels
rise. So all employers are going to have to look at ways in which they
can ensure that the source the right number of employees, of the right
quality, and therefore they will be looking very much at the way in
which they pay them. Thank you. More than 600 young people die
unexpectedly each year from it in the UK. Rare heart conditions they
didn't know they had. It's known as Sudden Arythmic Death Syndrome, or
SADS. Well, today in Leicester a grieving
family, a high`profile sports star, as well as doctors and nurses from
across the country, came together with one aim ` to save more lives.
Our health correspondent Rob Sissons was there and is here now. Rob, a
lot of this work is being done in memory one of East Midlands teenager
in particular. That's right. Our viewers may remember this case. It
is basically Joe Humphreys, he was only 14 and had been out jogging
near his home in Leicestershire when two minutes from home he collapsed
and died. He had a heart condition, there he is with everything to live
for and his dad, a huge hole in his life but he has thrown himself into
this campaign. He was at a conference today and told me that
what he wants to do is get Doctor together at the hospital and from
around the UK to raise awareness about the symptoms and he had
recruited Martin Johnson, the former England rugby captain, who is the
patron of that charity and is helping raise awareness of what is
going on. SADS is twice the number of cot deaths. We cannot afford to
lose the John people. We can do something. `` lose these are young
people. Every child can now CPR and save a life. There are hundreds of
kids playing all over the place. It is going to happen somewhere, in
Leicestershire or the East Midlands at some point. It is incredibly sad.
Rob, what are the warning signs people 0
Rob, what are the warning signs people need to look out for? We
heard today at that conference at the Glenfield Hospital that
sometimes there are no warning signs. Sometimes when families look
back they think, yes, there was something going on, contains it can
be pains, unexplained pains, or perhaps painting without any proper
explanation. We heard from one of the experts today who works at the
accident and emergency unit. Everyone knows what causes a faint.
If you think for no reason or if it happens during exercise, you need to
take that seriously and go and see your GP. If people thought you
looked ill when you fainted, you should go to accident and emergency.
You will perhaps the subtle signs of these diseases. No`one is pretending
this is easy but they are saying to look out for those warning signs and
also the message going out to the medical profession to have this on
their radar so that more lives can be saved. Thank you very much, Rob.
Leicestershire Police say they've made almost 100 arrests in the last
week as part of a new campaign focusing on crimes such as drug
dealing and anti`social behaviour. Officers working on Operation Tiger
have held 65 people on suspicion of a whole range of crimes. More than
30 others for not paying fines after previous convictions. The force says
it shows the crackdown is proving effective.
Nottinghamshire Police are pledging ?20,000 to give pensions to retired
police dogs. The money will be available from next month and will
ensure any medical expenses, related to work injuries, will be paid by
the fund for the first three years of a dog's retirement. Police dogs
normally retire at the age of seven or eight and often become pets for
the police dog handlers. "We'll be left isolated and alone."
That's the fear from bus passengers in Leicestershire if proposed cuts
and alterations to routes go ahead. The County Council's consulting on
proposed changes which, if approved, would save ?750,000 a year. But
passengers are determined to fight the plans. A petition has already
been started in one village. Helen Astle reports.
This village might look sleepy but locals here are busy campaigning
against proposed cuts and alterations to their bus service.
Rosemary Johnson is spearheading a campaign against the proposals. A
couple of elderly ladies have told me they will give up on life. And
there will be nothing for them to live for any more if they cannot get
out and meet the people on the buses, that is their way of
communicating with the outside world. Leicestershire County Council
claim that some of the routes are subsidised at a cost of ?14 per
passenger per journey. People who I have been speaking to said that is
money well spent and without a bus route they would be isolated. And am
visually impaired and I have to get out to my social groups. I would
find it most difficult. It is the elderly people. They cannot get
anywhere. Now doctors, no opticians, no dentists. Nothing.
They are absolutely stuck. It is disgusting. We need this service. I
have a 90 minute walk. Leicestershire County Council is
proposing cuts or alterations to a number of routes. For some people,
instead of getting a bus, they could be offered a guy in a ride service
which they would have to book 24 hours in advance. If the plans are
approved it could save the authority ?750,000 per year. `` a dial a bus
service. People want to go into Loughborough. We want to keep that.
The money is not the be all and end all but it is exceptionally
important. It will have a big impact on the shops down in Loughborough.
The bus is quite full most days. And I think we need to keep it. The
consultation will run until the middle of 0
consultation will run until the middle of December. Time now for
sport. I have a special guest. The man on the inside at Leicester City,
it is the club ambassador Alan Birch. His association with the club
goes back 40 years. That makes him the perfect person to is the about
the Foxes' superb start to the season. What is the secret?
Different mentality. From previous years. The boys are just so solid.
On Saturday at Watford, three players were not available at that
normally are available, three players came in and there was no
difference. Let's talk about that game on Saturday and watch the
goals. After the heartbreak of the playoffs, how good was it to go back
to Watford and dominate like this? Tremendous. We buried a few Demons.
We were apprehensive before the game but the boys put in a tremendous
performance. Anthony Knockaert missed that penalty in the play`off
game so his goal was great. But I want to talk about the first one
some more. How often do you see something like this? You have got to
give Chris Woods the credit. For any young boy that sees this, in a
football match probably about ten or 20 back classes back to the
goalkeeper during a game but what he did for that once, 0
goalkeeper during a game but what he did for that once, and you normally
get a goalkeeper from one. Out of 20 he gets on and Chris Woods picked
that one out. He didn't know anything about it, but it was good.
I was talking to him this morning and he said the ball was put right
on my face and I knew where it was going. It was a very funny moment. I
mentioned this great start ` but we've been here before. Are we in
danger of getting over`excited? No. I can see that because I think it is
the best art we have ever had as a football club. Really going well.
But I sent around the training ground there is a different
mentality. It harks back to the Martin O'Neill days. It is that sort
of togetherness in the dressing room, the guys that are playing are
there week in and week out, the lads on the sidelines. Nigel keeps them
on his toes. There is a strong mentality about the side this year.
The fans will be happy to hear you invoke the name of Martin O'Neill.
The manager looks very relaxed. He should be. We are playing well.
There is a blend of youth and experience for the first time. Nigel
has got guys on the bench that he can call upon that are as good as
the guys who are playing. His biggest dilemma this season has been
leaving players out. What a nice position to be in. Absolutely. Thank
you very much for coming in to talk about it with us.
Nottingham Forest will be without defenders Kelvin Wilson and Danny
Collins for at least ten weeks. Wilson is undergoing an operation
today and Collins has ligament damage. It comes as Forest are
stuttering a little ` just one point from three games. But I was there to
speak to Billy Davies, as he laid some of the blame at the official's
door. I have just spoke to directory and the officials with regards to
three major incidents. Billy Davies had a clear message to
deliver after defeat by Blackpool ` that he wanted to lose games fairly.
Take, in his view, the decision not to award a penalty to Darius
Henderson. We have all agreed that there was contact. We have all
agreed that because there was no yellow card given to Henderson, it
was because of the contact but the big question is, did Henderson six
yards out intentionally make contact with the defender? That compounded
by what happened at the other end ten minutes before half time.
Although here, the focus is on Forest's Djamal Abdoun. To go and
use a player because of that stupidity could have knocked him
back to goalkeeper, could have cleared his lines, he tried to be
too clever and he has cost his team that three points today. With Abdoun
sent off, keeper Karl Darlow pulled off a mini`miracle to keep things
level. And for another 0 off a mini`miracle to keep things
level. And for another 57 minutes, ten`man Forest were able to keep
Blackpool at bay ` and even create the odd chance. Then it all went
wrong. But in Davies' view, it was the officials who failed. There is
no doubt that we claimed for the offside. The linesman's line of
vision is wrong. He cannot see what he is supposed to see. All we are
asking for is that the rules are applied. We are not asking for
anything else. He has more than a point. But to be honest, 11 v 11,
Forest weren't great. And they're still searching for a player to give
them a cutting edge. Derby County are still in the
process of trying to appoint a Technical Director to work alongside
Head Coach Steve McClaren. The Rams lost 2`1 at Queen's Park Rangers at
the weekend. Jermaine Jenas put the home team ahead. And even though QPR
are promotion favourites, Derby gave them a good game. Simon Dawkins got
the Rams back in it. But Clint Hill scored the winner for Harry
Redknapp's team, to seal the first defeat under new boss Steve
McClaren. In League One, Notts County are
still in the hunt for a new manager after Chris Kiwomya's sacking eight
days ago. Temporary boss Steve Hodge was in charge as Notts lost 3`0 at
Coventry City at the weekend. It was 0`0 for much of the first half but
then a very high foot from Danny Haynes put County down to ten men
and Coventry scored a few minutes later. City added two more goals in
the second half to return the Magpies back to the bottom of the
table. Well, it's not all about the
football ` it was a busy sporting weekend. Jessica Creighton has the
round`up of the best of the rest of the weekend's sports news.
In rugby, Leicester Tigers struggled at home to Harlequins, who fully
deserved the try that gave them the lead on the stroke of half time.
Tigers worked hard and a last`minute penalty try brought them a losing
bonus point ` which could be crucial at the end of the season.
In ice hockey, Nottingham Panthers made it two wins from two over the
weekend with victories over Dundee and then Fife. It was goals galore
for the Panthers against Fife yesterday in a 7`1 victory at the
Nottingham Arena. Brandon Benedict scored in the first period before
notching up a hat trick and the man`of`the`match award. The two wins
put the Panthers four places and six points off league leaders Belfast
Giants, but with four games in hand. And in squash, Nick Matthew become
world champion for the third time last night. Matthew, who is part of
Duffield Squash and 0 last night. Matthew, who is part of
Duffield Squash and Racketball Club in Derbyshire, beat Frenchman
Gregory Gaultier 3`2. In a dramatic final, Matthew powered to a two`game
lead before Gaultier clawed it back to 2`2. But 33`year`old Matthew held
on to win the third and final game in front of the Manchester crowd.
It's his third world title in four years.
Fantastic stuff from Nick Matthew. Well done to Lester Riders
basketball team. Thank you.
From Sir David Attenborough's musical childhood to a young poet `
our Made in Leicester series has heard from an array of creative
people who have been inspired by their surroundings.
Now it's your turn to get involved. All this week we're collecting
photos that sum up culture in Leicester and Leicestershire. So to
get your creative juices flowing, I've been to one of my favourite
places. The writer Billy Ivory once
described in the Regal Cinema in Nottingham as the finest cinema in
England and I am inclined to agree with him. I have been coming here
for years. It has recently had a bit of a make over so it is even nicer
than before. Which is why I have chosen it is my `` why I have chosen
it as my favourite place. Built in the 1930s, it is a throwback to the
golden age of cinema, full of Art Deco furnishings and nods to the
past. The cinema almost face closure when the previous owner died, but it
has now been lovingly restored back to its former glory. I 0
has now been lovingly restored back to its former glory. I first used to
come here, they used to have those little pull`down seats and this is
how ideas to save my chair. That is my picture question. What is yours?
What sums up culture for you in Leicester and Leicestershire? Send
your pictures to [email protected] You might
even get to see some of them on East Midlands Today. Don't just stand
there. Get snapping. And that address again is
[email protected] Remember to put your name and the story
behind the photo and a selection will be on East Midlands Today later
in the week. Remember to put your name and 0
in the week. Remember to put your name and the story behind the photo
and a selection will be on East Midlands Today later in the week.
Anything counts. Happy New Year if you are marking Diwali last night.
Thousands of people gathered on the streets of Leicester last night to
celebrate the start of Diwali. 6,5000 lights lit up the Golden
Mile. Visitors also saw a huge fireworks display. It's thought to
have been one of the biggest Diwali events outside India. It marks the
start of the Hindu New Year. That is a brilliant display. Was the
weather good last night? I have gone blank.
At least the wind it did ease compared to the gusts we had on
Saturday night if you are trying to have a bonfire party and if you're
planning thing `` planning anything for tomorrow night, it will be more
windy, blustery conditions but the majority of the showers across the
West, so hopefully the East Midlands will fare better with the dry
weather. The wind is the main issue. We have a cold night in store
tonight, it is certainly going to drop in temperature, through the
early part of the evening, but the cloud will increase again through
the south`west, so that it be a touch of air frost before the cloud
starts to rise and the rain started coming. The rain comes in tomorrow
morning. Judy will be a wet start initially, 0
morning. Judy will be a wet start initially, this band of rain slowly
tracking its way towards the north`east. `` it will be a wet
start initially. The sky certainly starting to break and into the
afternoon and the daytime temperature tomorrow will be
tendencies but the wind will be quite strong at times. There will
still be a few showers across Derbyshire for a time through the
early part of the evening and we have also got a band of rain moving
up later in the night but it is the bit in between that he will
hopefully manage to see, a few bonfires lit safely and a few
fireworks. Wednesday will certainly be a very wet day again, this band
of rain pushing northwards through the daytime, the wind remaining
strong again through Wednesday. A slightly better day in store for
Thursday, still a breezy day but it should be mainly dry, again there is
more rain on the way, starting to come in behind me here so by the
time we get to Friday, a cloudy started a day there is more rain
likely later in the day on Friday. It will feel cooler this week,
temperatures getting back to what they should be for this time of year
but by the weekend, it will change. Pick your day. There is one good one
out of that bunch. I think it was Thursday. Make a note of that. See
you later tonight. A family memoir that captured
the hearts of millions. A potter telling stories
out of porcelain