02/12/2011 Midlands Today


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Welcome to Midlands today with Nick Owen. The headlines tonight.


Call done a camera, the benefit fraudster who claimed she was


disabled but was fit enough to run competitively -- caught on camera.


Ho ho ho online Christmas shoppers have created 1,500 new jobs for


their region. 60% in November and December, so


important to get it right. The cold snap and the increasing


cost of living are pressurising numbers into homeless shelters.


And plenty of backing for the Glassboys, dreaming of more FA Cup


Good evening and welcome to the start of the weekend here on


Midlands Today. Our top story tonight: a benefits


fraud that investigators say is one of the most blatant they've ever


seen. The woman they were investigating


claimed she was too disabled to tie her own shoelaces. In fact, she was


fit enough to run regularly and even competed in road races.


The Government says the current crackdown on benefit cheats has


saved �100 million since October last year. During that time


there've been 10,000 prosecutions. That compares with 8,200 in the


previous 12 months. Liz Copper reports now on how video


evidence made one woman part of those statistics.


This undercover footage shows Gillian Hulme, in the black top,


running in a road race through Stoke on Trent. She trained three


times a week with a running club. She'd even taken part in a half-


marathon. All whilst claiming benefit on the basis she could


barely walk. The 55-year-old appeared at Stoke on Trent Crown


Court after admitting illegally claiming more than �45,000 in


benefits over ten years. She stated she was only able to


walk 20 yards over a three-minute period and that was certainly not


the case. Hulme had taken up running after having back problems


- but continued to claim benefits even though her condition improved


so dramatically. Pete Millington has represented disabled people who


have had their claims disputed and feels fraudsters cause problems for


honest claimants. I think it does have an unfortunate impact in


demonising disabled people generally, that are genuine


claimants of benefits. So we don't want there to be anxiety amongst


and -- disabled people who genuinely need benefits. After this


footage was played in court, Hulme was given an eight month suspended


prison sentence and was ordered to carry out 200 hours' unpaid work.


Sentencing Gillian Hulme, the judge said the benefits system is


undermined and its reputation damaged by people who begin to the


fund of money without being entitled to it. He said she had


known perfectly well what she was doing was utterly wrong that power


reputation had been publicly ruined. -- and her reputation.


And the Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud tonight welcomed the


prosecution and said benefit thieves cost the taxpayer almost


one billion pounds each year - money intended to go to those most


in need. Ahead of us tonight: up for sale,


not up for grabs. How these car thieves asked for a test drive and


never came back. With just three weeks to go until


Christmas, online retailers are preparing for their busiest weekend


of the year. It's estimated internet shoppers in


this region will spend about �1 billion between now and the 25th.


And hundreds of temporary jobs have been created servicing that demand.


Our Business Correspondent Peter Plisner joins us now from one of


the busiest online depots in South Warwickshire.


Pete Happe. Yes, tonight they are at the


warehouse -- we are at a warehouse, or internet shopping is very big


business these days, it is estimated that a few years ago,


there were 3.5 million shoppers, now there are 37 million. They


process 15,000 orders per day here over Christmas, up from 1,000 per


day and Christmas shopping is going hi-tech. 24% they use their


smartphones to order goods, but whichever method you use, it


promises to be an extremely busy weekend.


Why go to the shops when you can buy almost everything online? That


is what Martin Weale does. We do a big supermarket shop every two


weeks, so this is Christmas, so we are doing a lot of Christmas


shopping. It gives me the opportunity to get things that are


a bit unusual. I won't tell you what I bought my wife, but it is


something I wouldn't be able to buy easily locally. But not everyone


has done their Christmas shopping yet, hence the reason places like


this are so busy, with orders coming in thick and fast. The race


is now on to get everything packaged up and delivered. A It is


really busy, there are people running around all the time that


everyone is a bit stressed. started in October, and which was


quite nice, because it was quite steady, but now it has gone mad.


big presence do you wrap a day? varies. -- How many presents.


are so many. Such a lot to do. other popular products? These S


weathers are selling a lot, you fill them with helium and then you


remote-controlled of -- S weathers. This Spycatcher is doing well. But


this is basically an adult baby grow. And in this business,


selecting the right product is crucial. I would say looking out


for a new products at gift fairs, looking to see what the major


retailers are pushing it, keeping an eye on the sales trends and


talking to the suppliers that there who have been doing it for years.


Other online retailers are also busy, part of the reason that


companies like Amazon have set up shop here. Its new warehouse in


Rougerie is already processing thousands of orders, by -- and that


the same time creating hundreds of jobs. Experts maintain that despite


the recession, the growth of online shopping is helping many firms buck


the trend, something that looks set to continue. We are around a cross-


Channel, multi-channel retailing, you can buy through a website and


our high-street store, for a mobile device and a telephone ordering. It


is those different channels and options for retailers and customers


that is a really big area of growth. Some products are quite literally


flying off the shelves this year and with Santa's online helpers


working overtime, it looks like being a happy Christmas for all


concerned. And some other popular products


flying off the shelves... These remote controlled candles. If you


are feeling tired over Christmas, have about a blow up as ever frame?


And if you remember the Styler phone, they are making a comeback


as well. A Adam, tell me how much trade you actually do over


Christmas. Which is 60% of our turnover in November and December.


-- we do. A why is this so busy for are like chopping? It is the first


weekend after pay-day, Christmas is looming. -- why is it so busy for


online shopping. What about growth online, it seems to keep growing?


We have seen between 40-80% year on year, but it is getting more


competitive, so just about making sure your prices are right. Last


year, snow affected online traders. Are presumably, you will be the


Addie people hoping not to get a white Christmas. -- Oh the people.


We don't mind it on Christmas Day, because everything is done by them,


but not before. A my favourite thing will be this knife throwing


set, it is plastic, but hours of endless fun.


Peter, thank you very much. An 11-year-old boy who was killed


in a road accident in Warwickshire has been named as Tiarnan Welland.


He died yesterday morning as he tried to catch the school bus.The


car involved stopped at the scene. The accident happened on the A423


between Southam and Farnborough. Police are appealing for witnesses


to contact them. Four men from Stoke on Trent have


denied being part of a group plotting terror attacks on major


London targets. The four, aged between 20 and 27, were arrested in


dawn raids a year ago. Today at Woolwich crown crown court, they


pleaded not guilty to the charges against them, which related to an


alleged plot to target the Stock Exchange, the Houses of Parliament


and the American Embassy. Selling cars through online


advertising or auto trading magazines has become common


practice. But it nearly cost a disabled woman from Coventry her


life. Dawn Markham was seriously injured


when two men drove over her while test driving her BMW X5 and then


made a getaway. Detectives believe she was the victim of an organised


gang who're shipping stolen high- powered vehicles out of the country.


Here's Bob Hockenhull. Captured on a street security


camera - the moment two men arrived at Dawn Markham's house purporting


to be interested in her car. The luxury BMW X5 had been advertised


for sale for �43,000 and one of the man calling himself Raj Singh from


Luton said he wanted to buy it. -- one of the men. There was


absolutely nothing suspicious about them. They produced insurance


documents, they had actually made eye-contact with May. But when she


accompanied the men on a test drive, things quickly turned nasty a mile


from Dawn's house in Coundon in Coventry. He actually grabbed my


arm, basically swore at me and told me to get out the car, otherwise he


would kill me. I actually grab that the door handle of the car and he


sped off, and of course, as it tried to be several yards down the


road. Dawn was knocked unconscious and suffered severe bruising. The


thieves abandoned the car outside this pub less than two miles away,


police believing they had got scared because of what they had


done. It is hoped security camera images will help identify the


thieves. We are seeing more and more that it is organised crime


gangs committed these crimes and taking their number of cars --


committing. They are moving them abroad or disposing of them in this


country somehow. Trade in standards officers say prospective sellers


need to be on their guard -- Trading Standards. Don't let the


keys out of your possession and be a bit wary of how they are behaving.


If they are showing little interest in the car and are more interested


in getting to the test drive, you might be wary of that. But Dawn


says her ideal means she will never advertised at car for sale again --


ordeal. Still to come, how a surgeon's


skill and the dedication of his owners saved Sebastian after he


fell 50 feet. This time last year we were


battling with the snow to get out and about, and although it will be


cold over the weekend, the snow stays north of us and it is looking


like a lovely, crisp wintry weekend. With forecasters predicting


temperatures sinking to below zero again over the weekend, there's a


warning about support for homeless people struggling to keep warm.


One charity says it's had to move to bigger premises and open a


fortnight early to cope with demand. Giles Latcham is in Birmingham.


Giles, pretty chilly for anyone outside tonight?


The bone-chilling commander decided going to get colder for the


hundreds of people taking part -- it is bone-chilling, and it is only


going to get hold up for the hundreds of people taking part in


the annual fundraiser. More of that in a moment, but first, Ben Godfrey


in Worcester, where they are worried about an influx of people


seeking shelter. Six o'clock this morning,


temperatures in Worcester have hit minus two. There's warmth and


comfort at the YMCA in St John's. They call this place the Night


Assessment centre. Those seeking shelter can get food, sleep and


support. Nick Jackson came here after separating from his


girlfriend. He says he was born in Worcester but can't afford to live


here. First of all, it was the only place that basically would accept


me. Pilot light to go to college, study a few things and then


hopefully get my own place and settle down -- I would like to.


This centre relies on donations - like sleeping bags - and it's had


to open two weeks early. It's run by St Paul's hostel but moved to


the YMCA for more space to meet demand, as winter begins to bite.


would say last year particularly, because temperatures were a lot


lower at this time of year, there would have been quite a high


likelihood of people dying out on the streets, if the night assessed


and said they hadn't been open. One of they reasons we have opened


early is to try and pre-empt what might be a caring with the weather


-- one of the reasons. Around 20 people had used the night


assessment centre here. Growing numbers coming year on year. It


coincides with figures from the homeless charity crisis, who say


there has been a 15% increase in the number of people contacting


local authority for help. Staff say they're told of many reasons why


people come to this centre and one that stands out. In a riverside


city - a city where many aspire to live - the cost of rent is pricing


more people out and onto the streets.


The cost of rented accommodation seemingly exacerbating the problem


it was there. Let's talk about the scale of the problem in Birmingham.


You deal with young people but what do you understand the situation to


be questioned Arc unfortunately, this is all pretend, so the people


here are not really homeless. understanding is that number is


increasing in Birmingham as well -- my understanding. Particularly


those suffering from the economic situation, problems with their


mortgage situation and also people whose landlords and may have an


issue with their mortgage situation, so it is increasing. Casting it


forward, we have record youth unemployment, how do you see this


forward playing out. -- this problem? I think there is a real


worry for young people. We are in a situation, family, relationship,


frictions that a conflict tend to lead to a youth homelessness a bad


when families are under pressure, that often spills out on to


teenagers and adolescence -- and when families. Also welfare reform,


very worried about that. Pressure on funding, which makes all of this


all the more valuable, and when you are going to a nice warm bed


tonight, spare a thought for those on the streets of Birmingham.


For three months he's been on and off the surgeon's operating table,


but tonight Sebastian the tabby cat is coming home after �6,000 worth


of operations. He'd fallen from the fourth storey


of a building, suffering extensive injuries, which required braces and


metal pins to put him back together. Joanne Writtle has the story.


Two-year-old Sebastion is checked over by the vet who helped save his


life. He suffered lung and chest injuries after a dramatic fall.


Metal supports have helped mend broken bones in three legs.


front left leg, he there are metal bars going through the bones of his


legs, the top and bottom of his radius and metal bars on the


outside connecting those. This X- ray shows a break in the femur soon


after the accident. Here, pins hold together a fracture in a front leg.


His back legs are also held together with metal. He is jumping


a little bit higher now, since the metal is in there. I don't think he


worries as much about the landings any more. Vets put his survival


chances at less than 10%. His owners paid �6,000 for orthopaedic


surgery, chest draining and other procedures. Pet insurance of �11 a


month covered two-thirds of the bill. His owners say it was worth


it to take him back home to their other cat. I just can't believe it.


But when we first got him home, it was a hard week, he was fed through


a tube, the other cat didn't recognise him, it was emotional


trauma. Sebastian fell from here. A fourth floor window at his owners'


flat in Edgbaston in Birmingham. He's spent today at the vets in


Halesowen. Sebastian is about to be sedated for more X-rays to see


whether some of his metal inserts can finally be removed, there it is


likely that some of the metal supports will have to stay for good.


The cat is little face. He is a beauty, isn't he? -- look


So back home tonight. And Sebastian's latest op earlier today


was apparently a great sucesss. Good luck, Sebastian. Let's talk


sport. There's yet more upheaval behind


the scenes at Coventry City. Dan's here now. What's happened now?


This time it's the chairman Ken Dulieu who's stood down. Back in


March, Dulieu and the board held a press conference stating bold


intentions. Three of the five who were present that day are no longer


in place. But the chairman said the day his appointment was only ever


saw -- short term. It has been an interesting journey, but my job was


only ever to put the building blocks in place and but the


strategy in place, stop there had lecturing of cash and convince the


owners to keep funding. -- the haemorrhaging of cash. It doesn't


get better the commentary. -- the Coventry. What next?


He is going to become head of operations, help the manager signed


contracts and get the players into the club. They are looking for


investment from the local community, but they need to do it quickly,


because Coventry have struggled for quite a while financially, and if


they don't have sorted out soon, they will be in League One and even


more trouble. But better times at Stoke City.


Absolutely. They're through to the knockout stage of the Europa League


after drawing 1-all with Dynamo Kiev last night. It didn't look


likely during the first half in which Stoke struggled and fell


behind to a Matthew Upson own goal. But Stoke rallied after the break


and got their reward nine minutes from time when Kenwynne Jones


converted Jermaine Pennant's cross. Afterwards the Stoke manager Tony


Pulis said he was proud of his players. This is what the fans


thought. Their manager was playing spoiling tactics, they kept on


falling down, all the way through it. What can you do? You can only


do your best, can't she? How far as you think they can go? All the way.


All the way. At it is going to get to play their next round. But Albu


way to the final. That will be a journey into the unknown. Likewise


for Stourbridge Football Club tomorrow. It's their first


appearance in the FA Cup second round. And tomorrow, more than


3,000 fans will pack inside the War Memorial Ground, hoping to see the


Glassboys pull off a famous victory over Stevenage from League One. Ian


Winter reports. It was hard work today at the Glass


Centre, like it was every day. But they I used to it in Stourbridge.


Players like Ian have been doing this for more than 400 years, which


is why they are called the Glassboys. One of them, Sam the


Rock, has just clocked up 300 games. Now you know why they are called


the Glassboys. It has been on my doorstep the whole time, and there


I know why. It is like Hart, the way they go around making it. --


art. It is some heritage for the town. Did you ever envisage you


would be cutting a piece of crystal glass to celebrate Stourbridge in


the FA Cup second round? No, but things happen, especially in the


second round of the FA Cup. Bring gone mad United. This afternoon,


they had no time to put their feet up before the cup tie. They were


too busy coaching the youngsters at a or primary school in


Wolverhampton. They all work for a charity called believed to achieve.


The FA Cup, nobody comes to these grounds and fancied themselves, and


we are in good form at the moment that we are all confident, really


lucky -- looking forward to it. Stourbridge expat come on,


Stourbridge! You can't let them down after a reaction like that.


Back row no, it is a great atmosphere, the kids want us to win


it -- no. Hand on heart, can Stourbridge really beat Stevenage?


I really think we can. With the community behind us and thus


pushing to the standard we can play, I definitely think we can.


Stevenage beware. Some rock doesn't score many, but when he does, they


tend to be rather special. -- Sam. Tomorrow, 3,000 fans will be


looking to break that -- C the Glassboys make history. Stourbridge


glass is unique. Commemorating the first ever appearance in the FA Cup


second round. Just over 100 tickets still unsold.


The kick-off is 2pm, a regular update on BBC WM. And you can


follow your tea by John local radio. Let's hope Stourbridge can make it


through. -- follow your team on your local radio. Always back the


underdog. Come on, Stourbridge.


You said it. Dedication, enthusiasm, fairness.


70-year-old swimming coach Derek Northcote has them all in abundance.


He's devoted the past 30 years to helping people with disabilities at


the Tamworth Unicorns Swimming Club. That dedication has won him a place


among the finalists in this year's BBC Midlands Sports Unsung Hero


Award. Lindsay Doyle's been to meet him.


For 30 years, Derek Northcote has been head coach at the Tamworth


Unicorns Swimming Club for Disabled Persons. Despite suffering a heart


attack and spinal injuries, he spends three days a week at the


club. You just get over that a bad give something back. It is


something I learned in my younger days, and why not help, help people


who love -- who are less fortunate than I am. Derek has helped change


the club from a casual swim to the competitive swimming club. He was


instrumental in the club would in the Queen's Award for voluntary


services in 2002 -- wedding. Dedication, enthusiasm, honesty,


fairness, just some of the words used to describe the coach. He is


brilliant, he is amazing. He helps others out and he is a great team


manager. Derek has helped hundreds of disabled people of all ages to


learn how to swim, indeed some of the original members are still


members today. Derek is kinder to me. I have been so been for about


30 years at than proud of Derek -- I have been swimming. Definitely


Clare's Unsung Hero. Derek's reaction to being nominated?


Embarrassed. They came out of the blue Subara complete shock. I


wasn't aware it was going to happen -- it came out of the blue, a


complete shock. He's a brilliant guy, a brilliant coach Andy has the


club at heart, and I thought he deserved some recognition for the


work he has done for this club. another thing that makes him stand


out, his conviction that even though funding is hard to come by


these days, the Tamworth Unicorns must continue to provide swimming


and friendship for some of the most vulnerable people in society.


And you can catch up with all four of the finalists we've featured so


far on our Midlands Today Facebook site.


That will be really interesting. Time for the weather now, Sarah, I


was outside this afternoon and it was perishing.


It was a very cold day, with enquire at -- winter might have


enquire at -- winter might have come. Overnight tonight, we will


see things turn quite wet as the weather front was whipping across


the region, bringing outbreaks of rain and quite a lot of cloud as


well. It would be quite as cold tonight, but the cloud thickening


and bringing outbreaks of patchy rain at first. It will clear by


tomorrow morning, turning drier, but temperatures go no lower than


five or 6C. Quite breezy night as well. But for the weekend, it is


looking cold, but it is also staying quite bright. A breezy as


well, especially tomorrow. Tomorrow morning start off quite a cloudy


with some rain around, but it will clear, giving way to dry and bright


weather, with plenty of sunshine around. Temperatures a touch higher,


nine or 10C, but in the wind, it was still feel quite cold, westerly


indirection. Looking ahead to the evening, it will stay dry but it


will be quite a cloudy. And it will be a cold night and on Sunday, the


weather for the skirting the far south of the UK, so where it is


still clear, dry and bright, plenty of sunshine around. A few showers


across the north of the region through the day, temperatures


around seven or eight. Ahead of us, dry and bright over the weekend but


quite call, turning especially cold quite call, turning especially cold


overnight, so that is how it is looking -- quite cold.


We have been warned. Pentti very much indeed. -- thank


you. A look at tonight's main headlines:


The German Chancellor has called for a new treaty of Europe to


control tax and spending across the Eurozone.


And a suspended jail sentence for the benefits cheat who was filmed


running even though she claimed she was disabled.


That's all from us this evening, but on Monday's Midlands Today


we'll be looking back at the last 30 years, as Birmingham band Duran


Duran celebrate the big three-oh with a homecoming gig. That'll be a


New Moon on Monday, then? I see what you did it there. It is


a bit of a rock'n'roll weekend, one way or the other, because you and I


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