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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