20/12/2011 Midlands Today


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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today with Nick Owen and Suzanne Virdee.


The headlines tonight: Caught on camera - two Midlands


members of a gang jailed over a �250 million international VAT


fraud. As MPs debate Stafford Hospital,


the Trust says it's on target to fully re-open its A&E department.


am confident, 80% confident it will be open to the timetable we have


set. An investigation begins after a


hospital failed to spot a pensioner had terminal cancer. My mother was


sent home and the remaining 78 days of her life, she spent with no


palliative care and in pain. And hope for the Potteries' finest


- billionaire, John Caudwell, says he may buy the historic Wedgwood


Collection and save it from being Good evening, welcome to Tuesday's


Midlands Today from the BBC. Tonight: Jailed for a total of


almost 100 years - the fraudsters who tricked taxpayers out of a


staggering �250 million. The gang of 15, which included six people


from the Midlands, was captured after a ten-year operation by


Revenue and Customs officials involving 350 officers. The


investigation revealed a complex web of companies, set up with the


sole intention of fraudulently claiming millions in VAT from


mobile phone sales. The money was then spent to fund a lavish


lifestyle. These are the faces of six Midlands


fraudsters - two from Staffordshire, four from Coventry and Warwickshire


- all part of a 15-strong gang. They imported and exported mobile


phones for tax evasion and today saw the last of a series of court


cases where they and nine others were jailed. This was an


investigation into fraud on unprecedented scale, which led to


the theft of �250 million from the UK Exchequer.


Their crime is known as Carousel fraud. First mobile phones are


imported VAT free but then sold on including VAT, which is not passed


on to the tax office. Then the phones are exported by another part


of the gang, but this time they claim what appear to be legitimate


tax credits from the government. Father and son, Hashib and Eisa


Apabhai, from Bedworth operated one bogus company involved from this


address in the Holbrooks area of Coventry. They were filmed on CCTV


at Luton Airport as part of the investigation and were jailed for


seven and a half, and four years. In Staffordshire, Marcus Hughes,


ran another fraudulent company at Blythe Business Park. It was used


to move consignments of phones. This long-running investigation has


highlighted connections between fraud and other types of crimes,


for example when customs officers were searching the offices of


Marcus Hughes in Staffordshire, a lorry turned up and on the back -


two tonnes of cannabis resin with a street value of �5 million.


Hughes was jailed for six years for fraud and 12 for drug smuggling.


This was a very complex investigation, not least given the


international nature of the fraud and the number of people who


participated and the huge number of exhibits that were lifted during


searches. There were half-a-million documents, 130 computer hard disks


to be scrutinised. The last of the 15 gang members was jailed for nine


years today and his assets including a yacht and luxury homes


in London and Spain have been frozen.


And you can find more on that story on the BBC Coventry and


Warwickshire website. Later in the programme: Celebrating


the legend known as the father of football - the Scotsman who was the


chairman of Aston Villa and founder of the Football League.


A man's been arrested on suspicion of a terrorism offence after


arriving at Birmingham Airport. Police say he was suspected of


having a document which could be of use to someone planning a terrorist


act. Ben Sidwell joins us now from the newsroom. Ben what more do we


know? A 22-year-old man was arrested


yesterday evening after arriving from Dubai. Police say he is a


Pakistani national with a student visa. There won't say which


university he is studying at. He was arrested after a random baggage


check after them finding a document. West Midlands police say the man


posed no immediate threat either to the airport or the public. Although


he has been arrested on suspicion of carrying out a Terrorism attack,


he was arrested under the terms of the Police and Criminal evidence


Act, so he has to be held for four days before he is either charge,


baled or released. Managers at Stafford Hospital say


they're making good progress in recruiting the medical staff they


need to fully re-open the A&E emergency unit in March. The news


comes as MPs held a debate this afternoon into the controversial


decision to close the doors of the unit at night for three months.


It was always going to be a contentious decision and so it


proved, a candle-lit vigil when A&E first closed overnight at Stafford


demonstrated the strength of feeling. The hospital says the


decision was taken because staff shortages were jeopardising safety.


Today, an update on its progress in finding new recruits. It's set a


target of having five permanent senior A&E doctors - including


consultants. It now has three in post and a fourth starting at the


end of January. As for other, middle grade, emergency doctors,


the target is seven. The trust has four in post, another's soon to


start and a further 14 applicants will be interviewed in January.


am 80% confident we will reopen to the timetable we have set. So in


March. I think the programme we followed so far is going reasonably


well. We are reasonably pleased, but as you can tell from me, I am


still cautious. The trust says arrangements with the Ambulance


service to transfer patients to neighbouring hospitals have run


smoothly. Only a handful of patients have arrived at A&E and


been turned away. The closure came under scrutiny during a debate at


Westminster today. Whatever its rights or wrongs it's unlikely to


be reopened until a meeting of the trust board in February.


Our Political Editor, Patrick Burns, joins us now from Westminster where


MPs have been debating that temporary closure of the A&E unit


at Stafford. Patrick what was said? Opening the debate, the


Conservative MP for Stafford said this temporary closure had been


necessary. But he was joined by a succession of neighbouring


Conservative MPs saying that once those problems have been dealt with,


then those 24 hours services should be restored. I'm joined by the MP.


The word confidence, you used it, the minister used it time and time


again. By you confident that level of confidence can be reached and


the March deadline can be hit? I am. Members of Parliament get it


reports on what is going on and I am confident that everything


necessary is being done. necessary note of caution was


struck by the minister in reply. She spelt out what it would take to


get 24 hours services up and running again. It would be unwise


to return to 24 hours opening until it is safe to do so. To minimise


the risk I understand the trust has set criteria which must be met


before overnight operating would resume. One of the challenges that


has been acknowledged by the NHS Trust is recruitment. Do you think


maybe some health professionals may be deterred from applying for those


jobs at Stafford because of its troubled history? It is


increasingly not the case. We are seeing a number of people applying


for those jobs. Clearly, the history has given us some problems,


but I am confident the hospital is turning the corner, staff are


working incredibly hard. I'm grateful to them for all they are


doing. The next stage in this is a progress report by hospital


managers on 26th January. The hospital trust with the worst


complaints record in the country is being investigated once again,


after staff at one of its hospitals failed to diagnose a case of


terminal cancer. The Health Ombudsman is now going to


investigate the case at the Heart of England NHS Trust, which had 171


complaints last year. Here's our health correspondent, Michele


Paduano. Clara Stant had kidney failure and


a heart condition, but in her family's eyes that makes the 78-


year-old's treatment more shocking. They were assured after she had


been in Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield for nine days that


she wouldn't be sent home. But they say that they had just ten minutes


warning that she was already in an ambulance on the way home. I am


extremely angry because basically my mother was sent home and the


remaining 78 days of her life, she spent with no palliative care and


in pain. The discharge from Good Hope Hospital was carried out by a


second-year doctor, Hala Kanona. This discharge letter was dated the


week before. It hadn't been updated. The consultant, Alan Jewkes, said


he sent a letter to the GP requesting scans. There is


confirmation that letter is not on Mrs Stant's record. Within two days


of Mrs Stant leaving hospital, her infection had returned.


emergency doctor had to come out and my mother still had a rampant


urine infection. Her urine was like oatmeal and he was quite shocked


that she had been sent home. Health Service Ombudsman has now


agreed to investigate whether the discharge from hospital was


inappropriate with inadequate paper work. The trust failed to diagnose


cancer. The complaint handling was inadequate. Clara Stant was


suffering with a large tumour in her stomach. The cancer had spread


to her lungs. Her daughter was in Australia when she died two months


later. She was sent home with absolutely no support whatsoever


and I will always worry that I should have done more. In a written


statement, Heart of England NHS Trust which runs Good Hope accepts


that the discharge could have been managed better. In a statement it


Julia Hawkins hopes that means others will not endure her mother's


suffering. A police investigation is under way


into a suspicious death in Stoke- on-Trent. The body of a 58-year-old


man was found at a house on Westbourne Drive, in Tunstall, last


night. A 41-year-old man from Tunstall has been arrested as part


of the inquiry. Detectives are investigating an


armed robbery near Solihull in which a postmaster was attacked


with a handgun and an axe. Two men walked into the Hampton in Arden


Post Office and threatened the owner. The 58-year-old was attacked


after he refused to open the safe. He was later taken to hospital with


facial injuries. The robbers escaped empty handed.


The Staffordshire mobile phone tycoon, John Caudwell, has said


he'll buy the historic Wedgwood Collection to save it from being


broken up. It comes after a court ruled it could be sold to help pay


off a pension fund deficit. The pension black hole dates from when


Waterford Wedgwood collapsed into administration. Our Staffordshire


reporter, Liz Copper's, been following the story and is at the


Museum in Barlaston now. Liz, tell us more about this offer from Mr


Caudwell. He made this gesture following


yesterday's Court ruling. He is the entrepreneur who made his fortune


from a mobile phone business. In a statement today he said he felt it


was grossly unfair that a law designed to protect people in


totally different circumstances is causing such Warwick. When I spoke


to him, he said he felt this museum was a huge part of Stoke-on-Trent's


history and it would be a tragedy if the collection was spoke --


broken up. That is why he wants to speak to the trustees. What do you


make of this offer today? We are delighted to hear of this wonderful


support. We are looking to talk to him as soon as possible. There has


to be a consensus today that something needs to be done to make


sure this collection stays together? It does need to be saved,


it is a unique record of a manufacturing heritage. The


uniqueness of this collection is that many of the pieces have


remained together since they were made in the 18th century. It


reflects the history right through to today. Thanks for joining us. In


a separate development, an MP for Stoke-on-Trent has had a meeting


with the cultural minister. What seemed to emerge from that it was a


cross-party sense of support for the museum and also a sense of


determination that some sort of arrangement and agreement must be


made to make sure this collection stays together.


Flood victims fear home insurance premiums will rise dramatically in


the New Year. An agreement is due to end soon between the Government


and the insurance industry which up until now has made flood insurance


widely available. But as yet, no new deal has been reached.


Helicopter rescues and streets submerged. The images of the 2007


floods are still shocking. If the water comes in, take these out and


put them back in again. Judy Gibson's home in Uckinghall,


Worcestershire was under four foot of water. She's made it flood


resilient and has affordable insurance, but not all of her


neighbours are so lucky. There is a house only 400 yards away from here.


It has never been flooded and he was refused insurance. Another man


was flooded with a very small amounts, he did not have to leave


his home and he has a �6,500 flood excess. The high bills are in spite


of the village having a new flood defence. Judy Gibson's hoping


insurers come up with a better and fairer insurance system. But time


is running out. At the moment an agreement's in place between the


Government and the Insurance industry called the statement of


principles. It's a quid pro quo: insurers make flood insurance


widely available, the Government builds flood barriers. But the


deal's due to end. The Government says both it and the insurance


industry remain committed to making sure flood insurance is widely


available. But not everyone is convinced. Campaigners fear that


come the new year the cost of home insurance for thousands of flood


victims will soar. The ordinary man on the street at risk of flooding,


will we be able to afford it? We have to remember, if people cannot


afford it palmate their mortgage and all and void and it will affect


the saleability of their property. It could blight whole communities.


Insurers say they're frustrated at what they see as Government


inaction. If we let the statement of principles expire and we don't


replace it, people will struggle to access affordable flood cover. Not


everyone, it will be a small number of people but it might be a


significant number of people. are continuing with an announcement


due in the Spring. Still to come in tonight's


programme: He's traditionally said to have robbed the rich to give to


the poor. This Robin Hood robbed the rich too, but kept it himself!


And if you're dreaming of a white Christmas, what are the chances of


actually getting one? Find out all you need to know in the forecast


later. Now here's Dan with the sport.


Another week, another crunch game for Wolves in the Premier League.


Tonight they host newly-promoted Norwich City at Molineux. And with


festive fixtures to come against Arsenal and Chelsea, defeat tonight


could mean a miserable Christmas for Wolves fans. So they've got


baubles - Wolves crackers and plenty of tinsel. But there's still


something missing. There are plenty of signs of Christmas here, but not


too much Christmas cheer. That would improve with three points


against Norwich because after that the festive period is tough. And


one thing's for sure, manager Mick McCarthy will be up for the fight.


I have been doing that for about 30 years on and off as a player and


manager. It doesn't take much for me to get up for the game. Have you


seen me on the sidelines recently? Do I look relaxed and calm and not


up for it? They have been here before. In November at the visit of


Wigan was billed as a must win, and they did. Likewise, Sunderland's


visit earlier this month. They fell behind but one. The manager hopes


the big games bring out the best in his side. I hope so, because it is


a big game. I look back over last season and we have had defeats and


come back and beaten some of the best teams. Perhaps the biggest


threat comes from a former Shrewsbury Town striker. Grant


Holt's seven goals this season have helped newly promoted Norwich to


9th in the table. Wolverhampton Wanderers will hope they will keep


their club and a Premier League through 20 trials.


The Aston Villa midfielder Barry Banham has admitted today he is


lucky to be alive after a drink- driving in a crash last month.


Today, he spoke about the incident as part of an anti- drink-driving


initiative. He admits he is lucky in more ways than one. As much as I


regret it, I am so lucky to be still here. I could have hit


another car and killed someone else. I am lucky to be where I am today.


Him back in 1870, a Scottish Draper left his home town of Perth and


moved south to Birmingham. It was a life-saving -- life-changing


decision for the game of football. William McGregor became the founder


of the Football League and he has been honoured in a special service.


From Accrington Stanley to Wolverhampton Wanderers - they


gathered together in Birmingham to celebrate the life of William


McGregor, the former chairman of Aston Villa, the Scotsman who


founded the English Football League in 1888. And all 12 of those


original member clubs were represented today. Aston Villa will


never forget him, nor will the Football League. Never forget him.


It is a special day. You can see by all of the people who have come,


there must be hundreds. By the time the TV cameras captured the FA Cup


final in 1923, the Football League was 35 years old and William


McGregor's vision had caught the imagination of the nations.


Football League is 100 ascends indebted to William McGregor. He


was the brains behind it and he set the moral and persuasive framework


that attracted a lot of competing clubs to be willing to work


together for the common good. the service he was described as the


father of all football leagues, a figure of courage and integrity,


the driving force behind the first organised sports league in the


world. 100 years ago today, he died aged 65 in a Birmingham nursing


home. He was buried here alongside his wife in the grounds of St


Mary's Church in Handsworth. this continue to be a place where


the body of your servant, William McGregor rests in peace. And now


thanks to the Aston Villa supporters trust, his headstone has


been cleaned up and engraved with a permanent reminder of his unique


place in English football. It was in a pretty poor state and now it


is a magnificent rest are Reighton -- restoration. Two years ago


statue was unveiled of him outside Villa Park, a Pennon reminder of


the inspirational Scot who made the English Football League a role


model. -- permanent reminder. You don't get as many men as


influential as we MacGregor. I wonder what he would have made of


it all today? He started it!


The director of a new C Shakespeare production has defended his modern


twist on the character of Robin Hood. The character stole from the


rich and gave to the poor but in this version he keeps it for


himself. The Icelandic director said he is inspired by a The


Banking crisis and the riots of last summer. There is no women here,


send her home. I won't go. Then you will die at my hand, woman or No 4


star traditionally he stole from the rich but in a 21st century


twist, this Robin Hood is not giving to the poor, he is keeping


it. Prepare yourself for a leather- clad outlaw. I am Robin Hood.


Icelandic director of the Royal Shakespeare productions says the


world banking crisis has influenced this modern approach to a


traditional legend. Probably most of us would be the same as Robin


Hood. We were probably intend to go into the forest and rob the rich


and give to the poor, and there were probably be a moment where we


would go "hang on I'll keep the little bit for myself. I will keep


the little bit more for myself. I will keep it all for myself".


Keeping with the change of scene, it is Marion and not Robin who


convinces the outlaw to change his ways, offering another lesson in


life to the audience. It is interesting, it is good for little


girls as well. The typical fairytale is a guy comes and saves


you and rest Yushu. In this, Marion has to sort herself out, and I


don't think it is a bad lesson for women to have. It Robin Hood was to


symbolise a generation, he is angry and aggressive and annoyed at what


has been happening. I think Robin Hood personifies that. Putting to


one side the messages about the economy and greed, the Royal


Shakespeare Company are hoping the public will be entertained by the


traditional tale of Robin Hood and Maid Marian romping through the


forest. Sounds a bit risque to me. Was that


an early form of Morris dancing? I have no idea. The heart of Robin


Hood will be on at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre until the 7th


January. How is the weather looking in


Now the countdown for Christmas is under way, will it be a white one?


At this stage it doesn't look like we will get a flake of snow. The


temperatures will be rising as we head towards the weekend. The


reason being, at the beginning of the week we were swamped by blue


colours with cold air. Tomorrow we will be enveloped by this ocean at


Yellow feeding off from the south- west. By the weekend it starts to


spill south again before those yellow colours returned. I am


afraid it does not look like it will be crisp and crunchy on


Christmas morning, let alone a flurry of the white stuff. Nowadays


it only takes one flake of snow for it to be constituted as a white


Christmas as far as the bookies are concerned. The reason for the cold


air and the dip in temperatures is because we have this cold front


coming through. The further east you go, the higher the temperatures.


As far as tonight goes, this is what is heading our way. We have a


band of rain moving in which is heavy, but it will be patchy. We


have heavier bursts through southern parts and perhaps to the


north-east as it starts to clear late in the night. It is looking


drier across most parts but tucked in behind his band of rain, milder


air. To start with temperatures will be five or six ulcers which is


lower than today's values and then begin to rise by dawn tomorrow. --


Celsius. It is looking much drier by the afternoon with flickers of


brightness. Over all it will be over cast tomorrow with highs of


around 13 Celsius in the south. A huge jump and much milder


conditions for the time of year. Tomorrow it is much milder as well.


Occasional rain on Thursday with rain on Friday as well. But, it is


rain on Friday as well. But, it is going to be mild once more.


Before we leave, let's take a look at the main headlines: Police could


use live fire arms when dealing with riots in the future although


only in very limited circumstances. And, caught on camera - two


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