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Showing posts from November, 2020

Action Fraud Urge More Caution Over Online Shopping Due to Rise in Scams

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Reports of online shopping fraud have surged by 30% over the pandemic as many of us continue to shop online in light of current restrictions. Figures from Action Fraud show that criminals conned 17,407 shoppers out of almost £13.5 million over the Christmas period last year, an increase of over 20% when compared to the same period in 2018. Action Fraud is warning the public to take extra care when shopping online, ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as shoppers search for bargains and gifts for loved ones in the run up to Christmas. Top tips to shop online securely this festive season: Where to shop: Making a purchase from an online store you haven’t used before? Carry out some research first, or ask a friend or family member if they’ve used the site and about their experiences before completing the purchase. Your information: Only create an account if necessary or to save you effort if you’re going to use that site a lot in the future. Be cautious if the website asks you for detai

L&D Hospital Helipad Boost From Amazon Team

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The Bedfordshire Hospital Charity’s Helipad Appeal for The Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has received a £7,000 boost from Amazon in Dunstable. The Emergency Department at Luton & Dunstable University Hospital is renowned as one of the best in the UK and treats over 90,000 people each year. Approximately 25% of patients have life-threatening injuries and require immediate and specialist medical care. The aim of the Bedfordshire Hospital Charity is to construct a helipad at the Luton & Dunstable University Hospital site, helping patients in critical need by allowing them to receive care in the local area, rather than being sent further afield. The hospital has been chosen as the location for the new helipad because it is best placed to transfer patients directly from the air ambulance to the Emergency Department, Stroke Unit and Cardiac Centre. The new helipad will significantly enhance the standard of care already offered by the hospital and make Luton & Dunsta

Leadership Changes at Central Bedfordshire Council

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Cllr James Jamieson, who has led Central Bedfordshire Council since 2011, has announced that he will be standing down from this role in January. In a message to all Members of the Council, Cllr Jamieson explained that he had always intended to make way for a new leader ahead of the next elections at the Unitary Authority in 2023 and that in doing so now, he will be able to devote more time to his role as Chairman of the national Local Government Association. Cllr Jamieson said, “It has been a privilege to be Leader at Central Bedfordshire Council, over the last nearly 10 years. The council has made huge strides in improving services to Adults and Children’s Services and developing our economy.  I look forward to continuing as a councillor to support the new leader, who will build on this strong legacy. “In the context of the national crisis and the significant economic and social pressures which local government is facing as we recover from the pandemic, now is the right time for me to

New Site Being Considered for Houghton Full Body Burials

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Burial space in Houghton Regis was finally exhausted about two months ago. Anyone who lives in the town and now wants a whole-body burial has to go outside of the town. Councillors are to have a feasibility study done into a new site near the Household Waste and Recycling Centre.  The Town Council now only offer internment places on a plot of land at their Cemetery Road site. So where are Houghtonians to have full-body burials in the future? The Town Council have been meeting for years to try to find a solution .  A site at Orchard Close was once considered . Part of the recreation ground there was to have been used, leaving a substantial amount of space left over for recreation. A campaign group was formed to oppose that, and then it transpired that there was a covenant on that land which meant it could not be used for that purpose. Elections were held in 2015 and the new council  withdrew the site in 2015. In 2019 land at Dog Kennel Down was considered. Despite housing development

Work on Houghton Brook Will Help to Stop Floods in Luton

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Houghton Brook flood storage area under construction Some 600 residential and commercial properties along with key infrastructure in Luton is to benefit from improved protection from flooding, thanks to a new flood storage area for the Houghton Brook, currently under construction by the Environment Agency. This £8.5 million project will hold water at times of heavy rain, allowing it to drain slowly and under control into the Houghton Brook – cutting the risk of flooding to people and property along the Houghton Brook and River Lea in Luton. The work is being carried out in response to Luton’s long history of flooding from the River Lea and its tributaries, in particular where the Houghton Brook joins the River Lea around Toddington Road. In 2007, Luton Central Fire Station, the A6, local roads and Wardown Park were all affected by flooding. It will also result in a better environment for people and wildlife that is more resilient to the impacts of flooding and climate change, wi

More than 3,000 knives off the street following knife crime week of action

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More than 3,000 knives are now safely off the streets after being recovered from outdoor public spaces and a number of weapons bins throughout Bedfordshire. This activity was a result of Operation Sceptre – the national week of action aimed at tackling knife crime and to encourage people to think twice before carrying a knife. Taking place from Monday 9 to Sunday 15 November, we worked with partners to participate in a number of activities, such as weapons sweeps, engaging with retailers and pro-active high visibility patrols in areas most affected by knife crime. Officers from our crime reduction team  emptied 10 weapons bins  prior to the week of action and  found 3,216 blades and 14 firearms . The bins in the north of the county were last emptied in March this year, and the bins in the south were last emptied in October 2019. The bins were emptied again earlier  this week  and a further  223 blades and two firearms were recovered . Officers from the force’s community teams took part

Charities Benefit From Coronavirus Support Fund

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Six charities in South West Bedfordshire to receive a total of £88,914 from the Coronavirus Support Fund In total, £88,914 has been received by six charities in the constituency, with The Disability Resource Centre the largest beneficiary. The fund, distributed by the National Lottery Community Fund, chiefly supports small- and medium-sized charities. Six small-to-medium sized charities in South West Bedfordshire have been among the beneficiaries of this scheme, receiving a total of £88,914 through the Coronavirus Community Support Fund. The recipient of the largest grant was The Disability Resource Centre , who received £38,914. The Centre works to empower people of all ages who are affected by disability or health condition through equipment provision, advisory services, and employment and training courses. The following five other charities received £10,000 each: Community Fountain, Community Concern, Helping Hands, Kids In Action and Fig Tree. Receipt of any of this support has no

Suspect Houghton Regis Man Arrested For Involvement in Distraction Burglaries

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A man in his twenties was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of a number of distraction burglaries in Houghton Regis. The man who is from Houghton Regis, currently remains in custody for questioning. Detective Constable Jason Wheeler, from the force’s dedicated burglary team, Operation Maze, said, “The man was arrested following a short pursuit and the good work of our Central Tasking Team officers, who utilised drone footage to help them locate him. “At this time of year, with darker nights setting in, we tend to see an increase in burglaries across the county, so tackling these crimes is a key focus for us. “Opportunist thieves, in the run-up to Christmas, will target homes in the hope of finding items of value, or they will look to target vulnerable and elderly people. “Whilst we have a dedicated team working towards preventing burglaries and finding those responsible, we need your help in spreading awareness and sharing some of the steps that can be taken as preventative measures. “P

Council Leader Urges People to Play their Part and Protect Our Hospitals and the NHS Staff

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A message from Cllr James Jamieson, Leader of Central Bedfordshire Council  “As COVID-19 infection rates continue to rise, we are now sadly seeing the impact on the NHS and our local hospitals again.  “The hospital staff from both Bedford Hospital and the Luton and Dunstable Hospital have put together this video to help show the impact that the virus is having on them. “The film is led by Dave Kirby, Deputy Medical Director who sums it up perfectly.  In it he says: “We have seen a massive increase in hospital admissions across Bedfordshire hospitals and everybody should do everything they can to reduce the spread of this virus.”  “Our NHS staff are on the frontline treating patients with COVID-19 but they are working tirelessly to keep all patients safe and provide everyone with the treatment they need but they are urging all of us help they do this by controlling and reducing the spread of the virus.  “Regardless of whether you look to our Bedfordshire based hospitals, or those furthe

£600,000 Awarded to CBC to Boost Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure

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Central Bedfordshire to receive an extra £600,000 to boost cycling and walking infrastructure The Active Travel Fund is designed to create safe space for cycling and walking Part of the Government’s £2 billion investment into cycling and walking South West Bedfordshire MP, Andrew Selous has welcomed news that Central Bedfordshire is set to receive an additional £600,000 from the Government’s Active Travel Fund – designed to create safe space for cycling and walking.  The money will be provided to the local council and could be used to fund measures such as School Streets, Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and segregated cycle lanes. In total, £175 million is being allocated to local authorities across England in the latest round of allocations from the fund.  Following discussions with local MPs, the Government has stipulated that councils receiving money will have to meet tough new conditions to ensure that schemes are properly thought out and that their impact on other road users are closel

Beware of Investment Fraudsters!

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Action Fraud are working with others, including Bedfordshire Police, to increase awareness of investment fraud. One Bedfordshire resident has lost more than £200,000 to such a scam.  Find out how to protect yourself. The force is supporting Action Fraud around informing the public of how to protect themselves from investment fraud after reports spiked following the national lockdown caused by the coronavirus outbreak. Between September 2019 and September 2020, Action Fraud received just over  17,000 reports of investment fraud , amounting to  £657.4m in reported losses.  However, reports spiked in May, June, July, August and September 2020, as the nation adjusted to life after lockdown.  Sean O’Neil, Cyber Security Adviser, said, “During the lockdown, we have noticed a national and local increase of investment fraud reports. Victims in Bedfordshire lost on average £50,000, with one victim being scammed out of over £200,000. Criminals have no remorse and will attempt to trick the victim

“We Are The Most Overweight Nation in the Whole of Europe”

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Andrew Selous, MP for South West Bedfordshire spoke during the 'Obesity: Covid-19' debate at 10:00 am, 10th November 2020 “I congratulate Jim Shannon on bringing  this important debate  before the House. “When the Prime Minister announced the improvements to the child obesity strategy a few weeks ago, he made the point that the UK is unfortunately an outlier, in that we are the most overweight nation in the whole of Europe, after Malta. Sometimes I think we do not quite realise how serious our national situation is or the implications it has for people’s lives. To me, this has always been a social justice issue, because it significantly adversely affects the poorest people up and down our country. “I was struck by some information in the House of Lords Select Committee on Food, Poverty, Health and the Environment report, “Hungry for change: fixing the failures in food”, which is a very good read, for any Members who want to take the issue further. It points out the reason we ar

Further Support for Vulnerable Children and Families this Winter in CBC Area

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Central Bedfordshire Council to receive £587,054 from government for food and supplies for vulnerable households as part of £170 million package. Extension of school holiday programme providing food and activities for young people also announced. Families that have been hardest hit by the pandemic and need extra support this winter with food and bills will benefit from a new £170 million scheme unveiled by the Government. The Covid Winter Grant Scheme will see councils across England share £170 million in additional, ring-fenced funding to help vulnerable families and individuals, with Central Bedfordshire Council receiving £587,054. This will prevent children from going hungry this winter and ensure local families get the help they need. It builds on the £63 million already provided to councils this year to assist those struggling to buy food and essentials. A further £220 million will be invested in extending the Holiday and Food Programme until next Christmas, meaning that all child

Andrew Selous, MP, Supports Local Electricity Bill

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Local MP Andrew Selous is supporting a Bill to go before Parliament that would empower communities to sell locally generated electricity directly to local households and businesses. Power for People has today thanked local South West Bedfordshire MP, Andrew Selous, for supporting a new Bill in Parliament that would help rebuild local economies whilst increasing clean energy generation. The proposed new law, known as the  Local Electricity Bill , is supported by a cross-party group of 224 MPs. If made law, it would create a new ‘Right to Local Supply’ of energy that would empower communities to sell locally generated electricity directly to local households and businesses. Currently, customers can only purchase electricity from nationally licensed utilities. The Bill’s supporters say this means money people use to pay their energy bills is not helping to rebuild local economies and local clean energy infrastructure. Campaigning group,  Power for People , are calling for MPs and the gove

Play your part – support local businesses during lockdown

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Many of the local shops and services we love will have to stop trading during the next few weeks.  Some will remain open. Using 'click and collect' many businesses in the area are doing all they can to keep their customers satisfied. Here are three good examples: Manager Corinne, at The White Swan on Dunstable’s High Street , “We did a take-away and delivery service during the last lockdown which worked pretty well so we are just going to build on that.  We are lucky in that we are really active on Facebook and Instagram where we have about 3,000 followers so hopefully a few of them will look up our menus.  I’m delighted to say we are definitely doing a Sunday roast as a take-away which we know will be popular and we are also going to do a ‘Cheer You Up’ package so watch this space!” The Loft in Northbridge Street, Shefford is one such example where manager Hannah is already looking forward to the challenge. She said, “We will certainly be giving our take-away service a go and

Vulnerable Houghton Regis Woman Burgled While She Pretended to Be Asleep

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A vulnerable woman was burgled while she was in her bed. The incident happened in the early hours of Monday morning, 2 November. Police have issued general advice. At around 4am, the victim was in bed when she was awoken by someone in her room. After remaining still and pretending to be asleep, she waited for the intruder to leave before contacting police. The offender made off with cash and bank cards from a handbag beside her bed and keys from drawers in the lounge. PC Craig Cullum, from Operation Maze, said, “This was obviously a terrifying ordeal for the victim, who has understandably been left shaken by the event. I’d urged anyone in the Blackthorn Road area of Houghton Regis who may have seen someone acting suspiciously around the time to contact us right away. “Opportunist thieves will look for insecurities in a home in an attempt to gain access. Whilst most people are working from home and staying indoors during this time, it is still important to double lock your front doors.

Why You Need to Research Buying An Intruder Alarm

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If you are considering the installation of a burglar alarm system at your property, the Bedfordshire Police Crime Reduction Team are urging people to research the best product and deal for their requirements. Alarm systems are not “one size fits all”.   Intruder alarm systems  in the UK have to  conform  to  European Standards BS EN50131  series. EN50131 defines four grades of Intruder alarm system,  Grade 4 being the highest . The grade is measured by how resilient the alarm system is to attacks by intruders and other outside influences. All components of the system are graded, including the control panel, motion detectors (PIRs) and signalling equipment.   Whilst most installers will design a system using components of the same grade, it may sometimes be appropriate to mix grades of components. However, the overall system will be graded of that of the lowest graded component. Residential installations will typically require a Grade 1 or 2 with larger homes falling into Grade 3. Most