Renewed traveller risk

Albourne map
There’s an illegal occupation by travellers near the Village Hall in Albourne, and the people may be moved on. MSDC and Sussex Police are aware of it. If you have any issues relating to this occupation, phone Sussex Police on 101 (the non-emergency number). If you see a crime being committed (or just about to be), phone 999 instead. As ever, please continue to keep your garden sheds, outbuildings, etc., secured.

Richard Corner, 219

Update: direct action by Sompting residents earlier this week.

Rural burglary arrests

Bramlands Lane

Bramlands Lane

The Argus reports:

The 26-year-old man and 24-year-old woman, both from Worthing, were questioned after homes .. were broken into in May, June and July. The homes broken into were in Balcombe Road, Crawley, Bramlands Lane and Wheatsheaf Road in Henfield, Woodpecker Lane and Link Hill in Storrington and West Chiltington Lane in Billingshurst. Among the items stolen were electrical equipment, jewellery and cash.

The UK National Property Register

The UK National Property Register

Sussex Police would like you to register your property.

[There’s a sister service called CheckMEND, the fence’s friend: if someone offers you a purportedly stolen iPad in a pub you can use this service to check that the item really has been stolen and that the seller is not simply trying to palm you off with something that he bought from a shop quite legally but has got bored with.]

B/lock your gates!

Block your gates
There’s an illegal occupation on the football field in Poynings, and the people may be moved on .. Mid Sussex District Council and Sussex Police are aware of this. If you have any issues about this occupation, phone Sussex Police on 101 (the non-emergency number), quoting crime reference 1487 of 26 June. As ever, if you see a crime being committed (or just about to be), phone 999 instead.

Richard Corner, 219

Postscript 1: roads into Poynings were blocked by the police last night and access to Fullking from the East was via Clappers Lane only. The roads are clear now but the occupation persists. The photo below was taken at around 11:00 this morning.

Postscript 2: the recreation ground had been vacated by 12:50pm.

Poynings Recreation Ground infestation

Fight back against fraudsters

neighbourhood watch logoDate: 6 May 2014
Press release number: PR5939

Residents across West Sussex are being urged to fight back against fraudsters as Scams Awareness Month officially launches this week with a focus on online swindles.

West Sussex County Council’s Trading Standards Service is supporting the national month long initiative and is warning people to be on their guard and look out for others who might fall victim to scammers.

New research from the Citizens Advice Bureaux has concluded that fraudsters are “picking the pockets” of up to four million people each year.

Fraud offences in England and Wales rose by 25% in 2013, compared to the previous year, with 207,252 cases reported to Action Fraud.

Moreover, Citizens Advice has calculated that up to four million people could be conned each year as many scams go unreported. West Sussex Trading Standards will look at phone scams, mail hoaxes and doorstep fraud during this month.

Lionel Barnard, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services, which covers Trading Standards, said: “It’s so important that we raise awareness of scammers who prey on the most vulnerable members of our society, whether through the post, via the phone, over the Internet, email or a knock on the door.

“Scammers employ very clever and persuasive tactics to snare their victims so it’s vital residents are made aware and are advised who they can contact to report a scam or for help if they are a victim of a scam.”

Online shopping and auction scams was the biggest single fraud type with almost 40,000 recorded cases nationally and WSCC Trading Standards has advised that non-secure websites asking for financial details should be treated with the utmost caution.

Additional analysis has also revealed that hoaxes over the phone and via text messages are just as likely:

  • Over a third of scams (34%) were over the phone.
  • Almost a quarter of scams (24%) were through visits to a web site.
  • 16% were letter or fax scams.
  • One in ten scams (10%) were through emails.

The Council’s trading standards service this week gave the following top tips for dealing with scams:

  • If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
  • Never give out your bank details or send money unless you are certain you can trust the person contacting you.
  • Contacted out of the blue? Be suspicious.
  • Your bank and the police will never collect your bank card, ask for your PIN or come to your home.
  • Make sure the website’s secure, if you are buying online – check for the padlock or “https” next to the web address.
  • It you haven’t bought a ticket you can’t win it.
  • You shouldn’t have to pay anything to get a prize.
  • Pressure to make a decision straight away? Take your time and just say: “No thank you”.
  • Walk away from job ads that ask for money in advance.
  • Computer firms do not make unsolicited phone calls to help you fix your computer.
  • Don’t suffer in silence – tell others about scams.

What to do if you have been scammed:

  • Report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to help stop it happening to others.
  • Often you can’t get your money back if you’ve been scammed, especially if you’ve handed over cash.
  • If you’ve paid for goods or services by credit card you have more protection and if you used a debit card you may be able to ask your bank for a chargeback.

Get advice and report scams to Trading Standards through the Citizens Advice consumer service on 08454 04 05 06 or online support.

If you know someone who has sent money in response to a scam or has fallen victim to doorstep callers you can also report your concerns direct to West Sussex Trading Standards Service online.

Best Regards


John Wright MBE
Sussex Neighbourhood Watch Federation.
Mobile: 07917385213
Business:01444 247368

Maharajah arrests

The Maharajah restaurant in Bramber
The West Sussex County Times reports that officers from a Home Office Immigration Enforcement team visited the Maharajah in Bramber at 9:15pm on Thursday March 13th and arrested three Bangladeshi men:

Two, aged 28 and 32, had overstayed their visas while a 32-year-old was found to have entered the country illegally. .. The business was served notices warning that a civil penalty of up to £10,000 per illegal worker found will be imposed unless proof is provided that the correct right-to-work checks were carried out. This is a potential total of up to £30,000 for the restaurant.

The Poynings burglars

Michael Griffiths murder police poster
The Chichester Observer has extended reports on a murder trial with a local connection. Here are some extracts:

Penton, 43, of Markway, Sunbury, denies murder and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, but has admitted conspiracy to burgle homes in Loxwood, Poynings and a home near Godalming as well as Mr Griffiths’s home.

The jury also heard how the burglary at Poynings on May 24, 2103, to which Penton has pleaded guilty, came after he found the house in Country Life magazine.

John Bartholomew, 72, of Cross Street, Portsmouth, denies murder and conspiracy to commit burglaries in Loxwood, Fernhurst and Poynings.

Harvey Munford, 23, of Monks Way, Staines, has admitted conspiracy to burgle homes in Loxwood, Poynings and Godalming, conspiracy to burgle Mr Griffiths’ home and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. He denies murder but has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

The murder of Michael Griffiths has been described by both a forensic pathologist and a police inspector as the ‘most complex’ case ever seen.

Much more here and here.