Monday, 9 October 2017

Dunstable Woman and Houghton Regis Man Fined For Fly-Tipping in Houghton High Street

The scene of regular fly-tipping as reported to Biffa in June 2017.

Fly tippers caught in the act by CCTV
Two fly tippers have been fined over £2,600 after both were caught on Central Bedfordshire Council's Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras.

Both offenders were caught in separate incidents involving fly tipping at the now-closed recycling area off of Houghton Regis High Street. The area had two signs stating fly-tipping is an offence and that CCTV was in operation. Both offenders attended Luton Magistrates Court earlier this week and both pleaded guilty to fly-tipping.

On Sunday 11th June 2017, Amy Parker of 36 Union Street, Dunstable and her vehicle passenger were caught throwing items, including a TV, from her car onto the floor. Parker was fined £723, ordered to pay £100 towards prosecution costs and £38 victim surcharge, totalling £861.

Michal Zareba, of 3 Alsop Close, Houghton Regis, was caught fly-tipping rubble, boxes and bags on Tuesday 2nd May 2017. He was fined £740, ordered to pay full prosecution costs of £1059.00 and a victim's surcharge of £74, totalling nearly £1,900.

Councillor Budge Wells, Executive Member for Corporate Resources, said: "These cases are a great result. They demonstrate the value of our investment in CCTV and how these cameras help reduce crime, nuisance and anti-social behaviour, and assist in securing arrests and prosecutions.

"Our CCTV cameras assist with our zero-tolerance attitude toward fly-tipping in Central Bedfordshire. Our Environmental Protection, CCTV, Waste and Legal teams work relentlessly to ensure fly tippers are brought to justice.
"We want Central Bedfordshire to remain a great place to live and work. Failure to properly dispose of any type of waste is simply not acceptable, and we will take action against anyone caught - regardless of the type or quantity of discarded waste."

The site has long been a source of local concern. It has been highlighted many times over the years. In October 2016, CBC Waste Services have contacted Houghton Regis News Desk saying, "We are fully aware of the fly tipping situation at this location and it will be addressed as soon as we have the correct personnel and vehicles in which to make the location acceptable."

Here's the rubbish that lead to the fines:

Even in September 2017, these items were found dumped in the same area:

Incidents of fly-tipping should be reported to customer services on 0300 300 8302 or by email at

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Over 65 Or Pregnant? Or Have Children Aged 2-8? Be Sure To Get Your Free Flu Vaccine

Stay healthy this winter and make sure you get your flu vaccine early this year to avoid becoming ill.

If you are aged 65 and over, pregnant, or have children aged 2-8, or suffer from a long-term condition, then you are eligible for a free flu vaccine this year.

Ideally, it is advised that you get your flu vaccine before winter (in October and November) to get the maximum protection.

From late September, the vaccine has been available and will be throughout the winter from various convenient locations such as your GP surgery or some community pharmacies (you do not need a referral from your doctor.)

The vaccine will free to all eligible persons; bought privately they can cost up to £20.

Dr. Annapurna Sen, from Central Bedfordshire Council's public health team, said: "The flu vaccine is one of the best protection against flu and its complications. The flu virus changes every year so it is important to get the updated flu vaccine every year to give you the best protection."

Councillor Brian J Spurr, Executive Member for Health and Chairman of the Health and Wellbeing Board said: "Flu is different from a cold — it can be much more serious and lead to significant complications such as bronchitis or pneumonia particularly in vulnerable groups like older people, children and those who already have health problems. It is worth also outlining that the flu vaccine cannot give you the flu, so it is better to be safe and get vaccinated."

Last year (between April 2016 and March 2017) there were over 1,790 hospital admissions in Bedfordshire due to flu and over two-thirds of these were in people over 65 years old. Of these, 145 died in Bedfordshire where flu was a contributing factor.

The flu vaccine is safe for most people and serious side-effects are very uncommon. Talk to your GP or community pharmacist if you are concerned.

For further advice, and to see if you qualify for a free vaccination, go to the NHS website for flu information.

Do you know the difference between a cold and flu? An expert explains the conditions, treatments and remedies available.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Drovers Way 20mph Speed Signs Challenged - The complaint was not upheld

A member of the public has made a complaint to Central Bedfordshire Council about the signage on Drovers Way, Dunstable, indicating that there is a 20mph speed limit in place.

The complainants concerns are in relation to clear visibility distance and the type of signage used. The complaint went through due process at Central Bedfordshire Council.

At stage 1 of the complaint process it was acknowledged that the response given to a member of the public could have provided more detailed information to address  specific concerns and also that it contained an error referring to overhanging trees.

The Highways Inspector for the area visited the site on the 6th of September and determined that the sign was not obscured and the tree branches did not meet intervention levels. Nevertheless, to avoid the situation worsening to that point, the Highways Inspector thought it would be helpful to trim the trees near the sign on Drovers Way and also those on Westfield Road.

Stage 2 and Stage 3 of the complaint process were merged into Stage 3.

The reviewer of the complaint concludes that the council has followed correctly the legislation and procedures and has found no evidence of fault in the processes followed. The complaint was not upheld.

The member of the public is now taking the complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman.

It should be noted that speeding tickets are given out by the police, but the local authorities have a duty to ensure drivers are aware of speed limits.

CBC's review of the complaint can be downloaded here.

  • 7628 speeding tickets were issued in Dunstable July 2016 to July 2017 exceeding 20MPH - see FOI response.
  • Images in this article are supplied to Dunstable News Desk by the complainant. Top picture is facing Weatherby.

 the junction of Weatherby/Drovers Way

Westfield Road 

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Dunstable By-Election 14th September

Labour win Dunstable bye-election.


A by-election will take place in Dunstable Northfields Ward for a vacancy on Dunstable Town Council on Thursday, 14th September. Labour, Liberal Democrats, and UKIP will field candidates.
The vacancy arose after the resignation of a Conservative. The Conservatives, who currently hold two Central Bedfordshire Council seats for Northfields, have not fielded any replacement candidate for the by-election.

The candidates are Anne Kennedy (Labour), Elaine Morgan (Liberal Democrats); Martin Young (UK Independence Party).

Anne Kennedy, is the  Labour candidate. Anne was born in the ward in 1963 and remained a resident until her early 20’s, when she embarked on an exploration of other parts of the world. Anne later returned to the ward circa 2004 and briefly worked as a teacher at Northfields, now known as All Saints Academy upper school.

A teacher, Anne has also worked as a police officer. Anne vows to campaign to maintain or to reinstate valuable public services to our community if she is successfully elected as a councillor.

Anne has recognised, that with the new developments, particularly in the Northfields ward, the provision for infrastructure was lacking. She asks, “Where are the banks, the post office, the buses, the doctors surgeries and the shops?” Most of these staples of the community have disappeared or been replaced by private housing.

Let Anne be your voice in ensuring that no one is left behind. Anne wants to bring about prosperity that includes everyone.


Elaine Morgan is the the Liberal Democrat candidate. Liberal Democrats have a well earned reputation for working consistently for their communities, promoting fairness and local involvement.  Elaine has a solid reputation for commitment and public service in Dunstable.

Elaine has lived in Dunstable for over 30 years and worked at Moore's Department Store in High Street South for 18 years.  Elaine was a South Bedfordshire District Councillor and a School Governor on a local primary school for 25 years.

Elaine promises to work for the Northfields Ward residents by:

  • Working to ensure that older and more vulnerable members of the community gain maximum access to all local services
  • Representing local issues in local redevelopment and planning
  • Working to extend Town Centre regeneration initiatives along High Street North

The UK Independence candidate is Martin Young.

Martin is the Chairman of 'Dunstable Men in Sheds' and has had a 49 year career in the Railway Engineering industry.

Martin wants to protect the quality of life in Northfields, and says he is a people person, experienced in negotiating and communicating with civil servants, company directors and workers at all levels.

Martin says he has been fighting the Council hard since 2015 to improve road safety along Chiltern Road, with little feedback from them. He recognises that Northfields is growing and wants adequate new infrastructure to ensure that new homes are sustainable. He says he will ensure that the Council communicates with you much more, and should not take people for granted.


Thursday, 7 September 2017

urgent - £50 Rewards For People To Take Part In Wheelchair Trials

The research is assessing in detail how wheelchair users manage to transfer across small steps and gaps between a platform and a train.
We'll be carrying this research out in a specialist research centre in Stevenage, Hertfordshire between 15 September and 2 October 2017.
The trials will be using a custom-built test rig to simulate a train and platform.
This is a big ask!
Due to the nature of the research, we need participants to attend 6 half day design workshops.
We're offering £50 for each half day trial session and will cover all travel expenses. Therefore, the total for taking part in his project will be £300 plus travel expenses.
We're looking for people who use the following types of wheelchairs:
·         Powered Wheelchairs

·         Self-propelled Wheelchair with small front casters (2-4 inches)

·         Self-propelled Wheelchair with large front casters (5-8 inches)

·         Attendant Wheelchair

Of the six sessions, participants can choose to attend from the following half-day slots:
·         Session 1: 15th September AM /PM  OR  19th September AM

·         Session 2: 19th September PM  OR  20th September AM/PM

·         Session 3: 21st September AM/PM  OR  22nd September AM

·         Session 4: 22nd September PM  OR  26th September AM/PM

·         Session 5: 27th September AM/PM  OR  28th September AM

·         Session 6: 2nd October AM/PM

Morning sessions (AM) are from 9:30 to 12:30
Afternoon sessions (PM) are from 13:30 to 16:30.

Rica is a national consumer researcher with a consumer panel – RicaWatch – made up of over 750 older/disabled people.

Rica were part of Which originally, and are now independent and carry out quiet specialist research.

This latest project is at very short notice outside of our control.​

Monday, 21 August 2017

STAYING SECURE ONLINE: Simple Advice From Cyber Aware

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The key behaviours to help you improve your online security are:

Install the latest software and app updates

• They contain vital security updates which help protect your device from viruses and hackers
• Security updates are designed to fix weaknesses in software and apps which could be used by hackers to attack your device. Installing them as soon as possible helps to keep your device secure
• You can choose to install updates at night when you are asleep and your device is plugged in or set your mobile or tablet to automatically update your apps when you are connected to Wi-Fi and an update is available
• You can also set laptops and desktops to automatically install software updates when an update is available

Use a strong, separate password for your email account (you can use three random words or numbers to create a strong password).
• Hackers can use your email to access many of your personal accounts, by asking for you password to be reset, and find out personal information, such as your bank details, address or date of birth, leaving you vulnerable to identity theft or fraud
• Having strong, separate passwords for your most important accounts means that if hackers steal your password for one of your less important accounts, they can't use it to access your most important ones
• Make sure your password is easy for you to remember, but not easy for others to guess e.g. Pa55word may follow the rules of using letters and symbols but is well known amongst hackers as a common password
• Don't use words which would be easy to discover from your social media accounts, such as your child's name or favourite sports team
Other behaviours which can help keep you secure online include:
Secure your tablet or smartphone with a screen lock
• Give your device an extra layer of security by setting it to lock when you aren't using it
• Screen locks provide an extra layer of security to your device, as each time you want to unlock it or turn it on, you will need to enter a PIN, pattern, password or fingerprint
• This means if someone gets hold of your device they can't access the data on your device without entering your password, pattern, PIN or fingerprint

Always back-up your most important data
• Safeguard your most important data such as your photos and key documents by backing them up to an external hard drive or a cloud-based storage system
• If your device is infected by a virus or accessed by a hacker, your data may be damaged or deleted, which means you won't be able to access it. Backing up your data means you have another copy of it, which you can access
Final tips:
• Remember that spammers could also gain access to a friend's account, so if you get an uncharacteristic email containing a link from a friend, do not click on it but find another way of contacting them to check that the message is genuine.
• Leave a website if you feel suspicious – if the site doesn't look or 'feel' right, if there is text that doesn't appear to have any purpose or doesn't tie in with the rest of the site, or if you feel uneasy for any reason.
• Regularly check your social media privacy settings to control exactly what you're sharing with whom.
• If you're going away on holiday, don't advertise it on social media!
• If you use a wireless network at home, password-protect it.

These simple steps can go a long way to helping you to stay secure online. 

For more information visit

• Unexpected calls where the fraudsters claim to be officials asking for bank details or advance payment OR from a computer company asking for computer access to take
your data
- Genuine staff will never unexpectedly call asking for bank details or advance payment OR to fix your computer
• Fraudsters are rehearsed and seem very genuine

What to do when you receive a call:
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• When you meet someone online, once they have your trust they may ask you for money
• They may say they need medical help or that they need money to visit

What to do -
- Never send money to someone you don't know
- Only use a reputable online dating service

• Forceful calls made unexpectedly offering investment opportunity
• The customer is unlikely to gain financial returns

What to do -
- Be sceptical of unexpected calls offering investments
- Seek independent advice before an investment

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Call to Stay Vigilant as Crime Rises By 10%

Police-recorded crime has risen by 10% across England and Wales – the largest annual rise for ten years - according to the very latest Office for National Statistics figures.

The figures show almost 5 million crimes in England and Wales were recorded by the police for the 12 months to March this year – up 10% on the same period in 2015/16.

Police recorded 458,021 more offences compared with the previous year, which the ONS said was driven by an increase in violence – police recorded an 18% rise in violent crime, including a 20% surge in gun and knife crime.

Jayne Pascoe, Strategic Partnerships Director for Neighbourhood Watch, said: "We have also seen a rise in burglary and robbery but we do need to be mindful that these recent increases should be seen in the context of substantial falls in such crimes over the last 20 years.

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"However it's timely to remind supporters of the importance of staying vigilant and looking out for each other and being aware of what's happening in our neighbourhoods – and shows that Neighbourhood Watch is needed now just as much as ever."

Jayne added that modern menaces are also behind the crime increase.

"What the figures do show is the widespread prevalence of cybercrime. That's why we're working hard on helping our supporter help themselves and their neighbours to protect themselves from cybercrime."

The official figures also show a 26% rise to 723 in the homicide rate, which includes the 96 cases of manslaughter at Hillsborough in 1989.
Interestingly, the statisticians say the rise in crime is accelerating, with a 3% increase recorded in the year to March 2015, followed by an 8% rise in the following year, and now a 10% increase in the 12 months to this March.
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Neighbourhood Watch volunteers still have an "incredibly important" role to play in tackling crime, says Home Office minister Sarah Newton MP. 

The Minister for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism opened our Neighbourhood Watch Connect2Protect conference in London last month. 

She paid tribute to the impressive reach of the Neighbourhood Watch movement and called on supporters to find new ways of reaching out to tackle not only traditional crimes and also new, hidden crimes that cause so much misery and harm in our communities. 

She thanked volunteers for their help in reducing traditional crimes such as burglary and car crime over the last three decades and asked them to now turn their attention to raising awareness of cybercrime, domestic violence, child sexual abuse, human trafficking and extremism.

Last month NHWN hosted our Connect2Protect event attended by members, partners and key stakeholders from across England and Wales. 

The successful event kicked off with an inspirational speech from Sarah Newton MP, Minister for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism detailing Government priorities contained within the Modern Crime Prevention Strategy and how Neighbourhood Watch can help with those priorities. 

This message was reiterated by NHWN Chair Lynn Farrar, who highlighted the way forward for the movement in light of these new and emerging threats.  Attendees also heard first-hand examples of work undertaken by volunteers from across the movement including support for vulnerable elderly people suffering from dementia in Kingston-upon-Thames, innovative partnership working undertaken in Lancashire and the growing problem of fraud and cybercrime taken on by Sussex Neighbourhood Watch. 

Following a morning of presentations, the event then enabled attendees to network, exchange ideas and best practice, directed by expert partners from various fields, including youth engagement, hate crime and diversity, to name but a few. 

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See the Powerpoint presentation for more slides.