from Birmingham Mail – Rugeley News

A heartless robber who pushed an elderly woman to the ground, leaving her with multiple injuries, to steal her car has been jailed for seven years and nine months.
Callum Ball, 20, of no fixed address, flung the 86-year-old from behind before jumping into her silver Ford Fiesta and driving off at around 5pm on April 17, 2019.
Wolverhampton Crown Court heard that the vulnerable woman had briefly got out of her car and left it running to post an item in a letterbox at Spar on Wardles Lane, Great Wyrley.
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But when she returned to her motor, she was thrown out of the way and suffered minor injuries to her hand and nose.
The following day, officers spotted the vehicle in Bloxwich at around 2.45am.
The vehicle drove straight at the marked police car and an officer driving the vehicle had to mount the pavement to avoid a collision. The Fiesta made off but officers later found it at around 3.35am.
The 20-year-old was sentenced to three years and three months for the robbery.
Ball was also sentenced to three years for burglary and one year for actual bodily harm following an incident at an address on Colliers View, Rugeley, on March 23 and 24. He entered the address, damaged items of property, stole a gold bracelet and assaulted a woman.

The court also jailed Ball to six months for a theft of a motor vehicle from the West Midlands.
Ball was sentenced on Monday, January 13, at Wolverhampton Crown Court for theft of a motor vehicle, failing to surrender, making off without payment, two counts of criminal damage, actual bodily harm, burglary and robbery. He was found not guilty of aggravated burglary. He was also disqualified from driving for 58 months and given a 10 year restraining order.
 Ball pleaded guilty to robbery, criminal damage, actual bodily harm and burglary.
Detective Constable Daniel Douglas, from force CID, said: “Ball preyed on a vulnerable woman who simply pulled up to post a letter. She was thrown out of the way, injured and left shaken.
“We are pleased with this sentence and will continue to bring offenders to justice.”

A suspected fraudster was due in court accused of falsely claiming £280,000 cashback.
Sajid Mahmood, of Church Lane, Armitage, has been charged with eight counts of fraud by false representation.
Five of the charges relate to fraud by false representation in Stafford. Staffordshire Police said 49-year-old Mahmood allegedly claimed a total of £220,000 cashback between April 2014 and March 2018.
He also faced two charges of fraud by false representation in Cannock – for the sum of £56,400 between May 2016 and January 2017 –  and a further charge for the same offence in Walsall in 2013.
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His co-accused, 39-year-old Ellen England, of Buckmaster Way, Rugeley is charged with entering into or being concerned in the acquisition/retention/control or use of criminal property between April 2014 and March 2019 on behalf of Mahmood in Cannock.
They were due to appear at Cannock Magistrates’ Court this morning, Friday, January 3.
Keep up-to-date with all things Dudley, Walsall, Sandwell and Wolverhampton on our  Black Country Live Facebook page  – where you’ll get the latest news, travel, weather and events in your area.  
To be alerted to any suspicious or criminal behaviour happening in your area, join the  Black Country Crime Watch  Facebook group.

A man and woman have been arrested after a huge three-one-one street fight left one with head injuries and a police officer injured.
Staffordshire Police say a 22-year-old woman and a 28-year-old man were detained in Bore Street, Lichfield, after the violence broke out at around 2am on Sunday, December 14.
The shocking video of the violence, which was captured by Taxi Dave, captured an argument moments before the group began trading blows with each other.
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It was not known why the fight started but the clip showed a woman – who was with the group – pleading with some of the men to ‘get off him’.
Three of the men were filmed grabbing hold of another as they continued to hit him in the head.
The fight continued off camera but the footage showed Staffordshire Police officers racing to the scene.
A spokesman for the force said a police officer was assaulted shortly after.
They added: “Officers were called to a report of an assault on Bore Street in Lichfield at around 2.15am on December 14.

“Colleagues from West Midlands Ambulance Service also attended the scene. A man suffered head injuries.
“A 22-year-old woman of no fixed address was arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly and assault police.
“A 28-year-old man from Rugeley was also arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly.
“They have both been bailed until January.
“Enquiries are on-going and anyone with information can call 101 quoting incident number 82 of 14 December.
2Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Little Lewis Hulley is the child brought back from the very brink of death.
After medics resuscitated the seven-year-old three times, a priest was called in the early hours of the morning.
His distraught mother, Charlotte, was told to brace herself for the worst.
Yet, following those harrowing hours in intensive care, battling Lewis defied the odds to pull through. And this week his courage was rewarded with a national award.

Cancer Research UK Star Award recipient Lewis Hulley from Rugeley (Image: Dale Martin)
“I was petrified,” said Charlotte, from Rugeley, Staffordshire, recalling the day, last September, when she almost lost her child.
“The doctor actually told us to call the family because there was nothing more they could do. My mum and dad came over because we thought he hadn’t got much longer.
“The next thing we knew he started to respond to the treatment. He’s such a fighter he proved everyone wrong.”
Charlotte and Lewis have shared their story to launch an awards scheme that recognises the courage of children and young people with cancer.
The Cancer Research UK for Children and Young People Star Awards, supported by TK Maxx, celebrates the strength shown by youngsters fighting the disease.
Lewis was nominated by Charlotte because of the courage he’s shown during treatment. His eight-year-old brother Cameron also received a certificate of recognition.
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“Lewis had to learn to walk again after spending 11 days in intensive care,” said Charlotte.
“But it didn’t faze him, he’s been amazing. I nominated him for the award because he’s our little warrior. He loves his star and it’s great Cameron has got a certificate, too, because, when Lewis was in hospital, I didn’t see him from one week to the next.”
Lewis was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in August, 2018, after Charlotte took him to the doctors with tummy ache and diarrhoea.

Cancer Research UK Star Award recipient Lewis Hulley from Rugeley, with his mom Charlotte. (Image: Dale Martin)
“I made an appointment at the doctors and, by the time we saw the GP a few hours later, his eyes and face were yellow,” said Charlotte. “It was horrible to watch.
“We were sent to Stoke hospital for tests, but it never once occurred to me it could be cancer. The following morning I was taken into a room where a consultant told me Lewis might have leukaemia. I was in such shock I collapsed on the floor crying.”
Lewis was sent to Birmingham Children’s Hospital where he began immediate chemotherapy after further tests confirmed the diagnosis.
“He’d been in hospital a few weeks and had just started losing his hair when he collapsed on the ward,” said Charlotte, who had to quit her job as a hotel housekeeper to look after Lewis.
“I’d just taken him to the toilet and the next thing I knew about 15 nurses appeared and rushed him to intensive care.
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“I remember calling my mum and dad in a panic and they came straight over. We thought we’d lost him, but he just kept fighting. He spent 11 days in intensive care and nine weeks in hospital before he was allowed home.”
Lewis was back on his feet by Christmas but, in January, Charlotte was told Lewis’s body wasn’t reacting as it should to the chemotherapy, so he was switched to a more intensive treatment regime.
After missing a year off school Lewis was back at Western Springs Primary School in September, though he faces another two years of chemotherapy treatment.
Charlotte and Lewis are now encouraging other families across the region to nominate eligible children for the Star Awards in the run up to Christmas.
The awards are open to all under-18s who currently have cancer or have been treated for the disease in the last five years. There is no judging panel because Cancer Research UK for Children and Young People believes every child diagnosed with cancer deserves special recognition. Around 150 children are diagnosed with cancer in the West Midlands region every year.
Everyone nominated receives a trophy, £50 TK Maxx gift card, t-shirt and a certificate signed by a host of famous faces, including Nanny McPhee and Last Christmas star Dame Emma Thompson and This Morning’s Dr Ranj, as well as children’s favourite entertainer Mister Maker. Their siblings also receive a certificate.

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PAGE 3 GIRL BOUNCES BACK FROM CANCER

WORRY FOR HAY FEVER SUFFERERS

BRUM’S SILENT KILLER

Paula Young, spokesperson for Cancer Research UK for Children and Young People in the West Midlands, said: “Our Star Awards, in partnership with TK Maxx, shine an important light on children and young people with cancer.
“We know that a cancer diagnosis is devastating at any age, but that it can be particularly difficult for a child or young person and their families. That is why we are calling on families across the region to nominate inspirational youngsters for an award so that we can recognise their incredible courage.”
To nominate a child for an award, visit cruk.org/childrenandyoungpeople

A train strike planned for Saturday has been cancelled.
West Midlands Railway has come to an agreement with the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) after a dispute broke out regrading the role of senior train conductors.
In an announcement, West Midlands Railways said staff were no longer striking on Saturday, December 14 and a full service would be reinstated.

Passengers standing on a West Midlands Railway train in October 2019 (Image: Graham Young / BirminghamLive)
But the development has come too late to change schedules which still might wrongly show a strike is going ahead. 
A statement said: “We have reached an agreement with the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) to settle a trade dispute regarding the role of senior conductors on new trains.
“Both sides have worked hard on our shared vision to keep a conductor on every train, which is great news for passengers and staff alike.

“This means that no further strike action will take place.
“However, this agreement has come too late to withdraw Saturday’s amended timetable as the national deadline for short-notice changes has passed.
“Future schedules are of course being amended to ensure a full Saturday service is reinstated from 14th December, including Advance ticket quotas.”
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There has been rail chaos in recent weeks with travellers reporting people fainting, crying in distress and arguing with fellow passengers and staff because of a lack of seats and delays.
The affected services were set to be:
Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury
Kidderminster and Hereford
Hereford and Bromsgrove
Whitlocks End and Stratford-upon-Avon
Stratford-upon-Avon and Dorridge
Dorridge and Leamington Spa
Walsall and Rugeley Trent Valley
Rugby and Crewe via Nuneaton and Rugeley Trent Valley
Crewe and Stafford via Stoke-on-Trent
Bletchley and Bedford
Watford Junction and St Albans Abbey

It is the huge Amazon factory which ships out up to 600,000 parcels EVERY DAY.
And the global American logistics firm is now offering people a glimpse of what goes at the ‘fulfilment centre’ in Rugeley, Staffordshire, by offering public tours.
Amazon Rugeley was the first centre to operate the free tours in the UK in response to allegations from the GMB Union about poor working conditions.
The company wanted to open up the site to show transparency and give the public an opportunity to see at first hand how the huge operation works.
Amazon has employed specially trained tour guides who run two or three slots per day.
The tours are closed to the public over the Christmas period but BirminghamLive was this week given an exclusive glimpse of how the company operates during the festive period.

Site Leader Gary Norton overlooking the main floor. (Image: Birmingham Mail)
Our host for the day was site leader Gary Norton.
Gary, aged 46, a former semi-professional footballer and manager, is now on the director’s board at non league Gresley Rovers.
He has a glowing CV with leading roles at Pirelli tyres, Molson Coors brewery, Bombardier and Rolls-Royce and has been in charge of the Rugeley site since September 2015.

A look round the giant Amazon Fulfillment Centre in Rugeley.

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As he opens the door to the huge warehouse Gary tells us ‘the fullfilment centre’ as its known is 750,000 square feet in size – equivalent of 10 football pitches.
The workforce is 1,800 strong over the Christmas period – almost doubling in size.
“You have joined us at one of the busiest times of the year,” Gary enthuses.
“Today we will ship out several hundred thousand items.

“Black Friday was crazily busy. It has calmed down a little bit since then but will start getting busier and busier in the run up to Christmas.
“Our record is around 600,000 items dispatched in one day.”

The Amazon Fulfillment Centre in Rugeley. (Image: Birmingham Mail)
The biggest item stocked at the Rugeley centre is a Monopoly board. Other Amazon centre’s such as it’s Coalville base ships much bigger items but it’s small items for this centre.
Gary tells us: “Our most popular items at the moment are electric toothbrushes, Alexa’s, fire sticks, the latest Fifa 21 game and we have just had lots of orders for the Peter Crouch book.”

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As our tour begins Gary tells us that the huge warehouse is split into five areas – receive, stock, pick, package and ship.
We are taken firstly to the receive area which is busy with workers dealing with the new shipment of items which have arrived from the dozens of lorries which drop off goods everyday.
He tells us that Rugeley site, on four levels, is  is purely for storing and distributing items from a vendor, such as a seller using Fulfillment by Amazon.
Half the items sold on Amazon.com are from small businesses and entrepreneurs.
“The bar code is the key in the smooth operation,” says Gary. “Every item is given a bar code as soon as it arrives so it can be tracked throughout the process.

General views of The Amazon Fulfillment Centre in Rugeley. (Image: Birmingham Mail)
“Algorithms are the key to the whole process and for it to run smoothly throughout the five different levels of operation.”
Moving on upstairs to the stow area and looking down the aisle, it brings home just how huge the warehouse is. The multi-coloured aisles run further than the eyes can see.
At the stow area I grab a chat with 23-year-old Mihai Ion who lives in Walsall. He has been working at Amazon in Rugeley for the last three months.
He says: “I do enjoy working here. The money is good and you make lots of friends here.  The work can get boring at times but it is a good environment to work in.

The Amazon Fulfillment Centre in Rugeley. (Image: Birmingham Mail)
“I am just temporary at the moment over the Christmas period but I hope I will be given something more permanent in the future.”
Instead of storing items as a retail store would—electronics on one aisle, books on another, all of the items at Amazon fulfillment centers are stowed randomly.
On one shelf is a box of PG tips and stored alongside it is an Alexa.
But although the system may look random it enables workers like Mihai to quickly pick the items ready to move on to the packaging process. All of the items are tracked by computers.

Mihai Ion scanning in the centre. (Image: Birmingham Mail)
As we carry on walking to the packaging section I ask Gary about some of the accusation which have been levied at Amazon Rugeley.
The GMB Union claim the centre has been dogged by 999 incidents such as major trauma, pregnancy, maternity problems and strokes.
One pregnant woman made allegations that she was on her feet for 10 hours a day despite being asked for reassignment.
Other workers claimed they were being forced to urinate into bottles saying they hadn’t got time to use the toilet facilities because work was too busy.
Amazon have strongly refuted these claims and a spokeswoman had previously said: “Self-interested critics have a vested interest in spreading misinformation about Amazon but the facts tell a different story.”
Gary is happy to address the alleged incidents.

Sydney Mayne on the Packaging Department. (Image: Birmingham Mail)
He tells me: “For me what I read is not the reality. I read that people haven’t got time to go to the toilet so they urinate in a bottles. Sorry this is just ridiculous. As you can see we have accessible toilets all around the centre and if people need to go to the toilet they can just go.
“Pregnant women wouldn’t be on their feet for 10 hours at a time. I simply wouldn’t allow that.
“Of course at this time of the year it is incredibly busy and we everyone has to work hard. But these allegations are simply not true and it is upsetting to read.
“We have over 1800 people working here. Unfortunately you can’t keep absolutely everyone happy. Some people who have worked here in the past have their own agendas.”

The Amazon Fulfillment Centre in Rugeley. (Image: Birmingham Mail)
He tells me that Amazon offer a starting pay of £9.50 per hour and lots of other benefits including staff discounts and a College scheme which sees the company pay for workers to gain extra qualifications. Shifts are for 10 hours at a time and there is the option of four days on then three off.
There are day and night shifts.
Workers are too busy to enjoy a pre-Christmas party but instead the company throws a huge bash in January for all staff as a big thank you for their efforts.
As we walk around workers are clearly busy but there is an air of calmness at the same time. I would have expected stressed and harassed faces as they deal with the Christmas demand but these seem widely to be replaced with smiles.
As we move through the picking section to the packaging area I have a chat with 24-year-old Sydney Mayne who has been working at Amazon for the last four years.

The main floor with hundred of thousands of parcels ready to go. (Image: Birmingham Mail)
She tells me she is currently attending college where she is studying Human Resources paid for by Amazon though its College scheme.
She said: “I have read about the horror stories working here in the press but it is simply not the reality.
“Of course when you are here you have to work hard and you are on your feet a long time in your 10 hour shift. But we get two half an hour breaks and the money is good.
“I have family members working here and they are all happy.  I am going to college at the moment to study human resources. Amazon are paying for this.”

The Packaging Department. (Image: Birmingham Mail)
Then it is over to the shipping area.
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Here the parcels are individually weighed and then stamped with a label in the blink of an eye.
Packed envelopes and boxes race underneath the SLAM (Scan, Label, Apply, Manifest) machines, which deposit shipping labels with astonishing speed and, contrary to the name, a light touch.
The packages are nudged from the conveyor down slides into the correct trailer based on shipping method, speed of delivery and location.
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Then we finally make our way upstairs to a viewing platform where we can see the items being stored ready to be shipped out.

The Packaging Department. (Image: Birmingham Mail)
“This is where I like to come and stand,” Gary proudly states.
“It’s a great vantage point to see the whole process and an opportunity to detect any flaws in the system. We do have moments when machinery breaks down but we have contingency plans in place to get things moving as quickly as possible.
“I am proud of the team. Even though I run this operation I still find it incredible to think that one click and your item can be delivered to your door on the same day and soon we will introducing delivery to your door within the two hour service.
“The tours have proved to be a brilliant success and it is great to show the public first hand just how we get their parcels to them and so quickly.”

The Amazon Fulfillment Centre in Rugeley. (Image: Birmingham Mail)
At the end of the visit I am told there is a surprise gift for children who are booked on the tour.
Christmas came early for members of the Rugeley Brownies who were even treated to a supermarket sweep of the Amazon shelves.
*Tours begin again for the public in January. To book one click here

The bosses of West Midlands Railway have issued an unequivocal “sorry” to BirminghamLive readers for the train chaos that’s blighted the region – and announced a series of moves to make things better.
The train company has faced a deluge of complaints from regular commuters in and out of Birmingham for overcrowded trains and delayed services.
The frustration comes on top of the recent strikes by RMT members on Saturdays which was called off this week.
Today the company has told BirminghamLive it will implement the following:
* 16 extra carriages by next week to ease desperate overcrowding on the busiest routes, with 24 more carriages by February 2020.
* A one-off compensation payment for season ticket holders for enduring an ‘unacceptable’ level of service since May 2019.
* Better support for vulnerable passengers
* A new shuttle service between Rugeley and Birmingham International in a bid to end the frustration of commuters being ‘offloaded’ a station early when trains are running late
* A simplified timetable, from December 15, designed to reduce delays and cancellations 
* In the longer term, a new timetable in May 2020 would aim to undo the mistakes of the current services, while a new fleet of trains would be delivered in 2020-2021 bringing ‘thousands’ of extra seats to services
‘We see the pain and tears’
The pledges came from West Midlands Railway commercial director Andy Camp, who took the hot seat to answer readers’ questions in an interview recorded live. You can watch the full interview with BirminghamLive politics and people editor Jane Haynes at the top of this story.
Mr Camp said he has witnessed the pain and frustration of passengers first hand.
He said: “I know the pain our customers are going through because I stand on the concourse with my fellow directors and our senior managers facing up to this. We know the pain they are going through.”

A West Midlands Railway train at Moor Street Station (Image: Graham Young / BirminghamLive)
“I have faced up to passengers in Birmingham and Euston, heard some really awful stories of journeys, people in tears, and so we know the pain people are going through. We see it for ourselves.”
‘We are sorry – and this is what’s gone wrong’
Mr Camp opened our half-hour recorded interview with an apology and explained the causes of the rail chaos experienced by commuters and shoppers this year.
“First of all I want to apologise to all our passengers on behalf of the board of West Midlands Trains. Obviously the service is not good enough.
“There has not been a day gone by this year when we have not looked at this in detail and put action plans together to try to resolve this. Everything was perfectly okay before the May timetable came in earlier this year.

Andy Camp, commercial director, West Midlands Trains
“This timetable was overly ambitious and we have spent the last few months unpicking it to make it more simple and customer friendly. Our December timetable – starting on December 15 – will unpick some of that and we get out next chance in May, when the big changes will happen.”
He confirmed his firm was responsible for the timetable introduced in May. He said it was meant to provide more journeys and quicker journeys, bringing 150,000 extra passengers onto the trains, to meet demands from the Department for Transport – but it had quickly become clear the new ambitious regime was not sufficiently robust or flexible to cope when problems arose.
It ended up making things worse, not better, said Mr Camp – and now the lessons learned were being fed back to the Department for Transport and to the Government’s Williams Review, which has been scrutinising the way rail services are managed across the country and the future of rail. “We are not the only ones (to experience problems) and this will I think be one of the focuses for the Williams Review,” said Mr Camp.
Question 1: Overcrowding on the rush hour services between Wilnecote and Birmingham New Street
We had a flurry of complaints about the rush hour 8:07 service from Wilnecote. Chrissie, a social media manager, said: “Always rammed; some days you don’t know if you will get on, and never get a seat. Some days I can barely breathe, it’s so overcrowded.” Her concerns were repeated by fellow passengers on the same service.
Answer:
An easy one for West Midlands Railway to answer – as it’s not their service. Andy Camp said the best he could offer was an alternative service from Sutton Coldfield – “it’s less packed and cheaper”. However, he promised to pass the query on to his counterpart at Cross Country Trains, who swiftly provided this response:
“We know this train can get extremely busy. It’s the peak time service from Nottingham calling at all stations to Birmingham and very popular with commuters. We’d love to be able to offer more than an apology for anyone having to stand, but regrettably we have no spare trains to be able to offer more seats. However, we are working with the Department for Transport on an extension to our contract that hopefully will see more trains available to us, and with Transport for the West Midlands on longer-term opportunities for these services.

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Question 2: Standing room only on the Snow Hill to Worcester line at peak times 
Lots of readers expressed anger and frustration over on-going issues about services between Birmingham Snow Hill/Moor Street and Stourbridge, Kidderminster, Worcester and beyond. Overcrowding, short trains, delays, cancellations – passengers are enduring a lot of misery at rush hour. What hope of improvement?
Answer:
From next week a fleet of 16 carriages would be added to the busiest train services – with another 24 to follow by February – in a bid to alleviate the worst of the overcrowding. The line into Worcestershire and Herefordshire would be the first to benefit.
Said Mr Camp: “We have 16 carriages coming across from Trans Pennine Express which we are putting into service for the December timetable (from December 15th.) That will be followed, by the end of February, with another 24 carriages coming in.
“We have managed to procure these carriages from another train operating company to alleviate (the overcrowding). We did want this earlier, but it’s taken longer than we’d hoped – we obviously don’t want our passengers to have to endure a busy, crowded or difficult service but we have finally got hold of these carriages.
“They will be put into service over the next two weeks and then the balance, another 24, will come in January and February,  so there is some good news on the way.”
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Question 3: Trains from London to Rugeley stopping early and offloading passengers
Asked Ben: “My biggest bugbear isn’t things going wrong as they can do – but that when the network is in meltdown they insist on stopping services early and leaving in some cases hundreds stranded – often with no trains running behind them. This happens on the Cross City line (stopping at Blake St before Lichfield) and the Chase line (stopping Hednesford before Rugeley). What’s going on?
Answer:
“The Chase Line was timetabled into a long distance service to and from Euston, so passengers from Rugeley could get down to Euston. It’s a stopping service, which means any problems on that line have a knock on impact – losing a minute or two here or there, and then it gets into the Coventry corridor which is a very narrow part of the track into New Street, can lose more time,” said Mr Camp.
“By the time it gets into Hednesford they are having to turn the train around (so it can catch up lost time and head back towards London) – which is crazy. We have to offload passengers at Hednesford and put them onto buses.
“From December 15 we will resolve about half of that – we are going to have a new stopping service from Rugeley going down to Birmingham International, the old style shuttle service, which will go once an hour. Then from May it will go about twice an hour.”
Question 4: Misery for travellers with autism, anxiety, claustraphobia and other ‘hidden’ disabilities and conditions
We were contacted by Mary, who says she can no longer risk travelling by train into Birmingham because her autistic child finds delay and overcrowding too difficult to cope with. People with anxiety and panic disorders, stressed out commuters, and those with ‘hidden’ disabilities say travelling by train can be exceptionally challenging – and when platforms are crowded and seats taken it’s difficult to have the courage to make a case for why you are more in need of a seat than anyone else. What does the service offer for Mary and other challenged travellers?
Answer:
“I have spoken about new carriages coming in and new trains on way, but we also have an accessibility team and schemes in place where vulnerable customers can apply for special cards for help on the platform and can pre book assistance on line.
“It’s something we are really focussed on. Passenger assistance will help, along with train carriages and new trains, and there are times of day that are better for travel.
“We are trying our best and have a dedicated team looking at this issue.”
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There is also a team working on how best to supply information ahead of travelling,” he said. This would particularly help more vulnerable passengers see if there are any delays or cancellations before they start their journey.
“We have an accessibility panel and would be very happy to hear from anyone who can contribute to that,” said Mr Camp. Contact West Midlands Railway’s customer service team for more information.
Question 5: Overcrowding on the peak time Birmingham to Lichfield service, along with inaccurate on-platform information
Paul asked: “I board at platform 8 from Birmingham New Street to Lichfield…the information board regularly shows the incoming train will be six carriages, only for a three train carriage to arrive. This is frustrating if you have lined up at either end expecting a bigger train – and it is also so packed they can’t get everyone on board. This is very, very, very frustrating and has been going on for months. What can you do about it?
Answer:
“I can understand why people are annoyed. The platform information announcements are operated by Network Rail, so we are talking to our colleagues there to ensure to make sure these announcements are fit for purpose to resolve this issue. We are looking at that right away.

Passengers wait at Snow Hill for news after train cancellations
The other issue is about getting capacity right on the Cross City line, which is currently affected by a refit programme to ensure all toilets are accessible – with carriages being taken out of service on a rolling basis, he said.
“From 2020-21 we do have new trains coming in, bringing tens of thousands of new seats to the Cross City line.”

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Christmas 2019

Question 5: Why is compensation so ‘paltry’?
Season ticket holder Scott has made three claims for delays over 15 mins and received 10p, 13p and 24p in compensation. He asks: ‘what’s the point?’
Answer:
“We would obviously rather have a service that was right in the first place. Our Delay Repay scheme is now improved so pays out on 15 minute delays. Compensation is a reflection of local fares, which are fairly good value for money, so it is a proportion of a relatively low fare. But we know for those with season tickets it can be difficult.
We want to get to a position where compensation is automatically delivered via the Swift card, he said.
But in the meantime – “we are trying to put in a compensation package for season ticket customers in the new year. We are going through the process of agreeing that this week – and that will be over and above the Delay Repay scheme. We hope we can get that out before Christmas.”
Question 6: What hope for better services over the Christmas period?

Answer:
The new timetable comes into force on December 15 – “it will not be a silver bullet. It will alleviate some of the problems, along with new carriages and the compensation package.
The company is also working closely with Network Rail, who are responsible for the tracks and signals. Around 70% or more of delays and cancellations are due to signal failures or incidents on the tracks, which are outside the control of West Midlands Railway, said Mr Camp.
“There is a lot of work going on to resolve issues and working with Network Rail. The Network Rail team has changed in the region recently and is much more customer focussed.”
Question 7: Looking into the distance, will HS2 make any difference to local services?
Answer:
“We feel HS2 will be a complementary service, will resolve pressure on the West Coast Line and offer more capacity. We think it’s a good thing and will relieve pressures.”
You can find out how your services are affected by checking out the timetable here.

Seven teenage boys have been detained by police after reports a train driver was attacked during a rampage in a Midland town.
Officers from Staffordshire Police rushed to Rugeley railway station in Sandy Lane just before 7pm following reports of an assault on Thursday, December 5.
A second incident broke out shortly after, a spokesman for the force said.
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A 16-year-old, 18-year-old and two 17-year-olds, from Walsall, along with two 16-year-olds, from Cannock, and a 16-year-old, from Brownhills, were all taken into custody.
They all remained in custody today, Friday, December 6, the spokesman added.
Patrols were stepped up in the surrounding area in a bid to reassure members of the public.

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Top stories – Black Country

Deputy Chief Inspector of Cannock Chase Neighbourhood Policing Team, Mark Burslem, said: “We are aware there are reports of disorder in the area and people are understandably concerned.
“We would like to reassure members of the public that we will be increasing patrols and this sort of behaviour is taken very seriously and will not be tolerated.”
Anyone with concerns should message Staffordshire Police on Facebook or Twitter, quoting incident number 587 of December 5, call 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds have announced three Forest Live shows – including two in the Midlands.
The Oasis rock star will perform a trio of shows, including one in Nottinghamshire and one in Staffordshire.
He will be playing with Australian outfit Confidence Man in June next year.
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds plus special guests Confidence Man will play on Thursday 18 June in Thetford Forest, near Brandon, Suffolk.
Friday 19 June will see The Chief play Cannock Chase Forest, near Rugeley, Staffs, and on Friday 26 June, he will perform at Sherwood Pines, near Mansfield, Notts.

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Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds first emerged in 2011 with their eponymous album going double platinum in the UK and selling over 2.5 million copies worldwide.
Chasing Yesterday and Who Built The Moon? followed, making it a hat-trick of Number 1 albums. Noel Gallagher has been at the forefront of the British music scene since the mid-nineties Britpop explosion.
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As a founding member and the principal songwriter of Oasis, Noel has sold over 70 million records, including the band’s generation-defining albums Definitely Maybe and What’s The Story Morning Glory?.
His new single, Wandering Star, is taken from the Blue Moon Rising EP, to be released in March 2020.
 At Forest Live, Noel with his 11-piece band will be performing tracks from his new series of EP’s and from the impressive Gallagher back catalogue.

Pictured Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds on stage in concert at the Genting Arena, Birmingham tonight Friday 29th April 2016, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds complete a worldwide tour that included a sell out Arena Tour of the UK.
Tickets £52.50 (plus £6.25 booking fee) go on sale at 9am Friday 6 December from Forestry England box office tel 03000 680400 or buy online:  www.forestryengland.uk/music

Named and shamed – these are some of the most serious criminals who have been banged up in November in Birmingham and the West Midlands.
They include a man who murdered a father of four who was an innocent victim of a bitter family feud, 94 years jailed for a gun gang who shot a man dead as he sat in the passenger seat of a car, and a Nissan Qashqai uses as a drugs carrier.
Others jailed this month include a gunman who fled to Dubai after shooting a man dead in a gang-related feud, a mother and son who helped a brutal killer go on the run and a Midlands gang who smuggled millions of pounds of dirty cash out of the UK.
To keep up-to-date with crime in your community, join the  Birmingham Crime Watch  Facebook group where you will be alerted to any suspicious or criminal behaviour happening in your area.
See more BirminghamLive crime stories here .
See below some of the biggest cases in November – click the links to see the full story.
 

Nabeel Choudhary
A man will serve at least 26 years in jail after murdering a father of four who became the innocent victim of a brutal family feud. Nabeel Choudhary, 21, from West Bromwich, was part of a group of seven who brutally stabbed Yassir Hussain to death.
Mr Justice Nicol jailed Choudhary for life and ordered he serve a minimum term of 26 years and 37 days. A Birmingham Crown Court trial heard Mr Hussain tried to flee outside the Golden City takeaway in Lower Gornal on December 4 last year but was trapped and hacked to death.

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Mr Hussain’s family paid tribute to him as a “gentle” man who was an “innocent” in a long-running family feud that led to the chilling machete attack. The court heard how Choudhary had previously threatened his cousin Morrad Hussain, who managed to flee the scene.
Choudhary was sentenced to life in prison for murder but there was no separate sentence for charges of attempted grievous bodily harm and dangerous driving.
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(Image: West Midlands Police)
Dwain Smith, Kurrum Guild, Montell Gray and Seamus Williams
Four men involved in a fatal Wolverhampton shooting have been jailed for a total of 94 years.
Dwain Smith, 26, and Kurrum Guild, 22, shot 24-year-old Dwaine Junior Haughton as he sat in the passenger seat of a Peugeot 207 in Valley Road, Wolverhampton, in July 20 last year. The duo were convicted of murder in September following a trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court and today were sentenced to life with a minimum term of 28 years.

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Meanwhile Montell Gray, 22, of Springhill Road, Wolverhampton, and 24-year-old Seamus Williams, of Okemont Drive, Wolverhampton, who were convicted of manslaughter, were both jailed for 15 years.
The victim was a front seat passenger in a parked car which was struck by the bullets. He was driven to hospital with critical injuries but despite the best efforts of medics, he was pronounced dead in the early hours of the following morning.
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All four men were also found guilty of possession of a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life as well as handling a stolen Audi A7. Smith, of Chainmakers Close, Bilston; Guild, of Oakthorpe Gardens, Tividale, and Williams were also convicted of arson after the £25,000 vehicle was torched after the shooting.
Guild and Smith were also sentenced for a stabbing in Vicarage Road, Wolverhampton, which happened five months after the fatal shooting. 
Mohammed Shazad
Mohammed Shazad was monitored by police making repeated, suspicious visits to a Nissan Qashqai parked in Middlemore Road, Smethwick.
Officers from the West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) arrested the 37-year-old on 7 February this year – and when the Qashqai was examined they found 10 1kg blocks of cocaine in a hide built beneath the rear seats.

(Image: WMP)
Forensics experts examined the packages and confirmed some of the cocaine had a purity of around 99 per cent – and with a conservative value of £280,000.
At Birmingham Crown Court Shazad, from Holly Road, Handsworth, was imprisoned for nine years and 10 months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
Keanu Bedward
24-year-old Bedward fled to Dubai after killing father-of-three, Remal Hunt during broad daylight on Birmingham street back in April.
Bedward was found guilty of murdering Hunt, 28, on Church Street, Erdington, before dumping the weapon in a reservoir and then fled the country.
After West Midlands Police made an appeal to find him, he was arrested in Dubai and flown back to the UK just 10 days later.

(Image: WMP)
Bedward, 24, of Norfolk Road, Erdington, had denied the charge.
Passing sentence, Judge Simon Drew QC said: “It would appear this offence was in some way gang-related. Certainly you were known to each other. Whether this in fact involved gangs is not entirely clear.
“Undoubtedly there was bad feeling between the two of you.”
After the sentencing hearing, the victim’s family said the killer had “ripped their hearts out”.
Bedward will serve a minimum of 30 years behind bars.
Read more about this story here.
Hannah Wilson, Hayley Wilson, Allan Stewardson and Jayne Lloyd
Former West Midlands Police call handler, Hayley Wilson, pleaded guilty to supplying confidential information to family members.
She was found to be supplying information to her sister on people they knew by checking their criminal records. She did this as well as giving her sister’s partner details on a court case he was a defendant of.
She also gave information to a pub landlady on incidents reported at other pubs, Birmingham Crown Court heard.

She had a close relationship with her sister, they would talk to each other regularly and would discuss matters, which she obtained from police logs, that were “ordinarily off limits”, the court heard.
She resigned from her position while under investigation and pleaded guilty to the charges, as did her sister Hayley Wilson, 38, of Ely Close, Rowley Regis.
Hayley’s partner Allan Stewardson, 49, also of Ely Close in Rowley Regis, and Jayne Lloyd, who lived at and ran the Knights Quest pub on Rowley Regis High Street, were each found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office at a trial in September.
Read more about this story here.
Aklakur Rahman
Aklakur Rahman attempted to attack and kill a prison officer while he was already serving time behind bars for a string of violent offences.
Originally from Ipswich, Rahman was handed the sentence at Birmingham Crown Court earlier this month after he launched the attack, armed with a piece of masonry he had got from a wall when he was serving time at HMP Lincoln in 2017.
It came a few days after an inmate at HMP Wayland in Norfolk was left needing 28 stitches to the back of his neck after Rahman attacked him with an improvised bladed weapon back in July.

He carried out a third attack at HMP Wakeland in August of the same year, in which he cut the neck of a prison officer with a screw.
In July of this year, Rahman was found guilty of three counts of attempted murder relating to the attacks at HMP Wayland and HMP Lincoln, and one count of grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent for the incident at HMP Wakefield.
On sentencing, at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday, November 15, Mr Justice Pepperall said he was satisfied Rahman had planned each offence, “carefully preparing the most dangerous weapons he could fashion from the limited materials available to him”.
Prince Rowe
The 38-year-old was jailed for 16 months after he stole a £23,000 Rolex and £1,000 tracksuit from a Premier League footballer after a failed attempt to catch the player cheating.
Rowe planned to capture incriminating footage of the cheating sportsman and sell it to the press.
The footballer, who cannot be named for legal reasons, escaped by jumping from the hotel room window in his underwear and ran down a fire escape before taking shelter in a nearby restaurant.

(Image: PA)
Bristol Crown Court heard Rowe then made a “spur of the moment” decision to steal the star’s Rolex watch and tracksuit.
Rowe, who is from Birmingham, was wearing the tracksuit when he was arrested while waiting to board a flight to Dubai days later, while the watch was discovered at a friend’s home.
Judge Martin Picton jailed Rowe for 16 months for the thefts, describing them as part of a “honeypot set-up”.
Tevin McLeod
28-year-old pilot Tevin McLeod was arrested and charged with the rape and sexual abuse of a girl under the age of 13 after landing a plane at Manchester Airport.
McLeod, from Birmingham, initially denied the offences, but Birmingham Crown Court heard he had sent a number of messages to the girl – acknowledging the abuse – in a desperate bid to stop her reporting the sickening crimes.
In the messages, he spoke about his reputation being tarnished if people found out about the incidents, which happened between 2015 and 2016.

(Image: WMP)
He also told the girl he would lose his career as a pilot and go to jail because she was underage.
McLeod, of no fixed address, later admitted to the rape and sexual assault and was jailed on Friday, November 8.
He was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison and will be subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order on his release.
Det Con Stewart Garratt, from West Midlands Police’s Birmingham Child Abuse Public Protection Team, said: “For a child to speak out and report sexual abuse is a huge deal for them and I commend the bravery of this young girl for confiding in someone.”
Read more about this story here

Benjamin Kidd
A drug dealer who chopped a man’s finger off with a machete in Lichfield for “short changing” him has been jailed for eight years. Benjamin Kidd, of Birch Avenue Cannock, attacked the man, who was buying drugs from him, servering a finger and inflicting cuts to his arm, head and back.
Medics were was not able to reattach the victim’s finger. The 30-year-old was seen in Burwaye Close, at around 8.20pm on May 19, stepping out of a Toyota Aygo and attacking the victim with a sharp weapon.
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Police found his car and searched a nearby house where they found Kidd hiding in the loft space behind a water tank. Kidd was jailed at Stafford Crown Court on Monday (November 18).
Detective Constable Gareth Morris said: “We are pleased with the sentence given. This was a violent attack where the victim suffered serious life changing injuries and this behaviour will not be tolerated in Staffordshire.”

(Image: WMP)
Waqar Khan
A hit-and-run driver who lied about being carjacked to cover up for running down two pedestrians has been jailed. Waqar Khan, 19, was driving a Seat Ibiza which hit two men after they stepped off a bus in Adderley Road, Saltley, at around 7.20pm on January 12.
The car drove off but the front registration plate came off and was left at the scene . Around 20 minutes later, Khan’s father, Fazil Khan, rang police saying his son had been carjacked in Arden Road.
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And ten minutes later, Khan called 999 from an address in Arden Road, claiming he had been dragged from the Ibiza by robbers. He gave officers a number for his mobile phone which he said had also been taken, but later admitted that one digit was incorrect.
Suspicious officers checked his phone records, which revealed Khan had called his father from the same number seven minutes after the alleged theft of his car and phone. Khan, of Finnemore Road, Bordesley Green, admitted perverting the course of justice when he appeared at Birmingham Crown Court on Monday, November 18, and was jailed for six months.

Edward Wiseman
A car thief who hit 130mph as he tried to outrun police on the M6 was rescued by officers after the Audi smashed into an Eddie Stobart lorry and exploded. The stolen A1 was left a mangled wreck and criminal Edward Wiseman suffered a string of broken bones when he ploughed into the HGV.
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The 20-year-old stole the car from an address in St Mark’s Road, Chapel Ash, Wolverhampton, at 5.30am but was traced by police to the M5/M6 interchange. He ignored the 60mph limit – in place for roadworks – and weaved in and out of traffic as he tried to give cops the slip.
Wiseman was already doing 100mph when officers picked up on the car but he hit 120 and then 130 as he tried to get away. After hitting 130mph, he slowed to 117mph – narrowly missing a box van as he reached roadworks with a 50mph limit.

(Image: WMP)
Sarah Broadbelt
A fraudster has been jailed after changing her name by deed poll to sell a £75,000 house – without the real owner knowing. Sarah Broadbelt took out a passport under her new identity of Marion Patterson – the name of the legal owner – to dupe the authorities dealing with the sale.
The scam was only rumbled when the real Marion tried to sell the property – and was told it had been sold four months earlier. Now Broadbelt, 32, of Fledborough Drive, Sutton Coldfield, has been jailed for 20 months, having previously admitted charges of fraud and possessing a false identity document.
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Jane Sarginson, prosecuting, told Birmingham Crown Court it was a “brazen and calculated” fraud that “struck at the heart of the conveyancing system”. Passing sentence, Judge Michael Chambers QC told her: “You played a prominent role in a sophisticated fraud to deprive the owner of the house of its ownership.”
The court heard the real Marion had the house in Welsh House Farm Road, Quinton, valued at up to £200,000, having rented out the home she had owned since 1993 after moving to Cornwall to get married.

Shamar Fairclough and Kai Bell
Two men have been jailed after Police officers caught them en route to what officers believe would have been a machete attack. Alert officers stopped a silver Ford Mondeo in the Heath Town area of Wolverhampton on February 15, having spotted Kai Bell in the passenger seat alongside fellow gang member Shamar Fairclough.
Fairclough made off from the scene but 19-year-old Bell – who uses the street name ‘Muller’ and features in drill music videos in which he makes veiled threats to rivals – was arrested and a foot-long Gurkha style machete was found in the foot well.
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Bell, from Hopyard Gardens, Wolverhampton, was also found with a balaclava on the top of his head which he told detectives in interview he “used as a hat.” A small dagger was also found discarded near the Mondeo which was pulled over in Woden Road.
Offircers later apprehended Fairclough, from Coppice Green Lane in Telford, and on Wednesday the pair were both found guilty at Wolverhampton Crown Court of possessing a bladed article.
Bell was jailed for 15 months – plus an additional three months for breaching a community order – while Fairclough was imprisoned for nine months.

(Image: WMP)
Divinder Bhadesh
A callous thief has been jailed after he left a woman with broken fingers when he pulled her to the pavement as he snatched her handbag. Divinder Bhadesh was in Market Place in Wednesbury town centre on October 14, when his unsuspecting victim stood near him while she waited for a taxi.
He seized the opportunity to steal the 57-year-old woman’s handbag and stopped at nothing to get it. The 23-year-old approached the woman from the side and grabbed the strap of her bag from her shoulder and began tugging.
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When the woman refused to let go, Bhadesh pulled her to the floor – making her hit her head off a signpost. The woman was left with broken fingers as he ran off down the road with her bag, which contained £40 in cash, a debit card and personal items of no significant value.
The following day, West Midlands Police released CCTV images of the prime suspect on social media. Less than 24 hours later, Bhadesh was identified and swiftly arrested.
In police interview, he admitted to the offence and said he needed money for medical treatment. Bhadesh, of no fixed address, was jailed for three years and two months when he appeared at Wolverhampton Crown Court yesterday (Thursday, November 14). He was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £149.

(Image: WMP)
Amos Price
A thug who allowed his dog to maul a helpless cat to death has been jailed for 18 weeks and banned from keeping animals for life. Amos Price admitted setting a lurcher-type loose to savage a pet cat in Woodlands Crescent, Pelsall, on October 23.
He pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal under the Animal Welfare Act. The horrifying attack – which has sparked national outcry – was caught on CCTV.
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Sickening footage shows Price provoking the dog to attack the cat, called Cleo. The 30-year-old can be seen grabbing the dog by the collar and lifting it up to ensure it is aware of the cat, which was sat on a wall.

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Walsall Magistrates Court was told Price, who fled the scene, returned a short while later to look for the dog, which wandering the street.
Cleo’s owner, Gary Truefitt, only realised what had happened when he checked CCTV after his pet failed to return home. He said he has had many sleepless nights” since making the horrific discovery.

Zahir Qayum
A bogus buyer who threatened sales reps with a knife before driving off in £60,000 of cars from showrooms has been jailed. Zahir Qayum struck at dealerships across the region by pretending he wanted to test drive cars. Once seated, he would threaten sales reps with weapons or force them to jump out the way as he sped off.
His crime spree only came to an end when he left a cup of water on the roof of a Yaris at Toyota World which flew onto the ground as he drove off on March 25. Cops were able to match DNA on the discarded cup to the 41-year-old. They also identified him using CCTV at three other dealerships and a betting shop where he used a syringe to threaten a worker during an attempted robbery.
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Following a four-day trial Qayum, of Maryland Avenue, Hodge Hill, was convicted of three counts of robbery and jailed for nine years at Birmingham Crown Court on November 7.

Patrick Lynn
A speeding Birmingham driver overtook a van on a blind bend and ploughed into a schoolgirl crossing the road – leaving her with a badly broken leg. At first Patrick Lynn denied being responsible for the 15-year-old’s injuries, blaming the van driver for braking for his decision to overtake.
But at a further hearing at Warwick Crown Court he changed his plea to guilty to a charge of causing serious injury to the girl in Kingsbury Road, Curdworth, north Warwickshire, by dangerous driving.
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Lynn, 29, of Rubery Lane South, Rubery , was jailed for 25 months and banned from driving for three years after which he will have to take an extended test.

(Image: WMP)
Kelly Palmer and Zak Palmer
A mother and her son have been jailed for their parts in helping a brutal killer go on the run. Kelly and Zac Palmer and their friend Kelly Casey all helped James Atherley flee after he stabbed Callum Lees to death at a house party in Kingshurst.
Atherley, 21, was caught hiding out in a Newcastle Upon Tyne hotel nearly a month after the killing. He was snared because a picture of him enjoying himself in a nightclub was posted on Facebook.
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He had gone to his friend Zac Palmer for help, who had enlisted his mother Kelly Palmer, and her friend Kelly Casey in helping him escape after the killing in August 2017. At Birmingham crown court in August of this year – two years after the murder – all three were convicted of assisting an offender.

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On Tuesday, they were all sentenced for their parts in helping Atherley evade justice. Atherley is serving a 26-year jail term for the murder of 20-year-old Callum Lees at a house party in Hopwas Grove, Kingshurst, Solihull, on August 6, 2017.
Kelly Palmer, 41, of Letitia Avenue,  Meriden , was jailed for 18 months. Zac Palmer, 23, of Fallowfield Avenue, was sentenced to two years in prison. Kelly Casey, 38, also of Letitia Avenue, was sentenced to 18 months jail, suspended for two years.

(Image: HMRC)
Arturs Nespors, Alexksej Rybnikov and Marius Stancikas
A Midlands gang who smuggled millions of pounds of dirty cash out of the UK have been jailed. Arturs Nespors, 30, and Alexksej Rybnikov, 42, and Marius Stancikas, 40, were part of an i nternational organised crime network involved in cigarette trafficking, drug smuggling and money laundering.

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HMRC recovered more than £1 million at a ‘cash safe house’ in Coventry and another £251,000 from the boot of a car in Manchester, during a Europe-wide operation to smash the ring. Nespors and Rybnikov, of no fixed abode, and Stancikas, of Broad Street, Coventry, were today (November 6) jailed for a total of 12 years and nine months at Birmingham Crown Court.
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The criminals are believed to have acquired an estimated 680 million Euros between 2017 and 2019. HMRC joined law enforcement agencies across Europe in the co-ordinated operation, which was supported by Europol and Eurojust.
More than 450 police and customs officers, including police and special interventions units carried out raids targeting members of the criminal network on 15 May 2019. HMRC led UK-based investigations into Nespors, Rybnikov and Stancikas, who were involved in moving millions of pounds of criminal money out of the UK. The money is believed to have derived from the sale of illicit tobacco, alcohol, and drugs.

(Image: Staffordshire Police)
Shylo Thomas
An ex-footballer who ran a County Lines drug operation using teenagers to flood Staffordshire with heroin and crack cocaine has been jailed. Shylo Thomas – described as ‘aggressive and intimidating’ – recruited vulnerable kids as young as 15 as street dealers to travel from Birmingham to Burton and Rugeley, where they were made to deal Class A drugs for cash.
These dealers were cut off from their families, made to stay in the homes of local drug users or squat elsewhere- a process known as ‘cuckooing’ in the County Lines trade. Thomas, together with five other men and a teenager who all hail from Birmingham, pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine .
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Stafford Crown Court heard that a total of 1.5kg of class-A drugs was moved from August 2017 to February 2018. Thomas – who played for Walsall FC as a youngster – ran the network of street dealers in Burton upon Trent and Rugeley, detailing their income, rent payments and shift patterns in a handwritten ledger.

Wesley McDonnell
A callous burglar who targeted the Birmingham home of a World War 2 veteran has been jailed after forensic experts found droplets of his blood on a broken window. Upon analysis, the blood returned a DNA hit to Wesley McDonnell – who has a history of breaking into pensioners’ homes.
McDonnell forced his way inside the 98-year-old’s Bordesley Green home at 11pm on September 26 and snatched £200 in cash. The victim – who served around the world with the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm – phoned a friend who alerted West Midlands Police to the burglary.
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At the scene, droplets of blood were found on a glass door pane the 40-year-old smashed as he tried forcing open the property’s front door. As a result, detectives traced McDonnell, from Well Close in Bromford, to an address in Shirley where he was arrested on October 6. Initially he denied the offence, claiming to have cut himself while carrying out work at the victim’s address.
However, he entered a guilty plea on the eve of his trial and at Birmingham Crown Court on Tuesday (November 5) and was jailed for four years four months, plus an additional eight months for handling stolen goods.

(Image: WMP)
David Brennan
This is the unbelievable moment a dangerous driver who led police on a 137mph chase jumped into the back seat to fool cops. Officers were forced to use tactical contact to stop the Mini Cooper from driving the WRONG WAY up an M6 slip road .
Central Motorway Police Group spotted the Mini just before 3.20pm on Wednesday, September 18, near to junction 9. They’d been told about a car matching the description which had been stolen in a burglary in Halesowen, so followed it. The Mini headed onto the M54 before it sped away from officers, who started a pursuit.

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The Mini regularly hit speeds in excess of 100mph, often driving on the hard shoulder and weaving between lanes. At junction 10 of the M6, the driver tried to head the wrong way up a slip road. Officers used tactical contact to halt the car safely.
David Brennan, 23, jumped out of the driver’s seat and into the back of the car − but he didn’t fool officers, who had captured his every move on camera.
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Unemployed Brennan, of Tamerton Road, Bartley Green, went on to admit dangerous driving and driving while disqualified and was jailed for 18 months at Birmingham Crown Court on Thursday (October 31). He was given a further three-year driving ban.
Brian Topliss
The paedophile pensioner who groomed boys and filmed them performing sexual acts at his Birmingham home was jailed for ten years.
Topliss befriended his victims by ‘offering his home as a place to play computer games, or by taking them to parks or swimming’, a court heard, but instead, he repeatedly abused one boy and ‘invited other boys into his home on a regular basis’.
His offending only ended when one victim told a social worker and nurse about being abused and police became involved.

(Image: WMP)
Police, who then investigated the allegation made a number of visits to the defendant’s home and recovered a computer and many data storage items.
One of his victims, a man now in his 30’s, was “befriended” by Topliss when he gave him swimming and diving lessons.
He would also show them pornography, give them drugs and sweets and get them to perform sexual acts, the court heard.
Topliss recorded what went on and police later recovered 173 still images and three videos.
Read more about this story here.
Jarrett Kinson
Former police officer Kinson sent two explicit videos of himself to an alleged victim of domestic violence and was jailed for eight months earlier in November.
He sent “explicit and flirty” messages to the woman over the course of two weeks and had previously been warned about inappropriate behaviour, heard Birmingham Crown Court.
Kinson, 37, a response officer based in Burton for Staffordshire Police, had previously admitted a charge of improper exercise of police power.

(Image: Birmingham Mail)
Timothy Harrington, prosecuting, said: “There is a history of similar inappropriate behaviour for which the defendant was dealt with internally.”
He said that in November 2010 Kinson had sent sexually explicit text messages to a woman who had made a complaint of harassment against her partner.
Kinson, who was given “strong advice” by a police inspector said he was sorry and gave assurances the behaviour would not be repeated.
Read more about this story here.
 


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