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LOCAL NEWS UPDATES
Last updated Saturday 20th May 2017

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Advice: Wedding Services Fraud


With the upcoming “Wedding Season”, and for those individuals who are considering making plans for next year and beyond, you should be aware of the potential risks of fraud involved.

With wedding costs running into the thousands and involving multiple vendors, by following the prevention advice below could minimise the likelihood of fraud.

Paying by Credit Card will provide you with protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, for purchases above £100 and below £30,000. This means that even if a Company goes into liquidation, you could claim a refund through your Credit Card Company.

Social Media - Some Companies run their businesses entirely via social media sites. Whilst many are genuine, some may not be insured or may even be fraudulent. There are a few things you can do to protect yourself;

•Ensure you obtain a physical address and contact details for the vendor and verify this information. Should you experience any problems, you will then be able to make a complaint to Trading Standards or consider pursuing via the Small Claims Court.

•Ensure you obtain a contract before paying money for services. Make certain you fully read and understand what you are signing and note the terms of cancellation.

Consider purchasing Wedding Insurance - this can protect you from events that would not be covered under the Consumer Credit Act.

Complete research on each vendor, ensuring you are dealing with a bona fide person or company. Explore the internet for reviews and ratings. You should do this even if using companies recommended by a trustworthy friend or source.

For services such as wedding photographers, beware of websites using fake images. Meet the photographer in person and ask to view sample albums.

Remember, if something appears too good to be true, it probably is!

If you suspect you have been a victim of fraud report to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040

Police Contact Advice:

Telephone 999 in an emergency where there is a danger to life or a crime is in progress.
Telephone 101 for non-emergencies where police attendance is required, to report a crime or to report any other incidents. Calls to 101 have a fixed cost of 15p per call.
If you are calling about the above, please tell us that you are responding to a message from Staffordshire Smart Alert

Alert: Set-Top Box Fraud Alert

We have been aware of a new fraudulent trend that may impact the general public in relation to set-top boxes infected with malware intended to steal user's details to commit fraud.  

Safeguarding the public from illegal streaming services via set-top boxes is vital to the UK economy, the Creative Industry and the many people employed in the industry. There are ‘set-top' boxes imported from various foreign jurisdictions that are enabled so people can view illegal content.

We are aware that set-top boxes, although perfectly legal in their own right, are repeatedly adapted by criminals to unlawfully receive TV channels protected by intellectual laws.

The set-top boxes can come with many common features the person purchasing may be unaware of, such as   sites offering access to copyright infringing material and access to illegal sites. The set-top boxes may also contain infected malware that is disguised as something as innocent as a play button and is unknowingly initiated by the user; potentially impacting other electronic devices. The users will normally have used some personal details when setting up the set-top box, which could be used to defraud them. Consequently, what may appear to be a bargain for the consumer may quickly turn into a genuine problem by loss of personal data and or money.

Our advice would be to only purchase set-top/streaming boxes from recognised outlets. Contact your bank if you notice any suspicious transactions on your accounts. When signing up to websites/internet services, use a password or PIN you have not used elsewhere.

If you suspect you have been a victim of fraud you can report this to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040

Police Contact Advice:

Telephone 999 in an emergency where there is a danger to life or a crime is in progress.
Telephone 101 for non-emergencies where police attendance is required, to report a crime or to report any other incidents. Calls to 101 have a fixed cost of 15p per call.
If you are calling about the above, please tell us that you are responding to a message from Staffordshire Smart Alert

Advice: Urgent - Ransomware Incident

Following the ransomware cyber attack on Friday 12th May, please find below some protection advice to keep safe.

  • Install system and application updates on all devices as soon as they become available.
  • Install anti-virus software on all devices and keep it updated.
  • Create regular backups of your important files to a device (such as an external hard drive or memory stick) that isn't left connected to your computer as any malware infection could spread to that too.
  • Only install apps from official app stores, such as Google's Play Store, or Apple's App Store as they offer better levels of protection than some 3rd party stores. Jailbreaking, rooting, or disabling any of the default security features of your device will make it more susceptible to malware infections.

Phishing/smishing

Fraudsters may exploit this high profile incident and use it as part of phishing/smishing campaigns. We urge people to be cautious if they receive any unsolicited communications from the NHS. The protect advice for that is the following:

An email address can be spoofed. Don't open attachments or click on the links within any unsolicited emails you receive, and never respond to emails that ask for your personal or financial details.

The sender's name and number in a text message can be spoofed, so even if the message appears to be from an organisation you know of, you should still exercise caution, particularly if the texts are asking you to click on a link or call a number.

Don't disclose your personal or financial details during a cold call, and remember that the police and banks will never ring you and ask you to verify your PIN, withdraw your cash, or transfer your money to another "safe" account.

If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, please report it to Action Fraud at http://www.actionfraud.police. uk/

For more information visit the force website at www.staffordshire.police.uk

Police Contact Advice:

Telephone 999 in an emergency where there is a danger to life or a crime is in progress.
Telephone 101 for non-emergencies where police attendance is required, to report a crime or to report any other incidents. Calls to 101 have a fixed cost of 15p per call.
If you are calling about the above, please tell us that you are responding to a message from Staffordshire Smart Alert

Garage break in Gillow Heath, Biddulph

Please be vigilant and keep your properties secure at all times, as we have had a detached garage broken into in the Gillow Heath area of Biddulph. Unknown offenders at this time have forced entry to a secure garage and taken a Stihl strimmer and a Karcher pressure washer.

Unfortunatley we have had an increase of this nature of crime reported across the county.

Please do not make yourself a target and keep all your property and gardening equipment secure and safely stored at all times.

Any information regarding this incident please contact 101 and quote incident number 0416-14/05/2017

Police Contact Advice:

Telephone 999 in an emergency where there is a danger to life or a crime is in progress.
Telephone 101 for non-emergencies where police attendance is required, to report a crime or to report any other incidents. Calls to 101 have a fixed cost of 15p per call.
If you are calling about the above, please tell us that you are responding to a message from Staffordshire Smart Alert

Suspicious vehicle Biddulph Moor

Please all be mindful and be on the look out as we have had reports of a silver estate car, possibily a skoda estate acting suspicious in the area. The vehicle has been seen by a local resident stopping outside properties in the Biddulph Moor area pointing at houses.

Any sighting or concerns please contact 101 and quote incident 0492-13/05/2017

Police Contact Advice:

Telephone 999 in an emergency where there is a danger to life or a crime is in progress.
Telephone 101 for non-emergencies where police attendance is required, to report a crime or to report any other incidents. Calls to 101 have a fixed cost of 15p per call.
If you are calling about the above, please tell us that you are responding to a message from Staffordshire Smart Alert

Staffordshire Police Open Day - Sunday 4 June

It's just under four weeks until the gates of Staffordshire Police Headquarters swing open for the 2017 Open Day and with four weeks to go we can reveal there will be FOUR different demonstration arenas this year.

There will be more grandstand seating to improve the view of the two different police dog displays, and we will be doubling the number of opportunities to see how we deal with public order incidents and road traffic collisions.

There will also be a separate demonstration arena showing how a door is no barrier to tackling crime and keeping people safe.

Last year around 15,000 visitors enjoyed a fantastic day free day out, so we have added more buses to the park and ride service which will ferry visitors direct to the open day from the car parks at the Staffordshire County Showground.

Find out more on the Staffordshire Police website at  www.staffordshire.police.uk


MARKETPLACE FOR THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR

Support Staffordshire is inviting voluntary and community groups, and those with an interest in the voluntary sector, from across the Staffordshire Moorlands to take part in a market place event at Leek Cricket Club, Highfields, Leek ST13 8SG from 6.30pm to 9pm on Tuesday 13 th June 2017.

The aim of the event is for local groups to showcase what they do and network with other voluntary and community groups in the Moorlands and the wider North Staffordshire. There will also be an opportunity to talk to advisors from Support Staffordshire and the Staffordshire Council for Voluntary Youth Services (SCVYS) who can help with all aspects of running an organisation including funding. Local organisations that support charity – such as Rotary and Round Table – are also being invited along to find out about local activity and causes they can support.

This market place event is one of the quarterly voluntary sector meetings that take place under the name of Staffordshire Moorlands VCSE Locality Forum. These are held to provide an opportunity for local voluntary and community groups to find out about key current issues and planned initiatives, generally by health or other public sector bodies such as Staffordshire County Council, that are relevant to the sector, to provide feedback on these, and to network and share good practice with other voluntary groups.

As Support Staffordshire's Jill Norman explains: “We are holding this meeting in the evening as we are particularly keen to attract those voluntary and community groups run by volunteers who perhaps work during the day and cannot normally take part in our day time meetings. It's an opportunity to highlight what your group is doing and find out about others in the local area. It's a chance to share ideas and explore working together. Our Support Staffordshire staff will also be on hand to offer advice and support.”

The event is also open to anyone with an interest in the local voluntary sector. Just come along and see what a huge variety of activity is taking place on your doorstep, with lots of opportunities to support local charities and to get involved!

For further information and to book a place contact Carol Sheldon or Sue Green at the Support Staffordshire Leek office on 01538 381356 or email carol.sheldon@supportstaffordshire.org.uk


Alert: Review Home and Vehicle Security

Residents are being urged to review car and home security following an increase in the number of burglaries being reported where the cars at the property are believed to have been the target.

Officers are reminding residents to ensure their properties are left secure at all times, including all doors and windows, and that items of value and keys are securely stored away out of view.

It is advisable that vehicles are garaged, parked on driveways and in well-lit areas wherever possible and where a high value vehicle is owned, consider blocking it in with another vehicle.

Thieves are targeting homes with vehicles, often high value performance vehicles such as BMW, Audi, Mercedes, parked at the address.

We are also seeing an increase in the number of Land Rover thefts across the County.

After breaking into the house, offenders are searching for the car keys and then stealing the car(s).

We have seen an increase in the number of incidents being reported over the last few weeks, and offences are occurring across the county.

Let's not make it easy for them!

For more information about crime prevention and home/vehicle security visit: www.staffordshire.police.uk/ crimeprevention .

We want to hear from anyone who may have information or witnessed suspicious activity and would urge anyone with information to contact us. All information received will be looked into.

Please contact us on 101.  Alternatively, you can contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111

Police Contact Advice:

Telephone 999 in an emergency where there is a danger to life or a crime is in progress.
Telephone 101 for non-emergencies where police attendance is required, to report a crime or to report any other incidents. Calls to 101 have a fixed cost of 15p per call.
If you are calling about the above, please tell us that you are responding to a message from Staffordshire Smart Alert

Alert: Police Publication Scam

We have been made aware of a number of scams in operation where companies are contacting businesses asking for advertisements to be placed in journals and other publications supporting the Police.  

We can confirm that these are scams. 

The companies often state that the business has previously advertised and supported in the past and encourage companies to make payments at discounted rates.

We would never contact companies requesting monies towards publications, or authorise companies to act on our behalf for this purpose.

If you receive a call of this type, please do not provide any personal or business banking details. Terminate the call and report the incident to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 .

Police Contact Advice:

Telephone 999 in an emergency where there is a danger to life or a crime is in progress.
Telephone 101 for non-emergencies where police attendance is required, to report a crime or to report any other incidents. Calls to 101 have a fixed cost of 15p per call.
If you are calling about the above, please tell us that you are responding to a message from Staffordshire Smart Alert

A new community minibus for Staffordshire Moorlands


A charity is celebrating after receiving a brand new wheelchair-accessible minibus funded by the Department of Transport. Support Staffordshire recently took possession of the 16 seater vehicle, bringing their fleet of minibuses to a total of three, all based in the Staffordshire Moorlands.

The new minibus, affectionately known as Dorothy, is a fantastic local resource providing additional facilities for low cost travel for voluntary and community groups across the district. In the last year the existing minibuses made nearly 300 journeys equating to over 4400 single passenger journeys, bringing fun, company and adventure for hundreds of local people who used them for regular trips or special days out.

St Paul's Luncheon Club members are regular weekly users of the minibuses. Celia and Maggie, organisers of the club, said ‘Without this transport many of the people here would be stuck in their homes 24/7; the volunteer drivers are always so helpful and considerate of their needs'.

Dorothy, the new minibus will be on display at Support Staffordshire's Open Day at Bank House on 11 th May, 3-7pm. This is a drop-in event at the organisation's Moorlands base at Bank House, 20-22 St Edward St, Leek to which anyone interested in learning more about Support Staffordshire's services and support to community groups is welcome.

All three minibuses can be hired on a self-drive or ‘with volunteer driver' basis, and are available to community groups, luncheon clubs, youth groups, sports clubs, day and residential care clubs, and school PTA groups for school trips.

Prices start at £15 plus a mileage charge per hiring, with members of Support Staffordshire receiving discounted rates.

Anyone wishing to hire one of the community minibuses or interested in becoming a volunteer driver should contact Sally Bentley, Voluntary & Community Transport Officer for Support Staffordshire on 01538 381356 sally.bentley@supportstaffordshire.org.uk

 

 

Members of St Paul's Luncheon Club with Dorothy the new minibus


Spring in to action and give a little time to your community

 

Support Staffordshire's volunteer centre in the Moorlands is keen to hear from you. We can show you a wide variety of volunteering opportunities available in your community that can fit with your lifestyle and aspirations.

From a quick hit of online actions that take a matter of minutes to the rewards of forming long term friendships there are all types of volunteering to suit everyone.

Volunteering is a great way of trying out something new, getting experience to enhance your CV, making new friends and giving something back to your community.

Following our recent launch at Blythe Bridge Library Support Staffordshire now offers volunteering appointments throughout the Moorlands at the following venues, the Learning Curve in Biddulph, Bank House in Leek, Werrington and Blythe Bridge Community Libraries. Feel free to contact us to arrange an appointment and find out about the opportunities on your door step.

Our Volunteering Adviser Barbara Milford commented “there is a huge range of volunteering opportunities to suit all - if you are good with people, a whizz with your hands or even if you are a bit shy. You are more than welcome to come and have a chat with your local volunteer advisers at Support Staffordshire. ”

She continues, “Our v olunteering a dvisers We are all a small team of volunteers themselves , ourselves and we who enjoy l ove supporting local people individuals to find volunteering activities the thing that they you will really enjoy doing.”

To find out more, or book an appointment, contact Moorlands Locality Officer, Kathryn Bentham on 01538 381356 or email   kathryn.bentham@supportstaffordshire.org.uk

 

 

 

 

Photo:- Volunteer adviser Barbara Milford pictured with library volunteer Brian Cheatham at Blythe Bridge Community Library



Football Club scores a grant

A sports club working with young people in Biddulph has scored a grant from the Police and Crime Commissioner's People Power Fund.
Biddulph Town Gladiators Lads and Dads Football Team has been awarded funding to purchase new training equipment for their Under 14's Football Team.
They have used the funds to purchase new footballs, fitness equipment and mobile goals for the team, after spending the previous season using water bottles as goalposts.
The club is aiming to reduce anti-social behaviour in the surrounding areas by giving youngsters a place to play football and learn new skills. They are also helping to keep the youngsters active during their training sessions as well as teaching them valuable teamwork skills.
Biddulph Town Gladiators Lads and Dads Football Team has been awarded £290 for the purchase of new equipment.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire, Matthew Ellis, said:
‘The best ideas to reduce crime, social harm and anti-social behaviour often come from communities affected by those issues. That's why, since 2013 I've increased the funding provided for simple things that make local areas safer and better to live in.
‘Tackling the issues, building community spirit and often reducing repeat demand on policing means providing that financial help at the most local level is really cost effective.
‘Biddulph Town Gladiators Lads and Dads Football Team is doing a fantastic job of keeping young people in Biddulph active, engaged and out of mischief. I am pleased to hear about, and see first-hand, the work they are doing with the youngsters in their area.'
Garry Jackson, Coach for Biddulph Town Gladiators Lads and Dads team, added:
‘The funding we received from The People Power Fund has enabled us to purchase new training equipment to benefit and help develop the team and has given the lads a real boost'
The current round of People Power Funding closes on Friday 14 April. To find out more and apply visit the website www.staffordshire-pcc.gov.uk/ fund

PCC Matthew Ellis with members of the Biddulph Town Gladiators Football Team, Coaches Garry Jackson and Nick Steadman and PCSO Steve Sherratt
Photos © of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire

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