FOI Friday: What gets stolen from shops, dangerous animals in Chester, zero hour council contracts and finds by police diving teams


What is being stolen in shoplifting incidents? < Exeter Express and Echo

A £22,500 shotgun has been stolen from an Exeter store and was never returned, it has been revealed today.

The vintage weapon was stolen in March this year according to new information about shoplifting in the region from Devon and Cornwall Police.

The spreadsheet documenting every incident of shoplifting in Devon and Cornwall for the last three years was released by the force under the Freedom of Information Act.

Devon and Cornwall Police said a Hussey and Hussey, double-barreled gun, was removed from the Exeter store “by unknown means” between March 4-10.

Sexual misconduct in South Yorkshire Police < Doncaster Free Press

Nine South Yorkshire police officers have been disciplined following allegations of sexual misconduct made by colleagues.

Allegations were made between 2010 and March this year, according to details released under the Freedom of Information Act.

Dangerous animals on the prowl – allegedly < Chester Chronicle

Cheshire is one of the most dangerous places to live according to 999 calls – that is if you are scared of tigers, pumas, panthers and lynxes.

A tiger has been spotted prowling along the banks of the River Dee, a lynx with paw prints as big as a “human hand” killing sheep, cats and chickens, and a large wild cat terrified a caller who was sure it was at large in Tarporley town centre.

Details of the 999 calls, revealed to The Chronicle through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, show that Cheshire has one of the highest rates of big cat sightings in the country – with nine sightings reported to Cheshire Constabulary between 2011-April 2014.

What crimes are being committed on Facebook and Twitter? < Daily Record

MORE than 2700 crimes linked to Facebook or Twitter were reported to Scots police last year.

Social networking crime rates have more than doubled in the last two years and rocketed since five years ago, when only 43 such offences were reported.

Most cases involve obscene messages or threats, with JK Rowling, Alex Salmond and Neil Lennon among the victims.

But police also have to deal with claims of racist abuse, stalking, grooming, fraud and extortion.

Council use of zero-hour contracts < Ely Standard

The number of staff working at East Cambridgeshire District Council under zero-hours contracts has increased by almost a third in the last year.

In August 2013, the Ely Standard revealed that the district council had 43 members of

staff employed on the controversial contract, which has made national headlines in recent months as unions allege they are being used as a means of “exploiting” staff.

Almost 12 months on and a new Freedom of Information Act request has revealed that the council now has 56 staff available for work on zero-hours contracts – an increase of some 30 per cent.

The impact of charging to pick up garden rubbish < East Lindsey Target

Green waste collections in East Lindsey have fallen by more than 300 tonnes since charges were brought in two months ago.

This April, homeowners in the district were hit with the introduction of an annual £25 charge for the collection of their grass cuttings, leaves, plants, sticks, prunings and cut flowers.

ELDC say the decision, which councillors narrowly approved by 27 votes to 26 in July last year, was taken to help save £2 million from the 2014-15 revenue budget.

The cost of dealing with binge drinking < Brent and Kilburn Times

Binge drinkers in Brent cost emergency responses services more than £200,000 last year, new figures reveal.

The London Ambulance Service (LAS) has spent £224,000 responding to and treating inebriated individuals in the borough between 2012 and 2013, according to data obtained following a Freedom of Information request by Conservatives on the the Greater London Authority (GLA). This makes it the 13th worst borough in terms of binge drinking callouts in London.

A total of £16million of LAS cash has been spent across London on dealing with drunks.

Stabbings and shootings involving young people < West End Extra

MORE than 100 young people have been stabbed or shot in Westminster in the past two years, according to figures revealed by West End Extra.

The shocking average of one incident each week has led to calls for a renewed focus on stamping out youth violence and gang culture.

The figures show paramedics were called more than 50 times a year to deal with a person aged 25 and under who had sustained a knife or gunshot injury since 2012.

New sex crime reports as a result of Operation Yewtree < Hertfordshire Mercury

Victims of sex crimes alleged to have taken place more than 10 years ago are now more likely to come forward.

Operation Yewtree – which has seen a string of celebrities arrested, charged or convicted of such offences – is thought to be behind the increase, which was revealed through figures obtained by the Mercury.

Between January and May this year, 48 people reported a non-recent sex crime to Herts police – that is, an offence alleged to have taken place more than five years ago.

Of those, 42 of the reports related to incidents said to have happened more than 10 years ago.

What sort of racist attacks are taking place? < Gloucestershire Echo

Children younger than five are among a disturbing number of offenders who have unleashed racially aggravated attacks on people in Cheltenham.

Explicit details of 100 acts of racism in the regency town have been released by the police as part of an Echo investigation.

Figures and victim impact statements obtained via the Freedom of Information Act reach back to January 2012.

What have police diving teams found? < Get Bucks

A police diving team found human bones, sawn-off shot guns, a concrete skull and 27 golf balls this year.

Thames Valley Police discovered the bones in the River Ouzel, near Bletchley, on February 4, according to an Freedom of Information request.

Police found two bodies in the Thames, one in the Jubilee River near Slough, one in the River Kennet near Newbury and one in the River Ouse, Bedford in 2013.

The diving team for Thames Valley Police found a sawn-off shotgun in the River Kennet, near Reading on November 1, 2012.

Which murders are still unsolved? <Dundee Courier

Seven grisly murders across Courier Country dating as far back as 1866 remain unsolved, police have revealed.

 Unresolved homicides or murders always remain open and become active again if any new evidence is made known to police.

The figures were released following a Freedom of Information request on unsolved murders in the former Tayside, Fife and Central divisions.

Thefts of car registration plates on the rise < Liverpool Echo

The theft of vehicle registration number plates is on the rise across Merseyside – and they are being used for a whole raft of criminal activities.

The figures show there were more than 2,500 thefts of vehicle registration plates in Merseyside in the last two years.

Stolen plates are later used in bank robberies, the cloning of cars, petrol station theft and even to avoid speeding, parking and bus lane fines.

The figures – obtained through a Freedom of Information request – show there were 2,611 thefts of registration plates in the last two years.

Petrol station fuel thefts – Accrington Observer

A crackdown has been launched in response to a rise in petrol station drive offs across the whole of the county.

Figures obtained by the Observer under the Freedom of Information Act show there were 38 incidents of petrol station drive offs in Accrington in the past 12 months.



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