£92, 000 Smash and Grab Pair Jailed

An ATM smash and grab pair were sentenced to three years each at Carlisle Crown Court.

The pair, Michael James Campbell, 37 and Jason Brazauskas 40, were part of a four strong gang who used a stolen JCB digger to destroy a McColl’s shop front at The Square in Milnthorpe. They then grabbed the ATM cash machine containing £92,000 with the telescopic arm of the JCB.

A crudely modified Mitsubishi was used as the getaway car, but the car with all the cash still inside was found in a muddy field in Gressingham, east of Carnforth. The four men had fled the scene. The two sentenced admitted burglary and criminal damage but two of the gang were never found so could not be charged.

The crime had a devastating effect on the business and Judge Peter Davies took this into account in the sentencing.

Deterioration at HMP Birmingham is Astounding

In August 2017 an inspection report found HMP Birmingham to have deteriorated badly. The report uncovered ‘appalling’ squalor and violence in the prison. The report warned that the prison was in crisis and had deteriorated rapidly since the last inspection in 2017. HMP Birmingham was being run by G4S but was temporarily stripped of its duty for six months, but this was extended for another six months to ensure that the progress being made continued.

The 2017 report followed on from a large-scale riot at the prison in 2016 when 240 prisoners were later moved out of the prison. The riot last 12 hours and took specially trained prison guards, known as “Tornado” squads backed up by 25 riot police in the jail to quell it and regain control.

Rory Stewart, Prisons Minister says he is now confident action has been taken to halt the deterioration in the prison but he is not confident enough to hand the prison back to G4S. He says government support is still necessary while the prison is still in quite a fragile state.

BMW 3 Series Sports a Laser Jammer

58 year old Michael Twizell modified his BMW car to support a laser jammer device on its front bumper. This device illegally blocks signals from road safety cameras.

Twizell was given a 3 month prison sentence and a £1,500 fine for his actions which had perverted the course of justice. Twizell used the device when driving near Harrogate last year as he passed a road camera. The camera recorded an error that the police investigated and discovered it was this device that caused the error code and interfered with the camera.

Andy Forth a traffic officer said that interfering with police equipment is a serious matter and will always be investigated and offenders prosecuted.

Phone Scam Gang

A total of 21 years in prison was handed out to a gang of 8 men convicted of a phone and courier scam. The 8 men, all of Asian origin scammed 50 victims out of £200,000 in cash. The victims were all vulnerable people aged between 49 and 96 years old.

The scammers operated across several counties between April and June 2016. The victims were called on their landlines and asked to hand over money which 15 of the victims did. The offenders posed as police officers investigating fraud at a local bank

Detective Inspector Emma Wright at West Mercia Police said the investigation was very complex and involved an organised crime group from London, Manchester, Oxfordshire and Cardiff. The police take this type of organized crime very seriously and the police work very hard to stop it. It often targets the vulnerable who cave into to a barrage of persistent calls and devastates lives.

The police urge everyone to be super cautious about giving out bank details or transferring money unless you know the recipient.

HMP Cardiff

The Independent Monitoring Board has found serious concerns at HMP Cardiff in the recent inspection. The level of self-harm within the prison is the most worrying issue with prison violence a close second. Both have increased since the last inspection.

HMP Cardiff is a Category B Local Prison, holding male adult prisoners. The number of lifers held at HMP Cardiff is reducing as arrangements are made to facilitate moves to establishments best able to meet long-term needs.

Concerns at the prison were the level of mental health care and the waiting time for appointments. This was often so long that inmates often left the prison without seeing anyone! During the winter there had been a serious lack of heating and often the showers were not working properly with no hot water for weeks on end. Another serious concern was the lack of settled accommodation sorted out for the men on their release. Settled accommodation is very important in rehabilitating prisoners and preventing reoffending.

Effective action has been taken to reduce the level of self harm in prison and IMB Chairperson Jaci Rankmore said there had been “positive developments’ at the prison and that the staff and management had worked very hard to achieve this positive progress. Let’s hope it continues.

Prison Phone, Keeping prisoners and families connected
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