WEST HAM GROUP ATTACK: Man attacked by assailants after not offering cigarette

London – VIJAY SHAH via ALEX SHAW and Newham Recorder

A man was attacked, pelted with stones and kicked in West Ham, in east London, after telling a group of men that he had no cigarettes for them, the local newspaper the Newham Recorder reported.

The incident occurred on 22nd December, 2017 in the area’s Memorial Park when the unidentified man, aged 32, was approached by a group who allegedly began abusing him and picking up stones off the ground to throw at the victim after he told them he did not have any cigarettes. Later, a third man pulled up in a car as the victim was followed to nearby Grange Road by the two other thugs. The driver went up to the victim and punched him in the face, sending the victim sprawling to the ground. The man was then subjected to a sustained group attack, where the two park assailants, said to be cousins of the driver and in their teens, and the driver, believed to be aged in their 20s or early 30s, continued beating him.

 

The victim was left with a fractured jaw, bruises and a deep cut on his head which required stitches in hospital. The attack ended with the driver getting back in his car and departing, while the younger thugs fled the scene on foot.

Local police this past week made a fresh appeal for witnesses this week, as they released images of the two teenagers who began the assault. One is described as in his late teens to early twenties in age, 5ft 9in (1.75m) tall, with either dark brown or black hair. He was wearing a dark-coloured top. The second park thug is described as 6 feet (1.83 metres) in height, with a clean-shaven face, short light brown or blond hair and was wearing a light-coloured hoodie.

The driver is said to be older than the other two, with a darker complexion. He had dark stubble and was of around 5ft 8in (1.72m) in height. He was wearing a blue or other dark-coloured jumper and a beanie hat.

As part of their appeal, police released two CCTV captured photos of the younger attackers to the Newham Recorder. Detective Constable Dave van der Valk asked the public if they recognised the attackers and urged witnesses or acquaintances to call the police and provide their names.

“This was a sustained assault on the victim who was minding his own business when these suspects picked a fight and attacked for no apparent reason, leaving him needing hospital treatment for injuries,” said Det Con van der Valk.

Police ask witnesses, anyone who recognises the males or has information about the suspects to call 101, quoting reference 6068/22DEC17. The pictures of the two wanted men can be found in the Newham Recorder‘s link in Sources below this article.

SOURCES:

Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984

HEM News Agency, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind

“Man pelted with stones, punched and kicked in West Ham group attack” – Alex Shaw, Newham Recorder/Archant (11 April 2018) http://www.newhamrecorder.co.uk//news/crime-court/man-pelted-with-stones-punched-and-kicked-in-west-ham-group-attack-1-5472733?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social_Icon&utm_campaign=in_article_social_icons

IMAGE CREDIT:

“TQ3984 : A Grade II Listed Park” – John Davies, geograph (24 January 2006) http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/111221 – © Copyright John Davies and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

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LONDON STABBING EPIDEMIC: Sixth teen attacked in just 1.5 hours

London – VIJAY SHAH via MARK HODGE, ALEX MATTHEWS and The Sun

Six teenagers were stabbed in the space of just ninety minutes as the UK capital of London experienced a wave of violence largely against young people, giving the city a higher murder rate than New York for the first time in modern history.

Tabloid newspaper The Sun reported that six youths were stabbed in just 1 1/2 hours yesterday, including a boy of just 13 years of age, who was left fighting for his life. The wave of stabbings began with a man in his twenties being attacked in the east London district of Walthamstow, The Sun stated.

 

The stabbing of the 20-something happened on Friday lunchtime. Then at 5.30 pm local time, a 15-year-old was stabbed in East India Dock Road in the Poplar area of east London, followed by three males, two aged just fifteen, attacked in Grove Road, Mile End thirty minutes later. Then at exactly 6.57 pm, the thirteen-year-old was stabbed in Newham, east London, and was quickly taken to hospital by ambulance where he is in a ‘critical condition’. Then ten minutes later, another teenage male was stabbed in Ealing Broadway, west London, taking Friday’s toll of casualties to seven in the space of a handful of hours, according to Sun reporters.

In Ealing Broadway, a witness told The Sun Online how they chanced upon one of yesterday’s stabbing victims lying in a pool of his own blood. The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Before I saw him, I heard a commotion as I approached but thought nothing of it.

“But then when I got there I saw a young male lying with blood visibly on his chest.

“And when I spoke to another witness, she said she saw three men fighting and two of them ran off after the chap had been stabbed three times.

“She said he had been stabbed once in the heart, or chest area, once in the stomach and once in the upper thigh.

“He didn’t move at all. It was really eerie. He was just very still for the whole time I was there.”

She added: “Youngsters don’t see the value in life at the moment.”

In Walthamstow, where the stabbing spree kicked off, police and ambulance crews and vehicles were reported to be ‘swarming’ over the site of the incident. Locals took to social media network Twitter to give their accounts and shock at the senseless violence. 

One witness said: “Another Stabbing on my road in Walthamstow. This is getting out of hand.

Another resident added: “Good lord, another stabbing in Walthamstow. Stay safe if you’re in London these next few days, very scary.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: “Officers and LAS attended the location.

“The victim – believed to be aged in his 20s – has been taken to hospital.

“We await an update as to his condition.”

The wave of stabbings and shootings in London over the past few weeks saw an innocent young woman, Tanesha Melbourne-Blake, aged only 17, gunned down by unknown assailants while chatting with a group of friends outside near her home in Tottenham, north London. She was believed to have been caught in the crossfire of a gangland feud between rival gangs in Tottenham and the neighbouring Wood Green, a phenomenon the British media had referred to as ‘postcode wars’.

Last Monday, Amaan Shakoor, aged 16, was shot dead after a gunman blasted him in the face outside a leisure centre in Walthamstow in a gangland killing. Friends believed he was the victim of mistaken identity. Also yesterday, Israel Ogunsola, eighteen years, was stabbed near his home in Homerton, east London. He was believed to have been friends with Tanesha Melbourne-Blake.

Scotland Yard said it is currently investigating 55 suspected murders since the beginning of 2018 – including the deaths of two children whose bodies were found in Sussex.

The Met police and London Mayor Sadiq Khan are under increasing pressure to put an end to the bloodshed after eight murder probes were launched in London in January, 15 in February and 22 in March.

SOURCES:

Sherrie Bachell via Facebook.

“BLOODY SPREE London knife crime worsens – Seven stabbed including SIX in 90 minutes as boy aged just THIRTEEN left fighting for his life” – Mark Hodge and Alex Matthews, The Sun/News UK/News Group Newspapers Limited (6 April 2018) https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/5981153/mile-end-stabbing-attack-walthamstow-london-latest/

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Scotland Police Cordon” – Michel Curi, Flickr (22 December 2014) https://www.flickr.com/photos/119886413@N05/16056676866

STRATFORD POLICE SELFIE: London police apologise for taking photos at murder scene

London – VIJAY SHAH via ANTHONY JORDAN and Newham Recorder

 

Officers with the Metropolitan Police Service, the police body that keeps law and order over most of the city of London, have apologised after a police account on social media network Twitter shared a smiling selfie of two cops at the scene of a fatal stabbing in Stratford, east London.

Two police officers attached to Forest Gate police station were attending the scene of the attack on Beniamin Pieknyi, 21 years old from Romania, who was ambushed by a group of youths following an argument and murdered this past Tuesday. They took a selfie outside the old Stratford Shopping Centre and shared it on the Forest Gate North MPS Twitter account.

Twitter users slammed the tasteless photo and the Forest Gate police were heavily criticised. The tweet was subsequently deleted and police later offered their apologies, stating We apologise for any offence caused by the ‘selfie’ picture that was posted from the scene of a serious crime this morning. The officers showed a lack of judgement and sensitivity in posting this and they will be spoken to and reminded of how to use social media responsibly.”

Police have urged potential witnesses to the attack on Mr. Pieknyi to get in touch with them on +44 (0) 20 8721 4005 quoting CAD 7391/20 March or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

SOURCES:

Newham Recorder, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/Newham.Recorder/

“Stratford murder: Met Police apologise for officers’ selfie at the scene” – Anthony Jordan, Newham Recorder/Archant (23 March 2018) http://www.newhamrecorder.co.uk/news/crime-court/stratford-centre-stabbing-met-police-apologise-for-officer-s-selfie-at-murder-scene-1-5447546

IMAGE CREDIT:

“MLK Parade 2015 Anacostia, Washington, DC USA 51617” – Ted Eytan, Flickr (19 January 2015) https://www.flickr.com/photos/taedc/16133616298

GUNS IN DAGENHAM: Four crooks jailed for weapons offences

Dagenham – VIJAY SHAH via MIKE BROOKE and Barking and Dagenham Post

Four people have been sent to prison in the United Kingdom for weapon possession offences after guns were discovered at a house in the town of Dagenham, Greater London, local newspaper the Barking and Dagenham Post reported on its website this past Friday.

More weapons were discovered secreted away in the boot of a car, the newspaper stated. The four individuals, three men and a woman, were put behind bars for a total of 29 years six months for possessing the firearms, which also came with an unspecified amount of ammunition.

 

The criminals, named by the Post as Spencer Tapper, Sandy Hunter, Mahesh Chaitoo and Aymon Popo, were sent down by Maidstone Crown Court in the county of Kent after pleading guilty to the firearms charges on January 29, 2018, according to the newspaper.

Police officers allied with the Trident and Area Crime Command, a branch of the Metropolitan force that covers the Greater London area, raided a house in Dagenham’s Goresbrook Road where they uncovered a handgun with fifteen live rounds of ammunition, and then another twenty rounds in a holdall hidden in a bedroom of the house. Another stash of illegal weaponry was found when a car was pulled over on the M2 motorway, a major road running through Kent from the London region.

Sandy Hunter, 33, of Goresbrook Road in Dagenham, was handed by Maidstone court a two-and-a-half years sentence for assisting an offender. Spencer Tapper, 27, of School Road, also in Dagenham, was sentenced to fifteen years on two charges of possessing a firearm and two charges of possessing ammunition. Aymon Popo, 33, from Romford, was given six-and-a-half years for conspiracy to possess a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life. Mahesh Chaitoo, 28, from Southend-on-Sea, was sentenced to five-and-a-half years for possessing a firearm.

“These defendants were carrying and exchanging firearms across London and Kent,” Det Insp Tim Grinsted said.

‘Firearms pose a significant danger to the public and we are delighted that we’ve been able to take them off the streets.

‘Gun crime of any kind will not be tolerated and we are committed to removing firearms from criminal circulation.”

A gun pickup was arranged where Tapper and Chaitoo were to visit the Kentish town of Ramsgate, but their vehicle was stopped on the M2 motorway where a gun and forty-two rounds of bullets were discovered concealed in the boot of Chaitoo’s car. Police later linked Popo to the investigation in Dagenham. He was charged with “being the conduit who arranged to transport the firearm” and for conspiracy to possess a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

SOURCES:

Sherrie Bachell.

“Four are jailed after guns and ammunition found at Dagenham address and in car boot” – Mike Brooke, Barking and Dagenham Post/Archant Community Media Ltd (9 February 2018) http://www.barkinganddagenhampost.co.uk/news/crime-court/four-are-jailed-after-guns-and-ammunition-found-at-dagenham-address-and-in-car-boot-1-5388322

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Free photo Ammo Firearms Bullets Weapon Pistol Handgun Gun – Max Pixel” – Max Pixel http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/Ammo-Firearms-Bullets-Weapon-Pistol-Handgun-Gun-231696

NUTS ABOUT NUTELLA?: French shoppers riot over heavily discounted chocolate spread

Paris – VIJAY SHAH via CHRIS BAYNES and The Independent

Everyone loves a bargain. But on the negative side, a shopper’s paradise can very rapidly turn into a shopper’s nightmare when people turn ugly over bagging cut-price goods. Just ask any retail worker on a Black Friday in Britain. That free-for-all mentality became very obvious this past week in France, when local supermarket chain Intermarché heavily reduced the price of Nutella hazelnut and chocolate spread, only for riots to ensure and people reported injured in mad scrambles and store fisticuffs.

Intermarché unveiled a special promo on the popular spread, manufactured by Italian firm Ferrero SpA, reducing the price from €4.50 (£3.90) to €1.41 (£1.23) for the 950 gram jar. Customers keen to get their Nutella crepe fix practically fought over the jars in the aisles, causing police to be called to several of the chain’s outlets. There were reports of people pushing and shoving, with one woman left bleeding and a supermarket worker ambushed as they brought fresh stocks of Nutella to the shop floor.

 

According to UK newspaper the Independent, French social media users shared footage of shoppers swarming around shelves of the spread, jostling each other. “Seriously? All this for Nutella,” remarked one stunned bystander. Another commented: “This is not normal.”

One customer was said to have suffered a black eye during a fight that broke out over the sweet spread in a store in the town of L’Horme, in the central Loire region. That store sold out of Nutella in only fifteen minutes, a store employee told newspaper Le Progres. The manager of another Intermarché in Rive-de-Gier, central France, said 600 pots were sold within five minutes. One customer described shoppers as “like animals”.

“A woman had her hair pulled, an elderly lady took a box on her head, another had a blood [sic] hand,” they said. “It was horrible.”

Some extremely desperate Nutella fans in the town of Montbrison, also in central France, went to the extent of hiding Nutella jars in secret places in the shop, ready to harvest them the next day, while keeping the precious foodstuffs out of the sight of rival shoppers. The manager of that store, Jean-Marie Daragon, tried to remedy the madness by bringing in a Nutella rationing scheme, limiting customers to three jars per person.

Alba, Piedmont-based manufacturer Ferrero condemned the violence across the border but also distanced itself from Intermarché and its controversial promotion. “We wish to clarify that this promotion was decided unilaterally by the Intermarché brand,” it said in a statement. 

Nutella is extremely popular in France, with 100 million jars a year consumed by citizens, making France one of the hazelnut and chocolate flavoured spread’s biggest markets globally.

SOURCES:

The Independent, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/TheIndependentOnline/

“Nutella ‘riots’: Sale on chocolate and hazelnut spread sparks chaos in French supermarkets” – Chris Baynes, Independent (26 January 2018) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/nutella-riots-france-discount-supermarkets-french-police-intermarche-shoppers-customers-chocolate-a8178946.html?utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:MAD OVER NUTELLA.JPG” – Raginianand, Wikimedia Commons (3 June 2015) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MAD_OVER_NUTELLA.JPG

 

SAINTE-CROIX RESTO: Burglar allegedly beaten to death in Mauritius restaurant

Port Louis – VIJAY SHAH via NICOLAS ATHIANE and Inside News

 

The concept of ‘standing your own ground’ has taken on a new meaning in the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, after an elderly couple were arrested for allegedly beating to death a burglar who targeted their restaurant business in the Sainte-Croix district of the capital Port Louis, Inside News reports.

To Chun Marlene Leung, aged 68, and her brother, named only as Alex and aged 65, were arrested after the death of a local and notorious criminal, 50-year-old Gaëtan Patrick Suave, who was said to have climbed into the restaurant via a window above a door. Suave then threatened the Leung siblings with a tool. A struggle ensued as the restaurant owners tried to disarm the crook, and Suave was left in what local police officers described as a ‘bloodbath’.

Police were called to the restaurant yesterday morning around 2.00 am, and found Suave unconscious. He was ferried to the city’s Dr AG Jeetoo Hospital but died five hours later. The Leungs were also taken to the same hospital after sustaining injuries in the fight to protect their business. Alex is still undergoing treatment and has not yet submitted a statement to police. Marlene Leung appeared at Port Louis Court yesterday afternoon on a possible charge of murder, after being taken into custody by the city’s police.

SOURCES:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/

“Un cambrioleur battu à mort dans un restaurant –Le propriétaire : « Mo ti defann mwa…»” – Nicolas Athiane, Inside News/Inside.news (12 January 2018) http://inside.news/2018/01/12/un-cambrioleur-battu-mort-dans-un-restaurant-le-proprietaire-mo-ti-defann-mwa/

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Free photo: Thief, Burglary, Break Into – Free Image on Pixabay – 1562699” – TheDigitalWay, Pixabay (4 August 2016) https://pixabay.com/en/thief-burglary-break-into-balaclava-1562699/

CHEMICAL ‘COWARDS’ – Pair of robbers who attacked women with ammonia jailed

London – VIJAY SHAH via ALEX SHAW and Newham Recorder

Two vicious criminals who laughed as they launched attacks on people have been sentenced by a judge who described their attacks as ‘horrifying, cruel and barbaric’ have been sentenced, the Newham Recorder reports.

Joshua Jordan and Sadik Kamara launched attacks on women using ammonia liquid, which thy sprayed on their victims in order to rob them. After spraying the ‘high strength corrosive liquid’ in the violent robberies on two victims, they were reported as leaving the scenes laughing by witnesses. Kamara, aged 24, of Booth Road, Silvertown, and his accomplice Jordan, 20 years and living in Ruscoe Road, Canning Town, both in south Newham, were jailed for 14 years each by a judge at the Old Bailey court in London.

 

The trial, the culmination of proceedings that took place in early October, was presided over by Judge Dodd QC, who described the men’s attacks as “horrifying, cruel and barbaric” and said that the duo posed a significant risk to the public of further harm. It took the jury less than an hour to convict Jordan and Kamara.

The robbers would travel from their homes in Newham to the neighbouring borough of Hackney, where they were casing a convenience store in Mare Street, Central Hackney. Then on March 10, they launched their attack, targeting the 50-year-old storekeeper, who was working the tills alone at the time. Four men, believed to include Jordan and Kamara, entered the store. Without warning, the masked intruders walked straight to the storekeeper, with Kamara squirted the ammonia directly into her face. He did not make any demands for cash or even give the victim any warning.

Despite being sprayed from close range, CCTV footage from inside the store showed the storekeeper gallantly trying to fight off and kick out the gang, who are seen milling around the front of the shop. The scuffle sends store displays crashing to the floor as the woman tries to protect the shop from being plundered.

After fleeing the supermarket in a getaway car, the gang chanced upon their next victim, also a woman in her fifties, in Hackney’s Hassett Road. Two robbers got out of the car and bundled the woman to the ground, where they repeatedly sprayed the liquid into her face and stole her handbag. Police found discarded bottles of the substance at both crime scenes, the labels clearly stating that the ammonia could cause severe skin burns and blindness.

Both the shopkeeper and pedestrian who were assaulted were rushed to hospital with burns, one of which sustained chemical burns to her mouth also. While neither suffered permanent harm, the storekeeper was traumatised to the point she has now given up working at the shop.

CCTV cameras caught the gang, including Kamara and Jordan, who were subsequently arrested at their homes after police raids in May this year. Medical paperwork was found in Kamara’s home suggesting he had sought treatment, possibly for chemical burns, a day after the robberies. At the hospital, Kamara lied to doctors, claiming he had squirted ammonia in his eye while cleaning. He had since recovered from the burns.

The two robbers, who were described by investigators as little more than ‘cowards’, were convicted of two counts of applying a corrosive fluid with intent to burn, maim, disfigure or disable or to do some grievous bodily harm; one count of robbery; and one count of attempted robbery. Kamara was also told to make restitution of £2,000 (USD $2,678) to the victims.

Investigation lead Det Con Ben Kahane called the pair’s actions “cowardly in the extreme”.

“Five physically strong males preying on lone slightly built women to attack and rob,” he said, adding: “I hope they use the 14 years’ imprisonment that they have received to reflect on this.”

The report does not mention the fate of the other members of Kamara’s and Jordan’s gang. Acid attacks and assaults with corrosive chemicals such as ammonia and bleach are the rise in London, with many such attacks carried out for the purposes of robbing the victim.

SOURCES:

Newham Recorder, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/Newham.Recorder/

“Jailed: “Cowardly” Newham robbers who burnt women’s faces with ammonia” – Alex Shaw, Newham Recorder/Archant (8 December 2017) http://www.newhamrecorder.co.uk/news/crime-court/jailed-cowardly-newham-robbers-who-burnt-women-s-faces-with-ammonia-1-5314590

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:Liquid ammonia bottle.jpg” – Nadina Wiórkiewicz, Fotoedukacja/Wikimedia Commons (23 January 2011) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Liquid_ammonia_bottle.jpg

 

 

COPS WITH CAMS: Philippines police to trial body cameras next year

Silang – VIJAY SHAH via MARLLY ROME BONDOC and GMA News

Mirroring the introduction of body cameras for police forces in the countries of Europe and North America, the national police of the Philippines have announced that they will be considering fitting body cameras to their officers in the new year, according to a report by GMA News Online today.

The small cameras, usually attached to the police officer’s helmet, hat or upper body, help ensure the officer’s safety when apprehending criminals or carrying out raids, but also serve as valuable video evidence for court cases. This year, police in the United Kingdom have also adopted the cameras, particularly in road patrols and traffic law enforcement duties.

 

The director general of the Philippines National Police (PNP), Ronald Dela Rosa, welcomed the plan to fit his officers with camera devices, an initiative suggested by some local governments in the archipelago. However the final decision on procuring the cameras rests with the national government, who will assess whether the program can be funded from the country’s budget. If all goes well, the first cameras will be distributed to police forces next year, GMA News reports.

Dela Rosa, in a doorstop  interview conducted while visiting the PNP Academy in Silang, Cavite province yesterday, said that the initiative is currently passing through the Philippines Congress (parliament) where a bill on it is being debated. He also said the cameras will be useful in anti-narcotics operations and praised the idea as a ‘welcome development’. The Philippines president, Rodrigo Duterte, has made fighting the endemic drugs problem in the Philippines a major plank of his presidency, although critics at home and abroad have condemned Duterte for ordering the wholesale killing of both dealers and addicts, often by police and paramilitaries in his attempts to rid the archipelago of drugs. Thousands of people have already lost their lives in extrajudicial encounters.

Police in the city of Pasig, on the outskirts of capital Manila, have already started wearing cameras since last week, with Eastern Police District director Chief Superintendent Romulo Sapitula  announcing that the cameras would help prevent police officers there from accusations of improper behaviour when carrying out their duties. A total of 48 devices were procured, with each police unit receiving three.

The country’s Congress is considering making it legally compulsory for police to wear body cameras and a portion of the budget has been set aside to obtain more than 37,000 devices for distribution nationally.

SOURCES:

HEM Newsbreakers, HEM News Agency, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-newsbreakers

GMA News, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/gmanews

“PNP may start procuring body cameras next year — Dela Rosa” – Marlly Rome Bondoc, GMA News Online/GMA News (3 December 2017) http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/635246/pnp-may-start-procuring-body-cameras-next-year-dela-rosa/story/

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Free photo: Bodyworn, Body Camera – Free Image on Pixabay – 794106” – Utility_Inc, Pixabay (3 April 2015) https://pixabay.com/en/bodyworn-body-camera-794106/

DRUG DEALERS IN UNIFORMS: Mauritius policeman arrested with stash of pills

Moka – VIJAY SHAH via Mo Ti News

A policeman on the island of Mauritius has been arrested after he was found in possession of a drug described by media as the ‘new Valium’, local news site Mo Ti News reports.

Avinash Buleeram, a constable aged 29 attached to a police station in Moka, in the island’s centre, was found carrying ninety pills of a drug called Pregabalin. The highly potent drug is normally used to treat epilepsy, fibromyalgia, nerve pain and anxiety, but has also raised concerns due to its increasing use as a recreational drug, especially among prisoners, and has the effects of calming and ‘taking the edge off of things’. Pregabalin can be lethal in high doses.

 

Buleeram was arrested this past Thursday by the Flacq district’s drug squad while at a bus station in the small town of Sebastopol in Mauritius’ east, close to the border of Flacq and Moka districts. The drugs were allegedly found in a grey Toyota car he was driving with a friend. Both men were promptly arrested and appeared at a court in Flacq on Friday.

The constable, who has six years’ service with the Mauritian police, is now being detained at Beau Bassin central jail, after fellow police officers protested against Buleeram being set free on bail. He could face a drug trafficking charge. Buleeram’s passenger was also found in possession of a cannabis cigarette, but was successful in getting bail.

Officers arrested the two man based on surveillance, catching them unawares at the Sebastopol bus station. A search of the vehicle revealed cigarettes blended with cannabis and a box of Pregabalin tablets at 150 mg strength. Police carried out further searches, turning up another 34 Pregabalin pills along with 27 tablets of another version of the drug,  marketed as Cabalin.

Buleeram was found not to have a medical prescription for the pills seized from him, and his friend denied all knowledge of the constable’s possession. It was not reported for what reason Buleeram had the drugs.

SOURCES:

Salim Kurreemun.

Radio Plus CONSEIL POLITIQUE . , Mauritius/Ile-Maurice, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/groups/radioplusilemaurice/

“Possession de 90 comprimés de Pregabalin: Le policier reste en détention” – Mo Ti News (25 November 2017) http://motinews.info/news/possession-de-90-comprimes-de-pregabalin-le-policier-reste-en-detention

“Pregabalin: Doctors call for ‘new Valium’ to be restricted amid sharp rise in abuse” – Katie Forster, The Independent (30 June 2017) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/pregabalin-new-valium-doctors-call-restricted-sharp-rise-abuse-misuse-prisons-addiction-bma-yasir-a7817601.html

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:Lyrica 150mg box in Finland 20110618.jpg” – Acdx, Wikipedia (18 June 2011) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lyrica_150mg_box_in_Finland_20110618.jpg

ROGUE LANDLORDS: Newham council raid; man found living in meter cupboard

London – VIJAY SHAH via Newham Council

In yet another sign of the housing crisis gripping London, council officials in the east of the city found a man forced to sleep in a room no bigger than a store cupboard after conducting a raid on an overcrowded home in Beckton, Newham Council wrote on its website on Friday.

Housing officers from Newham Council, which administers the Beckton area, were tipped off that the house in the south of the borough was inhabited by more people than was allowed legally. The council’s private housing team sector entered the property, with the borough’s mayor, Sir Robin Wales and representatives of the GMB workers’ union, Warren Kenny (London Regional Secretary), and Tim Roache (General Secretary) in attendance.

Credit: speedpropertybuyers.co.uk

 

What they saw shocked them. In the Beckton house, one man was found to have been paying hundreds of pounds in rent per month to live in a store cupboard no bigger than 1 metre by 2 metres in area, with enough room for a single mattress only. The man’s living situation was made more dangerous by the presence of a gas meter and pipes directly above his bed. The raid also discovered a total of eleven sleeping spaces in the property, including bunk beds crammed into single rooms. The team also uncovered fire and electrical safety hazards, according to Newham Council.

The mayor and GMB leadership attended the raid to discover the day-to-day operations of those involved in enforcing Newham’s landlord licensing scheme, which requires all private housing landlords in the borough to purchase a five-year licence which requires them to obey certain regulations such as on overcrowding and fire safety. Newham was the first London borough to introduce such a scheme, which is now under threat of non-renewal due to central government financial cutbacks.

The housing officers also paid a visit to another suspect property in Upton Park, in northern Newham. They stumbled across a shed being rented out as a living space. Three people were found living in the shed, paying £200 a month each to live in sub-standard and cramped spaces. The house itself was split into eight rooms over three floors, which were being shared between four different families.

The rogue landlords responsible for renting out the properties raided by the officers will be subject to financial penalty notices, which could see them paying fines of up to £30,000 per offence committed, Newham Council said.

Mayor Wales said: “It cannot be right in the 21st century, in one of the world’s wealthiest cities, a young man is being forced to pay hundreds of pounds to rent a cupboard under the stairs, sleeping alongside the gas metre [sic].

‘The scenes we saw on this visit are a timely reminder that, while by tackling bad landlords we are driving up standards, there is still much to do. That is why it’s imperative that the government allow us to continue with this work, and stop the exploitation of tenants.’

‘The scheme aims to improve the quality of property in the private sector, to make the experience of renting homes in the borough safer and more secure for our residents.

‘The GMB union leadership was keen to come down and see our licensing scheme in action, to understand why it’s so important.”

The GMB’s general secretary, Tim Roache added: “Our visit to Newham was a real eye-opener, we all know the housing market is broken, but finding people living in cupboards marks a new low.

‘It’s fantastic to see how Newham’s licensing scheme is forcing this kind of chronic exploitation of tenants into the light, and how its effective enforcement by dedicated workers on the front line is bring the guilty landlords to book.

‘I would appeal to the government to act quickly and allow Newham to continue this critically important work.”

London has a whole has become notorious for its overheated housing market, with often sky-high rents, coupled with a low level of new houses being built, enabling unscrupulous landlords to take advantage of desperate renters priced out of the buying market, as well as new settlers in the city. Several landlords in outer London boroughs were prosecuted recently for renting out converted outbuildings and garden sheds, overcrowding family homes and letting out properties with numerous healthy and safety violations. The housing market problem has now spread far beyond the borders of Greater London, with the South East of England reporting some of the UK’s highest house prices.

SOURCES:

Newham London, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/newhamcouncil/

“Man found sleeping in under the stairs cupboard in rogue landlord raid” – Newham London/Newham Council (3 November 2017) https://www.newham.gov.uk/Pages/News/Man-found-sleeping-in-under-the-stairs-cupboard-in-rogue-landlord-raid.aspx?utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=SocialSignIn&utm_source=Facebook&utm_content=News

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Renting Property” – Jeff Djevdet, Flickr (22 February 2016) https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffdjevdet/24568649014