Saturday, October 29, 2011

Misty Business

Gallant efforts to have a quarter-scale, radio-controlled Spitfire, fly from Calais to Manston yesterday, were frustrated by the Channel weather. A bank of mist sat stubbornly over the warm sea water gap between us and France, throughout the day, which has me sitting at Manston, with a support crew, hoping that the weather would break.

The other part of the team were already in Calais with the radio-controlled model  and the plan had one aircraft, called a 'Eurostar', not the train, arrive from the South-west with the model operator and me, with a chase plane, make the short hop from Manston into Calais. Of course, it didn't happen and they will have to try again another time which is very disappointing for everyone involved in the project.

What would have happened, if all had gone to plan, is that the model would have landed outside the Spitfire museum at Manston, where there would have been a reception. It has a top speed of 90 knots I'm told and so throttled back, I would have been able to keep it in sight.

I suspect that by now, everyone has heard that Her Majesty, the Queen, will be visiting Margate on 11th November, which is of course a great privilege for the town and the island in general. I suspect that the frantic polishing of shoes and pressing of suits and dresses is already well  underway and I would hope that the Queen visits the Turner Contemporary, to place the royal seal of approval on this very successful statement of the town's regeneration strategy.

For those who are unsure of the protocol, here's a link to the webpage, with information on greeting the Queen.

I'm also pleased to have an email from the United States Airforce Military Attache, Colonel Sonny Blinkinsop, will be attending the Remembrance Sunday parade at Westgate to lay a wreath at the memorial to the US airmen of World War II erected two years ago. This is now becoming a regular US presence in our small town.

At the council's Scrutiny Committee, last week, I presented the details on Thanet's street cleaning work and I was somewhat surprised to read in the Thanet Gazette today that not only am I reportedly 'Miffed' but that the report was 'Rubbished' as well; the first I've heard of it from any source. My Conservative colleague, Cllr Gideon, did quip that it was 'fluffy' and I retorted that if she wanted more statistics, then next time I'm invited, I'll be happy to give the committee all the statistics on rubbish they might want and more!

In fact, this was a summary for a short presentation on what's been achieved and what's planned ahead and illustrated the steady rise in street-scene standards to last year. So when you hear the chant that streets were cleaner under Labour, don't believe a word of it because quite the opposite was true. One of the most successful of schemes involves the continuing roll-out of wheeled bins and more lately seagull proof bags to households. Added together these now cover 53,000 out of Thanet’s 65,000 households.

As for 'Smudger', I recommend she takes up voluntary work as it may make her much happier and less angry than her job in local journalism!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Few Words

GoodYear Airship Launch by Captain Snaps'
An old friend of mine was given the news by his doctor on Friday that he has a matter of months to live. This followed the discovery of an aggressive and inoperable brain tumour, after a CT scan last week.

I spoke to him while he was still at the hospital but finding the right words or indeed, any words but might seem more than inadequate platitudes, was a struggle. After all, what can you say once that kind of sentence of the inevitable and inescapable, has been delivered by a doctor, as factually as a judge donning his black cap in court?

So in the coming weeks, all his friends are planning a big party for him, as he's a tough and irascible b***d and would rather have us celebrate his wake standing-up with a glass in his hand than lying down surrounded by people in black ties and long faces. I think that's an attitude that many, if not most of us, would understand and share as well.

Yesterday morning I was up early to do a couple of jobs and was surprised to find my aircraft coated in ice. Kent and Essex were bathed in brilliant early morning sunlight, as I landed at an empty Damyns Hall to find the Good Year airship sitting on the disused runway, where I planned to set-up a banner. A little later, a small army of ground crewman arrived and wrestled it into the air forty-five minutes later. Watching it all, I concluded its driven by a chainsaw motor and is one complicated exercise. Lord knows how they ever managed to get the giant airships of the 1930's airborne?

I'm not very good at recognising celebrities and so for yesterday morning's job, I must have appeared a little naive when I asked the client how I might recognise the house on a very long road in the countryside. "It's like David Beckham's house" she said and so at that point I assumed I was looking for something quite large and ostentatious and I wasn't wrong! I've had a few occasions when well-know celebrities, both sporting and entertainment, have called-up for a flight and it wasn't until after the event, that I realised who they were. Some of course are obvious and I know where Jordan and Paul McCartney and Andy Murray have their homes, tucked well away from public gaze and with a space between them and the paparazzi.

Back to airships then, and a couple of years ago, one old chap in Westgate showed me a photograph of the Hindenburg flying over Westgate that he had taken while it was spying on our airfields. When you think that the German airship was larger by orders of magnitude, it's a wonder that until the disaster that destroyed it, it commuted between Berlin and New York on a regular basis. My father once told me he saw it flying over Madrid as a boy living in Spain before the Spanish Civil War.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bird's Eye View

I made two sorties to Dale Farm this morning and one to the Olympic Stadium. One of these locations had fires burning at various strategic points and the other didn't. If time allows, I will try and put up a photo to help readers guess where the blaze was!

The Essex Police helicopter unit were very helpful and allowed me inside their one mile exclusion zone around Dale Farm, with them hovering at low-level and me at 1,500 feet, watching the action taking place below around the scaffolding at the entrance to the caravan park. I joined them for a cup of coffee later so they could have a better look a some of the long-lens photos. (Photo Jim Bennett)

Before Arlington House by Captain Snaps'

Of course, this evening, it's a big planning evening at Thanet District Council, involving the Tesco/Arlington application and many of us, I know,  share strong feelings about the planning legislation. However, while I have sympathy for the plight of the Travellers at Dale Farm, I also feel strongly, that proper respect for the law that binds us as a free society, applies to everyone, regardless of politics, ethnicity, colour or religion. It's very difficult to justify the council  enforcing the taking down of a conservatory extension which may be one metre too wide, when in the minds of many people, a blind-eye is turned to the sudden and unexpected arrival of a travelling community, that occupies and swiftly tarmacs 'Green Belt' land, not uncommonly, over a Bank Holiday weekend.

Arlington House Construction by Captain Snaps'
On a totally different subject, I attended an event at the Turner Contemporary last night, which gave me an opportunity to explore their 'Nothing in the World but Youth' exhibition. While I'm not normally one who appreciates the qualities of modern art, I did find this display very interesting and quite thought-provoking at times. So if you have the opportunity, I recommend that you go along and take a look for yourself!

Stop Press: In the interests of transparency, the Planning Committee have voted to send the application to full council for debate.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Friday night and I was driving my daughter home along the Cliftonville seafront past a line of brightly lit and flashing police cards and ambulances. "What's happening", she asked. "Someone has probably been stabbed." I said, little knowing how close to the truth I was. Being behind the wheel, I resisted the urge to 'Tweet' or take a photograph of the scene. It's all very depressing.

This afternoon, I've had a Westgate resident arrive at my house, at the edge of despair over a well-known care home for troubled youngsters in the town. From all accounts the agencies involved in the challenge of managing these young people are failing very badly indeed and there's the threat, he tells me of more trouble, involving drunk and abusive teenagers, 'kicking-off' this evening.

When I finish writing this entry I will be writing to my fellow ward councillors, MP, KCC and the Police, to express my concerns that such reports of anti-social behaviour are becoming increasingly common. What this will achieve, I don't know because I have the unhappy feeling that rather than being proactive in dealing with the causes, swiftly and effectively, those agencies involved in managing so many thousands of such troubled young people on a wider national basis, are forced to be reactive or helpless or both and can only wring their hands when any community suffers as a consequence.

Friday, October 14, 2011

It's Friday

I noticed that David Tennant was filming this morning on the beach at Margate, opposite the Nayland Rock hotel. However, by the time, I had finished my meeting at the council offices and wandered back with my camera, it was all over, so as a consolation prize, here's a photo of the Turner Contemporary instead, which reportedly has now had over 250,000 visitors through it's door. A very good news story for Margate and it's steady journey of urban and seaside regeneration.

Yesterday, I spent a productive morning at Westminster with Roger Gale and Laura Sandys and among the subjects we discussed, was the matter of protecting the sea life our sixteen miles of reef from being hoovered-up by migrant gangs, who may be selling it to the restaurant trade in London. With Roger Gale acting as the point of contact, we've agreed to call a meeting involving a number of different agencies, hosted by the council and I will plan keep everyone informed. and in particular those who are working so hard locally to protect our shoreline.

For those readers living in Westgate, there was a meeting held in the council chamber this week which involved Network Rail and concerned residents of The Grove; all to do with the heavy plant access to the railway line during unsocial hours. People made their feeling known and it was abundantly clear that Network Rail has been well performing beneath its published standards of efficiency, courtesy and service.

We have made some progress and have a commitment from Network Rail to repair the footbridge early next year. On a personal note, I think it is quite inappropriate for the railway company to seek access to the line through The Grove and I have informed them that as the Cabinet Member for the Environment, I will be watching their future performance very closely.  This represents quite a thorny problem because of the statutory right of access the railway company claims to the line in order to make repairs.

Meanwhile on matters less local and political and more mundane, back in the wider world of aviation, there's another convoluted Premier League football stunt to pull this weekend, so watch the skies on Saturday on Sky Sports; weather permitting of course.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Seaside Opportunity

If anyone out there is in a hurry to 'Pop the question' with a plane banner, Channel 4 Television have asked me to find a volunteer for a new documentary and I would much rather do it closer to home and perhaps somewhere like Botany bay or The Turner Contemporary to promote Thanet. So let me know if your plans include a proposal before Christmas?

Tomorrow, I've a meeting with both our local MPs at Westminster to discuss concerns over the harvesting of marine life from Thanet's reef by small organised gangs of migrants.  I've already had a chat with the environment agency about the problem and a representative of the Gangmasters' Association will be present as well.

This is not up to the levels that they experience elsewhere in the country, the shoreline around Liverpool being the worst, I'm told with their large cockle beds. Anecdotal reports I receive suggest that the frequency along our own coastline is not sustainable and may indeed be having a negative impact; the legislation having never anticipated the pressures of 21st century life on the coastal marine environment.

What can be done beyond putting pressure on the Environment Agency and Natural England, I'm not entirely sure but from an environmental perspective, I think it's time that Government realised that fragile coastlines, like our own, here in Thanet, deserve a proper level of protection and both Roger Gale and Laura Sandys have been very supportive since Alasdair Bruce and I last met with them to discuss the issue.

I will of course keep readers informed of any progress but if you spot gangs working the reef, please drop me an email, letting me know where, when and where as it helps me scale the nature of the problem.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Pedal Power

There's a long line of British Heart Foundation, sponsored cyclists, heading west along the sea wall towards Reculver Towers. Now the rain's stopped, I think I will jump on my racing bike and join them; hopefully without any incidents, such as sudden wildfires, along the way.

A dramatic change in weather between this Sunday and last. Yesterday, I had to abandon a marriage proposal flight because of the wind speeds and that's always a hard thing to do because of the level of expectation on the client side. Most people re-book to a better day but when, like yesterday, the client has come-up with a complicated schedule, this can throw a large spanner in the romantic works. I hope she said 'Yes.'

I've been busily adding more of my favourite photos to my new Tumblr account and readers may find some of them familiar but with a different perspective.

The Lancaster in the photo, I was also lucky enough to catch one afternoon doing a remembrance run for the 'Dambusters' around Reculver towers.

I appear to have run through 20,000 discrete page views here in the last month. What prompted the sudden increase in readership is hard to say and I'm sure equally undeserving, although the David Tennant news drove an extra 1,750 in my direction. I do notice though that the 'troll' now appears to have given-up, for now at least. Either that or his medication is taking effect. I don't doubt he will be back in the future.

Time to change into cycling lycra then!

Footnote: I see that some of the beach huts in Minnis Bay have been vandalised again. Will it never stop!

Friday, October 07, 2011

A Subject of Convenience

With 'Plain Jane' remarking on the toilet provision at Botany Bay in her Thanet Gazette column today, I've written a letter for next week's paper, explaining, why the council deployed 'portaloos' while some of the main beach-side toilets around the coast were closed.

For readers who can't justify the extravagance of 60p to read it next week, this is what I wrote:

"The beginning of October set a new record for an Indian summer heat wave and in her column; ‘Plain Jane’ complains that the toilets at Botany Bay weren’t opened to meet the sudden rush of tourists to our beaches.

A number of our toilets around Thanet are open seasonally and in particular those surrounding our main beaches. Every year, the council opens these toilets for a specific period, usually closing them around the third week of September as the finances do not exist to keep them open all year round. The weather we had at the start of October was unique and hardly something that could have been easily planned for. Closing a public toilet involves shutting off the water supply, turning off the power, draining the system and boarding up the property against the ever present threat of vandalism. Therefore, it isn't as simple as Jane suggests, to quickly re-open a toilet again, once it's already been closed for the season.

To meet the sudden demand for the beaches out-of-season, the council quickly put ‘Portaloos’ in place at some strategic points. This clearly wasn’t ideal but it solved an immediate problem and I apologise if some people were inconvenienced.

I spent some time cycling around some of our beaches at the height of the good weather. I would hope that readers would agree that Thanet’s coastline was shown-off to its best, with a Mediterranean-like view and with a clean and attractive destination for both local and tourist visitors to enjoy."

Meanwhile, I've started putting a selection of my photos on Tumblr as well as having the larger library of aerial shots available from the Flickr link you can find on the blog sidebar.  There's no particular order, just some of my favourites over the years.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Steve Checks Out

A day to remember. The legendary Steve Jobs checks out, the first of my generation of world-dominating technology icons to remind us that all the success and money in the world is no substitute for the gift of good health, a fact reinforced by the on-going Michael Jackson trial in Los Angeles. For millions upon millions of consumers, Steve Jobs will be sorely missed for his innovation and the enormous influence he has had on the technologies that we now take for granted.

The first technology industry job I had after leaving Thanet, was at a large Apple dealer in the City of London, where I taught the financial community how to use Apple's biggest 'White Elephant' the Apple Lisa. Back in the mid-nineties I found myself at the top of Mount Sinai in Egypt, as a purple-hued dawn was breaking over the desert and mountains to the east. I was carrying a handheld Apple 'Newton', the precursor of the iPad, for a photo opportunity, having climbed throughout the night to be there just in time for a 'Mosaic Moment.' The photos are buried somewhere in an album in the attic. I wonder if anyone remembers that John Sculley once led Apple when he pushed Jobs out as CEO in the 80s?

Vladimir Putin is attempting, at almost the same age, to prove he's a both a superman and a very poor underwater archaeologist and quite capable of taking over the Presidency of Russia for another term. Meanwhile, Microsoft's Bill Gates quietly gets on with giving millions upon millions of his personal fortune to different charities, with the stated ambition of leaving this earth with as much money as he came into into it with.

I'm off to a Local Development Framework meeting so I may write more later if I have an opportunity.

Back from the council offices and I see that I'm getting very close to breaking the magic 20,000 page views in a month barrier and that I also have an email from a hijacked Hotmail account playing a familiar scam. Why would any European write 'Madrid, Spain,' for starters?

I think I will play the bad guys along for a while to drive them crazy thinking I'm sending them money but keep getting the instructions wrong. I'm expecting a quick response to my offer of help to the email below very soon! That's the risk you take when you keep your address book in the 'The Cloud'.

"Dear Simon

I'm writing this with tears in my eyes,my family and I came down here to Madrid Spain for a short vacation unfortunately we were mugged at the park of the hotel where we stayed,all cash,credit card and cell were stolen off us but luckily for us we still have our passports with us.

We've been to the embassy and the Police here but they're not helping issues at all and our flight leaves in less than few hours from now but we're having problems settling the hotel bills and the hotel manager won't let us leave until we settle the bills,I'm freaked out at the moment."

Here you go.. it took all of nine minutes for the criminal gang to get back to me as you can see from the reply below... fun time! - I have removed the name! Western Union is an irrevocable transfer so that's always a giant clue to any potential internet fraud.

"Glad you replied back. This is a terrible experience,All i need right now is €1,750.00 you can have it wired to my name via Western Union outlet i will be so glad to have what you can help with. I'll have to show my passport as ID to pick it up here and thank God i still have my life and the Passport.i promise to pay you back as soon as i get back home.Here's my info below

Name:Sarah C****
State:Víctor Andrés Belaúnde 22, 29036 Madrid,

As soon as it has been done, kindly get back to me with the confirmation number.let me know when you are heading to the Western Union now.???"

And the next reply after my offering to call the hotel direct is....

"l think its a good idea to wire the cash to me via western union as the hotel is having some difficulties with their credit card machine, western union outlet is 3 blocks away from me here,l can pick the cash at the outlet once you're done with the transfer, how about that ?wondering if you could spare all? you can as well wire the money online by visiting western union website online and you get back to me with the transfer details and the MTCN numbers once you are done."

13:40 and the fraudster is firmly hooked waiting for the money. The next step is for me to transfer the responsibility for the transfer to a friend called 'Daniel', who by complete coincidence also happens to be in Spain and through another stroke of luck, happens to be a senior member of the Spanish National Police hi-tech crime unit. We'll see!

A little later and the Spanish National Police have come back to me...How's that for service!!

"Dear Simon, can you forward the original e-mail, in order to analyze tech header, and see the IP address. My colleagues in financial frauds on the internet will arrive in forty minutes."

A little later still.  Apparently the fraudster is operating from an address in Plymouth. The Madrid postcode is incorrect by a digit and his IP address ties him to an ISP and an address over here rather than Spain. So the Spanish police will pass the intelligence our new friend back to our own people. The Western Union transfer he was looking for can of course go anywhere in the world!

Monday, October 03, 2011

Crashes and Crimes in Thanet?

Today's release of Google 'Crashmaps' reveals where the most dangerous roads are in Thanet. You simply type in a postcode on CrashMap - then scroll looking for exclamation marks.

So now not only can you see which roads to avoid or treat with greater caution than others but with Google's similar interactive crime maps on the website, you can also see who your neighbourhood police officers are with their contact details, the latest police twitter information from Thanet and where the risk of crime and or personal assault are highest too!

In Westgate, you'll notice there's a distinct geographical pattern to burglary around Beach Road and Sussex Gardens and anti-social behaviour incidents in the same area, all of which I find very depressing. I'm sure this is true elsewhere too!

I recommend that all readers check their postcodes against the crime map to see what local risks they should be aware of.

Party Time

It's the Conservative Party conference and aside from the collapsing Euro, fears over the Greek deficit, the overall shambles that is Europe and of course, our struggling and debt-burdened economy, one topic  appears to be stirring the strongest feelings among voters. This is of course the European Human Rights Act, which has its successes or failures, depending on your political viewpoint, catalogued on a daily basis by the tabloid media.

Before the last General Election, the Conservatives pledged to replace it with something more appropriate to our national interest but that was of course before we had a coalition government and the Liberal Democrats and in particular, the Euro-centric Messrs Clegg and Huhne, have more or less said that it's here to stay and any moves to replace it will end in the collapse of the coalition.

Next year of course, accession states Bulgaria and Romania will have full access rights to our welfare system and the other evening I found myself in strange agreement with Nigel Farage and Bob Crow, sharing a spot on Sky News, an unusual partnership from opposite ends of the political spectrum but in common agreement over the manifest disadvantages of European policy to the British public.

In regard to the Human Rights Act, we appear unique in Europe in regard to a generous judical interpretation of the Brussels legislation and unlike our European neighbours, who live under the 'Code Napolean'  our judiciary are entirely free of political interference, which is a good thing at times but clearly not where the national interest in involved.

So where other European states will frequently roll-over the decisions of their judiciary in their own national economic or security interest, we can't, which to me, at least, makes having our own national bill of rights a logical alternative to one which is being used by clever lawyers to club us to death with our own liberal goodwill.

At what point, I wonder will government of any party be prepared to finally stand-up and say a resolute 'Non' to Brussels or do we silently accept the rampant abuse of our national goodwill, as a necessary condition of being part of a greater and more prosperous European dream which is fast becoming a nightmare as monetary union appears closer to collapse with each passing day.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

A Loss of Confidence

I don't like to criticise our police, who at the best of times, have a difficult and often thankless task to perform with dwindling resources. However despite my admiration, today, I was unimpressed at action, coordination and initiative and this is why.

A little earlier, I decided to cycle my regular time trial along the seafront to Reculver towers.

Being a fantastic morning, one could see for miles and shortly after entering the sea wall beyond Minnis Bay, I saw a plume of smoke rising from the nature reserve.

I sped along in that direction and found three other cyclists trying desperately to put out a freshly started and fast spreading blaze.One cyclist was on the phone to the 999 operator trying unsuccessfully to describe where we were. I asked him to pass the phone over and had the same problem as a couple of weeks ago attempting to explain a position in space that did not have a post code or a road name and offering her the GPS LAT/LONG coordinates weren't much use either. 'Hopeless' would be too kind a word to use and I have to confess I was abrupt with the poor operator who had no idea where Birchington or perhaps even Thanet was and could only work in postcodes and not geography.

The people at the scene told me that they had seen three teenagers, a girl and two boys emerge from the fire and cycle off towards Minnis and their description tallied with three that had passed me in the opposite direction earlier. So after exhausting my pitiful water bottle on the leaping flames and fruitless efforts to beat out the accelerating fire with the others, I called the police and told them that I was going to cycle-off after them and would meet the fire engine at the Minnis Bay car park.

At Minnis Bay, I gave the details of the fire and the three suspects to the fire crew that had just arrived and four police officers, two on bikes and two in a car. I also said I would be getting after the suspects. One of the policeman offered to come with me but as he was much older than me by many years and his bike about 15mph slower, I said I would use my better speed, try and locate them and then call his number or 999.

Cycling hard, I luckily managed to catch-up with the three by Westgate golf course. The policeman's mobile wouldn't answer and so I called 999 and had to go through the long process of giving all the necessary information that the police need these days.

I won't bore readers with the details but I made three or was it four further 999 calls along the route which finally took me to Fort Hill. Each time, starting all-over, explaining who I was, where I was and where the promised police car should stop to intercept the suspects. On the way along the seafront, one of the three, the largest, managed to crash outside Pav's cafe in St Mildred's bay attempting a wheelie and had to be helped back to his feet by bystanders. It's also where I picked-up an old friend, Mike W. on his bicycle and we followed the three teenagers, together towards Margate, finally stopping until on the promenade below the police station at Fort Hill and despairing of the authorities actually doing something, I decided to leave my friend and cycle-up the cliff slope to their front desk, while Mike said he would stop the kids for 'a chat'.

At the police station in Margate,the nice lady once again took all my details and told me that I had recently reported a fire and made at least three 999 calls, 'No kidding.' When my information I finally been typed in, once again, I asked if there was such a rare commodity as a police officer at the station who might come outside and collect the three suspects. The desk clerk managed to raise the desk sergeant, who was quite concerned that Mike might have laid hands on them. "I've no idea' I said, but 'why doesn't the sergeant come outside and ask them?'

Perhaps someone was in danger of being oppressed or a Human Rights issue was involved, I've no idea but what followed was more bureaucratic 'umming' and 'ahhing' and finally and after nine minutes at the police station front desk, I declared that I "had lost the will to live.' From where I stood, the 'police were clearly uninterested in catching the suspects', who had probably gone by now and I was quite worn out after fifteen miles on my racing bike. So I left.

Outside, there was no sign of Mike or the suspects and I've come home to write this.

The final irony is that the police just called me at home and wanted to know where the suspects are, as a car has now been tasked to follow-up. That was at 11:40. The Incident took place at around 10:15 about a mile short of Reculver.

A decade or so ago, I might have had the energy to cycle on a bit longer in the direction of Damascus or even Ramsgate but at 55, fifteen or twenty miles at a  20 mph pace on my Roberts Racer, leaves me crashed in a small heap for the remainder of the day waiting for the evening and an ice-cold lager.

I plan to complain to the Area Commander in the morning. Perhaps I should have asked the three suspects to follow me to the police station for a chat to make it all easier for everyone involved in this 15 mile chase?

And Mike, if you read this, what happened next??

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Bad Boys

Hastings today and a banner around the town for an hour, advertising open evenings next week for the new 'Hastings Academies.' I suspect most people were on the beach shown below.

I will admit that it's a novel way of promoting community involvement in the school and that I quite possibly thought the same as you but "Ours not to reason why."

Two O'clock this morning  and Westgate Bay Ave and Westbrook Ave had appeared to have attracted a group of teenagers keen to take turns road testing a very noisy mini motorcycle as conspicuously as possible.

Unable to sleep I went outside and challenged the two left with the machine and it was the usual 'Bad Boys' of around sixteen plus.  The conversation  became very heated on their part and very nearly became violent but neither seemed prepared to act out their threats and they dispersed, pushing the now stalled mini-bike back towards Wesbrook. Hopefully the incident won't repeat but I will be reporting this to our community officer and have already passed on the information and address of an alleged heroin and marijuana dealer living within two hundred yards of my home, which a concerned local resident has shared with me.

What did worry me most perhaps was that this is becoming more common and so many of these kids were sixteen or under. Several I recognised and there they were running around in the early hours of the morning causing havoc. I spoke with one girl and told her that I would be having a word with her dad in the morning but she replied her parents had recently split-up and she was living in the house on her own; she's just sixteen. What can I say!