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Criminal Law Blog

Driving Disqualifications: What is 'exceptional hardship'?

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Today the BBC has published that there are over “10, 000 motorists legally driving on British roads last month, despite having excessive points” and that one West Yorkshire driver “clocked up 62 points on his licence is still being allowed to drive”.

Bail Changes

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Bail... not as we know it any longer. 3 rd April 2017 signifies the new changes to the Law relating to suspects arrested and whether bail will apply. The Policing & Crime Act 2017 was drafted in light of the publicity surrounding famous people arrested...

Dangerous Dogs

Lindsey Lobley
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There have been a number of incidents reported in the press recently that relate to “Dangerous Dogs”, but what makes a dog dangerous? There are four breeds which are deemed to be automatically dangerous under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. ...

Offences rise across the region

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The crime rate has increased across West Yorkshire, although the region’s police force argues that the rise in offending is not as stark as it first appears. Statistics collated and released by the Government suggest that the number of offences rose...

CPS signals harder line on online abuse

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New guidelines are being drawn up by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in relation to prosecuting people who incite abuse on social media. The guidance which was published this week could see “trolls” who post doctored images online or...

Thief grabs pensioners chain from around her neck

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Police are appealing for witnesses after an elderly woman had a necklace snatched from around her neck as she walked down a Leeds street. The pensioner was travelling down Stonegate Road with her husband when the suspect jogged over to them from a nearby...

Police investigate sightings of man fleeing road crash carrying two "shotguns"

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Police have received reports that a man was seen running through Leeds carrying a pair of shotguns following a collision yesterday (Thursday). Officers had been informed that a Ford Transit van had careered into railings at a junction in the Beeston area of...

Drug offences make up the bulk of arrests at major music festival

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Around 60 people were arrested at this year’s Leeds Festival, police have confirmed. The majority of these arrests related to drug offences, although police also took action in response to assaults and thefts at the Bramhall Park site. The number of...

Rural criminals find new ways to target their victims

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The costs of rural crime are spiralling upward across Yorkshire, a new report has suggested. In West Yorkshire in 2015, the cost to victims rose by almost 20 per cent to more than £1.4million. The research by rural insurer NFU Mutual suggested that,...

Cybercrime affects a tenth of the adult population

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One in ten adults have been the victim of so-called “cybercrimes” during the past year, new figures have shown. Data made available by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that criminals are increasingly making use of the internet to...

Masked robber sought following raid on Leeds pharmacy

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Police have appealed for information after a masked man stormed into a Leeds chemists earlier this week and threatened staff with a knife. The robbery happened at the Andrew Tylee Pharmacy, in Hyde Park Road, on Tuesday (July 12th). The man brandished a...

Communities reassured following spike in hate crimes

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West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has issued an unequivocal warning that those perpetrating hate crime will face swift action. Mark Burns-Williamson was speaking amid concerns that cases of people being abused because of their race or...

West Yorkshire app aims to fight hate crime

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A new app has been launched with the aim of targeting hate crime in West Yorkshire. The device has been developed in conjunction with the charity Stop Hate UK and allows people to report cases anonymously and to take a picture, video or audio recording of...

Doorstep offenders receive significant jail terms

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A criminal gang who fleeced elderly and vulnerable people out of thousands of pounds have been handed substantial prison sentences. The six men, who were jailed at Leeds Crown Court last week, had purposefully targeted victims in their seventies, eighties...

Criticism of blanket ban on legal highs

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A campaign is taking place across Leeds to improve awareness of the dangers of taking legal highs, ahead of a major change in the law. West Yorkshire Police are working closely alongside civic leaders and drug experts, with a particular emphasis on warning...

Prison reforms announced in Queens Speech

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One of the most prominent announcements as part of today’s Queen’s speech was a bill to reform Prisons. There has been high profile public discourse in the media and at parliament in recent weeks focussing on safety at prisons, suicide rates...

West Yorkshire Police to reinvestigate murder

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The murder of a young mum – who was found dead in an alleyway 15 years ago – is one of a number of “cold cases” being reviewed by West Yorkshire Police. Rebecca Hall, aged 19, had gone missing from her Bradford home in April 2001. ...

Victim or Criminal

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Slavery is unfortunately not a thing of the past.  It occurs today and affects an estimated 29.8 million people worldwide. In 2013 there were 90 UK nationals who were the victims of modern day slavery, taken from this country against their will or...

Cancer patient threatened with knife in terrifying robbery

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Police are continuing to appeal for information after a teenage boy battling leukaemia was robbed at knifepoint in Leeds. The 17-year-old victim was attacked as he walked through the Wortley area of the city last month. As he travelled down an alleyway...

MP fears that the threat of cyber crime is being disregarded

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The crime rate for England and Wales will double once so-called cyber offences are taken into consideration, the Shadow Home Secretary has warned. Andy Burnham conceded that incidents such as domestic burglary and car theft had fallen in recent times, but...

Joint Enterprise Murder

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On 18 February 2016 the highest court in England and Wales, the Supreme Court, corrected the law on “joint enterprise” which they said has been wrong for the last 30 years. This means that since the 1985 hundreds if not thousands of people may...

Violent crime is on the rise

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Levels of violent crime have risen sharply, recent statistics have confirmed. Offences including murder, rape and gun crime have all increased in the year to September 2015. There is some debate about the underlying reasons for the rise, which has caused...

Police appeal following Otley robbery

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West Yorkshire Police are attempting to track down a trio of masked robbers who targeted an Otley off-licence last month. The gang attacked one of the staff during the Sunday night raid, repeatedly punching and kicking the man and tearing off his turban. ...

Young man given suspended sentence following golf club attack

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A teenager who attacked a middle-aged neighbour with a golf club has been spared jail. Leeds Crown Court heard that 18-year-old John MacIntyre had repeatedly struck the 50-year-old with the weapon and the victim suffered a broken ankle during the attack. ...

Motorists urged to exercise caution as weather takes a turn for the worse

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A new survey conducted by the road safety charity Brake has found that almost three quarters of Britain’s drivers take life-threatening risks in icy weather. The research found a worrying lack of knowledge about safe stopping distances in wintry...

Increase in burglaries reported across Leeds

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There has been a significant rise in burglary offences across Leeds, with police suspecting that a housing boom is partly to blame for the increase in offences.   New statistics have shown that 5,227 domestic burglaries were reported in the city in...

Prolific thief receives banning order

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A serial shoplifter – who has notched up nearly 100 convictions – has been handed a three year ban from Leeds city centre. Chantelle Mitchell, of Horsforth, was slapped with a Criminal Behaviour Order by Leeds Magistrates last week. This bans...

Second transgender prison death in a month

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Following news of the death of transgender woman Vicky Thompson at HMP Leeds last month, further reports have emerged this week of the death of another transgender prison at HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes. Joanne Latham, aged 38 years old, was apparently...

Court hears womens fight was a result of long running family feud

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A Leeds mum who bit chunks out of another woman’s ears during a fight they had arranged on Facebook has been jailed for two years. Julie-Ann Doherty and Shona Knight had been feuding for around six months, exchanging angry messages via text and on...

Jail sentence after appallingly violent attack

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A man has been jailed after stabbing a “sword-like” implement into his former friend’s eye during a late night alternation in a Yorkshire village. Stuart Sinclair suffered a brain haemorrhage as a result of the injury and has been left in...

Transgender death in Leeds Prison

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Reports have emerged this week that a transgender woman was been found dead last Friday, 13 November 2015, after being placed in a male prison. It is understood that Vicky Thompson, 21, was placed in HMP Armley in Leeds despite the fact she had identified as...

Custodial sentence for drug dealer

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A drug dealer who was caught with thousands of pounds worth of cannabis has been handed a 12 month prison sentence. Eoghan Stratford was stopped by police in De Lacy Mount, Kirkstall on June 15th this year. When officers searched his vehicle, they...

Leeds sex attacker receives life prison sentence

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A man has been jailed for life after putting a young woman through a terrifying ordeal in Leeds earlier this year. Paul Braithwaite – who has a number of previous convictions for similar attacks on university students – had targeted the...

Rise in homophobic hate crime in West Yorkshire

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There has been a rise in homophobic hate crime figures in West Yorkshire, with police figures showing 160 such cases recorded in the seven months to July 31. The annual totals for the same crime were 148 in 2013 and 152 in 2014. The rise has been put down...

Custodial sentences for drug gang

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A gang of drug dealers have been jailed for more than 30 years between them after police exposed a plot to smuggle over £400,000 of cocaine into Braford. Salim Patel and Sabbir Munshi, both 33, Faizal Nanlawala , 30, and Suhail Khojani, 32, were...

Man launched savage attack over £90 debt

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A Leeds loan shark who had attacked a man with a samurai sword has been jailed for six years. Court heard that David Jones had gone to a basement flat in Beeston to confront his victim about a £90 debt. On entering the property he unsheathed the...

Claim that court charges are undermining the justice system

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A growing number of defendants feel under pressure to plead guilty to crimes they did not commit, following the introduction of controversial criminal courts charges. A new system was introduced earlier this year, with offenders being made to pay towards...

Fears that cuts could drive up teenage offending rate

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Cuts in services could see a rise in the number of children being handed custodial sentences, the Youth Justice Board (YJB) has said. The organisation has seen its budget cut in half since 2010 and it is understood that the Ministry of Justice will be...

Force launches campaign to tackle sexting

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West Yorkshire Police have warned local young people that sharing sexual images of themselves could potentially lead to criminal charges. The force last week launched a campaign to try and tackle the problem of “sexting” – which is causing...

Life sentence for gunman who shot Leeds policewoman

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A gunman who shot a policewoman in the face was last week sentenced to life imprisonment, a year to the day since a jury convicted him of attempting to murder PC Suzanne Hudson. James Leslie, 39, was told he must serve a minimum of 15 years in prison after...

Custodial sentence for Leeds robber

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A man has been sent to prison for his part in an armed robbery at a local venue. Ashley Holmes, 25, has been sentenced to five years, four months following the attack at Belle Isle Working Men’s Club, in Leeds. Holmes and an unknown accomplice had...

Prison sentence for robber who targeted Leeds bus driver

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A man who threatened a bus driver with a knife and ordered him to hand over his takings has received a lengthy prison sentence. Leeds Crown Court heard that Neil Brown had approached the No 56, which was parked up in the Moortown area. There were no...

Women jailed after police uncover Leeds cannabis factory

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Two women have been handed prison sentences totalling five-and-a-half years for cultivating cannabis at a premises in Leeds. Police discovered nearly 400 plants – with a street value of almost £54,000 – growing in the terraced property at...

Appeal to trace trio who tied up elderly woman

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Police are appealing for witnesses after a 77-year-old woman was tied up during a robbery at her home. Three men barged their way into the pensioner’s property in Bingley Road, Menston on Friday, July 3rd. She had gone to the door at around 11pm...

Burglar and car thief locked up for six years after crimes worth over £40,000

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Adam Woodhouse, a 21-year-old burglar who targeted properties in Leeds, so he could steal the car keys to expensive vehicles, has been sentenced to six years in prison for his crimes. Along with his accomplice – 18-year-old William Lock – Mr...

Solicitor represented by Lester Morrill will not face charges

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Lester Morrill’s head of criminal law was recently asked to represent a fellow solicitor who had been wrongly accused of witness intimidation. Our client had previously acted for a finance company in a civil claim, with the case eventually settled in...

Force to make multi million pound investment in new body cameras

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West Yorkshire Police will plough more than £2million into body-worn cameras, which will be used to capture footage of their day-to-day duties. The force is one of several investing in the technology; last year, front line officers took part in a...

Armed robber receives substantial prison sentence

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A robber who targeted travel agents in the Leeds area has been handed a six-year prison sentence. Ryan Handley, 24, of Huddersfield, had threatened terrified staff with a knife during the armed raids in May last year. Leeds Crown Court heard last week how...

Electricity theft a rising problem across the region

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Police have reported a surge in the number of people across West Yorkshire who are being caught stealing electricity. Over the course of the past five years, the number of offences has doubled – a trend that officers have attributed to the economic...

Dramatic increase in number of van thefts

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Organised criminal gangs are responsible for the sudden rise in the number of vans being stolen from the streets of West Yorkshire. Statistics show that between September last year and March this year, 368 vehicles were reported stolen across the county....

Violence offences rise in West Yorkshire despite overall fall in crime

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The number of crimes being reported in West Yorkshire has fallen to a 31 year low, figures released last week confirm. Official statistics show there were 1635 fewer victims of crime in the year up to the end of March, when compared to the 12 months...

Familys emotional appeal to catch killer 20 years on

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The sister of a Yorkshire teenager whose murdered body was found 20 years ago this month has spoken for the first time about the devastating effect that the death had on the family. Thirteen-year-old Lindsay Rimer disappeared in Hebden Bridge on the evening...

Prolific Leeds drug gang given jail terms

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Twelve members of a drug gang who sold almost £2million of cocaine on the streets of Leeds have been handed prison sentences totalling 58 years. The “untouchable” dealers were said to have had a virtual monopoly on the city’s drugs...

Children responsible for a third of residential break-ins

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One in three home burglaries reported in West Yorkshire is carried out by someone under 18, new figures have revealed. Between 2008 and 2013, there were 21,796 break-ins across the region which led to someone being caught and convicted. In 7,933 of these...

Landmark legal action to tackle Leeds drug dealers

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A drug-dealing gang, who “wreaked havoc” on a Leeds estate, have been jailed and banned from the area in a landmark legal action brought by the police and council. Operation Boypark saw the authorities working in partnership to secure...

Police take steps to tackle cyber crime

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Cyber-crime is becoming an increasing priority for West Yorkshire Police, with the force assembling a team of officers who will specifically deal with offences committed online. The unit will be tasked with tackling the expanding network of criminals who...

Woman jailed for helping herself to vulnerable brothers pension

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A pensioner who took advantage of her brother’s learning disability to fleece him out of more than £30,000 has been jailed for eight months. Joan Gillhespey, 70, of Bingley, Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position and was...

Fears for students following a spate of muggings

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Police are investigating a string of street robberies in student areas of Leeds. At least ten people have been mugged in the Hyde Park and Woodhouse neighbourhoods in the space of three weeks. The victims were all aged between 19 and 30 and officers from...

Man sent to prison after leaving a suitcase of drugs on a train

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A drug dealer has been jailed after leaving a suitcase containing £5000 worth of cannabis on a train at Leeds Station. Thomas Tyszka, 31, forgot to remove the luggage containing the cache of the Class B drug, after arriving in the city on September...

Plans considered to tackle racial hatred offences

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People who spread racial hatred online could be banned from using sites such as Facebook and Twitter, under plans being suggested by MPs. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has been asked to consider whether so-called “internet ASBOs” could be...

MoJ left red faced by court guide gaffe

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Ministry of Justice officials have been badly embarrassed by a document which appeared to undermine the ancient principle that those facing criminal charges are “innocent until proven guilty.” This is a fundamental element of British law, dating...

Local neighbourhood a popular target for burglars

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A Leeds suburb has been named one of the worst areas in the country for burglaries. The Adel area of the city features in a list of the top 20 neighbourhoods with the highest number of break-ins. Over the space of 12 months, there were 27.6 burglary claims...

List names the places in Leeds with the highest crime rate

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Leeds’ crime hotspots have been identified, following a Freedom of Information request by the Yorkshire Evening Post. The newspaper used statistics from West Yorkshire Police to compile a list of the venues in the city which have experienced the...

Prison terms for teenagers convicted of Leeds robbery

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A trio of teenage robbers who subjected their victim to an “appalling” attack have been jailed. Leeds Crown Court heard that Benjamin Forrest-Daniels, aged 18, and two accomplices, a 16 and 17-year-old who cannot be named for legal reasons,...

More crimes than first thought may be overlooked

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Police forces across the UK could be leaving far more offences out of official statistics than had previously been thought, an influential think tank has claimed. Only last month, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) estimated that as...

Major drug dealer ordered to repay more than £150k

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A Bradford drug dealer who claimed he had no assets has been ordered to repay more than £150,000, following a police investigation into his finances. Paul Capuvanno, of Greenfield Lane, Bierley, claimed he was unable to pay off a confiscation order...

Offences on the rise in Leeds party district

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Figures have revealed that crime has increased three-fold in one of Leeds’ busiest roads. The Yorkshire Evening Post this week released details of the 10 streets in the city centre with the highest number of call-outs. Once again, the aptly-named...

Court case receives national press coverage

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A case defended by Lester Morrill’s head of criminal law, Philip Goldberg, has featured in the national and regional press. Lester Morrill represented a man charged with a robbery in Leeds, pleading mitigation on the grounds that the defendant had...

Tougher sentencing proposed for corporate manslaughter

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Businesses convicted of corporate manslaughter could face fines of more than £20m under newly published penalty guidelines.  The Sentencing Council is considering whether companies found guilty of corporate manslaughter – as well as health...

Emphasis on burglaries has impact on investigations into other offences

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The county’s police force is concentrating too much on burglaries, a watchdog has claimed. West Yorkshire Police was one of 18 forces nationwide which received neither a “good” nor “outstanding” rating for the way it...

Continued concern about figures for criminal offences

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Almost a million offences vanish from crime figures each year, as police forces find themselves under increased pressure to meet targets. A study by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, the police watchdog, found there was a widespread problem...

Six men involved in a series of armed raids on pubs around Leeds have been sentenced to a total of more than 50 years in prison. In a series of terrifying robberies across the city, masked men threatened bar staff with weapons including knives, machetes

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Six men involved in a series of armed raids on pubs around Leeds have been sentenced to a total of more than 50 years in prison. In a series of terrifying robberies across the city, masked men threatened bar staff with weapons including knives, machetes and...

Police to crackdown on theft offences over festive period

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West Yorkshire Police are taking steps to reduce shoplifting in one of the county’s busiest retail areas. Officers will be out in force in Bradford city centre in the run-up to Christmas and said that they had seen results within days of starting...

High profile case raises questions over murder sentences

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Just over a week ago we saw the culmination of the tragic events which occurred at Corpus Christi Catholic College in April, with the sentencing of William Cornick at Leeds Crown Court. The 16-year-old, who admitted the murder of Spanish teacher Ann...

Thousands of under 18s still being arrested by Yorkshire police

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More than 11,000 children and teenagers were arrested by West Yorkshire Police in less than three years. Figures published by the Yorkshire Evening Post revealed the sheer number of under 18s who were detained by officers. The arrests were made in...

Police cautions to be scrapped in England and Wales

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The use of informal warnings for those who commit minor offences is to be scrapped in England and Wales, under new plans announced by the Government. Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, has revealed a new scheme that will see police cautions, as they...

Sexual crimes increase, but overall number of offences falls in West Yorkshire

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Overall levels of crime have fallen across West Yorkshire, but reports of rape and other sexual offences have risen by a fifth over the past year. Figures compiled by the Office of National Statistics show that there were 6,652 incidents brought to the...

Fresh debate about the future of crime statistics

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A police union leader last week suggested that crime figures should not be made public. Irene Curtis, president of the Police Superintendents’ Association, said that the statistics could be misleading and that a more “sophisticated” way of...

Solicitors case covered by Yorkshire Evening Post

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A case at Leeds Crown Court, in which Lester Morrill’s Philip Goldberg acted for a man who had admitted two charges of assault, has featured in the Yorkshire Evening Post....

Twelve men jailed for their role in setting up massive cannabis farm in Wakefield

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A criminal gang has been jailed for their part in a multi-million pound cannabis growing operation. Police used forensic evidence and old-fashioned surveillance work to link twelve men to the drugs factory uncovered in Holmfield Lane, Wakefield. The...

Misleading evidence presented to juries could lead to a flood of appeals

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The Home Office has admitted that potentially misleading DNA evidence has been presented to juries. Following a landmark case last year, criminal courts have increasingly allowed “subjective expressions of evidential weight” to be offered to...

Report looks at ways to reduce reoffending

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More support must be made available to the families of offenders if authorities want to reduce reoffending, a new report has concluded. A document prepared jointly by HM Inspectorate of Prisons, the Probation Service and education watchdog Ofsted agrees...

Police adopt new tactics to catch out burglars

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Plain clothes police are cycling around communities in an attempt to identify some of the county’s most prolific burglars. Officers have been using push bikes which, ironically enough, have been taken from the force’s store of suspected stolen...

New scheme to stop overuse of controversial stop and search powers

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West Yorkshire Police have adopted a new policy in an attempt to prevent officers from abusing stop and search powers. The force has signed up to a voluntary code-of-practice, announced by Home Secretary Theresa May earlier this year. The Government hopes...

Warning about buying stolen goods

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Thieves are finding it all-too-easy to sell on their stolen wares, West Yorkshire Police have warned. Shoplifters have spoken openly to officers about how they’re able to offload goods at car boot sales or through a simple trip to the pub. Now police...

Initiative misses reoffending target

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A pioneering scheme has failed to meet its target to cut reoffending, new statistics show.  The pilot project has seen charities such as Sova and St Giles Trust help to resettle offenders released from HMP Peterborough. And while their work supporting...

Police warning to those who make up burglaries

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A Leeds teenager who sold off items from his flat and then told police he had been burgled has been given a 16 month prison sentence.  The brazen 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, made repeated trips to a second hand shop near his...

As temperatures rise, so do burglaries

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Thieves are taking full advantage of the recent warm weather, West Yorkshire Police have warned  Officers in Leeds are urging people to make sure their homes are secure following a number of incidents where opportunist burglars were able to slip in...

Teenage girl cautioned by police for sexting

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Schoolchildren who send explicit pictures of themselves via mobile phone could end up with a criminal record, police have said.  The warning comes after a teenage girl received a police caution for texting a topless photo to her boyfriend. The boy...

Crime figures released for West Yorkshire

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Crime in West Yorkshire may be at its lowest level in more than 30 years, but concerns remain about a rise in sexual offences and violent crime. New statistics show that overall crime has dropped for the tenth consecutive year. It has reduced by almost two...

Solicitors reaction to new police code of ethics

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Questions remain about whether a new code of ethics will help restore public confidence in the police force.  The College of Policing has set out the standards of behaviour that the public can expect from officers and civilian staff, following a...

Children Stopped Under Stop and Search Powers

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Figures published earlier this week have revealed that over the last five years, in excess of 1,000 children aged under 10 years old have been stopped and searched by police within England and Wales. The latest data, compiled from figures released by 22...

Reoffending Rates Published

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Figures published towards the start of June, revealed that the number of young offenders in Scotland who reoffend following release from prison is continuing to decline. According to the figures, the average reconviction rate for under-21s in Scotland has...

Prolific Criminal Sentenced

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Earlier this month (June), it was reported that a prolific criminal had received a custodial sentence of four years; after pleading guilty to a number of burglaries within the Leeds area. The criminal was caught after CCTV cameras spotted him parking a...

Concerns Raised Over Youth Court System

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A report published towards the end of last week by MPs and peers in relation to the current youth justice system, has suggested that mandatory training for criminal lawyers working with children should be introduced “without delay”. The report...

Gang Jailed for Drug Offences

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It was reported over the weekend, that a gang of seven, who were involved in the conspiracy to supply Class A drugs throughout the Harrogate area, have been sentenced to jail for a combined total of nearly 30 years. The investigation into the gang, who all...

Nine Admit Armed Robberies

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Last week it was reported that nine people admitted their parts in a number of armed robberies which took place last year, throughout South Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire. The first incident involved an armed robbery of a convenience store in Doncaster...

Career Criminal Imprisoned

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At the end of May, it was revealed that a career criminal was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison, after being found guilty of a number of burglaries earlier this year; as well as a number of attempted burglaries. Reports revealed that the...

Prolific Young Offenders Arrested Over 6,000 Times

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Data published at the beginning of June has revealed that the top 150 young offenders in the UK have been arrested in excess of 6,000 times in total, for a number of offences including assault, burglary and rape. According to the data, the ten most...

North Hit Hardest by Crime

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The Chief Constable of Humberside Police has recently suggested that police forces within the North of England are seeing an increase in crime numbers, as a result of regions in the north being hardest hit by the recession. It has recently been suggested...