Have your say on rural crime

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Community, Crime and safety, Epping, Loughton, Ongar, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your environment, Your home

Roger Hirst, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, is urging people to have their say and take part in a national survey which helps to paint a picture of rural crime nationally and locally.

Rural crime survey

It has been three years since the last National Rural Crime Survey revealed the huge cost of crime to rural communities – both financial, at £800 million per year, and fear, with chronic under-reporting, anger and frustration at the police and government.

Steps taken to improve

The National Rural Crime Network produced a series of recommendations and, in many areas, the police took steps to improve matters. Essex has been one of the few forces in the country to introduce a dedicated rural team to work with communities to tackle specific rural issues. Essex Police along with partners also launched the Rural Crime Strategy in 2017.

Have your say

Safer, Greener & Transport Portfolio Holder, Councillor Sam Kane explained: “If you have an opinion about policing locally and want to have your say, now is the perfect time. Complete the survey before Sunday 10 June 2018.”

What has changed?

Roger Hirst said: “Now we want to know what’s changed. Do you think rural crime has gone up or down in Essex? Do you feel safer? What’s your view of the police in your community? In short, we want to know the true picture of crime and anti-social behaviour in rural communities across Essex – and the impact it has where you live or work.”

The survey is now available at www.nationalruralcrimenetwork.net and is open for submissions until Sunday 10 June 2018.

Are you a good listener?

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Media, Out and about, Residents, Volunteering opportunities, Your area, Your community, Your home

Victim Support are looking for reliable volunteers with great listening skills to join their local team, providing emotional and practical support to people affected by crime.

Victim Support volunteer poster June training

Help people in your local community and learn new skills. Full training provided.

The next 4 day training course is on 22, 23, 29 & 30 June 2018.

If you have 4 or more hours a week to spare, they would love to hear from you.

Contact Victim Support

Victim Support are an independent charity, who work for a world where people affected by crime and traumatic incident get the help they need and the respect they deserve.

Your rubbish, your responsibility

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Crime and safety, Media, Our countryside, Prosecutions, Recycling and waste, Regulations, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

If you give your rubbish to a rogue trader who dumps your rubbish illegally, you could end up with a criminal record and face an unlimited fine. Fly-tipping drains more than £1 million of taxpayers’ money each year in Essex.

Your rubbish is your responsibility and it’s a #CrimeNotToCare.

Check to protect yourself

Don’t fall foul of the law, here’s some tips to help you dispose of your waste correctly

  1. Ask to see a waste carrier registration number
    If you use a trader to remove your waste ask to see their waste carrier registration number issued by the Environment Agency. It is illegal for them to take your waste if they don’t have a licence. Check their credentials here.
  2. Get a receipt
    Make sure you get a receipt or transfer notice before your waste is taken away. Businesses that produce commercial waste must keep records for 2 years.
  3. Ask where your waste is going
    Don’t be afraid to ask where your waste is going and request paperwork that shows where it will be disposed. A legitimate waste carrier will not object to this questioning.
  4. Be careful with your waste
    Protect yourself by being careful with your waste and always keep a record of who you give your waste to. Never leave rubbish, such as old washing machines or scrap metal on your drive or in the street as it could end up in the wrong hands. You can donate working items to reuse organisations or charity shops.

How to report fly-tipping

Fly-tipping is the illegal dumping of waste.

Basildon woman guilty of housing fraud

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Housing, Media, Out and about, Performance, Private housing, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Uncategorized, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Fadimana Altinsoy of Basildon Essex was successfully prosecuted by Epping Forest District Council in March 2018 of three offences under the Fraud act 2006 and Money Laundering under the Proceeds of Crime act 2002.

Landscape

Change of plea

Initially pleading not guilty at Chelmsford Magistrates Court in February 2017, the Magistrates declined jurisdiction and transferred the matter to Chelmsford Crown Court.

Ms Altinsoy maintained her not guilty pleas at a number of hearings in that court but on the first day of a trial listed for six days in January 2018 she changed her pleas to guilty.

Fraudulent applications

The basis of the prosecution was when applying for Council housing in 2003 Fadimana Altinsoy had failed to declare her ownership of two properties jointly owned by herself and other relatives in Forest Gate London E7 and Grays in Essex RM17.

She was granted tenancy of a property in Copperfield Chigwell 22 January 2007, the following day she completed a further Housing Application form seeking a move from a flat to a house and again failed to state that she jointly owned the properties.

Had the Council been aware of her ownerships, she would not have been given the tenancy of the property at Copperfield Chigwell.

Home ownership grant

June 2010 Ms Altinsoy applied for a home ownership grant to assist her in purchasing a private property and again failed to reveal that she had an interest in two other properties.

Epping Forest District Council awarded Ms Altinsoy one of six available grants of £28,000 which she used to purchase a property in Basildon, SS13 in June 2011.

However having not been entitled to the tenancy of the property in Chigwell, she was  therefore not entitled to have received the home ownership grant.

Over £40,000 worth of fines

After the hearing in January Ms Altinsoy agreed to pay the sum of home ownership grant £28,000 back to the Council together with the prosecution costs of £12,500 before 5 March 2018 and a sentence hearing was fixed for 9th March 2018.

On that date she was given a 2 year suspended sentence, together with 200 hours unpaid work with a probation supervision order for 12 months.

Do you think someone is committing fraud?

Don’t let them get away with it. You can report it anonymously. You don’t have to give your name or contact details unless you want to.

Landlord fined £21,575 for illegal HMO

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Councillors, Crime and safety, Environmental health, Epping, Licensing, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Private housing, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Epping Forest District Council successfully prosecuted and fined Mr Veli Bunul £21,575, when found operating an unlicensed house in multiple occupation (HMO) and breaching legislation designed to protect tenants.

HMO Licence

The Council was called to inspect a three storey family town house in Tillingham Court Waltham Abbey, found to be occupied by three separate families, each with young children, all sharing one kitchen and two bathrooms.

Potential tragedy

Housing 11 occupants, the property was overcrowded, had inadequate fire precautions or a safe means of escape in event of an emergency.

Basildon Magistrates court was particularly concerned about these failings which could have potentially led to lives being at risk and tragic circumstances.

The Court heard that Mr Bunul of Chase Side, London E14 had ignored all of Epping Forest District Council’s warnings about his responsibilities to licence the property and his obligation to make it safe.

He alleged he was unaware that the property was being occupied by several families, claiming someone else collected the rent on his behalf. The court did not find this a reasonable excuse and so carried his conviction alongside a hefty fine.

Zero tolerance

Housing Portfolio Holder, Councillor Syd Stavrou said, “We will not tolerate landlords who rent properties which fail to meet standards.  The Council has a commitment to ensure that private landlords in the Epping Forest district do not take financial advantage of vulnerable tenants and put their lives at risk.  We will not hesitate to prosecute landlords who show a disregard for the law and their responsibilities towards occupants”.

New licensing rules

The Government are bringing in an extension to the  current licensing regime. From 1 April 2018, any property with five or more people from two or more households will require a licence regardless of how many floors there are in the property.

Landlords must comply with licence conditions to ensure properties are safe for the amount of people occupying them. In addition, minimum space requirements are to be imposed to prevent exploitation by overcrowding.

Advice to Landlords

Landlords that currently operate a licensable HMO in Epping Forest District (3 or more storeys, occupied by 5 or more people living as 2 or more households) but do not currently hold a licence should contact the Council’s Private Sector Housing Team immediately to avoid prosecution.

Anyone operating such an HMO without the appropriate licence is committing an offence, risks a criminal record and an unlimited fine on summary conviction.

Other landlords operating or thinking of operating an HMO that will fall under the new licensing regime from 1 April 2018 are encouraged to contact the Private Sector Housing Team for further information and advice.

Advice to tenants

If you think you may be living in a property that requires a licence and one is not displayed in the property, or you are concerned about the property conditions, please contact the Private Sector Housing team on the details below.

Contact

Update on council services

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Councillors, Crime and safety, Epping, Housing, Local business, Loughton, Media, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Recycling and waste, Residents, Supporting business, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Updated plans for refuse and recycling collections

As the severe weather continues into Friday 2 March 2018, we are adapting operations to maintain waste collection services, making allowances for reduced resources and challenging conditions for our waste collection crews.

We are continuing to focus on fortnightly black wheelie bin, recycling sacks and blue box collections. Access to residential roads can vary in these conditions with properties located in rural areas or down narrow lanes are likely to experience more disruption than others.

Black wheelie bins, recycling sacks and blue boxes

  • Please leave your waste out on the boundary of your property until 5pm on Friday 2 March
  • If your waste is not collected by 5pm, please bring it in over the weekend
  • On Monday 5 March extra crews have been laid on to try and catch up any missed areas, so please make sure your bins are out again by 7am
  • If your bins have not been collected by 5pm on Monday, please take them back in and out in time for your next scheduled collection

Please accept our apologies for this disruption. We will endeavour to collect any waste that has been missed.

Food and garden waste

We will continue to focus our resources on the fortnightly collections throughout Friday 2 March as above. Therefore

  • We are not collecting any green lidded bins for food and garden waste
  • If you were expecting a collection this week, please take it back and put it out again on your next normal collection day.

Our customer service team is continuing to operate with fewer staff  due to the adverse weather so you may experience longer hold times on the phone than usual, so please only call if it is urgent.

Minimising disruption to residents

Environment Portfolio Holder, Councillor Will Breare-Hall said: “I want to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to Biffa’s tremendously dedicated and hardworking staff. Despite the terrible weather we’ve experienced over the past few days they’ve been out on our streets, battling the elements, doing their best to ensure our waste and recycling is still collected.”

“I want them to know that their commitment to delivering the service and minimising disruption to our residents is greatly appreciated. I’d also like to thank our residents for the understanding and patience they have shown as we contend with these very difficult conditions.”

Contacting the Council

Not urgent?

If your enquiry is not urgent, please contact us by email or use our online reporting tool to contact us to help us reduce waiting times. Someone will be in touch with you as soon as they can.

If your enquiry is urgent and you need to speak to someone, please call us on the telephone numbers below.

If it’s urgent

  • General and refuse – 01992 564000
  • Benefits – 01992 562059
  • Council Tax – 01992 564188
  • Council housing – 01992 564716
  • Housing repairs – 01992 564199

Please keep checking the website and our social media channels for updates and further information.

Check for updates

Essex Police advice for road safety

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Crime and safety, Epping, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your environment, Your home

Essex Police are advising motorists to stay safe on the county’s roads this week during the poor weather conditions. The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for Essex with further snowfall and freezing temperatures predicted up until Friday 2 March 2018.

Snow - February 2018

Advice for driving conditions

The Safer Essex Road Partnership (SERP) has issued the following advice to keep you safe during the difficult conditions

  • Plan your journey in advance and make sure the roads you are using are on the salting route (visit www.essex.gov.uk/gritters)
  • Check up-to-date information and listen to local and national radio for travel and weather information
  • Be aware of pedestrians and cyclists, keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front and drive at appropriate speeds
  • Overtaking vehicles in wintry conditions can be extremely dangerous. Be patient and allow extra time for your journey
  • If you are in charge of staff at work, have a contingency plan before the bad weather arrives
  • Drivers should check their tyre pressures and tread, that their vehicle lights are clean and working, that wiper blades are effective and that your battery is in good condition and fully charged. Clear windows and mirrors of ice or condensation before leaving
  • Keep items in your car including warm clothes, ice scraper, de-icer, torcher, phone charger, first aid kit, food and drink, high visibility jacket, shovel and blanket

Contacting the police

During poor conditions, Essex Police control officers deal with an increased number of calls.

Pair found guilty of damaging protected oak trees

Written on . Posted in Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Crime and safety, Democracy, Environmental health, Media, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Private housing, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Uncategorized, Your area, Your council, Your environment, Your money

Mr Mark William Wright of Abridge and Mr Danny James Swift of Romford Essex were each found guilty of causing, or permitting works to 2 oak trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO).

Damaged Oak trees Abridge

Unauthorized works

In June 2017 tree and landscape officers were notified of work that had been carried out to the branches of 2 oak trees on land adjacent to Tudor Oak 9a London Road Abridge Essex.

Officers were aware in March 2017 permission had been granted for limited work to be carried out to the trees, but upon inspection in June they found branches on both oaks had been far more excessively cut than authorized.

This ultimately caused serious damage to both trees and increases the risk of decay. No consent would have been given for the extent of the work carried out.

Further investigation  

Further investigation revealed that permitted work had been carried out to the trees in May 2017 by council contractors, who had spoken to Mr Wright at that time and informed him that the trees were the subject of a Tree Preservation Order.

When interviewed under caution both confirmed Mr Wright had employed Mr Swift to carry out the unauthorized work and that neither had checked with the council as to whether the trees were protected.

Damaged Oak trees Abridge

Over £3000 worth of fines

8 February 2018 at Chelmsford Magistrates both Mr Mark William Wright of Tudor Oak 9a London Road Abridge Essex and Mr Danny James Swift of Highfield Road Collier Row Romford Essex were each found guilty of causing or permitting works to 2 oak trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order without the authorisation of Epping Forest District Council.

Having attended court although leaving before the hearing, the Magistrates accepted that Mr Wright had intended to plead guilty and he was fined £440 for each tree and ordered that he pay a contribution towards the Council’s prosecution costs of £600.

Mr Swift was fined £660 for each tree and ordered to pay a contribution towards the Council’s prosecution costs of £600.

More information

For any inquiries regarding tree protection orders (TPOs) and conservation areas please contact

Businesses beware bogus Council Officers

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Crime and safety, Environmental health, Epping, Food safety, Licensing, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Out and about, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Businesses beware, bogus Environmental Health Officers and Licensing Officers have visited businesses across Essex, issuing fake on the spot fines for non-compliance and asking for annual fee payments in cash.

Council tax scam warning

The Council has received 3 reports of individuals falsely presenting themselves as Epping Forest District Council Environmental Health Officer’s to food establishments within the Waltham Abbey area.

The imposters demanded the business owners pay fines for not complying with regulations.

Licensing scam

Licenced businesses within Essex have also received visits from individuals pretending to be Council Licensing Officers, requesting licence fees be paid in cash.

These people are very convincing as they know how much your licence is and they also use the names of real licensing officers.

Real Council Officers

Real Environmental Health Officers and any of the Council’s Licensing or Enforcement Officers will be happy to let you see their badges to check their identity.

On the back of their badges, you will find a list of their authorisations and a telephone number, which you can call to verify they are who they say they are. Remember you are well within your rights to request to check their authorisations and be especially careful if they do not allow you to do this.

Environmental Health Officers and Licensing Officers will not ask you to pay an on the spot fine or take cash from you.

If a scammer calls

If you are in any doubt as to whether someone demanding money from you is legitimate, you should contact the Council as soon as possible to check his or her identity. Do not pay them.

Report it

If you suspect you have been visited by a bogus caller please contact the Council and the Police as soon as possible.

CSE campaign to raise awareness in Essex

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Community, Crime and safety, Epping, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Out and about, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Monday 29 January 2018 marks the start of 2 weeks of action in Epping, Braintree and Basildon to raise awareness of the vulnerability of young people to exploitation and abuse within stations and transport networks in Essex.

Joint initiative

The joint initiative is being run by Essex Safeguarding Children Board, British Transport Police, Essex Police, Transport For London (TFL), Rail Operators and Braintree, Basildon and Epping District Councils and the Children’s Society.

Why transport networks?

Multi-agency data reports that public transport networks across Essex are often used by young people who may be vulnerable to child sexual exploitation (CSE) and other types of abuse.

Young people often gravitate towards train stations because they are busy, anonymous places that also provide some form of shelter and access to food and drink. A young person may use a station or public transport as a way to try to ‘disappear’ during a missing episode. In addition, bus and rail networks can also be used by perpetrators to traffic young people for the purpose of sexual and criminal exploitation.

Identify and recognise concerns

All staff working within and around a station, from ticket collectors to engineers, and coffee shop workers to cleaners, play an important role in safeguarding vulnerable young people. This campaign includes an important element of work in which transport network staff will be educated to ensure they are able to identify and recognise potential concerns and know how and where to report such concerns.

Targeting stations

Outreach workers will be targeting stations over this 2 week campaign period, through visible attendance and via phone consultancy to station staff to provide support and signposting. At  stations there will be stalls to raise awareness to the public around child exploitation, trafficking and missing episodes. Outreach workers will also be engaging with all station staff from food, drink and retail businesses to network rail staff, ticketing staff and cleaners to ensure they have access to resources around spotting vulnerable young people and what to do if they have concerns.

Please share the message

Epping Forest District Council’s Safer, Greener & Transport Portfolio Holder, Councillor Sam Kane said: ”Throughout the 2 week campaign there will be key messages posted on social media using the hashtag #KnowAboutCSE and videos on what to look out for and how to report concerns. Child exploitation is an unspeakable crime. Please help us share these messages to make sure that this campaign is successful.”

Anyone can support the campaign by following and sharing on social media.

Information passed to Essex Police and British Transport Police will be looked into and further action taken where necessary. The two forces will also be working together to identify and locate any vulnerable children who are reported missing and might be using the transport networks.

Contact

  • The Police: If you have any intelligence or wish to report concerns please call 101. If you think a child or young person is in immediate danger always call 999
  • British Transport Police can be contacted by phone on 0800 40 50 40 or members of the public can report a crime or an incident that occurred on your train via text 61016
  • Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org

Further information