Residents suffered sleepless nights when noisy builders started work on a betting shop in the early hours of the morning.
Builders from Midland Contracts carried out a revamp of Ladbrokes betting shop in South Street, St Neots, from midnight last week, neighbours have claimed.
Buckets being dropped on the ground, truck deliveries and loud talking prompted residents to write in to the News to complain about the work.
One South Street resident, who did not want to be named, said: “It is 1.20am here in St Neots and I’m writing to you to express my disgust at the decision to refurbish the Ladbrokes betting shop after the hour of midnight.
“In fact, as far as I can tell, the builders don’t start until after midnight.
“I’m flabbergasted at this insane decision to conduct building work in the middle of the night when there are flats all around it with people inside them trying to sleep.”
The revamp included the installation of fruit machines on an uncarpeted floor.
The resident added: “Midland Contracts were banging around out there until about 2am on Tuesday morning and they kept me awake. Are we going to have to endure the same thing tonight? Tomorrow? All week?
“I’ve seen them do work like this in Las Vegas casinos but I hardly think the two compare.”
A spokesman for Ladbrokes said that the company had asked the contractors to pay “extra consideration” as the work was finished off.
He said: “This was a mostly internal series of minor works which has taken place over three days.
“It is of course entirely legal, but we do aim to minimise disruption and disturbance to local residents and we apologise if any inconvenience has been caused.
“We have spoken with the contractors who will pay extra consideration on the final day.”
A headteacher was under fire today for sending a class of 10-year-old primary school children on an outing – to see ducks being shot.
Distressed pupils from Ashbeach Primary School in Ramsey St Mary’s, Cambridgeshire, burst into tears when they saw the birds downed and then scooped up by gun dogs.
Many of the youngsters thought they were going to enjoy a day of bird watching after a letter was sent home with no mention of shooting, or guns.
The permission letter sent home to parents only referred to ”wildfowlers” – a term among the shooting community referring to hunting ducks and geese.
Parents have blasted the school for taking them into an environment of guns and bullets.
Headteacher Shirley Stapleton admitted the outing is an ”annual trip” which helps pupils make “informed decisions” about country pursuits.
Ray Poolman, 49, of Ramsey, said his daughter came home in floods of tears after spending the day watching the Ely and District Wildfowlers Association shoot.
He said that he thought she was going to a bird watching place but it turned out it was a shoot, and he was concerned something could have gone wrong.
But when he confronted the headteacher he was told the hunt had been “rural and normal”.
Mr Poolman has contacted Ramsey councillor Peter Reeve, the education authority and the school’s board of governors.
In a statement, headteacher Mrs Stapleton said: ”This is an annual trip which has taken place for several years.
”It is not compulsory – it is entirely up to individuals and parents must return a signed permission slip before their child can go.
”Following a class discussion about the visit, a letter was sent home to explain that children would find out more about wildfowling, the conservation of the landscape and the dogs and equipment used.
”The letter sent home before the trip made it clear that wildfowling was involved.
”The school does not promote the shooting of wildlife but tries to encourage children to be able to make informed decisions about the traditions, sports and activities which take place in their local environment.
”All the children indicated at the end of the visit that they had thoroughly enjoyed it.
”However, if any parents feel they were unclear about what the children would be experiencing, I would be very happy to talk to them.”
Cambridgeshire County Council said the trip was entirely a ”matter for the school” and they would not be getting involved.
LETTER SENT HOME TO PARENTS
A school letter sent home to parents informing them about the trip read: ”Following our successful visit to Welney Marshes last year, the Ely and District Wildfowlers Association has invited us to go and see an evening flight with them at Welney…
”The children will be finding out about the different species of wildfowl that live on the wetlands at Welney, the conservation of the landscape carried out by the wildfowlers and the dogs and equipment used as part of the sport.
”Children will be safely contained in a purpose-built hide during the talk and wildfowling demonstration.”
A man has been given a suspended prison sentence after driving at a Special constable as he tried to escape police.
James Barker, 25, of The Broad Walk, Eynesbury, was attempting to drive away from officers on the evening of March 10 this year in Sambar Close, St Neots.
The Special was shunted out of the way but was not injured and Barker made his escape.
Barker pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and assault occasioning actual bodily harm at Peterborough Crown Court on Wednesday, November 23.
The court heard the assault happened at about 8pm on the same evening, about 20 minutes before Barker drove at the Special.
The victim, a 31-year-old man from Huntingdon, had been following a vehicle containing Barker and another man as it went slowly over speed bumps in Monarch Road, Eaton Socon.
The vehicle stopped and Barker and the other man got out to confront the victim who had flashed his lights and sounded his horn.
The victim swerved around the pair and drove into Sambar Close but was followed by Barker who punched him as he got out of his car. Barker went to a friend’s house but decided to go back to the scene a short while later.
As he pulled into the cul-de-sac he saw an ambulance had arrived for the victim and he went to leave again but was stopped by the Special.
Barker was given a four month prison sentence suspended for two years, ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work, disqualified from driving for 12 months and will have to take an extended re-test, and told to pay £250 court costs.
Civilian Investigator Brian Beattie said: “Barker admitted and regretted what he’d done but his driving was dangerous and the Special constable was lucky not to receive more serious injuries.”
KAPOW! Huntingdon now has its own comic shop.
Niche Comics, in High Street, is the brainchild of Adam and Guy Makey who have been comic fans since they were children and decided to go into business.
The brothers, from Godmanchester, have just opened the doors to the public and are continuing to build up their stock of comics, graphic novels and games as the restoration of the building – which is believed to date back 500 years – nears completion.
Adam, 23, who has a degree in philosophy, said: “I didn’t think it would be possible to do something like this until later in life after I had had a proper job.
“But, serendipitously, a lot of coincidences came together and I want to make the best of the opportunity.”
Adam, a former student at Hinchingbrooke School, said: “For most of my life I have been reading comics, starting with my father’s old Beano and Dandy annuals which were in the loft.
“I think it takes the best of literature and the best of television and puts it together.”
Guy, 20, who studied catering after leaving Hinchingbrooke School, said: “I am running a business for the first time and for the most part it is really enjoyable to be doing something different, especially meeting people.
“My main interest is the graphic novels and I just like the whole idea of the marriage of words and images. If you go back a long time to the Egyptian hieroglyphics and the cave paintings of early man you can see daily life being depicted through images, in fact they are still all around us today with things like advertising and road signs.”
Guy said he became a graphic novels fan through the work of Northampton writer Alan Moore’s Watchmen books.
The shop sells a range of comics, graphic novels and games, including Warhammer and Magic the Gathering cards.
The brothers want the shop to be a community asset and plan to hold games sessions, readings and book signings as space in the building becomes available.
They are also keen hear what their customers want and are planning an online presence.
The partially timbered shop has been restored using traditional methods including green oak, wattle and daub and lime plasters.
A memorial garden to commemorate police officers and staff who died in the line of duty was officially opened yesterday.
More than 150 people gathered at Cambridgeshire Police Headquarters in Huntingdon for a “poignant” opening ceremony.
The garden, which is designed in the shape of the Cambridgeshire Constabulary crest, includes plaques containing the names of 190 staff who have died since 1800.
Its centrepiece is formed by a restored police box, which was used in St Andrew’s Street, Cambridge, until the early 1980s.
Lord-Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, Hugh Duberly, opened the memorial by laying a wreath in front of the box before secretary of Cambridgeshire Police Federation, Tony Laud, put down a police helmet.
Families and friends of deceased police staff were then given a tour of the memorial.
Project leader Insp Fran Jones said: “The rain held off and everyone was really pleased with how the event went.
“It was an extremely moving and poignant morning, with more than 20 families representing police officers who have died in service attending.
“What you soon realise is that the police community is very close and this made it even more moving.
“The occasion just goes to show that even in troubled times, police officers are committed to providing a 24 hours a day service.”
Attendees included Michael Salmon and Dawn Canhan, whose father, special constable John Salmon, 46, died of a heart attack just after finishing work in Ely in 1961.
Mr Salmon, of Impington, said: “I found the morning incredibly touching and at one point I had to hold back the tears.
“My father would have been very pleased to know his death was being honoured with others alongside him who worked for the police.
“He joined the force from the Army in order to serve the community and would have been happy to see this day.”
The project cost just over £25,000, with the Police Federation contributing £15,000. The police authority and Cambridgeshire Constabulary gave £2,000 each while the remainder came from individual donations.
A budget dilemma has prompted Cambridgeshire Police Authority to call for residents’ views on a decision over £1.5 million of funding.
The authority must choose either to put up council tax next year to help pay for frontline police, or accept a one-off £1.5 million cash injection from the Government – the equivalent of funding for 37 officers – and risk making cuts when the money runs out.
Ministers are encouraging all local authorities not to increase their council tax for the year from next April.
To offset this financial pressure, authorities are being offered a one-off additional grant to fund services, which would be £1.5 million for Cambridgeshire Police Authority.
Ruth Rogers, chairman of the body, said: “On the face of it, this looks like an easy decision. After all, who would turn down the offer of additional money?
“However, this grant is for one year only whereas a council tax increase provides ongoing funding in future years.
“Unless this lost, ongoing funding can be recovered by a council tax increase in 2013/14 – over and above the increase required to pay our increasing costs – then the police service in Cambridgeshire would need to find a further £1.5 million per year in savings.
“This is the equivalent of 37 police officers. This leaves the authority with a dilemma – raise the council tax from April 2012 or take the grant and leave the new police and crime commissioner with the decision either to raise council tax significantly from April 2013 or accept a further £1.5 million per year in cuts.
“And for council tax payers the news might not be as good as it first appears because it could result in a bigger increase in council tax in 2013.”
If the authority raises the policing element of council tax by 3 per cent it will mean 10 pence per week extra for a Band D household. For the whole year that would be just over £5.
The authority will make the decision at its meeting on February 9 next year and will be discussing it at the finance and resources committee on December 9, but is keen to hear the public’s views.
Email email@example.com or write to Cambridgeshire Police Authority, Cambridgeshire Constabulary Police Headquarters, Hinchingbrooke Park, Huntingdon, PE29 6NP.
A man collapsed and died in the street despite efforts by paramedics to save him.
It happened at the junction of Greenfields Way and Clements Lane, Haverhill, just after noon on Monday (November 28).
A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said they were called at 12.01pm with reports that a man in his 60s had suffered cardiac arrest. Paramedics went to the scene and attempted to give the man CPR, but he was declared dead at the scene.
A spokesman for Suffolk Police confirmed that the death had occurred, but said there were no suspicious circumstances.
A police inspector has criticised the lenient sentence handed out to a youth involved in an incident in which one of his officers was seriously injured.
PC Michael Potter was hurt while trying to break up a fight outside the Bell pub in High Street, Haverhill, last month. He is not expected to be fit for work again until at least February after badly dislocating his shoulder.
Chay Allen, 19, of Eden Road, Haverhill, was originally charged with assaulting PC Potter and PC Richard Oldroyd, whose hand was injured in the same incident. However, when he appeared at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court last Friday, both assault charges were withdrawn by the prosecution.
Allen pleaded guilty to alternative charges of obstructing a constable in the execution of his duty and resisting arrest, as well as a public order offence.
Magistrates imposed a 12-month community order for all the offences, with a condition that he completes 100 hours of unpaid work for the community.
He was ordered to pay £50 costs, but no compensation order was made.
Haverhill’s sector commander Inspector Peter Ferrie said he was surprised to learn that the assault charges had been dropped and was unhappy with the outcome.
He said: “I am extremely disappointed with the sentence. In my opinion it in no way tallies with the seriousness of the injury suffered by PC Potter.
“I believe that the sentence sends out the wrong message to people. They should be in no doubt that we will deal firmly with anyone we find committing offences in the High Street.
“ We will continue to deal robustly with any offences connected to the night-time economy and drinking in the town centre. We will be putting extra officers in to the town centre area every weekend over the Christmas and New Year period. We will deal very firmly with anyone offending in the town centre.
* Daniel Dale, 21, of Glemsford Place, Haverhill, is due to appear at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court on December 13 facing two charges of assaults on police officers and one public order offence in Haverhill on Saturday, November 12.
An armed robber struck at a newsagent this morning, police have revealed.
The man entered the shop on Primrose Hill, Haverhill, just before 6am. (Thursday, Dec 1).
The man, who had a knife, demanded money from staff and a small amount of cash was handed over. He then left the shop and ran in the direction of Cleves Road.
The attacker is described around 5ft 8ins, with a black scarf around his face, a black Adidas hooded top with three red stripes on the sleeves from the shoulders to the cuffs.
He was also wearing a grey hooded top underneath this with a black and white pattern on it, black tracksuit bottoms and red socks tucked into black trainers.
Officers including a dog unit have been searching the area but are also appealing to anyone who was in the area at the time to get in contact.
If you have any information in relation to this incident please call Bury St Edmunds CID on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Councillors Anne Gower and Karen Richardson will be holding a surgery at Haverhill Library on Saturday, between 10am and noon.
They invite residents to join them for a chat about local issues.