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Monday, 31 October 2011

10,000 border arrests due to screening system

 

10,000 criminals including rapists and murderers have been held at the UK border thanks to a screening system begun in 2005, a minister has said. Air and sea carriers using UK ports and airports submit passenger and crew details electronically to the e-Borders screening system, prior to travel. It results in about 52 weekly arrests, Immigration Minister Damian Green says. He praised the UK Border Agency and police for the scheme, which covers up to 55% of journeys to and from the UK. "By checking passenger and crew information before travel, law enforcement agencies can apprehend those trying to evade justice," Mr Green said. "From 2013 the new dedicated Border Policing Command, part of the National Crime Agency, will further strengthen security at the border, providing leadership and coordination based on a single national threat assessment and strategy." E-Borders has not avoided controversy. The government faces the threat of a lawsuit from Raytheon, the firm which managed the £750m system until Mr Green terminated its contract in July 2010 over delays to its full implementation. Raytheon says the problems were down to UK Border Agency mismanagement of the scheme. But John Donlon, of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said e-borders would continue to play a key role. Extending scheme "Police have been able to identify those wanted for offences before they leave or when they return to the UK, bringing offenders to justice and supporting counter-terrorist and serious crime investigations," he said. More than 125 million passengers' details were screened in the year to September, resulting in 2,700 arrests. Among those detained were 11 murderers, 22 rapists, 316 violent criminals and 126 drug offenders, government figures show. The government is extending the number of routes and carriers covered by the e-Borders system and will re-introduce exit checks by 2015. "Inevitably as more routes are covered the number of arrests will grow," Mr Donlon added. The border agency said recent successes included the arrest at Manchester Airport of a 44-year-old man who was later charged with sexually grooming a boy after an alert from Swiss authorities, and the detention of a man wanted for a rape 14 years ago. Other cases involved the jailing of a Spanish drugs courier trying to smuggle 1kg of cocaine from Brazil, the arrest of one man from Dubai who was wanted for a £5.7m theft and another who was suspected of a £50m fraud. Meanwhile, the agency said on Sunday it had blacklisted nearly 3,000 banks it believed could not be trusted to verify documents supporting student visa applications.

charity worker employed by one of David Cameron’s Big Society gurus has been arrested on suspicion of smuggling cocaine with a street value of £120,000

charity worker employed by one of David Cameron’s Big Society gurus has been arrested on suspicion of smuggling cocaine with a street value of £120,000 into Britain.

Former US gang member Derrick ‘Anthony’ Mitchell was held at Heathrow this month after UK Border Agency officers allegedly discovered 3kg of drugs in his luggage. 

Mitchell, 37, is a duty manager at the South London-based Kids Company founded by charity boss Camila Batmanghelidjh. She set it up in 1996 to care for abused, neglected or  abandoned children in London’s inner-city communities. 

She has been described as ‘Britain’s most colourful charity leader’ because of her style, dress sense and selfless approach to charity work. 

The award-winning author and campaigner was invited  to 10 Downing Street last year. 

She also advises former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith and is thought to be one of the inspirations behind Mr Cameron’s pledge to ‘hug a hoodie’. 
Ms Batmanghelidjh spoke of her shock at the allegations surrounding Mr Mitchell, whom  she described as a ‘street-level youth mentor’.

She said: ‘Obviously, because the judicial process needs to take place, we cannot legally comment. The only thing I can say is that the alleged incident took place while he was on holiday in his own time.

‘At this stage I do not know enough to know the full details. But as a worker, he gave exceptional commitment to the kids over a number of years and I can never take that away from him. 

Pledge: David Cameron's Big Society aims to 'take power away from politicians and give it to people'

Pledge: David Cameron's Big Society aims to 'take power away from politicians and give it to people'

As an organisation, we employ a range of people and a lot of them have had challenging backgrounds as children and we have given them chances. The majority of them go on to do incredibly well.

‘In the situation of this individual, if what is alleged has occurred, he has made an abhorrent choice and I do not agree with it.’ 

Camila Batmanghelidjh said she was shocked at the allegations surrounding Mr Mitchell, claiming he gave 'exceptional commitment to the kids'

Camila Batmanghelidjh said she was shocked at the allegations surrounding Mr Mitchell, claiming he gave 'exceptional commitment to the kids'

Mitchell, of Camberwell, south London, was arrested at Heathrow on October 6 and remanded in custody by Uxbridge magistrates the next day. He will reappear in court in the next month. 

The university undergraduate has previously spoken of deciding to rebuild his life after leaving a violent street gang in Miami.

He claimed he had earlier sold drugs and lost a family member to violence at the age of 19 when his sister bled to death after being stabbed in a leg.

After coming to Britain in his 20s, he began working with the charity about five years ago, attempting to convince youths in gangs to turn their back on crime. 

Kids Company operates from three centres in Southwark, Lambeth and Camden in London, as well as working in 37 inner-city schools.

It employs more than 600 people in full and part-time roles to reach out to 14,000 children from the capital’s most deprived and crime-ridden areas. 

Many of the youngsters live with  parents who are unable to care  for them and have had severely troubled lives.



Sunday, 30 October 2011

Boy, 17, shot in back in Poplar, east London

 

teenager has been shot in the back in east London. The 17-year-old boy was wounded in East India Dock Road, Poplar, in the early hours of the morning. A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "A 17-year-old male had a gunshot wound to the back and is in hospital in a serious condition." The attack happened just before 01:00 GMT, police said. Any witnesses to the shooting should call the Metropolitan Police.

Armed guards are to be deployed on British civilian ships for the first time to protect them from pirates,

Armed guards are to be deployed on British civilian ships for the first time to protect them from pirates, David Cameron announced today.

A legal ban on weapon-toting protection staff will be relaxed so that firms can apply for a licence to have them on board in danger zones.

The Prime Minister said radical action was required because the increasing ability of sea-borne Somali criminals to hijack and ransom ships had become 'a complete stain on our world'.

He unveiled the measure after talks at a Commonwealth summit in Australia with leaders of countries in the Horn of Africa over the escalating problem faced in waters off their shores.

Under the plans, the Home Secretary will be given the power to license vessels to carry armed security, including automatic weapons, currently prohibited under firearms laws.

Officials said around 200 ships were expected to be in line to take up the offer, which would only apply for voyages through particular waters in the affected region.

It is expected to be used by commercial firms, rather than private sailors such as hostage victims Paul and Rachel Chandler.

Pirates: There are around 50 ships currently being held hostage

Pirates: There are around 50 ships currently being held hostage

 

Asked if he was comfortable with giving private security operatives the right to 'shoot to kill' if necessary, Mr Cameron told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show: 'We have to make choices.

'Frankly the extent of the hijack and ransom of ships round the Horn of Africa is a complete stain on our world.

'The fact that a bunch of pirates in Somalia are managing to hold to ransom the rest of the world and our trading system is a complete insult and the rest of the world needs to come together with much more vigour.

 

Drug That Killed Michael Jackson "Was Self-Injected"

 

The jury hear evidence that MJ had also taken a large number of sleeping pills… 08:42, Sunday, 30 October 2011 The last defence witness in the trial of Dr Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson’s personal physician, has told the courtroom that he believed the star was responsible for his own death.   Dr Paul White told jurors that the most likely cause of death was self-injection of a fatal dose of the anesthetic Propofol, after Murray had already administered a small amount. "With the administration of the additional 25 milligrams that we're speculating was self-injected by Mr Jackson, the level increases rapidly and at the time of death would be almost identical to the level found in the urine at autopsy," Dr White said. He revealed that the superstar also appeared to have taken a large dose of sedatives – eight Lorazepam tablets – earlier in the night without Murray’s knowledge. White said that mixing the two drugs would be deadly. "The combination effect is potentially profound." Earlier this week a specialist testified that Michael may have also been addicted to the painkiller Demerol, and was also a regular user of Botox. Murray is charged with involuntary manslaughter into the star’s untimely death in June 2009. The prosecution has already presented four weeks of evidence so it won’t be long before the jurors retire to decide the verdict. Michael’s sister Janet Jackson recently postponed tour dates in Australia in order to be in LA when the verdict is announced. She explained her decision in a statement: "When I planned these shows, the schedule in California was completely different. After talking with my family last night, I decided we must be together right now.”

The Italian ship Montecristo, which was hijacked by Somali pirates before being stormed by British commandos

The Italian ship Montecristo, which was hijacked by Somali pirates before being stormed by British commandos
 Photo: REUTERS

A legal ban on weapon-toting protection staff will be relaxed so that firms can apply for a licence to have them on board in danger zones.

The Prime Minister said radical action was required because the increasing ability of sea-borne Somali criminals to hijack and ransom ships had become "a complete stain on our world".

He unveiled the measure after talks at a Commonwealth summit in Australia with leaders of countries in the Horn of Africa over the escalating problem faced in waters off their shores.

Under the plans, the Home Secretary will be given the power to license vessels to carry armed security, including automatic weapons, currently prohibited under firearms laws.

Officials said around 200 were expected to be in line to take up the offer, which would only apply for voyages through particular waters in the affected region. It is expected to be used by commercial firms rather than private sailors - such as hostage victims Paul and Rachel Chandler.

The Occupy London Stock Exchange protest encampment outside St Paul's Cathedral.

Occupy London protest at St Paul's
Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Christian groups have drawn up plans to protect protesters by forming a ring of prayer around the camp outside St Paul's Cathedral, should an attempt be made to forcibly remove them.

As the storm of controversy over the handling of the Occupy LondonStock Exchange demonstration deepened on Saturday, Christian activists said it was their duty to stand up for peaceful protest in the absence of support from St Paul's. One Christian protester, Tanya Paton, said: "We represent peace, unity and love. A ring of prayer is a wonderful symbol."

With senior officials at St Paul's apparently intent on seeking an injunction to break up the protest, the director of the influential religious thinktank Ekklesia, Jonathan Bartley, said the cathedral's handling of the protest had been a "car crash" and predicted more high-profile resignations from the Church of England.

The canon chancellor of St Paul's, Dr Giles Fraser, and the Rev Fraser Dyer, who works as a chaplain at the cathedral, have already stepped down over the decision to pursue legal action to break up the camp.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Shami Chakrabarti, director of the human rights group Liberty, is attempting to mediate in the dispute. She said she had contacted the corporation, cathedral and protesters to offer a "neutral space" to sort out the impasse. The corporation had not yet responded, she said, although St Paul's had acknowledged her offer. She said the protesters had been enthusiastic in their desire for dialogue and a peaceful resolution.

"It would have been easy to opt for a line of action that would have led to images of police dragging away protesters, but they want to talk."

 

It was claimed last night that a highly critical report into the moral standards of bankers has been suppressed by St Paul's amid fears it would inflame tensions over the protest. The report, based on a survey of 500 City workers who were asked if they thought they were worth their salaries and bonuses, was due to be published last Thursday.

But publication of the report, by the St Paul's Institute, has been delayed in apparent acknowledgement that it would give the impression the cathedral was on the side of protesters.

Christian groups that have publicly sided with the protesters include one of the oldest Christian charities, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and the oldest national student organisation, the Student Christian Movement,Christianity Uncut, the Zacchaeus 2000 Trust and the Christian magazineThird Way. In addition, London Catholic Worker, the Society of Sacramental Socialists and Quaker groups have offered their support.

A statement by the groups said: "As Christians, we stand alongside people of all religions who are resisting economic injustice with active nonviolence. The global economic system perpetuates the wealth of the few at the expense of the many. It is based on idolatrous subservience to markets. We cannot worship both God and money."

Bartley said: "There are some very unhappy people within the Church of England. The protesters seem to articulate many of the issues that the church has paid lip-service to. Many people are disillusioned with the position St Paul's has adopted. To evict rather than offer sanctuary is contrary to what many people think the church is all about. The whole thing has been a car crash."

On Saturday afternoon, more than 20 religious figures gathered on the steps of St Paul's to support the occupation, which began two weeks ago.

The bishop of London, the Right Rev Richard Chartres, has promised to attend St Paul's in an attempt to persuade activists to leave. But protesters say they have no intention of packing up, many reiterating their intention to stay at the cathedral until Christmas and beyond.

A spokesman for Occupy London urged the City of London Corporation to open a dialogue with protesters to avoid a lengthy legal battle that could prove expensive for the taxpayer.

Two British tour operators who come to Spain go bust

 

Two British tour operators who bring tourists to Spain have gone bust. Romano Travel ceased operations on October 26, a day after Airborn Limited. Romano Travel specialized in package holidays to Spain and Turkey and had been operating for 30 years. There were no more than half of dozen or so pending bookings from the Buckinghamshire firm which was fully protected with an ATOL licence and was a member of ABTA. Airborn Limited operated as Airborn Direct and Holiday Hero, and was based in Romford, Essex. It sold packages to Spain, Cyprus and Turkey, and sold its products to other operators. The CAA says there are many clients who have purchased flights with the firm using a credit card, and these flights should be operating normally. If in doubt passengers can confirm with the airline.

Spain no longer the main destination for Brit's second homes

 

A new survey carried out by the HomeAway holiday rentals company and real estate group Savills International has concluded that Spain is no longer the first choice among the Brits for their second residence. 1,700 British property buyers were questioned. More Britons now prefer France because of its better economic stability and the moderation in its house prices. 40% of Brits who buy in Spain later rent out the property, sometimes obtaining an income of as much as 34,500 € a year, but 24% still say that Spain is the place they have chosen for retirement. Despite the change away from purchasing a second home, Spain continues to be the most popular holiday destination for the Brits. In France, Italy and Switzerland the British purchasers usually opt for restored old properties, while in the United States, Cyprus and also in Spain and Portugal, they tend to go for more modern or new constructions.

Malaga on the Mediterranean coast, in the Southern Spanish region of Andalucia, was the city you avoided

The city of Malaga on the Mediterranean coast, in the Southern Spanish region of Andalucia, was the city you avoided. An industrial port encircled by a tired ring of Franco-era low-rise apartment buildings, it was always the city tourists dashed by on their way to Torremolinos or Marbella further down the Costa Del Sol.

Being out of favor from the 1970s onwards – when torrid overbuilding ruined the Spanish coast – has served Malaga well, and the tired city around the old port has gone through a revival in recent years: The pedestrian-only squares and streets are washed clean, filled with a mix of fashionable shops selling Ermenegildo Zegna suits and Omega watches, and old men hawking lotto tickets and blanched Andalucian almonds wrapped in paper cones—all in the shadow of the city’s baroque cathedral where the 17th century choir stalls are carved from mahogany and cedar.

The city is still no great beauty, but its unpretentious charm stems from the fact it remains a middle-class working port. The first night I arrived I dined on a plate ofpata negra (thinly-cut slices of cured ham, with a rich marble of fat, made from black pigs that feed on acorns) and some grilled sea bream served with French-cut beans. As I drank my copa de vino tinto, contentedly observing the town’s life from the sidewalk café, a guitar-banging gypsy dashed by, twitchy as a heroin addict, followed by an old man selling to local tapas bars the snails slowly crawling the walls of his white bucket.

Two newly-opened institutions have greatly contributed to Malaga’s cultural revival. The crowd-puller is the Picasso Museum, and I am sure it is a lovely collection, but, in all honesty, I couldn’t bear to see yet another second-tier Picasso Museum. (The Spanish painter, for all his greatness, would have benefitted considerably from being a little less prolific.)

My interest was, however, very much piqued by the new museum housing the collection of Baroness Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza de Kaszon.

The Thyssen family, dating back to the 17th century, famously made their fortune supplying the industrializing German state with steel. But they were also great collectors of art, and the late Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza aggressively added works to his father’s stacks of Old Masters until the family’s 1,600-strong collection became the second largest private art collection in the world, second only to the British Royal Family Collection.

Ranging from Hans Holbein to Edward Hopper, the collection was originally housed in the family’s Villa Favorita in Lugano, Switzerland. (The Thyssen family left Germany for Switzerland in the 1930s.) In the mid 1980s, however, the Swiss unwisely barred the baron from expanding his museum at Villa Favorita—they were unimpressed he wanted to show more of his collection to the public.

Enter Spain. In 1985 the baron married his 5th wife, Carmen Cervera, a former Miss Cataluna, just as his battle with Swiss small-mindedness was heating up. The Catalan beauty was instrumental in getting her husband to move his art collection to more flexible Spain, where it now sits in its own museum next to the Prado in Madrid.

But Baroness Carmen Thyssen herself began collecting in the late 1980s, all under her husband’s tutelage, and she focused on Andalucian art of the mid-19th to early 20th century. It was this collection, critically praised throughout Spain when it was first exhibited in the late 1990s, which was squirreled away in the newly-converted palace called the Museo CarmenThyssen Málaga.

The mid-19th century Andalucian works in the collection were largely painted for middle-class European tourists of the day who wanted to return to London and Paris with reminders of their Andalucian holidays. So the first floor of the museum is devoted to these so-calledColumbrista painters, and provides a panoply of chocolate box scenes of idealized Andalucian landscape romanticism: sultry gypsy dancers and battling bandoleros in mountain caves and young fishermen wooing flower girls.

But as the 19th century progresses, so does the sophistication of the paintings. Two paintings in particular stayed with me long afterwards: the dark Columbrista painting of 1851 by the Frenchman, Alfred Dehodencq, painted for the duke occupying the Palace of San Telmo. It’s of a procession through the town during Holy Week. Hooded monks, like an all-black vision of the Ku Klux Klan, are the candle-carrying advance guard of the Mater Dolorosa, and they walk a gauntlet of rapturous women in black mantillas. Powerful stuff.

Later, in 1867, the Spaniard Mariàno Fortuny Marsal painted a bullfight with quick, almost impressionistic brushstrokes that seems to foreshadow what is yet to come in the art world. Called Exquisite Realism, or the Précieux Style, the intense brushstrokes of the “Bullfight” give a blurry sense of speed and movement at the breath-holding moment when a gored picador is carried dying from the ring and another picador is trying to weaken the bull with the hard thrust of his lance. It’s hard to tell who is going to live or die, and it’s a very modern work, in a 19th century way.

Five arrested for road rage attack in Madrid

 

National Police have arrested five people, two of them underage, for a brutal road rage attack in a tunnel on the M-30 motorway in September. They were taken into custody after they were identified on video footage from security cameras in the tunnel. The aggressors were travelling in two vehicles on the evening of September 17, and were seen on film chasing another car into the tunnel, speeding ahead and cutting across it to bring it to a halt. The eight occupants of the two cars are then seen getting out of their vehicles and dragging the three people travelling in the third car out onto the roadway. They are beaten and kicked, and their car is vandalised. Some personal items were also stolen and one of the victims was stabbed in the back. The reason for the attack was because the victims had criticised their assailants for a dangerous manoeuvre a few kilometres previously. The Interior Ministry released news of the five arrests this week, and said the search continues to locate the three other suspects involved.

32 arrests in luxury car scam in Spain

 

National Police in Spain have arrested 32 people accused of stealing 25 vehicles worth over a million € from counties such as Germany, Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland, to be sold on in Spain. The sale of the vehicles were helped by official dealers and the gang even had the collaboration of workers at several ITV/MOT centres which issued certificates to say the vehicles had no signs of being manipulated. The Ministry of the Interior says that the gang was made up mainly of Hungarians, Romanians and Spaniards, and the vehicles were sold on with false documents in dealers in Madrid, Santander, Tarragona, Castellón, Valencia, Alicante, Cuenca, Almería, Córdoba, Jaén and Granada.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Qantas grounds all flights

 

Australia’s Qantas Airways grounded its entire fleet on Saturday over a bitter labour dispute in an unprecedented move that prompted the government to warn it feared for the airline’s future and would seek action to end the dispute. EDITOR’S CHOICE Strikes cost A$15m-a week in lost sales - Oct-28 US airlines earnings hit by fuel costs - Oct-27 Lufthansa scales back passenger forecasts - Oct-27 Virgin eyes tie-up with Etihad on BMI - Oct-14 Qantas overhauls lossmaking international operations - Aug-16 Qantas said it would lock out all employees from Monday night in a dispute affecting 70,000 passengers and 600 flights on one of the country’s biggest travel weekends. The grounding does not affect Qantas’ budget airline Jetstar or code-share flights on other airlines. Passengers will get a full refund for flights cancelled due to the industrial action, Qantas said on its website. Customers can also rebook their flights for a later date. The announcement took passengers and the government by surprise, embarrassing Prime Minister Julia Gillard who was hosting a Commonwealth leaders summit in Perth. Some of those leaders are booked to fly home on Sunday with Qantas. Unions, from pilots to caterers, have taken strike action since September over pay and opposing Qantas plans to cut its soaring costs, as it looks at setting up two new airlines in Asia and cutting back financially draining long-haul flights. “They are trashing our strategy and our brand. They are deliberately destabilising the company. Customers are now fleeing from us,” Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce said.

Hells Angels feud leaves trail of death and destruction

 

The bloody turf war between the Hells Angels and a rival motorcycle club called the Vagos, has also led to shoot outs in the neighbouring states of Nevada and Arizona. According to the US Justice Department both the Hells Angels and the Vagos are "outlaw" gangs involved in drug and weapons trafficking, extortion and money laundering. The current spate of bloodshed between them can be traced to a disagreement at a Stabucks in the beach town of Santa Cruz last year. A brawl in which some participants wielded ball-peen hammers erupted outside the coffee shop before police arrived and bikers scattered. That led to a gunfight in the northern Arizona town of Chino Valley which left five people wounded and 27 under arrest.

Two killed in biker gang war started over Starbucks

 

TWO men have been killed and a number wounded in a turf war between two California biker gangs that began over who got to hang out at Starbucks. The San Jose Hells Angels has clashed with the rival Vagos gang in a series of violent incidents in the state. In the latest, senior Hells Angel Steven Tausan, 52, was shot and killed by a fellow member in an apparent quarrel, the Telegraph reports. That shooting occurred at the funeral of the chapter’s captain Jeffrey Pettigrew, 51, who was killed at a casino last month.  Security is tight for Tausan’s funeral tomorrow, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The row began in January 2010 when Hells Angels and Vagos members fought with hammers outside a Starbucks in Santa Cruz. Local deputy police chief Steve Clark told Reuters: “It was all about who would be allowed to hang out at the Starbucks downtown,” adding that the Vagos had made an attempt to gain control of the area. “Only in Santa Cruz would you have biker wars over who’s going to control pumpkin spice lattes,” Clark added. The conflict escalated in August last year, when the two gangs exchanged gunfire near a house in Prescott, Arizona, where CBS reports the Hells Angels were having a party. At least five people were wounded and 27 arrested after the incident.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

A LARGE crowd of Rebels Motorcycle Club members turned out at St Peter's Cathedral yesterday for the funeral of a member.

Rebels

Rebels comfort each other outside St Peter's Cathedral. Picture: Dean Martin


Dozens of motorbikes lined Pennington Tce, North Adelaide, as more than 100 people gathered for the 1.30pm service for James Sean "Pappa" Petterson.

Members of rival motorcycle clubs, including the Finks, also attended the service.

A convoy of Rebels members on motorcycles were given a police escort to the service and flanked the hearse as it left the cathedral.

Uniformed and plainclothes police kept a watchful eye over proceedings from outside

Gang ringleaders: Mehmet Sirin Baybasin (left) and Paul Taylor (Pic: PA)

Mehmet Sirin Baybasin (left) and Paul Taylor (Pic: PA)

 

A GANG of drug dealers planned to flood Britain with £4 billion of cocaine - arranging the plot from a phone box.

The Liverpool and London-based gangsters were planning to smuggle 40 tonnes of cocaine from South America by sea, hidden inside tins of fish and wooden pallets.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that the drug would be bought at a "wholesale price" and then sold to other dealers who would dilute it and sell it on.

If all the cocaine had made it to the streets of the UK and it was cut before being sold, the court heard it could have been worth around £4 billion.

The head of the Liverpool operation used a phone box in Old Hall Street, in Liverpool city centre, to arrange the deal with his London counterpart.

But the gang were being watched by undercover officers from the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (Soca).

Phone box on Old Hall Street Liverpool used by a drug dealer in one of the biggest ever cocaine rings

The phone box on Old Hall Street used by one of the drug dealers

The group was led by Mehmet Sirin Baybasin, 48, of Fairfield Crescent, Edgware, north-west London, who was jailed for 30 years at a hearing last week after he was found guilty of conspiracy to import cocaine.

The court heard that Baybasin was one of a total of 24 defendants brought to justice as part of the Soca investigation and that he was "at the top of the pyramid".

Judge David Aubrey QC said the offences had "at their core the evil and pernicious trade of drug dealing" and were indicative of the gang's "desire for the good life".

He said he was satisfied that the amounts they were talking about were not "pie in the sky" and that the wholesale value of 1,102lb (500kg) of uncut cocaine alone was worth a potential £17 million




Fresh appeal launched to find man living abroad accused of murdering Nantwich man

 

NEW appeal has been launched to capture a man wanted in connection with the murder of a Stapeley market trader. Christopher Guest More, 33, of Lymm, near Warrington, is one of 10 individuals wanted in the latest campaign being run by Crimestoppers and the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). He is suspected to have been part of a gang involved in the torture and murder of market trader and cannabis farmer Brian Waters, who was killed in a barn in Tabley, near Knutsford, in June 2003. Three of his alleged accomplices, Otis Lee Matthews, James Stuart Raven and John Godfrey Wilson, received life sentences for their part in the brutal attack. More is also sought in connection with the attempted murder of Suleman Razak and for the alleged false imprisonment and assault of other victims present during the incident. It is believed he fled to Spain just 24 hours after the incident. The appeal is part of crime charity Crimestoppers’ ‘Operation Captura’ campaign, which is trying to locate wanted criminals abroad. Crimestoppers’ regional manager Gary Murray, said: “This extremely heinous crime saw an individual lose their life and the person responsible needs to be tried for their actions. “I’d urge anyone with information to contact Crimestoppers on our 0800 555 111 number or use our online form on our website – we guarantee your anonymity.” Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Smith said: “Eight years on, we still remain determined and committed to finding and arresting Christopher More for his alleged involvement in the brutal murder of Brian Waters. “Cheshire Police will not close this case until the family of Brian Waters sees justice done.”

A deadly spat with origins in Halifax has an eastern Canada police dragnet hunting the gangster wanted for a slaying in Toronto.

darnell wrightDarnell St. Clair Wright, 32, is wanted for first-degree murder in the Oct. 2 shooting of Jefflin Beals, 25, on Crawford St. near Trinity Bellwoods Park.

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TORONTO - A deadly spat with origins in Halifax has an eastern Canada police dragnet hunting the gangster wanted for a slaying in Toronto.

Toronto Police said Wednesday Darnell St. Clair Wright, 32, is wanted for first-degree murder in the Oct. 2 shooting of Jefflin Beals, 25, on Crawford St. at Lobb Ave., near Trinity Bellwoods Park.

Homicide Det.-Sgt. Wayne Banks said the two men had an ongoing dispute stretching back at least to 2009, when Beals was a target of a drive-by shooting in Halifax.

The father of two wasn’t injured in that attack and he refused to co-operate with police.

Banks said he’s still not yet clear about the motive of the murder, whether it was personal or gang-related.

Police said Beals, was in a friend’s car when a gunman approached on Crawford St. and opened fire.

Beals got out of the car and stumbled to a lane between two homes, but he died by the time emergency crews found him.

The victim had been staying with friends in Peel after arriving in the city just a few days before he was gunned down in the usually quiet area of west Toronto.

Banks said the gang Wright belongs to — the North Preston Finest — is suspected to be involved in the 2009 drive-by, but it’s unclear if the suspect was involved in that shooting.

“We believe he (Beals) was set up — that Wright found out he was in Toronto and that he was set up to be at that location,” Banks alleged.

The location of the murder, a residential street, “there’s no way it was a chance meeting, say like a night club or somewhere like that,” Banks said.

“He was there for a reason and they were waiting for him.”

But Banks doesn’t know yet what lured Beals to the spot.

He warns anyone who helped set up the ambush or is now hiding Wright will face charges.

“This isn’t just about arresting Darnell, this will be finding out anybody involved in the planning of it and anybody involved in the aiding and abetting after it,” he said.

Banks said there’s conflicting street information that Wright is in Halifax, and “we’re hearing information that he’s still in the city.”

Wright is considered dangerous, he said.

TOP Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson tried to stop his ex-wife from claiming they had sex after he remarried.

Jeremy Clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson took out the gagging order against his ex-wife last year. It's not known why he applied to lift it. Picture: Cameron Richardson Source: Supplied


Clarkson, who has made a name for himself as a man refuses to be silenced, denies the allegation but took out a gagging order against Alexandra Hall last year.

The claim can now be revealed because he asked for the order to be lifted.

It is unclear why he decided to withdraw the order, which banned any reporting of "sexual or other intimate acts or dealings" between Clarkson and Ms Hall.

Ms Hall married Clarkson in 1989 but their marriage lasted only a year.

She claims she had relationship with him after they split and Clarkson was married to his current wife, Frances.

Clarkson's marriage came under fire from the tabloids earlier this year over claims he had cheated on his wife with a member of the Top Gear production team while in Australia.

He denied the reports and said his 18-year marriage was strong.

The couple have three children.



Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Real IRA terrorist has been jailed for 12 years after being found guilty of buying weapons and explosives which he wanted to use to “kill Brits.

Michael Campbell (Pic: PA)

Michael Campbell (Pic: PA)

A Real IRA terrorist has been jailed for 12 years after being found guilty of buying weapons and explosives which he wanted to use to “kill Brits.”

Irishman Michael Campbell - brother of Omagh bomber Liam - was snared in a six year MI5 sting across three countries with agents pretending to be arms dealers.

Yesterday he was finally jailed by a Lithuania court after spending three years awaiting trial and having been snared by an amazing MI5 undercover operation.

Campbell, 39, was secretly filmed in a field in Lithuania pointing a high-power Barret sniper rifle which he later bragged he would use to kill British people.

Michael Campbell testing weapons in the Lithuanian countryside (Pic: PA)

Michael Campbell testing weapons in the Lithuanian countryside (Pic: PA)

Michael Campbell testing weapons in the Lithuanian countryside (Pic: PA)
A still of Michael Campbell being secretly filmed (Pic: PA)

Using secret filming Campbell was caught on camera inspecting the weapons stash in a lock-up garage (Pic: PA)

Michael Campbell's shopping list for weapons (Pic:PA)

Campbell's shopping list for weapons (Pic:PA) 

He was also recorded on video in a garage buying weapons and explosives from an undercover Lithiuanian agent he nicknamed “Rambo.”

But the hero of the MI5 plot was a cigarette smuggler - turned MI5 agent who went deep undercover using the cover name Robert Jardine.

Using his connections Robert Jardine coolly penetrated deep into the Real IRA network knowing he could have been killed if his cover was blown.

At one stage in his dealings with dark-haired Campbell and other terror suspects - who cannot be named for legal reasons - he was bundled into a padded van containing a shovel.

Sources have told The Daily Mirror he feared he had been rumbled and was being driven to his death - but it was just a Real IRA tactic to unnerve him.

Judge Arunas Kisielus of the Vilnius Regional Court sentenced Michael Campbell to 12 years in prison for weapons offenses and supporting a terrorist group.

Covert footage showed Campbell paid £5,200 for explosives, grenade launchers, detonators, AK-47s and an assassin’s rifle to Lithuanian agents posing as arms dealers.

He says on tape: “You imagine, with a six-hour timer, we could be over to London and back,” Campbell says in an audio clip after mulling over a price list for explosives and detonators. “Just tick, tick, tick, tick ... gone.

In court Campbell had pleaded not guilty.

The Real IRA’s worst crime to date was the 1998 Omagh bombing which killed 29 and for which Liam Campbell -Michael’s brother - was found liable in a civil trial.

MI5’s Operation Uncritical ruined a bid by the Real IRA to get guns and explosives to mount a deadly terror campaign on the British mainland.

Yesterday a senior security official said: “The conviction of Michael Campbell is the result of a successful joint operation between the Security Service and the Lithuanian authorities.

“Working closely together, along with a selfless and brave agent, they have put behind bars a senior member of the Real IRA whose intention was to kill innocent members of the public in Northern Ireland and in Britain.”

Courageously Jardine - who now lives in a secret location - for years risked his life to provide his MI5 handlers with intelligence about the Real IRA.

The agent, who was referred to in court as “Robert Jardine”, was a legitimate businessman based in southern England dealing in “imports and exports.”

But he also had an illicit sideline in smuggling cigarettes from Eastern Europe - and it was that which caught the eye of the security service and led him into a world of terrorist intrigue.

The Real IRA (RIRA) was using the contraband cigarettes to fund its terrorist activities and in late 2002 Jardine was recruited as an agent by MI5.

Two years later RIRA asked Jardine whether his contacts in Eastern Europe could help them get weapons. And - carefully directed by MI5 - he laid a trail of deception which drew in the terrorists.

The court heard that in January 2005 he handed over a price list to a contact.

The following July Jardine and the contact crossed the border into Lithuania where Jardine introduced her to “Tomas”.

In fact Tomas was working for the Lithuanian security service, the VSD - the first in a cast of “role-players” deployed to convince the RIRA that the offer of weapons was real.

The RIRA gave Jardine the first of two hand-written shopping lists of weapons they wanted to buy - including sniper rifles, rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launchers, hand grenades, detonators and Semtex plastic explosives.

Then, in late 2006, another RIRA man, moved to revive the arrangement. Jardine responded by saying he would provide the introductions but the republicans would have to cut their own deal. The “sting” was back on.

Then Michael Campbell entered the story.

On August 29 2007, Michael Campbell and another associate travelled to a lodge in the Lithuanian countryside belonging to the supposed arms dealer.

There they were given their first chance to test guns and explosives.

Next day they were introduced to a second dealer - whom the two Irishmen quickly nicknamed “Rambo” - who was to provide them with the actual weapons they wanted.

Like Tomas, however, Rambo was in reality working for the VSD.

Campbell and his colleague agreed to pay a deposit on explosives, detonators and timers.

Afterwards an excited Campbell was secretly recorded telling his associate: “Look at it this way, for one of them and one of them you have a bomb - for f****** a hundred quid.

“F*** me. You imagine us getting over to England if you’d ten of them and ten clocks in a holdall. You imagine, with a six-hour timer we could be over to London and back.

“Just tick, tick, tick - gone. Leave it anywhere.”

That October, Campbell met Rambo again in Marbella in southern Spain.

This time the RIRA man said he wanted a first instalment of weapons - including two rocket propelled grenades as well as the explosives - against the deposit.

On January 21 2008, Campbell went to Lithuania to inspect his purchase and finalise the arrangements.

That evening the couple dined with Rambo who the following day took Campbell to a lock-up garage where the weapons were stashed.

A hidden camera secretly filmed as Campbell examines one of the detonators and asks whether they would be “good for booby traps”.

“They would be good for under a car, wouldn’t they?” he says. “Anchored to the wheel and then the car goes round - bang.”

Campbell was also filmed paying a further deposit for a powerful Barrett sniper rifle - the type of weapon used to kill Lance Bombardier Stephen Restorick, the last British soldier to die at the hands of the IRA in 1997.

When Rambo demands what it would be used for - saying he was not prepared to sell it just “to shoot roe deer or wild boar” - Campbell tells him: “No, no, we will be shooting from across borders. The border. You know, from one side to the other.”

Asked who the target would be, Campbell replies simply “Brits”.




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