Essex Police are warning residents not to leave their home in the dark. With the nights drawing in, the tell-tale signs of empty houses become more apparent. This is a bonus for burglars who prefer to target empty homes unseen and avoid confrontation.
As the days get shorter if you work away from home, or even pop out to get the children from school, by the time you return home it may already be dark. A house in darkness says no one is in especially if your neighbour’s houses either side have lights on and show other signs of being occupied. If you back onto open farmland or have parking areas or footpaths to side or rear this may be even more apparent.
Create the “Illusion of Occupancy”, when its dark make your home look like you are in. Leave lights on or put them on timers or daylight sensors to come when it gets dark. Remember though no one lives in the hall or on the landing so if you leave these lights on supplement these with lights on in rooms that you would normally occupy at that time of day i.e. lounge and kitchen.
A carefully placed imitation TV or “Fake TV” can further add to that illusion of occupancy by making it look like the television is on. Some burglars may also listen at windows or letterboxes for signs of activity, so consider leaving a radio on within your home.
Don’t forget the outside of your property too, if burglars see that it is lit they are less likely to approach for fear of being seen.
Leave lights on, with energy efficient bulbs it costs very little nowadays and yet may save you lots!
Quite a few bits of advice from Essex Police this month so a handy link list to find what might interest you:
With the Christmas holiday season almost upon us, now is a good time to remind ourselves to take steps to make sure our Christmas isn’t spoiled by criminals.
It creates opportunities for criminals. The hustle and bustle of town centres as we rush around, the value of the goods we buy as presents and store in our homes until the big day. We might also be more trusting and generous at Christmas when requests for charity are made, giving the unscrupulous a chance to collect for their own causes.
The advice below is often common sense, but you might overlook it in your haste to get everything ready.
When the shops are crowded, the pickpocket has more chance to steal from you. If you can’t arrange to shop during less busy times, make sure you stay alert and be extra careful with your wallet or purse. When carrying many bags, you will be too busy trying to hold on to these to be aware of anyone stealing from you. You could try to make smaller shopping trips rather than do it all at once and carry too much. Have your purse/wallet close to your body and don’t carry too much cash. The same applies to travelling on crowded buses or trains. If you travel by car, make sure you park in a well- lit area, lock all doors and windows and do not leave presents in view. Try not to return to your car to leave purchases in the boot before continuing with your shopping trip as thieves may well watch car parks for just such a chance. Arrange to collect heavy items from stores when you have finished all of your shopping. Always keep your chequebook and cheque card separately and never keep a note of your pin number with any of your credit or debit cards.
If you need to use an ATM (cash machine), try to use one which is either inside a bank or store, or one that is in a well-lit area, away from nooks and crannies. Be aware of who and what is close by, if the ATM looks as though it has been tampered with, do not use it (and report it to the Bank or store a.s.a.p.). Never use an ATM if someone is using a mobile phone behind you, or close by. (They could be tapping your pin number into their phone memory). It is often a safer option to use a supermarket, shop or store that offers cash-back.
Having bought all those wonderful presents, don’t make it easy for someone to steal from your home. Keep them out of sight until last thing on Christmas Eve and if you ‘hide’ or store larger items such as bicycles in the shed or outbuildings, make sure they are very secure. Now is a good time to check that you know what you have both normally (TV, Video etc) and with the extra presents you have bought. You may well find you need to check your insurance to make sure you are covered for the value of goods in your home. Take the frame numbers of new cycles and the serial numbers of new electrical equipment for future reference. Remember, empty boxes left outside advertise that you have new goods inside – dispose of packaging carefully.
If you go out for the evening – make it look like someone is at home by turning on lamps or house lights and, the radio. Don’t leave curtains open so people can see your decorations, potential thieves can also see in. Be extra careful about locking doors and windows. As a fire precaution, don’t leave ‘Christmas lights’ on in the house whilst you are out.
If you go away for the holiday period – use an automatic timer for lights and ask a trusted neighbour to watch your home. Don’t forget to cancel newspapers and milk if you have them delivered and either redirect your mail through the Post Office or have your neighbour take mail into the house – unopened Christmas cards and mail, are a sure sign that a house is empty.
Strangers at the door – genuine delivery personnel, usually have uniforms and liveried vehicles and should not need to come into your home. Charity collectors will have identification and will not be offended if you ask to see it. If you are not sure but want to make a donation, ask whether these can be made in other ways, perhaps through a bank.
Make sure someone knows where you are going and what time you will be back. Don’t drink too much – you could become a target for thieves.
We all do it, walk away from the car and with our back turned to the car press the button on the key to lock it, never thinking that it may not lock. Yet a simple thing like looking at the car as you press that button to get the confirmation of it locking with lights flashing, or just pulling the handle to check it is locked can prevent a lot of thefts of or from motor vehicles. Why does it not always lock, it could be fault, battery running low, user error or some individual with device to block your signal nearby. In any case Lock it, Check it and we can prevent some crimes.
If you have cars of different values, where possible park the higher value car in your garage. When parking a car on your driveway ensure it is well lit and park the lower value car in front of the higher value car, as the thieves are more likely to target high value cars and will be deterred if they can’t easily drive such a car away from the scene. Locked gates and collapsible posts on the driveway will also deter the thief. With high value cars consider the fitting of a tracking system.
As cars become more and more advanced and rely more and more on computers to manage their systems our thieves become more technical too. To cater for both the technical and less technical thief use the locking system on your vehicle and look to the good old fashioned “Krook Lock”, steering wheel, or pedal lock to supplement it, it has a great visual deterrent.
Lastly before you turn in for the night check that all doors, ground floor windows and easily accessible windows are closed and locked. PVCu doors – don’t forget that the door is not fully locked until you have lifted the inside handle and turned the key. If you have an intruder alarm and can do so activate the downstairs zone. To stop the burglar getting to the vulnerable windows and doors to the rear ensure that side gates are closed and locked.
Please also ensure that you put your car keys somewhere safe and out of sight, when you return home. Put your car keys in a drawer (preferably one that is noisy to open) or some other secure place, but don’t take them up to the bedroom with you.
There is an increase in items being stolen from cars in car parks at this time of year whilst drivers are distracted loading purchases into their vehicles.
When you have finished your shopping please:
Whenever you’re about to post something online, pause and just imagine someone in authority, someone you respect, reading that post or looking at that photo. If that feels uncomfortable, don’t do it.
Think about using a nickname instead of your real name if you’re signing up to a microblogging site like Twitter.
Consider setting up a separate, personal email account to use with social media sites, rather than using your work, or even your main personal email. Remember, only connect to people you know.
Use the privacy and security settings on social media sites so that only friends and family can see your pages.
Then speak to friends and family and encourage them to tighten their privacy settings too as they could affect you.
Even if your account is locked as private, personal information you have shared with others could still be accessed through their pages.
Don’t use your mother’s real maiden name as a password or as a bank security answer. It doesn’t really matter whether you use the real one so make up a name that only you know. Just make sure you remember it.
Don’t post any personal information – your address, email address or mobile number – publicly online. Just one piece of personal information could be used by a complete stranger to find out even more. If you want to include your birthday in your profile it’s safer not to actually display it publicly – providing your full date of birth makes you more vulnerable to identity fraud.
Be careful about which photos and videos you share on social media sites – avoid photos of your home, work, school or places you’re associated with. Remember, once you’ve put a picture of yourself online, other people may be able to see it and download it – it may not just be yours anymore.
Don’t give out information online simply because it’s asked for – think whether whoever is asking for it, really needs it. When you’re filling in forms online, for example to register with a website or sign up for a newsletter, always provide the minimum information possible.
It’s almost always possible to send a direct message or private message on social media platforms. If you’re having a personal chat, this is the best option to go for – unless you don’t mind sharing your conversation with millions of other users. Alternatively, send an email from a private account.
If you’ve stopped using a social media site or forum, then close your account down. There’s no point in leaving personal information out there unnecessarily.
Make sure you have anti-virus software installed on your computer and be careful what you download or install on your computer.
Essex Police, in collaboration with DogLost are running a campaign to help reunite dogs with their owners however, preventing their loss in the first place is a better outcome all around and so they also offer the following advice:
Be aware of bogus callers – they have tricked their way into a woman’s house in Colchester. Two men claiming to be from the council knocked on the door of a property in Rochdale Way, Greensted, at around 7pm on Saturday, May 17 asking to check the water pipes. A woman who lives in the property was alone and allowed them in. Whilst in the premises they went upstairs and stole some jewellery.
The two men had Irish accents and were both described as white.
Anybody with any information about this incident or who may have seen anybody acting suspiciously in the area is asked to contact Colchester CID on Essex Police 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
For more information on staying safe, go to the Essex Police Be Safe pages on www.essex.police.uk
WINSTRED HUNDRED PARISH COUNCIL
Peldon Great Wigborough Little Wigborough Salcott Virley
Draft minutes of the meeting of Winstred Hundred Parish Council held at Abbotts Hall Farm, Great Wigborough at 7.30pm on Tuesday 13th May 2014.
Present: Netty Knill-Jones, Lynne Simmons, Phil Gladwin, Nicky Ellis (chair), Jinny Gale, Terry Sutton, Robert Davidson, Andrew Ellis, Police officer and 7 public members
Apologies for absence: Charles Dymond, John Walker, Andy Beharrell
Minutes of the last meeting were agreed by all and signed by the chairman
Police Report: There had been several unlawful entries to various sheds and outbuildings and a house in Great Wigborough and Peldon where items have been stolen. The doors from a Land Rover had been stolen and there were a couple of road traffic accidents but no serious injuries. A man has been seen selling from the back of a vehicle and a parking issue at the junction of Mill Lane and The Street in Salcott has been monitored and noted for further action.
Zone Warden Report: The culprit of fly tipping in School Lane has now been prosecuted and given a six month conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs. The Wardens will continue to focus on fly tipping, dog fouling and other unsociable activities.
Borough Councillors: Black sack delivery has been delayed until the end of the month. The agents for the Solar Park project have asked for a formal view from the CBC Policy Team. There is now a new round of Community Initiative Funding available. There are 2 allotments available for rent at Abberton and Langenhoe, enquiries to the clerk.
The Parish Council wished Terry Sutton well in his retirement and thanked him for always being available to assist us in any way he could. He expressed his enjoyment at working in rural villages.
County Councillor: Essex Highways are working their way through repairs and resurfacing of the major highways and the minor routes will follow. Road signs at Salcott crossroads will be adjusted for clarification and a damaged manhole cover at the crossroads will be dealt with. Rodney Bass (Portfolio Holder for Highways and Transportation) will be holding surgeries at Essex County Hall for anyone to attend.
Public-Have Your Say: There has been horse riding on Pete Tye Common spoiling the footpaths, this will be investigated further. There has been a dog, sometimes two, chained to a tree in a front garden in all weathers at Mill Lane, Virley which will be reported to the appropriate authorities. Cutting of the verges was mentioned as was the army helicopter manoeuvres; unfortunately both are beyond our control.
Declarations of Interest: None
1. Churchyards Upkeep Donations – Phil proposed, Jinny seconded and all agreed to donate the same amount as usual (£200 per churchyard) to help with the upkeep of the churchyards in all our villages
2. Playgrounds and Playing Fields – following the Annual Inspection the fence posts at Salcott will be investigated for quotes for various materials which we can discuss on site at our July meeting. Other necessary work will carried out soon. The new equipment is due to be installed on Moss Hay shortly which may cause a slight disruption. Quotes for rubber chippings for the Peldon play area are being sought. We have been given S106 money to fund both these projects. The Parish Council understands that Liz Davidson very kindly cut the grass on Moss Hay all last year and is continuing to do it this year for which we expressed our thanks.
3. Website disc space – in the future we may need more website disc space and so Phil proposed, Jinny seconded and all agreed for an extra £20 to be available to our website operator for when he feels it necessary.
4. Finances for the year – Phil proposed, Jinny seconded and all agreed to approve our finances for the last year. The End of Year Return for the external auditor was duly completed by the chairman and our thanks where expressed to Steve Copeland for carrying out the internal audit for us again and without cost.
5. Actions and Reminders List – updated
|142493||Proposal: Erection of detached granny annexe and extension of existing storage building at Homeview, Mersea Road, Peldon||Withdrawn|
|144576||Proposal: Demolition of existing garage and erection of new detached garage/car port and alteration to bedroom one providing sliding patio door and Juliette balcony at Whitethorn, Mersea Road, Peldon|
|143677||Proposal: Single storey rear conservatory extension at Ashleigh, Lower Road, Peldon|
|142142||Proposal: Two dormer windows to existing dwelling at Green Farm, The Street, Salcott||Approve conditional|
|142455||Proposal: Small building to house Biomass environmentally friendly renewable fuel boilers at Fourways Farm, Barnhall Road, Salcott||Approve conditional|
|142947||Proposal: Replacement dwelling, resubmission of 131529 at Hill Farm, School Lane, Great Wigborough||Permission Refused|
|142511||Proposal: Listed building application for replacement of 3 no. windows and one front door at New Hall, Copt Hall Lane, Little Wigborough||Approve conditional|
|101765||R S Pullen – salary for May||£367.57|
|101766||Anglia Inspection Services Ltd||£192.00|
|101767||Essex Wildlife Trust – hall hire||£96.00|
|101768||Mrs E Davidson – 8 x grass cuts last year, 2 x cuts this year||£400.00|
|101769||CALC – subs||£35.00|
The next meeting will be on Tues 10th June 2014 at 7.30 pm at Peldon Village Hall which will be the Annual Parish Assembly.
WINSTRED HUNDRED PARISH COUNCIL
Peldon Great Wigborough Little Wigborough Salcott Virley
Draft minutes of the meeting of Winstred Hundred Parish Council held at Salcott Village Hall at 7.30pm on Tuesday 8th April 2014
Present: Lynne Simmons, Phil Gladwin, Nicky Ellis (chair), Jinny Gale, Charles Dymond, Andy Beharrell, Netty Knill-Jones, Andrew Ellis, John Jowers, 1 Zone Warden, 1 Police Officer and 8 members of the public
Apologies for absence: John Walker, Kevin Bentley
Minutes of the last meeting were agreed by all and signed by the chairman
Police Report: There were several incidents this last month including theft from a vehicle, a trailer theft, a car accident and a burglary in Colchester Road, Great Wigborough. Please report anyone looking suspicious at the time and also be vigilant and lock up securely when going out.
Zone Wardens Report: They are prosecuting culprits of dog fouling from other local areas and will from our villages if caught. Missing road signs will be reported again.
Borough Councillors: Simon High, CBC Highways and Drainage Technician, has made another site visit to Salcott to assess the situation where a pipe has been installed to help alleviate the potential flooding problems.
CBC Conservation Team has been consulted with regard to the proposed Solar Park.
S106 monies available for Salcott from developments have been allocated to the village hall for improvements to the kitchen area.
County Councillor: More money has been allocated for flooding issues, attention to Barnhall Road is being brought up and potholes are being attended to more vigorously. Minerals and Waste Plans are receiving attention. The Police and Crime Panel will not receive increased funding so PCSOs will be relied on. Missing finger posts and white lines will be chased up.
Public-Have Your Say: The superfast broadband has been installed in a house in Great Wigborough and the residents expressed their thanks to the Parish Council which will be passed on to John for his major part in organising the project. However, the installation had not been as smooth as they would have liked and a Peldon resident who has also subscribed to the new system mentioned that his broadband speed was quite variable at times. See below in the broadband report (Item 2).
Jinny was also thanked for her brilliant parish council email service informing residents of certain matters of interest.
The ditch along Maldon Road, Great Wigborough has recently been dug out and it was noted that this is an extremely poor job with regard to natural flow of water.
It was mentioned that there had been inaccuracies on the Solar Park with correspondence on the proposed application with regard to the positioning of the actual solar panels.
Declarations of Interest: None
1. Parish Councillor Vacancies – we have one for Virley and one for Peldon for which we have received interest; although anyone can apply for any of the wards (Peldon, Gt & Lt Wig, Salcott and Virley). In May Charles will be chairman and Lynne the vice chairman for a two year period.
2. Broadband update – John sent a report that was read out on how the project is progressing with more CAPs being installed and customers signing up. There have been a few network problems which the engineers are busily trying to sort out.
3. Playgrounds and Playing Fields – the annual inspection will take place in the next week or so. There are a couple of minor matters on the Salcott equipment that will be addressed shortly.
4. Peldon Garage Site Houses – the Parish Council will write to CBC Planning Dept. to express our dissatisfaction about the height of the houses which we did mention when we were first consulted and also an apology for any errors made would not go amiss.
5. Abberton Reservoir Community Fund, Rights of Way Meeting – the reservoir work is now finished and the water level is at 19 metres and will be increased to 20.3 metres next year; monitors are in place to look at bunds and money allocated for education is yet to be decided. The footpath is a major project that required a qualified manager to see it through; this position is yet to be filled. The Community Fund is all but spent with the last few projects getting the go-ahead.
6. Actions and Reminders List updated
|142473||Proposal: Listed building application for removal of internal door between bar and conservatory, removal of internal door between kitchen and passage, removal of internal ‘Essex’ cupboard and addition of ‘Peldon Rose’ sign to front elevation at the Peldon Rose|
|142947||Proposal: Replacement dwelling, resubmission of 131529 at Hill Farm, School Lane, Great Wigborough|
|143677||Proposal: Erection of single storey rear conservatory extension at Ashleigh, Lower Road, Peldon|
|Proposal: Erection of detached granny annexe and extension to existing storage building at Homeview, Mersea Road, Peldon|
|140346||Proposal: Erection of glazed link between approved outbuilding and existing dwelling at Hall Barn, Peldon Road, Peldon|| Approve|
|101760||R S Pullen – salary for April||£367.57|
|101761||R S Pullen – office expenses (heat, light, etc)||£250.00|
|101762||Peldon Village Hall – hire||£80.00|
|101763||EALC & NALC – subs||£284.08|
|101764||T Simmons – 3 x play insp and 2 x grass cuts||£180.00|
The next meeting will be on Tues 13th May 2014 at 7.30pm at Abbotts Hall Farm, Great Wigborough which will also be the Annual Parish Meeting
A little web research quickly shows that metal thieves are not only targetting obvious sources such as roof leading and copper lightning rods, but also less obvious sources such as telephone cables, road signs and bus shelters. The picture shows a partially stolen road sign near Writtle – the report it comes from is worth a read.
Please call the Mersea police mobile 07966 197 265 or 0300 333 4444 non emergency with any information or concerns.
PCSO 70220 ADAM RYDER
Our neighbourhood Community Police Officer, Melanie Wilson has warned us that there has been a worrying increase in reported theft of heating oil in rural areas. Certainly there has been one known and one suspected theft of oil in Church Road, Peldon.
Please look at the security of your tank. Consider fitting a lock without delay. If you need advice contact Melanie. She will assist you or will put you in touch with the Crime Reduction Officer Colin Stiff.
Spread the word among your neighbours and if you see anything suspicious get in touch with Melanie straight away.
Birch and Layer Neighbourhood Constable
Essex County Fire & Rescue Service Fire Station
63 Church Road Tiptree
External: 0300 333 4444
TIPTREE MOBILE: 07966197404
Email: [email protected]
A copper lightning conductor was stolen from St Margaret’s Church, Woodham Mortimer, Maldon (pictured right) between the evening of 28th October and midday on 30th. The conductor was worth some £200 but the damage caused by cutting it off is likely to cost £1000 to repair. A similar crime was committed at St Peter’s Church, Totham between November 2nd and 3rd.
Police are appealing for information and witnesses.
We all need to keep an eye out for anything untoward happening near our churches.
If you see anything suspicious ring 999 immediately.