Hastings and Rother Weekly Police News and Alerts

Alert message sent 20/02/2020 14:58:00

Information sent on behalf of Sussex Police

Thursday 20th February 2020

News and Alerts

Police are appealing for witnesses after two men were assaulted in Hastings town centre. 

The men were attacked by a group of people around 11.30pm on Friday (February 14), near to the Millets store in Wellington Place. One of the victims was left with a broken jaw requiring surgery. 
Officers investigating the incident are keen to speak to any witnesses, particularly a couple who had been talking to the two men before the incident and who stopped to help after the assault. 
Any witnesses or anyone with any further information is asked to contact police online or by calling 101 quoting serial 70 of 15/02. 

Police are investigating criminal damage in medieval Winchelsea, thought to have been caused by a rogue metal detectorist.

The illegal activity on what is a protected site within the Ancient Town was reported to Sussex Police on Tuesday (11 February).

Heritage crime officer and police community support officer Daryl Holter said: " Illicit metal detecting is a shady and unscrupulous act, and deliberate damage caused to this site is irreversible.

"It is unlikely we will know if items were removed, but any such interference constitutes stealing our past and robbing us of the opportunity to interpret and understand it."

The site is protected by the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 and disturbing it is illegal.

PCSO Holter said: "The majority of detectorists adhere to the law and the code of practice for responsible metal detecting, reporting their finds to both the landowner and the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS). They have a love of and respect for both the outdoors and history."

The use of metal detectors on scheduled monuments requires a licence issued by the Secretary of State for the Environment, and detecting on National Trust land also requires a special licence. 

Winchelsea was created by Edward I in 1288 to replace an older town washed away during heavy storms. Together with neighbouring Rye, it was designated an Ancient Town allied to the Cinque Ports of Hastings, Romney, Hythe, Dover and Sandwich.

PCSO Holter said the damage was now being investigated with assistance from the PAS and The National Trust.

Anyone who saw anything suspicious or who may have other information about the illegal digging or stolen artefacts is asked to contact Sussex Police online or to phone 101, quoting serial 849 of 11/02. Dial 999 and ask for police if a crime is thought to be in progress.​​​​​​​

An owl that went awol in the Hastings area at the end of last year has been rehomed thanks to the efforts of police and animal welfare workers to ensure it came to no harm.

After the Indian Eagle Owl was seen at large - wearing a brown jess, or tether, on its left leg, hinting at its being tame - its presence was reported to Police Community Support Officer Daryl Holter.

PCSO Holter, who has a wildlife and heritage role with Sussex Police, tracked down the owl to commercial premises in St Leonards-on-Sea, where it was sleeping in a shed and feeding itself on rodents and pigeons.

A member of the public was able to recapture the bird, but despite extensive enquiries its original owner could not be traced.

Following a short period being cared for by Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) the owl has now been placed with new owners.

PCSO Holter said: “I'm delighted to have been able to help ensure this magnificent creature came to no harm. I must admit it's not the sort of wildlife I tend to deal with every day."
Indian eagle owls have a wing span of up to nearly 18 inches.​​​​​​​

First Sussex Police officers funded by 20,000 campaign on the streets of Sussex

One of the first cohorts of people officers in the country funded by the Government’s 20,000 officer recruitment campaign are joining policing teams across Sussex this week; making a proactive difference to communities across the county. 

The 36 new Sussex police officers will be joining response teams in communities across the county, alongside their dedicated coaches, where they will be responding to 999 calls having completed robust training at Sussex Police headquarters in Lewes.

 “I'm really excited to be joining the response team and start helping people” says PC Emma Hatt, who will be joining the Brighton and Hove division from Monday 17 February.

“It’ll be great jumping in at the deep end. Like any new recruit I want to get the bad people, and look after the vulnerable people.”

Before joining the force, Emma, from Seaford, worked with juvenile offenders in a residential unit in Tower Hamlets.

“I’m really looking forward to helping shape the future of young people, steering them in a different direction. With my past experience, I know how to go in at their level and build rapport to make a real difference.”

Like Emma, PC Jake Adfield wants to make a positive impact on the community after previously working as a carpenter. He said: “I’m looking forward to going out on division in Worthing. It will be interesting getting out into the community and do the job I really want to do.”

The recruits are the first of an additional 129 officers for Sussex to be recruited by March 2021 funded by the first phase of the Government initiative, which aims to recruit 20,000 officers by 2023. Policing Minister, Kit Malthouse co-launched the national recruitment campaign when he visited Sussex Police HQ last September.

In addition to the posts created as part of the Government’s recruitment commitment, the force is on track to recruit the extra 250 police officers, 100 PCSOs and 50 specialist staff funded by the 2018/2019 local precept increases.

Chief Constable Giles York QPM said: "We are delighted to welcome these officers to Sussex, made possible by the government’s uplift commitment, and I look forward to seeing their careers progress.

“Recent precept rises, together with greater government investment, provides us with an exceptional opportunity to employ the right mix of officers and police staff to deliver an effective, efficient and high quality policing service to the people of Sussex.

"It reinforces our move into a period of significant growth and will tangibly strengthen our position to meet increasing and changing demand. It allows a step-change in our policing approach and greater proactivity in taking the fight to criminals.

"As recruitment plans come to fruition, they will make a positive difference to the public of Sussex. Already our communities can see and feel the difference of earlier investment and, with this additional commitment, we can do even more: catch more criminals, protect more victims and prevent and solve more crime."

PC Emma Bennison is another new recruit joining as part of the Uplift. Emma’s policing story began two years ago when she encountered a woman in distress in Chichester. Seeing the woman being assaulted, Emma – then a teenagers’ activity manager for a holiday company – ran towards the danger. When made a witness statement following the incident, the officer asked Emma if she had considered joining the police. Emma set about researching how she could apply and two years later, here she is, achieving her dream job.

“I was nervous about going out on division but now I’m really excited about getting out there and putting everything we’ve learned into practice” said PC Bennison.

Previous Worthing shopkeeper, PC Mitulkumar Patel feels incredibly proud to be serving as a police officer: “I’m looking forward to my first shift having wanted to be part of the team for many years. I’m here to make a difference.”

Sussex Police’s police officer recruitment drive continues next month with the first recruitment drive of 2020 launching on Monday, 9 March. The recruitment drive is looking for those who have what it takes to tackle crime, keep communities safe and protect the most vulnerable. More information can be found here

Police are issuing a warning after a series of people have been scammed by fraudsters pretending to be from Dyno-Rod drain company.

Since the start of January, over 20 victims have reported incidents with similar circumstances to police across Sussex. The majority of victims are elderly and have occurred in Brighton and Hove, although we would like to warm all resident of Sussex to help share the scam. 

Typically, the fraudsters will knock on the door and tell the victims they need emergency work. The victims will then be asked to transfer money to the fraudsters or hand over their bank details. Money is taken from the victims' accounts for work that is not carried out. 

A 73-year-old victim from Hove has spoken about how he was defrauded out of £2,000 through the scam. 

On 25 January a man knocked at the door to advise that he was currently working on nearby drains and may need access via the victim's property.

The victim thought nothing of it. 

A while later, a different man attended the victim's property, stating that they were from Dyno-Rod, displaying an ID badge briefly. He then said emergency works needs to be carried out on the victim's property and that the fee for this would be £25.

After the victim agreed, the man stated that they could not accept cash, therefore persuaded the victim to give his bank card and pin number. 

The suspect went away with his card, however came back saying that the details were incorrect. The victim then gave him another card, along with his full name and date of birth to be able to withdraw the cash.

Over a period of time, £2,000 was taken from the victim's account.
The victim said: "My doorbell went and there was a guy there who said he was carrying out work on the drains, he came and had a good look around the house. 

"A second man came who looked very official and said they needed £25 to hire the Dyno-Rod equipment and they'd pay me back. 

"He said that they don't accept cash and they couldn't take me to the cash machine because they're not insured so asked for my card to take to the ATM.

"He wanted the PIN number so I gave him a card that's not connected to my bank account. He came back saying that it didn't work and asked for another one. I was very reluctant but he said he'd come back with the paperwork. 

"They then wanted my full name and date of birth which made me suspicious so I called the bank and they said £2,000 had been removed.

"It's terrible that they do this to people, I lost £2,000. The first man looked like a genuine hard-working man and the second looked official with a hanging black badge, but I didn't look at it very carefully. 

"I get these scams sometimes via email about the TV licensing or property and normally I can smell them a mile away. You have to be so careful, they really did fool me it's really unpleasant. 

"The PCSO who came to my house has helped me go ex-directory and I've taken out ID cover - I need to be protected from this sort of thing."

PC Bernadette Lawrie, BEM, Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer for Surrey and Sussex Police said: "This impersonator fraud scam is a disgraceful way of defrauding the victims of their cash and we are determined to bring the perpetrators to justice. 

"Please be vigilant about anyone who comes to the door asking for personal or financial information. Never give your bank details, transfer money to those you don't know or trust or give your PIN number or other sensitive information to strangers. 

"If you are in doubt about a situation, close the door and call police. If something doesn't sound right, don't feel pressured to make a snap decision on matters relating to your finances. Trust your instincts. 

"Alternatively, speak with a trusted friend or family member and get their advice on whether you should go through with any action that could impact you financially.” 

If you have been a victim of this crime or have any information that could help with our enquiries, please report online or call 101. 

For further advice on fraud prevention, and information on Operation Signature, the work done by Sussex Police to prevent fraud and support vulnerable victims, see the force website here.

Crime Summary

There have been a total of 11 burglaries this week across Hastings and Rother.

Please take the time to review your home, work and garden security:

-Live by the sea? Check garden gates and fences for entry points, or broken/rusted locks from the poor weather/salt air

-Shop or local business owner? Take valuables out the window before the weekend, and don't leave cash on the premises when you're not there

-Got a garage? Check it's locked and secure, and if not consider a new lock to protect what's inside

-Going out tonight? Leave a light on indoors, or your smart speak playing to give the impression someone is home

-Communal areas? Check your doors, do they lock properly, if not contact your maintenance or housing manager

For a range of crime prevention advice, support and tips to keep you and your property safe can be found here

If you have been the victim of a burglary, please report online, or by calling 101 – always dial 999 in an emergency/burglary in action.

Action Fraud scam watch

Did you know scams cost the UK economy £5-£10 Billion a year, with over 50% of people over 65 having already been targeted by scams; and only 5% of all scams reported?

Action Fraud’s top tips

Although fraud and cybercrime comes in many forms, there are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself.

Follow Action Frauds’ personal safety checklist to keep you and those around you safe from fraud here.

Help us keep Sussex safe

If you saw or heard anything, or have any information about any incident in this message please contact us online, or call 101, quoting the reference number provided.

Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org

You can also visit our website at www.sussex.police.uk where you can find our easy to use online forms to report all non-emergencies to us.

You can also find police advice to keep you safe and help you understand the law, and also browse our crime prevention pages for first-hand knowledge, industry best practices and practical crime prevention advice from officers and specialist teams all across the police.

Have you ever had a policing question that doesn't actually require direct police involvement to answer?

Ask the Police is a great online source of information for the most frequently asked policing questions, visit www.askthe.police.uk/ for more information.

Your local teams

You can find your local PCSO by entering your postcode at www.police.uk

Follow your local Police team on social media, search Hastings Police / Rother Police on Facebook and Twitter to follow.

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Sussex Police will only ever link you to secure Websites we trust. We will only send you attachments where we believe it is absolutely necessary.

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Eastbourne, Lewes and Wealden team (Police, Prevention team, Sussex)

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