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Mere Brow Village News Archive 2006


Police in West Lancashire have released an e-fit of a man they want to speak to in connection with an assault.

The incident took place on Wednesday 3rd January at approx 17.20hrs when a 16-year-old female was assaulted. A male had engaged her in conversation whilst she was travelling on the bus from Preston to Southport.

Due to the distraction of the male, the female missed her bus stop at Marsh Road with the junction of Hundred End Lane in Tarleton and got off the bus 300 yards down the road. The male followed her and grabbed her pulling her to the ground and threatening her. He made off when the girl offered him £10.

Wanted for assault at Hundred End. Police release e-fit picture.
Wanted in connection with assault at Hundred End
The male is described as being white and aged about 40, he was 5ft 5 with dark hair with a beard wearing a hood.

Two similar incidents have also taken place in the Merseyside area both on Boxing Day with the offender’s description being very similar. Merseyside police have also released an e-fit and description on their website and it is believed that this is the same person.

DC Ed Clayton commented,” We would like to hear from anyone that was perhaps travelling on the same bus or may have seen the male and female as they got off the bus. The girl was fortunately not hurt but was very shaken up by the incident.”

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Southern Communications Centre on 0845 1 25 35 45 and leave a message for DC Clayton who is investigating the incident.




Police in remind Partygoers about Drink Drive Campaign in run up to Christmas

As people in Lancashire get ready for the Christmas holidays and attend their Christmas parties this week, police in Southern Division are reminding partygoers not to drink and drive this Christmas.

Despite the fact that figures released in Southern Division half way through the Drink Drive campaign, would indicate that the majority of people are taking head of the warning, there are still a minority that don’t. Out of the 222 breath tests that have been carried out on drivers so far 11 of these have proved positive.

Sgt Steve Moon who is in charge of the ANPR team that are involved in the campaign commented,” The figures would indicate that so far people seem to be acting responsibly and taking head of the warning, however, with Christmas and New Year fast approaching the probability of a drink related accident either this week or next is quite high.

This year’s campaign is acting mainly on intelligence received from members of the public and we would like them to continue passing this information on to us. If they see something happening that would cause immediate danger i.e. someone getting into a car to drive who is not in a fit state to do so they should ring 999. If they have information about a person that drinks and drives or drive’s the morning after they should ring this information into Southern Communications Centre on 0845 1 25 35 45. Within a maximum of 4 hours this information will have been input onto police databases so it can be acted upon. There is also the Crimestoppers number on 0800 555 111 – which people can report information on totally anonymously.”

This activity is all part of the forcewide Christmas Campaign Operation Shepherd, a crime reduction and community reassurance campaign that aims to tackle and prevent alcohol related crime and anti-social behaviour."

"Enjoy your Christmas but make sure it is a safe and happy one."



Please make all vulnerable and elderly residents aware that there has been three incidents of bogus officials in the Parbold and Burscough areas, but could well occurr in any part of West Lancashire.

The Offenders have targetted elderly persons living alone, with the excuses of looking for a lost dog and trying to gain entry into the house by stating they where from United Utilities. Once inside the house they have searched rooms and stolen any cash they can find.

They are described as three white males one taller than the other two. One male is in his thirties not further described. The taller of the three is of stocky build and has short blonde hair, wearing on these occassions a long sleeved pink and red striped shirt and pale blue denim jeans. The third male was wearing a dark coat. The vehicle they where in was a silver Ford Transit type vehicle with a W registration. If there are any sightings of similar described persons or vehicle acting suspiciously or you have information regarding them, please contact the Police on 0845 1253545 or Crimestoppers on 0800111555.



“It was only a matter of time” this was the comment being made by a police Sergeant today after a careless motorist had their car stolen.

Police across Southern Division are warning car owners to take more care over their car security, in an attempt to cut down on any further incidents of auto-crime over the winter months as the frosty mornings set in.

The incident that happened this morning took place at approx 7.40am at Vicarage Close in Adlington when the offender stole a black Mitsubishi warrior valued at £20,000. The aggrieved had left their car unattended with the engine switched on as it was defrosting.

Each year the police issue advice but are disappointed to see motorists making the same mistakes despite their warnings. This year they are again stressing the following messages to motorists across the division:-

  • On frosty mornings don’t leave insecure cars unattended whilst defrosting. Many motorists will start their car and leave it running with the fan turned on to help the defrosting process whilst they go inside. If you cannot garage your car overnight, either stay with it whilst the windscreen clears or cover it with a protective sheet so that the windscreen does not get frosted up.
  • Leaving the engine running whilst out of the car on a public highway is an offence known as “quitting” and this gives criminals the opportunity to take the vehicle. Quite a few people do this whilst calling into a newsagents first thing in the morning but will also leave their keys in a switched off vehicle when filling up with petrol – an open invitation to an opportunist thief.
  • Insurance companies request details of auto crimes from the police to assess each individual’s claim. These details help to establish whether the aggrieved has been contributory to the loss and ultimately whether the insurance company will pay out.
  • In the run up to Christmas do not leave valuables on display in your car and avoid leaving bags of presents on view. This also applies not only to Christmas presents but other items such as laptops and bags – if you don’t need it don’t leave it in your car.
  • Ensure your car is safe, secure and properly alarmed at all times. Leaving high powered and valuable vehicles on driveways attracts attention and incidents have happened where thieves have broken into insecure properties and stolen the keys to vehicles – these crimes have not just happened overnight. Keep your property secure and your car keys out of sight.

Sgt Warren Atkinson, Geographic Co-ordinator for the Chorley area commented, “We are in our first real cold snap of the winter and it amazed me how many people leave their vehicles running and unattended when they are defrosting. It doesn’t matter whether you leave your car for 30 seconds or 3 minutes, we have offenders that travel over from Manchester and Liverpool to specifically commit these crimes and they don’t need long to do it.

Please don't think that they won't visit your area - thieves travel everywhere to carry out these types of offences and unfortunately they are usually successful in finding what they are looking for. It is far easier for them to steal a vehicle with keys than without."

Crime Prevention advice and leaflets on vehicle security can be obtained from your local Police Station



The up-side of a very poor growing year was that the 2006 Mere Brow Giant Pumpkin Competition was one of the closest competitions ever held.

Dave Turley of Dune FM compered the weigh-in which this year was held in aid of the NSPCC. Spectators were treated to a nail biting contest which was left undecided until the very last pumpkin had been on the scales.

In the end it was James Houghton of Scarisbrick beat off all the competition to win the NFU Mutual Insurance All England Shield and the Mere Brow and District Shield with a 541lb whopper.



Because of Neglect, Arson and Vandalism, the Greaves Hall Mansion, Banks, has lost its "Grade Two" listed status and is to be demolished reports 'Lancastrian'.

Whilst Greaves Hall Mansion has been heading this way for years now evertheless many local residents will have worked there in various capacities and will recall the handcrafted fireplaces, panelling, staircases etc & have seen the "Hammer Beam" roof & minstrels gallery in the main hall, As well as recalling the lovingly maintained gardens surrounding the building in its NHS "Heyday".

Though the mansion is not as old as Bank Hall it has, sadly gone largely the same way. Does that tell us something of "Heritage" in 2006 Lancashire? - or perhaps the impotence of both WLDC, English Heritage, Lancashire County Council and our national laws to protect such buildings.

The failure to find a "Community" use for the building and to secure its future by the NHS on their leaving, seems to leave little credit on a number of groups and individuals.

Despite its long service to the community, it was cast off like an old shoe. The building [for its epitaph] is a little over 100 years old and was constructed by a branch of the Scarisbrick Family when they were the "Richest Commoners" in Britain.

I am not certain as to who the architect was, however they employed Augustus Pugin [of Palace of Westminster fame] in their other edifice in Lancashire, "Scarisbrick Hall" the quality of the workmanship being at least as good at Greaves Hall. Another northwest building by him is the R. C. Church at Cheadle.

Perhaps the best that can be hoped is that some of the contents might be "Salvaged" and carefully re-used elsewhere.



There is a trip to Alton Towers for young people aged 12 or over on Wednesday 30th August. The cost, including transport, is £15. There are a few remaining places but the consent forms and money need to be in by Friday 25th August at the latest. Transport will pick up from Banks, Hesketh Bank and Tarleton.

Why not take the opportunity to have a fun day out with friends the week before school starts again!

For further details and a consent form please ring 01772 811552



As temperatures rise Police appeal to the Public to keep properties secure.

Police across Southern Division are appealing to the public not to become complacent about home security during the hot weather. The warning comes after figures revealed that over 40% of burglaries committed this month in Southern Division are as a result of insecure premises.

Offenders are usually entering properties via insecure doors and windows with opportunist thief’s committing these “sneak in “ type burglaries.

The police are strongly urging members of the public not to be complacent with household security especially as the hot weather continues. "Even if you are in the house get into the habit of locking doors behind you and make sure they are locked at night. If you are in the garden make sure the front of your house is secure. At night close windows downstairs and if you have the facility to lock windows open do so. Also keep sheds and gates to premises locked especially at night."



Tony Blair has today added to the ongoing police merger fiasco by saying that police mergers are "not off the agenda", despite the collapse on cost grounds of the flagship Lancashire and Cumbria plan.

Earlier, the Home Office minister Tony McNulty had said "the definitive answer" to whether there will be mergers "is no".

The Home Office's plans for police force mergers had been opposed by many police forces with Lancashire and Cumbria being the only two forces actively seeking a merger.

On Monday the Chair of Lancashire Police Authority, Cllr Malcolm Doherty, said: “We feel badly let down. We have done everything in our power to get this merger to work. We now have to find other ways of dealing with the problem that Government has left us with.”

Acting Chief Constable for Lancashire Constabulary, Steve Finnigan, said: “Staff in both Cumbria and Lancashire Constabularies have worked very hard over recent months towards achieving a successful amalgamation which would be in the interests of both areas." "I share the Police Authority’s extreme disappointment. We were happy to take forward this proposal as a pathfinder and the fact that the Home Office have been unable to meet the conditions set by the Police Authority is very disappointing and a real missed opportunity."

The Lancashire and Cumbria decision is a big victory for the party's prospective parliamentary candidate for South Ribble, Lorraine Fullbrook who has consistently questioned the claims by local police chiefs that the merger would have no significant impact on council tax and that start-up costs would be manageable. She also raised concerns about the operational consequences of a merger fearing "a damaging reduction in performance, a collapse in neighbourhood policing, and a significant loss of accountability".

Lorraine said "This is a victory for commonsense. When I first challenged the Police Authority they said that I didn't know what I was talking about. Yet, I was the only person to consistently and persistently challenge all their bland and misleading promises that the proposed merger would cost nothing and would be good for the people I hope to represent in Parliament after the next election."



The Autism Initiatives new 'Supported Living Service' in Mere Brow will enjoy a grand opening on 14th July. The opening ceremony will begin at 11.00 a.m. with Lord Lilford officially opening the service.

The project has been developed following a donation of the use of a piece of land in Mere Brow, by the organisation’s patron Lord Lilford.

The development includes four houses designed to cater for the specific sensory needs of people with ASD and will provide accommodation for up to 12 people.

The project also has two workshops situated on the land providing instruction in horticulture, ceramics and art. Local residents are invited to view the facilities on the 14th July between 2.00 pm and 4.00 pm.

Autism Initiatives UK was established in 1971 and specializes in the provision of services to those affected by Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The organizations head office is in Liverpool and provides services in England, Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

For more information visit



ScottishPower announces price rises for all customers in spite of £805m profit announcement less than a month ago:

Only weeks after ScottishPower announced a massive 39% increase in operating profits the energy giant has become the first major supplier to announce a second round of energy price increases in 2006. The timing of these announcements will evoke little sympathy or understanding from ScottishPower’s 5.25 million customers who will be hit by significant bill increases of £90 for gas and £35 for electricity and who will see their annual bills soar from £858 to £983.

  • 17% increase in gas prices and 10% for electricity from 10th July 2006
  • Sixth hike in gas prices, totalling 84% by ScottishPower since 2004
  • Customers to pay an extra £125 a year for energy bills, taking the average energy bill to £983


2006 Mere Brow Giant Pumpkin Competition

A competition to beat the record for the heaviest pumpkin was officially launched today at Tarleton High School.

Pupils from the High School and Tarleton Holy Trinity Primary School planted their pumpkin seeds under the watchful eye of competition organiser Trevor Wilson.

The Mere Brow Giant Pumpkin Competition has become an institution in the North West with competitors from the small agricultural village and its surrounds using fair means - and occasionally foul - to attempt to grow the heaviest pumpkin.

Last year's winning pumpkin was a massive 702lbs and the year before the winner was a staggering 912lbs which shattered the UK heaviest pumpkin record. This year the competition organisers are joining forces with the NSPCC and throwing down the gauntlet to children across the country, challenging youngsters to get involved and raise money for the children's charity at the same time.

Trevor Wilson of Mere Brow, said: " This is the twelfth annual Mere Brow Giant Pumpkin Competition and it promises to be the most competitive yet as we have decided to this year include prize money to the competition winners"

"People living within a ten mile radius of Mere Brow can compete for the Mere Brow & District Shield, but anyone can enter the All England Shield competition.

"The variety of pumpkin we encourage people to grow are 'Atlantic Giants' and they grow so fast you can virtually watch it happening. Some people take the competition very seriously and keep the location of their pumpkin a closely guarded secret. Giant Pumpkin growers will often try all sorts of weird and wonderful techniques to get an edge over their fellow competitors - last year one competitor fed his pumpkin just Guinness directly from the barrel. It didn't win but it grew well!"

"This year we wanted to get more children involved; it is fantastic for children because the pumpkins grow so fast it holds their interest and the rate of growth can be almost magical. We contacted the NSPCC because we wanted children to benefit all ways round" Trevor said.

Hazel Russel, Community Appeals Manager for the NSPCC in Lancashire, said "We are really grateful that the competition organisers thought of the NSPCC. The proceeds will make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable children."

For details of how to enter the competition and tips on growing your pumpkin log on to the competition website at

Mere Brow Giant Pumpkins | NSPCC



Wanted – groups of friends at breaking point for new television programme.

Channel 4 are looking for local people for new reality tv show

With Friends Like These…

Channel 4 is currently looking for people to take part in a brand new primetime series.

Is one of your friends or work colleagues just a little too assertive, too opinionated and too controlling? Is this person making you and your other friends’ lives a misery? Do you often find yourself saying, “I can’t believe she just said that / did that!” Are you at breaking point?

This new programme will take this individual, put them through their paces and show them how their over-domineering traits can be turned into an asset – hopefully making your group a happier place for everyone.

You can nominate someone individually or as a group and will be as much a part of the programme as the nominee.

To find out more, please contact: or call 020 7307 2720. All emails and calls are confidential and no commitment is necessary at this stage.



Chief Superintendent Irene Curtis has taken over as the new Divisional Commander for Southern Division of Lancashire Constabulary. Chief Superintendent Chris Weigh who held the position prior to Mrs Curtis has now moved to HQ at Hutton where he will lead the team in charge of the amalgamation of Cumbria and Lancashire Constabularies.

On her arrival within the Division Chief Superintendent Curtis commented, “I am delighted to have been appointed to this position and I am thoroughly looking forward to working in this division. Mr Weigh leaves the Division in excellent shape and I am determined to build upon his considerable successes.”



Latest price rise makes the average household energy bills for British Gas customers leap 66% from £606 to £1005 since start of 2004.

British Gas has today announced a record price hike since privatisation - its fourth price rise since 2004, and its second in six months. It has increased gas prices by 22% and electricity prices by 22% for its customers. The increases will add £1.08 billion to UK domestic gas bills, taking the average household energy bill past the £1000 mark for the first time ever.

The announcement comes as no surprise as Centrica, British Gas’ parent company, had already stated that its pricing policy for 2006 would be to pass on the full cost of wholesale increases to its customers. However, like all major energy suppliers, British Gas’ trading policy on the wholesale gas market should have insulated them from the worst of the effects of the drastic price increases seen this winter.

The continuing cost of loyalty for the average British Gas customer is now a staggering £374. In spite of the fact that prior to this announcement the company had already raised its gas prices by 36% since 2004, half of all UK households still haven’t switched to another supplier, according to independent comparison and switching service uSwitch.

Alan Tattersall, Director of Home Services at, comments: “This is one of the biggest social scandals in recent memory. It is misleading for British Gas to hide behind wholesale gas prices as the reason for these latest increases. Even before this latest round of energy price rise announcements British Gas charged their customers on average 12.5% more for gas than their main competitors. The volatility of the wholesale gas market affects all other gas and electricity suppliers, and yet British Gas is now 25% more expensive than other suppliers’ standard tariffs, and 37% more expensive than the average cheapest tariff.
“The alarming fact is that there are still over 11 million gas customers who are prepared to pay the premium rates now being charged by British Gas. We would urge consumers to shop around for the best deals.”

Click here for independent energy price comparison - See how much you will save!



Competition organiser Trevor Wilson with Susan and Edwin Miller of the Do It Yourself Centre. The DIY Centre have been long standing sponsors of the Mere Brow Giant Pumpkin Competition.

Mere Brow Giant Pumpkin Competition organiser Trevor Wilson was pleased to announce that the 2005 competition raised a total of £763 for the North West Air Ambulance.

The money was raised from the entry fees, stalls and raffle at the fiercely contested annual event. "I would like to thank all the contestants, supporters and helpers who have again helped us raise so much for charity" said Trevor.

Trevor also announced some changes to this year's competition: "The nominated charity for the 2006 will be the NSPCC and we hope that this will help encourage many more younger growers to participate, either through their schools or as individuals. The other change is that for the first time in the history of the competition we will be offering cash prizes for the heaviest pumpkins grown. We would like to take this opportunity to thank agricultural services company CAS Ltd of Halsall who have kindly donated the prize money."

Click here for details of the 2006 competition



Lorraine Fullbrook, who hopes to represent Rufford, Banks, Tarleton, Hesketh Bank, Mawdesley and Eccleston at Westminster for the South Ribble constituency after the next general election, has challenged The Lancashire Police Authority to re-run it’s recent consultation on the merger of Lancashire Police with other forces, which she believes is fundamentally flawed.

Mrs Fullbrook believes that the merger is being pushed through without local people being given a say on retaining Lancashire as a stand-alone force. She also believes that the impact of a merger is not being properly explained to local residents. In particular the impact a merger may have on local jobs, council tax and the future of the Lancashire Police Head Quarters at Hutton.

In a letter to the Chairman of the Lancashire Police Authority Lorraine says..

Dear Mr Doherty,


I am writing to ask that you re-run the so-called consultation that your authority has recently undertaken in relation to the possible merging of Lancashire Police with other forces. You claim to be seeking the views of the people of Lancashire and yet your consultation is fundamentally flawed.

Whilst many other forces and Police Authorities are opposing any merger as not in the best interests of local policing and local peoples needs, your survey fails to offer the status quo as an option. Is it any wonder that those asked overwhelming backed the least worst option you offered them i.e. a merger with Cumbria?

Merging is not a definite outcome of the process that is currently underway. Yet you seem to have pre-determined the outcome by deciding to deprive local people of the chance of supporting Lancashire as a stand-alone force.
Like many people, I believe that merging would be an expensive exercise costing millions of pounds, and yet the Government has said it will not be making any additional funding available so the burden is likely to fall to the council tax payer, and start up costs being met from existing police budgets.
What is more, implementing a merger will no doubt distract police officers and staff from their day job of delivering a quality policing service for the residents Lancashire. The result will be a bigger force with less local accountability.
You seem determined to ignore these concerns, along with the obvious threat that a merger poses to the future of Hutton as the location of a merged force Headquarters. As you will understand this is a matter of particular concern to me, both regarding jobs that may be lost and the future use the site may be put to.
Lancashire is one of the country’s top performing forces and its officers do a tremendous job, however your determination to merge and by doing so to put jobs and resources at risk does the police officers and civilian staff no justice.
If you really wanted to know the views of local people, you would re-contact those who answered your consultation and ask them one simple question.
“The Government wishes to merge Lancashire Police into a Regional Police Force – this puts the future of Hutton in question; will require cuts in police jobs and service and will see the police precept of your council tax rise by around 12% - are you for or against such a merger?”
I would be grateful if you could consider this, and let me know as soon as possible if you are prepared to do so.
Yours Sincerely,

Lorraine Fullbrook
Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman for the South Ribble Constituency



Local Conservative Spokesman Lorraine Fullbrook has taken the Ormskirk Advertisers' campaign against local hospital Trust mergers to the top.

She has called on Patricia Hewitt the Secretary of State for Health to intervene to ensure Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust is not swallowed up in a merger with Merseyside Trusts.

In a letter she had hand delivered to the Secretary of State on Monday, Lorraine said;

Dear Secretary of State,

Re: Safeguarding the Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust

As the Conservative Parliamentary Spokesmen for the South Ribble constituency, I am writing to draw your attention to the campaign currently being run against the possible merger of Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust with hospital Trusts on Merseyside.

The Campaign is being run by the Ormskirk Advertiser Newspaper and has cross Party support from many local people including, myself, my Conservative colleague Mark Bigley and both Rosie Cooper MP and John Pugh MP.

It is clear that an overwhelming majority of local people share my concern that this proposed merger is nothing other than a cost saving measure, and will do nothing to enhance the service provided to local people. I would be grateful if you could look closely at this issue, which matters greatly to the people living in villages such Tarleton, Banks, Hesketh Banks, Rufford, Eccleston and Mawdesley, all of whom will be directly and I believe adversely affected by any merger of their local Hospital Trust with Trusts in Liverpool.

I am saddened that you could even consider merging our local Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust with those in Liverpool. I realise your Government seems hell bent on merging everything from our Police Force to our Councils and now our Hospital Trusts.

This is not in the best interests of local people and I urge you to make it clear that you will use the powers at your disposal to ensure the survival of our local Trust delivering health services in our local area.

Lorraine Fullbrook
Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman for South Ribble



Amadeus, the 6 year old brown and white Leonberger x Bernese Mountain cross breed was today reunited with his owner.

The extensive poster campain and media coverage (2005 News Archive 29/12/05) has led to many people reporting sightings and allowed the search party to track his movements throughout the villages of West Lancashire.

A telephone call this morning pin-pointed him in a field and a team of 15 people were mustered to close the net and catch him. After over 7 weeks of being "on the run" he was described as being fit and well.



Southern Division’s Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) Team have taken delivery of five new motorbikes in their fight against crime.

The ANPR team, which consists of one Police Sergeant and six Police Constables will now be using the latest BMW RS 120cc sports motorcycles to police the highways of the division. The team also use a covert vehicle and high performance Vauxhall Vectra with all officers trained to the highest level of police advanced driving techniques.

The ANPR system identifies suspect vehicles that may have been stolen and may be driven by offenders. When a vehicle is identified officers stop the vehicle and speak to the driver and occupants. The information contained about the vehicle on the intelligence system provides the officers with the necessary edge that allows them to deal with suspects more efficiently. The device is able to monitor traffic flows on even the busiest roads and even in the heaviest of traffic, can read every passing registration plate to pick out those worthy of police attention.

Sergeant Steve Moon who is in charge of the ANPR team commented,” In the last year the team have been responsible for the arrest of 212 persons for crime and kindred offences. They have recovered numerous stolen vehicles and property and large quantities of class ‘A’ drugs. The use of this technology provides us with a really efficient method of policing the Division’s Roads.”


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