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Mere Brow Village News Archive 2007


Operation Cold Start – Keys to 17 vehicles returned to owners!

Officers across Southern Division are being ably assisted by the Constabulary’s Air Support Unit in an initiative to prevent cars being stolen on cold frosty mornings.

Operation Cold Start which is being carried out during the winter months, specifically targets areas in the Division where unattended vehicles have been stolen. The thefts have occurred when cars have been left running with the keys in the ignition by their owners to defrost on cold frosty mornings.

The police helicopter has been helping by flying over those areas where these thefts are known to happen and on some occasions pinpointing those vehicles that are left running unattended.

Yesterday morning (Monday 17th December) Operation Cold Start took place across the Chorley area and 17 vehicles were spotted as being unattended and left running on driveways.

PC Gareth Dixon who is a dog handler at HQ used his local knowledge to patrol the areas of Parbold, Appley Bridge and Eccleston and spotted these vehicles. The majority of cars were found in Eccleston followed by Parbold and then Appley Bridge and amongst those cars left unattended were a BMW X5, Golf GTI and a Volvo S70. On each occasion PC Dixon turned the vehicles off and knocked on the door of properties to return the keys and offer crime prevention advice.

PC Dixon commented,” Despite the numerous warnings about this kind of activity people are still continuing to leave their cars in this state. Most people I spoke to were appreciative about the advice but others were not as receptive – perhaps they were embarrassed about what they had done.”

Officers in Bamber Bridge have also being carrying out this Operation particularly on the Holland House estate which has had vehicles stolen from in the past.

Officers have been patrolling the estate on frosty mornings, offering crime prevention advice and providing a visible presence in the hope of deterring thieves who actively seek such vehicles to steal on cold mornings. Several owners have been spoken to and have thanked the police for the advice offered. It should also be noted that owner’s car Insurance can be invalidated in such circumstances.



Police in West Lancashire appeal for information after Burglary at Hesketh Bank

Police in West Lancashire are appealing for information after a Burglary took place on Chapel Road at approx 4.48am on Saturday 8th December.

The three occupants who were in the kitchen at the time were confronted by three males wearing balaclavas, who had gained entry to the property via an insecure door and who were armed with a handgun and a hammer.

The males threatened the occupants and demanded money from them. Two of the occupants were assaulted by the males, with one being struck on the head with the handgun and the other being punched in the face and hit on the knee with a hammer. The female occupant was threatened but not injured. The offenders then made off from the scene without any money or property in a maroon Astra.

It is believed that all three offenders were male with one speaking with a Liverpool accent and the other two with Manchester accents. One offender was described as being 6ft wearing a black tracksuit.

DS Greg Carlton commented, “ The occupants of the property were very shaken up by this incident with two of them receiving injuries. If anyone saw the offenders making from the property or anything suspicious I would urge them to get in touch.”

Anyone with any information can contact Ormskirk CID on 01695 566441 or via Southern Communications Centre on 0845 1 25 35 45. Information can also be given about crime anonymously by telephoning Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.



As part of "Operation Shepherd", Police in Southern Division will be issuing advice and carrying out various initiatives to make sure people stay safe this Christmas.

This comes as part of a countywide crackdown on Christmas crime. Operation Shepherd which is currently running throughout Lancashire which seeks to reduce crime and disorder as well as alcohol related crime over the Christmas period.

Chief Inspector Dave Robinson commented,” Throughout December and over the Christmas period alcohol related incidents and crimes traditionally increase. In particular increases are seen in violent crime, antisocial behaviour and disorder, criminal damage, domestic violence and drink driving.

In Southern Division the detection rates for violence are at an all time high, with over 60% of all violent crime being detected with offenders being brought to justice and dealt with either by caution or through the courts. Throughout the Christmas period this should act as a warning to those who cause violence that they can expect to be caught and face the consequences. “

As part of Operation Shepherd, Southern Division’s Neighbourhood Policing Teams will be highly visible in and around the town centres cracking down on all Town Centre crime both in the daytime and at night.

Police have and will be issuing crime prevention advice in the weeks leading up to Christmas to help people avoid falling victim to thieves:-

  • Always close car windows and the sunroof and lock the doors, activating any security devices when leaving your car unattended.
  • Park with care, particularly at night or if you are leaving the vehicle for a long time and if possible, park in a busy, well-lit area.
  • Never leave cash, credit cards, chequebook, mobile phones, vehicle documents or other valuables in the car.
  • Don’t return to your car to drop things off, if you have to, make sure they are well hidden and always check out the area to see who may be watching (If you have no choice but to do so, make sure they are hidden well out of sight before you begin your journey - thieves may be watching you park!)
  • Keys - keep them safe. Never leave them in the car, even for a second - treat them as you would your cash and credit cards.
  • Make sure keys are kept in a secure place at home and at work - burglars have been known to break into houses and offices to steal car keys.

If you see anything unusual or suspicious, call the police immediately on 0845 1 25 35 45. In an emergency dial 999.



Police tonight appealed for residents to be vigilant after a series of burglaries and car thefts occurred over the last few days. Banks, Mere Brow, Tarleton and Hesketh Bank have all been targeted.

Local Policeman Phil Corrigan appealed for residents to take extra care with all property, keeping doors and cars locked whenever possible and to report any suspicious activity immediately.

For non emergencies please ring the police on 0845 1253545



Tarleton High School is currently recruiting members of the general public as 'Mystery Shoppers' for the Swimming Pool and Sports Hall. The School is offering to reimburse costs in return for a short feedback report on how they are performing.

Please contact Mr Steve James for more information on 01772 817907 or email



Gerrard Wright of Tarleton took the top pumpkin honours in the Mere Brow Giant Pumpkin competition. In one of the closest competitions ever seen only 15lbs seperated the top three pumpkins. For more details visit



As Halloween and Bonfire Night approaches, Police across Southern Division have already commenced their policing operation to support the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Services Bright Sparx campaign.

The period starting in late October through to early November is often associated with an increase in juvenile related crimes and disorder, often involving fireworks.

Chief Inspector Dave Robinson who is in charge of Geographic policing for the Division commented,” This time of year usually sees a significant increase in anti-social behaviour incidents and Criminal Damage. It is the minority of people that engage in this kind of behaviour that spoil this time of year for the rest of our communities affecting their quality of life.

Traditionally this time of the year proves to be a very busy one for the police with more calls being received and more incidents to attend to. We will be working alongside our partner agencies to enforce legislation and robustly deal with those that cause trouble.

Officers are out in force to clamp down on anyone causing trouble and those that do could face fines or arrest and may possibly end up before the courts with criminal convictions that will affect the rest of their lives. Enjoy this time of year but do so sensibly, safely, and legally.”



Car users are three times more likely to die on a country road than an urban one, according to new figures from the Department for Transport.

Launching a safety campaign targeting rural drivers, the Department for Transport said there was often only one car involved in rural accidents which indicated that drivers had been tempted to push themselves or their car beyond their limits.

Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick said: "The 'national' 60mph speed limit is a maximum, not an expectation, and drivers must match their speed to the road characteristics and weather conditions they are experiencing."

The aim of the THINK! Rural Speed Campaign is to communicate to motorists that the problem isn't just speeding, but driving too fast for the conditions.

Driving inappropriately for the conditions can include:

  • Approaching a bend or junction too fast and without caution.
  • Not negotiating narrow roads properly.
  • Overtaking on an approach to a bend or where forward visibility is restricted.

Last year 97 people died on the rural roads of Lancashire.

DfT Transport Website



This is an urgent police message to everyone in Chorley, South Ribble and West Lancashire.

At around 11am on Thursday 20th Sept. bogus officials called at the home of an 87 year old lady who lives alone, and stole cash and property. There were 2 offenders who said they were working on a burst water pipe nearby and needed to run some water off from the system.One male distracted the lady while a 2nd male searched the property and stole property. One offender is described as a white male, aged 40-50 yrs, 5`6" tall, stocky build with strong Irish accent. He had short dark brown hair and was wearing a grey double-breated suit jacket and gloves. We have no description of the 2nd offender.

PLEASE NOTE that they were using the following vehicle which is wanted by Police in connection to other burgaries acropss the North West. The vehicle is a grey or silver VW Golf reg no. YE56 LVL these are false plates. Any sightings of this vehicle should be reported to the Police immediately.



Received 13:22 22nd August:
Information has been received from Tradings Standards in Merseyside, regarding the poor trading practices of 2 companies currently operating in this area. They cold call on elderley residents offering to
carry out property maintenance. The work is of poor quality, unecessary and extortionate prices are then charged. If challenged the workmen become aggressive. These companies trade under the names of Eaves Protector and Top Notch Tree Care.

Please note the following 2 vehicles used by these companies:-
(1) White Mercedes Vito BF53 VWK
(2) White Transit Van PY04 VDG

Trading Standards advise you not to trade with either of these companies. If you have any contact from them please contact Tradings Stds service on 0151-443-4744. If you need any advice the Consumer helpline is 08454-040506.



Received 4pm 14th August:
This is a message to everyone in the West Lancashire area. There has been a crime trend recently when high value cars have been stolen from driveways of houses. This trend is not unfamiliar and has occurred from time to time in different areas of West Lancashire. The latest cars have all been stolen from the Appley Bridge area but these offenders will target anywhere where they see high value cars parked on driveways. The Police are asking any owners of high value vehicles to park them in a garage where possible, or behind locked gates or barriers. Do not leave keys on show near doors and windows and do not leave valuables in your vehicles. These offenders will drive through an area on more than one occasion to identify the cars they want to steal so please be extra vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the Police immediately.


Police Appeal for information after Burglary at Post Office

Police in West Lancashire are appealing for information after a Post Office on Church Road in Banks was burgled.

The incident happened at 01.13 hours on Friday 27th July when the offenders forced their entry into the premises and into the rear post office counter area. It is believed that the offenders were disturbed by the alarm activating before leaving the premises with an amount of cash.

A male wearing dark clothing was seen at the front of the property at the time of the incident.

Local police are appealing for anyone that was in the area at the time or may have seen anyone acting suspiciously to get in contact with them.

Anyone with any information can contact Ormskirk CID on 01695 566443 or via Southern Communications Centre on 0845 1 25 35 45. Information can also be given about crime anonymously by telephoning Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.



Please can you advertise my dog as lost. His name is Louis and he is a little white Bichon Fris. He is missing from Chapel Lane in Banks as of yesterday afternoon 25.06.07. There is a reward for his return and my children are beside themselves with worry. Any information good or bad would be appreciated.
F Mohan
01772 816414



This is an urgent message to everyone in the West Lancashire area. Earlier this month we issued a warning about a team of bogus officials claiming to be from the Water Board who were targeting the homes of elderly residents to steal cash. Yesterday there were a further 3 incidents where this team conned their way into the homes of elderly people in Burscough and Tarleton and stole significant amounts of cash. There are 2 men both are white males, one with an Irish accent. They can be smartly dressed or wearing boiler suits.

Please do not let anyone into your home that you do not know. If they say they are from an official organisation, do not let them in but ask them to call back. You should then phone the organisation they claim to be from and check whether they have people working in the area. If you are at all suspicious please notify the Police immediately.



Latest from the Crime Prevention unit at Skemersdale:
This is an urgent warning message for all Neighbourhood Watch members in the West Lancs, Chorely and Leyland areas. Over the past 2 days there have been 4 distraction burglaries where a man has conned his way into the homes of elderly people and stolen a considerable sum of money.

He has committed offences in Ormskirk, Burscough, Rufford and Much Hoole but could operate anywhere. Up to now the man has claimed to be from the Waterboard but he could use any excuse.

At one incident he was dressed in a blue boiler suit but at another he was more smartly dressed wearing a white shirt and dark trousers. Please be on the look-out for this man who is described a s a white male about 5`6" tall. (No further details). Please make your neighbours aware of these incidents. Remember - Do NOT let anyone into your home who you do not know. If you are at all suspicious please contact the Police immediately.



Lancashire Pub Walks

Local author Ron Freethy launches his latest book tomorrow - a pocket sized collection of circular walks in Lancashire. Each of the fifteen walks in the book is based on a local pub serving good food.

It includes routes near Carnforth, Garstang, Blackburn, Bury, Southport and Oldham, with maps and photographs. The book costs £5.99 and is available from local book sellers and online at Amazon.



POLICE have announced that they have now found fifteen year old Chloe McGuinness safe and well.



POLICE in Ormskirk are becoming increasingly concerned for the safety of a missing female.
Chloe McGuinness missing

Fifteen year old Chloe McGuinness is from The Green Lane in Burscough and was last seen by her mother as she went to bed last night (Wednesday 18th April). When her mother went to wake her this morning at 06.40hrs she was not in her bed.

She is described as white, approx 5ft 5 tall with shoulder length hair with blonde and brown hi-lights and blue eyes possibly wearing pink pyjamas

Inspector Kevin Otter commented: "We are growing increasingly concerned about Chloe and where she is. She is a vulnerable female and has gone missing before. We would urge Chloe to get in contact with the police or her family to let us know she is ok. We would also appeal to members of the public with any information as to her whereabouts to contact the police as soon as possible.”

Anyone with any information is urged to contact their local police station or ring Southern Communications Centre on 0845 1 25 35 45.


This is a message for everyone within the Tarleton, Banks, Mere Brow and Hesketh Bank area. Over the past week there have been a number of thefts of bikes within this area. The bikes stolen are motor-cross bikes and quad bikes.

For these bikes to be stolen will require a transit-size van. The police are asking everyone to be vigilant for any suspicious activity around premises where these type of bikes are housed.

Please inform any of your neighbours who have these bikes of these incidents and remind them to review their security. The Police are particularly keen to obtain the registration numbers of any vehicles used in these offences. If you see anything suspicious please inform the Police immediately.



On Thursday 8th Feb at 17.16hrs at Wellcross Road, Upholland, two men called at elderly ladies house saying there was damage to a water pipe and they would have to seal off the water. There was a people carrier outside the house with approx 5 further men inside. The two offenders entered the house and went into each room asking the lady to turn the water on and off. The lady has become suspicious and rung her neighbour when the men have disappeared out of her house saying they would return in 15 minutes. After they had left the lady noticed that draws and cupboards had been opened. Offenders were described as one being skinny and one being stocky, wearing denim jackets and have left the scene in a dark couloured people carrier style vehicle. No property was stolen on this occasion.

On Monday 5th February at approx 16.00hrs an elderly lady in Collingwood Road in Chorley had a sum of money stolen by a male posing as a bogus workman. He held a conversation with the lady before asking her to come to the door where she let him in. The offender requested the lady to remove valuables to a safe place due to a building work inspection. He then went upsatairs returning to the lounge where the aggrieved had placed her valuables on the sofa. He then distracted the lady stole the items and made from the house. The offender os described as a white male, clean shaven, with short dark brown hair in his late 20's eary 30's wearing a dark coloured jacket.

A property on Arcon Road in Coppull was targeted at approx 13.30hrs on Wednesday 7th February when two males called at the property saying they were from Enterprise. They had entered via the entry door system which was unlocked and entered the lady's kitchen. The offenders were described as one was Irish with a dark anorak and jeans on in his 20's and the second male had a brown jacket on and was middle aged.

The fourth incident took place at The Fields in Eccleston between 17.00hrs and 17.30hrs yesterday - Thursday 8th February. Three offenders posing as water board employees have called at the aggrieved's premises. One offender has gone into the kitchen with the aggrieved to test the water whilst the other two have entered the living room. The lady has walked back into the living room and challenged the two males - the first male has entered the room and grabbed the aggrieved's wrists before pushing her into a chair and threatening her before making off with cash. The offenders were described as looking like teenagers, one of them is described as being about 15 with dark coloured hair betwenn 5ft and 5ft 10 tall, clear complexion weraing a bluey coloured uniform - looked smart and clean looking with local accent.

Anyone with any information in relation to any of these incidents should call call Southern Communications Centre on 0845 1 25 35 45 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111



Report from West Lancs District Councillor James Kay:-
At a Lancashire County Council meeting yesterday at which local Councillors Malcolm Barron and William Cropper were present it was agreed that no closures of any re-cycling facilities will take place in the County area until a full review of all the facilities in the whole County takes place. It would appear that the Labour controlled County Council have given in slightly to the pressure from Conservative councillors at both County and District level. It does not mean that this facility will never close but Conservative councillors will be keeping a watchful eye on the situation.

LCC councillor Malcom Barron spoke at the County Hall meeting saying that there were 8 centres that handled less waste than Rufford which deals with 4,700 tonnes, 63% recycled and 75% of this re used He invited members to visit the site. He added "Residents in his area were horrified at the proposal. If the centre is closed they would have to travel to Burscough which is heavily congested and the exit from Abbey Lane very dangerous." He also felt that would increase fly tipping possibly on the Rufford site.

Cty Cllr Atkinsons proposed that "rather than close facilities we need to have a complete review of the whole policy and look at all the centres before coming to a decision." The motion was passed unanimously.

Cllr Malcolm Barron and Cllr William Cropper welcomed the decision of the committee and expressed gratitude for the support Cllr Francis Williams who had also spoken about the difficulties of access to the Burscough site. Malcolm added "Common sense prevailed and that the motion had all party support."

Have your say on the Letters Page



The green policy of Lancashire County Council is being challenged as a result of its proposal to shut 3 of its 23 Household Waste Recycling Centres as part of a cost cutting initiative. The top performing facility at Rufford is one of the three sites being targeted for closure.

The Council has a statutory obligation to provide these facilities under the Environment Protection Act which stipulates that 'places be provided at which persons resident in area may deposit their household waste and that facilities should be reasonably accessible to persons living in the area'. Residents of Tarleton, Hesketh Bank, North Meols and Rufford will be expected to travel to the Abbey Road facility located on the far side of Burscough. Estimates indicate that even if each resident only makes only one trip a year, the additional car miles incurred will be approach 100,000 per annum.

Malcolm Barron, Lancashire County Councillor for West Lancashire North, told this website "I am totally opposed to this closure proposed by the Labour Controlled County Council. We are all urged to respect the environment and this retrograde proposal is a clear breach of the councils supposed green policy, taken in order to save a reputed £330k.

Rufford waste recycling centre is a much used facility and its closure will only increase fly tipping. The alternative site involves traveling through the already heavily congested Burscough. I and the other Conservatives on the 'West Lancs Local' oppose this measure and a motion was passed accordingly.

We are supposed to be moving into an enhanced two tier system of local government and West Lancs Local is an integral part. The leader of the council, Hazel Harding, has stressed her commitment to this. Is this proposal at such an early stage an example of how the council means to respect the new arrangements?"

Cllr John Baldock, Portfolio Holder for Recycling on West Lancashire District Council added "The closure of this waste reception centre is down to the Labour controlled County Council. Myself and other councillors of West Lancs District Council oppose this action which is due to cost cutting excercises. We need the voice of local people in the Northern Parishes to help us with our campaign to stop the closure."

The latest data available from the Council indicates that the Rufford facility was one of the top five performing recycling sites in Lancashire. The facility managed to recycle or reuse over 75% of the 4,700 tonnes of waste which was left there last year.


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