Fleetwood armed robbers get away with cash after raid on One Stop shop

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Armed robbers struck at a convenience shop in Fleetwood last night (Saturday, October 23) and made off with a full tray of cash from the till.

 

Police say two men threatened staff with weapons and demanded cash from the till after storming into the One Stop shop in Lord Street at around 9.30pm.

Frightened shop workers handed the pair a full tray of cash – around £250 – and the men made off from the scene before police arrived.

No one was injured in the robbery, but staff are said to have been ‘left shaken’ by the incident.

Police say two men threatened staff with weapons and demanded cash from the till after storming into the One Stop shop in Lord Street, Fleetwood at around 9.30pm last night (Saturday, October 23). Pic: Google

Police say two men threatened staff with weapons and demanded cash from the till after storming into the One Stop shop in Lord Street, Fleetwood at around 9.30pm last night (Saturday, October 23). Pic: Google

Lancashire Police have yet to confirm what type of weapons were used in the raid.

No arrests have been made, but the force said an investigation is under way.

Anybody with information is asked to to get in touch on 101, quoting log number 1854 of October 23.

Second incident at BetFred in Lord Street

Police were called to a second incident outside BetFred in Lord Street, Fleetwood at around 3.30am this morning (Sunday, October 24). Detectives are believed to be investigating an assault outside the betting shop, but this has yet to be confirmed

Police were called to a second incident outside BetFred in Lord Street, Fleetwood at around 3.30am this morning (Sunday, October 24). Detectives are believed to be investigating an assault outside the betting shop, but this has yet to be confirmed

Police were called to a second incident a short distance away outside BetFred in Lord Street at around 3.30am this morning (Sunday, October 24).

Lancashire Police has not provided any details at this stage, but detectives are believed to be investigating an assault outside the betting shop.

The entrance to BetFred remained cordoned off with police tape today as CSI carried out a forensic examination at the scene.

Lancashire Police has been approached for further details and we will bring you an update on this incident tomorrow (Monday, October 25).

Trams held in Blackpool after car crash in Gynn Square

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A car crashed through railings and onto the tram tracks at Gynn Square, causing disruption to services.

 

Blackpool Transport said its trams were unable to pass whilst the tramway was blocked after the crash at around 5.40am.

Bus replacements were being arranged but the scene in Gynn Square has now been cleared and reopened by police.

Has anyone in Blackpool seen Monkey?
Blackpool Transport said its trams cannot pass whilst police work at the scene of the crash, which happened at Gynn Square at around 5.40am. Pic: Google

Blackpool Transport said its trams cannot pass whilst police work at the scene of the crash, which happened at Gynn Square at around 5.40am. Pic: Google

The tram service has now resumed, but Blackpool Transport said there will be delays whilst “services get back up and running normally”.

Blackpool Transport tweeted: “There is currently a car crashed into the railings at Gynn Square and trams cannot pass the area.

“At the moment the tram service is being held until further instruction from the police we are arranging a bus replacement but it will take some time to arrange.”

Lancashire Police have been approached for details on the crash.

Other tram services cancelled

Due to an ongoing shortage in crews, Blackpool Transport added that its tram service will not be able to operate the following trips today:

14:45 Starr Gate to Fleetwood Ferry

15:48 Fleetwood Ferry to Starr Gate

18:23 Starr Gate to Little Bispham

19:04 Little Bispham to Starr Gate

19:45 Starr Gate to Fleetwood

20:48 Fleetwood to Starr Gate

A spokesman said: “We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your understanding during difficult times.”

Police statement on Preston North End fan claims of ‘appalling’ policing at Blackpool match

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Preston North End lost to Blackpool 2-0 in the first West Lancashire derby in eight years

 

Mounted police following the Blackpool vs Preston North End game
Mounted police following the Blackpool vs Preston North End game (Image: BPL Bible / LancsLive)

One of Lancashire’s top police officers has responded to claims of ‘appalling’ policing following Saturday’s West Lancashire derby between Blackpool and Preston North End.

North End lost 2-0 at Bloomfield in what was the first meeting of the two clubs in eight years.

And while the display on the pitch was poor in the eyes of Lilywhites’ supporters, the same insinuation was labelled towards actions of Lancashire Constabulary officers policing fans outside of the stadium.

Some fans also lamented entering the ground late due to the coaches drop-off point.

Others then hit out at policing outside Bloomfield after the match.

Dozens of supporters took to social media saying North End fans were ‘penned in streets’ before being ‘released straight into areas with Blackpool fans with no police in sight’.

One fan said: “It was a shambles. They did more to put us in danger than to protect us. They didn’t notice the flares, and sent us right into the opposition fans. They were more of a detriment than a help.”

This afternoon (October 24), Assistant Chief Constable Pete Lawson said “having robust resources in place ensured this was prevented before, during and after the game”.

Policing in Blackpool after Saturday's match
Policing in Blackpool after Saturday’s match

ACC Lawson added that “our actions were carefully planned and decisions such as these were taken to ensure that those people who were intent on causing trouble were unable to come into contact with other similar groups or individuals”.

Officers are now assessing any incidents from yesterday’s game before taking action.

The full statement from ACC Lawson reads: “Planning for the game had been taking place for several weeks and as always the priority throughout was the safety of those attending.

“We appreciate that the majority of people simply want to enjoy their day and have no interest in causing trouble. However there was a minority of supporters who were actively looking for opportunities to start violent confrontations with opposing fans, but thankfully having robust resources in place ensured this was prevented before, during and after the game.

“We appreciate that many people may have felt inconvenienced by aspects of the operation – being directed to take a slightly longer route back to their car park, for example. However we wish to make clear that our actions were carefully planned and decisions such as these were taken to ensure that those people who were intent on causing trouble were unable to come into contact with other similar groups or individuals, which would also have put innocent members of the public at risk.

“We would like to thank supporters for their understanding. Although a minority of people attended without peaceful intentions, the operation finished with no injuries and only a small number of arrests for alcohol-related and public order offences.

“We now plan to look into those isolated incidents of disorder and will deal with those involved over the coming days and weeks.”

 

 

Starbucks coffee shop plan revealed for Blackpool Odeon site

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Development at a Blackpool leisure park looks set to be kickstarted after plans were revealed for a Starbucks drive-thru coffee shop on the site.

 

Preston-based company Austringer Capital Ltd has applied for planning permission for the scheme at the 8.5 acre Festival Leisure Park on Rigby Road.

The outlet – set to be the third new Starbucks in the south side of Blackpool – would be built next to the existing Frankie and Benny’s restaurant on land currently used for parking.

Other tenants on the site include the Odeon Cinema, Bannatyne’s Gym and a Macdonalds restaurant.

Festival Leisure Park

Festival Leisure Park

Construction work stopped on a £7m new Club 3000 bingo hall last year but is expected to resume.

It was granted planning permission on appeal in 2019 along with a drive-thru restaurant, after the council had refused the application.

But the latest blueprint is seeking permission for detailed designs related to the Starbucks brand, and amendments to the car park and circulation routes.

A new vehicle entrance to the site is set to be built from Rigby Road and if the latest development goes ahead, it will mean the total number of parking spaces on the site is 497 compared to the original number of 604.

Building work at Festival Leisure Park

Building work at Festival Leisure Park

A design brief accompanying the application says: “The proposal is to provide a new Starbucks drive thru building with surrounding car park and access road around the building, designed in line with the brand standards.

“The application also incorporates redesign of the surrounding car park to serve the new building and to improve the existing circulation around the site, including access for delivery vehicles.”

A Starbucks drive-thru recently opened at Morrison’s on Squires Gate Lane, while planning permission was granted earlier this month for a Starbucks drive-thru in the Asda car park on Cherry Tree Road in Marton.

Town hall planners will now consider the latest application.

 

 

Long stay car park approved for Blackpool Pleasure Beach following demolition of two hotels

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A long stay car park for the members of the public and Blackpool Pleasure Beach staff will be built on the corner of Bond Street and Osborne Road following the demolition of two former hotels there.

Designs submitted for the new car park

Designs submitted for the new car park

The two three-storey buildings, including the old Argosy Hotel, will be flattened to make way for the 31-space car park by contractors from Blackpool Demolition Ltd over a period of four months.

The project will be split into four one month-long phases, the first being preliminary works, followed by two phases of methodology during and after demolition, and an assessment of potential risks.

Vehicular access to the new car park will be from Osborne Road, with parkingcontrolled by a pay and display machine and automatic barrier. A wall will be built along the shared boundary with the adjacent property, along with a low railing going around the site.

Designs submitted for the new car park

Designs submitted for the new car park

Councillor Tony Williams did not object to the plans, but submitted his hopes that the flow to the site might incorporate Bond Street, ‘which is in dire need of some footfall and investment’ and that ‘a busier traffic and people presence might give it the lift it needs’.

In response, the applicant said: “If the car park is attractively priced it will be well used and do what the Councillor wants. Pedestrian gaps in the knee rail fence would influence pedestrian routes more than where the cars go in and out, and the amended plan shows a pedestrian gap to the Bond Street frontage. The car park is long stay, however, it might encourage users to venture down Bond Street to the shops.”

Three objections were raised by neighbours, who complained the plans were too close to the junction with Bond Street, that vehicle fumes would impact on the environment, that visitors would not use it and would instead seek out free parking, and that vehicles entering and leaving the car park would cause accidents.

They also complained that ‘the road is sinking due to heavy traffic delivering to the Velvet Coaster and Travelodge‘ , and that Osborne Road residents would be impacted by noise from the demolition work.

Where the approved car park will be built

Where the approved car park will be built

However, a planning officer said: “Although it would not be reasonable to prevent demolition during the season, the Pleasure Beach would not want it to affect their own business, so I do not have concerns around disruptions to the neighbourhood. In any event, any road closures would need to be agreed in advance with the council’s highway officers.”

 

 

‘Appalling’ – Preston North End fans react to policing after Blackpool derby fixture

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Gary Madine and Keshi Anderson scored the goals on Saturday at Bloomfield Road

 

Policing in Blackpool after Saturday's match
Policing in Blackpool after Saturday’s match

Preston North End supporters were left disgusted by the post-match policing after watching their side lose Saturday’s West Lancashire derby.

The Lilywhites were beaten 2-0 at Bloomfield Road as Blackpool scored in each half through Keshi Anderson and then Gary Madine.

Some supporters had entered the ground late due to the coaches drop-off point and the experience after the game wasn’t much better.

On Facebook:

Anthony said: ‘It was shambolic. Should have kept us in ground and dispersed there fans but no made it confrontational by penning us in streets and then release us straight into there fans with no copper in sight. Someone should be accountable for that

Jordan said: It was a shambles. They did more to put us in danger than to protect us. They didn’t notice the flares, and sent us right into the opposition fans. They were more of a detriment than a help.

Stacey said: The police were the problem. The decision to direct the fans towards each other was appalling. No police anywhere when flares were being thrown.

Emily said: Especially before the game, it was a mess. I’ve never experienced an away game so badly policed. The fact that supporters on the coaches missed KO because the police sent them away while they dealt with issues that shouldn’t have happened. The whole thing was a mess. A game of this scale needed much, MUCH, better planning and prep than there appeared to be today. Shocking. I was worried for those with children, it must’ve been terrifying for them.

Robert said: I felt safe but if I had a child or older relative with me I would have been concerned for them. Police acted in a far worse way than Blackpool fans and actually directed rival fans to each other.

Mark said: We were treated like animals leaving the auction ring. Penned in with Police vans and them blocking the road to us with no clear direction.

On Twitter:

@weeden_sam: Terrible decision at the end to let the preston fans down this alley way that met with the Blackpool at the top. Horrendous policing.

@Wayne_Charnley: Awful. Told to go one way then screamed at by officers at where we were told to walk to. Some officers saying that I hadn’t received directions from up above. Absolute shambles. Managed to get through a gap and had to lie to the police so I could make sure my son was safe.

@Crozzers84: Some of the worst policing I’ve seen at an away game. All coppers very pleasant but the organisation was beyond terrible. Walked the long way to the away end, after much debate, and it took us about 10 minutes to get in. At which point it was about 3:10pm.

@Northender33: Absolutely not. . Had my phone ragged out of my hand and lobbed across the car park right in front of the police. I’m a 44 year old woman with my son, and he got pushed back for retaliating when the coppers did nothing.

@AdamSalisbury1: Absolutely appalling policing.

 

 

Covid cases: Fresh ‘wake up call’ as rates jump in Wyre, Fylde and Blackpool

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Lancashire County Council’s public health boss has called on residents to “wake up” and take the basic precautions needed to help stem a steep rise in Covid cases.

 

Dr. Sakthi Karunanithi made the appeal as the latest figures show that cases across the county’s 14 council areas increased by an average of 20 percent in the space of a week, according to analysis of government data by the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Wyre had the highest overall case rate in the week to 15th October, rising by 38 percent compared to the seven-day rolling figure for the district a week earlier. Blackpool was fourth on the same measure, with its case numbers up by 18 percent, while in Fylde confirmed infections went up by 30 percent.

Lancashire as a whole recorded 7,157 positive tests over that period, the latest date for which validated statistics are available.

Dr. Sakthi Karunanithi has issued a clarion call over rising Covid case rates

Dr. Sakthi Karunanithi has issued a clarion call over rising Covid case rates

In the majority of districts Lancashire-wide, case rates were highest in the 10-14-year-old age group, exceeding 2,000 cases per 100,000 of that section of the population in four areas, including Wyre. The rate was above 1,000 in Fylde and Blackpool.

Fylde was also one of only three districts where the case rate was over 1,000 per 100,000 in the 15-19-year-old bracket as well.

The Lancashire County Council and Blackpool Council areas both exceeded the England case rate average of 447.9 in the week to 15th October, at 486.2 and 535.5 respectively.

Against that backdrop Dr. Karunanithi, who is responsible for public health in Wyre and Fylde, urged residents with an outstanding invite for a booster vaccine – or even a first or second jab – to take it up as soon as possible.

However, he warned that jabs alone would not be sufficient preparation for what he predicted will be a “difficult winter” ahead.

Dr. Karunanithi was speaking just before the health secretary, Sajid Javid, announced at a Downing Street briefing on Wednesday afternoon that the government would not yet be enacting its “plan B” for tackling the pandemic, in spite of warning that Covid cases nationally could hit 100,000 per day.

Plan B would see the introduction of vaccine passports for entry to certain settings, the reintroduction of mandatory mask wearing in others and a return to the recommendation for people to work from home where possible.

However, Mr. Javid did reveal that the government had done a deal to purchase 480,000 courses of a drug being trialled at the Royal Preston Hospital, which it is hoped could become the first oral antiviral treatment for Covid.

The hospital is still seeking volunteers who have very recently been diagnosed with the virus to test the tablet “molnupiravir” as part of a nationwide study into the drug’s effectiveness.

Dr. Dennis Hadjiyiannakis, medical director for the Lancashire Clinical Research Facility, held out the prospect earlier this month that it could be the route back to “normal life” after the pandemic. It will require regulatory approval before it can be prescribed, but Mr. Javid said if and when that was received, the NHS would be able to deploy it to the “priority groups…that are most at risk”, including the immunosuppressed.

In the meantime, however, Dr. Karunanithi said that while it was understandable that people would be keen to “get back to normality” after so long living with Covid, there was a need for caution as case rates continue to rise.

“Unfortunately, in Lancashire we currently have very high levels of infection across all of our districts – and it is increasing. This has mainly been in our younger population, causing further disruption to education – but now we are seeing this increase in our 60+ population.

“The NHS is reporting an increase in Covid-19 cases, with hospitals also having to manage a plethora of other issues as it approaches the difficult winter period.

“All of this paints a worrying picture, and it is critical that we approach the coming weeks and months with caution.

“Getting vaccinated is still the best thing people can do to protect themselves, and I strongly encourage anyone who is eligible for a first, second or booster vaccination to get it without delay.

“Vaccinations alone are not enough at this current moment, however, which is why every one of us needs to take personal responsibility by following the national Covid-19 advice.

“That means regular hand washing, wearing face masks in enclosed spaces where you come into contact with people you don’t usually meet and continuing to test regularly. It also means doing the right thing and self-isolating when you test positive for Covid-19.

“It is vitally important that we wake up and take this collective action now – or risk the current situation spiralling out of control,” Dr. Karunanithi added.

Across the four NHS trusts wholly located within Lancashire, there were 136 people in hospital with Covid on 12th October, the most recent date for which data is available – 22 of whom were being cared for by Blackpool Teaching Hospitals. Those figures are far below the peaks seen during Lancashire’s third Covid wave last winter.

LANCASHIRE’S BOOSTER BOOST

It has been revealed that 150,000 people across Lancashire and South Cumbria have so far had a Covid booster jab – and health bosses believe that the majority of those eligible in the region will have received an invite for theirs by the end of the year.

Health secretary Sajid Javid told a Downing Street briefing on Wednesday that booster vaccines “could not be more important”.

The over-50s, clinically vulnerable, frontline health and social care staff, and over-16s who are either caring for someone at high risk from Covid or living with someone who is vulnerable to infections are all eligible for a booster – once six months have elapsed since their second vaccine.

Nationally, just over four million of around nine million people currently eligible have received the top-up jab.

Jane Scattergood, senior responsible officer for the Lancashire and South Cumbria Vaccination Programme, said: “Demand for the booster has been extremely high, and as soon as eligible people are getting their booster invites they are finding a venue handy for them and booking straight in.

“It means we’re getting through thousands of boosters a day. And coupled with the annual flu vaccination programme in full swing and first and second Covid-19 doses, that’s a lot of jabs.

“With Covid-19 still spreading in our communities, and other winter bugs including flu beginning to circulate, we are making sure that our most vulnerable citizens are protected,” Ms. Scattergood added.

Invites are being sent out to those due a booster, although the health secretary said that people in an eligible category who have not been contacted six months after their second vaccine should come forward.

To book a booster, available at a range of sites across the county, Lancashire residents should visit nhs.uk/book-covid-booster or phone 119.

Meanwhile, across England, just 15 percent of 12-15-year-olds have so far received the single jab that they began to be offered last month.

LANCASHIRE’S COVID CASES AND RATES

In the week to 15th October, this is how many Covid cases were identified per council area, followed, in brackets, by the case rate per 100,000 people and the percentage change in that measure compared to the previous rolling seven-day period.

BLACKBURN WITH DARWEN – 410 (299.9, up 12.2 percent)

BLACKPOOL – 741 (535.5, up 18.4 percent)

BURNLEY – 293 (327.9, up 8.5 percent)

CHORLEY – 777 (653.7, up 19.4 percent)

FYLDE – 375 (461.8, up 30.7 percent)

HYNDBURN – 318 (391.9, up 12.8 percent)

LANCASTER – 576 (388.9, up 3.2 percent)

PENDLE – 339 (367.9, up 13.4 percent)

PRESTON – 638 (442.6, up 40.5 percent)

RIBBLE VALLEY – 335 (540.1, up 6.0 percent)

ROSSENDALE – 328 (459.2, up 12.7 percent)

SOUTH RIBBLE – 631 (568.0, up 41.5 percent)

WEST LANCASHIRE – 545 (476.0, up 25.3 percent)

WYRE – 811 (717.3, up 38.2 percent)

Source: coronavirus.data.gov.uk

 

 

St Annes woman rescued by firefighters after getting stuck between bath and shower screen

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A St Annes woman was rescued by firefighters earlier today after being stuck between a bath and a shower screen.

Firefighters were called out to rescue the woman in St Annes

Firefighters were called out to rescue the woman in St Annes

The incident happened shortly before 2am at a property on St Andrew’s Road in the town.

A fire engine from St Anne station was sent out to the incident to help the woman, who is understood to be elderly.

A spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said: “One person was freed from between a bath and shower screen by fire service personnel. First aid was administered to the casualty at the scene. Crews used small tools and were at the scene for one hour.”

North West Ambulance Service was contacted to find out the condition of the woman.

 

Fisherman’s Friend tycoon Doreen Lofthouse left £41 million fortune to charity

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Business pioneer and philanthropist Doreen Lofthouse – who turned Fisherman’s Friend into a global brand – reportedly left nearly all of her £41 million fortune to charity in her will.

 

The shop-girl-turned-entrepreneur, who died in March aged 91, donated millions to charitable works in her hometown over the years, earning her the nickname ‘the Mother of Fleetwood’ .

And Doreen’s generosity looks set to continue even after her death, with the Sun revealing that she has left most of her £41 million fortune to charity.

The paper reports that Doreen left £325,000 to be shared among her gardeners, secretaries and housekeepers, and bequeathed her jewellery to the wife of her surviving son from her first marriage.

Doreen Lofthouse's dream became reality when the statue of Eros was mounted on its plinth ready for unveiling in 1999. The statue, which Doreen paid for, acts as a welcome to her hometown of Fleetwood, located as it is, in the middle of the roundabout on Amounderness Way

Doreen Lofthouse’s dream became reality when the statue of Eros was mounted on its plinth ready for unveiling in 1999. The statue, which Doreen paid for, acts as a welcome to her hometown of Fleetwood, located as it is, in the middle of the roundabout on Amounderness Way

Cheating map reveals 1549 people are having affairs in Blackpool

But the rest – a whopping £41.4 million – has reportedly been left to the ‘Lofthouse Foundation’, which Doreen and her family set up in 1994 to help refurbish her hometown.

Since then, Doreen’s ‘Lofthouse Foundation’ has funded millions of pounds of good works in Fleetwood, whilst earning her both an OBE and MBE. She was also made Freeman of the Borough of Wyre for her charity work.

This included investing £1.6 million into the renovation of Fleetwood Hospital and millions more into other civic works, including a new children’s playground, improvements to the promenade and part of Fleetwood’s shopping centre – now named Fisherman’s Walk.

Mrs Lofthouse was made an OBE by the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace on July 3, 2008. Photo: Martin Keene / PA Wire.

Mrs Lofthouse was made an OBE by the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace on July 3, 2008. Photo: Martin Keene / PA Wire.

Mrs Lofthouse also funded the statue of Eros, which sits proudly at the gateway to Fleetwood in the middle of the busy Amounderness Way roundabout.

After her death in March, Coun Mary Stirzaker, chairman of Fleetwood Town Council, said: “Mrs Lofthouse’s legacy will live on in Fleetwood.

“She was an incredible benefactor for Fleetwood and was always proud of the town she came from.”

From shop girl to business pioneer and philanthropist

The shop-girl-turned-entrepreneur, who died in March aged 91, donated millions to charitable works in her hometown, earning her the nickname 'the Mother of Fleetwood'

The shop-girl-turned-entrepreneur, who died in March aged 91, donated millions to charitable works in her hometown, earning her the nickname ‘the Mother of Fleetwood’

Shop worker Doreen, who left school with no qualifications, quickly realised the potential of the eucalyptus and menthol sweets after taking over the company in 1963.

She transformed its fortunes by convincing shopkeepers, including Boots, to stock the cough sweets. Five billion packets of Fisherman’s Friends are now sold in more than 100 countries every year.

Doreen leaves behind a son from her first marriage, Duncan, who still runs the business.

Doreen Lofthouse with husband Tony Lofthouse (Left) and son Duncan Lofthouse outside the Fleetwood base in 1990

Doreen Lofthouse with husband Tony Lofthouse (Left) and son Duncan Lofthouse outside the Fleetwood base in 1990

Help out hedgehogs in Blackpool this autumn

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool wildlife rescues have called on people to keep an eye out for Britain’s best loved wild animal, the humble hedgehog, as hundreds of ‘autumn juveniles’ face potential starvation during the winter months.

 

Hedgehogs face a multitude of challenges during the autumn months

Hedgehogs face a multitude of challenges during the autumn months

Autumn is a particularly difficult time of year for hedgehogs, as many hoglets born in the late summer struggle to fatten up enough to survive hiberation.

Meanwhile, with Bonfire Night fast approaching, some hogs may seek shelter inside bonfires – which are then set alight, with tragic results.

Mel Greenhalgh, who runs Brambles Wildlife Rescue in South Shore, said: “At the moment, the lack of food is a particular problem. As winter approaches there is less food for wildlife, and so hedgehogs are mostly eating slugs and snails which are more likely to carry parasites. All of the hedgehogs we’ve had in the past three months have had roundworm. I think it’s harder this year than any other year we’ve had.

“Late-born juveniles that haven’t reached a healthy weight for hiberation are at risk of starving to death. We’re not in hibernation season just yet so there’s a little more time, but if a hedgehog hasn’t reached a healthy weight in four weeks’ time, that’s it. It will have to be kept in a rescue over the winter and released in the spring.”

Viv Critchley, of Blackpool Hedgehog Rescue on St Annes Road, said: “This time of year, hedgehogs are often hidden under leaves and a lot of them end up being found by dogs or scooped up by accident, and if those leaves are burned the hedgehog burns with it. Bonfires shouldn’t be built until the day they’re going to be burned, because a hedgehog is likely to crawl in because it’s a nice, warm, cosy den.

“Looking after hedgehogs this time of year is really a labour of love, with constant feeding. The rescue has a few autumn juveniles, and they need feeding every two hours. The really small ones that come in are no bigger than a golf ball, but the juveniles are usually about the size of a tennis ball. They all need a helping hand, because a lot of them will be underweight by hibernation.

“If they are still underweight by winter, they will be kept in.”

Anyone who sees a hedgehog wandering around in daylight hours is encouraged to get in touch with a wildlife rescue, as these creatures are noctural, and venturing into sunlight is a sign that something is seriously wrong.

Mel said: “Any hedgehog that’s out in the day needs to be taken to a rescue, at the very least, to be checked over. I have never had a hedgehog brought in that I thought was perfectly healthy.

“Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, so really you should never see them. If they’re out in the daylight, they’re in trouble.”

HOW CAN YOU HELP HEDGEHOGS IN YOUR GARDEN?

1. Create a ‘hedgehog highway’ by making a hole in your fence, allowing hedgehogs freedom to roam

2. Plant natural wildlife and hedges where they can nest and forage, or buy a ‘hedgehog house’ where they can shelter

3. Place a ramp or stones around the edges of your pond if you have one, so hedgehogs don’t drown if they fall in

4. Put down meat-based dog or cat food – not bread and milk, which can dehydrate a hedgehog. Avoid slug pellets and other poisons which can prove lethal.

5. Check carefully before strimming or lighting bonfires

 

 

Driving theory test centre closure leaves Blackpool learner drivers in the lurch

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The closure of Blackpool’s driving theory test centre has left learners having to travel to Preston to take the test

 

Learning to drive is an exciting rite of passage but the process has been complicated and stressful for students who had lessons halted by the pandemic.

After 18 months of disruption, Blackpool learner drivers faced another blow as the theory test centre in Bispham permanently closed down last month. Students now face a round-trip to Preston to take the exam.

Martin Crane, a driving instructor with Wheelz Driving School in Fleetwood, said the closure has made it extremely difficult for young drivers to learn.

Blackpool learner drivers face trip to Preston for theory test after test centre closure

Blackpool learner drivers face trip to Preston for theory test after test centre closure

“I am having to ask pupils to put aside four or five hours, at considerable personal cost just to sit a theory test. Many of them passed their theory in mid 2019 but only had one chance because of the lockdowns and the wait times afterwards.”

A theory certificate is only valid for two years from the date of passing the exam, which the DVSA said is to ensure the driver’s road safety knowledge is current.

Gill Ward had to drive her son to Preston twice, and Wigan once, before he passed the exam.

“The theory test is tough anyway so for a new driver to have to deal with all this travel on top, it just makes it so stressful.”

The site at Faraday Way, Bispham closed on September 6. In 2019 they processed more than 8,000 tests, and the increased demand will lead to longer waiting times at the Preston centre.

Blackpool’s driving theory test centre to close with learners told to travel to …

Research done by Marmalade Insurance found that in 2020, learners lost £1,139,489 through expired theory test certificates while lessons and tests were paused.

Crispin Moger, CEO of Marmalade Insurance, said: “The Blackpool closure will have a knock on effect when it comes to the expense, with more travel costs incurred as a result of the closure.”

Despite petitions calling for the DVSA to extend the theory test certificates adversely impacted by the pandemic, it hasn’t been possible.

A spokesperson for the DVSA said; “This validity period is set in legislation and the Government has no current plans to extend it. It is important that road safety knowledge and hazard perception skills are up to date when a person drives unsupervised for the first time.”

Cat Smith, MP for Fleetwood, has called for a grace period for the learners who were disrupted by the pandemic, and now face a £20 bus or train journey to Preston.

“We have below national average car ownership and above national average need for benefit support. I’m guessing none of this was taken into account when the Conservatives decided to close the test centre in Blackpool.”

With no tests available until late January, and instructors booked up an average of six months in advance, more theory certificates will expire in the meantime.

Paul Maynard, Conservative MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, also campaigned against the test centre closure, arguing that young people often need to drive to be able to work and support their families.

“Not enough is being done to ensure tests are being undertaken in the quantity necessary. Moving the test centre will hamper those who need to drive to go about their daily lives.”

 

 

Blackpool medics Covid advice as cases rise

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool’s top doctors are recommending people wear face coverings in busy public places as Covid infections continue to rise in the resort.

 

In the week to October 15, there were 741 cases identified in Blackpool which has a rate of 535 cases per 100,000 people – up 18.4 per cent compared to the previous seven days.

Although it is not mandatory to wear masks, medics are recommending people take the precaution where they can.

Blackpool Council’s director of public health Dr Arif Rajpura said: “I have been recommending that everyone wear a face covering in indoor spaces where they may meet people from outside their household and on public transport all along.

Dr Arif Rajpura

Dr Arif Rajpura

“I’ve also been recommending that people work from home where they can”.

In his latest Covid update, Dr Jim Gardner, medical director at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, also urged people to continue with guidance including hygiene and wearing face coverings where they feel vulnerable.

He said: “We’re seeing less and less mask wearing in public places, but it is still a very important part of public protection so if you feel worried in a public place then I’d absolutely urge you to have the confidence to put a mask on.”

He added the “usual protection of hand washing and distancing remain important.”

Dr Gardner also urged people to get their booster vaccinations as this was “a fundamental part of keeping everybody safe”.

The latest figures show 71 per cent of people in Blackpool aged over 12 have had both doses of the vaccine.

Dr Gardner said there were currently six people in critical care at Blackpool Victoria Hospital with Covid, 54 hospital patients who had had a Covid diagnosis within 14 days and 25 patients with a diagnosis beyond 14 days.

Blackpool currently has a vaccine centre on Yeadon Way car park, while the council’s vaccine van is visiting different sites five days a week offering first, second and booster jabs.