Blackpool paedophile caught by mum of girl he was abusing

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Thomas Parkin has been sent down after having sex on multiple occasions with a 14-year-old girl

Thomas Parkin

Thomas Parkin

A Blackpool man who repeatedly had sex with a 14-year-old girl has been jailed for six years.

Thomas Parkin was arrested after the girl’s mother discovered he had been having sex with her.

The 32-year-old had engaged in sexual activity with the girl on at least 10 occasions over a five-month period.

At Preston Crown Court on Thursday (May 27), Parkin pleaded guilty to eight offences including six counts of engaging in sexual activity with a child and two counts of encouraging a child to engage in sexual activity.

Prosecutor Kim Whittlestone said: “During the [police] interview she was quiet and withdrawn.

“She said sexual contact had happened on previous occasions.

“She said he would buy her credit for her phone and then arrange to meet her. He would take her phone from her and delete the messages.

“She said he had sex with her on about five occasions. She said it made her sad when it happened and her schoolwork began to suffer. She told a friend who said she had to tell.”

The court heard Parkin had initially been charged with rape but claimed the victim had consented. The indictment was later amended and Parkin pleaded guilty to eight offences.

When he was interviewed by police on November 1 last year, Parkin made no comment to officers.

The court heard Parkin has one previous conviction for a dishonesty matter.

A report produced by the Probation Service referred to an incident in Parkin’s past when he was arrested for contacting a girl but he was not charged.

Defence barrister Paul Hodgkinson said Parkin “recognises he has been left with nothing”.

“The defendant is very sorry,” Mr Hodgkinson said.

“He recognises the anguish his conduct has caused the complainant. He wishes, through me, and it wasn’t teased out of him, to say he is sorry and he has shown a great degree of remorse.

“He is ashamed of his actions and is so very sorry for the hurt he has caused. He recognises that he is left with nothing.

“His father has recently died, he is in contact with his mother, but he doesn’t have so much as his own clothing, although he expects no sympathy for that. He knows that when he is released he will have to make a fresh start.

“He describes himself as always having been a worker, he worked in a factory from leaving school, he has always been in work.”

The judge, Simon Medland QC, told Parkin: “This played itself out through your actions, for you are responsible, she being a minor.

“You have known for many months now that the only sentence I could possibly impose is an immediate and substantial custodial sentence of imprisonment but no sentence could possibly undo what has been done by you.”

Parkin, who appeared in court on his 32nd birthday, was jailed for six years.

 

Work to recover boat begins after body washed up in Blackpool

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It is understood that the operation will take many days, with preparatory work underway

 

Work has begun to recover a boat wreck off the North Wales coast that went missing in January.

The vessel – the Nicola Faith – was last seen on January 27, 2021 after going missing while at sea.

Three men were on board at the time of the vanishing – skipper Carl McGrath, 34, and crewmates Ross Ballantine, 39, and Alan Minard, 20.

Tragically, the bodies of all three have since found on shorelines in the North West.

Mr McGrath was discovered off the South Promenade in Blackpool on March 13. Mr Ballantine was found at West Kirby Beach, Wirral, and Mr Minard at Meols Promenade, Wirral.

The Nicola Faith has remained in the ocean since the tragedy, with a huge salvage barge now being brought in to the water off Llanddulas in Conwy to recover the sunken vessel.

It is understood that the operation will take many days, with preparatory work underway today, reports North Wales Live.

On Friday morning, the barge arrived in place.

(L-R) Ross Ballantine, 39, Alan Minard, 20, and Carl McGrath, 34 who went missing on board the Nicola Faith on January 27

(L-R) Ross Ballantine, 39, Alan Minard, 20, and Carl McGrath, 34 who went missing on board the Nicola Faith on January 27 (Image: Daily Post/Conwy Hub News)

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has previously said it will raise the Nicola Faith using the specially designed barge crane to carry out an “in-depth examination” into the cause of the sinking.

A previous statement said: “Since locating and identifying Nicola Faith in April, the MAIB has gathered and analysed dive survey data from the vessel.

“We now intend to raise the vessel so that an in-depth examination and stability analysis can be carried out.

“The vessel will be raised using a specially designed barge crane that has been chartered by MAIB.

A crane barge over the Nicola Faith wreck site off the coast of Colwyn Bay.

A crane barge over the Nicola Faith wreck site off the coast of Colwyn Bay. (Image: Ian Cooper/North Wales Live)

“The operation will be undertaken when weather and tidal conditions are suitable.

“It will then be taken ashore to a secure location for further examination before being prepared for a stability assessment.

“The Chief Inspector’s notice to prohibit access to the wreck remains in place.

“The families of the crew members have been notified of the plans.”

 

Blackpool caravan giving families with autism a fully funded holiday

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire“I can’t wait for other families to experience the break away! We feel so lucky to have such a wonderful organisation to support us.”

The A World UK is providing a fully-funded caravan for those with an autism diagnosis

The A World UK is providing a fully-funded caravan for those with an autism diagnosis (Image: The A World UK)

A non-profit community interest company is offering families living with autism a fully-funded caravan holiday.

And on Friday last week (May 21) the first family arrived to enjoy their holiday at the caravan at Haven, Marton Mere in Blackpool.

The breakaway gave them an opportunity to interact, bond and fully recharge courtesy of The A World UK CIC.

Founded in November 2019, the CIC raises money through their eight community shops in Bury, Burnley, Salford, Tameside, Rochdale and Wigan.

The money is invested to provide activities such as therapeutic horse-riding sessions for people with autism.

Brad Thorpe, Managing Director, said: “Our aim has always been to be an advocate for autism and we are continuously thinking of ways we can expand our services.

“That’s why we are really excited to be able to provide these fantastic experiences for families who are affected by autism.”

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The living area of the caravan at Haven, Martin Mere, Blackpool (Image: The A World UK)

The coronavirus pandemic severely restricted the services The A World could provide and the CIC took the opportunity to think of another way they can provide support for the community.

This encouraged the CIC to purchase the caravan at the Haven site near Marton Mare, Blackpool in the hope the trips will provide families the time to step away from everyday life, having a positive effect for the entire family.

Adam Howell, Managing Director, added: “We believe that the change of scenery and break from everyday life is a great way to strengthen relationships and has benefits for the whole family.

“The park has a range of activities and facilities that the whole family can enjoy and make cherished memories together.”

The A World UK is providing a fully-funded caravan for those with an autism diagnosis

The A World UK is providing a fully-funded caravan for those with an autism diagnosis (Image: The A World UK)

Facilities at the Haven site include a heated indoor pool, adventure golf, nature walks, multi- sports court and much more

Mum Beth, who was first to stay at the caravan with her family, said: “It’s so hard to find support for your family, especially families who live with autism.

“I came across The A World UK when I took my son Jacob to an autism friendly football session that they were running.

“Things that people would normally take for granted like a weekend break wasn’t even an option for us but thanks to The A World we have been able to have a break.

“The kids got a break from their usual routine and me and Jack were able to relax and not stress about work, appointments, and the usual worries that come with being an Autism parent.

“I can’t wait for other families to experience the break away.

“We feel so lucky to have such a wonderful organisation to support us.”

To help fund these holidays, the CIC still need help with collections of clothes, shoes, bags, toys, games, bric-a-brac, electricals and so much more.

For more information about The A World UK and their services, please visit the website here.

 

Only attend Blackpool A&E if it’s urgent, say health teams

Home | Blackpool Gazette

People living in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre have been urged to use the right health service this bank holiday as NHS services have noted an increase in demand.

 

Head of Blackpool Victoria’s A&E department, Dr Anthony Kearns.Head of Blackpool Victoria’s A&E department, Dr Anthony Kearns.

Medical teams have noticed a growing number of patients turning up at Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s A&E when their cases are not urgent and others are failing to book at urgent care centres and simply arriving there.

They say such incidents have risen since lockdown restrictions eased and warn that the situation could impact on the care needed by those who need it most and possibly make the waiting room unsafe.

GP practices will be closed for the Bank Holiday on Monday, but people who need health services can still access advice and treatment if they need it.

“This then means we cannot treat those who urgently need our attention as quickly as we would like.”

Dr Neil Hartley-Smith, a local GP and clinical director for NHS Blackpool and NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), said: “Since the lockdown restrictions started to ease, we have seen more people walking into urgent treatment centres and to A&E at the hospital.

“Many of those people could have saved themselves a long wait if they had used the right service.

“Urgent treatment centres and A&E are for exactly what they say they are for; urgent care and emergencies. Anyone attending those services when it is not urgent or a life-threatening emergency face a long wait as the patients with the most serious need are prioritised.”

However, there are many other services that can be used for non-urgent and long-term conditions such as pharmacies, GP surgeries, Urgent Treatment Centres (UTCs) and NHS 111

First, who will book people an appointment if their condition is deemed to be an emergency.

If people do do need medical advice over the bank holiday, the advice is to use NHS 111 either online at 111.nhs.uk or by calling 111 for free.

People will be asked a series of questions by trained call handlers who can then decide the best option for the patient.http://www.fyldecoastccgs.nhs.ukTo see which local pharmacies will be open on bank holiday Monday, visit the website www.fyldecoastccgs.nhs.uk

Fylde coast women set to pop-up and open shop in Blackpool for the bank holiday weekend

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Business women from the Fylde coast are set to put their talents in the shop window, with a pop-up shop in Blackpool’s Houndshill shopping centre.

Shoppers in Blackpool will get a look over the bank holiday weekend at products from local female entrepreneurs such as Baby Bamboo and Beyond, Sassy Chic, Little Things to Cherish and Lytham Gin.

It will be the first time that some of the ladies have ventured into physical retail, as most are online or events-based businesses, and shoppers will be able to meet the women behind these emerging brands.

The pop-up shop comes from a collaboration between Blackpool-based women in business group Pink Link and the council’s enterprise support organisation, Blackpool Unlimited. It aims to show off what the new entrepreneurs of the Fylde coast have to offer, as people get back into high street shopping after months of lockdown.

Blackpool-based Pink Link and its business members are staging a pop-up shop in the Houndshill Shopping Centre at May bank holiday to show off their products to shoppersBlackpool-based Pink Link and its business members are staging a pop-up shop in the Houndshill Shopping Centre at May bank holiday to show off their products to shoppers

Coral Horn, Founder of Pink Link and the Enterprise Vision Awards said: “We’re ready to talk shop! Many of the women in our network relied on events to showcase their products. The pandemic put paid to this and slashed those opportunities to sell.

“The Pink Link pop up shop will help these small businesses to expand awareness of their brand and reach new customers as well as having the valuable experience of being a retailer in a premium, high traffic shopping centre at one of the busiest weekends of the year.”

She added that many shoppers want the customer experience of seeing and feeling what they are buying as well as the emotional engagement of buying from real people. With the added treat of being able to smell and taste the products before they buy.

Coun Mark Smith, Cabinet Member for Business, Enterprise and Job Creation at Blackpool Council, said “Pink Link do an amazing job of promoting women in business so it’s a pleasure for us to sponsor their concept pop up shop.

Pictured is Sassy Chic's Rachel GroundsPictured is Sassy Chic’s Rachel Grounds

“These incredibly talented local businesses will add value to the already great offer we already have at the Houndshill Shopping Centre over what I am sure will be a very busy bank holiday weekend.”

The Pink Link Pop Up Shop will be open from 28 – 31 May. They will be located at the old Virgin shop near the Disney Store.

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Card shop doubles its Fylde presence by opening in Lytham

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A Fylde businesswoman has opened her second card and gift shop, five years after launching her first venture and growing it into a successful retail business.

Sarah Mangan has launched Celebrations Cards and Gifts in Lytham’s Clifton Street, creating six jobs in the process.

The shop, close to the junction with Bath Street and which was formerly The Card Market, offers a wide selection of greeting cards and celebration gifts, including Disney products, as well as eco-friendly soft toys.

Sarah worked in the packaging and soft furnishings industries before deciding to open her first shop in Poulton Street, Kirkham in 2016.

Celebrations owner Sandra Mangan outside the new Lytham shop with employees Annette Heywood and Sue Hankinson

Celebrations owner Sandra Mangan outside the new Lytham shop with employees Annette Heywood and Sue Hankinson

She now employees seven people across the two shops, and also sells cards and gifts online through the Celebrations website.

Sarah said: “I didn’t know one card from another when I started out, but after five years, I now love seeing people’s faces when choosing cards and gifts.

“It means so much to see people back in the shop thinking and caring about each other, especially after the events of the last 12months.

“It had always been my plan to expand my card and gift business and I was looking for a town centre location with good footfall when the opportunity to lease the shop in Lytham came up.”

The Lytham shop has undergone a complete refit, with Sarah working around the clock to make sure she was ready to open during the ease of lockdown restrictions that provided retail businesses a chance to fully reopen.

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Charlotte Dawson pays tribute to the ‘best grandad’ Les Dawson as she shares special family photograph

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Charlotte Dawson has shared a touching new photograph cradling her son Noah, reenacting a very similar picture to one with her own father the late Lytham based legend comic Les Dawson.

Charlotte Dawson with her late father Les Dawson's plaque in St Annes

Charlotte Dawson with her late father Les Dawson’s plaque in St Annes

In the snap, shared to her hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram, Charlotte can be seen wearing her father’s silk dressing gown – the same one he is photographed in.

The reality star, recently seen on TV in MTVs Celebrity Bumps, has often spoken of the treasured garment and how it is a comfort for her in feeling connected to her dad, who died when she was just eight months old.

Former make up artist Charlotte, who grew up in the Fylde with mother Tracy, and now lives in Manchester with her fiance Matt Sarsfield, gave birth to their first child Noah in January.

Charlotte Dawson shares touching tribute to her dad image @charlottedawsy Instagram

The couple have regularly kept fans up to date on their journey into parenthood through social media and Charlotte was touched by the hundreds of supportive messages she received after recreating the picture.

Charlotte, 28, says that honouring her father is always the forefront of her mind, as she spends quality time with her little boy.

In the Instagram caption with the photograph, she wrote: “So I’ve wanted to reenact this picture for so long of baba me & my daddy with me & my Noah in my dad’s dressing gown which I still wear.

“I wish he was here so bad. He would be the best grandad to him, it breaks my heart so much.

“But I can’t wait for Noah to get to know all about his grandad Les… I know you’re around, but sometimes that just doesn’t cut it. I want you here.”

One poster responded: “Your dad brings back so many happy memories of my childhood with my mum and dad who have both now passed too. I’m sure he is keeping all the angels in heaven entertained.”

Another fan added: “Charlotte, I can’t even begin to explain how inspiring you are. Every day I look at your posts and you put a smile on my face! Your Dad will be so so proud of the woman you’ve become.”

‘Nasty’ M55 road rage attack leaves man needing hospital treatment

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A man needed hospital treatment after he was punched in a road rage attack off the M55 at the weekend.

Police are appealing for witnesses after the “nasty and violent assault” in Fleetwood Road, Greenhalgh – close to Junction 3 of the motorway on Sunday (May 23).

At around 6.55pm, a man driving a blue Ford Focus eastbound towards Preston reported that the driver of a grey Volkswagen Polo had cut across his vehicle.

It was alleged the Polo driver continued to drive alongside and recklessly cut across the Ford, with both drivers leaving the motorway at Junction 3 (Wesham Circle).

As the Ford driver remained seated in his car, the Polo driver then allegedly punched him in the face through an open window.

Police say the man then got back into the Polo and swiftly left the scene, with the victim needing hospital treatment for facial injuries.

Officers are now appealing for witnesses and urging anyone who saw the attack to come forward.

It was alleged that the Polo driver continued to drive alongside and cut across the Ford, with both drivers leaving the M55 at Junction 3 near Greenhalgh

It was alleged that the Polo driver continued to drive alongside and cut across the Ford, with both drivers leaving the M55 at Junction 3 near Greenhalgh

PC Tina Hinchliffe, of Lancashire Police, said: “This was a nasty and violent assault which has left the victim very shaken and upset.

“This is a busy junction and I believe a number of people would have seen what happened, particularly with the Ford being blocked in.

“Please contact us if you can help.”

Anyone with information can contact police on 101 or email 8004@lancashire.police.uk quoting log 1287 of May 23.

Police were called at around 6.55pm on Sunday (May 23) after a man was attacked in Fleetwood Road, close to Junction 3 of the M55 in the Fylde. Pic: GooglePolice were called at around 6.55pm on Sunday (May 23) after a man was attacked in Fleetwood Road, close to Junction 3 of the M55 in the Fylde. Pic: Google

Former council leader breached rules over free passes to Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool’s former council leader Coun Simon Blackburn has been forced to apologise after Blackpool Pleasure Beach gave him and his family free season tickets for rides on the park.

Coun Blackburn got into hot water with town hall bosses when he failed to declare the gift of four passes in 2019 and three in 2020, thus breaching the council’s code of conduct.

A meeting of the authority’s Standards Board found him guilty of failing to register the passes, currently worth around £125 each.

But a further allegation the passes were to thank him for help in securing multi-million pound loans from the council was thrown out by the panel.

Coun Blackburn received free Pleasure Beach passesCoun Blackburn received free Pleasure Beach passes

Coun Blackburn, who fully accepted the findings, has had to apologise and a full report will be made to the next meeting of the full council.

Following the hearing, he said: “I’m obviously pleased that the board came to the conclusions they did.

“With the benefit of hindsight, I should have declared the Platinum Passes, and will do so in future. I am pleased that my apology was accepted by the board.”

Documents published along with the decision say Coun Blackburn had “explained his long standing relationship with the Pleasure Beach and the importance of the Pleasure Beach to the economy of the town.”
Coun Simon BlackburnCoun Simon Blackburn

He said building good business relationships with organisations such as Blackpool Pleasure Beach was important in his then role as council leader.

Councillors must declare any gift or hospitality within 28 days of receiving it if the value is £25 or more.

The Standards Board heard Coun Blackburn – who made a so far unfulfilled election pledge in 2019 to give residents free tickets to resort attractions – used the passes on just one occasion in 2019 with two family members.

The Standards Board investigation concluded in relation to loans made to Blackpool Pleasure Beach “these were some time ago, no issues had been raised at the time and the decisions were all notified within the public domain.

“Coun Blackburn had not been present at the executive meeting in April 2017 and the two decisions taken by him in May 2018 followed recommendations for approval by the council’s Business Loans Panel, which comprised of key council officers who had undertaken due diligence in relation to the reports.”

In 2017 the council’s executive agreed a £12m loan from the Business Loans Fund towards the construction of the Boulevard Hotel at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, repayable with interest over 12 years.

In 2010/11 the council loaned the park £5m towards the development of Nickelodeon Land which was due to be repaid by last November.

Coun Tony Williams, leader of the Conservative group on Blackpool Council, said: “I think the real irony here is that when Coun Blackburn was managing Labour’s last local full election he promised to give every resident free attraction tickets as part of their campaign.

“Two years on Labour still haven’t delivered and shockingly the only person to get free attraction tickets is Coun Blackburn himself.”

It is the second time Coun Blackburn has been investigated for allegedly failing to declare an interest.

In 2018 he was cleared of any wrongdoing after it was claimed he failed to properly declare an interest in a company chosen to run the council’s alcohol and drug recovery service.

He had taken up a position with Calico, the parent company of Delphi Medical, an organisation chosen in 2016 to operate the rehabilitation service.

Coun Blackburn stood down as council leader in June last year when he was suspended by the Labour Party nationally amid allegations which are still under investigation, with Coun Lynn Williams taking over the role.

In March he announced he would not be standing again at the next local elections in 2023 when he will have served for 20 years on the council.

Ex-Blackpool FC owner Owen Oyston loses Supreme Court appeal to build 1,150 homes on Fylde coast

In Your Area - LancsLive

Owen Oyston, who formerly owned Blackpool FC, has had his large scale plans for more than 1,000 homes at Lytham Moss rejected by the Supreme Court

Owen Oyston

Owen Oyston (Image: PA)

The former owner of Blackpool FC has lost a Supreme Court battle to build more than 1,000 homes on the Fylde coast.

Owen Oyston, through his company Fylde Coast Farms Ltd, had been given the green light to build 1,150 new homes at Lytham Moss, land on the edge of St Anne’s when the company was known as Oyston Estates Ltd.

But despite Mr Oyston pushing for the site – east of the Queensway development – to be included in the local neighbourhood plan, it was rejected by Fylde Borough Council in 2017.

This was after a referendum in which 90% of the public voted in favour of the draft plan as it was presented; excluding Mr Oyston’s housing scheme.

At the time, the council said the plan “meets the basic conditions and its promotion process is compliant with legal and procedural requirements”.

The decision came despite an independent examiner of the draft plan saying Mr Oyston’s housing project should be included given the council’s then inability to demonstrate a five-year supply of new housing.

St Anne’s on the Sea Town Council also rejected it as part of its St Anne’s on the Sea Neighbourhood Development Plan.

Mr Oyston, who is listed as the only director of the firm on Companies House, appealed the decision to the High Court and Court of Appeal.

And now, the Supreme Court – the highest court in the country – has given the housing plan a firm no and also sided with the council’s original decision.

The case was heard before Lord Lloyd Jones, Lord Briggs, Lady Arden, Lord Sales, and Lord Stephens on May 9.

Explaining the decision, Lord Briggs and Lord Sales stated it was not for “technical legal arguments” to undermine the legitimacy of a referendum outcome.

“Parliament would not wish to allow the outcome of a referendum to be set at nought by reason of technical legal arguments which could have been sorted out before the referendum was held,” they noted.

“That would risk creating scepticism and disaffection with the new procedure which could undermine rather than promote public engagement.

“For those reasons, although differing to a limited extent from the reasoning of the courts below, we would dismiss this appeal.”

Fylde Council and Owen Oyston were both contacted for comment.