Volunteers left ‘heartbroken’ as thieves strip roses from Blackpool’s Stanley Park

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Volunteers left ‘heartbroken’ as thieves strip roses from Blackpool’s Stanley Park


The latest incident saw 21 blooms taken in a single week bringing the total stolen this year to 70, while the toll over the past three years adds up to 150.

Up to £7,000 worth of heritage roses have been stolen, all of which had been paid for through fundraising by the Friends of Stanley Park, whose volunteers also plant and tend the roses.

Elaine Smith, chairman of the Friends of Stanley Park, said: “It’s heartbreaking for the volunteers who are there every day.

Alan Wignall,  Rose Garden volunteers team leader, with (from left) Terry Harrison, Terry Wallis, Diane Glister, Sue Osborne and Pam Harrison, at one of the beds stripped of roses.Alan Wignall, Rose Garden volunteers team leader, with (from left) Terry Harrison, Terry Wallis, Diane Glister, Sue Osborne and Pam Harrison, at one of the beds stripped of roses.

“The Rose Garden looked beautiful a few weeks ago and now it’s decimated.”

A survey by the Friends of Stanley Park has found 150 roses have been stolen in three years including 70 this year.

Blackpool police have confirmed they are aware of the incidents, while CCTV cameras have been installed in a bid to deter further thefts.

The latest plant raids happened on Tuesday June 15 and Wednesday June 16 from the Rose Garden, and it is believed the thefts happened at night.

Mrs Smith added: “Volunteers from the Friends of Stanley Park look after both the Rose Garden and the Memorial Garden.

“Because of the heritage status of the park every bed in the Rose Garden has to be planted with roses as near as possible to those originally planted when the park was laid out by Thomas Mawson, so we can’t easily replace them.

“They are just being pulled up and it’s distressing to see.

“We’ve also had other plants stolen from the Memorial Gardens. Volunteers have grown them at home, planted them out and them someone comes along and helps themselves.

“Some of our volunteers have even gone searching at car boot sales to see if they are being stolen to be sold.

“They are putting hours of work in and then this kind of thing happens.”

A £200,000 CCTV system has now been installed in the park, with 16 cameras including coverage of the Rose Garden which it is hoped will deter future incidents and help catch the culprits.

A Lancashire Police spokesperson said the rose thefts had been reported to them.

Stanley Park was constructed between 1924 and 1926 to designs by Thomas Mawson.

It has twice been named best park in the UK including in 2019 by the green space charity Fields in Trust based on public nominations.

Anyone interested in the work done by the volunteer gardeners at Stanley Park, can go along to the Rose Garden between 10.30am and 2.30pm on Saturday June 26 to meet the team.

Manager of Blackpool’s Vintro Lounge celebrates successful opening week

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The manager of Blackpool’s newest eatery has thanked residents for their support during its opening week in the town centre.


Vintro Lounge, the newest venue from Bristol-based company Loungers, opened in St John’s Square in the unit previously occupied by Pizza Express last Wednesday (June 9).

The eatery has created 40 new jobs for locals, and it is hoped at least 15 more will be available in the coming months.

Martyn Reid, general manager at the venue, said its first week in the resort town centre had been a success, and he looked forward to integrating even further into the local community.

Vintro Lounge's manager Marytn Reid has praised the community for its support during its opening week. Picture: Dan Martino/JPI MediaVintro Lounge’s manager Marytn Reid has praised the community for its support during its opening week. Picture: Dan Martino/JPI Media

Originally from Stoke, Martyn has lived in the resort for seven years, and spearheaded Chorley’s Calico Lounge before taking the reins in Blackpool

He said: “It’s been really busy since we opened, which is great. We had a few teething problems which you can probably expect, given that we had over 40 members of staff to train.

“The customers have been great, and we’ve had fantastic feedback so far. People have been enjoying the food, the tapas has been really popular.

Vintro Lounge. Picture: Dan Martino/JPI Media
Vintro Lounge. Picture: Dan Martino/JPI Media

Martyn added that the ethos of the Loungers company is to become part of the community, which begins with raising money for important local causes.

He continued: “We’re raising money for Brian House and Trinity Hospice, so we donate 20p for every coffee we sell and 50p for every burger.

“I wanted to support a charity that matters to a lot of people in the local area, and we always want to do what we can for them.

“Hopefully when Covid restrictions ease we’ll be able to put on more community events like coffee mornings, and get people together.

“That’s what we want, we want to be able to bring people together and that’s what I’ve really missed during the pandemic, so we’re looking forward to it.”

Blackpool Mirror Ball’s return is delayed

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Visitors to Blackpool Promenade will have to wait a few  more months before the resort’s famous Mirror Ball is back on display.


Work to repair the art installation, which was removed last November, has been delayed due to the Covid pandemic.

Blackpool’s mighty mirror ball is off for some much needed care

It had been expected to take six months to replace the 47,000 mirror tiles with the structure due back in place this summer.

The Mirror Ball is removed for repair last NovemberThe Mirror Ball is removed for repair last November

But council chiefs have now confirmed it will be at least October before the work is finished.

A Blackpool Council spokesperson said: “The pandemic has presented challenges we have had to work round so we haven’t been able to progress the completion of work on our popular Mirror Ball as originally planned.

“We are hoping it will be back in position later in the year for the Lightpool Festival in October.”

The refurbishment is being undertaken by partners including the council’s own Illuminations team at the Lightworks depot and students from Blackpool and the Fylde College.

As well as being re-mirrored, work includes an overhaul of the internal bearings so the Mirror Ball can rotate in full circle once a minute.

The six metre diameter artwork, by Michael Trainor, was originally installed in 2002 and last refurbished in 2010.

It was inspired by and named the work after the 1969 Hollywood film They Shoot Horses Don’t They, about US dance marathons and which features a large mirror ball.

Man wanted after racist graffiti sprayed on wall outside Fleetwood convenience store

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Officers have released an image of a man they want to speak to after racist graffiti was spray-painted on a wall in Fleetwood.


Police were called to reports a man had spray-painted offensive language on an exterior wall in Chatsworth Avenue shortly before 5.45pm on June 10.

Officers have now released a CCTV image of a man they want to speak to as part of their investigation following a “number of enquiries”.

PC Lynsey Tyrer, of Lancashire Police, said: “This kind of offensive and vile behaviour will not be tolerated by Lancashire Police and we are doing all we can to identify those responsible and bring them to justice.

“Our enquiries into this matter are very much ongoing and as part of that we need to speak to the man in the CCTV image who we believe can assist with our enquiries.

“I would ask anybody who recognises him to contact police as soon as possible. Similarly, if the man in the image sees this appeal I would ask that he makes contact with us.”

Anybody with information has been asked to email 958@lancashire.police.uk or call 101, quoting log number 1127 of June 10, 2021.

Blackpool woman who killed baby daughter sees jail sentence  increased.
Police want to speak to this man as part of their investigation. (Credit: Lancashire Police)

Kirkham man Oliver Major poured petrol outside Blackpool woman’s flat

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A man who poured a can of petrol outside a mum and child’s flat – mistakenly believing his ex lived there – has been given a suspended jail term.


Oliver Major, 27, formerly of Preston Street, Kirkham, had drunkenly attended Gateside Court instead of Furness Court on Furness Avenue, Blackpool, demanding to speak to his former partner.

Preston Crown Court heard on November 27, 2019, a resident was at home with her daughter when was awoken by a loud bang at her door at 6am and could hear a man saying: ‘Let me in.’

The woman looked out of her window and saw a man outside. He stood banging on the door for around 25 minutes, prompting another resident to call police, but he walked away.

Crown Court

Crown Court

The mum returned to bed but was woken again at 8am by the same male who shouted: “I know you have your daughter.”

When she threatened to call the police he retorted: ” Go on then, I’m going to set your house on fire.”

Major, now of Luton Road, Thornton, then paused before adding: “Oh, I’ve already done it

Prosecutors said the terrified mum could smell a strong smell of petrol and remembered a petrol can had been left outside her property.

Other neighbours witnessed his actions.

Man’s arson threat

One man, who heard him shouting, saw the petrol can on the ground outside the door and could smell fuel, so he swilled it away with soapy water.

Another mum told officers he pressed her intercom, asked for a cigarette and asked where his ex girlfriend was.

She saw him pick up a green petrol can and pour it around a door and also throw petrol at the door.

Major was found a few streets away and had to be subdued with Pava spray after telling officers:” It’ll take seven of you to take me down so give it a go” before rolling up his sleeves.

While a lighter was found on him, prosecutors agreed there was no evidence it was produced following pouring of petrol.

Major, who has 15 convictions for 20 offences including burglary and robbery, admitted threatening to destroy or damage property.

Defending, Martin Reid told the court it was a “drunken mistake ” while looking for someone he knew to assist him after he had lost phone at a house party and accepted his “demeanour quickly deteriorated” when he believed no-one was willing to assist him.

The court heard he had suffered ongoing difficulties since a head injury in 2010.

Imposing 12 months, suspended for two years, with a curfew and 120 hours of unpaid work, Judge Richard Gioserano accepted he had responded positively since to a court order, had gained employment and had addressed his drinking.

He said: ” You took your frustration and anger out on other people.

“You clearly decided to frighten people, in their homes, that you would set their homes on fire.

“I can tell you straight away there has to be a sentence of imprisonment here, and if I had been sentencing nearer the time you would have had to serve that sentence right now.

Remnants of barbecue caused fire which tore through Lytham home

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A fire which devastated a family’s home in Lytham was started by the remnants of a barbecue.


Lancashire Fire and Rescue has issued advice over disposal of hot waste after investigators found that the blaze at the house in Trafalgar Place in the early hours of Monday began in a wheelie bin after the remnants of ashes, placed in there the previous day, had continued to smoulder.

Paul O’Brien, fiancee Christina and sons Fin, eight, and Eliot, two, got out safely after being alerted to the fire by a neighbour.

Having lost “pretty much everything” in the blaze which gutted the back rooms and left the others badly smoke-damaged as well as affecting neighouring properties, the family has been living with relatives as they search for accommodation to rent.

Firefighters spent 11 hours at the scene of the blaze which devastated the house in Trafalgar Place, Lytham

Firefighters spent 11 hours at the scene of the blaze which devastated the house in Trafalgar Place, Lytham

Family left homeless after early morning Lytham fire

Kirsty McCreesh, Lancashire Fire and Rescue’s group manager for prevention, said: “This was a really unfortunate accident that has clearly had a significant impact for those involved and thankfully no one was hurt. However, incidents of this kind involving hot waste are something we see quite regularly.

“We would advise anyone using barbecues, chimneas, fire pits or even log burners and open fires to remain mindful of not just their safe use but the safe disposal of the hot waste too.

“The waste can remain hot enough to cause a fire for far longer than people realise; if in any doubt, tip it into a metal container in a safe place before ultimately disposing of it.

“We have lots of guidance on the safe use of barbecues, chimneas etc on our website, where people can go and get our top fire safety tips.”

The family was contacted for comment on the investigation result.

Nine Covid-positive patients treated at Blackpool Victoria Hospital as concerns grow over Indian variant

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Nine Covid-positive patients are being treated at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, its medical director said during a briefing yesterday (June 16).


This is up from two last week and none a fortnight ago, as concerns grow over the Indian variant.

Dr Jim Gardner said seven of the nine are in general beds and two are in intensive care. Five had no jabs, one had one, and three had two.

“We are seeing a real pattern which reminds us how important it is for everybody to get vaccinated,” he said, saying those 21 and over can now book a vaccination.

He added: “It seems to be the most important thing we can do collectively to reduce the risk to ourselves and society.”

Council sends ‘get tested’ message to Fylde coast footie fans ahead of the Engla…

Dr Gardner said 59 per cent of people in Blackpool have been double-dosed, below figures of 68 in Fylde and 70 in Wyre.

Community infection rates have doubled over the past week, he said, a trajectory he said will be “worrying” if it continues, though no new Covid-related deaths have been recorded – leaving the death toll at 766 – and most cases noted amongst the under-60s, who are at less risk of serious illness and death.
Nine Covid-positive are patients being treated at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
Nine Covid-positive are patients being treated at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

But he said: “We are certainly seeing the Delta variant. It looks like that is the type of Covid that is spreading rapidly.”