Category Archives: Crime

Lancashire Police inspector pledges ‘increased patrols’ for Cleveleys and Anchorsholme amid antisocial behaviour issues

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A spate of antisocial behaviour incidents in Cleveleys and Anchorsholme has prompted police to increase the number of officers on patrol.

 

Residents were also urged by a top cop to report all crimes directly to police – and not just to social media.

It comes after numerous social media posts in recent weeks brought light to various antisocial behaviour (ASB) incidents in both Cleveleys and Anchorsholme, particularly on beaches and in parks.

Following a post last week complaining about broken glass strewn all over Anchorsholme Park’s football pitches – allegedly by youths – a Wyre councillor was reprimanded for his response.

Michael Reynolds, landlord at the Jubilee Park pub in Cleveleys, said yobs have targeted his windows.Michael Reynolds, landlord at the Jubilee Park pub in Cleveleys, said yobs have targeted his windows.

Coun David Walmsley is currently under investigation by Wyre Council for commenting “club them” during a discussion online about unruly youngsters.

The relaunch of the Jubilee Park pub on North Promenade in Cleveleys was also impacted by yobbery recently, as smashed windows a week before its reopening date put it in jeopardy.

The pub, which was taken over in June by former hoteliers Michael and Alison Reynolds, had been left empty since the previous tenant moved out when lockdown began.

It was due to reopen on August 3, but Michael was concerned the potential six-week wait for new glass panes could force a postponement

Youths have reportedly been gathering in Cleveleys, particularly on Jubilee Gardens where there is a park and skate park.Youths have reportedly been gathering in Cleveleys, particularly on Jubilee Gardens where there is a park and skate park.

Cleveleys councillor Rob Fail said residents had been reporting antisocial behaviour incidents to him, but did not feel issues could be “resolved overnight.”

He added that the summer holidays and a “lack of places to go” for youngsters could be a contributing factor leading to potential problems.

Coun Fail said: “A number of residents have raised concerns about the recent spate of antisocial behaviour. It may be that some of what we are seeing is a temporary ‘Covid issue’ resulting from loss of schooling and lack of places to go.

“It’s a complex issue that requires improvements in education and support for families if we are to tackle the root causes, but a decade of cuts has certainly made matters worse. Nationwide 700 youth clubs have shut, over 600 police stations closed, and crucially we’ve lost over 20,000 police officers.

Anchorsholme Park.Anchorsholme Park.

“There’s no excuse for it, but I’m not surprised we are seeing more antisocial behaviour. You reap what you sow and the 60 per cent cuts in funding of councils has unquestionably had a detrimental impact. Cuts require prioritisation of service provision and in 2013 Wyre’s Tory Council decided to take a huge risk by ceasing its part funding of 11 Police Community Support Officers across Wyre. Cuts have consequences, and one of these is that our streets are less safe.

“No one single thing will resolve this overnight. Yes, we need a police presence, but that can’t just be a one-off where resources are shifted around, thereby creating a problem elsewhere.

“We need the reintroduction of permanent community policing.”

Wyre Council was also approached for a comment.

In Anchorsholme, reports of large groups of youths gathering in Anchorsholme Park and on the beach have also been circulating on social media.

But Anchorsholme councillor Paul Galley said he was worried using platforms such as Facebook to share anecdotes of ASB could exacerbate negativity towards youngsters.

He said: “The vast majority of kids and residents of Anchorsholme are great. My concern is sometimes social media highlights the bad and not all the great things that the people of all ages are doing in our community.”

Coun Galley and Bispham councillor Paul Wilshaw have committed to a new free sports scheme with Active Blackpool, starting on Friday July 30.

It is hoped the free basketball and football lessons in both Anchorsholme and East Pines Parks would build children’s confidence, and provide them with something productive to do with their time during the summer holidays.

Lancashire Police told The Gazette the force had been receiving an increase in ASB reports in both Cleveleys and Anchorsholme, but some incidents were going unreported – except when it came to social media.

Officers urged residents to report crimes to them directly, before taking to Facebook to share their concerns.

The force said it would pledge more officers on patrol in affected areas going forward, in a bid to retain safety in communities.

Insp Martin Wyatt of Lancashire Police said: “The term ‘antisocial behaviour’ covers a range of offences including, but not limited to, vandalism, hate crime, fireworks misuse, hoax calls and alcohol or drugs being used or dealt in the street. It also includes reports of street drinking and begging.

“It can involve harm to an individual, to the wider community or to the environment, and can leave victims feeling harassed, alarmed or distressed.

“We understand this can have a profound impact on victims and how safe they feel in their neighbourhood and we are committed to tackling this type of crime.

“There has been an increase in large groups gathering in the areas of Anchorsholme Park and Cleveleys. We understand a number of incidents have been reported locally, including on social media and it is vital you tell us so we know about it. Without the report, we can’t do anything. I would urge anyone who has been the victim of a crime to call us immediately.

“Going forwards we are going to work together in putting dedicated anti-social behaviour resources into the area at key times. You should also see more police visibility, including increased patrols, in the coming days and weeks.

“We won’t tolerate criminality. We won’t hesitate to intervene if we believe any criminal offence has or is going to take place.

 

Blackpool man charged after car driven at pedestrian in Queen Street

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A man has been charged with grievous bodily harm with intent after a pedestrian was hit by a car in Blackpool.

 

A man’s leg was reportedly crushed between two vehicles following the incident in Queen Street at around 1.30am on Tuesday, July 27.

The victim – a 24-year-old man from Blackpool – was rushed to hospital with a “serious leg injury”.

Today (July 28), police confirmed Levi Young, 27, of Fordway Avenue, Blackpool, was charged with Section 18 GBH on Tuesday night.

A 27-year-old man from Blackpool was charged with grievous bodily harm with intent after a pedestrian was hit by a car in Queen Street.A 27-year-old man from Blackpool was charged with grievous bodily harm with intent after a pedestrian was hit by a car in Queen Street.

He is due to appear at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court later today (July 28).

 

‘Predatory’ masseur, 67, sexually assaulted woman in her 20s in Blackpool

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A man who sexually assaulted a woman while working as a masseur in Blackpool has pleaded guilty.

 

Alan Garforth, 67, admitted offences of sexual assault and and sexual assault by penetration at Burnley Crown Court on Monday, July 26.

A woman in her 20s reported being attacked at Garforth’s address in Blackpool after he provided her with a massage in October 2018.

Garforth, of Pavey Close, was arrested and later received summons to appear at court in connection with the offences.

He pleaded guilty and will be sentenced on September 20 at Burnley Crown Court.

Blackpool man charged after car driven at pedestrian in Queen Street

Det Sgt Nicole Ryder-Jones, of Blackpool Police, said: “Garforth’s actions were predatory and sexually motivated. We welcome him admitting his guilt.

“I must praise the victim and thank her for coming forward. She has shown great courage and strength in reporting the crimes to police.

Alan Garforth, 67, admitted offences of sexual assault and and sexual assault by penetration at Burnley Crown Court.Alan Garforth, 67, admitted offences of sexual assault and and sexual assault by penetration at Burnley Crown Court.

“I hope this case will give other victims of sexual offending the confidence to come forward, knowing that we will listen to them and act on the information they provide.”

 

Blackpool man Jordan Lee found guilty of murdering ‘blue-eyed angel’ daughter Willow

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A Blackpool dad flew into a rage and murdered his baby daughter when she wouldn’t stop crying.

 

Jordan Lee, 29, of Onslow Road in Layton, claimed his four month old daughter Willow rolled off a sofa and possibly hit her head while he played Call Of Duty at his home on Thursday, December 3.

But the jury saw through his web of lies and found him guilty following a trial at Preston Crown Court today.

In a statement, his ex-partner and Willow’s mum Jade Bell said: “My precious, innocent daughter Willow was almost five months old when she died… to watch her die was horrific and heartbreaking, but to then find out what had happened to her, that she died because of her father’s selfish actions, was devastating.

Willow Lee was just four months old when she was murderedWillow Lee was just four months old when she was murdered

“We all miss her dearly. There are not enough words to express that, and to have lost her at such a young age and in the way we have has affected me and my family so much, and my life will never be the same without my blue-eyed angel.

“I could talk about her forever and how she will always be my perfect baby, and always my Willow Grace.

“It’s hard to comprehend that the person who was supposed to love and protect her as a father could be responsible for her no longer being with us.

“My last memory I have of my Willow is her in the ICU at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. My mum, dad, and grandma were on either side of her. The sight of her helpless with tubes and wires attached to her little body, attached to a life-support machine, is something that I will never forget.

Willow Lee died after being attacked by her dad Jordan on December 3 last yearWillow Lee died after being attacked by her dad Jordan on December 3 last year

“The feelings were unbelievable, but I had to let my precious girl go. It was heartbreaking, it still is heartbreaking and will always be heartbreaking. At that point, I could never see how life could be normal again for me and my family, and of course it never will.

“I feel all the overwhelming love I have for her, and I feel the grief and horror of losing her every single day.”

Lee was supposed to be looking after his baby daughter while Jade went to work, but became increasingly angry with her as the day progressed.

At 1.18pm his brother Daniel Lee, who also lived at the Onslow Road address, messaged Jade: “He’s seriously not fit to be a father. I feel sorry for Willow.” He told her Willow had been crying all day and that his brother was ‘getting really angry and shouting at her’.

Jordan Lee. Picture from Lancashire policeJordan Lee. Picture from Lancashire police

In return, Jade texted “Please, please make sure he doesn’t hurt her in any way” and “please make sure my baby is safe Dan.”

At around 5pm, Daniel again heard Lee shouting at his daughter to ‘shut up’.

The sound of Willow crying, followed by a thud, was captured in a Snapchat recording taken by Daniel. Afterwards, Lee ran upstairs withe baby in his arms and showed her to his brother, who said she looked ‘unresponsive and floppy’.

Lee told both paramedics and Jade that Willow had fallen off the sofa. She was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital and transferred to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, where she died on December 6.

A post mortem examination found Willow had sustained a serious traumatic head injury consistent with an assault, forceful shaking and a probable impact to the head, and pathologists concluded the degree of force required was considerable and would have caused her ‘immense pain and suffering’.

She suffered a bleed to the brain and bruises on the left side of her face.

Ms Bell said: “No parent should ever have to see their child die. The way Willow died, at the hands of her father who should have loved her unconditionally but instead killed her in such a brutal manner and has showed no remorse, is unimaginable.”

Lee will be sentenced for the murder of his daughter at Preston Crown Court tomorrow.

 

Van and Mini crash in Cleveleys town centre

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A crash at the tram junction in Cleveleys town centre is causing delays Tuesday, July 27.

 

The crash happened at around 9.40am in Victoria Road West and involved a white van and a cream-coloured Mini.

Police are on the scene and traffic is being temporarily held.

The Mini driver, a local woman, has been taken to hospital but her injuries are not described as “life-threatening”.

The crash happened at around 9.40am near tram junction in Victoria Road West, Cleveleys and involved a white van and a cream-coloured Mini. Pic: GoogleThe crash happened at around 9.40am near tram junction in Victoria Road West, Cleveleys and involved a white van and a cream-coloured Mini. Pic: Google

Lancashire Police and North West Ambulance Service have been approached for further details.

 

Blackpool dad accused of baby murder claims he was too engrossed in playing Call of Duty to notice her rolling off sofa

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A dad accused of murdering his baby daughter told jurors he was playing a war game on his X box and was not paying attention when she rolled off the sofa.

 

Willow was found seriously injured at a house on Onslow Road in Layton, Blackpool, on Thursday, December 3, 2020, and was later transferred to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital where she died on Sunday, December 6.

Jordan Lee, 28, of Onslow Road, denies murder and claims the baby rolled off the sofa, onto a carpeted floor – possibly hitting her head on a glass bottle or remote control, but the prosecution argues the injury is not consistent with his account.

The court previously heard a ‘thud’ was caught on audio in a Snapchat videos recorded by Lee’s brother Daniel, who lived with the family and had become concerned about the dad’s conduct towards the crying baby throughout the day, including an incident where he allegedly held her by her ankle.

Willow LeeWillow Lee

Taking to the witness stand as part of his defence case, Lee told jurors on the morning of December 3 he woke up after 8am and that Willow was “very touchy feeling poking my face” and “a bit mardy”.

He took her downstairs, strapped her in her chair and put You Tube on, and gave her between 5 and 6 oz of milk which she managed to keep it down.

Lee said the tot was alternating between being “mardy and crying ” to “back to her smiles”.

His brother Daniel, who lived with the family, alleges he tried to assist him with the baby throughout the day but that Lee was angry.

He sent a message to Willow’s mum saying Jordan Lee had held her up by her ankle at one point.

The court was told the brothers had had issues when they were younger and used to fight and Jordan Lee would get the better of him, and that they previously had not spoken for five years.

Asked by defence lawyer Nick Johnson QC about the events of December 3, Lee said he couldn’t recall what his brother had said to him, that he had tried to offer some help and that he had replied: ‘What can you do help wise?’

Mr Johnson asked: “Why did you say that, why not just let him help?”

He replied: ” The way he sterilised bottles in the past, they had not been cleaned very well and there were still little lumps in the bottles

“I don’t need the help and he has no experience with Willow.”

Asked “Have you ever said anything harsh to Willow?”, Lee replied: ” I possibly could have said ‘shut up Willow’.”

Mr Johnson said: “What was your mood when Daniel was trying to help?

Blackpool baby murder trial: Dad seen ‘holding baby up by the ankle’ in lead up …

Lee said: ” Confused. It’s not something you get offered every day – a rare moment.”

He was then asked: “Did you pick Willow up by ankle, hold her out to Daniel and say ‘there you go’?

Lee replied: ” Never. Not once.”

He told jurors he had fed Willow and she had been “normal, kicking about” and he had changed her nappy at 4pm or 5pm, before he had put her on sofa, and they had watched cartoons with her.

Mr Johnson asked: ” Why did you put her on the sofa?”

He answered: ” Sometimes it calms her down and sometimes she falls asleep.”

He said he had then started playing his X Box, and jurors were reminded in his police interview he had said: “I think I had focused a bit too much on the game than my child to be honest, and that was my goal, to get to 700.”

“I put too much time into it and I should have looking after Willow more, that should have been my priority…I got too intense.”

Lee told jurors objects including a milkshake bottle and a controller were on the floor, and that he was using a subwoofer speaker.

He said he was shouting at the game and shouting at the crying baby to ‘shut up’, but “not out of anger”.

Asked about the audio on the Snapchat recordings made by his brother , he said he was “heartbroken” to hear it and that Willow may have been crying because she was “possibly teething or hungry”

Mr Johnson asked: “When did you realise something was wrong with Willow?”

He replied: “When I heard a loud thud, I looked to my left hand side and Willow was face down on the carpet on her left side.”

He said he immediately grabbed her, picked her up by her armpits, but was not supporting her head, adding: “I felt shocked and scared – I didn’t know what to do.”

(proceeding)

 

Fleetwood teenager appears in court accused of murdering Blackpool dad-of-two

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A Fleetwood teenager accused of murdering Blackpool dad-of-two Mark Webster appeared in court for the first time (Tuesday, July 27).

 

Levi Westhead, of Flakefleet Avenue, appeared before District Judge Jane Goodwin sitting at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court.

The 18-year-old is accused of inflicting fatal stab wounds on 50-year-old Mark Webster at his home in Carsluith Avenue, Blackpool on Friday (July 23).

Westhead was remanded in custody by the judge who sent his case to Preston Crown Court where he will next appear on Thursday (July 29).

Levi Westhead, 18, has been charged with murdering 50-year-old Mark Webster (pictured) at his home in Carsluith Avenue, Blackpool on Friday (July 23)Levi Westhead, 18, has been charged with murdering 50-year-old Mark Webster (pictured) at his home in Carsluith Avenue, Blackpool on Friday (July 23)

Today (Tuesday, July 27), Lancashire Police released a picture of Mr Webster, along with a tribute from his grieving family.

“There are no words to describe the tragic loss of Mark, a devoted dad who many knew as Web – he was our world, our love, our life and our hero,” they said.

You can read the family’s full tribute here.

 

Window-smashing yobs could delay grand reopening of Cleveleys pub

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The long-awaited reopening of a pub in Cleveleys could be pushed back by its new landlord after windows were smashed on two occasions.

 

The Jubilee Park pub on North Promenade in Cleveleys was left empty after it shut down when lockdown began.

It was taken over in June by Michael Reynolds, 69, and his wife Alison, who hoped to reopen it as “The Jubilee” on Tuesday August 3.

However, Mr Reynolds, a former flooring fitter and hotelier who moved from Hornby Road in Blackpool to Cleveleys to take over the pub, said the opening may need to be postponed.

Michael Reynolds, the new landlord of the Jubilee Park pub on North Promenade in Cleveleys, said youths smashing his windows had potentially put the business reopening on hold. Pic: JPI MediaMichael Reynolds, the new landlord of the Jubilee Park pub on North Promenade in Cleveleys, said youths smashing his windows had potentially put the business reopening on hold. Pic: JPI Media

Two of the pub windows have been smashed in the past week, and replacement panes could take “up to six weeks” to arrive.

Mr Reynolds could not pinpoint the culprit, but believed the damage to have been caused by youngsters after finding “a big group” of children hanging around the pub.

He said: “We’ve got someone coming to replace the glass which had already been smashed on the windows which had been boarded up before we moved in. But for the other windows which were smashed they said it could take up to six weeks. We’re not sure how to get around it.

“It happened twice, once must have been when we were out a couple of days ago so we’re not sure about the time. But yesterday (July 26) we were in the building at the time it happened.
The Jubilee Park's new landlord Michael Reynolds said it could take up to six weeks for the smashed panes to be replaced. Pic: JPI MediaThe Jubilee Park’s new landlord Michael Reynolds said it could take up to six weeks for the smashed panes to be replaced. Pic: JPI Media

“We heard a bang, but didn’t realise it was the glass at the time. There are children running around everywhere here, we’re next to a park. We didn’t see exactly who did it, just a big group of kids.”

Lancashire Police confirmed that they had received reports of criminal damage from Mr Reynolds after the windows were smashed.

Cleveleys councillor laments Pizza Hut closure as ‘another blow to economy’

He said he was hoping to attract clientele “in their 30s or older,” and planned to bring back “old-fashioned food like braised steak or liver and bacon.”

One of the smashed windows, which could take "up to six weeks" to replace. Pic: JPI MediaOne of the smashed windows, which could take “up to six weeks” to replace. Pic: JPI Media

The pub was formerly under the Fayre Table banner, but Mr Reynolds said he wanted to transform it back into a “community pub with home-cooked food.”

He planned to invite bands to perform during weekend evenings, and will give customers their own table service when they book a meal.

“We want this to be somewhere people want to come, and we’ll look after them,” he added.

The Jubilee Park pub on North Promenade, Cleveleys. Pic: JPI MediaThe Jubilee Park pub on North Promenade, Cleveleys. Pic: JPI Media

 

Attempted murder arrest after car driven at man outside Blackpool bar

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a car was driven at a pedestrian in Blackpool.

 

A man’s leg was reportedly crushed between two vehicles following the incident in Queen Street at around 1.30am today (July 27)

The victim – a 24-year-old man from Blackpool – was rushed to hospital with a “serious leg injury”.

Officers have confirmed a 28-year-old man from Blackpool has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

A man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a car was driven at a pedestrian in Queen Street. (Credit: Google)A man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a car was driven at a pedestrian in Queen Street. (Credit: Google)

Enquiries into the incident are ongoing.

Anyone with information has been asked to contact police on 101, quoting log number 0132 of 27.

Alternatively, independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org.

Police release picture of murdered Blackpool dad-of-two Mark Webster

This morning’s incident follows a similar attack which occurred on Sunday (July 24).

Police were called around 5.25am on Saturday (July 24) to reports a red Peugeot had driven at a small group of people near North Pier.

Following enquiries a man was later arrested in connection with the incident.

Adam Clarke, 30 of Arnfield Road, Stockport has been charged with attempted murder, common assault, and dangerous driving.

He was due to appear at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court yesterday morning (Monday, July 26).

 

Former Fleetwood Town manager Joey Barton pleads not guilty to assaulting his wife

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Former Fleetwood Town manager Joey Barton has pleaded not guilty to assaulting his wife Georgia.

 

Former Fleetwood Town manager Joey Barton has pleaded not guilty to assaulting his wife. The former Premier League footballer appeared at Wimbledon Magistrates' Court in south-west London on Monday morning via video link, where he denied the charges. Pic: PA Wire/PA Images

Former Fleetwood Town manager Joey Barton has pleaded not guilty to assaulting his wife. The former Premier League footballer appeared at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court in south-west London on Monday morning via video link, where he denied the charges. Pic: PA Wire/PA Images

The 38-year-old former Premier League footballer, who now manages Bristol Rovers, appeared at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court in south west London today (Monday, July 26) via video link.

The charge against Barton, who lives in Widnes, Cheshire, relates to an incident at home in Kew, south-west London, on June 2 in which his wife Georgia suffered a head injury.

The court heard Barton allegedly grabbed her by the throat and kicked her in the head during an altercation outside the property, where they had been visiting with two friends.

The court heard Mrs Barton then called the police and asked for her husband to be removed from the property.

Today, Barton spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and address.

He wore a t-shirt and shorts during the hearing.

Barton, a former midfielder, played for teams including Manchester City, Newcastle, Queen’s Park Rangers and Marseille during his playing career.

He also appeared once for the England team in 2007.

He then moved into management, starting off with Fleetwood Town from 2018 to 2021 before joining Bristol Rovers earlier this year.

Barton was released on unconditional bail until his trial at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court on December 16.

A case management hearing has been set for November 17.

New documentary to air showing behind-the-scenes at Fleetwood Town during Joey Barton’s spell at the club

A fly-on-the-wall documentary series following Joey Barton’s tenure at Fleetwood Town will debut next week.

International streaming service DAZN will broadcast The Contract, a six-part series covering the Cod Army on and off the pitch, on demand from Thursday, July 29.

The series follows then-manager, Joey Barton, owner and local entrepreneur Andy Pilley, players, and the local community.

Fleetwood Town said the documentary series follows the Cod Army over the course of 2018-2021, providing a “raw and unflinching insight into the pressure of running a modern-day football club outside of the Premier League”.