West Mercia Police – Fraud & Scam Bulletin – January 2022

The Fraud & Scam Bulletin – January 2022

Your monthly update direct from West Mercia Police on the latest scams and frauds

 

Welcome to the first monthly Bulletin  highlighting current fraud trends in our area.

Please circulate to your members and contacts, as well as using it for your own information.

This month we are focusing on two types of Fraud about which we have had multiple reports from the public in recent weeks and how you can keep safe.

Romance fraud – What is it?

You are convinced to make a payment to a person  you may have met through social media platforms, dating websites and Apps, or Gaming sites.

  • Fake profiles are used by criminals in an attempt to build a relationship with you – this is often known as “Catfishing”.
  • Criminals  use information found on social media to create fake identities to target you with the scam, often looking for profiles saying you are single, widowed or divorced
  • They will go to great lengths to gain your trust and convince you that you have found a genuine relationship before appealing to your compassionate side to ask for money
  • Criminals use language to manipulate, persuade and exploit so that requests for money do not raise any alarm bells
  • These requests might be highly emotive, such as criminals claiming they need money for emergency medical care, or to pay for transport costs to visit you from overseas

What to do:

·      If you are speaking to someone online that you have not met in person, stop and think. It could protect your heart and your money

·      Never give your bank details to someone online that you have never met, and if you are in any doubt about the person’s honesty, speak to a friend or family member. If they have tried to take money from you, report it to  Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via the website https://www.actionfraud.police.uk

NEW WhatsApp FRAUD

A rising number of similar Frauds using WhatsApp have been seen in recent weeks in our area which residents need to be aware of.

  • The suspect will send the victim a message via WhatsApp claiming to be their son/daughter/friend and that they have had to change their phone number
  • The suspect then asks for money for debt repayment / to buy a new phone/asking to pay outstanding bills
  • The victim then ends up sending money to the fraudster believing this is going to an actual relative or friend
  • This type of Scam is becoming more frequent

Always remember:

  • STOP: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
  • CHALLENGE: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
  • PROTECT: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.

For further information visit:

https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

https://takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/

Wychavon District Council- Enjoy safe cycling with Wheels 2 Rails event

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Enjoy safe cycling with Wheels 2 Rails event

Wychavon residents are invited to take part in a fun and free cycling event at Westlands Community Centre next month.

Wheels 2 Rails, which runs between 10am and 3.30pm on Saturday 26 February, is encouraging safer cycling for adults and children.

The event features two-hour family cycle training sessions led by a qualified Bikeability instructor, starting at 10am and 1pm.

The sessions are designed to build cycling confidence in different situations, such as heading out on local roads or to the railway station.

Wheels 2 Rails includes safety check drop-in sessions, and the chance to get your bike security marked, so it can be tracked if it’s stolen.

Cyclists can also test their pedal power, and earn a tasty reward, on the GreenApe smoothie bike.

Wychavon has joined forces with Worcestershire Community Rail Partnership and Community Rail Network to offer the event, helped by the Integrated Sustainable Transport in Community Rail Fund.

Places are limited, so sessions must be pre-booked at: https://wheels_to_rail_droitwich.eventbrite.co.uk

New coronavirus support funding for businesses

New coronavirus support funding for businesses

Businesses affected by coronavirus, including the impact of the Omicron Covid-19 variant can now apply for new support funding.

Three new schemes have opened for applications and businesses are being urged to apply as soon as possible to avoid missing the deadline.

The Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant is aimed at businesses in those sectors affected by the spread of the Omicron variant and the impact of Plan B measures to try and contain it.

Grants of between £2,667 and £6,000 are on offer depending on the rateable value of the business premises. The deadline for applications is 28 February 2022.

A discretionary funding scheme for businesses affected by the Omicron variant, that are not in the hospitality or leisure sector or do not have a business rates account, has also opened. Grants between £500 and £6,000 will be available. Demand for the scheme is expected to be high and funding is limited so support will be prioritised towards those businesses deemed most in need.

Businesses can also claim for the Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF) which is aimed at businesses affected by the pandemic but have not been able to claim help from existing support schemes linked to Business Rates.

Instead of cash grants, the support will be given to qualifying businesses in the form of a discount on their Business Rates bill for 2021/22. Applications must be made by 21 February 2022.

Businesses can find out more about the support funding available and apply by visiting www.wychavon.gov.uk/business and clicking on the link at the top of the page.

West Mercia Police – Economic Crime Unit – Monthly Fraud and Scam bulletin

Welcome to West Mercia Police first monthly Bulletin  highlighting current fraud trends in our area.

This month we are focusing on two types of Fraud about which we have had multiple reports from the public in recent weeks and how you can keep safe.

Romance fraud – What is it?

You are convinced to make a payment to a person  you may have met through social media platforms, dating websites and Apps, or Gaming sites.

  • Fake profiles are used by criminals in an attempt to build a relationship with you – this is often known as “Catfishing”.
  • Criminals  use information found on social media to create fake identities to target you with the scam, often looking for profiles saying you are single, widowed or divorced
  • They will go to great lengths to gain your trust and convince you that you have found a genuine relationship before appealing to your compassionate side to ask for money
  • Criminals use language to manipulate, persuade and exploit so that requests for money do not raise any alarm bells
  • These requests might be highly emotive, such as criminals claiming they need money for emergency medical care, or to pay for transport costs to visit you from overseas

What to do:

·      If you are speaking to someone online that you have not met in person, stop and think. It could protect your heart and your money

·      Never give your bank details to someone online that you have never met, and if you are in any doubt about the person’s honesty, speak to a friend or family member. If they have tried to take money from you, report it to  Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via the website https://www.actionfraud.police.uk

NEW WhatsApp FRAUD

A rising number of similar Frauds using WhatsApp have been seen in recent weeks in our area which residents need to be aware of.

  • The suspect will send the victim a message via WhatsApp claiming to be their son/daughter/friend and that they have had to change their phone number
  • The suspect then asks for money for debt repayment / to buy a new phone/asking to pay outstanding bills
  • The victim then ends up sending money to the fraudster believing this is going to an actual relative or friend
  • This type of Scam is becoming more frequent

Always remember:

  • STOP: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
  • CHALLENGE: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
  • PROTECT: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.

For further information visit:

https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

https://takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/

Wychavon District Council announces – More than £297,000 to support households in need

More than £297,000 to support households in need

More than £297,000 has been made available to community groups and voluntary organisations to continue to support people affected by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Wychavon has used funding from the Household Support Grant to continue to make sure people who need help accessing food or paying energy bills and other essential costs can still get the help they need.

The funding includes more than £30,000 for Food Banks and community food programmes across Wychavon, over £34,000 to organisations providing welfare support and more than £33,000 to volunteer centres in Droitwich, Evesham and Pershore.

Almost £96,500 has been given to South Worcestershire Citizens Advice Bureau to continue to support people with debt advice, particularly those on Universal Credit.

Housing associations have received £80,000 to continue to support the wellbeing of their tenants and those facing crisis this winter, while £10,000 has been made available to support children and young people affected by the impact of the pandemic.

Cllr Bradley Thomas, Leader of Wychavon District Council, said: “Our voluntary and community sector has done an amazing job supporting people in need throughout the pandemic and this funding will allow them to continue that good work.”

Anyone needing help with their energy bills should contact Act on Energy on 0800 9882881 or email .

Anyone needing help with food and other supplies should visit www.worcestershire.gov.uk/here2help where they will be directed to the right organisation.

Businesses could win £1,000 by taking part in skills survey

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Businesses could win £1,000 by taking part in skills survey

Businesses are being encouraged to take part in a survey to find out what their skills and training needs are.

The survey is being run by Malvern Hills and Wychavon District Councils with telemarketing agency, Team Telemarketing, and will end on 31 January 2022.

Businesses will be contacted via phone call to take part in the survey but it can also be done online. All entrants will be entered into a prize draw to win a £1,000 cash prize.

The results will help guide the councils in providing targeted support to businesses including future subsidised courses to meet their needs, help with recruitment and to fill the skills gap.

The survey is being run as part of the Malvern Hills and Wychavon Upskilling Project which has received funding of £283,050 from the UK Government Renewal Fund.

The project is being run by Malvern Hills District and Wychavon District Councils, with Worcestershire County Council acting as the lead authority for the programme.

Cllr Daniel Walton, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Tourism on Malvern Hills District Council, said: “This survey is an important part of our continued commitment to addressing the skills gap within the Malvern Hills District and helping businesses to thrive. It is a great opportunity for businesses to tell us what they need in terms of recruitment, providing training for staff and more.”

Cllr Richard Morris, Executive Board Member for Economic Growth and Tourism on Wychavon District Council, said: “We need to support the changing needs of businesses to help people stay and get into work, as well as growing a successful economy. We will be able to use the findings of the survey to provide much-needed, targeted support.”

The survey will take between three to 15 minutes to complete depending on the business.

Visit www.malvernhills.gov.uk/skills to take part in the survey if you are a Malvern Hills District based business.

Visit www.wychavon.gov.uk/business to take part in the survey if you are a Wychavon based business.

The Here2Help Community Services Directory

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The Here2Help Community Services Directory

In September 2021, Here2Help launched its Community Services Directory as part of its wider service to help residents search for a range of services and support offered by charities, community groups, businesses, public sector groups and other organisations in their local area and across the whole of Worcestershire.

These services include mental health and wellbeing, financial advice, assistance and supplies, volunteering opportunities, recreation activities and much more.

Since its launch in September, over 275 organisations have signed up to offer support and services to Worcestershire residents.

The Here2Help team have also been out visiting various libraries in the County to talk to residents about the Here2Help Service and the Community Services Directory.

Do you know any local organisations that may be interested in registering their service on the Here2Help Community Services Directory ?

More information can be found by visiting  www.worcestershire.gov.uk/here2help

Wychavon District Council News – Grab your Covid-19 vaccination this weekend

Grab your Covid-19 vaccination this weekend

A pop-up vaccination clinic is set to open in Evesham this weekend.

Anyone aged 16 or over who needs to have their first or second vaccinations, can Grab a Jab.

The walk-in vaccination clinic will be open from 10am until 5pm on Saturday, 25 September and Sunday, 26 September at Bengeworth Club in Coronation Street. There is no need to book or be registered with a GP, people can just turn up and have a vaccine. The vaccine being given will be Pfizer.

Public Health in Worcestershire, Evesham Volunteer Centre and Wychavon District Council are working together to make it easier and more convenient for people to get vaccinated.

The walk-in clinic is part of an ongoing initiative to give those who haven’t already had their first vaccination an opportunity to do so, as well as encouraging the take up of second doses.

Cllr Christopher Day, Executive Board Member responsible for Health and Wellbeing on Wychavon District Council, said: “Getting the COVID-19 vaccine will help protect you and your loved ones from the virus and help us continue our journey back to normality.

“I’m grateful to all partners and volunteers for supporting us to set up this ‘Grab a Jab’ clinic that will make it even easier for our residents to get their first or second vaccine dose.”

Dr Kathryn Cobain, Director of Public Health for Worcestershire, said: “We are so grateful to everyone who has got their vaccination so far. This is a really good opportunity for those who haven’t been able to get it yet to pop in and get their jab. COVID-19 is still in our community and getting vaccinated is one of the best things we can do to protect ourselves, our family and our community.”

Anyone unable to attend the clinic can find out more about the Covid-19 vaccine and how they can get it by following the links from the coronavirus page on our website at www.wychavon.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Parish Councillors update reports September 2021. 

Parish Councillors update reports September 2021.

Cllr. Paul.

Smith’s meadow

I am receiving many comments about the amount of younger people (from outside the village) using the meadow to gather, playing loud music, jumping in the river. The meadow is for all to use however I completely understand those concerns people have, we as a council have had many conversations around how to manage this and unless we close the meadow ( which would affect all villagers) we can’t see a solution, we are not the police therefore unable to ask them to leave, if you feel that it is causing unsociable behaviour then you should report this to the police on 101 . If anyone has any other ideas or thoughts around resolving this issue please get in touch.

Community speed cameras 

I have been in communication with west Mercia police around speeding through the village, they are planning on conducting a survey in 4 locations, if the results come back that we have an issue we will be looking for volunteers to be trained on the usage and process of the community speed cameras. I will update you further on any results we get.

Remembrance Sunday 

At this point in time plans are being made for Remembrance Sunday to be held at the war memorial outside the village hall, the poppy wreath has been ordered. More information will be available closer to the time.

George Lane 

The works on the railway bridge have been completed however there is still some work to do on the road just through the bridge, I have reported this to highways so hopefully will see completed soon.

Village hall defibrillator

Emergency ready.

Public right of way

We are still looking for someone to be a public right of way warden, if you would be interested in doing this role or would like more information please get in touch.

Parking on Pavements and grass verges 

There are a lot of vehicles around the village parking on pavements and grass verges, please can I ask that residents reframe from doing this and ask their visitors and tradesmen not to also, it is not only illegal to obstruct the pavements but causes safety issues for pushchairs and wheelchairs having to manoeuvre on to the road to get by and also causing damage to the pavements from the vehicle’s.

Dog Excrement 

Many parishioners are complaining about the amount of dog excrement being left by inconsiderate dog owners, please can I ask that all offending owners pick up after their dogs. This also comes with an up to £1000 fine.

Over hanging tree Smith’s Meadow

Tree planned to be coppice in autumn once the leaves have dropped off.

Cllr. McFarland.

Neighbourhood Watch

Following the recent spate of break-ins in Wyre Piddle I set up a village Neighbourhood Watch WhatsApp group which will enable villagers to quickly share information about suspicious activity or concerns.  The group now has just under 40 members. It will be more effective if the majority of people in the Village join in the WhatsApp group.

We Don’t Buy Crime 

I continue to offer Smart Water kits to new-comers to the Village.

Wyre Bridge

Wyre Bridge has been cleaned of moss and growth of saplings by WCC Highways.

Preaching Cross 

Estimate from Browns Hardware for planted troughs:

Composite troughs £180

Compost £20

Winter Pansies £100*

Spring Bulbs £25

Summer Flowers £50*

Initial cost (includes delivery) £375

*Annual flower replacement £150

4 Movement alarms (if required) £120

I plan to invite parishioners to adopt a trough for watering and replenishing flowers each year (WPPC to buy plants).

Wyre Piddle Conservation Area Appraisal Group. 

Wyre Piddle Parish Council and Wychavon District Council are undertaking a review of Wyre Piddle Conservation Area and its boundaries. The aim is to outline the history of the area and identify and explain what is special about it. The document will also contain guidance on how to protect and enhance the character and appearance of the area.  As part of the process, a group has been set up and so far has undertaken a few village walks to assess what areas to propose for inclusion or removal from the Conservation Area.

Cllr. Searle.

Eastern Bridge and Wyre Road

I met Cllr Boatright regarding the traffic still using the bridge, and the suggestion regarding closing a section of Wyre Road to vehicles once the Northern Link Road is open. Following e-mails from myself and Cllr Townsend to him, Cllr Boatright had already been in touch with the Traffic Signals department and Cllr Amos the chairman of the Highways and Transport committee and has put our suggestions to them. He has been told that such a road closure has never been done in a rural environment and that it would not happen. I pointed out that leaving the road open without a footpath/cycle way is dangerous to pedestrians and cyclists and that if the road was not to be closed, we would want a footpath and cycle way built, which would be very expensive. Cllr Boatright said that we would have to start with getting a footpath along the full length of the B4083 and he would start pushing for that.

The” Bridge” group (no, not the card game) are continuing to report the police any vehicles they see crossing the bridge. However, with the speed that vehicles go through the village it is often difficult to get the number plates for any action to be taken.

I have noted an increase in vehicles using the bridge, especially at weekends.

I am drafting a questionnaire to ask villagers whether they would like the bridge permanently closed, and if not, to prevent it being used as a cut through to/from Pershore, would they like to see a section of Wyre Road closed.  Vehicles would then have to use the Northern Link Road rather than Wyre Road to get to/from Pershore, thus encouraging road users to use the bypass rather than come through the village. The other benefit of closure of part of Wyre Road would be a safer pedestrian and cycle route from the village towards Pershore. A map will be enclosed with the questionnaire showing the proposals.

Planning Issues

I am continuing to review and to comment on relevant planning applications within the village, and the SWDP review. Please see my planning report. The consultation period over the Travellers and Travelling Show People Sites has now ended. The Parish Council comments were submitted to the consultation.

Grass Verges

I have now received the section 96 licence which is required to enable wildflowers to be sown on the grass verges. The Lengthsman has cut the grass and the area has been raked. The wildflower seed has been purchased in preparation to sowing in the next few weeks. The wildflower seed has been purchased, at no cost to the parish council.

 

Hill and Moor CLG

The meeting for this was cancelled on the 14 and 19 July and was rearranged for the 16 August. I was unable to attend this day. I understand from Cllr Boatright that he does not want to re-arrange a further meeting until he has got members from all parishes local to the refuse site.

 Cllr. Lister.

Smith’s Meadow

  • Picnic Bench Burnt area
    • Seeded grass area quite well established now. Removed barrier tape.
    • Picture sent to parish Council
  • Still evaluating what is the best type of bench to replace burnt one. Discussed getting a metal sheet to cover top of benches to protect from burning. Not sure, this is the correct option as they may get very hot during summer and cause personal injury.
  • Overall Smith’s Meadow in good condition and a big thank you from me to all the villagers who do their bit in clearing up litter.
  • Last checked 19th September

Play Park

  • Checked weekly.
  • In good condition, lengths man is doing a great job in looking after park.
  • No structural issues with apparatus.
  • Last checked 19th September 2021

Bus Shelter

  • All fine structurally but does get messy at times.

Telephone Box

  • One large and one small pane missing

Cllr. Townsend.

Anchor Defibrilator.

Ready for use. Pads are due to expire November 2021. I have asked the new manager of the Anchor if they are happy to continue supporting the home for the unit and this is fine.

Pershore Infrastructure

I have sent a request to Mark Mills WCC asking for an update on progress of the Northern bypass and the footpath. He is checking to see if he can pop along to our meeting to update all of us but if not convenient he says Cr. Dan Boatright will be able to provide it.

Eastern Bridge

PC Brown, Barry Barnes, Cllr. Dan Boatright, Lew and myself are all confirmed attendees for a meeting about the bridge. The delay is being caused by Barry not providing the data on the light trials, risk assessment etc. I have asked Barry to confirm date now when this is ready but have also said we will need to go ahead soon as the traffic and speeding issues are not going away.

Cllr. Butler.

Outstanding questions from the last meeting/report.

  1. Occupants of the Mears were advised that although Carl will keep the V cut clear, if they have a problem with flooding they would need to contact the council.
  2. Footpath 501. A request has been put in to WCC and this has been acknowledged.

Lengthsman Report for July and August

As usual Carl is doing a good job, and things continue to run smoothly.

1.I have asked for the yellow temporary sign that is padlocked to the post just off the mini roundabout, to be removed and replaced with a more prominent/permanent sign saying the bridge is closed to traffic.

  1. The PROW between the Anchor and the building plot, as we suspected, is not dealt with by the Lengthsman. I have therefore reported the problem to WCC and received an acknowledgement. However, Carl did pop his head around the gates and it would appear that it will need quite a bit of work to get it back into anything like a safe place for people to walk on. With a lot of debris as well as weeds.

 

  1. I have spoken with Barry Barnes about applying for costs for a footpath to run from the railway bridge to the garage. There is something called 106 monies, which can be made available for this sort of thing. In order for us to apply for these monies we have to have the support of our local councillor. I contacted Dan Boatright. Dan is happy to support anything that provides for active travel. However, he stated that he was looking how we can reduce the traffic flow over these bridges (the one into Wyre Piddle and the other into Pershore from Pinvin. They’re both lacking footpaths and cycle ways and his idea had been to wait until the bypass was in, and then strike with a three-council supported plan to make these bridges more pedestrianised (so limiting rather than stopping traffic and making them unattractive for those just passing through but making them safer for pedestrians and cyclists. It will obviously take more time but Dan feels it will be harder for the powers that be to argue with the three pronged attack!

The question is do we want to wait and make a potentially stronger case for cycle paths and footpaths or do we want to go ahead and apply for just the footpath from where it currently ends to the garage?

4 We have been donated two bird boxes, which Carl has erected in Smiths meadow.

 

5  Carl has sided out the area that is going to be planted with wildflower seeds.

  More than £4.3million will be spent by Wychavon improving the energy efficiency of fuel poor homes across the district after several successful funding bids.

£4.3million for improving home energy efficiency

 

More than £4.3million will be spent by Wychavon improving the energy efficiency of fuel poor homes across the district after several successful funding bids.

 

Wychavon has received a share of £5.8million from the Government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund as part of a joint bid with Rooftop Housing Group, Trent and Dove Housing Group, Citizen Housing Group and Trident Group.

 

Some £3million of the money will be spent in Wychavon on installing energy efficient solar and solar thermal panels, external wall insulation and loft insulation. Work is being targeted at low income households in fuel poverty and homes with a poor energy efficiency rating. The rest of the money will be spent on homes in Staffordshire and Birmingham.

 

More than 260 properties will be improved in total saving households up to £450 a year on their fuel bills and helping to cut carbon emissions as part of Wychavon’s Intelligently Green Plan.

 

Wychavon has also received £700,000 from the first phase of the Government’s Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery Scheme. This money is being used to improve the energy efficiency of 155 homes across the district through the installation of solar panels, solar thermals and draught proofing.

 

Another £650,000 has already been pledged to Wychavon as part of the second phase of the scheme. The money will again be targeted at fuel poor households and details are being worked up about how the funding will be distributed to make the maximum impact.

 

Cllr Chris Day, Executive Board Member for Housing, Health and Wellbeing on Wychavon District Council, said: “I’m delighted we have been able to secure this money which, together with our partners, allows us to make a very significant investment in improving the energy efficiency of homes across Wychavon. This will help us to cut carbon emissions to support the fight against climate change, as well as save people money.”