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Seven arrests in dawn operation

3.54pm - 19th October 2017

SEVEN people have been arrested in connection with a series of burglaries across three counties after warrants were carried out in Harlow. 
About 50 officers were involved in the warrants in Fern Hill at about 5am today, including two Police Support Units (one from Essex and one from Hertfordshire), the Essex Police dog unit, firearms officers and Scenes of Crime Officers. 
Seven people have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to burgle. 
The joint operation forms part of an investigation by Essex, Hertfordshire and Kent police forces into burglaries across the three counties where petrol stations and local stores have been targeted and large quantities of cigarettes and cash taken. 
Since August there have been 42 commercial burglaries across Hertfordshire, Essex and Kent which are believed to be linked. 
All of those arrested are being held in custody in Hertfordshire. 
Officers from Hertfordshire Police’s Specialist Investigation Team are leading the criminal investigation.
Hertfordshire Police Detective Inspector Anna Wright said: "We are very pleased with the results of today’s operation and this is an excellent example of joint policing to tackle cross border crime. 
"We have been gathering intelligence on this crime series for some time and I am pleased that we have finally secured a number of arrests in connection with these offences." 
Harlow District Commander Chief Inspector Matt Cornish said: "This was a carefully planned and well executed warrant. 
"It highlights the excellent partnership work with Hertfordshire Police and Kent Police on this investigation, as well as with the local authority. 
"This action also highlights our ongoing work to address concerns raised by people in Harlow. 
"We are currently in the middle project to tackle issues such as violent crime and anti-social behaviour in the town centre and around the district. "We have already seen success with this through the dispersal order in the town centre, additional foot patrols and working with businesses in the night-time economy. 
"I want to thank the community in Harlow for their support. 
"I am committed to making the district an even safer place to live and work."

Exam question challenge for students

3.52pm - 19th October 2017

GCSE students are completing an exam question every day for 30 days to prepare for the months ahead.
Year 10 and 11 students at Burnt Mill Academy are taking up #Challenge30 to improve their revision skills and help relieve the pressure of exam season.
Throughout November they will work through a list of knowledge-based questions which will require a range of skills to produce concise answers to essay-style answers. 
Head of Humanities Kayleigh Trainor said: "To adapt to the changes to the curriculum we are constantly looking at ways we can help our students to achieve the highest grades.
"The project will also help to raise awareness of revision and encourage more independent learning. 
"By completing these exam questions, they will be more prepared for the exam season. When it gets closer to May, they will be more confident in answering exam questions. 
"Students can often get bogged down with heavy, noted revision but instead we want them to apply what they are learning in lessons. 
"It is an opportunity for students to demonstrate what they have learnt in lessons.” 
All questions will be marked and 30 prizes given out for the top answers.

Police renew murder appeal five years on

7.53am - 17th October 2017

FIVE years on from a fire which killed six members of the same family, detectives are continuing to appeal for the public’s help in solving the case. 
Dr Abdul Shakoor was the only survivor of the fire which claimed the lives of his wife Dr Sabah Usmani,44, and five children - daughters Hira, 12, and Maheen, three, and sons Sohaib, 11, Muneeb, nine and Rayyan, six. 
The family were asleep at their terraced home in Barn Mead, Harlow, at 1.40am on October 15, 2012, when the fire swept through the downstairs. 
A silver Ford Focus was set alight at the same time. 
The home was quickly engulfed by flames and smoke. Desperate to raise the alarm and get help for his family, Dr Shakoor managed to jump from an upstairs window. 
The fire took hold and Dr Shakoor’s wife and children did not survive. 
Detectives launched a murder investigation, called Operation Shakespeare, but to date they have been unable to bring those responsible for the fire to justice. 
Five years on police, supported by Dr Shakoor, are continuing to appeal for anyone with information to come forward. 
Dr Shakoor said: "Every day I think about my wife and children, the pain has never gone away. It is impossible to put in to words the pain and grief I have endured at the loss of my entire family.
"I will never understand why somebody did this and I live in hope that someday someone may come forward with information. If you do know anything, please contact Essex Police." 
Senior investigating officer DCI Stephen Jennings, who is now leading the investigation, said: "No-one will ever be able to imagine the trauma, horror and grief that Dr Shakoor has endured. 
"Five years on and we are still committed to solving this murder investigation and securing justice for Dr Shakoor and his family. 
"We know the answer to this investigation lies within the community of Harlow. Five years on and loyalties that once existed may have changed. 
"If you do know anything about the events of that night and who was responsible please, for the sake of Dr Shakoor and his family, do the right thing and come forward." 
The murder investigation has been one of the most difficult and challenging carried out by Essex Police.
To date more than 70 police officers and staff have worked on the case, nearly 500 people have given witness statements and 1,800 exhibits were collected and stored. 
Detectives are continuing to appeal for information in relation to the following lines of enquiry: 
* A white man aged in his late teens/early 20s on a bicycle seen in the area when the house and car were set alight. It is thought he could be a key witness. 
* The family laptop, a black Toshiba Satellite, which was taken from the house in a burglary. This has not been located. Do you know where the laptop is or was? 
* The laptop was fitted with a two-pin lead because it was bought in Saudi Arabia. The laptop bag and lead were later recovered near to the scene between Whitewaits and St Michael’s Close. Did you see these items being dumped or did you notice any suspicious activity in these areas at the time? 
* Attached to the laptop lead was a shaver adapter plug. This did not belong to the Shakoor family which suggests someone tried to use the plug. Did you have a shaver plug missing from your home at the time? 
* Do you know anything about the silver Ford Focus which was set alight? 
* In November 2012 a person rang Harlow Police Station from a phone box and left a message about the fire. Are you that person?
* Also in November 2012 a piece of paper about the murder investigation was left on a shelf in Boots in Harlow. Did you leave it? 
Anyone with any information is asked to ring the Major Investigation Team at Brentwood on 101, email scd.appeals.essex@essex.pnn.police.uk or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Police make arrest over rape of man

1.48pm - 10th October 2017

AN arrest has been made in connection with the rape of a man in Harlow. 
Police were called by ambulance staff to School Lane at about 6.45am on Sunday with concerns for a man’s welfare. 
He was reported to be suffering from breathing difficulties and was taken to hospital. 
He also had a minor head injury. 
Following the incident, a rape investigation has been launched. 
The victim has been safeguarded by specialist officers. 
Detective Inspector Rob Staples said: "We are exploring a number of lines of enquiry and would like to hear from anyone who was in the vicinity of Harlow Town Park between 5am and 7am on Sunday morning. 
"We’d especially like to hear from anyone who may have been near to the junction of School Lane with Park Lane."
A 35-year-old Harlow man has been arrested on suspicion of rape and released under investigation. Enquiries are ongoing. 
Anyone with information is asked to ring the Adult Sexual Abuse Investigation Team at Grays on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Hospice golf day raises £110,000

1.44pm - 10th October 2017

HOUSEBUILDER Weston Homes plc, a long-term partner of St Clare Hospice, raised a record £110,000 for the charity at its 23rd annual golf day. 
The Uttlesford-based developer has been running the event for the hospice for two decades raising well over £1m for the charity. 
Golfers enjoyed breakfast at Stoke by Nayland Golf and Spa Hotel followed by golf and a dinner with entertainment.
The event ended with an auction with 'lots' including holidays and golf breaks.
Weston Homes chairman Bob Weston said: "Both myself and the whole team at Weston Homes are proud to host this fun annual event for an exceptional cause. 
"We have a long-standing and mutually beneficial partnership with the hospice dating back two decades. The work of St Clare is immeasurably important across Essex and we believe it is imperative, as a local business who operates in the same community as the hospice, to lend our support so that their care can continue.” 
St Clare chief executive Sarah Thompson said: "We are indebted to Weston Homes for their commitment to our partnership and I am so delighted by the continued success of this incredible golfing fundraiser for St Clare. 
"It is incredible that their financial contribution over the years now amounts to more than £1m - not to mention the generous support they gave in building our new office facility last year.
"It is only with the dedicated help of loyal partners like Weston Homes that we are able to sustain and grow our services to ensure we can continue to be there for local people, now and in the years ahead."

New school structure hailed a success

8.45am - 10th October 2017

A NEW school structure which sees students gaining GCSEs from the age of 13 has been hailed a success.
The Burnt Mill Academy Trust launched the new curriculum three years ago which saw Year 9 and 10 students at Burnt Mill Academy take GCSE courses and exams early. 
Students study two complete GCSE courses in one year rather than the traditional three years, and enter Year 11 having already banked four GCSE qualifications. 
The radical overhaul saw upper school lessons extended from 60 minutes to 100 minutes, with students devoting two whole days each week to their two GCSE options. 
The move means Year 11 students can focus more of their time and energy into the core subjects of English, maths and science. 
It also enables them to take a range of subjects without having to drop a core subject for one they may prefer, such as dance or photography. 
Deputy head Dee Conlon said: "Traditionally children take their options in Year 9 and they are set in stone for the three years ahead. 
"That can mean being stuck with options they chose at the age of 13 when they are 16, even if their plans for the future have changed. 
"Also, they may no longer want to take lessons in dance, for example, but they have no choice as it is part of the curriculum. 
"Our students get to make their choices each year for the year ahead so it stays more relevant as they grow older. 
"For two days each week they only have their options lessons; what better as a child than spending all day focusing on what you love.
"The children absolutely love it and, as a teacher, the 100-minute lessons mean you can really get stuck in to a topic and have the time to make sure every single child is making progress - if not, you have the time to intervene." 
Students are assessed regularly and are advised to leave subjects which require high levels of literacy to the later years to allow for further development. 
Year 7 and 8 continue with the traditional lesson structure because younger students benefit from the shorter sessions, while early interventions mean all students are expected to reach their absolute potential when they sit their GCSE exams from Year 9.

Pedestrian dies after motorbike collision

8.58am - 5th October 2017

A MAN has died after he was in collision with a motorbike in Harlow. 
A blue and white Suzuki motorbike was in collision with an 82-year-old man in Cambridge Road, near Harlow Mill, at about 4.35pm on Tuesday. 
The pedestrian was taken to hospital but died a few hours later. 
A 29-year-old man, from London, has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.
Anyone who saw a blue and white motorbike on Cambridge Road between 4pm and 4.40pm, or who has dash cam footage of the bike or the collision, is asked to contact the Serious Collision Investigation Unit on 101 or email collision.appeals@essex.pnn.police.uk

Crackdown on anti-social behaviour to continue

5.45pm - 3rd October 2017

ACTION to tackle anti-social behaviour in Harlow town centre will continue following the success of a dispersal order. 
The order was in place between 10pm on Saturday and 6am on Sunday.
A 16-year-old boy was issued with a dispersal order notice while a 20-year-old woman was arrested in connection with a public order offence and an assault which took place in the same area on September 15. 
She was questioned and has since been released under investigation. 
Inspector Tony Walker, from the Harlow Community Policing Team, said: "I’m pleased with the success of the dispersal notice. 
"Reports of crime and disorder were down and we had positive comments from local residents and business owners. 
"The dispersal order is a temporary measure and we will consider using it again in future. 
"In the longer term though, the Community Policing Team has a 12-week plan in place to address crime and anti-social behaviour in the town centre and this will continue until the end of December. 
"This plan will see an increase in foot patrols throughout the day and night, as well as other tactics, to make the Town Centre an even safer place."

Seaside trip for geography students

4.57pm - 2nd October 2017

YEAR 10 and 11 students at Burnt Mill Academy visited Southend as part of their GCSE Geography course. 
The visit enabled the students to carry out real-life coastal investigations to support their work. 
Head of Geography Kayleigh Trainor said: "Students were using geographical techniques to assess the impacts of coastal erosion and coastal management on the local community. 
"Students will use this information in the exam for the fieldwork section. 
"Building on this in the new year, students will spend a day in London for their urban study assessing the variations in quality of life. 
"Students really enjoyed the day, putting into practice what we have been discussing in class. 
"It was particularly warming when members of the public went out of their way to comment on how well behaved the students were for such a large number."

Man jailed over burglaries

4.21pm - 1st October 2017

A MAN who committed two burglaries - in Old Harlow and Matching Green - having been released on licence from prison has been jailed for three years. 
Steven Clark, 20, of no fixed address, was sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court after pleading guilty to the offences on Friday, September 22. 
Police received a call at 4.20pm on Sunday, July 16, about a burglary in progress at a property off Hobbs Cross Road, Old Harlow. 
The victim returned home to find a blue Vauxhall Vectra sounding its horn and his garage door open. 
A neighbour noticed the suspicious behaviour and parked his car in front of the vehicle while the victim looked inside his home to find a messy search had been carried out, windows smashed and items missing. 
The suspicious car then sped off, crashed and the suspects ran off. 
Police found that tape had been used to change the number plate details and inside the car was a stolen jewellery box and jewellery. 
A further burglary was reported at about 5.40pm the same day. 
A woman living off High Laver Road, Matching Green, discovered she had been burgled after returning home from work. The victim’s door window was smashed, a messy search had been carried out and a jewellery box and contents had been stolen. 
A witness reported seeing a blue Vauxhall Vectra driving away from the area in suspicious circumstances. The jewellery box and items of jewellery recovered from the abandoned Vauxhall Vectra were positively identified and returned to the owner. 
Police established that the vehicle had been purchased earlier that day and linked the mobile telephone number used to purchase the vehicle to Steven Clark. 
Further analysis of the call data provided evidence linking the phone to the relevant areas for the offences. 
Clark was arrested on Monday, July 31.
Investigating officer DC James Smith, of Harlow CID, said: “Clark is a prolific offender who was released from prison on licence when he committed these crimes. "He showed no regard for his victim’s homes and property.
"As well as the theft of personal items there was also extensive damage caused. 
"Clearly he has not changed his ways following a spell in prison and I believe our communities are safer with him locked in a prison cell.”

NCS students support hospice

4.18pm - 1st October 2017

A NUMBER of Harlow College students who are enrolled on the National Citizen Service programme for 15-17 year olds raised £1,455.31 for St Clare Hospice. 
Three groups of young people raised the money through a variety of fundraising efforts such as bag packing in supermarkets, car washing and a sponsored swim. 
St Clare community fundraising administrator Rachel Lines, who assisted in co-ordinating the groups, said: "It’s an honour that three individual groups of young people enrolled on the NCS programme wanted to raise money for St Clare Hospice. 
"Their hard work has amounted to almost £1,500 in vital funding which is enough to pay for nearly two weeks of physiotherapy for our patients, either at the hospice or in their own homes. 
"It is inspiring to see young people taking action in their communities to help to make a difference to real, local people and improve the lives of those who are in need of support. 
"It is the generosity and commitment of our local supporters that enables St Clare to continue our life-changing work for hundreds of people. 
"We want to say a huge thank you to these wonderful students, and wish them the best of luck in their future endeavours." 
NCS is a four-week, voluntary-based UK Government personal and social development programme for young people.

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