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NCA: Carlisle man wanted over £7m drug haul Return to News The National Crime Agency (NCA) are appealing for information on the whereabouts of a Carlisle man wanted in connection with an attempt to import Class A drugs worth more than £7 million into the UK. On 21 November 2016, a lorry arriving at Dover from France was searched by Border Force who discovered a purpose-built concealment in the trailer. Inside, officers found packages of cocaine weighing over 90kg. If cut and adulterated the drugs would have had a potential street value of £7.2 million. Following an NCA investigation, the driver of the lorry, Lee James Hartness, aged 47, was charged with importing Class A drugs and a summons was sent in August this year for Hartness to attend court. However, he failed to appear at the hearing and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Two accomplices, brothers Glen and Andrew Harrison, were bailed and are due to stand trial at Canterbury Crown Court in February 2019 in relation to a second importation attempt. NCA Branch Commander Matt Rivers said: “Two years ago Lee Hartness arrived at the Port of Dover and a significant amount of cocaine was seized from his lorry.” “Hartness failed to attend his court hearing earlier this year and despite our extensive inquiries we have not yet been able to locate him.” “We are appealing to members of the public who may know the whereabouts of Hartness, or have any information that can help us find him.” “I would like to remind anyone helping Hartness, or frustrating our attempts to locate him, they could find themselves being arrested.” Hartness is a white British male, 6 feet tall and of medium build, and speaks with a northern accent. Both his arms are heavily tattooed with Japanese flower designs and he has a dragon and serpent tattoo on his chest. He is known to have connections in Carlisle, Newcastle upon Tyne and Northern Ireland. Anyone with information on Hartness’ whereabouts should contact the National Crime Agency on 0370 496 7622 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Share this Page: View the full article Read this BBC: Brexit: Theresa May to join EU summit after surviving vote Brexit: Theresa May to join EU summit after surviving vote 13 December 2018 Related TopicsConfidence vote in Theresa May Image copyright EPA Theresa May is heading to Brussels for an EU summit, less than 24 hours after surviving a vote of confidence. The prime minister is seeking legally binding pledges from EU leaders on the Irish backstop - a key obstacle for MPs who oppose her Brexit deal. The EU will not renegotiate the deal but may be willing to give greater assurances on the temporary nature of the backstop, the BBC understands. The PM won the ballot on her leadership by 200 votes to 117 on Wednesday night. The secret ballot was triggered by 48 of her MPs angry at her Brexit policy, which they say betrays the 2016 referendum result. Speaking in Downing Street after the vote, Mrs May vowed to deliver the Brexit "people voted for" but said she had listened to the concerns of MPs who voted against her. "I have heard what the House of Commons said about the Northern Ireland backstop and, when I go to the European council tomorrow, I will be seeking legal and political assurances that will assuage the concerns that members of parliament have on that issue," she said. What next for Theresa May? For or against? How Tory MPs said they would vote Brexit: A really simple guide At Thursday's summit, she will have an opportunity to spell out face to face the problems surrounding the withdrawal agreement at Westminster to the 27 other EU leaders. Without Mrs May, the EU leaders will then consider what could be done. A draft of the European Council conclusions on Brexit says the EU would use its "best endeavours to negotiate and conclude expeditiously a subsequent agreement that would replace the backstop so that it would only be in place for a short period and only as long as strictly necessary." In other words, the EU would continue trying to negotiate a trade deal with the UK even if the Irish backstop had been triggered at the end of the transition period. The Brexit withdrawal agreement only talks about 'best endeavours' being used to reach an agreement during the transition period. But the draft put forward by the European Council could be subject to change, the BBC's Adam Fleming says. Westminster critics of Mrs May's Brexit deal might also complain that it is not legally binding. But the same document reiterates that the withdrawal agreement is not open to renegotiation, adding that it would not have been even if the Conservative Party had changed leaders. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionTheresa May: 'We now need to get on with the job of delivering Brexit' The prime minister won the confidence vote with a majority of 83 - 63% of Conservative MPs backing her and 37% voting against her. Mrs May spoke of a "renewed mission - delivering the Brexit people voted for, bringing the country back together and building a country that really works for everyone". Her supporters urged the party to move on but critics said losing the support of a third of MPs was "devastating". The BBC's Laura Kuenssberg said the level of opposition was "not at all comfortable" for the prime minister and a "real blow" to her authority. Skip Twitter post by @bbclaurak Report End of Twitter post by @bbclaurak The outcome of the vote was welcomed by Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who said avoiding a no-deal exit from the EU was a "shared goal". But Mrs May still faces a battle to get her Brexit deal through the UK parliament, with all opposition parties and dozens of her own MPs against it. How have Conservative MPs reacted? Jacob Rees-Mogg, who led calls for the confidence vote, said losing the support of a third of her MPs was a "terrible result for the prime minister" and he urged her to resign. Brexit-backing Tory MP Mark Francois told the BBC it was "devastating" that more than half of backbenchers not serving in the government had abandoned the prime minister. "In the cold light of day when people reflect on that number - 117 - it's a massive number, far more than anyone was predicting. I think that will be very sobering for the prime minister. I think she needs to think very carefully about what she does now." Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionMay survives confidence vote Transport Secretary Chris Grayling conceded there were "lessons" for the prime minister and the party in the result but former cabinet minister Damian Green said it was a "decisive" victory which should allow Mrs May to "move on and get on with the job in hand". Nicholas Soames urged Brexiteers to "throw their weight" behind the PM as she sought to address the "grave concerns" many MPs had about aspects of the EU deal. What are the opposition saying? Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the vote had "changed nothing". "Theresa May has lost her majority in parliament, her government is in chaos and she's unable to deliver a Brexit deal that works for the country." Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionBrexit battles: How May lived to fight another day Labour has said it will table a no-confidence motion that all MPs - not just Conservatives - will be able to vote in when they felt they had a chance of winning it, and forcing a general election. The SNP's Stephen Gethins urged Labour to "step up to the plate" and call a vote of no confidence in Mrs May, accusing the government of "playing games with people's lives". DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said his party, which helps keep Mrs May in power, was still concerned about the Irish backstop plan, which most MPs were against. "I don't think this vote really changes anything very much in terms of the arithmetic," he told BBC News. But he said the DUP would not support a no-confidence motion in Parliament at this stage. View the full article Read this BBC: Pressure mounting on Theresa May from Tory MPs Pressure mounting on Theresa May from Tory MPs 11 December 2018 Image copyright PA Tory Brexiteers have told the BBC they are increasingly confident they will have enough support to trigger a no-confidence vote in Theresa May. However, there is no official confirmation that the threshold of 48 letters from Tory MPs has been reached. Several sources, including a cabinet minister, have told the BBC they believe 48 letters have been submitted. The BBC has also been told that senior backbencher Sir Graham Brady has asked to see the PM on Wednesday. Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the backbench 1922 committee to whom MPs have to address their letters, would make no comment. Downing Street sources are playing down an imminent move and say they have had no contact from Sir Graham. Kuenssberg: Is PM about to face a confidence vote? Mrs May has spent the day meeting EU leaders and officials in The Hague, Berlin and Brussels, in efforts to salvage her Brexit deal - which faces major opposition in Parliament. Her decision to delay the vote on the terms of the UK's withdrawal from the EU, which had been due to take place on Tuesday, has caused anger across the party. The prime minister is due to travel to Dublin on Wednesday after hosting a weekly meeting of her cabinet and facing Prime Minister's Questions. View the full article Read this BBC: Russell Bishop jailed for 1986 Babes in the Wood murders Russell Bishop jailed for 1986 Babes in the Wood murders 11 December 2018 Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionKaren Hadaway and Nicola Fellows disappeared while out playing Convicted paedophile Russell Bishop has been jailed for life for the murders of two schoolgirls 32 years ago. The Babes in the Wood killer will serve a minimum of 36 years after being found guilty at a second trial on Monday. Bishop, aged 20 in 1986, killed nine-year-olds Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway in a woodland den in Brighton. In 1987 he was cleared of their murders, but within three years kidnapped another girl and left her for dead, the Old Bailey heard. "Finally, justice has been done and Bishop has been seen as the evil monster he really is," Karen's mother Michelle Hadaway said following the verdict. Bishop, aged 52, who was already serving a life term for attempting to murder the seven-year-old girl at Devil's Dyke in 1990, had refused to attend court for his sentencing. In his absence the judge Mr Justice Sweeney, described him as a "predatory paedophile" who had shown no remorse. 'Cowardly' killer's three decades of lies How Russell Bishop walked free in 1987 "The terror that each girl must have suffered in their final moments is unimaginable," he said. Bishop was told he would face a new trial for Karen and Nicola's killings under the double jeopardy law, after a DNA breakthrough in the case. A sweatshirt discarded on his route home linked him to the scene while a sample from Karen's left forearm revealed a "one in a billion" DNA match, the jury heard. Image copyright Sussex Police Image caption Bishop was originally cleared of the girls' murders in 1987 In a victim impact statement Nicola's mother, Sue Eismann, said her world "turned upside down" after Bishop killed her daughter. "I have lived with the pain, the loss and sheer hate towards him for what he had done for the last 32 years," she said. "Russell Bishop is a horrible, wicked man. No child is safe if he is allowed to be free." Det Sup Jeff Riley, of Sussex Police, described Bishop as a "truly wicked man". "Bishop will hopefully spend the remainder of his life behind bars where he truly belongs and never darken the streets of Brighton again," he said following the sentencing. "This significant term of imprisonment will of course never make up for the loss of Karen and Nicola but I hope their families will take some comfort from it." View the full article Read this BBC: Man held by armed police at UK Parliament 11 December 2018 Image copyright Reuters A man is being held by armed police officers inside the grounds of Parliament in Westminster. It is not understood to be terror related. BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg says she saw the man on the ground when she first saw the disturbance. He is back on his feet in handcuffs and talking to officers, she tweeted. View the full article Read this NCA: Fugitive who was tracked down to Spain jailed for nine years Home News Fugitive who was tracked down to Spain jailed for nine years Return to News 7 December 2018 A fugitive who was tracked down to Spain following an operation involving the National Crime Agency, Metropolitan Police and Spanish law enforcement has been jailed for nine years by a UK judge. Jamie Acourt, 42, of no fixed abode, was arrested by armed officers as he left a gym in Barcelona in May this year (below right). His arrest followed an international intelligence-led operation which saw the NCA working with the Met and Spanish partners to track him down. Acourt was wanted following an investigation by the Met’s Organised Crime Command into a network of drug traffickers transporting cannabis by road and supplying to dealers from their stronghold in Eltham, south-east London. In February 2016 detectives moved in, seizing 100 kilos of cannabis and £40,000 in cash duriong raids in Northumbria and south-east London. Five men were subsequently convicted and sentenced for their part in the conspiracy, in February 2017. However, Acourt had fled the UK before the arrests took place. He was tracked down to Barcelona and arrested under a European Arrest Warrant (EAW). At the time of his arrest he was living with another British fugitive, Michael Lloyd, 31, from east London. Lloyd, who was wanted by the NCA for conspiring to import class A drugs, would also later be arrested, returned to the UK and jailed for more than seven years. Acourt initially denied the charges against him, but changed his plea to guilty midway through his trial, at Kingston Crown Court, on 6 December. The following day he was sentenced to nine years in prison. The National Crime Agency’s Regional Head of International Operations, Steve Reynolds, said: “Jamie Acourt was tracked down to Barcelona following an intensive intelligence-led search operation involving the NCA, Metropolitan Police and our law enforcement partners in Spain. I’m delighted that today he has been brought to justice. “His conviction and sentencing sends out a message that we are relentless in our pursuit of wanted fugitives, we have the international reach to track you down, and no matter where you go you will never be able to stop looking over your shoulder.” Detective Chief Inspector Mark Bedford of the Met’s Organised Crime Command, said: "Today’s conviction is the culmination of several years’ of complex investigation by Met detectives. Diligent policing work has enabled the team to build a case which has disbanded a drugs network valued around £4 million. Their tenacity has ensured that six members of the drugs network have now faced justice. “The support provided to our officers by the NCA and the Spanish authorities was invaluable in locating Acourt and extraditing him to the UK and is a great demonstration of how we work with our international partners across international borders to fight crime.” Share this Page: View the full article Read this BBC Metrolink to use undercover staff to tackle bye-law breaches Now whilst I'm all for byelaws being looked into... Lord knows I do love a good byelaw... I also generally like the idea of local authorities both public and private stepping up and taking on more responsibility to ensure their areas of control are properly protected and rules are enforced BUT with all that said I can see this being recipe for disaster... It is hard enough for non-warranted uniformed officers to gain compliance from the public... Just what chance does a 'plain clothed' officer from a transport firm hope to achieve when they 'badge out' with no additional powers in law to detain outside of any person and no access to PPE? (Atleast I don't believe Sec 16 of the Railway Act applies on Trams, could be wrong of course, so no additional arrest power for fare evasion.) This to me strikes as a bad idea that will lead to complaints and possibly assaults on staff. Thought it'd be worth posting up for discussion. Read this BBC: Randox forensics inquiry: Forty drug-driving offences quashed Randox forensics inquiry: Forty drug-driving offences quashed 6 December 2018 Image copyright Press Association Image caption Police chiefs said the cases were dropped after a "most serious breach" of forensic science standards At least 40 motorists convicted of drug-driving offences have been cleared after evidence of manipulation was found in the forensic testing process. The motorists were banned from driving and in some cases fined, but their convictions have since been overturned. About 10,500 test results are being reviewed after data was allegedly manipulated at Randox Testing Services. The National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) described it as a "most serious breach" of forensic science standards. A further 50 drug-driving cases have been dropped as a result of the alleged data manipulation at the firm's Manchester laboratory. Police suspended all contracts with the company, used by 42 of the UK's 43 forces, in November last year. Greater Manchester Police has arrested two men, aged 47 and 31, who worked at one of its laboratories. They were arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice. Six others have been interviewed under caution, with one remaining under investigation as part of what Justice Minister, Lucy Frazier, described last month as an "expansive" criminal inquiry. Analysis Danny Shaw, BBC home affairs correspondent The scale of the operation to review the 10,500 Randox cases is unprecedented. It began in January 2017 and is likely to continue until the end of 2019. Randox, which is paying for samples to be re-tested by other laboratories, estimates it will cost the firm £2.5m. Police are also likely to incur costs because of delays to other cases, while motorists whose careers and livelihoods have been affected after being wrongly banned from driving may sue for compensation. But the most significant impact of this disturbing affair may be on public confidence in forensic science: can we be sure that the test results we almost take for granted are accurate? In total, up to 2,700 cases have been re-analysed so far and two drug-driving cases that resulted in road deaths were referred to the Court of Appeal. Both convictions were upheld but one motorist's sentence was reduced. Killer drug-drivers' conviction quash bid Drug-driving cases dropped over forensics Two other non-fatal cases involving drug-driving have also been sent to the Court of Appeal. One conviction was quashed and the other has yet to be decided. Ch Con James Vaughan, NPCC lead on forensics, said he could not remember a forensic science failure "of this magnitude". He said re-testing was taking longer than expected because there was a "chronic shortage" of scientific expertise and accredited laboratories, leading to delays in providing toxicology analysis in unrelated cases of sexual offence and rape. View the full article Read this Read More Police News