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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

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Microsoft Tech-Support Scammers using WannaCry attack to lure victims

Subject: Microsoft Tech-Support Scammers using WannaCry attack to lure victims

This is a message sent via Neighbourhood Watch. This information has been sent on behalf of Action Fraud (National Fraud Intelligence Bureau)

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Action Fraud (Action Fraud, Administrator, National)

Action Fraud has received the first reports of Tech-Support scammers claiming to be from Microsoft who are taking advantage of the global WannaCry ransomware attack.

One victim fell for the scam after calling a ‘help’ number advertised on a pop up window. The window which wouldn’t close said the victim had been affected by WannaCry Ransomware.

The victim granted the fraudsters remote access to their PC after being convinced there wasn’t sufficient anti-virus protection. The fraudsters then installed Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool, which is actually free and took £320 as payment.

It is important to remember that Microsoft’s error and warning messages on your PC will never include a phone number.

Additionally Microsoft will never proactively reach out to you to provide unsolicited PC or technical support. Any communication they have with you must be initiated by you.

How to protect yourself
  • Don't call numbers from pop-up messages.
  • Never allow remote access to your computer.
  • Always be wary of unsolicited calls. If you’re unsure of a caller’s identity, hang up.
  • Never divulge passwords or pin numbers.
  • Microsoft or someone on their behalf will never call you.
If you believe you have already been a victim
  • Get your computer checked for any additional programmes or software that may have been installed.
  • Contact your bank to stop any further payments being taken.

Report fraud and cyber crime to

Manchester Terrorist Attack



The leaders of all political parties of Cheshire East Council,

Councillor Rachel Bailey,

Councillor Sam Corcoran,

Councillor Barry Burkhill,

Councillor Rod Fletcher,

issued a joint statement today saying: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who have lost loved ones and the injured, all their families and all those affected by this dreadful event. We stand behind the people of Manchester and join them in their condemnation of this appalling terrorist attack.

“We support the messages this morning from the elected mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham and city council leader Sir Richard Leese, stating that Manchester is a great city which has experienced dark days in the past and whose people have pulled together to defeat terrorism.

“We will be writing to Mr Burnham and to councillor Leese to express our support, our condolences and to offer any assistance we can to help the city overcome this tragic event.

“In Cheshire East, all council buildings will fly flags at half-mast and we would urge all businesses that have their own flags to do the same. Staff from our schools’ support team are contacting all schools in the borough to ascertain if any pupils or staff were at the concert at the Manchester Arena and are offering support, if required.

“We would also urge our residents in Cheshire East to remain vigilant, wherever they are, at railway stations, sports stadiums and public places in particular and to follow the advice of the police to report any suspicious activity to them.

“The borough’s new mayor, Cllr Arthur Moran, added: “I wish to echo the words expressed by the group leaders of Cheshire East Council and to extend special praise for the emergency services, who demonstrated enormous courage in the way in which they responded to this shocking event.

“I too shall be writing to the civic leaders of Manchester, including the Lord Mayor Cllr Eddie Newman, to express my sincere sympathy and support for the great city of Manchester.

“Many of us may remember how Manchester recovered so well from the IRA attack on the city in 1996 and I have every confidence that the people of Manchester, from all walks of life, will once again pull together to demonstrate that they will not be cowed by terrorism.”

Don’t lose your voice on election day – check the location of your local polling station!


Voters are being urged to check the location of their local polling station – so they don’t lose their voice on General Election day!

Despite the short notice – due to the Prime Minister’s decision to call a surprise ‘snap election’ –  Cheshire East Council’s elections team has managed to secure all but nine of its usual 282 polling station locations where votes can be cast on June 8.

The nine stations affected (and their replacements) are listed on the council’s website at: and then click on ‘elections’ – or click on this weblink:

Voters can check on their polling cards, which will identify which polling station they should visit to cast their ballot. Residents affected by changes to polling stations have also been written to by the council, informing them of where they will be able to vote.

Acting Returning Officer at Cheshire East Kath O’Dwyer said: “To secure all but nine of our 282 polling station locations is quite an amazing achievement at such short notice. Indeed, we’ve already received a number of messages from councillors and local people congratulating us for being so swift and effective at securing venues for election day. 

“It is worth bearing in mind that there are always a small number unavailable due to refurbishment, repair works or ‘event clashes’ at the venues we use, which in the past have included schools, church halls, community centres and even local pubs. I would just ask that voters check the location of their local polling station before election day.”

On polling day, Thursday June 8, polling stations will be open between 7am and 10pm. Information about voting at this election is available at:

Cheshire Fire And Rescue Service May 2017 E-Newsletter - FiRELiNK

Subject: Cheshire Fire And Rescue Service May 2017 E-Newsletter - FiRELiNK

This is a message sent via Neighbourhood Watch. This information has been sent on behalf of Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service

(Please do not reply or forward this email directly; please use the Reply, Share buttons at the bottom of this message)

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Ashley Lawton (Cheshire Fire , Administrator, Cheshire Fire)

Welcome to the May edition of the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service e-Newsletter.

Are you looking for an apprenticeship like no other?

If you are enthusiastic, committed to learning new skills, dedicated to delivering an excellent service to the community and keen to step into a vocation like no other then a career as an apprentice with Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service might be for you!

This is your opportunity to join one of the country’s leading fire and rescue services as a Firefighter and Community Safety (FCS) Apprentice. We are currently looking to appoint 12 apprentices to this dynamic programme.

Find out more - Firefighter and Community Safety Apprenticeship

Boat safety advice

The number of boat fires on our coastal and inland waters is relatively low. However, when they do occur, they quite often have devastating consequences.

Due to the remote location of moorings, the fire and rescue service can experience difficulties in gaining access to an incident. On many occasions, these incidents result in the total destruction of the boat and to surrounding property.

Please use the link below to view some simple advice to ensure your boating activities are safe and enjoyable.

Find out more - boat safety advice

Caravan and camping safety advice

Holiday season is upon us and many people will be getting ready to take out their caravans or camping equipment.  Make sure your holidays are full of fun and not ruined by poor preparation.

Find out more - caravan safety advice

Find out more - camping safety advice

Child Safety Week 2017

Child Safety Week is an annual campaign by the Child Accident Prevention Trust to raise awareness of the risks of child accidents and how they can be prevented. The theme this year is 'Turn off technology for safety'.

Find out more - Child Safety Week 2017

Fire Station open days

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service fire stations will be holding free fire station open days over the next few months.

Find out more - Fire Station open days

Find out about your local fire station - where it is, what open days or special events they are holding and how to get in contact with them.

Find out more - Your local fire station

Monday, 22 May 2017

Flip & Fill

Reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

British electronic dance legends 'Flip & Fill' and 'Ultrabeat' each performed a DJ set at The Studio Nightclub & Entertainment Venue - - in Nantwich on Friday 19th May 2017.

Flip & Fill have had several Top 40 hit records including True Love Never Dies, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, Shake Ya Shimmy, Field of Dreams, Irish Blue, Discoland, and Shooting Star which peaked at number three in the UK singles chart in 2002.

Ultrabeat have also had several Top 40 hit records including Feelin’ Fine, Better than Life, Elysium, and Pretty Green Eyes which peaked at number two in the UK singles chart in 2003.

Flip & Fill and Ultrabeat were both supported by MC Domino, who hyped up the audience to a fever pitch. DJ's Andy G and Ste Owens also played sets at the event.

Nigel Woodhouse, Director of Operations at The Studio said, "It was great to have two more Clubland legends at The Studio Nantwich - for these guys and The Studio it really is about the entertainment. On Saturday 27th May we are bringing DJ Danny T, who will be making memories for today's clubbers and it's free admission before 11pm.”

Flip and Slide performs a DJ set at  The Studio (1)

Flying Scotsman came to Crewe Heritage Centre

Reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

World famous steam locomotive Flying Scotsman came to Crewe Heritage Centre - - on Wednesday 17th and Thursday 18th May 2017 in the 30th anniversary of the centre.

Members of the public could see Flying Scotsman - - at close-hand and Flying Scotsman merchandise was available for purchase.

Flying Scotsman was originally built in Doncaster for the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER), emerging from the works on 24 February 1923 and initially numbered 1472. It was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley as part of the A1 class – the most powerful locomotives used by the railway.

By 1924, when it was selected to appear at the British Empire Exhibition in London, the loco had been renumbered 4472 – and been given the name ‘Flying Scotsman’ after the London to Edinburgh rail service which started daily at 10am in 1862.

It was the first steam engine authenticated at travelling at 100mph in November 1934.

Flying Scotsman was making its second visit to the centre since the locomotives refurbishment was completed last year at a cost of £4.2million.

All Crewe Heritage Centre regular attractions were also open to visitors including its three signal boxes, the Advanced Passenger Train, model railway displays and layouts, static locomotive displays and rides on a miniature railway.

This year is the 30th anniversary of Crewe Heritage Centre, which was opened in July 1987 by HM Queen Elizabeth II, to commemorate 150 historic years of the town of Crewe. The centre is open from April until the end of September at weekends and Bank Holidays (10am-4:30pm).


Fying Scotsman - Crewe - 17-18 May  2017 (1)Fying Scotsman - Crewe - 17-18 May  2017 (2)

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Don't lose your voice! Check you are registered to vote on June 8


Cheshire East Council is asking people to ensure they are registered to vote – so they don’t miss out on having their say in the General Election on June 8.

The message from Cheshire East is: If you can’t vote, you haven’t got a voice.

If you are not registered, you could miss out on being able to vote in the upcoming General Election.

Polling cards have been posted to registered electors in the past few days. If you have not received your polling card by now (May 16) you should contact the council to ensure you are registered to vote. 

Alternatively, if you are not already registered you can register to vote via the government’s Gov.UK website at:

The deadline to register to vote is Monday May 22. Cheshire East Council is actively supporting the Electoral Commission’s drive to boost voter registration.

If you have not yet received your polling card, ring the council’s elections team staff on: 0300 123 5016.

Cheshire East Council’s acting chief executive Kath O’Dwyer, who is the Returning Officer for elections in the borough, said: “Don’t leave it too late to register to vote in the General Election. A healthy democracy needs actively engaged voters – and you can’t vote if you aren’t registered.

“It is vitally important that people cast their ballot and don’t miss out on the opportunity to have a voice on the local, national and international issues that affect the lives of all of us. So, I would urge everyone of voting age to take just a few minutes to ensure that they are registered to vote.”

The deadlines to apply for a postal vote or a proxy vote are also looming:

● The deadline to apply for a postal vote is 5pm, Tuesday May 23. Completed forms must be received by the Cheshire East Council elections team before this deadline.

● The deadline to apply for a proxy vote, where a voter nominates a trusted person to cast a vote on their behalf, is 5pm, Wednesday May 31. Completed forms must be received by the Cheshire East Council elections team before this deadline.

Anyone looking for more information about voting should visit the website:

Anyone who is not yet registered to vote should apply now at:

Anyone who was registered to vote at the EU referendum does not need to re-register in order to take part in the 2017 General Election – providing your details have remained the same.

Remember: registering to vote does not mean you have to – it just means you don’t lose out on the opportunity to do so.

On polling day, Thursday June 8, polling stations will be open between 7am and 10pm.

Information about voting at this election is available at:

It’s Mayor Arthur for Cheshire East as councillor marks 31 years in public life


Councillor Arthur Moran is the new mayor of Cheshire East – crowning 31 years in public life.

A retired magistrate, Councillor Moran, who represents Nantwich North and West, takes over the chain of office from outgoing mayor Olivia Hunter at Wednesday’s annual council meeting.

He was a Cheshire county councillor for 12 years, where he was made an honorary alderman, a Crewe and Nantwich Borough councillor for 13 years and a member of Cheshire East Council since it began in 2009.

A keen cyclist, he was a staunch supporter of the Tour of Britain, staged in the borough last year and reveals he was given a racing bike for his 40th birthday.

Now 71, Councillor Moran still cycles for leisure purposes but must now put his bike away while he fulfils a busy diary of events over the next 12 months.

He has been organising charity dance events with the Todd Miller and Joe Loss Orchestra, for more than 20 years and, with his late wife Margaret, has raised more than £30,000 for charities.

His two charities for his year of office will be Target Ovarian Cancer and the Leighton Hospital Prostate Cancer Support Group.

The new mayor has invited close friend, Mrs. Carole Thomas, to be his mayoress.

Looking ahead to his year of civic duties, Councillor Moran said: “If I can achieve only half of what Olivia has done as the present mayor, then I will feel that I have done a good job.

“I am very proud to have been asked to be the new mayor of the borough. I think it is important to continue the tradition of mayor and I look forward to representing the borough and our residents wherever I am invited to attend.”

Outgoing mayor Olivia Hunter (High Legh) said: “I wish Arthur well. It has been a magnificent year for me and the highlight has been all the wonderful people I have met.  Meeting our school children at various events was great fun because they were always fascinated to learn about the role of the mayor and the regalia, such as the mace, that goes with it.”

During her year of office, Councillor Hunter raised more than £11,000 for her two charities – The Christie and Cheshire Young Carers – a new record for a Cheshire East mayor.

Councillor Lesley Smetham (Gawsworth), will take on the role of deputy mayor, and will assume the role of mayor in 2018.

Cheshire East Council in national rogue trader crackdown


Trading standards and community enforcement officers from Cheshire East Council took part in a nationwide day of action to highlight the risks posed by rogue traders and fraudsters.

‘Operation Hebe’ is a programme led by Cheshire East Council and was the name for the day of activities which took place in the borough last Wednesday.

The council worked with a police mobile unit during the day of activities. Static road blocks were formed in several locations as Cheshire East officers stopped 37 vehicles to make a range of checks – from trading regulations, including waste carrier licences to stolen plant machinery and traffic offences.

No arrests for rogue trading were made on the day but all those stopped were left reassured that Cheshire East and its partners are clamping down on anyone attempting to use vehicles without a relevant licence for fraudulent or criminal means.

Rogue traders regularly profit from defrauding elderly people who often feel pressured into parting with cash by making on the spot decisions. During the day of activities, officers were also on the lookout for fly-tipping offences. Fly-tippers collect and carry waste without the correct licence and illegally dispose of it.

Cheshire East Council is fully behind the battle to reduce fly-tipping with its ‘No rubbish excuses’ campaign, which is already in full swing.

The activities trading standards officers were involved with for ‘Operation Hebe’ came off the back of the recent great success of the conviction of a fraudster, who had nearly conned an elderly lady in Wilmslow out of £25,000.

The advice from police and trading standards officers for all members of the public is:

● Remain vigilant and always check the identity and credentials of anyone who calls at your home offering to carry out work;

● If you are in any doubt as to the identity of the person you should always check directly with the company they are claiming to be from. If the person is genuine they will not mind; and

● Do not agree to anything on the spot, or sign anything and do not feel pressured into having work carried out.

It is also sensible to discuss any work you feel needs carrying out on your property with a relative or a friend who can help find a reputable trader.

Councillor Paul Bates, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for finance and communities, said: “Taking parts in events like this are important as they help to keep up the momentum of the outstanding work our teams are doing and maintaining the trust that we have built with the public.

“It isn’t just about headline arrests, as you cannot always expect immediate success. Rogue traders operating in our borough know that we are very serious about ensuring that those at risk of exploitation are safeguarded and that those responsible for these types of crimes are brought to justice.” 

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Hair today, gone tomorrow for charity


A “fifty before fifty” challenge has encouraged one Crewe woman to stage a charity head shave in memory of her mother, and a local barman has also stepped forward to lose his golden locks!

Kerri Williams, who works at Bentley Motors, drew up a list of fifty unusual and exciting challenges that she had always wanted to experience before her landmark 50th birthday.

Over the last twelve months, she has been on the Acerbital Slide at the Olympic Park, braved the Velocity Zipline in North Wales, and completed the Crystal Maze in Manchester.

The opportunity to raise vital funds for charity saw an unexpected item added to the list, one that Kerri hopes will benefit a range of people.

She said: “Cutting my hair off sounds drastic, but it’s always been something that I have wanted to do. I wasn’t brave enough to go for it before.

“My mum had kidney dialysis for several years and I know how tough than can be on patients. They go through four-hour sessions, three times each week!

“I wanted to do something for the British Kidney Patients Association (BKPA), and sacrificing something as personal as my hair for my ongoing challenge is the perfect solution.”

The charity hair cut will take place at Crewe’s Crosville Club as part of an evening of celebration and fundraising.

Rock and Pop band SWaY will perform live, playing sounds from the sixties through to current-day chart hits that will appeal to all ages.

Local DJs, including soul master Andy Scoffin, will also provide a wide range of music, and many Crewe and Nantwich companies have donated prizes that will be raffled during the event.

Mobile hairdresser Kathleen Clarke will be on hand to perform the expert snipping, and the hair collected will also be put to good use when it is donated to children’s wig charity Little Princess Trust.

Tom Essex, a well-known barman at Hops Belgian Café Bar in Crewe, has also agreed to go under the scissors to support Kerri and help boost the total raised.

He said: “Kerri is one of many fantastic regulars at Hops, so it was an easy decision to step forward and help with the charity night.

“I’m not sure what I’m going to look like with no hair, but if that can also help raise cash for the charities then why not!”

The head-shave fundraiser takes place at the Crosville Club on Chester Street from 7.30pm on Saturday 17 June. Entry is free.

You can support Kerri’s fundraising efforts by donating via the Just Giving page

1 - Kerri Williams (right) with Tom Essex and Kathlene Clarke

Ransomware Cyber Attack

Subject: Ransomware Cyber Attack

This is a message sent via Neighbourhood Watch. This information has been sent on behalf of Action Fraud (National Fraud Intelligence Bureau)

If you have been infected FREE help available were experts will help you

(Please do not reply or forward this email directly; please use the Reply, Share buttons at the bottom of this message)

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Action Fraud (Action Fraud, Administrator, National)

Following the ransomware cyber attack on Friday 12 May which affected the NHS and is believed to have affected other organisations globally, the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has issued an alert urging both individuals and businesses to follow protection advice immediately and in the coming days.
Ransomware is a form of malicious software (Malware) that enables cyber criminals to remotely lock down files on your computer or mobile device. Criminals will use ransomware to extort money from you (a ransom), before they restore access to your files. There are many ways that ransomware can infect your device, whether it be a link to a malicious website in an unsolicited email, or through a security vulnerability in a piece of software you use.
Key Protect messages for businesses to protect themselves from ransomware:

  • Install system and application updates on all devices as soon as they become available.
  • Install anti-virus software on all devices and keep it updated.
  • Create regular backups of your important files to a device that isn’t left connected to your network as any malware infection could spread to that too.

The National Cyber Security Centre’s technical guidance includes specific software patches to use that will prevent uninfected computers on your network from becoming infected with the “WannaCry” Ransomware:
For additional in-depth technical guidance on how to protect your organisation from ransomware, details can be found here:
Key Protect advice for individuals:
  • Install system and application updates on all devices as soon as they become available.
  • Install anti-virus software on all devices and keep it updated.
  • Create regular backups of your important files to a device (such as an external hard drive or memory stick) that isn’t left connected to your computer as any malware infection could spread to that too.
  • Only install apps from official app stores, such as Google’s Play Store, or Apple’s App Store as they offer better levels of protection than some 3rd party  stores. Jailbreaking, rooting, or disabling any of the default security features of your device will make it more susceptible to malware infections.

Fraudsters may exploit this high profile incident and use it as part of phishing/smishing campaigns. We urge people to be cautious if they receive any unsolicited communications from the NHS. The protect advice for that is the following:
  • An email address can be spoofed. Don’t open attachments or click on the links within any unsolicited emails you receive, and never respond to emails that ask for your personal or financial details. 
  • The sender’s name and number in a text message can be spoofed, so even if the message appears to be from an organisation you know of, you should still exercise caution, particularly if the texts are asking you to click on a link or call a number.
Don’t disclose your personal or financial details during a cold call, and remember that the police and banks will never ring you and ask you to verify your PIN, withdraw your cash, or transfer your money to another “safe” account.
If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, please report it to Action Fraud at

The St Luke's Cheshire Hospice ‘Charity Ride Out’

reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

The St Luke's Cheshire Hospice ‘Charity Ride Out’ that took place on the second day of the Sandbach Transport Festival on Sunday 23rd April 2017 raised £1,897.03 for the hospice.

The ride followed a 35 mile route from Winsford and was led up High Street in Sandbach by the St Luke's Cheshire Hospice Routemaster double-decker bus.

The cavalcade involved four hundred and fifty motorcyclists from the South Cheshire Motorcycle Club and surrounding clubs.

Vickie Baddeley, Community Fundraiser at St Luke’s, said: “The Charity Ride Out is an annual occurrence in our calendar and one we look forward to. This year’s event was as spectacular as ever and with the sun shining throughout the route, it made for a thoroughly enjoyable day. Thank you to everyone who supported the event, from riders to people standing on the roadside cheering us all on, it made for a fabulous day.”

Denis Newell, from the South Cheshire Motorcycle Club, said: "The motorcycling community never fails to impress when any charity needs support.  We owe a huge thanks to all those that took part and supported the ride.  It helps towards the £8,000 that St Luke's Hospice needs to raise every day of the year."

St Lukes Cheshire Hospice Charity Ride – arrival on High Street (1)St Lukes Cheshire Hospice Charity Ride – arrival on High Street (2)

World wide ransomware attack aborted


The attack that crippled the NHS and others word wide has been aborted

"An 'accidental hero' has halted the global spread of the WannaCry ransomware that has wreaked havoc on organizations..." writes The Guardian. An anonymous reader quotes their report: A cybersecurity researcher tweeting as @malwaretechblog, with the help of Darien Huss from security firm Proofpoint, found and implemented a "kill switch" in the malicious software that was based on a cyber-weapon stolen from the NSA. The kill switch was hardcoded into the malware in case the creator wanted to stop it from spreading. This involved a very long nonsensical domain name that the malware makes a request to -- just as if it was looking up any website -- and if the request comes back and shows that the domain is live, the kill switch takes effect and the malware stops spreading. Of course, this relies on the creator of the malware registering the specific domain. In this case, the creator failed to do this. And @malwaretechblog did early Friday morning (Pacific Time), stopping the rapid proliferation of the ransomware.
You can read their first-person account of the discovery here, which insists that registering the domain "was not a whim. My job is to look for ways we can track and potentially stop botnets..." Friday they also tweeted a map from the New York Times showing that registering that domain provided more time for U.S. sites to patch their systems. And Friday night they added "IP addresses from our [DNS] sinkhole have been sent to FBI and ShadowServer so affected organizations should get a notification soon. Patch ASAP."
UPDATE: Slashdot reader Lauren Weinstein says some antivirus services (and firewalls incorporating their rules) are mistakenly blocking that site as a 'bad domain', which allows the malware to continue spreading. "Your systems MUST be able to access the domain above if this malware blocking trigger is to be effective, according to the current reports that I'm receiving!"

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Queens Park Waterfall Failure all ready



The new stream and waterfall has failed all ready after only a few weeks. The whole design is flawed and doomed to failure. The water is pumped from the little pond by the lake it then runs down the stream back to the pond and it will loose some water by evaporation. But some goes to the base for the bog garden which is a pond all most. So which bright spark thought that one up? Over time if there is no rain the water leaking to the bog means its slowly empting the pond as it not refilled. So then the water will get low and the pump wont be able to pump water only air and may then blow the pump up as it wont be cooled by the water. This is what you get when people dont know what  they are doing. The answer is cheap drill some holes in the pond wall so the lake will keep it full as it will then be at the same level as the lake. Holes higher up the wall are needed so if there is a lot of rain water can seep into the lake above the water line. The water fall its self has no pressure and half the area is just going mouldy as its barley a trickle down stream but this may be adjustable.


You can see the pipe is above the water line it works every 30 mins as water flows back round then as it pumps again it runs out of water the park have taken no action on this so why are they paying idiots to do these jobs the same firm did the path last year and buried the sluice gate under the new path so the lake flooded as it couldn't be emptied its beyond belief why they get the jobs when they make cock ups and why aren't they forced to put things right

Cheshire East Council taking a stand against scams


Cheshire East Council hosted a successful event this week for local people to learn how to stay safe from scamming.

Sessions run by Friends Against Scams, a National Trading Standards initiative, were well attended, raising awareness of the tricks and traps that scammers use. Many of those attending will go on to share this information within their local groups and communities.

Scamming is on the rise with more and more people falling victim to the criminals who commit these crimes.

Although it’s often people who are in vulnerable circumstances who are targeted, anyone can become a victim of a scam and it affects the lives of millions of people across the UK. 

Councillor Paul Bates, cabinet member for communities and health said, “Knowledge is power against scammers. Many people are fearful of using the Internet because of scamming but with awareness of what to look out for, it is relatively easy to stay out of trouble, for example, never ever give your bank account password or pin number to anyone on the phone – banks or the police would never ring and ask you to do this and if in doubt, always check it out first.

“Sometimes people pretend to be council officers or representatives and we will always allow someone to ring our main number 0300 1235500 to check the legitimacy of our staff.”

The Council’s Trading Standards team conduct many investigations into scams, fraud, illegal trading and illicit goods. In the past year the Council has:

· Issued 18 formal warnings, 4 cease and desist notices , 16 seizures of illegal goods (over 10,000 illegal items and over £20k of illicit tobacco)

· 61 months imprisonment for offenders, over 450 hours in community service orders and over £35,000 in court fines.

· Visited 44 vulnerable people who were victims of scams and worked with over 25 schools and 800 children as part of our Knock Knock doorstep crime/rogue trader project.

· Carried out four covert operations to test if retailers are selling alcohol to underage young people. Positive under age test purchases from licensed premises has fallen from 33% in 2015 to 4% in 2016.

The Council’s website has lots of helpful information and advice to keep people safe from scams including a nominated neighbour scheme and doorstep crime. Good advice includes:

•If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

•It you haven’t bought a ticket – you can’t win it.

•You shouldn't have to pay anything to get a prize.

•If in doubt, don’t reply. Bin it, delete it or hang up.

•Persuasive sales patter? Just say: “No thank you”.

•Contacted out of the blue – be suspicious.

•Never send money to someone you don’t know.

•Computer firms do not make unsolicited phone calls to help you fix your computer.

•Don’t suffer in silence – tell others about scams.

Anyone who’s concerned that they or someone they know may be being scammed is asked to report it by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506 or go online