Three women arrested on suspicion of modern slavery offences in Epsom

Two women have been arrested on suspicion of running a brothel in Epsom after officers carried out a warrant on Monday (25 November).
A 31-year-old of no fixed address was arrested on suspicion of running a brothel under Section 33 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and released under investigation. A 23-year-old of no fixed address was arrested on suspicion of running a brothel under Section 33 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and released under investigation. A 44-year-old woman of no fixed address was also arrested on suspicion of immigration offences. She has been released and will be referred to immigration services.

More than 50 officers and staff from Surrey Police, as well as partners from other agencies, took part in the four warrants which were carried out at addresses across Epsom.

East Surrey Sergeant James Dawborn said: “The local team in Epsom identified a number of addresses that we believed to be operating as brothels, where women were being trafficked into and around the country.
‘’We executed several warrants in conjunction with the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU), which resulted in three women being removed from those addresses. They were taken to a dedicated reception centre where other agencies, including Epsom and Ewell Borough Council, Streetlight, Red Cross and Justice and Care were able to provide emotional and physical support. We all have a duty to do everything we can to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking in our local communities and ensure that vulnerable victims are safeguarded.’’

Modern slavery is a hidden crime and growing problem in our county. In the last three months, Surrey Police has received 26 reports in relation to potential modern slavery cases.  It can be difficult to spot the signs of modern slavery. If you encounter a situation which doesn’t seem right, even if you’re not quite sure about it, we would encourage you to report it by contacting Surrey Police on 101 (999 in an emergency)

You can also give information, 100% anonymously, to the independent charity Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700; or through their anonymous online form: https://www.modernslaveryhelpline.org/

WOIE Question Time

A BIG Thank You to everyone who has submitted a question for our Question Time. We will ask the 3 most popular questions voted for by you to each of the candidates. Please select just one question from the list below.

Originally we were only going to give you an option of 5 questions BUT you have asked some great questions about local and national issues we could decide which ones to leave out, apart from the silly ones asked,

Vote for the question you would like us to ask the local candidates

  • Epsom & Ewell voted Remain How would you ensure you support the views of the borough to Remain in the EU? (46%, 34 Votes)
  • How do you personally feel about the environmental issues the world is facing at the moment and what are you going to do about climate change? (18%, 13 Votes)
  • Why should we believe anything you say, how do you intend to restore confidence that you will honour the wishes of the people? (11%, 8 Votes)
  • The UN has condemned Britain for failing people with disabilities. What are you going to do about bringing health, social care and benefits in line with other first world countries? (9%, 7 Votes)
  • Over the last two years we have seen a 40% growth each year in foodbank usage. What would you specifically do to reduce the rise and help people to not need to come? (7%, 5 Votes)
  • What will you do to reduce violent crime? (5%, 4 Votes)
  • How do you intend to make housing sustainable for future generations as well as maintaining community services? (4%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 74

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The Poll will finish on Sunday 1st December 2019. We will ask the questions ASAP.

Thank you again for taking part.

Local man cycles length of Britain , 5000 miles

TheTouristDog has cycled the whole of the UK coast. (excluding Ireland). Approx. 5000 miles. The ride began and ended in Selsey.  The tour began on June 2nd 2019 and concluded on World Mental Health Day 10th of October.

Lewis Stephens is The Tourist Dog, a lovable determined underdog with a mission to cycle the UK coastline. Since starting the tour Lewis has become a cult internet figure with an extremely dedicated fanbase, the trip has become about uniting people and has grown far further than a heroic charity challenge.

Lewis organically gained (there has been no press or marketing budget) approx. 800 approx. Facebook followers (up to 45,000 reach, 20,000 engagements per week), and 440 approx. Instagram followers. He was interviewed by many news-papers, featured on lots of live radio (including BBC regional), he is supported by his bike brand Claud Butler and was chosen charity for the tour- CALM. Lewis became an unusual British icon being stopped in the street by people who’ve seen him online or in the press; loved wherever he goes for his quirky British humour and openness. The messages we get from fans who meet Lewis are truly humbling.

Lewis also talked about mental health and the pressures of growing up to 100 teenagers on the NCS programme whilst on the tour, which was one of his personal highlights of the tour. One of Lewis biggest aims is to connect with people and to share support and experiences; in Fort William he learned of and was welcomed to meet a men’s mental health group which was set up by someone who had lost a friend to suicide.

Originally Lewis was cycled 50 miles a day and living on £5 per day relying on the kindness of strangers. Lewis believes in the spirit of community and gives back wherever he can. When Lewis was hosted for a weekend in Newquay by restaurant Reefs Lewis insisted on volunteering as a pot-wash to ‘pay’ for his stay.

The trip evolved and in Scotland his challenge was to live for £20 for 20 days which captured the public’s imagination; we got offers as incredible as army ration packs, lots of free accommodation and even people who cycled some of the route with him! Lewis wanted to set this challenge to make himself vulnerable and to really highlight that when you need help you have to reach out to people; thankfully people delighted in this and he completed the challenge. Organically the turned into #randomactsofkindness where Lewis is being shared all over social media and people now contact

desperate to be part of the journey. Lewis’ fans recently convinced 5 star hotel The Orange Tree, Thornham to host him free.

We reached a position where kindly we are being donated items to give away as prizes, we did a like and share competi-tion with a luxury Lindores Abbey Distillery Whisky bottle and Lewis fans were asking to buy t-shirts which we sold to celebrate the tour and 100% of profits were donated.

We had to ask The Tourist Dog; Why CALM?

“CALM fit perfectly with me due everyday experiences of not only my own thoughts but the blatant negative emotion written on the psyche of others. Most alarmingly the on the faces of men who seem to want to ignore it as much as possible. With an ever-growing rise in the aid of machines to support us many of us are becoming reliant of something else to find us a level of calm can only take you so far…”

“I’ve had close friends whose family members have had their own struggles due to problems that arise through no fault

of their own and at times I’ve experienced the same emotions. I feel that by looking for alternate ways of dealing with problems there are ways to overcome this issue. CALM for me personally is the perfect charity to make the first steps to that change.”

And…Why the UK bike tour:

“It wasn’t planned, it stemmed from a book I found in France, I read it and said I was going to do it. I had no idea how the journey would develop, but physically and metaphorically I’m along for the ride.”

The journey:

“It’s mad to think how this journey has developed from a small idea into something that has changed and touched the lives of everyone involved in some way… All this has come from an idea, a 60 year old bike and a positive use demonstration of how we can use media now to inspire a different world.”

“When people tell me that I’ve inspired them, they talk to me about their stories/mental health journey’s or keep messaging/commenting weeks after meeting them it makes me realise what an impact I’m having on people. I’m grateful to support people’s life journey any way I can.”

About CALM: Registered charity England and Wales (1110621) and in Scotland (SC044347)

• In 2015, 75% of all suicides in the UK were male. Suicide is the single biggest killer of men aged under-45 in the UK (NISRA, GRO, ONS, 2015).

• Founded in 2006, CALM is an award-winning charity dedicated to preventing male suicide. CALM’s helpline & webchat are open daily 5pm-midnight.

Justgiving: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/thetouristdog

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheTouristDog-2003344643296735/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thetouristdog_/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAfTsLvBBO7fN5J8dsyc8Yg

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thetouristdog

Epsom and Ewell Constituency Candidates 12th December 2019

The Statement Of Persons Nominated And Notice Of Poll for the Election of a Member of Parliament for Epsom and Ewell Constituency has been issued by Epsom & Ewell Borough Council. The election is to be held on Thursday 12th December 2019. Below, in Surname alphabetical order as per the statement, are the candidates for said election on the 12th dec 2019.

BAKER Janice , Green Party

Janice has been a member of the Green Party since 2014. What drove her into politics in her twenties was volunteering in community projects around Sutton, and campaigning against apartheid and racism.   Her passion is to see people’s movements convince powerful forces that they cannot get away with exploiting us and our finite resources. That’s why she serve on the steering group of Divest Surrey to end Surrey County Council investment in gas and oil completely. Working with others to set up Sustainable Epsom is very rewarding and I’m passionate about animal rights and absolutely opposed to factory farming.  CLICK HERE to read more

GEE Steve, Liberal Democrats

Steve will be fighting against Brexit, working to protect jobs and the economy, standing up for our NHS locally and nationally, helping to fix our housing crisis and seeking to reverse funding cuts to services affecting children and vulnerable adults. He will also fight to protect the rights of EU citizens currently living in the UK and for the rights of those UK citizens who currently live elsewhere in the EU CLICK HERE to read more

GRAYLING Chris, Conservatives

Chris has represented Epsom and Ewell since 2001. Over the years he has campaigned successfully to stop emergency services being transferred from Epsom to St Helier on several occasions. His priorities now are to make sure that new homes can be provided locally without damaging the character of the area, to secure a strong future for Epsom Hospital and to make sure that Epsom and Ewell gets some of the 20,000 extra police who are being recruited nationally. He lives locally, shops locally and commutes by train to London. CLICK HERE to read more

MAYNE Ed, Labour

Ed was the Labour candidate in Epsom and Ewell in 2017 and came second behind Chris Grayling. He works for South Western Railway as a train driver. He will fight for more investment in public transport and for a train service you can rely on. Train travel is currently overpriced and too unreliable after 25 years of privatisation. He sees first-hand the damage Tory cuts have done to local services particularly for young people and he will fight to bring back youth services and defend Sure Start Labour’s policy of a second referendum will give you the chance to vote again. Only a Labour vote can beat the Tories and stop Brexit. If elected he will campaign to remain

WOODBRIDGE
Clive David, Independent

National party politics is a depressing spectacle at the moment and, frankly, we all deserve better. For that reason Clive has decided to stand as an Independent candidate. He has worked as a local councillor for more than 12 years, including five years spent in the Council leader role, and he is currently Deputy Chairman for the Local Government Association. He therefore believe he is a credible Independent alternative to the candidates being offered by the major political parties. You will be able to rely on him to always vote in the interests of local residents, putting the needs of Epsom & Ewell, not any political party, first. CLICK HERE to read more

NOTE: All text and images have been supplied by the candidate or taken from the candidates website

Licensing and Planning Policy Committee agree six principles to shape Local Plan

At Thursday night’s Licensing and Planning Policy Committee, councillors agreed six key principles, which will form the backbone of the council’s new Local Plan.

All local authorities are expected to have up-to-date Local Plans in place to guide development within their area, to plan for future infrastructure, homes, jobs, schools and green places.

To ensure this council’s Local Plan development process aligns with a local context, councillors last night agreed six principles to shape the new Local Plan.

The six principles seek to ensure that the development of new homes in the borough recognise the desirability of maintaining an area’s prevailing character and setting. Having new homes that are visually attractive, add to the overall quality of the local area and are sympathetic to the local character and setting.  

The proposed approach recognises the rich character of the borough and its high quality green spaces, and seeks to focus development in existing urban areas particularly around the key town and village centres and stations. To help with this, the council will bring forward policies through the Local Plan process which will address the density and height of new buildings, including placing height restrictions, to ensure that these developments are “of Epsom and Ewell” and reflects the local character and setting. The principles also focus on the importance of design quality with an emphasis on greening the borough, ensuring that development addresses the Council’s commitments to tackling Climate Change, and making places more family friendly and accessible. 

The Six Principles Are:

Principle 1 – Character of the Borough

Planning policies should support the “desirability of maintaining an area’s prevailing character and setting” (NPPF para 122(d). In addition developments should ‘function well and add to the overall quality of the area ….. [be] visually attractive … sympathetic to local character, including the surrounding built environment and landscape setting … [and] create places ..with a high standard of amenity for existing and future users’ (NPPF para 127).

Principle 2 – The Focus for Development

As outlined in the approved draft Masterplan, we will focus housing development in the following locations:

  • Epsom Town Centre
  • Other centres and stations
  • Principal movement corridors
  • Strategic employment sites
  • Intensification of the urban area
  • Urban edge of green belt

Principle 3 – Design

Design Policies will require developers to deliver design quality with an emphasis on green and family friendly, and which ensures that each development is ‘of Epsom and Ewell’ reflecting the local character and setting.

Principle 4 – Heights and Density

Polices will also address the density and height of developments and place a height restriction [storeys] which reflects each localities character and setting based on the NPPF.

Principle 5 – Climate Change

The Local Plan polices will reflect the Council’s commitments in the Council’s Environmental Action Plan (Climate Change Action Plan).

Principle 6 – Infrastructure

The Local Plan polices will address the issues of necessary infrastructure to ensure that new developments are sustainable.

Hobbledown will be hosting a Sensitive Santa Session.

Hobbledown will be hosting a Sensitive Santa Session for children with special educational needs (SEN).

The experience will allow children to meet Santa in his Grotto in a more relaxed, stress free environment with no queues. The session takes place on Saturday 30th November 2019 from 8:15am.

How it works:

8:15am to 9:15am – exclusive free play in the Hobblings Play Barn for SEN families and siblings. There will be:

  • No music
  • No tannoy announcements
  • Quiet rooms available away from the play barn
  • Our First Aid room will be available for changing requirements

9:15am to 9:30am – A chance to feed some donkeys or alpacas outside

9:15am to 10:30am – Meet Father Christmas in his Grotto

  • They will ensure the Grotto is a quiet environment with no music and subtle lighting.
  • Children can enter and leave as they need or want to without the need to queue.
  • Guests can interact with Santa as they feel comfortable.
  • Santa will be seated centrally in the room so that guests can approach when they are ready.
  • Crafts will be set up on tables around Santa
  • Each child will receive a small gift.

10:30 onwards

After the event all guests are welcome to stay and play at Hobbledown all day, but please be advised that after 9:15am there will be music and announcements in the play barn as normal.

Price
£12.95 per child. Accompanying carers and adults free.

To Book CLICK HERE

Man jailed for using false documents to commit bank fraud in Epsom

Nicolae George Sora, 30, of Hampden Lane, Tottenham, London has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for using false identity documents to commit fraud.

On 23 September at 9.40am officers were called to the HSBC UK branch in Epsom where a man was attempting to open a new account and get a credit card.

Sora’s photograph was recognised by one of the bank’s staff members as having warnings against it from an internal memo.

He had made nine fraudulent attempts to open bank accounts and credit cards using suspected false documents at other HSBC UK branches between May and September 2019, with total losses amounting to £4,559.61.

The Slovakian passport he used on the day he was arrested has been determined to be fake.

Sora pleaded guilty at Guildford Crown Court to charges that he conspired to commit fraud by false representation and that he possessed or controlled an identity document that was false. He was sentenced to a total of 18 months in prison.

PC James Wheatland of Epsom’s Neighbourhood Policing Team took charge of the case and he and several colleagues passed the investigation between them, each taking over as they came on to shift to ensure that enquiries were quickly completed and Sora charged.

PC Wheatland says: “This was a really complex case. Sora had multiple aliases and owned multiple passports and ID cards from countries including Austria, Lithuania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Romania, and this was all part of his MO.

“Because of his many aliases and the fact that he didn’t cooperate in interview, we were initially unable to confirm his true identity, but with help from the National Crime Agency we now know him to be Nicolae George Sora. He had committed fraud across London and Surrey and was obviously well equipped to continue to do so, had we not stopped him.

“Local bank staff are some of our best allies in identifying when fraud is taking place, whether that’s serious identity fraud like this or a vulnerable or elderly person being scammed and coming into their branch to withdraw funds. Thanks to HSBC UK’s branch staff for their vigilance and quick response.”

Sora went through the court process under the name of Marco Vekoslav, one of his aliases, and was subsequently confirmed to be Nicolae Sora.

Statement from RA regarding their position on a new Local Plan and Housing Numbers

On Thursday 14th November Epsom and Ewell Borough Council Licencing and Policy Panel Committee meets to agree a way forward in developing a new Borough Local Plan and meeting the Government’s required house building target up to 2036.  Ahead of that meeting Epsom and Ewell Resident Association Councillors have issued a Position Statement on that new Local Plan and the housing numbers required.

Residents’ Association Councillors’ Local Plan and Housing Numbers in Epsom and Ewell

Policy Statement – November 2019

As many residents will know the Government’s policy to increase house build numbers includes a formula that determines how many houses must be built in each local planning authority area.  For Epsom and Ewell, with approximately 45% green belt and limited brown field sites, the target has been set at 579 new dwellings per year – a total of 9843 new homes by 2036. 

That figure is unreasonable and unrealistic, but we do have to find ways to build more homes through the development of a new Local Plan.  We recognise that, like many other areas, we face an acute housing shortage and we are committed to increasing the number of homes built in the borough, particularly affordable homes.

However, in doing so we are also committed to maintaining the character of the borough by ensuring local circumstances and character are taken into account.  Therefore we will introduce planning policies designed to maintain an area’s prevailing character and setting.

We will also introduce policies to ensure that developments add to the overall quality of the area, are visually attractive and create places with a high standard of amenity for existing and future residents.

We will also focus housing development in the following locations:

  1. Epsom Town Centre
  2. Other centres and stations
  • Principal movement corridors
  1. Strategic employment sites
  2. Intensification of the urban area
  3. Urban edge of green belt

The Government’s housing requirement means that we will need to increase the density and height of developments, however we will place a height restriction [storeys] which reflects each localities character and setting and which relates to the height and form of neighbouring properties and the overall street scene.

In addition, and in order to work towards the Government’s very challenging housing target, we will have to develop some areas of the Green Belt, but we are committed to maintaining the vast majority of the Green Belt which is an important part of the character of our borough.

We will also introduce design policies that require developers to deliver homes designed to a high quality with an emphasis on green and family friendly, and which ensure that each development is ‘of Epsom’ reflecting the local character and setting.  Our Local Plan will also address need for infrastructure so as to ensure that new developments are sustainable in terms of transport, school places, local shops and community facilities etc.

Finally our Local Plan will also reflect our commitments in the Environmental Action Plan (Climate Change Action Plan) to be agreed by the Borough Council in January 2020. 

********************************

In order to ensure our approach and arguments are based on strong evidence we have taken time to gather all the information required.   The Borough Council commissioned two independent Reports on the green belt which show that the vast majority of our green belt is working well.  A Report was also commissioned on our two strategic economic sites in Kiln Lane and Longmead, and a Masterplan has been commissioned which has provided information and ideas of development sites and designed build.  Moving ahead on the Local Plan without this key information would not have been wise.

It is also the case that work on the Local Plan has been undertaken in a climate where Housing Ministers have been issuing mixed messages about the Government’s own position which, of course, does not make decision making easy.

In setting out their position West Ewell RA Councillor Clive Smitheram said.  “The Government’s insistence that Epsom and Ewell provide a total of 9843 new homes by 2036 is unrealistic both in terms of the availability of suitable land and sites and the existing infrastructure.  We therefore need to work with our residents and all those who have influence at the national level to ensure that the Government understands the unique and challenging position faced by the borough”.

Ewell Court RA Councillor Eber Kington said “Residents’ Association councillors were not elected to change the character of our borough and despite the unreasonable and unrealistic demands of the Government we will not do so.  Therefore we need to ensure that the much needed new homes reflect the nature of existing localities even where those developments are denser than they currently are”.

Town Ward RA Councillor Neil Dallen said “We all know that Epsom needs more homes but they need to be suitable for the borough’s residents needs which are mainly affordable family houses.  Town Ward is a sustainable location and can accommodate denser units towards sensible targets, but not at a height that destroys the character of a market town”.

Clive Woodbridge to stand as Independent at General Election

Local Councillor Clive Woodbridge has decided to run as an independent at the General Election on 12th December. Here is a message from Clive he has asked us to share

“National party politics is a depressing spectacle at the moment and, frankly, we all deserve better.

For that reason I have decided to stand as an Independent candidate for the Epsom & Ewell constituency in the forthcoming general election. I’ve worked as a local councillor for more than 12 years, including five years spent in the Council leader role, and am currently Deputy Chairman for the Local Government Association. I therefore believe I am a credible Independent alternative to the candidates being offered by the major political parties. You will be able to rely on me to always vote in the interests of local residents, putting the needs of Epsom & Ewell, not any political party, first.

I care passionately about Epsom & Ewell and its people and my only desire is to work to the best of my ability on behalf of this wonderful constituency. I will be free to speak and act for our community in a way that party politicians are not. For me, there will be no party whip or aspiration for a highly paid ministerial position; just pure enthusiasm to work tirelessly alongside like minded MPs of all parties, including any other Independents, and represent local people on the issues they tell me are most important to them.

More details of my campaign, and how to get involved, will be made available shortly, but for now residents can follow me on Twitter @CliveEwell for updates. I have also set up a crowdfunding page to help me run an effective campaign that can reach out to all parts of the constituency, including Epsom, Ewell, Stoneleigh, Ashtead, Nork and Tattenhams. (https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/vote-clive-woodbridge-for-epsom-ewell).


It is going to be hard taking on an established Conservative MP with a big majority. But I will do my best to offer a realistic challenge, and make the case that, for the first time in decades in Epsom & Ewell, there is a viable alternative on the ballot paper who has real chance. If, like me, you are despairing of all the party political options, rest assured you do now have a genuine choice when voting for your next MP in the December 12th general election.”

Clive has agreed to take part in our Question Time. There is still time for you to submit your questions Please email mail your questions to [email protected] by Sunday 17th November

Operation Viking: Epsom man behind bars for class A drug supply

An Epsom man has been sentenced to four years behind bars for being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine and heroin.

23-year-old Tyrone Johnson, of Ebbisham Road, Epsom, was convicted of three offences, including being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine, being concerned in the supply of heroin and dangerous driving.

The latest result for the Operation Viking team, which was set up to disrupt the supply of drugs coming into Surrey, marks a total of 300 years of imprisonment for county line drug dealers who have been sentenced in the last three years since the team was formed.

Johnson was driving his own car, a grey Volkswagen Golf, in Fir Tree Road, Epsom, around 1.30pm on 26 September when he was spotted by police who tried to stop the vehicle. Johnson failed to stop and made off with officers in pursuit.

However, the manner in which he was driving was so dangerous that officers decided to abandon the pursuit. Shortly afterwards, Johnson’s car collided with a set of traffic lights in Tattenham Way at the junction with Reigate Road. The collision resulted in significant damage to both his car and the traffic lights. He also narrowly avoided colliding with another vehicle containing an 11-week-old child.

Searches of both Johnson and his car uncovered messages on a mobile phone which indicated he was involved in the supply of crack cocaine and heroin, as well as around £1,000 in cash wrapped up in a wash bag in the boot. Paraphernalia associated with drug dealing was also found at his address.

He was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of drugs, failing to stop for police and dangerous driving.

 PC Elliott Hartley from the Op Viking team said: “The lengths to which Johnson went to try and avoid police is beyond belief and it is pure luck that he didn’t hurt anyone else, given the speed he was driving and the risks he took. Johnson also narrowly avoided crashing into a car with an 11-week old baby on board. This near miss, which could have resulted in a far more tragic outcome, was mentioned when he was being sentenced.

“When he did eventually crash, the damage was so significant that his car was a write-off and the traffic lights were struck with such force that they were flat on the ground.”

PC Hartley continued: “This is another great result for the Op Viking team and means that another drug dealer has been taken off our streets. We hope that the sentence given will act as a deterrent to those involved with county lines drug dealing in Surrey.”

He added: “Information from members of the public can be really valuable in tackling drug dealing in our county. If you suspect someone is dealing drugs, or involved in the supply of drugs, we want to hear from you.”

If you have information about suspected drug dealing or crime in your area, please contact us on 101. If you don’t want to speak to police, you can call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. They never ask your name or trace your call and you could earn yourself a reward.

What are the signs of potential drug dealing:

  • Lots of visitors, who don’t stay very long, arriving at all times of the day and night
  • People waiting in cars outside particular properties exchanging small packets or cash
  • Lots of visitors bringing items such as TVs or bikes but leaving empty handed
  • Lone/vulnerable neighbours suddenly having groups of young men living at their address

What Surrey Police want to know:

  • Time, date and place
  • Vehicle registrations and the make, model and colour
  • Descriptions of people and details of what they were doing
  • Direction they travelling to and from
  • How many times you have seen them – is it always at the same time of day?

Don’t put yourself at risk while gathering this information. Please always pass the information to the police and do not confront or approach suspected drug dealers.