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Landlord's loft room scheme earns him £3,000 fine

19th August 2014

A landlord who rented out a loft room which tenants had to go on all fours up a staircase to access has been hit with a £3,000 fine for his troubles. Barnet Council's environmental health team found that the low ceiling above the staircase and small entrance hatch made it impossible for tenants to reach the room while standing upright, raising concerns it could impede their escape in the event of a fire. Head height along the course of the staircase was found to be between 0.7 and 1.2m, an...

Council house fraudster jailed

15th August 2014

A man has begun a five-month prison sentence after being found guilty of obtaining a council home fraudulently. Isaac Fordjour, 39, pleaded guilty to obtaining services by deception in July at Woolwich Crown Court. The crime, which was uncovered by Southwark Council’s fraud team, dates back to April 2003 when Fordjour made a homeless application complete with Home Office documentation to confirm his right to reside in the UK. Fordjour was subsequently offered a two-bed property in Crawford Ro...

GMB calls off dispute with Mears, won’t protest at Brighton racecourse

14th August 2014

The GMB union has called off its threat to protest at Brighton racecourse in a dispute with maintenance giant Mears and will now go to arbitration. "We will now sit down with Mears and ACAS on 12th September to settle our differences and move forward within the spirit of an approved agreement," GMB said. "Mears has now withdrawn their notice to de-recognise the joint unions GMB, Unite, Ucatt and Unison over proposed changes to the recognition agreement." It added: "With this issue being removed al...

Council scores major victory in fraud campaign

14th August 2014

Hambleton District Council has scored a major victory in its fight against benefit fraud. An investigation into the finances of a Northallerton man convicted last year of illegally obtaining benefits of almost £50,000 revealed he had benefited from crime to the tune of over £291,000. Last month, Teesside Crown Court was told that Andrew Cason had £88,700 in ‘realisable assets’ and made a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. The court ordered that &pou...

Nearly 1,000 UK sex workers raped or attacked in last two years

12th August 2014

There have been 922 serious crimes reported against sex workers in the UK in the past two years, a project has revealed. Figures from the 'Ugly Mugs' scheme, a database of dangerous clients that use sex workers, show that 25% of the crimes were rapes, 39% were sexual assaults and 44% were violent attacks. The scheme, which has been running for the last two years, has now secured £85,000 funding from the UK's police forces to keep it in operation. The scheme costs £120,000 a year to ...

HA sees racist pest barred for three years

12th August 2014

A housing association has secured an injunction against a pest who engaged in racial abuse, criminal damage and anti-social behaviour. North Lincolnshire Homes (NLH) took the action against Darren Towle, who can no longer enter the Barton areas of Lincolnshire Yarborough Court, Lincoln Drive, Kingston View, Goodhand Close, Holgate Court, River View, Fairfield Drive, Blyth Court and Hopper Close. If the 45-year-old is found in the forbidden zones at any point over the next three years he will be...

What a twit. Injunction for tenant who intimidated with 3,500 social media messages

11th August 2014

An Essex housing association has secured an injunction order against a tenant who sent a neighbour over 3,500 intimidating messages via social media. Over an 18-month period, CHP's tenant harassed the neighbour, who is not a CHP resident, with messages. Chelmsford County Court in July, District Judge Foss found the tenant guilty of harassment and intimidation and awarded an injunction order with the power of arrest attached. The tenant is forbidden from contacting the victim either directly or indi...

Housing association leads pirate radio crackdown

11th August 2014

A housing association has obtained an injunction with power of arrest against a prolific pirate radio aerial fitter. Working with Ofcom and the police, Poplar HARCA acted after Mr Philip (AKA DJ Fatal) installed pirate broadcasting equipment on the roofs of tower blocks in London's Tower Hamlets. The aerials interfere with tenants’ TV reception, the DLR train service and, most seriously, emergency services’ radio frequencies and air traffic control. Granted by Shoreditch and Clerk...

ICO takes action after estate agent leaves customers' data on stree

11th August 2014

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has taken action after a London estate agent continued to leave papers containing personal information on the street. Last December, the ICO was informed that an outlet owned by Thamesview Estate Agents was leaving papers containing personal information in transparent bags on the street with the information clearly visible to anyone who walked past. The ICO warned the company that it must improve its compliance with the Data Protection Act by disposing...

Illegally sublet social home repossessed

11th August 2014

A Manchester-based housing association has regained possession of one of its properties which was being unlawfully sublet by a tenant. During a recent tenancy audit at the property in Gorton, Eastlands Homes' housing officers discovered that the person living in the house could not provide any identification to show they were the tenant that rented the property in the first place. Following further investigations, it was established that the tenant had left the country without informing Eastla...

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