Author Archive: southashfordcf

Chair of South Ashford Community Forum

Celebrating funding success!

Ashford Borough Council has been awarded more than £3 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund to revitalise Victoria Park.

The funding, thanks to National Lottery players, means the council can deliver its exciting plans to redevelop and restore one of Ashford’s oldest and most-loved green spaces, working with the local community, volunteer groups and the Friends of Victoria Park.

Proposals include a new children’s play area, improvements to the river, improved lighting across the park, and a new community hub building with café, and new toilets. The iconic Grade II Listed Hubert Fountain and the surrounding piazza area will also be restored and repaired.

The council will be employing four new members of staff to manage the project, including a parks officer who will be based on site. There will also be opportunities for the community to get involved with volunteering roles as part of the project.

Almost £1.9 million will be spent on repairs and conservation of the historical aspects of the park, and another £1 million has been earmarked for new building work including access paths, signage, bridges, and dipping platforms.

Friends of Victoria Park have welcomed the success and will be exhibiting some details of the proposals at Create and Mr. Harper’s Birthday Party this weekend.

Ashford Borough Council
https://news.ashford.gov.uk/news/celebrating-funding-success/

Plan to remove Maypits phone box

We have posted a copy of a notice that has bee uploaded to the Ashford Borough Council planning website regarding the removal of thelephone boxes.

One of the boxes that it is proposed to remove is that in Beaver Lane close to its junction with Maypits. This telephone box was used once every four days during the year over which data is given; compared with most of the boxes listed which weren’t used or were used once in the year.

To comment on the proposed removal use the comment tab on the ABC planning website:
Case Ref: 19/00971/AS 
https://planning.ashford.gov.uk/Planning/details.aspx?systemkey=112888

BT consult on removal of telephone boxes

British Telecommunications plc

Programme of intended public payphone removals

Opened: 28 June 2019
Closes: 26 September 2019

Dear Chief Planning Officer,

Further to our previous letter, we are writing to you as part of a formal consultation process regarding our current programme of intended public payphone removals. This letter formally starts our consultation with you and the local community.

There are currently 11 public payphones in your area [Borough of Ashford] which have been identified and proposed for removal by BT under the 90-day consultation process and details of these payphones are shown below.

To ensure that the local community are fully informed, we have placed consultation notices on the relevant payphones,and a sample notice is enclosed. We have also included the date we posted these notices on
the payphones. The consultation period will close on 26 September 2019. Unless you contact us to agree otherwise, responses received after this date will not be accepted.

This consultation process gives your local communities the opportunity to adopt a traditional red ‘heritage’ phone box and make them an asset that local people can enjoy. It’s really simple to do and it costs just £1-
http://bt.com/adopt

Overall use of payphones has declined by over 90 per cent in the last decade and the need to provide payphones for use in emergency situations is diminishing all the time, with at least 98 percent of the UK having either 3G or 4G coverage. This is important because as long as there is network coverage, it’s now possible to call the emergency services, even when there is no credit or no coverage from your own mobile provider.

You may also want to consider the recent Ofcom affordability report which found that most people do not view payphones as essential for most consumers in most circumstances –
https://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/research/affordability/affordability_report.pdf

On the 14th March 2006 the Office of Communications (Ofcom) published a statement following their 2005 review of universal service in the Telecommunications market, which includes a requirement for payphone
provision to meet reasonable needs. Part of that statement amended our obligations with regard to the removal of payphone service
https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0021/34266/statement.pdf
As stated in Ofcom’s 2005 review,it is the responsibility of the local authority to initiate its own consultation process to canvas the views of the local community. They would normally expect these consultations to involve other public organisations such as the Parish or Community councils and work within the terms of the Communications Act 2003. This means that you must be able to objectively justify your decisions.

Full guidance on the removal process can be viewed at:
http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/consultations/uso/statement/removals.pdf
and a summary is available at:
https://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/consultations/uso/statement/removing_callboxes.pdf
The guidance also details the appeals process we must follow in case of unreasonable objections.

To comment

To respond to this consultation comment via the Ashford Borough Council planning website:
Case Ref: 19/00971/AS
https://planning.ashford.gov.uk/Planning/details.aspx?systemkey=112888

Telephone NumberAddressPost CodeNumber of calls in last 12 monthsPosting Completed Date
101227 730243JCN SOLESHILL RD PCOl SOLESHILL ROAD SHOTTENDEN CANTERBURYCT4 8JR024/06/2019
201227 730327O/S VILLAGE HALL LONG HILL PCOl LOWER LEES ROAD OLD
WIVES LEES CANTERBURY
CT4 8AS 124/06/2019
301233 503787ADJ BUS LAYBY PCOl MOATFIELD MEADOW KINGSNORTH
ASHFORD
TN23 3LU1725/06/2019
401233 632569O/S POST OFFICE GREAT CHART PCOl THE STREET GREAT
CHART ASHFORD
TN23 3AN 325/06/2019
501233 642908JCN LENACRE ST PCOl SANDYHURST LANE ASHFORDTN25 4PF025/06/2019
601233 643156JCN MAYPITS PCOl BEAVER LANE ASHFORDTN23 5PA8925/06/2019
701233 732336PCO PCOl WOODCHURCH ROAD SHADOXHURST ASHFORDTN26 1LF125/06/2019
801233 756339OPP PUBLIC HOUSE PCOl THE STREET EGERTON ASHFORDTN27 9DJ024/06/2019
901233 840211O/S VILLAGE HALL PCOl THE STREET LITTLE CHART
ASHFORD
TN27 0QB024/06/2019
1001303 813180JCN THE WARREN PCOl LEES ROAD BRABOURNE LEES
ASHFORD
TN25 6QE025/06/2019
1101580 762370JCN WITH CRANBROOK RD PCOl ROLVENDEN ROAD
TENTERDEN
TN30 6TY125/06/2019

x

Case NoWardLocation and DescriptionDecision
19/00865/ASNorman Ward, Victoria WardThe Poplars, Kingsnorth Road, Ashford, Kent, TN23 6HR
Application for prior notification of proposed demolition of existing apartments at 1 to 14 The Poplars &; terrace of 3 houses at 5, 7 & 9 Beaver Lane.
Withdrawn By Applicant
17/01759/
CONJ/AS
Victoria WardFormer Pledges Mill and South Kent College Site and land south of junction of Beaver Road and, Victoria Road, Ashford, Kent, Victoria Road, Ashford, Kent
Discharge of conditions 64, 71, 72, 74, 76, 86 & 87 on Phase A3 to South of Victoria Road (residential building)
17/00714/
CONB/AS
Norman WardLand between 1 Rose Villas and 25, Lower Denmark Road, Ashford, Kent
Discharge of condition 12
17/01154/
CONC/AS
Victoria WardPlots 3 4 and 5, Former Powergen site, Victoria Road, Ashford, Kent
Discharge of condition 2 &; 5
Permit
17/01154/
CONB/AS
Victoria WardFormer Powergen site, Victoria Road, Ashford, Kent
Discharge of conditions 6 &; 7
Permit
17/01091/
CONA/AS
Victoria WardFormer Powergen site, Victoria Road, Ashford, Kent
Discharge of condition 1
Permit
17/00018/
CONY/AS
Victoria WardFormer Powergen site, Victoria Road, Ashford, Kent
Discharge of condition 56 (details of electric vehicle charging points) in respect of Plots 3, 4 and 5
Permit
18/01335/
AM01/AS
Beaver Ward112 Beaver Lane, Ashford, Kent, TN23 5NX
Revision to alteration of french door and window on planning application 18/01335/AS (Single storey linked Annex Extension to Bungalow for disabled person accommodation).
Amended Plans Approved
19/00971/ASBeaver Ward & othersBT Telephone Boxes in Borough Ashford Telephone Exchange, Regents Place, Ashford, Kent
Proposed 90 day consultation on the removal of 11 public payphones
19/00967/ASBeaver Ward8A Beaver Lane, Ashford, Kent, TN23 4NP
Conversion of integral garage to office
19/00968/ASBeaver Ward8A Beaver Lane, Ashford, Kent, TN23 4NP
Single storey side extension to existing outbuilding and conversion to office.
17/00018/
CONX/AS
Victoria WardFormer Powergen site, Victoria Road, Ashford, Kent
Partial discharge of details reserved by Parts A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I and K of condition 21 (fine detailing) in relation to Blocks 3A and 3B and Parts D, E, G and H to Blocks 3C and 4A to 4I (located within Plots 3, 4 and 5).
Permit

Beware the BBQ-bandits

Tips to keep your garden safe:

  • Lock valuables away: in the event of a theft claim your insurer will want to know if the item was locked in an outbuilding and will usually ask for proof of forced entry.
  • Defend your property: make sure gates have locks fitted and use security lights to deter thieves. Shrubs and plants along borders may put intruders off scaling walls.
  • Secure your bike: always keep bikes locked in an outbuilding. Some policies may even stipulate that bikes themselves should be locked to an unmoveable object within.
  • Know your policy: check what your policy covers. Insurers often limit claims for garden items.

Homeowners planning barbecues and garden parties this weekend are being urged to keep their properties secure, as the number of garden thefts soar.

According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales the number of garden thefts rose by 23% to 595,000 in 2018, up from 483,000 the previous year.

Amongst the most frequently stolen items were barbecues, lawnmowers, play equipment, garden furniture, plants and strangely even garden gnomes.

During the same period thefts from inside properties fell by 2% to 669,000.

Commenting on the figures, Steve Gibbon, a former police detective who now runs his own security consultancy says: “Garden gadgets are an increasingly attractive prospect for thieves. A high-end barbecue or a robotic lawnmower can cost a lot of money these days – but we do not treat them with the same care as other valuables.

“We leave them outside and unlocked in a way we would never do with a laptop or a mobile phone worth the same value.

“We feel garden equipment is safe within the grounds of our house, but it is not hard to move a lawnmower or even a barbecue on wheels.

“It might be an inconvenience, but people should keep their garden equipment under lock and key when they are out – in a garden shed or fixed to something with a decent padlock to reduce the risk.”

(more…)

Friends of Victoria Park Meeting

Hubert Fountain

The next meeting
of the Friends of Victoria Park will be heldat 7.30 pm

on Thurday 4th July 2019

at Ashford Indoor Bowls Centre
Victoria Park, Jemmett Rd, TN23 4QD

The agenda for the meeting is

  1. Apologies
  2. Welcome and Update
  3. Minutes of Previous meeting
  4. Matters Arising
  5. Election of new committee member
  6. Logo
  7. Finance
  8. Events and Activities
    • Summer Series
    • Create/Mr Harpers Birthday
    • Butterfly Count
    • Family Fun Run
  9. Any Other business

Download a printable copy here

Beat the Heat

Although most of us welcome the summer sun, high temperatures can be harmful to your health. In one hot spell in August 2003 in England and Wales there were over 2,000 extra deaths than would normally be expected. The heat can affect anyone, but some people run a greater risk of serious harm. As our climate changes, hot spells are expected to be more frequent and more intense.

This document will tell you how to stay safe in hot weather, including how to keep your home cool. It tells you who is at greatest risk of ill health from the heat, how to recognise when you or someone’s health may be affected, and what to do if you or someone else becomes unwell as a result of the heat.

Stay connected

Look after yourself, older people and the young
Why is this important?
  • The heat can affect anyone, but some people run a greater risk of serious harm. Remember to think of those who may be more at risk from the effects of heat – these include the following:
    • older people, especially those over 75
    • babies and young children o people with a serious chronic condition, particularly dementia, heart, breathing or mobility problems
    • people with serious mental health problems
    • people on certain medications, including those that affect sweating and temperature control (for example, diuretics, antihistamines, beta-blockers and antipsychotics
    • people who are already ill and dehydrated (for example, from gastroenteritis) o people who misuse alcohol or drugs
    • people who are physically active (for example, soldiers, athletes, hikers and manual workers)
    • homeless people
What can I do?
  • stay out of the heat, cool yourself down, keep your environment cool or find somewhere else that is cool
  • look out for neighbours, family or friends who may be isolated and unable to care for themselves; make sure they are able to keep cool during a heatwave
  • get medical advice if you are suffering from a chronic medical condition or taking multiple medications
  • make sure medicines are stored below 25°C or in the fridge (read the storage instructions on the packaging)
  • carry on taking all prescribed medicines unless advised not to by a medical professional. But be aware that some prescription medicines can reduce your tolerance of heat
  • be alert and if someone is unwell or needs further help, see the resources section at the end of this leaflet
Listen to the weather forecast and the news
Why is this important?
  • knowing the forecast can help you plan ahead and adapt as necessary
  • heatwaves may affect other services, such as power and water supplies, and transport
  • air pollution can become worse during periods of hot weather
What can I do?
  • listen to the news to be aware of when a heatwave has been forecast and how long it is likely to last
  • check the weather forecast and any high temperature health warnings at www.metoffice.gov.uk
  • recommended actions and health advice for the general population and those who may be particularly sensitive to air pollution are available from UK-AIR by calling 0800 55 66 77 (recorded information) or visiting https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/
Plan ahead to avoid the heat
Why is this important?
  • it is best to avoid getting too hot in the first place
  • if you plan ahead you can avoid situations where you become dangerously hot
What can I do?
  • avoid being out in the sun during the hottest part of the day (around midday) and plan your day to avoid heavy activity during extreme heat
  • bring everything you will need with you, such as a bottle of water, sun cream and a hat
  • if you have to go out in the heat, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen, and wear a hat and light clothing
  • be prepared, as heatwaves can affect transport services and you might need extra water

Keep well

Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol
Why is this important?
  • everyone is at risk of dehydration in hot temperatures, but babies, children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable
  • fluid requirements are higher than normal in hot weather and after strenuous activity, to replace fluids lost through sweating
What can I do?
  • drink plenty of fluids: water, lower fat milks and tea and coffee are good options
  • fruit juice, smoothies and soft drinks do count towards your fluid intake, but can be high in sugar. Limit fruit juice or smoothies to a combined total of 150ml a day and swap sugary soft drinks for diet, sugar-free or no added sugar varieties
  • look out for signs of dehydration such as increased thirst, a dry mouth, dark urine, and urinating infrequently or small amounts. Serious dehydration needs urgent medical attention, more information is available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dehydration/
  • if you are fasting for Ramadan during a heat wave, it is important to drink before dawn and follow the advice here to keep cool and prevent dehydration. If you become dehydrated you should break the fast in order to re-hydrate, this can be compensated by fasting at a later date. People with certain conditions should not fast, more information is available at: https://nhs.uk/video/Pages/healthy-ramadan
Dress appropriately for the weather
Why is this important?
  • dressing appropriately can protect you from the sun’s radiation and keep you cool to prevent heat related illness
  • children are particularly at risk of skin damage from the sun
What can I do?
  • if you have to go out in the heat, walk in the shade and wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light coloured cotton clothes
  • wear suitable head wear, such as a wide-brimmed hat, to reduce exposure to the face, eyes, head and neck
  • when exposed to direct sunlight, cover your skin with clothing giving good protection; examples are long-sleeved shirts and loose clothing with a close weave. At home wear as little clothing as necessary
  • sunglasses should exclude both direct and peripheral exposure of the eye to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, so a wraparound design is best
  • apply sunblock, or broad-spectrum sunscreens, with high sun protection factor (SPF) of at least SPF 15 with UVA protection regularly to exposed skin
Slow down when it it hot
Why is this important?

• heavy activity can make you prone to heat related illnesses

What can I do?
  • avoid extreme physical exertion. If you can’t avoid strenuous outdoor activity, such as sport, DIY or gardening, keep it for cooler parts of the day – for example, in the early morning or evening
  • children should not take part in vigorous physical activity on very hot days, such as when temperatures are above 30°C

Find somewhere cool

Know how to keep your home cool
Why is this important?
  • even during a relatively cool summer, 1 in 5 homes are likely to overheat
  • for many people, this makes life uncomfortable and sleeping difficult
  • some people are particularly vulnerable to heat and for them a hot home can worsen existing health conditions, or even kill
What can I do?
  • in preparation for warmer weather, use our simple checklist to find out if your home is at risk of overheating and what you can do if there is a problem. You can download the checklist from the PHE heatwave webpage https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/heatwave-plan-for-england
  • shade or cover windows exposed to direct sunlight, external shutters or shades are very effective, while internal blinds or curtains are less effective but cheaper
  • metallic blinds and dark curtains can make a room hotter
  • open windows when the air feels cooler outside than inside, for example, at night. Try to get air flowing through your home, if possible
  • turn off the central heating
  • turn off lights and electrical equipment that aren’t in use
  • use electric fans if the temperature is below 35°C, but do not aim the fan directly at the body and ensure you stay hydrated with regular drinks
  • check that fridges, freezers and fans are working properly
  • If insulating your home, ask for advice about avoiding overheating in summer
  • consider the risk of overheating if buying or renting, particularly for vulnerable people
  • if you have concerns about an uncomfortably hot home that is affecting your health or someone else’s health, seek medical advice
  • get help from the environmental health department within your local authority; they can do a home hazard assessment
  • if considering home improvements to reduce overheating, you can get help and advice from Foundations or, if you are elderly, FirstStop may be able to help (contact details listed below)
Go indoors or outdoors, whichever feels cooler
Why is this important?
  • it is important for your health to avoid getting hot in the first place
  • if you do get hot, it is important to give your body a break from the heat
  • it may be cooler outside in the shade than it is inside an overheated building
What can I do?
  • take a break from the heat by moving to a cooler part of the house (especially for sleeping)
  • find some shaded green space or have a cool bath or shower
  • remember lots of public buildings (such as places of worship, local libraries or supermarkets) can be cool in summer; consider a visit as a way of cooling down
Cars get hot, avoid closed spaces
Why is this important?
  • small closed spaces, such as cars, can get dangerously hot very quickly
  • some people, especially babies, young children and older people find it harder to stay cool
  • they may not be able to move themselves to a cool place if they are dependent on others
What can I do?
  • ensure that babies, children or older people are not left alone in stationary cars or other closed spaces
  • look out for children in prams or pushchairs in hot weather; keep them in the shade, remove excess clothing, ensure there is adequate air flow, and check regularly to ensure they are not overheated
  • for more information about how to identify if a baby/child is overheated, visit NHS Choices (http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Heat-exhaustion-andheatstroke/Pages/Introduction.aspx?url=Pages/What-is-it.aspx)

Watch out

Be on the lookout for signs of heat related illness
Why is this important?
  • chronic illnesses can get worse in hot weather
  • heat exhaustion and heatstroke are two potentially serious conditions that can occur if you get too hot:
    • heat exhaustion is where you become very hot and start to lose water or salt from your body. Common symptoms include weakness, feeling faint, headache, muscle cramps, feeling sick, heavy sweating and intense thirst o heatstroke is where the body is no longer able to cool itself and a person’s body temperature becomes dangerously high.
    • Heatstroke is less common, but more serious. Untreated symptoms include confusion, seizures and loss of consciousness
What can I do?
  • you can find out more, such as common signs and symptoms to look out for, on NHS Choices (http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Heat-exhaustion-andheatstroke/Pages/Introduction.aspx) Cool your skin with water, slow down and drink water Why is this important?
  • if heat exhaustion isn’t spotted and treated early on, there’s a risk it could lead to heatstroke. Untreated heatstroke can be fatal What can I do?
  • if you notice that someone has signs of heat related illness, you should:
    • get them to lie down in a cool place – such as a room with air conditioning or somewhere in the shade
    • remove any unnecessary clothing to expose as much of their skin as possible
    • cool their skin with cool water, you could use a cool wet sponge or flannel, cool water spray, cold packs around the neck and armpits, or wrap them in a cool, wet sheet
    • fan their skin while it’s moist – this will help the water to evaporate, which will help their skin cool down. An electric fan could be helpful to create an air current if the temperature is below 35o C, but fans can cause excess dehydration so they should not be aimed directly on the body and will not be enough to keep them cool at temperatures above 35o C
    • get them to drink fluids – these should ideally be water, lower fat milks, or a rehydration treatment,
    • do not give them aspirin or paracetamol – this can put the body under more strain, they should carry on taking all other prescribed medicines unless advised not to by a medical professional
  • stay with the person until they’re feeling better. Most people should start to recover within 30 minutes
Stay safe when swimming
Why is this important?
  • During warm weather cooling off in swimming pools or bodies of water such as rivers, lakes or the sea can provide much welcomed relief. While this can be a fun activity on warm days, people who do not take the right precautions may find themselves in difficult situations.

What can I do?

  • Whether you are an experienced swimmer or not, there are simple principles you should follow when swimming:
    • Always look for warning and guidance signs
    • Only enter the water in areas with adequate supervision and rescue cover o Always wear a buoyancy aid or lifejacket for activities on the water or at the water’s edge (such as when boating or fishing)
    • Never enter the water after consuming alcohol
    • Be aware of underwater hazards o Get out of the water as soon as you start to feel cold
    • Swim parallel with the shore, not away from it
    • Avoid drifting in the currents
    • Do not enter fast flowing water
    • Always take someone with you when you go into or near water. If something goes wrong they will be able to get help o If someone is in difficulty in the water shout reassurance to them, shout for help and call the emergency services (call 999 or 112)

Get help.

Call NHS 111 or in an emergency 999
Why is this important?
  • severe heat exhaustion or heatstroke requires hospital treatment
What can I do?
  • if a person has improved with the cooling advice above but you still have concerns about them, contact your GP or NHS 111 for advice
  • you should call 999 for an ambulance if: o the person doesn’t respond to the above cooling treatments within 30 minutes o the person has severe symptoms, such as a loss of consciousness, confusion or seizures
  • if the person is unconscious, you should follow the steps above and place them in the recovery position until help arrives. If they have a seizure, move nearby objects out of the way to prevent injury

For more information

• NHS Choices ‘Heatwave: be prepared’ http://www.nhs.uk/heatwave
• NHS Choices ‘Heat exhaustion and heat stroke’ http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Heat-exhaustionand-heatstroke/Pages/Introduction.aspx?url=Pages/What-is-it.aspx
• NHS 111 for free medical advice for any non-emergency 24 hours a day: call 111
• PHE heatwave information including a checklist for identifying and managing indoor overheating: available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/heatwave-plan-forengland
• Met Office weather forecast and high temperature health warnings: www.metoffice.gov.uk
• Red Cross emergency app has information and alerts, available at http://www.redcross.org.uk/What-we-do/Emergency-response/Emergency-app
• Local authority contact details: http://local.direct.gov.uk/LDGRedirect/Start.do?mode=1
• Local accredited home improvement agency or handyperson services: Foundations (http://www.findmyhia.org.uk/ or call 0300 124 0315) or, for elderly people, FirstStop (http://www.firststopcareadvice.org.uk/ or call 0800 377 7070)
• Sunsmart – information about saying safe in the sun: www.sunsmart.org.uk/
• UK-AIR – health advice about those who may be particularly sensitive to air pollution: https://ukair.defra.gov.uk/ or call 0800 55 66 77
• Free air quality text alerts: http://www.airtext.info/ or text 78070
• Royal Life Saving Society UK advice on water safety: http://www.rlss.org.uk/watersafety/water-safety/ First published: May 2016

© Crown copyright 2016, 2018 Re-use of Crown copyright material (excluding logos) is allowed under the terms of the Open Government Licence, visit http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-governmentlicence/version/3/ for terms and conditions.

Avoid Holiday Fraud

Each year, fraudsters target unsuspecting holidaymakers and travellers conning them out of millions of pounds. Not only are people losing substantial sums of money but many holidays are being ruined, with people unable to afford a replacement. Over the past four years, we’ve joined forces with the City of London Police, Action Fraud and Get Safe Online to raise awareness of different types of holiday booking fraud and how you can avoid becoming a victim.

What is holiday booking fraud and how to avoid the common types?

Holiday booking fraud is when people hand over money only to discover the holiday, accommodation or flight they paid for doesn’t exist.

Fraudsters are conning unsuspecting holidaymakers and travellers out of millions of pounds each year or leaving them stranded with nowhere to stay.

The most common types of booking fraud are: 

  • Holiday Accommodation: Fraudsters are making full use of the internet to con holidaymakers by setting up fake websites, hacking into legitimate accounts and posting fake adverts on websites and social media. 
  • Airline tickets: Where a customer believes they are booking a flight and receives a fake ticket or pays for a ticket that never turns up.
  • Sports and religious trips: A popular target for fraud due to limited availability of tickets and consequently higher prices. 
  • Timeshares and holiday clubs: The sums involved with this form of fraud are particularly high with victims losing typically thousands of pounds. 

Top tips to help avoid holiday booking fraud

  • Don’t reply to unsolicited emails, texts, social media or calls with holiday offers. Links and attachments in emails may lead to malicious websites or download viruses.
  • Stay safe online: Check the web address is legitimate and has not been altered by slight changes to a domain name – such as going from .co.uk to .org.
  • Do your research: Don’t just rely on one review – do a thorough online search to ensure the company is credible. If they’re suspect, other people may well have posted their experiences warning people off.
  • Look for the logo: Check whether the company is an ABTA Member. Look for the ABTA logo on the company’s website and if you have any doubts, verify membership by visiting our ABTA Member search. If you’re booking a flight and want more information about ATOL protection, or would like to check whether a company is an ATOL holder, then please visit the CAA website.
  • Pay safe: Never pay directly into an private individuals bank account. 
  • Check the paperwork: You should study receipts, invoices and terms and conditions, and be very wary of any companies that don’t provide any at all. When booking through a Holiday Club or Timeshare, get the contract thoroughly vetted by a solicitor before signing up. 
  • Use your instincts: If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Get free expert advice: For further advice on how to stay safe when booking or researching travel online, go to Get Safe Online.

How to report it

Report it to Action Fraud online or call 0300 123 2040. If they’re a member of the Association of British Travel Agents, report to them too.

ABTA
https://www.abta.com/tips-and-advice/planning-and-booking-a-holiday/how-avoid-travel-related-fraud

Action Fraud
https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/a-z-of-fraud/holiday-fraud

#scamaware

Don’t let a scammer enjoy your retirement

Find out how pension scams work, how to avoid them and what to do if you suspect a scam.

Scammers can be articulate and financially knowledgeable, with credible websites, testimonials and materials that are hard to distinguish from the real thing. Scammers design attractive offers to persuade you to transfer your pension pot to them or to release funds from it. It is then invested in unusual and high-risk investments like overseas property, renewable energy bonds, forestry, storage units, or simply stolen outright.

Scam tactics include:

  • contact out of the blue
  • promises of high / guaranteed returns
  • free pension reviews • access to your pension before age 55
  • pressure to act quickly

Four simple steps to protect yourself from pension scams

  1. Reject unexpected offers
    If you’re contacted out of the blue about your pension, chances are it’s high risk or a scam. Be wary of free pension review offers. A free offer out of the blue from a company you have not dealt with before is probably a scam. Fortunately, research shows that 95% of unexpected pension offers are rejected.*
  2. Check who you’re dealing with
    Check the Financial Services Register (www.register.fca.org.uk) to make sure that anyone offering you advice or other financial services is FCA-authorised.
    If you don’t use an FCA-authorised firm, you also won’t have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. So you’re unlikely to get your money back if things go wrong. If the firm is on the FCA Register, you should call the Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768 to check the firm is permitted to give pension advice.
    Beware of fraudsters pretending to be from a firm authorised by the FCA, as it could be what we call a ‘clone firm’. Use the contact details provided on the FCA Register, not the details they give you.
  3. Don’t be rushed or pressured
    Take your time to make all the checks you need – even if this means turning down an ‘amazing deal’.
    Be wary of promised returns that sound too good to be true and don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision.
  4. Get impartial information and advice
    The Pensions Advisory Service (www.thepensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk) – Provides free independent and impartial information and guidance.
    Pension Wise (www.pensionwise.gov.uk) – If you’re over 50 and have a defined contribution (DC) pension, Pension Wise offers pre-booked appointments to talk through your retirement options.
    Financial advisers – It’s important you make the best decision for your own personal circumstances, so you should seriously consider using the services of a financial adviser. If you do opt for an adviser, be sure to use one that is regulated by the FCA and never take investment advice from the company that contacted you or an adviser they suggest, as this may be part of the scam.

Financial Conduct Authority
The Pensions Regulator

#scamaware

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