News

Top 10 Tips to Beat the Burglar this Christmas

home_security_1

The weeks leading up to Christmas are the biggest shopping weeks of the year and for many retailers often accounts for 70% of their annual revenue. Stocking our homes with the latest electronic gadgets, computers, jewellery and must-have accessories is the norm, unfortunately though it provides thieves with the perfect incentive to commit burglaries.

Christmas; A time for giving, receiving… and taking!
Please read these tips on ensuring your home is secure over Christmas and the New Year period.

  1. Deterring would-be criminals is one of the most effective forms of crime prevention.

    Invest in a motion sensor flood-light or even some outdoor Christmas lights to highlight your home’s exterior. This will hopefully make approaching your home too conspicuous for a burglar. Highlighting the fact your possessions are security marked and registered on Immobilise using window decals provides a further warning that your goods are marked, traceable and not worth the risk of stealing!

  2. Festive lighting – be secure.

    A common mistake of many festive decorators is to feed extension cables through partially open windows, criminals know to look for this vulnerability. When it comes to outdoor lighting, opt for solar or battery operated lights or install outdoor electrical outlets.

  3. Dispose of gift packaging carefully.

    Refuse collections over the Christmas / New Year period are normally at different times. If you can’t take packaging to a recycling point, make sure you only put your rubbish out just before the collection and do your best to fold boxes so that they do not advertise your new contents of your home to thieves!

  4. Protect your Identity.

    It is good practice never to dispose of receipts and personal paperwork without first shredding it. Christmas is a time when this is especially important! Be careful though not to shred any important warranty details, make sure documents you keep are stored somewhere secure.

  5. Check doors and windows for weak spots

    Government statistics show that 30% of burglaries happen through windows. Installing a few dead-bolts and new window hinges could increase the security of your home exponentially.

  6. Keep your curtains, drapes and window blinds closed at night,

    making sure valuable items are out of sight. When going out for the evening make use of inexpensive timers to give the illusion of occupancy.

  7. Away over Christmas – plan ahead.

    If you’re going away at Christmas be sure to cancel any newspaper or milk subscriptions. Arrange for a neighbour to park on the driveway to help create the impression someone is home. Do not to leave descriptive telephone answering machine messages like “we’re away skiing for the Christmas holidays” etc and again make use of light timers.

  8. Secure garages & sheds.

    Make sure that garden tools or ladders that could be used to force entry into your home are not left lying around or accessible from an unlocked garden shed. Garages are often targets for burglars looking for tools, bikes and gardening equipment – make sure the garage is secure and your possessions are secured too in the case of bikes and tools. Naturally make sure anything portable / valuable is recorded on immobilise.

  9. Don’t hide keys & use alarms if you have them.

    Burglars know to look for hidden door keys so don’t hide spare keys under rocks, in flowerpots, or above door ledges. Instead give the spare key to family or trusted neighbour. Many houses these days have alarms, many though are rarely set, make sure yours is on and protecting your home.

  10. Register your property for FREE on Immobilise


    at http://www.immobilise.com . This is a national property database that the Police can access and search if we recover suspected stolen property. We regularly search houses of suspected criminals, we check second hand dealers, and visit car boot sales and we have a device that can identify stolen property if the bar code is registered. Don’t let them get away with your gear. Get it logged. Get it back.Most mobile phones have a unique identifier such as a serial number or an IMEI number (International Mobile Equipment Identity) which can found easily by pressing the following keys on your mobile handset: * # 0 6 # . If your gift doesn’t have a unique identifier there are several affordable marking kits available (i.e. Smart Water / untra-violet pens). Contact your local PCSO for further advice.Hopefully your property will not be targeted by burglars but we do hope some of the advice provided helps to keep your home safe over the seasonal period and into the new year.

Lucas Fire & Security Ltd
http://www.lucasfireandsecurity.co.uk/news/christmas-home-security-10-tips-beat-burglar/

Enjoy the festive season safely…

Christmas message
How safe will your family be over the Christmas holidays?

This festive season, Kent Fire and Rescue Service would like people across Kent and Medway to have fun, but to make ‘family fire safety’ top of their Christmas lists.

For many people, like our very own Byrnes family, the festive period is an opportunity to spend more time at home, use candles and fairy lights and have a few drinks, but all of these activities can increase the risk of fire.

And while fire safety is important throughout the year, added distractions of Christmas make it especially important to be vigilant during the festive season.

Make Christmas memorable for the right reasons

Too many electrical items plugged into the same socket can cause a fire

Electrics and Christmas lights

Removing batteries from smoke alarms for toys or gadgets could put your family at risk

Smoke alarms and escape plans

Allowing a cigarette to burn on its own could cause a fire

Smoking

Place candles away from anything that could catch fire

Christmas trees and decorations

Make sure flames are out before you leave the room

Open fires and log burners

Its easy to get distracted - keep looking while your cooking

Cooking

 

Kent Fire and Rescue Service 20 December 2017
www.kent.fire-uk.org/news/campaigns/christmas-safety/

Minerals and Waste Plan Consultation

Kent County CouncilEarly Partial Review of the Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan 2013-30 and
Mineral Sites Plan – Options Consultation

Kent County Council

Opens: 19 Dec 2017
Closes: 27 Mar 2018

The Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan 2013-30 (KMWLP or the Plan) sets out the minerals supply and waste management capacity provision for Kent up until the year 2031. Following the adoption of the KMWLP in July 2016, further assessments have been undertaken which suggest that the level of waste management capacity required to maintain net self-sufficiency differs from that which was anticipated to be needed when the KMWLP was prepared. In order to ensure that Kent benefits from an up-to-date strategy for waste management capacity the County Council is seeking to undertake an early partial review of the KMWLP to amend several of the policies relating to waste management.

Furthermore, the County Council also seeks to improve the clarity of the policies relating to minerals and waste safeguarding; this should improve their effectiveness when used in practice. This is a part of the Early Partial Review of the Plan at this time.

Parallel to the early Partial Review Consultation referred to above the County Council is holding a public consultation on the Option Sites for the Minerals Sites Plan. This is a Regulation 18 consultation to gather the views of the general community, groups, organisations, mineral operators, other Kent authorities (at the Parish and Borough/District levels) and individuals on what the County Council considers to be potential mineral sites required to supply a steady and adequate quantity of mineral resources to meet the objectives of the Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan (KMWLP) 2013-30.

To engage in the above consultations, please click here.

The period for the  consultations is 19th December 2017 to 27th March 2018.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Minerals and Waste Planning Policy team.

Email:  mwlp@kent.gov.uk

Phone:  03000 413328

Consultation Summary

Name The Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan 2013-30
Description Kent County Council is seeking to undertake an early partial review of the KMWLP to amend several of the policies relating to waste management.
Dates From 19 Dec 2017 at 00:00 to 27 Mar 2018 at 23:59.
Status Open
Consulting Organisation Type Kent County Council
Consulting Organisation Name Kent County Council
District / Borough areas affected by the consultation Ashford, Canterbury, Dartford, Dover, Gravesham, Maidstone, Sevenoaks, Shepway, Swale, Thanet, Tonbridge & Malling, Tunbridge Wells
Consultation Topic General interest, Environment and countryside, Planning and planning applications, Recycling, rubbish and waste management
Consultation Methods Online survey / questionnaire / forms
Contact Details Email:  mwlp@kent.gov.uk

Phone:  03000 413328

Health watchdog consults on future aims

Shaping our Future

Healthwatch

Opens: 08 November 2017
Closes: 03 January 2018

Healthwatch the independent national champion for people who use health and social care services, launched in 2012. Since then, in partnership with local Healthwatch, they have worked hard to understand what people want from care services and make sure that those who run services hear these views.

They are now developing their strategy for 2018 – 2023.

Between June and September 2017, they asked the public, professionals and local Healthwatch a number of questions to help shape their future focus. They invite you to take part in the next phase of their strategy.

They asked people where they should focus their efforts to have the biggest impact.

The ideas people shared largely focussed on the following areas:

  • Working to improve existing care, particularly the access people have to support, and the avoidable differences in people’s experience of health and social care across the population.
  • Mental health and care for older people were also common issues where people wanted to see improvements.
  • Making it easier for more people to have an equal say in decisions that affect them by tackling barriers, such as public awareness and professional attitudes.
  • Ensuring that communities are involved in shaping future health and social care services.
  • Supporting a stronger, more consistent Healthwatch network – from the service the public receives, to the way the network works together to achieve change.
  • Maintaining the independence of the network and working in partnership with others to improve health and social care services.

What this means for their work

People’s feedback has helped inform the development of three aims for their future.

  1. Empowering you and your community to have your say

    We want to make sure people can access the information they need to take control of their health and care, make informed decisions and shape the services that support them.

  2. Providing a high quality Healthwatch service for you

    We want to support a consistently high quality Healthwatch service for people who want to share their views or find information about health and social care. We also want to help local Healthwatch to champion people’s views effectively and make sure that local health and social care services truly reflect people’s needs.

  3. Making sure your views help improve health and social care

    We want people’s views to drive health and social care – ensuring you get access, on an equal basis with others, to support that works for you, as well as helping to shape future services for your community.

Download “Shaping our Future”
www.healthwatch.co.uk/sites/healthwatch.co.uk/files/20171107_-_shaping_our_future.pdf

They would like to hear your views on these aims.

Have your say via the Healthwatch website
www.healthwatch.co.uk/resource/shaping-our-future

ABC Property Company to invest in Travis site

Ashford Borough Council has announced that its property company ‘A Better Choice for Property’, is to buy apartments to be built on the Travis Perkins site on Victoria Crescent.

The purchase, the company’s biggest yet, represents a multimillion-pound investment in the town.

Tracey Kerly, Ashford Borough Council’s Chief Executive, said: “The property company demonstrates another innovative way that the Council is supporting the complex and various housing needs of a growing population.”

She added: “We are delighted to be working with Leath Park Developments on this exciting development which will be built to the council’s lifetime homes and strict space standards that go further than national prescribed space standards. We look forward to growing the business further in the coming years, with the aim of generating more revenue to maintain and enhance overall service provision.”

Darren Welch, Managing Director of Leath Park Developments (a Jenner Group Company) said: “This is another example of Ashford Borough Council’s proactive approach to providing local housing in the area and we look forward to working closely with the development team to deliver 28 high quality apartments at Victoria Crescent.”

A Better Choice for Property effectively operates as a buy-to-let investment company, targeting people in work in Ashford who can afford to rent. They are given one-year tenancies that can then be extended by further yearly increments or on a monthly rolling contract, affording flexibility to the tenants, while enabling communities to develop. The emphasis is on providing a high-quality customer experience to tenants from start to finish.

The property company has carefully grown a portfolio of 24 two, three and four-bedroom properties in the borough, ranging from flats to detached houses. The company paid interest to the council of £129,000 in the 2016-17 financial year. This money has been put towards the provision of services across the borough.

It is anticipated that in the next three years the company’s portfolio will grow to around 400-500 properties that are either in its ownership or that it is committed to owning off-plan.

Ashford Borough Council 18 December 2017
www.ashford.gov.uk/whats-on/news/property-company-expands-with-off-plan-purchase-18th-dec/

Details of the planning application can be found in our post of 6 July 2016
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/2016/07/06/former-travis-perkins-trading-co-ltd-victoria-crescent-tn23-7hp/

Christmas tree fire destroys a living room in under a minute


A house fire, most likely sparked by faulty Christmas tree lights, envelopes a living room in a shocking 46 seconds. Fire Kills wants everyone to enjoy their Christmas. Check your Christmas tree lights are in good condition, turn them off before you go to bed and be safe at home over the festive season. Keeping your tree well watered can also prevent fire from taking hold. Fire kills – you can prevent it.

Fire Kills 10 December 2010
http://www.direct.gov.uk/firekills

Are you scam savvy this year?

Stop the ScammersCriminals will be taking advantage this Christmas to send a record number of scams to catch us out.

Last Christmas over £16 million was lost to online scams in the UK. 

Types of scams to avoid this Christmas

  • E-Vouchers – criminals share free e-vouchers on social media or by email for well-known brands. Victims are told to click on a link to claim which takes them to a fake website where they are asked for personal and banking details.
  • Wish lists – can be useful to tell your friends and family about what gifts you would like this year however these lists can contain personal information which criminals use steal their identity and they can use the items to send phishing emails.
  • Social Media deals – messages on social media offering deals has increased in the last few years and while some of them may be genuine , criminals will be taking advantage often trying to tempt people with deals on electronics and jewellery.

READ about scams and how to deal with them
www.kent.gov.uk/business/trading-standards/consumer-protection/scams/types-of-scam

Kent County Council 15 December 2017
http://mailchi.mp/bab4ab365891/how-to-spot-fake-electrical-goods-puppy-buying-tips-and-more

Shopping online safety tips

UK online retail sales hit £133bn in 2016 and it is estimated to continue rising as we enjoy shopping in the comfort of our own homes.

The huge increase in parcels has lead to a number of businesses promising cheap and quick delivery services to meet demand.  This has resulted in a rise in complaints as courier companies compete on price but fail to deliver on time.

If you are shopping online this Christmas find out when the business can deliver the goods, especially if you want them to arrive before Christmas day.

If they don’t arrive in time contact the business as soon as you can. Use their complaints process to make a formal complaint.

NEWS: 

Online retailers pass the parcel as couriers fail to deliver the goods
https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/nov/12/couriers-fail-deliver-retailers-surge-online-shopping

If something you ordered hasn’t arrived
www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/somethings-gone-wrong-with-a-purchase/if-something-you-ordered-hasnt-been-delivered/

Kent County Council 15 December 2017
http://mailchi.mp/bab4ab365891/how-to-spot-fake-electrical-goods-puppy-buying-tips-and-more

Buying a puppy?


Puppies are traditionally seen as a cute, must have present for children at Christmas time with popular breeds like Labradoodles, French Bulldogs and Pugs being sold for around £1000 per pup.

As the popularity for these breeds grows so too does the number of illegal imported puppies from Eastern European countries including Lithuania and Hungary.  The puppies travel in appalling, cramped conditions for thousands of miles with no access to food or water. Some puppies are not vaccinated making them vulnerable to diseases and others are younger than the 12 week age requirement making the rabies vaccinations invalid.

Sadly some puppies are so poorly they have to be put down, devastating the family.

WATCH RSPCA Buying a Puppy guide

NEWS:

Puppy importer faces £3000 fine for illegal landing Pug puppies 

Kent County Council 15 December 2017
http://mailchi.mp/bab4ab365891/how-to-spot-fake-electrical-goods-puppy-buying-tips-and-more

Don’t buy fakes

The pressure is on for parents to buy the must have toys on their children’s Christmas list. But in your rush to buy you could unsuspectingly buy fake toys.

Fake toys are made with cheap, nasty materials containing dangerous chemicals and flammable materials. They break easily and can be dangerous for children to use, especially those containing electrical components and batteries.

Take your time & follow these top tips when buying toys:
  • Only buy from shops you trust – be wary of websites you’ve never shopped with before especially if it sounds too good to be true
  • Check the website is genuine
  • Look for the BSI Kite and Lion quality marks
  • Check the packaging for spelling mistakes – do the instructions make sense?

This year’s most popular Christmas toys and gadgets

From top left to right: Soundmoovz Musical Bandz, Star Wars toys including the new BB-9E, HoverKart, Laser X and the Polaroid 3-D Pen.Hoverboards are still popular and the new HoverKart will certainly be at the top of some Christmas lists. Follow these top tips if you are considering buying a Hoverboard this year

Report fake products to Trading Standards

Kent County Council 15 December 2017
http://mailchi.mp/bab4ab365891/how-to-spot-fake-electrical-goods-puppy-buying-tips-and-more