Two men arrested after students in Bede Park forced to withdraw £250 from cashpoint

By Jacob Moseley 

Two men have been charged with carrying out three robberies in Leicester’s Bede Park.

The men were arrested after two De Montfort University (DMU) students were threatened and made to withdraw £250 from the Co-op cashpoint at the end of Briton Street on Saturday(FEB16).

The suspects have been charged with that offence, plus two other robberies, including on Thursday last week. They were remanded into police custody after the courts granted officers extra time to question them further.

The two victims were walking away from DMU on Saturday when they were approached by the men near the children’s play area.

Detectives have since urged anyone who may have been a victim of a robbery across Leicester and not reported the incidents to the police to do so.

They have been investigating since October last year after various victims reported being approached and threatened before cash and mobile phones were stolen.

In some cases a knife was mentioned but not seen. No-one was injured during the incidents but have understandably been left quite shaken by what happened.

Police launched Operation Hologram in recent weeks to tackle the robberies and officers have been carrying out extensive enquiries including trawling CCTV and speaking to people in the area.

Detective Constable Dan Thorpe, who is investigating the incidents, said: “We know some offences that have occurred may not have been reported to the police and we’re urging those victims to come forward.

“There may be many reasons for not reporting it but we can only tackle this issue if we have a full picture of when and where the offences have occurred and obtained suspect descriptions.

“If you have been a victim or have any information about the incidents please get in touch. We’d like to reassure those living and working in the area that we are taking these reports extremely seriously and ask the public to remain vigilant and think about their personal safety when out and about.”

Anyone with any information is asked to contact DC 1097 Thorpe on 101 or Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.

Burglars ram car into shop fronts at Fosse Park

fosse

(Fosse Shopping Park)

By Rosie Vacciana-Browne

In the early hours of this morning (FRI, FEB22) a car drove into two shop fronts at Fosse Shopping Park in Leicester.

The incident occurred at around 12.15 am and the stores targeted were Carphone Warehouse and Clarks.

The police were called by on-site security and are now appealing for members of the public to come forward with any information they have.

A police spokesperson said: “It is believed that four occupants…entered the shop momentarily before fleeing the scene minutes later. The suspects were seen to be carrying bags out of the premises.”

Officers were not sure what had been taken.

Fosse Shopping Park remained open to shoppers today although the shops affected were cordoned off whilst the investigation continues.

The centre said that Clarks had re-opened following the incident, but Carphone Warehouse was due to reopen later this afternoon.

Police are asking anyone with information to call 101 and quote crime reference number 19*92213.

DMU students put together 100 dignity packs for refugees across Europe

By Beatriz Abreu Ferreira

De Montford University students working together with LE Solidarity organised an event to prepare 100 dignity packs yesterday (THURS, FEB21), which will be donated to refugees in Calais and Paris.

The event was organised to celebrate the LGBTQ History month, by DMUworks and Square Mile Volunteers, which work on a regular basis with the charity institution LE Solidarity to sort donations and deliver them to asylum seekers.

According to the Williams Policy Institute, around 400 million LGBT+ persons across the world are threatened with jail, violence or death.

De Montfort University was recently nominated the global hub for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16, which is designed to promote peace, justice, and strong institutions.

Sunita Patel, Senior Public Engagement Officer, said: “This year we (DMU) are particularly looking at what it means to be a city of welcome, what it means to people when they arrive in our city and the kind of items that they need to get their dignity back which is why we are doing a lot of these projects which are dignity packs projects.”

Blasio Mukiibi, an asylum seeker from Uganda, has attended the campaign to share his own experience.

“Being an asylum seeker is not easy. I fled and look for freedom so when I reached here I thought maybe somehow, somewhere, I will be free. But almost, literally, I am not that most free.

“I became anxious each and every time.

“After 15 years I discovered being different, from that day until now I have never been free and I have never met any justice in my life,” he said.

Students who are interested in getting involved should contact DMU Local and join the group in the weekly donations sorting or choose from a wide variety of projects.

Making a success out of bamboo: zero waste company is on the rise

By Emily Rooney

A small zero-waste company in Leicester is finding success with bamboo toothbrushes and straws.

Will Taylor, who runs Eco-Bru, has been selling his toothbrushes and straws at events, and has also been supplying NADA, the zero-waste shop in Leicester city centre.

The 25-year-old started the company around March 2018, with his first order delivered in June of the same year, but said: “I started research in November of 2017, it took me a while to put my first order in.”

Will added: “My main inspiration started when I saw Blue Planet and I saw what we were doing to our planet as a whole.”

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ECO-FRIENDLY: One of Eco-Bru’s bamboo toothbrushes

While bamboo toothbrushes are available from a few companies, most reusable straws are metal, and Eco-Bru takes a different approach with this, manufacturing theirs out of bamboo instead.

Will’s deciding factor on which material to use actually came from his sister. He said: “She doesn’t like to put metal in her mouth, and she always bangs her teeth on bottles and stuff, so she said bamboo would be better.”

However, as bamboo is a simpler wood product, rather than being a highly processed metal, it is also biodegradable, and as such could even be more environmentally friendly, as if a metal straw is discarded and not recycled, it will sit in landfill for years without degrading.

A criticism that is sometimes given to environmentally friendly products is that they don’t look good.

Eco-Bru hopes to combat this stereotype, as Will stated that when he started the brand: “I wanted to create a brand that bridged the gap between style and sustainability, and this was a massive thing in the way that a lot of products that are eco-friendly aren’t that aesthetically pleasing, and I wanted to bridge that gap with my brand.”

Union asks DMU’s interim Vice Chancellor to apologise for predecessor’s ‘culture of fear’

By Callum Faulds

A formal letter has been delivered by unions to De Montfort University’s (DMU) interim Vice-Chancellor with a string of requests and questions relating to his predecessor’s time in charge.

The letter was delivered to the Vice-Chancellor’s office at Trinity House from the University and College Union (UCU) Branch Committee yesterday (THURFEB21) for the attention of Interim Vice Chancellor Andy Collop.

The letter presents him with a number of requests and questions – one of which points out that the university has “neither acknowledged nor apologised for the culture of fear perpetuated at all levels of the University during Dominic Shellard’s regime.”

Mr Shellard resigned from his position earlier this month after regulators began an investigation into DMU.

In the letter, the UCU Branch Committee said: “It is hard to see how a healing process can begin without such an acknowledgement. It is long overdue that the University provides such an acknowledgment, and most importantly that the University issues an apology to staff for this.”

In the same point, they also request that the University commits to both its students and its staff in order to reform the university’s governance and management style.

According to one of the nine points raised by the UCU, there was a “practice of not allowing marks ending in a 9” in order to encourage grade inflation with staff also having been allegedly asked to “look again” at already moderated marks.

The letter raises many concerns from staff and students alike with it also accusing the University of being guilty of “dictating changes to modules from the top, to suit certain agendas.”

Among the questions proposed in the letter was: “Did the departure of the former vice-chancellor entail any financial incentive or payment in kind to him?”

Neither De Montfort University nor Interim Vice-Chancellor Professor Andy Collop have publicly acknowledged the letter yet.

To read the full letter please visit the DMU UCU website on: https://ucudemontfort.wordpress.com/2019/02/21/letter-to-interim-vc/