DMU police officer leads city colleagues to £4,000 heroin bust

By Alexander Hodgkins-Jones

A De Montfort University police officer helped city force colleagues make a £4,000 drugs bust on Monday afternoon (NOV9) after spotting someone acting suspiciously on campus CCTV.

A male suspect was arrested in Castle Gardens on a number of drugs related charges and £4,000 worth of heroin was seized after the eagle-eyed DMU officer led colleagues to him.

The bust involved a drugs dog and was part of an ongoing national anti-knife campaign called Operation Sceptre.

“What people don’t realise is the quality of CCTV is getting better and better,” said the officer, who wished to remain anonymous but who has 14 years of experience with the force.

“When I started, it was VHS tapes and you were lucky if you could pick anyone out, now the quality is unbelievable.”

DMU cameras cover much of the campus and has made spotting suspicious activity “easier than it ever was” according to the officer.

“Criminals don’t realise how good it is and I’m good at spotting ‘stuff’ taking place,” he said.

A passive drugs dog was able to confirm the suspicions of the DMU officer by indicating the man had been in contact with an illegal substance which allowed Leicester City Police to move in and make the arrest.

The Leicester City Police Twitter account praised the DMU officer for his role in the arrest, calling it a great example of teamwork.

Police warn motorists to be vigilant after rise in catalytic converter thefts

By Alex Marks McLeod

Drivers are unwittingly polluting their towns and cities – as police revealed thieves have been stealing catalytic converters from motor cars.

Police in Leicester have reported a spate of incidents in and around the city. They believe cases may have dropped off because of Coronavirus – but as life has slowly limped back to normal thefts have increased.

Thieves target catalytic converters – a small device fitted to the car exhaust which helps to neutralise harmful CO2 and harmful  emissions – for the precious metals platinum, palladium and rhodium found in the devices. The increase in reported cases have correlated with the boom in global precious metal prices.

Lee Marlow, 50, a resident of Leicester, had his catalytic converter stolen and didn’t know until he took his car for an MOT.

He said: “I was unaware that it happened until my MOT test two weeks later. My car failed the test on omissions – and that was because, unknown to me, thieves had stolen the catalytic converter.”

This price to reinstall his catalytic converter cost Lee about £150. “It was the most expensive MOT I’ve ever had,” he said.

The converters can be sold – depending on the model for anywhere between £100 to £1,000 by the thieves. 

Thieves are efficient and well-practised in using the correct machinery, as the process of taking out a catalytic converter can be done in less than 60 seconds.

A recent theft – filmed by a shocked onlooker in the north area of Leicester – showed two thieves jacking a car up, crawling underneath the motor and swiftly swiping the converter. They left, giving the man filming them a two fingered send off.

Last month, Leicestershire Police warned motorists to be aware of the thieves as incidents increased.

Detective Chief Inspector Reme Gibson of the force said brazen thieves tended to target cars in public car parks.

She said: “We have seen a rise in catalytic converter thefts around the force area. These crimes tend to occur in supermarket car parks and private driveways.

“Any vehicle can be subject to catalytic converter theft; however Toyota Auris, Toyota Prius, Honda Jazz and Honda Accord are known to be more vulnerable to this type of theft. We urge vehicle owners to take measures when parking and reduce the risk of theft.”

Police in Leicester say the number of catalytic converter thefts was 278 in 2017/18.
This has rocketed to 618 in 2019/2020, as thieves look to make a fast buck.
Incidents have been reported at university car parks, hospital car parks, supermarkets and private drive ways.
Police said today they were joining forces with two local garages – Euro Tyres in Barkby Road and Brookside Garage in Cannock Street – who were fitting a catalytic converter market kit free of charge to vehicles. 

Teen arrested in Blaby after stabbing during an attempted robbery

By Naomi Dann

A 16-year-old boy was arrested last night(WED,OCT16) in Aylestone Road and later released on bail following a stabbing outside a shop in Blaby earlier in the afternoon.

The police were called to a report of a robbery at a Co-op store in Grove Road at about 2.15pm.

However, during the incident outside the store a man was stabbed by a teenager who then fled the scene before police and ambulance services arrived.

Onlookers said that two workmen who were outside a property nearby and had witnessed the incident were seen running after the suspect with a crowbar to try to stop him, but were unable to.

Police had closed off Grove Road for the remainder of the afternoon.

Georgina Blythe, 24, who was walking towards a bus stop outside the shop as the incident unfolded, said: “ I saw the knife covered in blood in his hand as he ran across the road – I couldn’t believe my eyes. Blaby is just not like this, it’s making me wonder if you’re really safe anywhere now.”

Alberto Costa, the South Leicestershire MP, released a statement on his Twitter page in relation to the incident. The tweet reads “Deeply concerning to hear about this in Blaby earlier today – my office has spoken to the Police commander for the Blaby area & police are responding accordingly.” He finishes by saying his thoughts are with the victim.

According to witnesses, a blood transfusion vehicle and paramedics treated the wounded man. The victim was taken to University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire and police said he was stable, having suffered no life-threatening wounds.

Leicestershire Police said inquiries are ongoing, if you or anyone you know has any further information regarding the incident please get in contact with Leicestershire Police.

Class of 2019: Murdered by her stalker

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Alice Ruggles was killed by her ex-boyfriend, a soldier who broke into her house and cut her throat. In the latest of our Class of 2019 series, which highlights the finest feature writing by journalism graduates from De Montfort University, Annies Joy tells a harrowing story of obsession, coercion and stalking that ended with the brutal death of an innocent young woman.

It was 2am. The ring of the doorbell echoed throughout the dark quiet house, waking Sue Hills and her husband Clive from their sleep. Sue opened the door to find two policemen standing in front of her. The ultimate bearers of all bad news. In that moment Sue knew her daughter was dead.

Sue, 58, is a mother of four. Alice was her third child. At the age of 24 Alice Ruggles was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, turning the lives of her family upside down.

While trying to overcome the tragic loss of her daughter, Sue started a charity to raise awareness of stalking behaviour.

Before the tragic events that tore the family apart Sue used to work as a maths teacher at the same school daughter Alice attended.

“We used to spend a lot of time together, travelling together to and from school. We were really close,” says Sue. “Even though I didn’t teach her, I used to see her around a lot, so we shared a lot of things.”

Sue remembers her daughter Alice fondly. “Alice was very loving and hardworking.” says Sue. “She was always very happy, always singing and dancing.”

Alice Ruggles and Sue Hills

Alice, from the Leicestershire village of Tur Langton, was a keen fencer. She was county champion for seven years and was the East Midlands champion too. It was such a big part of Alice’s life that after her death her friends started an annual fencing competition in memory of Alice.

Her love of the sport took her to Northumbria University to study engineering, where they had an excellent fencing team.

Full of excitement and hope, Alice moved from Leicestershire to Newcastle to begin a new chapter of her life. “She loved Newcastle and fencing there,” says Sue.

After graduation, Alice decided to stay in Newcastle and started working for Sky, where she quickly got promoted from working at the call centre to PA and then to head of sales.

“Her life was going brilliantly,” says Sue. But her misfortune started after she went on holiday to Sri Lanka with a friend.

Her killer, Lance Corporal Trimaan Dhillon, saw pictures of Alice on her friend’s Facebook page, and messaged her. He was serving in the army, posted to Afghanistan in a non-combat role.

Their relationship escalated very quickly. This should have been the first warning sign.

“Apparently, it’s a very common thing from people who are going to be controlling,” says Sue. “But we didn’t know that at the time.” By Christmas Alice was already referring to him as her boyfriend.

In the following year, around the beginning of May, Sue met Dhillon in person for the first time. “He seemed nice enough,” says Sue. “He wasn’t someone you thought ‘Oh, he’s so lovely’ but he wasn’t someone who I thought ‘I didn’t like him’ either.”

However, Sue had an overwhelming feeling that she wasn’t getting to know him, rather he was presenting a version of him that he thought you wanted to hear.

It’s a common belief that animals can sense danger. “Our dog loves everybody,” says Sue. “But he hated Dhillon.” A second warning sign.

By his second visit, Sue and her husband knew that he wasn’t the guy for Alice.
“He stayed with us for a weekend and the entire time he talked about buying a car,” says Sue. “I mean who does that?”

The change in the season brought the worse in Dhillon. An argument between Alice and her friend from the Sri Lankan trip showed his true colours. His controlling behaviour came to light, insisting that Alice cut all ties with her. Alice was unhappy but thought he was trying to protect her.

No one saw it coming, but Dhillon was fuelling the fire so that Alice would lose her friends. She’d have no one to turn to, expect him.

“When Alice had issues with her housemates, Dhillon would often step in and say he’ll ‘sort them out’ in a threatening way,” says Sue. “I was disturbed, but I didn’t saying anything.

“I thought these issues were experiences that Alice needed to grow up and learn to sort it out herself.”

If only Alice had sensed the danger then. Instead, she walked into the wolf’s lair.

“Her sister, Emma, had always hated him. She saw the effect he was having on her,” says Sue. “I think some of her friends saw it too.”

Alice ended the relationship when she found out Dhillon was cheating on her. Having had enough, and clearly unhappy for a while now, she conjured up enough courage to end the relationship.

That’s where things started going really wrong for Alice.

“He refused to accept that she didn’t want to go out with him anymore,” says Sue. “He used to bring her presents and sweets. When he saw that this wasn’t working, he tried everything.”

Dhillon started calling Alice in floods of tears and obsessively messaging her. Some nights she would receive over 200 messages from him.

On one occasion he threatened to kill himself because she had broken up with him. He switched off his phone and deactivated all his social media accounts.

“Alice was so concerned that Emma called up his security officer to go check up on him,” says Sue.

But when the officer went to check on him, he found Dhillon playing with his mates at a bar. His extreme attention-seeking behaviour was also a common trait he shared with other cases of stalking.

Then started the flood of messages, from fake social media accounts he had created, in an attempt to contact Alice. He got control of her Facebook account and threatened to post private images of her, forcing her to shut her account down.

“When the doorbell rang and it was the police, I just knew instantly that she was dead and who had done it”

When Alice started a new relationship, he contacted her boyfriend saying she was ‘two-timing’ and cheating on him. Unable to bear with it any longer, she turned to the police.

“The main problem was that police didn’t know how to deal with stalking because there isn’t a clear definition of stalking. It so hard to define it,” says Sue.

When Alice called the police, she described all the stalking behaviour and had spoken to them in calm manner. An later investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct found the Northumbria force had treated the case as harassment rather than the graver offence of stalking.

Dhillon was issued a Police Information Notice (PIN) order to stay away from Alice. He breached it time and time again. Things only got darker from there. Dhillon would contact Alice and repeatedly tell her that ‘he wasn’t going to kill her’.

Just 11 days before her murder, Dhillon turned up at her house at midnight and knocked on her window.

She drew the curtains and found him standing outside. Shaken, she contacted the police, but they were unable to help. Yet again found herself feeling abandoned by them.

On the night of October 12, 2016, Alice was found lying on her bathroom floor in a pool of her own blood, with her throat slit.

“When the doorbell rang and it was the police, I just knew instantly that she was dead and who had done it,” says Sue.

In April 2017, Dhillon was found guilty of murder and jailed for life, with an order to serve a minimum of 22 years in prison.

But it was too little, too late. His actions and the lack of understanding from the police side had already shattered the family. Their dear daughter was taken away from them too young.

“I had always thought this sort of thing doesn’t happen to you,” says Sue. “For some reason I thought I was immune from it.”

The Alice Ruggles Trust was established in 2017 straight after the trial, and campaigns were put into place to put an end stalking by raising awareness and to improve
legal measures taken when such cases occur.

Raising awareness of stalking and getting protection for the victim is one of the main aims of the trust.

Charities have defined stalking as a ‘repeated behaviour and the person who is doing the behaviour ought to know that he has caused distress.’

One charity has defined stalking as ‘murder in slow motion’. “When I look back at Alice, that’s what was happening to her,” says Sue.

“He wanted Alice to be his girlfriend and if that wasn’t happening then he was going to kill her. That was it from the beginning.”

Ram-raiders smash their way into Kirby Muxloe shop

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The One Stop store, Main Street. Photo credit: Google Maps

By Rosie Vacciana-Browne

Ram-raiders struck at a village shop in the early hours of this morning.

A red Mazda was driven into the front shutters of the One Stop store in Main Street, Kirby Muxloe at around 1.30am.

The crooks were able to get into the premises and steal an undisclosed sum of cash.

Detectives have launched an investigation and a 44-year-old Leicester man has been arrested on suspicion of burglary.

He remains in police custody.

Detective Constable Joseph McCormack is appealing for anyone with information about the incident to get in touch.

He said: “From our inquiries so far, we believe four suspects were involved and made off in the Mazda heading towards Ratby Lane.

“We would ask anyone who have witnessed the burglary or who saw any suspicious activity which could be linked to what happened to please contact us.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 quoting 19*158875.