Police raid parties and issue fines as students flout lockdown restrictions in Covid-hit Leicester

By Laura Murphy and Sarah Danquah

A student who was fined £800 for contravening lockdown laws and attending an illegal party says he doesn’t regret going to the party – he only regrets getting caught.

The 19-year-old student, who was visiting his girlfriend at DMU from his uni in London, was arrested by police after they broke up a huge party in student accommodation.

The incident happened on Saturday night (FEB27) at Inka Studios in Percy Road, near to the University of Leicester. There were more incidents nearer to DMU the previous night.

“We just wanted to be around people and didn’t really think about the virus,” admitted the 19-year-old student, who did not want to be named. 

Young people gather in the street after police put a stop to their illegal party.

“The police turned up at 4 am and shut everything down. I’m not really around people so who could I really pass the virus on to? All the people that are vulnerable are currently being vaccinated anyway.

“If you’re willing to break the law, though, you should be able to face the consequences.”

‘Several illegal parties’

It was one of several illegal parties students held in the city last weekend, according to Leicestershire police. Leicester currently boasts the second highest number of coronavirus cases in the East Midlands.

Similar parties were broken up by police in student households in Dover Street, Marquis Street and Tudor Road, near DMU, on Friday night.

Police estimate more than 100 students had attended the parties and that 35 people were issued with £200 forced penalty fines.

The Friday night party seemed to start in one house and move to others, say neighbours, as the police attended and broke-up gatherings.

Harvey Mills, the director of Cloud Student, the company that owns the student property in this area, said calls were made to police and they attended promptly. Mr Mills called on DMU to crack down on students breaking restrictions.

Residents of Tudor Road were disgusted at the blatant disregard for the rules.

“Some of us have lost our jobs so it’s quite disturbing seeing all these people being inconsiderate and not caring about what is happening around them,” one resident said.

Another resident who witnessed the partying said students were being irresponsible. “Parties like these occupy the police at the weekend,” she said. “The police shouldn’t have to deal with students being inconsiderate.”

A police spokesperson said they will be patrolling the Tudor Road area to prevent other gatherings from happening. 

Will it stop the gatherings? It might not. One student who ran from las weekend’s party and was not caught remains unrepentant.

“I wanted to have fun. I am tired of staying of indoors. I feel like Covid is never ending,” she said.

“I’d definitely go to a party again – not this week but probably next week.”

We asked DMU to comment on this, but they did not respond.

Deliveroo deliverer’s bike stolen as he worked in Welford Road

By Kira Gibson

A bicycle was stolen from outside Seven Tea in Welford Road last Tuesday (Feb 9) around 7.30pm. 

Seven Tea on Welford Road (Photo credit: Kira Gibson)

The bike belonged to a Deliveroo driver who was receiving an order to deliver when the theft happened. 

The driver followed the thief on foot directly following the incident, whilst bystanders watched on in shock.

It is unknown as of yet if the owner ever recovered the bicycle from the man who pinched it.  

Nearly half cases of violence and sexual offences in Leicestershire are closed without convictions

By Beatriz Abreu Ferreira

More than 40 per cent of cases of violence and sexual offences reported by Leicestershire Police this September were closed because suspects could not be identified or prosecuted.

Figures from September show that 1,291 out of 3,141 reports of violence and sexual offences were closed as Leicestershire Police were unable to identify (258) or prosecute suspects (1,033). 

Figures from September 2020 Source: data.police.uk

Another 1,457 cases (46.4 per cent) are still under investigation. Some reports (65) were followed up by another organisation or had a local resolution (67).

Many investigation outcomes (94) or formal actions taken (85) were not disclosed as they were not deemed to be in the public interest.

A proportion of 1.9 per cent of the reports (60) are still awaiting court outcome.

The majority of cases happened in Leicester (652),  Charnwood (175) and North West Leicestershire (128). 

Figures from September 2020 Source: data.police.uk

Rushcliffe (1), Rutland (15), and Oadby and Wigston (31) were the areas with the least number of reports.

Violence and sexual offences are the most common reason for criminal reports made by Leicestershire Police (36.7 per cent), followed by anti-social behaviour (13.5 per cent) and public order offences (11.3 per cent).

Figures from September 2020 Source: data.police.uk

Violent crime is one of the few categories of crime which has seen a big increase in the number of reports compared to the same period last year. 

Source: UK crime stats

 In September 2019, a total of 2,513 cases were reported in Leicestershire, compared to 3,126 in the same month this year.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, the senior institution to inspect and report on the efficiency of police forces, judged Leicestershire Police as ‘Good’.

 “The force is good at investigating crime,” the report said. “Investigations are handled by appropriately-trained staff, and the case files we saw were of a high standard. There is a new crime bureau for cases with few lines of investigation, which has taken pressure off other investigators. The force offers a good service to victims and prioritises their needs.

“Leicestershire Police is also good at protecting vulnerable people. It has strong relationships with other organisations working with those in need and a well-established training programme. The force is currently dealing with more crimes, and receiving more referrals linked to vulnerability, than it ever has before, but it is taking measures to deal with this demand.”

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.