Investigations & Crime

How charity was 'duped' into a £100k contract for second-hand printers

How charity was 'duped' into a £100k contract for second-hand printers A charity claims it was duped into signing a £100,000 contract for two printers, worth just £13,000. Missing Kind, which runs the KindaKafe on Castle Meadow, Norwich, warned it would have "severe consequences" on its work. At least one other charity has also been affected and both charities claim their signatures were forged on key documents. Missing Kind was approached in August by a company called Plan Corporate Service

Council probes planning application allegations over new homes

A council is investigating claims that a parish councillor failed to declare an interest in a planning application which was approved by one of his wife's colleagues. King's Lynn and West Norfolk Council approved an application in September last year to build two new homes on land at Bustards' Lane in Walpole St Peter. However, they did not know at the time that council planning officer, Kate Lawty and husband David Lawty, a Walpole parish councillor, had an interest in the land which the hous

'No one has been targeted as much': How latest cuts are hurting disabled people

'No one has been targeted as much': How latest cuts are hurting disabled people Hundreds of the most vulnerable people in Norfolk have been hit by a big rise in disabled care charges. Tom Bristow speaks to those who fear it will mean they lose their home and future. It has been years since Sharon* bought her children presents. At birthdays and Christmases her grandchildren make do with second hand gifts she finds on eBay. But the 64-year old fears even that may have to stop after being hit w

'It destroys lives' - Teen's dismay at 18-month mental health delay

It is a year since inspectors slammed the region's mental health service for making patients wait too long for help. This week they are back. Has anything changed? The 17-year old has been trying to get mental health support since her ex-boyfriend died in a car crash in 2017. Miss Saunders, from Easton, waited 18 months to get a referral from her GP to the youth service of the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT). The beauty therapy student had her first appointment with the NSFT in Ma

Teenage trader lost £500,000 as he led luxury lifestyle with supercars

Teenage trader lost £500,000 as he led luxury lifestyle with supercars A teenager who drove luxury cars while claiming to be a millionaire trader lost £500,000 of investors' cash and has been reported to authorities. Morgan Reeve, from Hunstanton, set up Morgan FX Limited in July last year and bragged on Instagram about how his business, trading foreign currencies, was funding a luxury lifestyle. Foreign exchange traders, known as Forex, bet on movements in the value of a currency and it can

Revealed: What our NHS chiefs say behind closed doors

Revealed: What our NHS chiefs say behind closed doors Confidential documents reveal health chiefs' fears over money, while reform plans are being held up by lack of cash and huge staff shortages. Tom Bristow reports. Three years ago NHS bosses promised to transform Norfolk and Waveney's health and care services. Hundreds of meetings, billions of pounds and dozens of reports later the same problems of not enough staff and cash to cope with the rising demand remain, according to minutes of priv

'I was raped but they told me to keep quiet' - ex-pupil of horror school speaks out

'I was raped but they told me to keep quiet' - ex-pupil of horror school speaks out Lisa* was 13 when she was sent to an abusive residential school and alleges she was told to keep quiet about being raped. Police have now re-opened their investigation into the Small School at Red House near Buxton after several ex-pupils told this newspaper of abuse allegations. Today, now aged 36, she describes her horrific years at the school until it was closed in 1998. "I arrived at The Red House in 1996

Police open fresh investigation into abuse allegations at school

Detectives opened an investigation today into allegations of abuse at a north Norfolk school after fresh evidence was uncovered by this newspaper. Eleven former pupils of the Small School at Red House near Buxton have come forward alleging physical abuse in the 1980s and '90s. Some have also alleged sexual abuse by older pupils. We passed our information to police last week who confirmed on Wednesday that had led to the fresh probe. Norfolk police previously investigated abuse allegations at

Sexual abuse allegations 'covered up' at school

Allegations of sexual abuse at a children's home were covered up according to a former pupil and staff member. The latest revelations about the Small School at Red House come after this newspaper published claims last week of physical and sexual abuse from ex-pupils in the 1980s and '90s. Councils sent their most difficult children to the residential school near Buxton for an "alternative education" with outdoor activities and trips abroad. But our investigation found they ignored warnings ab

Beaten and abused but 'no justice' for alleged victims of horror school

Beaten and abused but 'no justice' for alleged victims of horror school Ex-pupils have made fresh allegations about abuse at a north Norfolk school for problem children. Today they tell Tom Bristow about attacks by staff and their quest for justice They are now calling for a fresh police probe into the Small School at Red House after earlier investigations ended with no further action. After leaving Red House, Michael Rose's path followed that of many of the other boys who had been at the Bux

Revealed: Fresh abuse allegations at children's 'home of horrors' with links to 'cult-like' group

Revealed: Fresh abuse allegations at children's 'home of horrors' with links to 'cult-like' group Former pupils at a Norfolk school have today called for a fresh police investigation into allegations of horrific physical abuse. Warnings about the Small School at Red House in Buxton were ignored by councils in the 1980s and 90s as they sent children there, some of whom claim they suffered severe abuse, an investigation by this newspaper has found. Red House, which opened in 1984 and shut in 19

Lamborghini-driving fraudster jailed after netting £225,000 in online scam

A self-styled lord who splashed out on luxury cars after ripping off students is beginning a four-year prison sentence today. Scammer Scott Wolfe, 38, and partner Katie Hope, 34, set up fake online nutrition courses which duped around 900 people across the world into handing over a total of £225,000 for qualifications which never existed. The victims, from countries including Canada, South Africa, Singapore and New Zealand, lost around £200 each. Around £120,000 was passed into Wolfe and Hope

'Remorseful' puppy farmer makes boastful Facebook post hours after being spared jail

A puppy farmer, who was spared jail because of her children, boasted about her freedom on Facebook hours after narrowly avoiding prison. Zoe Rushmer, 26, used her children to convince animal lovers that the sick and dying dogs she was selling them for hundreds of pounds were from a loving home, Norwich Crown Court heard. In reality they were kept in "disgusting" conditions at White Horse Farm in Thurlton, riddled with fleas and worms and many of them had to be put down. Before the court heari

Families living in 'last resort' B&Bs in record numbers as homelessness rises

Families living in 'last resort' B&Bs in record numbers as homelessness rises Families are living in emergency B&Bs, sometimes for months on end, as councils struggle to deal with a record number of homeless people. Local authorities are spending hundreds of thousands of pounds a year placing hundreds of families in cheap hotels in Norfolk and Waveney, as more people turn to them for help. The surge in homeless applications means, the councils say, they have little choice but to place people

'Supreme breach of trust': Top solicitor took £2m from clients and charities

'Supreme breach of trust': Top solicitor took £2m from clients and charities A senior solicitor has admitted taking £1.5m from his clients and £350,000 from two charities in what one victim described as a "supreme breach of trust". Hugh Lansdell, who was a senior partner at Norfolk law firm Hansells, admitted five allegations at a hearing of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal on Wednesday. Lansdell, from Gresham, was struck off as a solicitor and will have to pay £27,388 to cover the costs

'Who says crime doesn't pay?' The boastful Facebook photo of scammer's wife

'Who says crime doesn't pay?' The boastful Facebook photo of scammer's wife The wife of a multi-million-pound fraudster poses in her latest holiday snap which gloats "who says crime doesn't pay". While her husband's victims were counting their losses from a £3m investment scam, Lynne Graver was jetting off to Alicante. On a terrace in the sunshine a friend snapped a smiling, bronzed Ms Graver and posted the photo on Facebook. "Who says crime doesn't pay... #lifeisgreat", the friend wrote abo

Youth coach Kit Carson abused boys while at Norwich City, victims allege

A football coach who was in a fatal car crash the day his trial for historic sex crimes began was accused of carrying out abuse during his time at Norwich City, we can reveal today. Michael ‘Kit’ Carson also got access to youth football teams abroad, despite being barred by the Football Association (FA), an investigation has found. The FA revoked the licence of Carson in 2009 when a safeguarding complaint was made about him while coaching at Histon FC in Cambridgeshire.

Michelle Bettles’ parents: ‘Dig deeper into our girl’s murder’

The parents of Michelle Bettles today reveal their dismay with the police investigation into the unsolved murder of their daughter. Speaking on the 17th anniversary of her death, mum Denise and dad John hit out at what they view as gaps in the operation at the time and called for the cases of three prostitutes killed in Norwich, including their daughter, to be re-examined. A dog walker found the 22-year-old’s body on Sunday, March 31 2002 near Scarning off the A47. She had been strangled to de

‘We always have hope’ - parents of murdered mum Michelle Bettles reveal new clue

‘We always have hope’ - parents of murdered mum Michelle Bettles reveal new clue Murdered mum Michelle Bettles should be celebrating her 40th birthday this year. On the anniversary of her death her parents speak of their never-ending quest for justice - and reveal how the discovery of a notebook has given them fresh hope. On April 1 2002, John Bettles was digging a pond when two police officers approached. “I’ve got some friends who are quite clever at doing pranks and straight away I thought

Customers slam ‘blasé and arrogant’ builder John Miller who took thousands of pounds off them

Customers slam ‘blasé and arrogant’ builder John Miller who took thousands of pounds off them The many ways John Miller let down his customers were as diverse as the jobs he claimed he could do. But his methods each time were blunt - and devastating for those who trusted him. The builder, from Three Mile Lane, Costessey, would under quote for a project and begin work quickly. All would go well at the start and customers paid him promptly. But then the workmen would stop turning up and the p
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Consumer & Business

Council 'dismissed' thousands of pounds in costs for businessmen behind controversial centre

Council 'dismissed' thousands of pounds in costs for businessmen behind controversial centre A council rejected claims for tens of thousands of pounds in costs from two businessmen working on a controversial project. Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Council said it "dismissed" £63,000 in cost claims for Kevin Horne and John Balch who were the directors of enterprise agency Nwes, which was paid millions of pounds to build a business centre for the authority. The council said the claims had nothing

How fraudsters tricked Lloyds customer into thinking they were from her bank

How fraudsters tricked Lloyds customer into thinking they were from her bank Scammers are tricking customers by appearing to call them through their bank's official number. A Lloyds customer from Watton, who did not wish to be named, said she received a call from her bank's customer service number on Tuesday, but the caller turned out to be a scammer. The call came after she was tricked by fraudsters into submitting a fake tax return online, two days earlier. She received an email on Sunday

'It came out of the blue': More than 200 firms lose out after collapse of 150-year-old building company

'It came out of the blue': More than 200 firms lose out after collapse of 150-year-old building company A construction firm which collapsed after 155 years owed £1m to around 250 suppliers, including many local businesses. Gill Building, which folded in June, had been operating since 1864 and focused on school and council contracts from its base at Colton, west of Norwich. But it called in administrators in June after it said contracts dried up. Its managing director also blamed the "rumour m

'It affects the rest of your life' - investor lost £55k in collapsed holiday park firm

'It affects the rest of your life' - investor lost £55k in collapsed holiday park firm A grandfather says the failure of a holiday park company will impact on the rest of his life after he poured £55,000 of savings into a luxury lodge. Chris Tyler, 73, was promised returns of 8pc a year on his investment at Norfolk Park near North Walsham. But in autumn last year the payments from Dream Lodge Group stopped. The firm, which ran eight holiday parks across England, including Norfolk Park and Fo

Old buses 'dumped' in Norwich after other cities get new vehicles

Old buses 'dumped' in Norwich after other cities get new vehicles Norwich is being used as a "dumping ground" for old buses which are no longer needed in other parts of the country, sparking fears about air pollution. The owners of the city's two biggest bus operators, First and Konect, both send old buses to the city from other parts of the country when those areas get new vehicles. It is common for large bus companies to move fleets around, but the extent that it is happening in Norwich mea

Customers paid millions of pounds for holiday lodges which were never built

Customers paid millions of pounds for holiday lodges which were never built Investors poured millions of pounds into holiday lodges which were never built, new documents show. More than 1,150 people claim they are owed a combined £25.6m by Walsham Chalet Park Ltd which traded as Dream Lodge Group until it collapsed in January. The firm's administrator, Deloitte, said there should be around £4m left for creditors after the company was sold for £12m and most of the money was used to pay off ban

Chinese food firm awarded £600,000 of your money for factory it never opened

Chinese food firm awarded £600,000 of your money for factory it never opened A Chinese food firm given £600,000 of public cash to transform an empty warehouse into a dumpling factory has blamed Brexit for never completing the project. Freshasia was awarded the money in 2015 to revitalise an old lamb-packing plant in Little Melton and create 50 new jobs. But what was meant to be one of Europe’s biggest dumpling factories still stands empty and when this newspaper visited Little Melton Food Par

Revealed: How council handed over millions of pounds without carrying out checks

Revealed: How council handed over millions of pounds without carrying out checks Failures by a council in handing over almost £5 million to build a new business centre have been laid bare. King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council (KLWN) gave the cash in grants and loans to enterprise agency Nwes from 2012 to 2016 in a deal which was “heavily weighted” against it and on which it carried out no due diligence, a report found. Nwes then failed to pay back a £2.75m loan from the council for th

Customers slam ‘blasé and arrogant’ builder John Miller who took thousands of pounds off them

Customers slam ‘blasé and arrogant’ builder John Miller who took thousands of pounds off them The many ways John Miller let down his customers were as diverse as the jobs he claimed he could do. But his methods each time were blunt - and devastating for those who trusted him. The builder, from Three Mile Lane, Costessey, would under quote for a project and begin work quickly. All would go well at the start and customers paid him promptly. But then the workmen would stop turning up and the p

‘How we lost our £200,000 life savings to scammers’

‘How we lost our £200,000 life savings to scammers’ A Watton couple reveal how they were “groomed” by scammers who made off with their £200,000 life savings. The letters promised Terence Donelan hope: hope of getting some of his money back after years of losses. Instead they robbed him of his life savings. Terry, 80, and wife Glyn, 77, worked hard and saved harder. He was a project manager in the construction industry while she was a nurse. Just before the financial crash in 2007 the Watton

How a £43,000 granny annexe in this Costessey garden turned into a nightmare

How a £43,000 granny annexe in this Costessey garden turned into a nightmare A family’s bid to build a garden home for their elderly mother has turned to disaster after a company they paid £43,000 left the job incomplete and with a litany of problems. Artist Sam Elmhirst now has an uninhabitable lodge in her garden on Myrtle Avenue, Costessey – and one surveyor estimates £37,500 of work is needed to fix mistakes made by builders. When she tried to take the firm, Hudson Garden Rooms Limited, t

Revealed: How struggling enterprise agency Nwes paid public cash to directors’ firms

Serious questions were today raised about the previous management of the region’s publicly-funded enterprise agency after it emerged it spent cash on two of its directors firms, while it racked up millions of pounds in debt. A joint investigation by the EDP and the BBC reveals a web of conflicting interests at the heart of Norfolk and Waveney Enterprise Service (Nwes) while it was led by chief executive Kevin Horne and strategic director John Balch. The agency gets millions of pounds in public

Christmas in a caravan: £85,000 building project on artist’s dream cottage turns to nightmare

Christmas is cancelled for customers of a west Norfolk building firm who are camping at their homes after a catalogue of problems with their projects. One artist has been living in a caravan in her front garden since May after a project to renovate her cottage in north Norfolk ran five months over time. Imogen Ashwin has paid building firm Traditional Renovations Ltd £75,000 for work on her new home in Ridlington, near North Walsham. She hoped for a fresh start after losing her son Adam, 33,

The millionaire and Turkish princess behind squalid Norwich flats

The family behind a scandal-hit apartment block live a life of luxury and are members of the Turkish Royal family – while their tenants live in damp and dangerous flats. On Monday the city council ordered all 25 tenants to leave a 41-room apartment block at 60 St Faith’s Lane as the building is in such a poor state. When we visited yesterday, the walls of the flats’ corridors near Prince of Wales Road were covered in mould from leaking raw sewage. And the fire alarms do not work properly, maki

How manager’s suspension led to fall-out between Norwich City Council and Norse

A leaked email shows just how bad relationships between the city council and its biggest contractor had fallen, weeks before the council decided to end their multi-million pound partnership. We can reveal the suspension of a manager sparked a row between Norwich City Council chiefs and contractor Norse, owned by Norfolk County Council. But today the council said this dispute played no role in its decision to bring back all services provided through Norse, including cleaning city streets, parks

The £20m question: Who will look after council homes, parks and streets?

Questions today hang over how £20m worth of services will be provided in Norwich – including who looks after thousands of council homes, sweeps our streets and tends our parks. Street cleaning, parks and the maintenance of around 15,000 council homes depend on four contracts Norwich City Council has with Norse. Those contracts employ more than 400 people. But city council chief executive Laura McGillivray has written to the boss of Norse telling him of the council’s “strong intention” to bring

Son tells of £200,000 loss as probe into top former Hansells lawyer continues

It took Russell Wright’s parents five decades to build up their wealth, running businesses in north Norfolk. But in three months almost £200,000 which they had left their children had gone. The money was held in an account with law firm Hansells. After Mr Wright’s father, John, died in November 2016, the 58-year old hoped to sort out his father’s affairs quickly. But 18 months later he is still waiting and there are ongoing police and Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) investigations into

Thousands owed to landlords and tenant deposits not secured as estate agent collapses

A Norfolk estate agent has gone to ground owing landlords thousands of pounds, an EDP investigation can today reveal. Landlords accuse Swaffham firm eHomes Limited of not paying them rent and not securing tenants’ deposits in protection schemes, as required by law. The company’s sole shareholder and director, Victoria Steele, has not returned messages from landlords or from this newspaper. Our investigation into eHomes has found: •Landlords have had to shell out thousands of pounds as tenant

Luxury homes built in south Norfolk BEFORE developer met planning conditions

Luxury homes have been built and marketed in South Norfolk before planning conditions for them have been met. The houses at the Watermill Meadow development, off Broomfield Road in Stoke Holy Cross, were given planning permission in June 2017 by South Norfolk District Council (SNDC). As is the case with most large developments, building was not meant to begin until certain conditions had been met for sewerage, flooding and roads. But Hopkins Homes have built and marketed the houses, even thou

Fight goes on for Taylor brothers’ victims to get their money back

Financial advisors the Taylor brothers are in jail for a £17m fraud. But their victims are still owed hundreds of thousands of pounds. Some have even been forced to sell their homes to offset the losses. They wanted a safe investment to see them through retirement. But instead the money of more than 200 savers was secretly put into some of the most high-risk schemes on the market by the financial advisors they had trusted for years. On Thursday, Norfolk brothers Alan and Russell Taylor began
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