Essex: Firefighters rescue three men trapped in a tumble dryer | UK News

Three men had to be rescued by firefighters after they got stuck in a tumble dryer in Essex, the fire service has said.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service were called to a derelict laundry site in Bower Hill, Epping at 6.35pm on Friday.

They found the three young men, all believed to be in their late teens, stuck in the industrial-sized dryer.

While two of them had successfully climbed in, the third had got his ankles trapped in the door, the force said.

The fire service had to call out Essex Police, the helicopter medical emergency service (HEMS) and the ambulance service’s hazardous area response team to help free the young men.

They used a range of heavy equipment and removed the dryer door so the third man could free himself.

All three were given pain relief and left in the care of paramedics, the fire service said.

Watch manager Glenn Jackson said in a statement: “It was a difficult site to access and we had to carry a lot of heavy equipment a large distance from the appliances to the tumble dryer and then use our expertise to free the men safely.

“We used a range of equipment to free the casualty’s ankles and allow him to crawl into the tumble dryer.

“The HEMS team gave him pain relief and we then managed to move the door, again using a range of equipment, so the men could crawl out.”


Woman whose cat died after firework scare says garden displays even riskier this year | UK News

A woman whose cat died after being scared by fireworks has warned this year’s coronavirus restrictions could make Bonfire Night even deadlier for animals.

Suzi Kowalski’s cat Spot deteriorated soon after a firework went off near her home in Leyland, Lancashire on 1 November 2019.

This year she fears people will set off their own fireworks at home as large public displays are cancelled, leaving pets closer to the action and at greater risk.

The 62-year-old said: “It’s going to be mayhem this year, it’s going to be awful. They’ll congregate in people’s gardens.

His temperature dropped and Ms Kowalski tried to save him with blankets

“Spot wasn’t even two, and they said he’d been scared, it was the firework.”

Spot the cat ran out of the house startled last November after hearing the firework go off, which sounded as though “next door’s house had gone up in a gas explosion”, according to Ms Kowalski.

He returned the next day, but his temperature dropped and he got weaker and weaker.

Despite comforting him with blankets and a hot water bottle on the instruction of the vet, his owner later found him “in a bad way” under the garden fence.

He had broken his leg and was still cold, with experts eventually telling Ms Kowalski that his body was shutting down and there was nothing they could do.

Despite being unable to go to fireworks displays as usual this 5 November, she urged the public: “Just have consideration.

“Just think of animals – not only cats, all animals – little hedgehogs, foxes that are running around. Be responsible – just think, would you set a firework off in front of a baby? No you wouldn’t.”

Suzi Kowalski's cat Spot
But he was later found with a broken leg and had to be put down

Jacqui Cuff, head of advocacy and government relations for Cats Protection, added: “Fireworks can be incredibly stressful for cats and other animals, especially if their owners have not had the chance to ensure they are indoors and safe.

“Most owners know it’s best to try and keep their cats in on Bonfire Night but can’t be expected to anticipate fireworks being set off on random days either side of 5 November without prior warning.

“Cats associate sudden loud noises and flashes of light with imminent threat, and their natural instinct is to flee.”


UK weather: Halloween washout as Met Office warns of heavy rain, strong winds and flooding | UK News

Large parts of the UK will be hit by heavy rain and strong winds this Halloween weekend, which risk flooding, power cuts and travel delays, the Met Office warns.

Yellow weather warnings for rain and wind are in place across Northern Ireland, Wales, and western parts of England and Scotland from Saturday until 6am on Monday.

Almost all of Britain will suffer rainy conditions this weekend as Storm Aiden moves in from the west, but western and hilly areas will be worst affected, forecasters say.

On Sunday, a second weather front – this time from the remnants of ex-Hurricane Zeta – will bring more rain and gales.

Met Office deputy chief meteorologist Martin Young said: “Given that this is falling on already saturated ground from what has been a wet October, there is an increased risk of flooding in some warnings areas.

“We’re urging people to keep a close eye on the forecast, flood alerts and warnings in their areas.”

Council officials have already urged people to stay away from traditional Halloween celebrations on Saturday amid spiralling coronavirus cases.

They are asking people to respect lockdown measures, the rule of six and not to meet with other households if bans apply in your area.

But those who do choose to go out trick-or-treating will struggle to keep dry.

The first weather warning for wind covers all of Northern Ireland, large parts of Wales, the South West and North West of England and the west coast of Scotland.

It will last until 9pm on Saturday, with heavy gusts returning to the Hebrides and far north west of Scotland between midday and 9pm on Sunday.

Rain will also blanket western parts of the UK through Saturday, with 40mm to 60mm expected to fall on higher ground, risking flooded homes, car and rail disruption and power cuts, the Met Office said.

But there will be a break from the wet weather from around 2pm, with some of the rain expected to clear in the afternoon.

Sunday Afternoon Weather

There will be little respite for western parts on Sunday, however, with the return of a rain warning between 6pm and 6am on Monday.

The Met Office says fast-flowing and deep floodwater is possible, posing a “danger to life”.

Gary White, the duty tactical manager for Natural Resources Wales, said flooding is likely up and down the country over the next few days.

He said: “Our emergency response workers will be at key sites checking defences are in good working order and making sure any drainage grids and screens are clear to reduce the risk to people and their homes.”


Coronavirus: Boris Johnson considering tougher national measures that could mean full lockdown | UK News

The prime minister is considering new national lockdown restrictions, which could be imposed in England as early as next week.

Whitehall sources confirmed Boris Johnson met his most senior cabinet colleagues on Friday to discuss the possible toughening of restrictions in light of worsening coronavirus infection rates and hospital admission data.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove were all understood to be present at the discussion of what measures could be taken.

The potential shift in approach comes after a week in which Downing Street had insisted the tiered regional framework remained the right one, despite a ‘firebreaker’ lockdown being imposed in Wales and France and Germany both shifting from regional to national restrictions in light of rising cases.

Earlier Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab had said “we are confident we’ve got the right measures in place – which is not to have a blanket approach”.

Number 10 has yet to issue a response to the reports that the prime minister could hold a press conference on Monday, or that further restrictions are imminent.

A senior government source quoted in The Times newspaper said no final decision had been made but added: “The data is really bad.

“We’re seeing COVID-19 rising all over the country and hospitals are struggling to cope. There has been a shift in our position”

Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “We are in deeply serious situation with coronavirus spreading with ferocity.

“Boris Johnson should have used the school half term for a time limited circuit break to push infections down, fix Test and Trace and save lives.

“It’s urgent Boris Johnson outlines the action he will now take to bring the virus under control and deliver on his promise to get R (reproduction) number below 1 quickly.”


Nobby Stiles: Did football fail one of its most famous sons? | UK News

Nobby Stiles, who won the World Cup with England in 1966, has died at the age of 78.

Here, two Sky News correspondents reflect on his life and career.

Martha Kelner, sports correspondent

The image of Nobby Stiles parading around Wembley, false teeth in one hand and the Jules Rimet trophy in the other, is one of the most joyous in English football history.

The odds were stacked against Stiles making it as a footballer; born in the cellar of the family home which became an air raid shelter during World War II, he was severely short sighted and only 5ft6in tall.

But it was his tough tackling, tenacity and team spirit which saw him secure 28 caps for England and a European Cup for Manchester United.

He also coached at Old Trafford during Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign, acting as a mentor to the class of ’92, including David Beckham and Gary Neville.

Nobby Stiles in 1961

But his family felt he had been let down by the club and the wider football family in later life.

Financial struggles meant he had to sell his World Cup winner’s medal and memorabilia at auction in 2010.

He also developed the first effects of dementia aged just 61 – a cruel disease which robbed him of his speech towards the end.

His family want more research into the link between footballers and neurological disease. A study in 2019 found former professional footballers were 3.5 times more likely to suffer dementia than the general population.

But Stiles’ loved ones say research should have come earlier and be even wider reaching.

With his death, football may be forced to examine whether it failed one of its most famous sons.

Nick Powell, sports editor

It was the teeth that did it. Or rather the gap.

Nobby Stiles played fewer England games – 28 – than any of his 1966 World Cup winning teammates, but his toothless, trophy-clutching jig round Wembley is an enduring image of that day.

Others ran the sprints, scored the goals, took the glory, but Norbert Stiles, as manager Sir Alf Ramsey always called him, played a giant part in England reaching their only global final.

I still remember my father declaring, when it became known that England would face Portugal in their semi-final: “I’ll eat my hat if we see off Eusebio.”

Nobby Stiles kisses the World Cup trophy in 1966
Stiles kisses the World Cup trophy in 1966

Eusebio was Portugal’s playmaker and the tournament’s standout star, after Brazilian legend Pele was injured and his team eliminated.

Ramsey set tough-tackling Stiles on him; Eusebio was impotent, despite a late penalty, and England were through to their first – and still only – World Cup final.

The 5’6″ midfielder was not everyone’s cup of tea.

He could read the game, had boundless energy and rarely lost a tackle. But what his supporters saw as combative was, to others, just brutal.

No matter. Ramsey loved him.

So did Sir Matt Busby, under whose management Stiles helped Manchester United become the first English European Cup winners in 1968 – once more against Eusebio and his club Benfica.

He played almost 400 games for United, and tried his hand at management, but still that one July day 54 years ago defines him.

Nobby Stiles in a tussle with Jimmy Greaves at White Hart Lane in 1968
Nobby Stiles in a tussle with Jimmy Greaves at White Hart Lane in 1968

His passing leaves just four of the victorious 11 still alive: right-back George Cohen and the three forwards who between them scored all but one of the goals in the tournament: Sir Bobby Charlton, Roger Hunt and hat-trick man Sir Geoff Hurst.

Stiles was in a way the embodiment of the Ramsey philosophy – omit individual brilliance if need be but create the best team, and ignore the critics (of which there were plenty).

Pre-tournament, only Bobby Charlton and to a lesser extent captain Bobby Moore and goalkeeper Gordon Banks were world stars.

People ridiculed Ramsey for declaring England would be victorious in 1966, and it’s fair to say not many opposing managers would have had Stiles near the top of their concerns.

But Ramsey and his toothless tackler had the last laugh.


Man jailed after stealing penguins and exotic birds from Cumbria zoo | UK News

A man who sold two penguins on Facebook after stealing them from a zoo in Cumbria has been jailed.

Bradley Tomes received a jail sentence of two years and eight months at Preston Crown Court for stealing exotic birds worth £53,000 from South Lakes Safari Zoo in Cumbria.

The 25-year-old, who previously worked at the zoo, stole two Humboldt penguins – which are native to the Pacific Coast of Chile and Peru – called Pablo and Penny.

The 25-year-old was a former employee at the zoo. Pic: Nottinghamshire Police

He also stole a number of exotic birds, including spoonbills, macaws and egrets.

Tomes burgled the zoo during the night on two occasions, in July and October 2018.

Police were alerted in January last year when an exotic animal collector reported that two penguins he had purchased from a Facebook seller, at a cost of £9,000, were in poor health.

Officers were waiting to arrest Tomes when he went to refund the buyer and collect the penguins.

The 12 Roseate spoonbills have not been located, they are worth around £20,000 and part of the only collection of the breed in the UK.

Wendy Evans, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Bradley Tomes showed utter disregard to the well-being of the birds he stole from his previous employer for his own financial gain.

“In an attempt to avoid being caught, he begged the buyer not to contact police and tried to return the money he had received for the penguins.”

Ms Evans added: “In police interview he denied committing the offences, but once faced with the overwhelming evidence against him, he pleaded guilty.

“This included clear evidence of him planning the thefts to order. He told police he had not attended the zoo in 2018, but ANPR and an eye witnesses, who knew him, proved he made a reconnaissance trip to the zoo, as well as being present on the days of the burglaries.”

A spokesperson for Cumbria Constabulary said: “Tomes put the lives of the two penguins at risk, and he continued to deny the offences against him in interview.

“Thankfully the man who bought the penguins contacted vets due to their poor condition and reported the incident to police, against the pleas of Tomes who offered to return the money.

“We would encourage anyone with concerns around wildlife crime to contact police, we are committed to tackling the problem and will seek to prosecute those who exploit our most endangered wildlife for their own gain.”


‘You shouldn’t be worrying about how you feed your child’: The growing hunger crisis caused by COVID-19 | UK News

“Every child has the right to be fed,” says charity worker Helen Needham as she packs tins and fruit into white plastic bags.

“No child should be going hungry in 2020 and we have a responsibility to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

At Foleshill Community Centre in north Coventry, they’ve registered 500 new individuals for the “social supermarket” since March.

Charity worker Helen Needham says ‘no child should be going hungry in 2020’

Users pay £4 for a subsidised bag of food, but the Feeding Britain charity also offers free food parcels for struggling families during half term.

When Helen opens the doors at 10am, first inside is toddler Rose, dressed in pink ribboned socks and a tutu, followed by her mother, Sarah.

The mum of five says she has an income of £87 a week and without the food bank they would have to go further into debt or “go without”.

Rose doesn’t qualify for child tax credits because she was born after the two child limit was introduced.

Sarah says: “I’ve been scraping to make ends meet, deciding which bill to pay or what to buy. You shouldn’t be worrying about how you feed your child. Then people have a go at you, but they obviously haven’t been in that situation.”

Half term has come and gone and despite mounting pressure, the government has held fast to its decision not to extend the free school meal voucher system.

Two-year-old Rose collects food in Coventry
Two-year-old Rose collecting provisions

Marcus Rashford’s petition against that decision has passed a million signatures and the economic forecast gets ever gloomier.

A series of surveys has illustrated the growing hunger crisis caused by COVID-19.

Last month, standard life reported that 18% of households had used credit to pay for food.

This month, the Food Foundation discovered there was heightened demand for free school meals, with 900,000 children newly registered to the scheme.

But still there’s an impasse in the politics of hunger, with no clear answer as to what can be done.

Lord Field of Birkenhead, a former Labour MP and founder of the all-parliamentary group on hunger and food poverty, has made a surprising suggestion.

He has told Sky News the answer for Boris Johnson is sitting in the Conservative manifesto.

Lord Field’s charity, Feeding Britain, has been holding meetings with government departments and he points to a £1bn pledge made during the 2019 general election.

Food - Coventry
The government is being urged to use a policy in its manifesto to help provide food

Casual observers of the campaign could be forgiven for thinking the Conservatives had promised little more than to “get Brexit done”, but their manifesto also promised: We will establish a new £1bn fund to help create more high quality, affordable childcare, including before and after school and during the school holidays.”

The cash boost for childcare was due to be spread out over five years, beginning next summer, but Lord Field describes it as “a lovely let out for the government” and adds: “We’ve met with the government and we’ve met with activists and we are helping the government to plan out how to spend that billion pounds on this anti-hunger campaign.

“We must get something for Christmas and bring forward its billion pound scheme from the summer to the Easter holidays.”

To date, the government’s furlough scheme has done much to stem the flow, giving 80% of wages to employees temporarily out of work.

But that scheme ends this week, to be replaced by a more complex and less well funded version.

The government has also added £20 a week to Universal Credit and offered food vouchers over the summer holidays to families with children who qualify for free school meals.

Marcus Rashford helping out at FareShare Greater Manchester
Marcus Rashford helping out at FareShare Greater Manchester

Last week, Labour lost a motion in parliament to extend the free school meal voucher system into the Christmas holidays.

Many Conservatives argued that this was a “sticking plaster” solution that would “increase dependency” and there had to be other ways to deal with child poverty beyond handing out food.

Many charities agree with the sentiment that free food isn’t the ultimate answer – families should be able to afford to buy it.

Paul Morrison, a policy advisor to the Methodist Church says: “Essentially, Universal Credit doesn’t provide enough for families to live on – there are lots of reasons for that.”

He lists the two child rule, differing rent costs across the country and a gig economy that’s failed to play its part in pulling people out of poverty.

A group of churches conducted a study on the impact of coronavirus on family incomes and found it applied pressure to a system that was already cracked.

People in lower income jobs were more likely to lose them or see wages cut, but also poorer people experienced a “COVID inflation” on their food prices as it became harder to shop around for cut-price deals.

Prior to the virus, some families spent 10 hours a week shopping for bargains.

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Firms in Leeds helping the community

Mr Morrison says: “Before the lockdown, many families were just about making ends meet – but often families were doing it by shopping at one shop, and shopping at another and waiting for the yellow stickers to come on for the sale items at the end of the day – and it was by that slender thread that their budget made sense. Now it’s much harder to do that.”

Food bank users in Coventry agree, saying there is greater demand for the products and the bargain aisles “get crowded”.

Conservative MP and chair of the Education Select Committee, Robert Halfon, voted against his government last week, supporting Labour’s motion in the commons to extend the food voucher scheme.

However, he believes the system is not a permanent solution and the £1bn childcare pledge could be accelerated.

He told Sky News: “As I understand it, the children’s minister and Number 10 are working on a plan to combat hunger, but we have to have that plan in place before Christmas.

“This is a matter of urgency – it should have been done over the summer. I hope in the spending round next month, the chancellor lays out how that billion pounds is going to be spent and how it is going to be used to combat child hunger.”

Mr Halfon believes that every government policy should now be assessed for its impact on addressing social injustice and how it affects child poverty.

He says the government needs to gather the data on how much child hunger there is in the UK.

He adds “This is nothing to do with parents being irresponsible. The real life of people on low pay is something we have to understand as a party.”


Fox and hound rescued after being stuck in rabbit hole for 12 hours | UK News

A fox and dog have been rescued from a rabbit hole after being trapped there for 12 hours.

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service’s Technical Rescue Unit (TRU) carried out the double-rescue in Lavant, Chichester after the dog’s owner was unable to coax him out of the hole.

The Jack Russell, named Max, was located with cameras and listening devices on Wednesday evening.

The TRU found that he had been stuck in the rabbit hole along with a fox.

Charlie Eastwell, TRU crew commander, said: “We began to dig around the network of tunnels towards where we had seen Max and the fox.

“Just as we broke through into the tunnel, Max poked his head out through, and with some encouragement from his owner, out he came.”

Ms Eastwell said there was “no lasting damage” as Max reunited with his owner, and the fox ran into the night.

She said: “It was almost three in the morning by the time we had packed up and left the scene, but we would much rather that people called us for help if their pets end up trapped in a situation like this.

“Not only do we not want people to put themselves at risk trying to rescue their pets, but we have equipment – like listening devices and cameras – that allow us to locate the animal with minimal disruption and destruction to the network of tunnels.

“We were all delighted to see Max reunited with his owner, but we think that both he and the fox have learned their lesson and won’t be exploring any rabbit warrens together in future!”


Coronavirus: Nottingham students say new Tier 3 rules target them unfairly | UK News

Nottingham was placed into the strictest lockdown rules today – and its measures go beyond any other area in Tier 3.

Sky News spoke to three Nottingham students who said the restrictions are unfair and target young people specifically.

Fed up of being blamed for the spread of coronavirus, this frustration comes on top of the annoyance of not being able to live a normal university life.

Molly Watkiss: ‘I was a bit gutted, but I did expect it’

Molly Watkiss (left) expected the measures

“When I found out there were extra restrictions for Nottingham, I thought it was a bit harsh considering Manchester and Liverpool and other places are just in the same situation, but it’s a little bit harsher for us, which I don’t really find fair.

“It’s really annoying because we’re following the rules and everything – we’re not doing anything extremely bad – but it’s still as if it’s all our fault even though the government told us to come back to uni.”

Tarah Jackson: ‘We’re being blamed for the rise in cases’

Tarah Jackson says Nottingsham students are being blamed for the rise in COVID-19 cases. Pic: Sky News
Tarah Jackson says students are being unfairly blamed

“So we’re being scapegoated for the rise, but we’re also being restricted, and our experiences are being taken away. It’s like the worst of both words.

“I think the government need to take responsibility for their actions and they need to be decisive about what actually is happening because I don’t even know the rules.

I think it’s so hard to find what the rules are.”

Kayleigh Lieu: ‘Students are getting more and more frustrated’

Kayleigh Lieu (front girl) says more Nottingham students are getting  frustratedwith COVID-19 rules. Pic: Sky News
Kayleigh Lieu (front) says the frustration of students is growing

“We obviously can’t go out and socialise, we have to stay in with the people we’re living with. And it doesn’t help, the fact that we have to stay at home for uni and we’re paying £9,000 for it.

“I’m never going in for lectures and we have to question why we’re paying so much just for one session a week online where we end up teaching ourselves anyway.”

Minutes before the city moved into Tier 3, many young people partied in Nottingham’s streets to celebrate Halloween in an effort to take advantage of their last night of relative freedom.

The next day, those streets fell silent.


Coronavirus: UK restricts flu vaccine exports to protect supplies | UK News

Exports of flu vaccine from the UK will be restricted to protect supplies, the government has announced.

A statement from the Department of Health and Social Care said: “There is sufficient national supply of flu vaccine, with deliveries to providers continuing over the coming months.

“The Department of Health and Social Care has taken this action in response to high demand for the flu vaccine from other countries to mitigate against the risk of these products being exported.”

Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “We will always act to ensure that the medicines and vaccines destined for UK patients are protected and get to those who need them.

“This action will protect our supply of flu vaccinations, as part of our plans to give 30 million the flu vaccine ahead of this unprecedented winter.”