31 May 2006


I don't like the idea of declaring this blog dead, so let's just say that the blog is going on an extended vacation. The blog, like King Arthur, may have to rise again at some stage to defend the sacred hills of Lewisham, but for now - it's going to have a nap.

After eight months we've still not topped 5000 visitors and in blogging terms that's quite weak. I'd hoped that this project was going to expand to have other posters and contributors and grow to be more interactive with the people of Lewisham. That hasn't happened and the demand for a blog with news highlights just isn't there. It hasn't been helped by my move out of the borough either.

So thanks to all the regular readers, I'm leaving things up here for the google searchers - perhaps we'll be back again in the future.

Lewisham Prevails!

- Moe
31May06 ; Kent.

21 May 2006

21 May 2006

Rapist faces life in jail for teen murder

A convicted rapist who abducted a teenage girl, strangled her and dumped her dismembered body in bin bags was jailed for life on Tuesday and told he would never be released.

John McGrady, 48, snatched 15-year-old Rochelle Holness from the street last September as she went to a phone box to call her boyfriend. He took her back to his flat on a rundown estate in Catford, south London, where he killed her.

Afterwards McGrady, a former butcher, cut her body up into five pieces using a hacksaw, the Old Bailey heard.

Blind workers forced to quit

A CHARITY has slammed a town hall for cutting off the cash that keeps two blind people in employment.

The council had been paying a grant for the pair to work at a factory in New Cross but in April informed them the money would be withdrawn.

The factory is run by Action for Blind People (ABP) and a spokes-woman said: "Lewisham council has made a very disappointing decision to withdraw funding, which will mean Mark Anderson and Jacqueline Gittens, who are registered blind, losing their jobs and being forced to live on state benefit."

Hospital staff are spat on, sworn at and racially abused

ACCIDENT & Emergency departments are never nice places to be, but for some members of staff they are proving downright dangerous.

Last year hundreds of hospital workers were kicked, punched, spat at and verbally abused and A&E staff take the worst of it.

Heart disease shock for Lewisham women

LEWISHAM women have the highest rate of heart disease in South London, it emerged last week. Figures from the British Heart Foundation showed levels of disease were the ninth highest in the capital with a death rate of 13 women per 100,000. The London average is 10 and the England average, 11.

The rate for men in Lewisham is 45 per 100,000, putting the borough in 18th place. Dr Mike Knapton, of the heart foundation, said: "These statistics help inform where most work needs to be done to reduce premature heart disease deaths in future.

Residents all shook up about vibrations

FED-UP residents brought a road to a standstill when they protested against buses bumping over speed humps.

Neighbours living in Sandhurst Road, Catford, say their houses are being "shaken to the core" every time a bus or heavy vehicle passes over the newly-installed speed humps.

Council moves datacentre to reduce costs

The London Borough of Lewisham is to transfer its datacentre to a new outsourcing provider in autumn.

The move will involve up to 70 former council employees, who five years ago were transferred to outsourcing supplier Fujitsu Services, transferring again as the council aims to save 20% of its IT and telecoms support costs....

Under the deal signed last week, the council will move 213 servers, including a storage area network, from Fujitsu Services to SunGard Vivista, said Roger Fowles, Lewisham’s head of ICT strategy.

14 May 2006

14 May 2006

Oh dear. As predicted my posts are becoming less and less regular and with an average of fourteen readers a day (the majority of them being google searches) I'm wondering if anyone out there in blogland (or even Lewisham!) has any articles, news or features they want to contribute. After eight months, 3708 unique visitors from Australia to Switzerland and an average of 97 visitors per week - it looks like Lewisham News is running out of steam. Anyway, let's move on.

Cameras set racial poser on car crime

BRITAIN’S most senior policeman Sir Ian Blair is facing a race relations dilemma after the release of figures that reveal almost half the number of people arrested in relation to car crime in London are black. Last week the Met attempted to explain the high number of arrests among blacks by the fact that they make up a higher proportion of the population in areas such as Southwark and Lewisham in south London, where the ANPR units operate.

Green team prepares to make a difference

LEWISHAM'S most experienced Green Party politician, Darren Johnson, believes his group of six is in an influential position.

Although Labour still holds power through its directly elected Mayor, Steve Bullock, it is two seats short of a majority on the full council. Cllr Johnson thinks Labour will therefore have to take more notice of the views of the opposition.

Explosion halts rail commuters

PASSENGERS were evacuated from a train after a flash of light and smoke came from the engine carriage.

Some travellers thought there had been an explosion when they heard a loud bang at Hither Green railway station shortly before 8am on Wednesday. Commuter David Brett said: "There was a big explosion and we were told to get off. It sounded like something had crashed outside because there was a crunching sound. It meant there was a lot of disruption and I was very late for work ." Firefighters from Lewisham and Lee Green were called to the scene.

Mayor's back but party's majority is gone

Mr Bullock gained 25,129 votes including second preferences against his nearest rival, Liberal Democrat Chris Maines, who got 18,889. In 2002 Mr Bullock got 24,520 votes but his closest challenger was a Conservative who only got 9,855.

UK man denied bail

A 45-YEAR-OLD man from the United Kingdom was arrested on Thursday in El Socorro, mere hours before he was due to depart Trinidad for London.

Paul Anthony Samuels was held by members of the Organised Crime, Narcotics and Firearms Bureau under ASP Franklyn Edwards on the Churchill Roosevelt Highway, El Socorro. Yesterday, Samuels of South End, Catford in London, appeared before Magistrate Lianne Lee Kim in the Port-of-Spain Fourth Magistrates’ Court charged with trafficking the cocaine.

06 May 2006


I'm sure you know what happened by now - no need to clog up blogger with election results when there are other sites that store them.

All other Lewisham results

Special mention most go to both Andrew Brown and James Cleverly - let's hope that despite not winning, both of these fine gentlemen continue to be in the public eye as both are fine bloggers and nice guys - I'll never forgive you lot for not voting them in! (How's that for supporting both sides? ;)

06 May 2006

Benefit fraudster behind bars for collecting £14,000 illegally

A man was imprisoned for 16 weeks after raking in almost £14,000 through fraudulent housing and council tax benefit claims.

Michael Frith, 32, was prosecuted last Thursday by Southwark Council following an investigation by the authority's benefit fraud team.

He was found to have netted £13,545.19 illegally during a 20-month period.

During the investigation it emerged that Frith was receiving housing and council tax benefit from Southwark Council for a property in Dulwich while he was also collecting benefits from Lewisham Council for a property in Brockley.

Controversial mental health unit dropped

A CONTROVERSIAL planning application for a mental health unit has been withdrawn.

Dr Simon George wanted to demolish a former office block he owns in Ashby Road, Brockley, and replace it with a 22-bed facility.

He planned an eight-bed low secure unit for intensive psychiatric care, and a further 14 beds to be used either as a rehabilitation unit or to treat brain injuries.

Sexual predator caged

A MAN who raped a woman at knifepoint after she asked him for a cigarette at a bus stop has been jailed.

Robert Maw, of Temair House, in Tarves Way, Greenwich, was convicted of the rape of a 36-year-old woman at the Woolwich Crown Court and handed an indeterminate custodial sentence, recommended not to be considered for parole for at least five years, on April 26.

The court heard how the victim had been walking along Evelyn Street, Lewisham, at 3am on Sunday, May 1 2005 to visit a shop to purchase cigarettes when she saw Maw smoking at a bus stop outside Howard House.

Labour slaughtered in London

In Lewisham, Labour's Steve Bullock was re-elected as mayor at the second count, while the Liberal Democrat's Dorothy Thornhill was re-elected as Mayor of Watford.

Mayoral elections also took place in Hackney and Newham.

26 April 2006

Dangermouse in SE14

"He became such a fan of trip hop and the Bristol sound that when he graduated he travelled to England. 'I fu(king hated it,' he says 'London just beat me down, man. I was working in a pub in London Bridge for two years and taking the bus home to New Cross every night. I was just working, trying to meet the rent. I didn't see the sun for, like, three weeks and I was broke and single. It wasn't what I expected.' "
Half of Gnarls "Crazy" Barkley, producer of the infamous Grey Album and MF Doom cohort - Dangermouse remains unimpressed by his time in the borough. Source : Observer Music Magazine

26 April 2006

Cheryl murder: new hunt

POLICE have relaunched a 15-year-old murder probe in a bid to find the killer of a Nelson mother. Cheryl Shackleton was found dead in a London park in February 1991.

The 34-year-old had been severely beaten and her handbag was missing. She was partially clothed and may have been sexually assaulted. Her body was found by a dog walker in Telegraph Hill Park, Brockley, but she was only identified a month later following an appeal on the BBC's Crimewatch programme.

Also -
BBC Report

Too sedated to save his friend

A DRUG user was unable to save his friend's life because he had taken too much valium, an inquest heard. Darren Andrews, of Sportsbank Street, Catford, looked on as heroin addict Frankie Robinson, aged 28, died in his sleep on January 22.

Southwark Coroners Court heard how Mr Andrews feared Mr Robinson, of Ardoch Road, Catford, "didn't look right" as he lay crashed out on his sofa.

Water company’s £10m plans to prevent leaks

WATER leaks in the area could be reduced with a £10m scheme to replace Victorian pipes. Thames Water has started to replace 14 miles of ageing water mains in Deptford as part of a scheme to remove London's oldest and leakiest water pipes.

And the old cast iron pipes, many dating back to Victorian times, will be replaced with plastic mains. The work, which is due to be completed by March 2008, will cover the following roads: Deptford High Street; Amersham Vale; Deptford Church Street; Brookmill Road, and parts of New Cross Road and Creek Road.

Allotments saved from development

Plotholders at St Norbert's Allotments in Brockley were facing eviction because landowner UGS Properties wanted to build on the site. But now UGS has performed a U-turn by allowing the allotment holders to carry on digging at the 75-year-old site. Residents had campaigned vigorously to save the allotments in St Norbert Road, by collecting a 600-signature petition.

Escort girl raped by evil sex beast

A VIOLENT sex predator who walked free from court nine months ago after he was cleared of chasing two prostitutes out of a third-floor window has been jailed for rape.

Timothy Hjertum, of Deptford Broadway, Deptford, was cleared by an Old Bailey jury of causing the massage parlour hostesses to jump 40ft from his window.

‘Major works’ will improve buildings

RESIDENTS say the closure of three flagship buildings proves multi-million pound improvements are "much-needed". In recent weeks Forest Hill's library and swimming baths have closed along with the Louise House building, which has been empty for six months.

Now Lewisham Council has reiterated its promise to bring the buildings back into use and return the facilities to the people of Forest Hill.

25 April 2006

Lewisham in London

A nice big postcode map so you can see where the neighbours are!

18 April 2006

18 April 2006

You thought I'd quit! (So did I ;)

Yobs get free pass to cause trouble

FREE public transport is to blame for yobs, according to a Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator. Bus travel is free to under-16s under Mayor Ken Livingstone's scheme and children can also get on trains from areas such as Lewisham, Sydenham and Hayes.

Mr Verrinder said: "Ken Livingstone issued travelling passes to kids so they can stay out all night."

The evil butcher

Evil Belfast man John McGrady - who has a horrifying history of sex attacks on girls - last week admitted strangling 15-year-old Rochelle Holness and chopping her body into nine pieces after snatching her from a south London street. McGrady, 48, placed the girl's body parts in bin bags and wheeled them in a shopping trolley to a rubbish chute in the block of flats where he lived in Catford.

Rochelle's heartbroken parents last night branded the killer "inhuman".

Wallace determined to finish his own long, hard road

Danny Wallace used to play for Manchester United; now he is training for next Sunday's London Marathon. Slowly, often painfully, always precariously. He falls over, regularly in the street. Jen, his wife and training partner: the one who hauls him to his feet when he collapses. The one who has pretty much been hauling him to his feet since they met at a park in Deptford, south London, both aged 14.

Brockley Drug Raid

POLICE officers felt the heat as they weeded out a cannabis factory.

Officers from Brockley safer neighbourhood team raided the drug den in Malpas Road, Brockley, after noticing "enormous" amounts of heat coming from the property. Around 400 cannabis plants were seized and the factory was closed down following the raid on April 7.

10 April 2006

10 April 2006

Man accused of murder shot dead

Andrew Wanoghu, 26, died in Brockley, south-east London, on Saturday, when he was shot in the back and heart. Almost two years ago he had been due to stand trial for shooting Damien Cope, 22, outside Browns nightclub in Holborn, central London, in July 2002.

Mr Wanoghu walked free when the case was dropped and Lucy Cope then set up Mothers Against Guns. Mr Wanoghu, of Deptford, south-east London, was found after reports of a shooting in Pendrell Road at about 0130 BST. He had been shot in the back and heart.

Kitchen hanging tragedy

A "HAPPY-GO-LUCKY" taxi driver hanged himself from a kitchen cupboard just as he appeared to have got his life back on track, an inquest heard today. Ray Chapman, 47, was discovered by his flatmate in the early hours of January 3 - two days after he had seen in the new year with his young children.
He had overcome an addiction to drugs, secured a job as a cab driver and seemed happy before he died, Southwark Coroner's Court heard on Wednesday. Mr Chapman was discovered hanging from by an electric cable at his home in Mercator Road, Lewisham.

Eyesore transformed at railway station

Contractor Homegrown Timber (Rail) Ltd has already cleared the site of scrub and a mass of accumulated rubbish that has made the site in Brockley such an eyesore over the years.

Among the litter were hundreds of bottles, which will be recycled. The company is working to a plan put forward by Brockley Cross Action Group (BXAG), which is made up of people who want to turn the land into Brockley Common.

The clearance has altered the look of the site already and contractors are planting a variety of native shrubs and trees, such as hawthorn, hazel and rowan, to encourage wildlife.

06 April 2006

06 April 2006

Plea for Black Bone Marrow Donors

In a race against time to find a donor for his wife a South London man was today appealing to organisations running bone marrow registers to do more to recruit donors from ethnic minority groups.

Mark and Sarah Thompson from Lewisham have appeared today on GMTV in an effort to raise awareness of the massive shortage of black and mixed race bone marrow donors.

Town halls split over 271 homes

OPPOSITION has arisen between two town halls over plans to develop an industrial "brownfield" site.

Lewisham council planners are recommending permission is given for a four- to 15-storey building comprising 271 homes on the site of Thurston Road Industrial Estate, behind Lewisham railway station. The plan includes 71 one-bed-room, 178 two-bedroom, 21 three-bedroom and one four-bedroom homes. There would also be 19 live/work units and three large shops.

Too late to stop mast

FUMING residents have been left with an "ugly" phone mast on their doorstep, because the council left it too late to block the proposal. Lewisham Council had 56 days to refuse the application by phone company T-Mobile, to build a mast disguised as a lamppost, in Whitefoot Lane, Catford. But the mast has now been put up, because the council registered its objections after 57 days one day outside the permitted time frame.

Elected mayoral hopefuls unveiled

A Communist, a member of the Christian People's Alliance and people from the main parties, are among 22 candidates running for mayor on 4 May.
The local elections will see battles in the London boroughs of Hackney, Lewisham and Newham, and in Watford.

The current four mayors are all seeking second terms in office.


James Cleverly (C)

Current mayor Steve Bullock (Lab)

Christopher Maines (LD)

Michael Keogh (Green)

John Hamilton (Ind)

Sinna Mani (Lewisham Peoples' Alliance)

Happy day for dying bride

A BED-RIDDEN breast cancer victim in a hospice married her partner of 21 years in an emotional ceremony just days before her death. Sue Shepherd, 56, wed Chris Francis at St Christopher's Hospice in Sydenham on March 17. Chris, 46, said: "It was Sue's dream and we never wanted it to end.

Eagles sign a shirt for charity

CRYSTAL Palace footballers proudly stand by a signed shirt which they hope will raise cash for St Christopher's Hospice in Sydenham. The Eagles shirt will be auctioned at a golf day to be held at the Selsdon Park Hotel on Friday April 28.

The day has been organised in memory of former Coloma Convent schoolgirl Shinead Skehan, who died from cancer aged 19, in April 1996.

Catford gains Bomb Squad

EXPLOSIVES experts are set to boost the ranks of a Territorial Army unit. A specialist bomb disposal unit is to move its operations to the TA centre in Bromley Road, Catford, under a service reorganisation. The 221 Field Squadron, the TA's main bomb disposal unit, is moving to Catford from its current base in Rochester, Kent.

One arrest after drug operation

Sixteen Lewisham officers used an itemiser machine to detect traces of drugs on people entering The Copperfield, Station Approach, Catford. The machine can detect all kinds of drugs from cocaine to cannabis and can also detect handing of firearms.

Seventy five people were swabbed by officers as a condition of entry to the pub on Friday evening. Four people were then searched and one person arrested for possessing cannabis.

Copperfield manager Judith Boyce said: "We welcome the opportunity to work so closely with the police on this new initiative.

"We are confident this will send out the right message to our customers."

Lewisham Poetry on the Net

A Lewisham Morning
Nii Ayikwei Parkes

The smell of fish grates in the senses
Like the chugging of old buses
creeping down the high street.

The sun rises on market traders
getting ready to scream the day away
“get your tomatoes, fresh”! – red
like no-parking lines marking pedestrian zones…

Lewisham emerges from the valley of night
as trains worm their way out of tunnels
to bring the working masses to their daily routine.

The clock-tower watches as they filter
into banks and shops
and to fast food counters
and wait for night to come again.


Emily Hay
Winner of the adult River of Words competition.

Quaggy: hidden behind back gardens and privet.
Brickwalled, low. A road over which rivulets
Quietly slide inches deep. Culverted,
A sluice. A ditch to pitch the stolen bicycle,
Scoured and vacuum-sucked by tractors in autumn.

But while we looked away, below the station,
The grey-backed bobbing birds have come to stay.
The balance on bricks, pick the debris, chatter safely
Shaded by buddleia; run along its concrete rim;
Occupy their own secluded mountain stream.

And in the upturned shopping trolley
The mitten crabs raise woolly claws,
Wait for rainstorms, are flung towards the Thames,
Shed their skins that float on foam and confluence,
Then scurry uphill home to lurk in drains.

Paint and oil gutters in -
Slicks, sticks, dilutes, decays.
Summer comes. The lime trees drip their glue and greenflies.
Ducks swim by from parks to ponds. Seeds, butterflies,
Are carried from woodland to wasteland. And we pass by.

04 April 2006

04 April 2006

Sexual Lewisham

ONE IN nine people in the UK have a sexually transmitted infection (STI) a figure spread evenly between men and women. But despite similar risks across the sexes, the numbers of men visiting sexual health clinics is disproportionately low.

Sexual health services in Lewisham, for example, have seen this divide first hand and state just one in 10 of their clients are male a trend reflected in many clinics across the south east.

Marked Crime (Report from USA)

One London neighborhood, the Borough of Lewisham, has created a program by which residents can snap photos of graffiti with their mobile phones and submit a cleanup request electronically. The government cleans up the mess, then sends a message back indicating the work is complete.

Smaller cities count on neighborhood pressure and parental involvement to help limit graffiti. But Longmont is getting too big, local experts say, to rely on those techniques anymore. City officials have convened a task force of police officers, code-enforcement officials and neighborhood resource experts to examine the problem and offer possible solutions.

Babyshambles arrested in Lewisham!

Pete Doherty's band mates in Babyshambles are reported to have been arrested yesterday, after being seen driving erratically. Patrick Walden, Adam Fickek and Drew McConnell were apparently pulled over in Lewisham, South London by police.

All three are said to have been arrested and taken to a nearby police station, where guitarist Walden was charged with drink driving, claims The Sun.

Lewisham Web-hunt :

Catford Open Forum

Sydenham Town Community Website

Forest Hill Community Website

Beer In The Evening ; New Cross Pub list

Blackheath : The Story of a Suburb

02 April 2006

02 April 2006

Apologies if updates are patchy, I finished working in the Lewisham area last week and start work for a new company this coming week. It's going to take some adjusting to that's for sure! In the meantime...

'Too posh to push' mothers cost NHS £80m

The NHS is spending more than £80 million a year carrying out Caesarean sections that are not medically necessary. The highest rate was at St John's Hospital, Chelmsford, Essex, at 33.3 per cent, closely followed by University Hospital London, in Lewisham, at 33.1 per cent.

Parents' anger at decaying school

THE roofs leak, the playground is cracked, the classrooms are cold and too small - and the toilets are outside. Even Lewisham council admits Gordonbrock Primary School in Brockley is in a dilapidated state. Parents were furious and dismayed when it was announced the primary school would not be rebuilt after all.

How we will deal with education

CHRIS JOHNSON asks the Lewisham mayoyal candidates their views on the Government's Education Bill, how they would tackle the problem of truancy and where they would build a new secondary school in the borough.

Pools closed over roof safety fears

THE Forest Hill pools have been shut for health and safety reasons. Timber supporting the main roof truss has been found to be unsafe because of decay, and both swimming pools at the Dartmouth Road facility have been closed. The problem was discovered during a routine safety inspection last week.

24-hour off-licence booze bid rejected

THIS off licence has been refused permission to sell booze 24 hours-a-day because councillors fear residents will lose sleep. An application to extend opening hours at ARD Food Store in Blackheath Hill was rejected at a meeting on Monday morning.

Licensing sub-committee members dismissed the application because the area is largely residential and due to objections made by neighbours of the business.

Good turnout for local government strike day

"A number of primary schools were partly closed, i.e. open 'til lunchtime or staggered closing throughout the day - don't know of any totally closed. A not very strong picket line at the main council offices in Catford, none at the FE despite threats of one (though they may had one first thing I suppose, no one there by 10am). Only two people striking in my work place two or three miles from main council offices (only two Unison members out of 29 staff)."

Borough is top dog for social housing

LEWISHAM is at top of the league when it comes to social housing, according to a new survey. Of all homes built in the borough in 2004/05, 57.6 per cent were social housing set aside for poorer residents the joint highest in London.

According to the survey carried out by the GMB trade union, this far outweighs the London-wide average, where only a quarter of homes built are social housing.

Better access for disabled people

DISABLED commuters are on track to benefit from multi-million pound plans to improve facilities at three train stations. The Government has announced a £350m cash boost to make life easier for disabled people at 47 stations across the country.

The first wave of this investment will see a trio of the borough's mainline stations Lewisham, New Cross and Blackheath being made more user-friendly for disabled people.

Vote of confidence for political project

A PROJECT aimed at getting more young people interested in politics has won a national award. Lewisham is the only London borough to have a young mayor with his own youth cabinet and a budget.

Now this scheme has been recognised, with Lewisham Council being awarded Beacon status for positive youth engagement.

Ward closures to cut costs

HOSPITAL bosses have named the three wards which will close as part of a cost-cutting exercise. Lewisham Hospital is to close the trio of wards in the next three months, meaning the loss of 55 beds.

But Lewisham has avoided having to make the major surgery needed at nearby Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich, where up to 100 jobs are set to go.

Council under fire as election looms

A POLITICAL storm has erupted over the relationship between the ruling Labour party and council officers. Opposition members claim Lewisham Council has become too involved in "partisan politics" and have accused some officers of being politically motivated.

26 March 2006

26 March 2006

Man shot at for telling travellers to leave his flat

A TRAVELLER who shot two bullets inside a flat after his plans for an early morning drinking session were rejected has been jailed for four years. Michael Ward, 28, pulled out his Smith and Wesson revolver and fired into a wall and a kitchen boiler. The Old Bailey heard on Tuesday how the men had turned up at the flat in Arnulf Street, Bellingham, at 4am on April 26 last year.

Danger as scientists predict rapid sea level rise for Lewisham

Sea levels will rise much faster than previously thought leading to the flooding of many cities unless major steps are taken to curb carbon dioxide emissions this century, scientists warn today.

In the London area, much of Southwark, Lewisham, Greenwich, Tower Hamlets, Bexley and Barking and Dagenham would be under water, along with large areas of south Essex and north Kent earmarked for the Thames Gateway Development.

Roadside lifesaver given parking ticket

Kelly Harry, 29, who works in Devonshire Street, near Regent's Park, had stopped in a 20-minute parking bay in Lewisham when she spotted a crowd around a man.

She realised he had no pulse and used her first aid training to try to revive him until an ambulance arrived. Returning to find a £100 ticket on her car, she spoke to a warden who said she could not cancel the ticket but would note the circumstances.

Socialist Party takes up the fight against ALMOs

"For some weeks we have been using a petition from our two councillors Ian Page and Chris Flood, which nearly everyone we spoke to signed, demanding a fourth option. Lewisham council recently announced that they have appointed a 'shadow ALMO board' and aim to set up an ALMO company over the next few months.

The council claims that ALMOs give tenants and leaseholders a bigger say. But the board that will manage many of our homes is designed to make sure that the seven tenants' and leaseholder reps on this board are in a minority. Most places go to appointed councillors (Blairites at present) and business representatives."

Leisure centre should be knocked down

LADYWELL Leisure Centre should be knocked down to make way for a new school, according to an independent body. The School Organisation Committee (SOC) voted in favour of Lewisham council's plans on Thursday.

Afterwards Lewisham Mayor Steve Bullock said: "This decision is recognition that our plans for building a new school in the north of the borough are justified and necessary.

School revamps are axed

A DECISION to scrap refurbishment plans for two schools has meant pupils will have to go on learning in cramped conditions. Lewisham council had drawn up proposals to revamp Ashmead, Childeric, Downderry and Gordonbrock primary schools.

But at last Wednesday's Mayor and cabinet meeting, Mayor Steve Bullock decided that only the first two would benefit from a £9million Government grant.

MPs approach the disengaged

Parliament has attempted to reach places it doesn't normally reach with the launch of a scheme for people from black and ethnic minorities to shadow MPs from all parties.

Bridget Prentice, Labour MP for Lewisham East, referred to the Power Inquiry's suggestion of reducing the voting and candidacy age to 16, saying: "government is keeping this decision in active consideration".

She also spoke of projects where youth are directly involving themselves in the political arena such as the newly established Young Citizens Panel in Wales, where approximately 300 young people discuss current issues affecting them.

Fury at back garden flats

RESIDENTS in Lee have been angered for the third time over fresh plans to build on a back garden. Plumstead-based developer Kallar Investments Ltd caused concern last year with plans to build three flats behind 17 and 19 Northbrook Road.

Neighbours objected, saying the timber-clad, flat-roofed extension would not blend in with the surrounding Victorian houses and would take away their privacy.

24 March 2006

Jessica Tilbury

Appeal for information with regards to missing local girl

We are growing increasingly concerned about the welfare of fifteen year old Jessica Tilbury.

The last reported sighting of Jessica was on Sunday 19 March 2006 at approximately 23:15 getting off a bus in Burnt Ash Hill, London SE12. It has been reported to police by Jessica's friend who was travelling with her that Jessica left the bus to speak to two young men whom she thought she knew. It is believed Jessica may have walked in the direction of Lee, London SE12 at approximately 23:30 in the company of the two men. Jessica has not been seen or heard from since.

Jessica has gone missing before but has always kept in touch and returned after a short period of time. Jessica is known to use public transport in London and Kent.
Acting Detective Sergeant Declan Goddard of Lewisham CID said: "We are now very concerned about Jessica as she has not been in touch with any of her family or friends.

"I would like appeal directly to anyone who has seen or spoken to Jessica since Sunday or anyone who may have heard of her whereabouts to contact police as soon as possible.

"I would like to assure anyone contacting the police, in particular any younger members of the community, that they will be treated with the utmost sensitivity.

"I would also like to appeal to Jessica directly and ask her to contact the police or if she prefers the National Missing Persons help line on 0808 800 70 70.

"Jessica is not in any trouble and our main concern is her welfare."
Jessica is a white and has fair complexion. She is of thin build and has black hair which she sometimes wears in a ponytail.

It is believed that on the day Jessica went missing she was wearing a white shirt, a grey fur-trimmed cardigan and blue jeans. She was also wearing a casual jacket which has fur trimming on the hood and black suede boots. It is believed that Jessica was also wearing a yellow metal teddy bear and clown on two yellow metal necklace's.

The two young men Jessica was seen with are described as:
Man one: White, approximately sixteen years old and possibly wearing a dark hooded top and Reebok Trainer. Man two: White, approximately eighteen to nineteen years old. This man has fair or ginger hair, blue eye's and was also wearing a dark hooded top and trainers.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact Lewisham CID on 020 8297 1212 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111

Please click on this link for a photograph of Jessica.

23 March 2006

23 March 2006

Missing girl alert
Taken from the Evening Standard today, I can't find this article online yet so this scan will have to do for now. Jessica Tilbury - last seen near Lee Station on Burnt Ash Hill. Anyone with information should contact Lewisham Police on 020 8297 1212.

Englishman in New York

RETURNING from battle on the mean streets of New York, a young Lewisham MC is forging a business career in hip-hop. Richard Price, aka Mic Assassin, recently flew stateside to take part a series of freestyle rap battles.

Richard is completing a business studies course at Lewisham College. He has set up a recording label, Elite Team Entertainment. To hear Mic Assassin and for details of gigs and releases, visit www.eliteteament.com

New entrant in election race

AN EDUCATION campaigner has decided to stand for Mayor of Lewisham because he feels the current incumbent is "failing the children of this borough". New School Campaign secretary John Hamilton says if elected he would keep Ladywell Leisure Centre and build a new secondary school in the north of the borough.

And he would make sure his cabinet would be made up of all parties represented in the council to "end the one-party state which has dominated Lewisam".

Opposition to licence plan

AN APPLICATION for a 24-hour alcohol licence is being opposed by residents. The Euro Supermarket wants a licence allowing it to stay open and sell alcohol 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Lewisham Council's licensing committee has received a petition containing 250 signatures from residents objecting to the application. They fear if the store, in Downham Way, Downham, gets the licence it will lead to an increase in the level of violence and anti-social behaviour in the area.

It's unlucky seven for big yellow warehouse

ANGRY neighbours saw red when the Big Yellow Self Storage Company tried to build a large warehouse near their homes for the SEVENTH time. In its latest planning application, the company tried to disguise the warehouse by designing a row of homes along the sides to face on to Baring Road and St Mildred's Road in Lee.

The Big Yellow Self Storage Company did not send a representative to the meeting at Lewisham Town Hall in Catford, which was packed with residents who were joined by Lewisham East MP Bridget Prentice. Before the committee unanimously voted to refuse planning permission, Councillor David Britton said: "What part of the word 'no' don't they understand."

Students' to take condom test

Students at a south-east London college are to receive tutorials and take tests on condom use in a new drive to cut teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, it was revealed today.

Under the scheme 16 to 19-year-olds at Lewisham College will attend classes on how to use condoms. They will then have to pass a test on the subject before being issued with a certificate - dubbed a Condom Card or C-Card - which entitles them to collect free condoms at the college and at sites nearby.

Borough by Borough Average Class Sizes

Borough Average Class Sizes - Source : Evening Standard. Making the "Hit List" for improvement was 'Athelney Primary'.

19 March 2006

19 March 2006

Text pest is spared jail after finding new love

AN OBSESSED ex-boyfriend who bombarded a woman with unwanted telephone calls has been spared jail because he has found a new love. When Michael Josephs, 20, did not hear anymore from former girlfriend Zoe Snelgrove, from Catford, he even pestered her mother at work. But on Monday he had a 40-week prison sentence suspended for two years after the judge heard he had found a new love in Southampton.

16 hurt in bus crash

PASSENGERS were left injured and in shock after a packed bus smashed into a tree. The front doors of the 172 from Brockley Rise to St Paul's were mangled by the impact, trapping the distraught driver inside. Firefighters cut through the wreckage to reach him. The crash happened in New Kent Road, by the junction with Rodney Place, just after 4pm on Wednesday.

Schools setback as revamp is scrapped

PUPILS at two schools will have to continue learning in cramped conditions after refurbishment plans were scrapped. Lewisham council had drawn up proposals to revamp Ashmead, Childeric, Downderry and Gordonbrock primary schools. But at Wednesday's Mayor and cabinet meeting, Mayor Steve Bullock decided only the first two would benefit from a £9million Government grant.

Visitors can help improve care services

LEWISHAM Hospital has drawn up a new visitors' charter in partnership with its patients' forum. The charter recognises the important role visitors play in helping patients and sets out how they can best help the hospital, in Lewisham High Street, improve its patient care. It is part of a series of initiatives taken by the hospital to improve its services.

Do Elected Mayors make a difference?

A new collection of essays published yesterday by independent think tank the New Local Government Network (NLGN) concludes that elected mayors are improving local democratic engagement with the local media and the public, and are a stronger focal point for business and inward investors, acting as decision-makers for the whole community and not simply for council services.

Including essays from a number of the established mayors – Steve Bullock in Lewisham, Robin Wales in Newham, Dorothy Thornhill in Watford and Stuart Drummond in Hartlepool - Mayors making a difference reveals how elected Mayors are demonstrating leadership and communicating with the electorate.

“69% of Lewisham's residents think the Council is doing a good job - the third consecutive year this figure has increased and one which is now 5% above the London average. Recognition of the Mayor is at an all time high – at 38% in November 2005, compared to 16% two years previously”

Postie is dyslexic

Royal Mail bosses have hired a dyslexic postman. Jason Johnson sees door numbers the opposite way round. He tried to hide his condition when he applied for the job - but delivery office staff quickly spotted he was struggling.

Jason has been handed a regular route in Blackheath, South East London. He added: "They are giving me help. I'm on the same walk every day so I can get used to the numbers and the names."

Cash to pay for new safety barriers

THE area christened "Crapford" by one unimpressed News Shopper reader is set for a £5,200 makeover. The money, from the council's Catford Town Centre Improvement Grant, will be used to put up new safety barriers along Catford Broadway. Some of the cash will also go towards repairing damaged pillars and bollards and pay for 17 new stall covers for market traders.

Deputy mayor Councillor Gavin Moore said: "It is important we continue to enhance Catford market as it brings life and character to the area."

Planners set to reject Yellow firm’s proposal

A MULTINATIONAL company hoping to build a yellow-bricked warehouse on a "prime" residential site is set to have its seventh application rejected. Planning bosses look likely to confirm it will be unlucky seven for The Big Yellow Self Storage Company, which wants to build a warehouse in Baring Road, Lee.

Since 2001 the firm has had six applications rejected, to build a trademark yellow-bricked warehouse on the site. It hoped to make it seventh time lucky with its proposal, which would see the warehouse hidden' by 32 flats. But a Lewisham Council planning committee is recommending the application be rejected because the building would be "out of character" with the rest of the area.

16 March 2006

Lewisham to Bank - DLR

Proof that most sites have Lewisham content! Google Video presents....

Clive R Robertson's 27 min 17 sec film of his DLR journey from Lewisham to Bank.

10 March 2006

10 March 06

Serco signs new £400m DLR deal

Serco has signed a new franchise agreement to continue to operate, maintain and support the Docklands Light Railway, the outsource specialist said today. The seven year contract, which is scheduled to start on 28 May, may be extended for a further two years and is valued at around £400m over this extended period.

The new franchise will see improvements for passengers such as a maximum of ten minutes between trains at any time and trains every three minutes at peak times on the Lewisham to Bank line.

Police appeal to find sex attacker

POLICE are hunting a man responsible for two sexual assaults. The man was travelling on a number 75 bus from Lewisham to Croydon at 9.30am on February 4.

He sat next to an 18-year-old woman and began chatting to her before sexually assaulting her. The victim was able to get away from him and got off the bus. A short time later the man approached a 17-year-old girl and sexually assaulted her. After she complained he spat at her, followed her off the bus and punched her in the face.

At 3.40pm on November 10 a woman was also assaulted by the same man, who sat next to her on a number 75 bus. Detective Sergeant Jeff Edwards from the Croydon Sapphire Unit, which investigates rape cases, said: "There may be other victims out there who are yet to come forward." Anyone with information should call 020 8649 1379.

Water firm says pipe ban looks ‘increasingly likely’

WATER firm bosses say hosepipe bans will probably come into effect this summer. London supplier Thameswater says hosepipe and sprinkler bans are likely to be slapped on residents due to last year being the third driest since records began in 1897.

In January this year, 19mm of rain fell across south London just 29 per cent of the rainfall level of 66mm expected for the month. However, February bucked the trend with 39mm of rainfall 2mm more than the expected 37mm for the month. But water bosses say Lewisham and Greenwich's underground water reserves are still low and more rainfall is needed to replenish supplies.

Call to unite after attacks on centre

AN IMAM is calling for greater unity within the non-muslim and muslim community following two racial attacks at an Islamic centre. Shakeel Begg, from Lewisham and Kent Islamic Centre, is supporting Greenwich Islamic Centre in its fight to find the culprits, who damaged the property twice within three days last week. The first incident happened at the centre in Plumstead Road, Woolwich, at 1.30am on March 2, when the offenders started a fire after breaking a window and pouring fuel through it.

Free Condom Cards for college students

More than 1,000 students at Lewisham College are set to receive a Condom Card which will give them free access to the contraceptives at the college and in sexual health clinics across the borough.

Students aged between 16 and 19 will receive tutorials on condom use over the coming months. They will then have to pass a test about condom use to qualify for the Condom Card.

Inspection success for school

Catford Business Enterprise College, Bellingham Road, received a "good" rating from inspectors last month, recognising its "significant" improvement since its last inspection six years ago.

The school, formerly known as Catford Girls' School, has doubled the number of pupils gaining five A*-C GCSE grades from 21 per cent to 42 per cent since 2001.

Looking out for Army recruits

SOLDIERS are to pay a visit to talk to people interested in a career in the Army. Blackheath Army careers adviser sergeant Jeff White said: "This is a great chance for everyone to meet the soldiers. "The Army is committed to developing individual skills and offering opportunities for personal development through training, sport and travel." To find out more about the Army, call 020 8852 1464.

06 March 2006

Goodbyes to old friends.

So today I took a trip into Central Lewisham and the Riverdale Centre. It's been a while but I always end up needing to stop there for something.

Coming out of the lifts by WH Smiths I noticed the first loss of the day - the Childrens Play Area has not only gone, but the area has been filled with concrete. The climbing camels went many years ago but it's nice to have a central point of reference for the toddlers and this area always seemed packed and well loved. In recent times I've even seen a clown (no truth it was an ex-mayor) painting faces and making balloon animals. Oh well - another link to my early years has gone!

If you've ever found yourself standing outside by the Clocktower I'm sure you've seen Bill - the little old man who sold the Evening Standard in a booth outside Barclays Bank.
Through rain and storm, heatwave and hail I've seen the old guy stand in his dirty old coat and cloth cap selling the paper. Always friendly and happy - he made a great alternative to WH Smiths.

Imagine my sadness to find out that Bill has passed away. Sad news.

05 March 2006

05 March 06

And another delay on posting as I sort out the next few steps in the stumble that is my life! Two weeks left before I leave Lewisham for good and despite looking forward to the challenge ahead I still have a tinge of sadness about cutting ties with the area. But that's in two weeks so lets get back to some news...

Leicester Robbery with Lewisham link.

A man who robbed two teenagers after offering to sell them cannabis will have to prove to a judge he can keep out of trouble if he wants to avoid imprisonment.

Leicester Crown Court heard that Timothy Nicol had been drinking when he approached two 15-year-old boys in St Mary's car park, Melton. Nicol, formerly of Melton, who later moved to Lewisham High Street, London, admitted two charges of robbery on September 9, last year. Judge Michael Stokes QC deferred sentencing Nicol for six months and told him to prove he had changed his ways - or he would receive a custodial sentence.

Teens groped by bus sex attacker

A BRUTAL sex attacker has struck at least three times on the same bus route. The beast has groped two teenage girls and pounced on a third young woman on board the No 75 route through Lewisham. When one 17-year-old victim fought back he spat on her, followed her off the bus and punched her in the face in broad daylight.

Gardener is sacked 24 hours after his death

Michael O'Connor, 39, had a fall at his home on November 22, just 24 hours before he was due to have an interview about his absence from work. Mr O'Connor, of Montpelier Row, Blackheath, suffered from epilepsy and had not been at work for several weeks.

The council fired him because he didn't turn up for the hearing. A verdict of accidental death was recorded by Southwark Coroner's court last month.

Future of London's oldest baths secured

THE future of London's oldest swimming baths has been secured, after council bosses agreed to give the building a multi-million pound revamp. Residents feared the 120-year-old Forest Hill Pools would be knocked down and replaced with a new, smaller facility.

But Lewisham Mayor Steve Bullock has now confirmed the Victorian building, in Dartmouth Road, Forest Hill, will be spruced up and retained, thanks to the £4m investment.

Developer to oversee homes project

PLANS to build hundreds of new homes have moved a step closer after a developer was chosen to front the project. Last year Lewisham Council announced around 1,250 new homes will be built on the Heathbridge and Lethbridge estates in Lewisham by 2010.

Now the Family Housing Association has seen off more than 50 competitors to win the right to oversee the development. Up to 470 of the homes will be reserved for current residents who want to stay in the area.

Cocaine use in men's lavs at town halls

A SPECIAL South London Press investigation has uncovered damning evidence of cocaine abuse inside town halls. Our undercover team gained access to town halls in Southwark, Lambeth, Lewisham and Wandsworth.

Our team found no traces of class-A drug cocaine in the toilets at Wandsworth and Lewisham. A Lewisham spokesman said: "We take the issue of drugs extremely seriously.

27 February 2006

27 February 2006

Masterplan aiming to revamp site

The Giffin Street masterplan would see the area around the road, near Deptford High Street, transformed by a new-look school, more homes and extra business premises. The plan, first seen by Lewisham's Mayor and cabinet committee last week, puts forward two proposals. The first would see Tidemill Primary School, Frankham Street, Deptford, rebuilt on a new site in Giffin Street.

Police hold woman over £6000

A NURSE wept last night as she told how police swooped as she tried to pay £6,000 into a building society, suspecting it was Securitas stolen cash. Mum-of-three Dawn Bailey, 41, was opening an account at the Portman in Bromley, Kent, with a bundle of £50 notes when staff became suspicious. They delayed her for half an hour saying there was a computer problem. Dawn, of Brockley, South East London, had drawn the cash out of her Halifax account in Catford. Dawn, a Salvation Army care nurse, said: "It was taking a long time but I thought it was only because it was so much money. Then suddenly I was surrounded by uniformed policemen who handcuffed me and marched me to a police car.

Sleuth seeks clues to student lodger’s death

AN INQUISITIVE resident is appealing to News Shopper readers for information on a mysterious death more than 30 years ago. Tony Mclaren and his family moved into a house on Bromley Road, Catford, in 1977 where they heard a student lodger had died at the address following an electric shock in the bathroom.

24 February 2006

24 February 2006

£40 Million theft takes Lewisham Twist

Police have arrested two people over the record £50m robbery of a security depot on Wednesday but officers believe some or all of the armed gang may have escaped to the Continent.

Last night, a man aged 29 and a woman aged 31 were arrested in the Forest Hill area of south London. They were being held at undisclosed police stations in Kenton suspicion of conspiracy to commit robbery. Adrian Leppard, Assistant Chief Constable of Kent Police, said the two arrests were "significant and directly related to the investigation". He said the two people were arrested at separate addresses in Forest Hill, which were both being "extensively searched" and examined by forensic scientists.

From ‘tired’ centre to tree-lined streets

PRESSURE from a residents' group has paid off as a "tired" town centre looks set to get a £500,000 makeover. The Sydenham Society last year drew up its vision for the Sydenham Gateway, which includes the creation of new open spaces and a tree-lined high street. Now this dream is set to become a reality after transport bosses put up the cash for the work.

Hoping to be Maines attraction

LIB Dem candidate Chris Maines is ready for a new challenge. This is why he is set to hang up his boots as an Orpington councillor after 20 years and vie to unseat current Mayor Steve Bullock in the upcoming May elections.

He has recently moved to Blackheath and says if he makes it to office as Lewisham's directly elected mayor, he will improve people's quality of life. Providing a cinema for the borough is on his hit list of things to do, and he is also keen to expand leisure facilities.

A week in the life of a campaigner

Max Calò's local leisure centre, Ladywell Pool in Lewisham, is under threat of closure. This week he'll be keeping a diary of the highs and lows of his fight to save the pool, and how he fits his campaign work into his life as a new dad.

Victim calls for better security

A FORMER councillor who was attacked at a mugging hotspot is calling for security to be upped in the area. Cathy Priddey was going to meet her partner for a romantic Valentine's Day meal when she was jumped on by an attacker near Hither Green Station.

Now the former Lib Dem councillor is urging those now serving in the town hall to improve safety in the area, which is a notorious haunt for muggers. Ms Priddey, 40, was attacked at around 8pm, on February 14, as she walked towards the station down Beacon Road, Hither Green.

Tributes stolen from graveside

THE mother of murdered teenager Rochelle Holness has spoken of her anger after floral tributes were stolen from her daughter's graveside.

Jennifer Bennett says her family is devastated by the theft of flowers and teddy bears from the grave at Hither Green Cemetery, Verdant Lane, Hither Green.

Body found in the Thames

The body of a 20-year old South African man has been found in the Thames two days after he disappeared, police revealed today. Police were called on Sunday evening just after 10pm after the bosy was spotted on the shoreline opposite Caledonian Wharf in east London. The identity of the dead man is believed to be that of Levier Van Der Hoven, who was living in Lewisham.

20 February 2006


New Cross and Lewisham's very own Blade releases new album GUERRILLA TACTICS today.

"After extensive touring and non stops shows all over Europe, BLADE finally decided it was time to knuckle down to get some new material recorded. It looked like the only way this was gonna happen any time soon would be if he got another producer involved; enter BABY J. This whole relationship started off with one track for which BLADE bought the beat off the hot producer. The recording completed and discussion began to possibly get a whole album recorded together, this being the end result. There are a few collaborations and the skits are designed to give props to the five elements of Hip Hop. The whole album is produced by BABY J and has a very varied feel to it ranging rom laid back meaningful tracks to all out in your face brutal attack of words an content. Something for everybody!!"

Visit BLADE here. Order the album directly here.

Post Office

Being an eBay fiend I've spent a lot of time in Lewisham Borough's various Post Offices. I'd wanted to rant at length about the decling state of the services but it's like shooting fish in a jam jar and won't change anything. But I do need to mention a few things.
Blackheath deserves a special mention - is there a post office in the borough where the staff are as efficient and helpful? I don't think so. The Forest Hill staff are slightly more friendly but Blackheath is just all round excellent. That's where the praise ends.

I haven't ventured into the Lee Green Post Office in a year now. I promised never to put myself through it again. The staff are rude and ignorant - three times in a row I witnessed a verbal fight break out between the staff and customers. The two older men that work in there have a system of whistling to each other when women who they find attractive walk in (I'd spent enough time in the queue to work it out - and believe me, that post office has some long queues).

I'd given up on New Cross because it seems like a meeting place for the insane and the other post offices just don't come up to scratch. Of course, central Lewisham is nice if you like the High Street because you'll be standing in it as the queue stretches out the door and along the street. The bald young guy that works there goes out of his way to be polite and is the only plus side to a miserable experience.

My last bastion was Catford. Catford is normally always busy - but the queue moves and the staff were surprisingly upbeat. Recently the branch was franchised out and new owners are running it. The existing staff have all vanished and I thought it was time I visited again to see how it was doing.
First thing I noticed was the queue to the door, past the door and pressed up against the window. Then I noticed the state of the place - chipped walls and paint missing. Leaflets across the floor and trash everywhere. Forms, posting certificates and applications are missing from the desk and a bundle of recorded delivery slips remain vacuum sealed in a pile at the side. Did I mention how dirty it was in there? Yes? I will do so again - it's horrible.

The staff sit there in casual clothes and not even smart casual - c'mon guys - if KFC opposite and WHSmiths can manage a uniform surely you can get into something professional looking - like a clean shirt? I see an old lady having to yell at the young guy behind the counter who isn't really listening to her and makes her repeat everything twice whilst his eyes stare into the distance. While five people serve there is an employee of the post office (central office?) walking around with a clipboard trying to sign people up to services they don't need - we need that man behind the counter. Never again, like I snubbed the Lee Green branch I will never set foot in the Catford branch again. I'd rather stop off closer to home or wait until I pass Blackheath (even though I won't be able to park and I'll end up having to go elsewhere).

As for the worry over the ever increasing amount of Post Office closures I'll simply shrug and huff. The operating methods they employ are out of date and half hearted - they deserve to die out and although that causes great problems to certain sections of the community hopefully it will spark a review of services and how they can be delivered in a bolder, cleaner, nicer and more efficient manner.

17 February 2006

17 February 2006

Stations shamed by crime figures

THREE of the borough's train stations have been named crime hotspots in a damning new survey. Greenwich, Abbey Wood and Blackheath stations all polled in the worst 20 manned railway stations in London. Thirty-five criminal offences were reported at Greenwich station, Abbey Wood had 32, while Blackheath saw 25. All three are staffed until 8pm each day.

Major battles for mayor’s role

The Tory candidate for Mayor says he is hoping the electorate will use their vote "Cleverly". And 36-year-old
James Cleverly believes he has a "strong chance" of election success in less than three months' time. Born and bred in Lewisham, the Territorial Army major says he knows what is best for the borough and wants to make changes.

Restoration delay ‘threatens manor’

CAMPAIGNERS are calling on the council to get its Manor House in order. Residents fear the Grade II listed Manor House Library in Old Road, Lee, will "fall apart" if no restoration work is done soon. They blame the council for a series of delays which have blighted the project, first mooted six years ago.

15 February 2006

15 February 2006

The haul of 20 signs includes old favourites such as Give Way and No Entry, along with signs giving information on the new road layout in Lewisham High Street. They were spotted by an eagle-eyed council officer piled up against a wall in Courthill Road, Hither Green. The spotter took a picture of the signs on his mobile phone, before sending the evidence to the council's environmental unit.

The identity of the thief is not known but council bosses believe he or she was set to sell the signs for scrap. Do you know the identity of the road sign thief? Call the newsdesk on 01689 885790. Call the Love Lewisham line on 020 8314 7171 to report environmental crime in the borough.

POLICE have launched a manhunt after an alleged rapist failed to attend court. Ekene Ofoeze, aged 31, was due to appear at Croydon Magistrates' Court on December 16, charged with raping an 18-year-old woman. But Ofoeze, of Southend Lane, Catford, did not turn up and a warrant has now been issued for his arrest.
Anyone with information on Ofoeze, also known as Kenny, should call Lewisham police on 020 8284 8300 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

STREET crime in a borough has soared despite an overall drop in the crime rate. Lewisham police have launched a crackdown called Operation Strongbow to tackle the problem. Between April and December 2005 street crime went up by 18 per cent meaning there were 305 more offences than in the same period the previous year.

The worst month was December when there were 53 per cent more street robberies. The crime rate overall fell by 2.9 per cent. Operation Strongbow has targeted known criminals and three prolific street robbers are currently awaiting trial.

A FATHER-OF-TWO says he was appalled after finding evidence of class-A drug taking in a hospital toilet. Jamie Lewis found a plastic bottle with a makeshift pipe attached in a toilet close to the children's ward at Lewisham Hospital on January 22. Mr Lewis, of Merritt Road, Brockley, says he saw a man who looked like a "junkie" walking down a corridor at the hospital moments later.

The announcement comes after we exclusively revealed last week that Lambeth council would soon have a dedicated detective in place. As part of the same operation, another officer will be sent to Lewisham Town Hall in a bid to beat the fraudsters. The officers are part of Operation Sterling and will follow in the footsteps of a colleague already working at Greenwich council. A Lewisham council spokesman said the authority was committed to tackling fraud.

Barclays Bank is dispensing with the US acronym ATM and other user-unfriendly language and practices as part of a major revamp of 1500 of its UK branches. Under the revamp, the ATM will be replaced by the more colloquial 'hole in the wall', and deposit and withdrawal options relabelled as 'money in' and 'money out'. Customers entering or exiting branches will be greeted by new signs saying 'Hi' and 'Bye'. Rather than queuing for counter service, customers will be directed 'this way to counter service' and in personal banking areas invited to 'take the weight off your feet'. Barclays has tested the use of its new language in five branches across the country, in Guildford, Bristol, Coventry, Bradford and Lewisham.