Ray Crowther

About Ray Crowther

Ray Crowther is here Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10am with the mid-morning show – Stafford‘s community hub, a daily mix of consumer advice, topical local discussion, current affairs and good music.

Posts by Ray Crowther:

Improvement scheme starts for walkers and cyclists near Stafford school

A scheme to improve access for pedestrians and cyclists along the A449 in Rising Brook, Stafford, gets under way this month.

It will include new foot and cycle paths, improved crossing facilities, road junction widening and the introduction of a 20mph limit around the shops at Rising Brook. The scheme will be completed in March this year.

The new shared footway and cycleway will link Hesketh Road and Churchill Road by Stafford Manor High School. New foot and cycle paths will link the existing cycle path with Burton Square. A new pedestrian refuge in the road by the Royal Oak will make crossing safer and the existing pedestrian crossing will be moved closer to the school.

In addition, junctions will be widened at both John Amery Drive and Brook Glen Road with the A449. A new yellow box marking will improve the flow of right turning vehicles into John Amery Drive and Brook Glen Road.

People can see plans and find out more by visiting: http://bit.ly/2ixvY3S

Staffordshire County Council’s highways leader Mark Deaville said: “It is a priority of the county council to ensure people can travel safely whatever their mode of transport. The Rising Brook area is busy with people walking and cycling and contains the shops, high school and churches. This scheme will improve accessibility and safety and hopefully encourage more people to walk or use their bikes. It will also improve traffic flow on a busy stretch of the A449. We look forward to the completion of the scheme in the spring.”

The county council is investing £150,000 in the scheme.


Business boost as temporary town centre parking scheme extended

Right for Business

A temporary scheme to enable people to park for longer in Stafford town centre if they’re using one of the businesses located there is being extended until March.

Staffordshire County Council, working with Stafford Borough Council, introduced the scheme in November last year after meeting with town centre traders about ongoing parking issues. With the town’s Kingsmead car park still to open, traders had asked if there would be any possibility of allowing longer on street parking than the usual two hours.

The temporary permit scheme allows people to park for up to two hours with permits distributed by the businesses to their customers. The scheme will apply to 37 spaces in North Walls and Salter Street. In addition to the car parking spaces, the scheme will also apply to five taxi rank spaces in Salter Street following agreement with Stafford Borough Council.

Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader Mark Winnington said: “We want to support local businesses wherever we can and launched the temporary parking scheme before Christmas after we met with local traders. We’re pleased to announce an extension to the scheme until early March. We understand the issues they face in terms of encouraging people to visit that part of the town centre, especially with the Kingsmead car park out of action. This scheme allows longer parking in certain spaces and is operated by the businesses themselves. In the longer term we will be looking to develop a wider parking strategy with the borough council. I’d again like to thank the borough council for working with us. This demonstrates how we can work with local businesses to overcome issues affecting their trade.”

The scheme has been extended until Monday March 6.


STAFFORD FM’s CRIMELINE: Appeal for information – armed robbery in Stafford


Stafford Police are appealing for information after an armed robbery occurred in Stafford on the evening of Sunday 15 January.

The incident occurred at just before 9pm at the Cooperative Food store on Holmcroft Road.

Three white men in balaclavas, one believed to be in possession of a firearm and another with a bladed weapon, approached the store on foot. The three suspects took a large quantity of cash, alcohol and cigarettes. They then made off on foot and were seen heading towards Eccleshall Road.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Staffordshire Police on 101, quoting incident 658 of 15th January. Alternatively, you can contact the independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their Anonymous Online Form at crimestoppers-uk.org. No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded and you will not need to go to court.

Staffordshire criminals find out crime doesn’t pay

A brothel manager, drug dealers and robbers have been ordered to pay over £191,000 during Proceeds of Crime hearings.

Throughout November 2016 detectives from Staffordshire Police’s Fraud and Investigation Unit brought successful Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) proceedings against 10 convicted criminals.

Cash generated from these hearings is used to benefit local communities.

The money goes to the Home Office, with a percentage being awarded to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) to be used to fund projects to prevent and detect crime in the county.

Detective Inspector Rob Harvmann said: “We welcome the results of the POCA hearings ordering criminals to pay back almost £200,000.

“Staffordshire Police continues to robustly strip criminals of their assets, working closely with the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts to demonstrate that crime really doesn’t pay.

“We also believe there is a strong link between hitting offenders in the pocket and cutting crime. We will continue to hit offenders where it hurts.

“Anyone with information about people making an unfair living from crime is urged to ring us on 101 or contact independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.”

Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire, Matthew Ellis, said: “The police in Staffordshire are becoming more adept than ever at seizing the ill-gotten gains of criminals. Whether it is vehicles being used illegally or the proceeds from drug dealing and other crime, hitting criminals financially alongside custodial and other sanctions sends a clear message on behalf of local law abiding people.

“In Staffordshire, since I changed the rules in 2014, all of the money received through the Proceeds of Crime Act is recycled into local projects in communities that make people and our places safer. Over 50 have been funded since 2014.”

Details of POCA hearings in November 2016:
Waikin Chong, 48, of Wilnecote Lane, Tamworth, appeared at Stafford Crown Court where a Confiscation Order was made for £48,850. Chong has three months to pay with a default sentence of four years.
Chong was arrested and charged with managing a brothel after a search warrant was executed at his address on 16 November 2015, following information that the property was being operated as a brothel. He pleaded guilty at Stafford Crown Court on 8 June 2016 and was sentenced to eight months imprisonment.

Beverley Jenkinson, aged 51, of Anchor Road, Stoke on Trent , appeared at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court where a confiscation order was made in the sum £34,527.
This followed a search warrant by South Stoke Neighbourhood Action Team at her home address in Anchor Road. They found £12,840 worth of cannabis plants growing and £15,270 cash.
Jenkinson appeared at Stoke-on-on-Trent Crown Court in August where she pleaded guilty to cannabis production and money laundering and was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment. Financial investigators identified further assets including a car and £6,267 held in a bank account, resulting in the order detailed above.

Mohammed Saeed, aged 42, of Wombourne Park, Wombourne, was ordered to pay £79,950 at Stafford Crown Court.
Following his arrest in Wombourne in July 2016, officers found evidence of drug supply including a large number of deals of high purity cocaine together with 13kg of benzocaine, a cutting agent used to bulk up cocaine deals. The substances had a street value of £1,500,000. Saeed was charged with affray and possession with intent to supply cocaine, the affray charge relating to an earlier ‘drug’ related incident.. He appeared at Stafford Crown Court in August 2016 where he pleaded guilty to both offences and received six years imprisonment.

Eight confiscation orders, totalling £27,847, were granted against eight defendants jailed after being found guilty of a series of armed robberies.
Vehicles that were purchased from the proceeds of the criminality were seized, two high-powered Audi sports cars (pictured) and a Vauxhall Corsa will be sold at auction to pay off some of their owners POCA bill.
The eight men appeared at Stafford Crown Court in May 2016 where they were found guilty of a series of armed robberies in the West Midlands and  Staffordshire area. The men targeted a bank, several supermarkets and a licensed premises using violence and intimidation to steal cash, jewellery and cigarettes. Although the sentences at the time were substantial the matter went to the Criminal Appeal Court on 27 October where the sentences were increased, the combined total imprisonment for the eight men came to 100 years and two months, that’s an average sentence of twelve and a half years each.


POCA Audis

Young people urged to put pen to paper in Poetry Competition

Young people from across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are being invited to put pen to paper in an exciting poetry competition.

The competition is being organised by Staffordshire County Council’s Library Service and the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Young Poet Laurate, 16-year-old Isobel Horsley.

Isabel Horsley

Teenagers need to write their own original poem and take a photograph to go with it with the chance to win a Polaroid Snap instant print camera. The competition is open to young people aged 13 to 18 and closes on 11 February.

The Young Poet Laurate scheme and competition hopes to promote a love of poetry and showcase the creative writing skills of children across the area.

Gill Heath and Esme Hookway

Gill Heath, Cabinet Member responsible for Staffordshire County Council’s library Service said: “Isobel is our fourth young poet laureate now which is proving year on year to be a hugely popular scheme to get more young people into poetry.

“The competition was Isobel’s own idea and she now wants to show people how much fun writing and reading poetry can be. I would encourage anyone with an interest in writing to have a go, take a photo to go with the poem and enter the competition.  You never know, you could discover a real hidden talent, you could win a prize, or simply see how much fun writing poetry can be.”

Isobel, currently a pupil at King Edwards School in Lichfield, said: “I’m thrilled to be the Young Poet Laurate because I can now share my love for poetry with other young people my age and perhaps convince them it’s not as boring as they think it might be.

“I like writing about things I see or I think are interesting and as part of the competition, having a nice photo to go with the poem helps bring it to life.  I’d definitely encourage people to have a go.  In my year as poet laureate I want to try and organise lots of cool activities, events and  competitions and see if we can get more people enthused about poetry.”

People can find out more about Staffordshire’s Library Service and the Young Poet Laurate at www.staffordshire.gov.uk.  Youngsters should email their poems and photos to [email protected]

Pictured above Isabel Horsley and Gill Heath with Esme Hookway.