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December 2011

The Really Heavy Greatcoat Review of the Year 2011

Saturday, December 31, 2011 - 09:00: Older readers may recall The Really Heavy Greatcoat by John Freeman and Lancaster-based artist Nick Miller ran on virtual-lancaster after long service in On The Beat and Off the Beat, two other alternative Lancaster publications, for many years. If anyone ever offered to pay us to write it, it might still be running today!

Lancashire Police return offenders to prison

Friday, December 30, 2011 - 13:24: Almost 500 people across Lancashire wanted for recall to prison have been arrested and sent back to jail this year. Figures show that from 500 people released to be supervised in Lancashire but who then failed to keep to their terms of their licence, there are fewer than 20 outstanding.

Festive Fun in Lancaster!

Friday, December 30, 2011 - 09:15: Revellers enjoying the Free Reed Band at a ceilidh at the Gregson.

Holocaust Memorial Day marked with special exhibition by local artist

Wednesday, December 28, 2011 - 14:27: Local theatre and cinema The Dukes has mapped out how it will commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day on 27th January 2012, with events that include an exhibtion by local artist Catriona Stamp.

University Society pledges support for murdered student's cause

Wednesday, December 28, 2011 - 12:11: Anuj Bidve, who was shot on Boxing Day. Photo via Facebook.Lancaster University's Indian Society has contributed £500 toward the cost of returning the body of shot student Anuj Bidve to India. The 23-year-old Lancaster University postgraduate student was shot dead in Salford on Boxing Day as he walked with friends near their hotel.

Goodbye to The BFG

Wednesday, December 28, 2011 - 11:35: There’s just a few days left before The BFG strides out of Lancaster and returns to Giant Country. The Dukes 40th annual Christmas show – The BFG - draws to an end on 7th January after a six week festive run. Roald Dahl’s classic story itself reaches a milestone in 2012, the 30th anniversary of its publication.

More Seasonal Greetings

Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - 08:52:

The Best of the Season to all our readers!

Saturday, December 24, 2011 - 12:00: No snow this year, we suspect!

Fairfield Association Gives Christmas Present to Lancaster

Saturday, December 24, 2011 - 09:00: On Thursday 22nd December the Fairfield Associationopened its new nature reserve, FAUNA, which is within 10 minutes walk of the railway station and Lancaster City Centre. People are now able to walk along FAUNA’s new permissive footpath from the northern entrance to Fairfield Orchard (near the bottom of Sunnyside Lane) to the bottom of Cromwell Road (off Aldcliffe Road).

Battery Eggs illegal from 1 January 2012

Friday, December 23, 2011 - 18:28: Chris Davies, Liberal Democrat MEP, has welcomed the Coalition Government's announcement that tough action will be taken to stop eggs from battery caged hens being sold in the UK. As of 1st January 2012, eggs that are produced in battery cages will be illegal. It is estimated that up to 51 million eggs, or a nearly a quarter of all EU production, will not be compliant by that date.

Lancashire Police urge domestic abuse victims to come forward this Christmas

Friday, December 23, 2011 - 18:21: Lancashire Police are urging victims of domestic abuse not to suffer in silence this Christmas. The force has launched a Christmas campaign aimed at tackling domestic abuse over the festive season, reinforcing the message that it is a crime and urging victims to come forward and contact police. Police are keen to point out that domestic abuse isn’t just violence.

Burglary at Lancaster pawnbrokers

Friday, December 23, 2011 - 12:13: Police are appealing for information following a burglary at a pawnbrokers shop in Lancaster. Officers were called to John Ramsden Pawnbrokers in Sir Simons Arcade just after 10.30pm on Tuesday 20th December. It is believed the offenders somehow made a hole in the roof and climbed through it into the loft space, before accessing the shop itself.

Attempted robbery in Lancaster

Friday, December 23, 2011 - 08:06: Police are appealing for information following an attempted robbery of a man in Lancaster. Around 8.40pm on Monday 19h December, an 18-year -old man from the city was walking along the canal footpath between Shaw Road and Moor Lane when he was approached by two men. They forced him to the ground and while one held him down the other emptied his pockets.

Appeal following Morecambe street robbery

Monday, December 19, 2011 - 11:12: Morecambe Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward after a 53-year-old man was robbed in the street last Tuesday, 6th December. The offence took place at 8.40pm on Ullswater Avenue, Morecambe when the victim was attacked as he returned to his car, after collecting money as part of his business.

Free Reed Band and John Harper dates at Lancaster venues

Friday, December 16, 2011 - 09:33: Lancaster's ace folk group Free Reed Band will be performing a Christmas/New Year Ceilidh at the Gregson Centre (Moor Lane, Lancaster) on Thursday 29th December. "We have secured the services of our good friend and superb Dance Caller, Fiona Rigg, for the evening," band spokesperson Tony Cooke tells us.

Rush Hockey storms into Salt Ayre

Friday, December 16, 2011 - 08:00: Salt Ayre staff Anna Simpson, Elliot Trafford, Tom Ball and Hannah Corless try out the new sport, Rush Hockey. Photo courtesy Lancaster City CouncilLancaster City Council is inviting local people to try out a brand new game which combines elements of hockey with fun, fast and furious game play.

Occupy Camp celebrates first fortnight with events

Thursday, December 15, 2011 - 17:30: On Wednesday the Occupy Lancaster camp completed its first fortnight in Dalton Square. Tuesday night had already seen a gathering of local folk artists in a rousing session in the meeting tent. Tonight (Thursday) supporters are invited to bring food to share to celebrate two weeks of Occupy Lancaster and two months of Occupy London. More events are planned for the weekend (see below).

Local University suports scheme to engage workers in improving business

Thursday, December 15, 2011 - 10:12: Dr Michele Lawty-Jones, David MacLeod, Tim Viney and Barbara Davies The University of Cumbria played host to a government Task Force in Ambleside this week, to showcase and discuss the success of an innovative leadership programme being delivered to leaders of small-to-medium businesses in the region.

Comedian Mark Thomas to return to The Dukes

Thursday, December 15, 2011 - 10:00: The Dukes 2012 comedy season begins in January with the welcome return of Mark Thomas and his new show, Manifesto.

Morecambe schoolboy mugged for his mobile

Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - 16:31: Police are appealing for witnesses after a schoolboy was attacked and robbed in Morecambe last Friday. The incident happened on Friday 9th December at around 8.15pm on Ellesmere Road. The victim, a 15 year old local boy was walking home when he was approached by two men, who asked him if he had any money. When he said he didn’t, so the offenders felt his pockets and located his mobile phone.

Electronic Money Voucher "cold call" scam hits Lancashire

Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - 16:14: Residents who purchase electronic money vouchers are being warned about cold caller fraudsters intent on taking their cash. Lancashire Constabulary and Trading Standards have received a number of reports of residents receiving unsolicited phone calls, where the caller offers the victim a lump sum of money.

Morecambe dog owner fined after attack on warden

Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - 11:30: Lancaster City Council is warning dog owners to take heed of dog control notices after a local woman was fined for allowing her dog to attack one of the council’s dog wardens in Morecambe’s Regent Park.

Homeless find room on the radio this Christmas

Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - 09:38: Dukes creative learning director Guy Christiansen with Shona Thompson Photo courtesy The Dukes The Dukes has teamed up with a neighbouring centre for homeless people to produce a special radio programme this Christmas.

Former Lancaster man wanted on prison recall

Friday, December 9, 2011 - 15:27: Police are appealing for information about a man who is wanted on prison recall. Ronald Grimes, 34, formally of Green Street, Lancaster, was originally jailed for robbery in May 2004 when he was imprisoned for six years, having been convicted and sentenced at Preston Crown Court.

Following in a Giant’s Footsteps!

Friday, December 9, 2011 - 12:16: Even giants have to do a spot of Christmas shopping as hundreds of people visiting Lancaster city centre have discovered. When not entertaining audiences at The Dukes theatre, The BFG has been spotted in St Nicholas Arcades and Marketgate Shopping Centre…or at least his giant footprints have.

Appeal after woman is sexually assaulted in Morecambe

Thursday, December 8, 2011 - 16:31: CCTV taken from a filling station on Oxcliffe RoadPolice are appealing for witnesses to come forward after a woman was sexually assaulted as she sat at a bus stop in Morecambe last month. The offence is alleged to have taken place on Fairfield Road at Heysham between 6pm and 11.15pm on 19th November when a 26-year-old woman was approached by a man as she sat at a bus stop.

Don't let sneak thieves ruin Christmas, Lancaster police warn

Thursday, December 8, 2011 - 10:49: Police are warning residents to make sure they lock their doors and windows this Christmas after a young woman’s insecure home was targeted by thieves. The 20-year-old had her Hinde Street home in Lancaster targeted by burglars on 30th November after her back door was left unlocked. The thieves made off with a £200 television and a £300 notebook computer.

New figures suggest 'Bedroom Tax' could cost poor families in Lancaster up to £1015 per year

Thursday, December 8, 2011 - 09:14: Plans to penalise social tenants living in homes deemed too large for their needs could cost families in Lancaster up to £1015 per year, new figures reveal. The Government has previously estimated that 120,000 families across the North West will lose an average of £624 per year under the new social sector “size criteria”.

Police appeal following serious assault in Morecambe

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 21:20: Police are appealing for information following a serious assault in Morecambe.    The incident happened at around 8:30pm on Monday 5th December at an address on Waterside Place.    Two men have approached the house and gained entry to the property and have assaulted the 40 year old man in front of his own family, including his two young children.

Police appeal following assault in Morecambe pub

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 21:00: Police in Morecambe are appealing for information after a man was assaulted at the King's Arms Pub on Marine Road. The incident happened between 2.00 and 2.30am on 19th November. The victim, an 18 year old local man was attacked by another man and punched to the face and kicked. He received cuts and bruises and a fractured cheekbone.

Christmas refuse and recycling collections

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 12:21: Don’t forget to check your collections calendar as there will be changes to refuse and recycling collections over the Christmas and New Year period. From Monday 26th December to Friday 6th January, all collections will be one day later than usual.

Police appeal after man abused and assaulted

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 11:40: CCTV of a man and a woman police want to speak with in connection with an incident in which a man was racially abused and assaulted outside McDonalds, Lancaster, last month.Police are appealing for information after a man was racially abused and assaulted outside McDonalds in Penny Street, Lancaster on Saturday 19th November 2011.

Local residents launch community-shared Fibre Optic Broadband Company

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 10:35: Photo courtesy B4RNBroadband for the Rural North, an exciting community initiative, initially across eight parishes of rural Lancashire, to deliver a world class hyperfast fibre optic broadband network is being launched at The Storey, Lancaster on 15th December. Broadband has become essential for every sector of the community and increasingly important for our daily lives.

Court Watch: man charged in connection with bus assaults

Monday, December 5, 2011 - 10:41: 32-year-old Sherif Elsayed has been charged with six counts of sexual assault on a female following a police appeal last month. Elsayed, a student at Chester University, appeared at Preston Magistrates Court on Saturday (3 December).

Lancaster Cold Call Burglar gets four years

Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 11:00: James StovoldA burglar who targeted an elderly woman days after being released from prison for an earlier offence against her has been jailed for four years. James Stovold, of Windholme, Lancaster, has also been handed a CRASBO which will prevent him from cold calling at people’s homes to try and carry out building or maintenance work.

Local Councillor welcomes Disability Living Allowance changes

Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 08:13: Local Councillor for Harbour Ward Ian Pattison has hailed the decision to preserve the mobility element of Disability Living Allowance. The mobility element of DLA currently amounts to £51 per week and ensures approximately 80,000 people across the country with a large proportion in the Lancaster and Morecambe area are given the additional support that they need to live a comfortable life.

University of Cumbria’s financial plan ahead of schedule

Friday, December 2, 2011 - 14:49: The University of Cumbria Board met this week and approved the financial statements for the 2010/11 financial year which sees the university’s financial plan ahead of schedule and its Vice Chancellor bullish about the future of the institution. Building on last year's surplus the university has again achieved an operating surplus of £6.6m and an overall surplus after exceptional items of £9.4m.

Eat out safely this Christmas - look before you book!

Friday, December 2, 2011 - 14:41: Lancaster City Council is encouraging everyone making plans for festive gatherings to check the hygiene rating score of your restaurant, hotel or pub. With Christmas fast approaching, plans are being made for celebrations with family, friends and work colleagues and the council advises that when checking out the menu it’s wise to check out the food hygiene rating as well.

M6 Junction roadworks

Friday, December 2, 2011 - 14:21: The Highways Agency has been in touch to advise that there will be a full night time closure of the southbound exit slip at Junction 33 of the M6 between Fleetwood and Lancaster while permanent barriers are installed. The closure will be in operation from 8.00pm on Saturday 10th December until 6.00am on Sunday 11th December. There will be a fully signed diversion in place during that time.

Animal Christmas Fair this weekend in Morecambe

Friday, December 2, 2011 - 11:10: If you don't already know, Animal Care's Christmas Fair will be on Sunday 4th December at the Platform, Morecambe between 11.30 to 3.30. If you can get along and support their efforts to rehome and help animals abandonned through no fault of their own, the charity would be very grateful.

Reindeer at Old Holly Farm

Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 12:59: The award-winning Old Holly Farm on the A6 toward Garstang has three reindeer on show this December. Originally from Lapland, two of the reindeer and a yearling, above, are helping keep children enthralled along with the Farm's other animals - calves, chicks, rabbits and more. "We are helping them get their strength up for an important jobs on Christmas Eve," a spokesperson revealed.

Christmas drink and drug driving crackdown begins

Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 10:30: Lancashire Constabulary’s Christmas drink and drug driving campaign gets underway today (Thursday 1 December). The festive crackdown will see high-profile enforcement activity taking place across the county throughout the month of December, including checkpoints at key locations where officers will administer drink and drugs tests.

ASBO bans man from Lancaster city centre

Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 08:30: Benjamin Lunn26-year-old Benjamin Lunn has been given an ASBO banning him from Lancaster’s shops following a campaign of harassment against workers in the city’s stores. Lunn, who lives in Briery Street, was given the anti-social behaviour order after magistrates heard how he had subjected shop staff to persistent abuse and threats while he was trying to shoplift.