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Court told worker said 'I was treated like a slave'

Carlisle Crown Court has heard that one worker at the Shiny car wash on Warwick Road told police: "They treated me the same like they would do with a slave."

Opening the case, prosecutor Martin Reid told jurors: "It is the prosecution case that the circumstances created by the defendants led to the freedom of the people that you are going to hear from effectively being overridden, and that they were compelled to work long hours, in bad conditions, for little pay."

The court heard staff weren't provided with clothing to protect them from car wash cleaning chemicals, were housed in a "dirty" rat- and insect-infested multi-occupancy rented property in central Carlisle and prevented from leaving after identity cards were taken away.

Defrim Paci, of Windmill Close, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, Jetmir Paci, of Walton Walk, Boythorpe, Derbyshire, and Sitar Ali, of Adelaide Street, Carlisle, all deny charges alleging that they brought Romanian nationals to the UK to exploit them.

The trial continues.

Carlisle courts

Cumbria's weather: Cloudy and less cold

BBC Weather

Through the evening and into the night it will be mainly cloudy, perhaps with the odd spot of rain.

One or two clearer breaks are possible later and it will be less cold with lowest temperatures of 0C to 3C (32F to 37F).

Weather graphic

You can always find the latest, hour-by-hour, BBC weather forecast for where you are, here.

Man jailed for 'eight-day campaign' of harassment

A man who launched an eight-day campaign of harassment against his ex-girlfriend after a brief relationship ended, including offering £1,000 on social media to anyone who would harm her, has been jailed for 16 months.

The court heard Michael Alan Reid, 29, continually contacted the woman, changed her social media passwords, and utilised other people and mobile phones to give her the impression she was being followed.

Reid, now living in Mursley Court, Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes, admitted putting a person in fear of violence, and had made a full and frank admission to police, the court heard.

Judge Nicholas Barker banned Reid, who was living in west Cumbria when the offence occurred, from contacting the woman for a decade.

Burglar who skipped court is finally jailed

A burglar has been jailed for his involvement in a Cumbrian house break-in, four months after he failed to show at court to be sentenced.

Anthony Padgett
Cumbria Police

Anthony Padgett, 23, was one of two men who admitted burgling a house at Kirkby Stephen in March, stealing a widow's property including wedding photographs and a Royal Victorian Order medal given to her husband.

The property was recovered when they were arrested later that day, and in July, the other man was jailed for just under four years, but Padgett, of Braithwaite Way, Keighley, failed to appear in court.

Recently Padgett handed himself in to police and today Recorder Patrick Palmer sentenced him to 32 months in prison for the break-in, and another four months to follow for failing to attend court.

Man found in Penrith street dies in hospital

Police say a man found in Penrith after calls from local people worried about his welfare, died later in the Cumberland Infirmary at Carlisle.

Cromwell Street in Penrith was closed for a while after the man, who was 55 and from the town, was found at about 02:00.

Police say they've found no reason to be suspicious about his death, and they have passed the case to the coroner.

Court told car wash staff worked long hours for little pay

Mark McAlindon

BBC Look North

The prosecution has been laying out more of its case in the trial of three men accused under slavery legislation because of the way they employed migrant Romanians on a car wash in Carlisle.

Martin Reid, for the prosecution told the Carlisle Crown Court jury travel costs were deducted from wages, ID cards confiscated until debts were paid, and some staff would work 11 hours a day, six days a week, and be left with as little as £20 a week in their pockets.

Shiny car wash

The prosecution says Defrim Paci, 40, of Windmill Close, Sutton-in-Ashfield, bought the site for the Shiny car wash, and his brother Jetmir, 36, of Walton Walk, Boythorpe, Chesterfield, was involved in building the facilities.

Sitar Ali, 31, of Adelaide Street, Carlisle, was the manager, and he with the Paci brothers all deny charges under modern slavery legislation.

Mr Ali also denies a charge of possessing criminal property - a large amount of cash derived from the men's criminal activities.

The trial continues.

Cumbrian climbers reach 'lost world' mountain

A team of climbers led by Cumbrian Leo Houlding and including Anna Taylor from Windermere, have reached the bottom of the 2,000ft (600m) prow of Roraima, in the South American country of Guyana.

Coldhouse Collective & Berghaus

The six-strong group will be joined by Amerindian climbers, and they will become the first local people to make the ascent.

They have already trekked 100km (62 miles) through the jungle, and heavy rain on the night they arrived has created waterfalls down the cliffs that surround the flat top of the 9,249ft (2,810m) mountain.

The team now has to carry equipment up a steep slope described as a slime forest before starting the main ascent.

Cumbria's weather: Cold and becoming cloudier

BBC Weather

There will be hazy sunshine in places to start this afternoon but the general trend will be for cloud to continue to increase from the south west.

Forecasters expect gentle southeasterly winds and highest temperatures from 3C to 6C (37F to 43F).

Weather graphic

You can always find the latest, detailed, BBC weather forecast for where you are, here.

New wipes highlight how many drivers use drugs

Local Democracy Reporting Service

The number of motorists found to be using drugs by roadside tests has jumped from 50 to 450 a year, with new statistics showing 92% of those caught are young men.

PC Kevin Jackson, of Cumbria Police, told Barrow Local Committee that drug driving was a "big problem" among young men, uncovered when roadside tests became available.

Drug wipe kit

It follows new legislation and the roll-out of drug wipe technology which allows officers to take a swab and check for cocaine or cannabis, he said.

PC Jackson said drink driving rates had significantly fallen but had not been eradicated.

Ten years on, PC who died in floods is remembered

It's 10 years since flooding devastated communities in west Cumbria and led to the death of a police officer who was trying to stop traffic using a failing bridge.

PC Bill Barker
Getty Images/PA

PC Bill Barker was directing traffic off Northside Bridge in Workington when it collapsed and he was swept away.

Exceptionally heavy rainfall in November 2009 left many homes flooded and businesses destroyed.

Every year since, dozens of motorcyclists have taken part in a memorial ride from Egremont to Scarborough, raising money for the Pride of Cumbria Air Ambulance.

Cumbria's weather: A frosty start and a fine morning

BBC Weather

After a frosty and clear start, it will continue fine through the morning with sunshine.

There will be gentle southeasterly winds and highest temperatures from 3C to 6C (37F to 43F).

Weather graphic

You can always find the latest BBC weather forecast for where you are, here.

Cumbria's weather: Dry, clear and very frosty

BBC Weather

It will stay dry tonight, with long clear spells, light winds and a widespread frost.

One or two freezing fog patches may develop and lowest temperatures will be from -6C to -3C (21F to 27F).

Weather graphic

You can always find the latest, detailed, BBC weather forecast for where you are, here.

Closed door hinders spread of Carlisle house fire

Firefighters say a closed door kept a blaze contained within a room when it could have spread through a whole house in Carlisle earlier today.

Scene of fire

Fire crews from both Carlisle stations were called at about 10:45, and found the house near Carleton Road heavily smokelogged by the blaze.

A spokesman for the fire and rescue service said it showed the importance of closing doors at night and when a house was empty.

Judge says pensioner 'may be jailed' after £75,000 fraud

A 67-year-old woman has been warned she faces prison after admitting defrauding a 71-year-old man of £75,000.

Phyllis Woods

Phyllis Woods (pictured), of Smithills Road, Bolton, admitted three charges of fraud, and stealing two watches belonging to the same west Cumbrian man.

Judge Nicholas Barker adjourned the case for specialist background reports to be provided by the probation service and the defendant's GP, but he warned Woods: "The court will have in mind very seriously the prospect of an immediate custodial sentence."

She will be sentenced on 10 January.

Barrow's back street patching bill tots up to £12.6m

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Ellis Butcher

Bringing Barrow's maze of back streets back to standard would cost an estmated £12.6m, according to a council report being discussed today.

Barrow back street

Highways officials have completed a review of the 320 back streets in Barrow, Walney Island and Dalton, saying they cover more than 20 miles.

One in Hindpool would cost £125,000 to put right, and to carry out all the work required would take years, they say.

One of the problems in Barrow is the Victorian sewers which can collapse, making resurfacing pointless if the underlying problems are not fixed first, so United Utilities are invited to survey roads before any resurfacing takes place.

Unexpected water pipe delays Keswick flood work

Work on flood prevention in Keswick will last into the new year after contractors were slowed by finding a number of large boulders and a United Utilities water main when they were excavating space for a pumping station.

A Cumbria Council Council spokesman said the project would now probably take until the first week in February, and Penrith Road would remain closed until then.

Addict who stole teenager's birthday cash is jailed

A heroin addict who stole a teenage boy's birthday money when he burgled a house in Carlisle has been jailed for more than two years.

Ryan Ferguson
Cumbria Police

Ryan Ferguson, 25, of Thornburn Crescent, Annan, was linked to the burglary in Denton Street by blood found on the boy's wallet, from which he had taken £90.

Because of two previous similar convictions, Ferguson was liable for a three year sentence, but Judge Nicholas Barker gave a discount for his guilty plea, imposing a sentence of just under two years and five months.

Cumbria's weather: Dry and mostly sunny

BBC Weather

The rest of the day will remain dry with a good deal of sunshine although this may be a little hazy in places.

There will be light winds of variable direction and highest temperatures from 4C to 7C (39F to 45F).

Weather graphic

You can always find the latest, hour-by-hour, BBC weather forecast for where you are, here.

Police train firms in spotting 'exploitation' signs

More than 200 reports were made to Cumbria Police last year about what is described as modern slavery.

Police are offering training to more than 50 people in businesses this week, training them about the signs that might suggest an individual is being exploited.

Police logo
Cumbria Police

Modern slavery is often called a hidden crime and covers a range of criminal and abusive situations, from human trafficking, forced labour or sex work and child sexual exploitation.

Officers say it can be hard to spot forced labour in sectors like agriculture in Cumbria, due to many farms being in remote and isolated placed, but in some other sectors, people's suspicions are disarmed because there is no attempt to hide the activity going on.

Helmet saves mountain biker in Skiddaw fall

A mountain biker who fell close to the summit of Skiddaw was saved from serious injury by his helmet, mountain rescue volunteers say.

Broken helmet
Keswick MRT

Members of the Keswick team were called after the man fell on the Carl Side descent, knocking himself out and injuring his collar bone.

However, he was with friends and after he recovered consciousness, the group improvised a sling from an inner tube, and the injured rider walked down to meet the rescue team before going to hospital.

Cumbria's weather: A cold start, then dry and sunny

BBC Weather

After a clear, cold and, in places, frosty start, the day will remain dry with a good deal of sunshine.

There will be light winds and highest temperatures from 4C to 7C (39F to 45F).

Weather graphic

You can always find the latest BBC weather forecast for where you are, here.

Police urge drivers to slow down on frosty morning

Cumbria roads police say they're dealing with a number of crashes on some of the main routes around the north of the county.

Officers say there's been a foggy and frosty start, and they're urging people to drive carefully and sensibly.

Cumbria County Council

Cumbria 'loses out' from pensioners using bus concessions

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Cumbria County Council should be compensated for all the pensioners from outside the region who enjoy “free” bus travel at the local taxpayers’ expense, a leading councillor has said.

Peter Thornton, the authority’s deputy leader who is in charge of finance, said many of the visitors to Cumbria and the Lake District would be pensioners making use of concessionary travel offers available on council-funded bus services.

Open bus in Lake District
Getty Images

Mr Thornton said tourist areas were at a disadvantage because their residents did not travel in similar numbers to the places where tourists came from, and he urged that government recognise this imbalance.

To be fair, if I travelled somewhere else outside Cumbria, it works the other way around, but clearly we have more people coming into Cumbria and using our bus services than we have Cumbrians going out and using other people’s bus services."

Peter Thornton

Care home closure 'a farce' says campaigner

The closure of a village care home by Cumbria County Council has been branded a "farce" by a local businessman.

David Brockbank, who redeveloped Staveley Mill Yard into an industrial and retail estate, appealed for plans to shut The Abbey in Staveley to be deferred at a meeting of the council’s cabinet yesterday, and tabled plans for community trust to take on the maintenance costs of the building.

After the decision, Mr Brockbank said: “They have not considered in a positive way the views of the community."

Council officials had said the 28-bed home had only six residents and little chance of attracting more, but the local Liberal Democrat councillor, Stan Collins, said the authority had been "turning applicants away wholesale for some time".

The councillor in charge of adult care, Patricia Bell, said demand for residential places in care homes was falling and the "dated" home faced prohibitive costs to bring it up to standard.

A 1,000-strong petition has been ignored and a solution ignored. We had heard they have already arranged the relocation of the residents (before today), so it’s all a farce."

David Brockbank

One third of new trains now on tracks, says Northern

The train company Northern says 33 of the 101 new trains being brought into service are now operational.

New train

Stations served by the new fleet include Oxenholme and Barrow and Windermere.

Earlier this week, new statistics showed fewer than half of Northern's services ran precisely to time, down on the summer figure of 61%, although the company blamed bad weather and congestion on rail tracks.

LED streetlights save £1m a year - and spark complaints

Local Democracy Reporting Service

John Connell

Cumbria's councillor in charge of environmental issues has been inundated with complaints about energy-saving streetlights introduced across Cumbria this year.

LED streetlight

The council wants to change all its lighting to LEDs by the end of 2021 as part of a move to save money, slash energy consumption and reduce light pollution.

The £5.3m county-wide improvement scheme will help the authority reduce power bills by more than £1m a year, saving enough electricity to power a small town.

But Celia Tibble, the cabinet member for environment, revealed that her inbox is regularly crammed with emails complaining that the dimmer lights are “dangerous” and "we can't see by them".

One of the big things that we have done for light pollution and saving energy is the LED bulbs and I can tell you that that has been the biggest complaint in my email box and from people on the streets."

Celia Tibble

Winners revealed in the 2019 Business Awards

News and Star


At a glittering ceremony at the Halston in Carlisle, finalists and business leaders gathered to hear who had won the hotly-contested 17 categories up for grabs.

Cathy Newman with sponsors and winners
News and Star

Cocaine is rising problem for drug charity in 40th year

Neil Smith

South Cumbria journalist, BBC Cumbria

There's a warning that an increasing number of young people in Cumbria, who start using cocaine on a night out, are becoming addicted to the drug.

CADAS, the Cumbria Alcohol and Drug Advisory Service, now in its 40th year, says such recreational drug use is its largest concern.

Cocaine lines
Getty Images

Drug advisors at the charity say that the users, predominantly men, sometimes don't even realise cocaine is forbidden by law as a Class A drug, and slip into dependency as they start using it through the week as well as on Saturday nights.

You're talking about relatively well-off, relatively mentally well or stable individuals who are getting involved in something, maybe not seeing the end result as an addiction."

Phil CaineCADAS recovery coach

County council plans to ask for an extra 4% on tax bills

People in Cumbria could be paying nearly 4% more on the largest share of their council tax from next year.

County council sitting

The county council provides services ranging from highway maintenance to consumer protection, and the proposed increase falls into two parts, an extra 1.99% on general expenditure, and a 2% levy to account for increasing demand for social care.

It amounts to just over £1 a week for a typical band D property, and the authority is asking the public for their comments.

The total council tax bill also includes money for disitrict and borough councils, the police, and in some areas, parish and town councils.

Cumbria's weather: Cloudy with some rain in the east

BBC Weather

This morning will be fairly cloudy with spells of rain mostly affecting eastern areas.

There will be brisk winds and highest temperatures from 6C to 9C (43F to 48F).

Weather graphic

You can always find the latest, detailed, BBC weather forecast for where you are, here.

Driver escapes unhurt in icy road crash

The driver of this Peugeot was unhurt when his car skidded and overturned on a minor road from Brisco into Carlisle this morning.

It was one of a number of roads affected by ice after showers were followed by a drop in temperatures.

Overturned car
Craig McGlasson

A county council spokesman said the road was a priority three route, treated only in prolonged severe conditions.

"The council routinely pre-salts around 2,400km of roads in a full gritting run of priority one and two routes – approximately one-third of the county’s entire road network."

Cumbria's weather: More cloud and more chance of a shower

BBC Weather

Cloud may become more extensive tonight, increasing the chance of a shower or two.

It will become rather cold and the moderate northerly wind will persist, with lowest temperatures from 0C to 3C (32F to 37F).

Weather graphic

You can always find the latest, hour-by-hour, BBC weather forecast for where you are, here.

Village plan fails to save old peoples' home

Local people have failed in an attempt to take over an old peoples' home in Stavelely, near Kendal, which Cumbria County Council says needed major improvements and would not be financially viable in future.

A report to a council cabinet meeting this morning said the Abbey care home had only six of its 28 beds in use, and because most people were now cared for at home, would probably never be fully occupied again.

The report suggested the site could be used for local housing, some of which would provide extra care.

People from the community had put in a petition with 1,000 signatures, suggesting creating a trust to run the home with the county providing care for the residents, but cabinet members voted to go with the recommendations in the officers' report.

It has had money spent on it over the last few years but there are very narrow corridors, steps, very few ensuite rooms, and standards have changed."

Councillor Patricia Bellcabinet member for adult care

Cumbria's weather: Dry, sunny and chilly

BBC Weather

It should remain dry this afternoon with sunny spells and just the chance of the odd shower.

It will feel rather chilly with moderate to locally fresh northerly winds and highest temperatiures from 4C to 7C (39F to 45F).

Weather graphic

You can always find the latest BBC weather forecast for where you are, here.

Keswick brain injury centre prepares to open doors

A new rehabilitation centre for people with brain injuries has begun accepting referrals in the Lake District.

The Calvert Trust has raised more than £1m to open the centre, which is called Calvert Reconnections.

The centre will open in Keswick in March 2020 and it's said to be the first of its kind in the UK, using outdoor activities to help people recover from brain injuries.

Coniston fire engine to find new service in Africa

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Ellis Butcher

A retired fire engine which has served the Coniston area for 20 years is on its way 3,000 miles to West Africa.

Councillor Janet Willis, from Dalton, the county council’s cabinet member for the fire and rescue service, said the 20-year-old appliance would be donated to the Kotu area in The Gambia, a major tourism resort.

Coniston watch manager Willy Watson arranged for the engine to be shipped over to The Gambia after visiting the local fire station while on holiday, and held a garden party to raise £1,000 towards the cost.

Willy Watson with fire engine
Cumbria County Council

They have a very old fire engine which keeps breaking down and the firefighters work in very spartan conditions and deal with a lot of house fires and well rescues, covering a very large area.”

Councillor Janet Willis

Travel: Winter arrives on highest roads

BBC News Travel

There's a risk of icy stretches in places and even snow on the highest roads, as this webcam shot from the Hartside Pass, on the A686 between Alston and Penrith, shows.

Webcam still of Hartside pass
Cumbria County Council

Congestion charge mooted at Lakes conference

A congestion charge for parts of the Lake District, like the one in London, has been discussed at a conference in Kendal into how to reduce the numbers of visitors using cars to get around the national park.

Soeaker with display showing congestion charge symbol

Nick Lancaster, of the Langdale Hotel, said that as long as the money was ringfenced to be spent in the area, it would be a great idea.

He said the Langdale Estates, a timeshare complex, ran bus services from Whitehaven, West Cumbria and Kendal to get staff to work.

And Robert McCracken QC suggested a congestion charge could be used to raise money for public transport.

If Cumbria had the same public transport funding per head as London, we’d have a budget of £14m to spend."

Julian WhittleCumbria Chamber of Commerce

Wildlife trust calls for action to save the insects

The Cumbria Wildlife Trust is part of a national campaign calling for more to be done to save insects from extinction.

A report compiled in the south west of England suggests that drastic declines in the numbers of insects are now causing reductions in insect-eating birds, bats and fish.

White-faced darter

In Cumbria, the white-faced darter, which had lost its boggy habitats to the point where it was only found in one small area in north Cumbria, was introduced to the Cumbria trust's huge Foulshaw Moss reserve, where it is now thriving.

The trust is also calling for legislation enforcing targets for reducing pesticide use.

If insect declines are not halted, terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems will collapse, with profound consequences for human wellbeing.”

Professor Dave GoulsonUniversity of Sussex and author of Insects and Why They Matter

Cumbria's weather: Dry and cold with clear spells

BBC Weather

There will be patchy cloud with isolated showers easing tonight, followed by dry and clear spells overnight.

Mist or fog may develop during ther early morning hours with lowest temperatures from -2C to 1C (28F to 34F).

Weather graphic

You can always find the latest, detailed, BBC weather forecast for where you are, here.

Jailed drink driver who fled police at 80mph loses appeal

A driver who clocked 80mph on a main Carlisle road while almost twice the drink-drive limit has lost his appeal against the jail term he was given.

An appeal hearing at Carlisle Crown Court heard that despite being ordered by an officer to stop, Anthony Robert Miller accelerated away and reached speeds of up to 80mph on Wigton Road, before braking violently and trying to reverse into the pursuing police vehicle.

Miller, 40, Dobinson Road, Carlisle, admitted a number of driving offences when he appeared before magistrates and was jailed for 120 days.

After hearing submissions from a solicitor who said it was early morning and no one was hurt, the appeal panel dismissed Miller’s appeal.

Cumbria's weather: A better chance of sunshine

BBC Weather

It will be cloudy at times and rather chilly but there will be a better chance of some sunny spells developing this afternoon.

Highest temperatures will be from 6C to 9C (43F to 48F).

Weather graphic

You can always find the latest BBC weather forecast for where you are, here.

London service remembers Cumbrian broadcaster

The Cumbrian broadcaster John Myers is being remembered today in a gathering at St Martin in the Fields church on Trafalgar Square in London.

John Myers

John, who was born in Carlisle and became a leading figure in the industry, started his career with BBC Radio Cumbria but went on to found other radio stations and present on TV.

He died suddenly at the age of 60, in June.

The invitation to the memorial today says the dress code is "Larger than Life".