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Welcome to Issue 95 of the LNWA Newsletter – e-mailed to all 32 Boroughs plus the City to maintain contact. If you are receiving this for the first time, it’s because you are identified as the contact for your Borough. LNWA is anxious information reaches the grassroots so please ensure every Watch member in your Borough is encouraged to read this Newsletter which is accessible with all hyperlinks active via our website, http://www.lnwa.net
NEIGHBOURHOOD & HOME WATCH NETWORK (NHWN)
If you haven’t signed up to receive a direct copy direct, read the latest NHWN newsletter at:
Meanwhile, NHWN has teamed up with sponsor, Avocet Hardware to advise homeowners to #stayABSsafe this summer by launching a join campaign which runs until 7 September. There’s a 10% increase in domestic burglary and 40% increase in outdoor thefts during the summer with 92% of all domestic burglary in a dwelling committed through a front or back door. NHWN is working with Avocet to advise householders about how to make their homes less exposed to potential burglaries and has placed a campaign page on its website at:
NITROUS OXIDE – NO LAUGHING MATTER
Nitrous Oxide (or laughing gas) is also known as ‘hippy crack’. The ‘high’ that ensues — an intense feeling of euphoria, lasting up to a minute — has been likened to taking a ‘snort’ of cocaine but, unlike cocaine, it’s not illegal. Costing as little as £3 a hit, it’s now inhaled openly on Britain’s streets but users don’t realise it’s deadly. It’s against the law to sell canisters (designed for use in the catering industry to dispense whipped cream) for ‘recreational’ purposes but not to inflate balloons with the gas and sell them for a few pounds to anyone ill advised enough to buy. It’s a loophole being exploited all over the country where demand for ‘hippy crack’ seems to be increasing. The phenomenon is becoming as widespread as glue sniffing was in the Eighties and takes place under the noses of police who are powerless to act unless they suspect customers are under 18. Nitrous Oxide first gained popularity as the middle-class ‘drug’ of choice at music festivals around 2010. There’s a perception that, unlike hard drugs, it has no harmful side effects as you don’t smoke it, snort it or inject it. According to the Home Office, more than 460,000 people aged 16 to 24 used Nitrous Oxide last year, 7.6 per cent of that age group. Only cannabis had more users.
Behind those figures is a more shocking statistic that has gone almost unreported: Nitrous Oxide was blamed for 17 deaths between 2006 and 2012. It dissolves in the bloodstream, reducing the amount of oxygen flowing to the brain and other vital organs. This can have devastating consequences, causing strokes, blackouts, seizures and heart attacks. There’s also a risk of brain damage or death by asphyxiation. Worryingly, doctors say they have no way of knowing how much Nitrous Oxide puts users at risk. Regular users can develop severe vitamin B deficiency as the Nitrous Oxide blocks absorption of the vitamin. This can cause serious nerve damage (leading to tingling and numbness in fingers and toes); even difficulty walking and pain in affected areas. Nevertheless, it is widely available on the Internet, as well as on the street. As selling Nitrous Oxide for recreational use as ‘hippy crack’ is banned, unscrupulous suppliers circumvent the law by marketing it as a whipping agent in much the same way the party drug mephedrone (‘meow meow’) used to be advertised as a plant fertiliser. Following a Daily Mail investigation, some of those at the centre of the lucrative, but highly controversial, trade can be identified for the first time. Check this link:-
THIS MONTH’S WARNING FROM ACTION FRAUD
Fraudsters have created a high specification website template advertising flat screen TVs for sale below market value which do not exist. Payment is requested via bank transfer and will offer no protection to a consumer when the TV does not arrive. So, remember to always pay with a credit card where you have an avenue of recompense should you not receive your product. Conduct research on the website, company name and business address to identify any poor feedback or irregularities. Check the authenticity of websites before making any purchases. A ”who is” search on the website will identify when the website was created. Be wary of newly formed domains. This search can be conducted using: https://who.is/
If the item advertised seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you believe you’ve been a victim of fraud, report it at: www.actionfraud.police.uk or by telephone on 0300 123 2040.
CRIME PREVENTION WEBSITE – HOLIDAY CHECKLIST
It’s the holiday season so the Crime Prevention Website has produced a useful check-list:
FRAUD AND LINKED CRIME ON-LINE (FALCON)
The Met’s fraud prevention team (FALCON) would like us to raise awareness of a scam involving the vulnerable and elderly. It involves the victim receiving a call from someone claiming to be a CID Officer, often using the names: DCI Johnson, DC Johnson, PC Burnley or DC Howard. The victim is told they are from Hammersmith, Holborn or Charing Cross Police Station and that people have been arrested for an offence. The victim is asked, as part of the investigation, to visit named jewellers to purchase high-end jewellery using their own cash or credit card. Victims are often told to buy a particular product and not to discuss the matter with shop staff who may also be under suspicion.
Similar frauds have been seen before but this is a new variation and a recent increase is of concern, as is the fact that specific jewellers are chosen for the purpose of making a purchase. Police urge shop staff to look out for customers who do not match their customer profile, who appear to be making a purchase for someone else or appear more interested in the value of a product rather than the product itself (they may be asked to buy an item of a specified value). Victims, so far in the age range of 49-80 years, genuinely believe what they are told and that they are helping police. If you think you know a victim of this crime, please call101. Police will offer advice and guidance. Alternatively if you have received a call but rejected this as a scam, please report it at: www.actionfraud.police.uk
That’s it for this month. As usual, LNWA thanks you for your work and support.