FAKE ‘LANDLORD’ SENTENCED FOR ILLEGALLY SUB-LETTING
A man was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, at Woolwich Crown Court today, after being found guilty of illegally sub-letting his council flat in Elephant and Castle.
He was convicted by a majority verdict of illegally subletting his council tenancy on the Rockingham estate – and of trying to illegally evict his subtenants.
Council officers began investigating the man in July 2015, after police were called to the flat by the two tenants who had returned home to find their possessions on the pavement and that they were locked out, with no notice.
Their ‘landlord’ was inside. He refused to let them back in, claiming one of the tenants was his partner and that the relationship had broken down. The tenants had been renting the property for a number of years with no idea it was a council flat.
When police and council officers arrived, the man was witnessed unpacking clothes and other belongings and placing them in the flat to give the impression he was living there, although officers noted there was no evidence of a male in occupation and that even the food in the fridge was labelled as belonging to the two occupiers and not Guled.
The man was arrested on suspicion of illegally subletting a secure tenancy, which he denied. A letter found on him when arrested suggested that he lived in West London and investigations showed he had loans and registered bank accounts at a West London address. He was charged with the offences in October 2015 and pleaded not guilty.
At his trial, the man claimed he was the victim of a conspiracy and said he had been “hearing voices”. However, there was no evidence presented to confirm that he had been suffering from mental health issues at the time the offences were committed.
After a five day trial the jury took just over five hours to return majority verdicts of guilty on both charges.
Southwark council was granted possession of the flat at Lambeth county court on 8 July 2016. In addition the court ordered that the man pay the council costs of £14,103.
In court the judge condemned the man for the “distress” caused to his subtenants by the illegal eviction and sentenced him to six months on each count, suspended for 18 months.
Cllr Stephanie Cryan, Southwark’s cabinet member for housing, said: “Our council homes are for people who need affordable housing.
“With thousands of families on our waiting list in genuine need, we will not tolerate people who are abusing the privilege of having a council home, by not only sub-letting it illegally, but then treating their own tenants so appallingly.
“Tenants of illegal landlords are very vulnerable and I would strongly encourage anyone who is renting a property, especially in a council block, to double check their position by contacting the council or using a service like Southwark’s iLatch, to check they are in a legitimately privately rented premises.” (Source: Southwark council press release)
LIBRARIES TO LOAN 4G TABLETS
Lewisham residents will be the first in London able to borrow tablet computers from libraries, thanks to a £50,000 award from City Hall.
The Mayor of London’s ‘Mi Wifi’ scheme will fund 70 tablet computers in Lewisham.
The innovative new pilot, launched during London Tech Week, will test how digital exclusion can be reduced among specific groups of Londoners by lending tablet computers from local libraries.
It is aimed at Londoners who have no access to the internet and are lacking basic digital skills which contribute to economic disadvantage, social isolation and low levels of well-being in these groups.
From June 2017 to January 2018 Lewisham residents will be able to borrow a tablet for up to four weeks and will be offered six hours of digital skills training. Community groups will also be able to loan tablets to the vulnerable residents they work with. (Source: Lewisham council press release.)
FRIED CHICKEN SHOPS AMONG THOSE FINED FOR FLY-TIPPING
A meat supplier, an organic food market and three fried chicken shops have found their waste disposal wrongs coming home to roost after being fined hundreds of pounds for fly-tipping.
The premises are just some of the ten successful fly-tipping prosecutions against food and drink premises launched by Southwark council in the last six months – with fines totalling over £28,800.
The largest fine of £10,000 plus £2,500 costs, went to a Peckham shop after they were found guilty of dumping more than 30 cardboard boxes on the roadside.
A further £5,534 fine with £1,280 costs was given to a shop in Dulwich which admitted illegally disposing of bags of food waste and packaging. A Walworth retail meat supplier was fined £400 with £378 costs, for leaving cardboard boxes outside on the pavement.
A Peckham business were discovered trying to put their trade waste in the back of a council bin lorry and was fined £800 with costs of £580.
Another Peckham business did the same thing but was only told to pay costs of £220 after the owner admitted the incident, but said it was a mistake as he thought the truck was his own waste collector.
Another Peckham business was fined £800 plus £248 costs for dumping bags of waste, including used lottery tickets and scratch cards. A restaurant in Camberwell, was fined £650 with £365 costs after pleading guilty to leaving business waste at a domestic recycling centre.
Three chicken shops were fined £2,300 (plus £475.80 costs), £250 (costs of £280) and £300 (£330 costs) respectively, for leaving black bin bags full of trade waste on pavements outside or close to their shops.
Cllr Ian Wingfield, Southwark’s cabinet member for environment and public realm, said: “The council will not tolerate fly-tipping from businesses or residents and we will prosecute where we have evidence to identify where the waste has come from.
“Everyone has a responsibility to help keep our streets clean, tidy and safe and this includes local businesses who have a duty to dispose of their waste responsibly.” (Source: Southwark council press release)
CROYDON: NEW FLY-TIP TASKFORCE LAUNCHES NIGHT TIME CRACKDOWNS
A new taskforce set up to tackle fly-tipping has already issued 44 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) following crackdowns in known hotspots – with 33 of them being handed out during a night time operation in Selhurst.
A similar operation has already been carried out Bensham Manor, with results available soon and the team will be carrying out similar exercises across the borough, said a council spokes.
Launched in April, the taskforce is among the latest initiatives from Don’t Mess with Croydon (DMWC), the council’s campaign to clean up streets and public spaces by tackling fly-tipping and litter while encouraging community pride.
The new team focuses solely on fly-tipping taking a proactive approach, using intelligence from residents and agencies and carrying out covert operations in areas with a history of fly-tips.
Cllr Stuart Collins, cabinet member for Clean & Green Croydon, said:”Since the start of DMWC, we have adopted a zero-tolerance approach to people who fly-tip on our streets. “The council’s borough-wide enforcement teams have already issued 435 FPNS for flytipping and 538 for littering offences between April 2016 and the end of May 2017.
“But now for the first time, we have a task force whose sole focus is preventing flytipping. “They have the time, the expertise and the means to carry out surveillance, collect evidence and use the full extent of the council’s powers to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“And we will continue to push for the toughest penalties because flytipping has a huge impact on our community and on everyone’s quality of life. “This is a priority for us as a council.”
Croydon council have also recently introduced £400 FPNs for the more serious fly-tipping offences. To date seven of these FPNs have been issued. (Source: Croydon council press release)
CROYDON: ADULT LEARNING PROSPECTUS NOW AVAILABLE
Adults looking to improve their education or skills can now pick up a Calat prospectus for the 2017/18 academic year.
The guide to what’s on offer is available from Calat centres or Croydon libraries from Monday 19 June. It contains some 500 part time courses, which are taught from various venues across Croydon.
Calat is one of the largest adult education providers in the country and has been delivering award-winning courses on behalf of the council for over 70 years.
Cllr Alisa Flemming, Croydon’s cabinet member for children, young people, and learners, said: “As a council we understand just how important it is that local people have the knowledge they need to get the most from their lives.
“Calat offers opportunities to learn everything from basic literacy and numeracy skills right the way through to business administration or arts and crafts. We’re proud of what the service has achieved and we’re determined to maintain the high standards it has always shown.”
The Calat programme includes a variety of recreational, academic, pre-vocational and vocational courses in childcare and teaching assistant training, creative arts, health and social care, business administration, ICT, languages, English and maths, English for speakers of other languages, and courses for adults with learning disabilities.
They also work with businesses and employers to deliver training aimed at raising the skill levels of employees.
Most courses run within term dates. Autumn starts on 11 September and runs until 20 December, Spring runs from 3 January to 29 March, and Summer goes from 16 April to 23 July.
Shereen Nooks is a typical Calat learner. In 2012, with two daughters at school, she realised her lack of qualifications and basic skills meant she couldn’t help her children with their studies.
Since enrolling she has gained entry level qualifications in English and maths and can now help her daughters with their homework – as well as now finding things like filling out forms far less scary.
She said: “I couldn’t recommend Calat enough. “Next I want to go on to study more advanced courses so I can find a good job in health and social care.” (Source: Croydon council press release)