Exercise highlights issues for blind in North Walsham

The group of people making their way with caution through North Walsham might be have attracting plenty of attention from passers-by, but half of them had no idea.

They were taking part in an awareness exercise to highlight some of the problems the blind and partially-sighted have when navigating the town on a day-to-day basis.

It was organised by Guide Dogs East Anglia and involved local police officers, police cadets and two members of the community Scott Vallance with his guide dog German Shepherd Benji, and Paul Monaghan with Gizmo, the more usual Labrador. Pauline and Doug Parker were also in attendance with trainee puppy Duffy.

Helen Sismore, community engagement officer for Guide Dogs East Anglia, said: “Today we have been able to raise awareness regarding obstacles that people who are blind or partially sighted face on a daily basis. These can be A-Boards, vehicles parked on kerbs or tactile pavings, overhanging parked vehicles into the pavement space when parking, cyclists, and the impact of dog attacks on Guide Dogs.”

There are two million people registered with sight loss in the UK. This is set to double by 2050 and 180,000 people with sight loss rarely leave their homes because of the above hazards and the feeling of not being safe when out and about.

Helen said: “The exercise today helps to build awareness in the community and highlight what the issues are. With a little bit of foresight we can help to make our communities safer so they become inclusive to all especially people who are blind or partially sighted. Think about where you are parking, think about where you are placing your A-board. Does it make the pavement too narrow? If you are a dog owner does your dog lunge or bark at working dogs? Correct it or move away! As a cyclist respect the person you are cycling behind either dismount or tell them you are behind them. Simple steps make all the difference.”

PC Davison said: “I found it terrifying. When you can’t see the traffic seems so loud and so very close to you. I was completely dependent on the person who was guiding me around the town and had to trust them completely to describe hazards around me.”

Chief Insp Wes Hornigold said: “For me, it was great to be able to get involved with members of the blind community, having already been invited to talk at the North Walsham guide dog forum. I was amazed how difficult it was to simply navigate around the town and showed to me how important it is for our paths and walkways to be clear of obstructions.”

The 10 police cadets who took part were all members of the local group which meets on Thursday evenings during term time.

The group is open to youngsters aged 13-16 and sessions are held at the police station. An open evening is planned for Thursday, March 1, at 7.30pm for those interested in finding out more about the group and joining.

For more information email

£30,000 break-in at Cromer antiques shop

Police are investigating the theft of thousands of pounds worth of jewellery from an antiques shop in Cromer early this morning.

Fair Deal Antiques and Collectibles on New Parade was broken into between 1am and 8.30am this morning (Tuesday, February 13) and approximately £30,000 worth of jewellery was taken from the window display.

Christine Graham, who runs the shop with her husband John, said the back door had been drilled and kicked in and the thieves had crawled through a space between bars on the door. The inside door of the shop had suffered the same fate.

Christine urged members of the public and other shop owners and dealers to be on the lookout for anyone selling the jewellery, some of which is distinctive.

“One of the items is called the jewel of India and is a ring with three different coloured diamonds in it,” she said. “There is also a gold skull ring which has a face with a lopsided grin and we think we are the only stockists in Norfolk of silver jewellery with zultanite, a Turkish gem which changes colour. There is a silver necklace and bracelet.”

Christine is convinced the burglars knew what they were doing as they had cut the power and telephone lines to the shop and flats above and seemed to know what they were looking for.

But she is upbeat saying: “We will still be trading as we have built up our stock over the last five years.” She added: “The police have been brilliant, absolute diamonds. I couldn’t have wished for better, they have been very supportive.”

She had also been heartened by the support from fellow traders, who have promised to keep an eye out in the marketplace in Norwich and King’s Lynn areas.

DC Kevin Maskell said: “This is a high-value crime and I would urge anyone with information regarding the burglary to contact police. I would particularly like to hear from anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity in the area in the early hours of this morning.”

Anyone with information should contact DC Kevin Maskell at Great Yarmouth CID on 101. Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111

Police warning after Sprowston burglaries

Police are urging residents to keep their doors and windows locked after two homes were burgled in Sprowston.
Between 11.25pm on Tuesday, July 18, and 7am on Wednesday , July 19, properties on Colindeep Lane and Recreation Ground Road were entered through unlocked doors and an Ipad, cash and the contents of a handbag were stolen.
Broadland Engagement Officer PC Andy Mason says people need to be more security conscious during the summer months.
“During the warm weather windows and doors will often be opened but it is important to make sure they are shut and locked when your home is left empty and before you go to sleep. Criminals are opportunists who will seize any chance they get to take advantage of an insecure residence. Don’t give them that opportunity.”
If you saw anything suspicious during those times, contact Det Con Scott Malcolmson on 101. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


Fears grow for safety of missing Stalham girl

Police are becoming increasingly concerned for the welfare of a missing 16-year-old girl from Stalham.
Layla Hawtree was last seen in Sutton on Sunday and was reported missing the same day. She is  about 5ft 5ins, of slim build with shoulder length blonde hair. She has links to the Norwich and Great Yarmouth areas.
Officers are keen to hear from anyone who may have seen Layla or knows of her current whereabouts.
Anyone with information should contact Norfolk Police immediately on 101.

Problem parking not a matter for the police

Police have said they can do nothing to deal with motorists parking outside the Tesco store on Wroxham Road, Sprowston.
People had expressed safety concerns about drivers ignoring the double yellow lines and the Sprowston and Old Catton Safer Neighbourhood Team have issued a statement saying the issue is a civil matter.
PCSO Kane Casburn said: “Sprowston SNT have been aware of the ongoing issue with vehicles parking on double yellow lines on Wroxham Road for a number of years. Parking enforcement around double and single yellow lines was decriminalised in November 2010 and the responsibility has been passed to the Local Authority (Broadland District Council).
“Whilst we will still issue words of advice to people, we cannot enforce the restrictions in place with the double yellow lines. The police will still deal with direct obstruction offences and a variety of other traffic related matters”.

Recruitment drive for Special Constables

New recruits are being sought to join Norfolk’s team of more than 200 committed Special Constables.

Norfolk’s Special Constabulary is hosting a recruitment event on Saturday, July 1,  at Splash Leisure Centre in Sheringham at 11am.

The county currently has some 222 special constables who regularly give up their spare time to assist their regular police colleagues in the fight against crime.

Norfolk continues to be on the look-out for committed individuals who are keen to experience the world of policing while supporting their local community.

Specials manager Sue Goode, said: “Being a Special is a very fulfilling and interesting role where no two duties are the same. They are entrusted with considerable responsibilities and every time they come on duty they face the same challenges and problems encountered by regular officers.

“We are very proud of the team we currently havein Norfolk and we would be keen for anyone who may be keen togain new skills ortogive something back to their community to get in touch.

“Whatever your motivation, becoming a Special can be exciting, challenging and rewarding.”

The role of a Special Constable includes providing highly visibility patrols and helping police major incidents and events. They also offer vital links in the partnership between the police service and the public.

Attendees will be given information on the recruitment process, the roles of a Special Constable and have the opportunity to meet a number of those already out on the beat.

To book your place at the recruitment event, please contact 01953 425699 ext. 2371 or email

If you are unable to make the event, but would still like to find out more, please call the above number or visit

E-fit of man over Northrepps assault

Police have issued an E-fit likeness of a man they want to speak to in connection with a sexual assault on a woman in the Cromer area.

The incident took place at around 1pm on Saturday, September 10, when the victim, aged in her 20s, was assaulted on a caravan site off Northrepps Road in Northrepps.

The victim was attacked by an unknown man who grabbed her by the shoulders and sexually assaulted her.

The male is described as white, around 6ft tall, aged in his late 20s to early 30s, with dark hair, a muscular physique and a tattoo on his arm. The man may have a silver mountain bike and a long haired Alsatian-type dog.

The offender ran off after the attack.

Officers would like to speak to anyone who believes they may recognise the man from the E-fit image.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Norfolk Constabulary on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or through their Anonymous Online Form at


Have your say on policing issues in Aylsham

Police commissioner candidate Lorne Green will be joining a team of local Conservative Party activists in Aylsham Market Place on Saturday (March 12) to find out residents’ concerns and views on policing in the area.

Lorne has compiled a 60-second survey which he is taking around the county, the answers to which will help form his campaign and future work as the Police and Crime Commissioner should he be successful in May.

He will be joined by Keith Simpson MP and hopefully Chloe Smith and Brandon Lewis.

Lorne is the Conservative candidate for the role of Police and Crime Commissioner. His aim is to improve efficiency and bring the force’s technology into the 21st century. “I am going to work very hard to fight crime and stop young people from entering a life of crime,” he said.

Mr Green was Canadian diplomat for 30 years, and served in embassies around the world, including Pakistan, Afghanistan, the former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Albania.

Lorne’s roots in Norfolk go back at least 240 years when the first of his ancestors to leave these shores for the new world set out from Attleborough as part of the British Army sent to quell the American Revolution.

Although he served in the Canadian diplomatic service for 30 years, Lorne and his wife Valerie were married in Snettisham more than 40 years ago, have owned a home there for 33 years, two of their three children were born in Norfolk and educated in Norfolk schools.

Lorne was in charge of the Canadian Embassy in Yugoslavia during its period of bloody conflict. He has served on delegations to the United Nations in New York, four years at NATO headquarters in Brussels as part of the Nuclear Planning Group, and for three years was assigned to the Canadian Defence Ministry, with a staff of military and civilian officers, as Director of Nuclear and Arms Control Policy.

Subsequently, for 11 years he was Secretary General of the World Nuclear Transport Institute in London.

Over a long career Lorne has dealt with some of the gravest safety and security issues. He has worked shoulder to shoulder with uniformed services and has enormous respect for them. Importantly, throughout his career Lorne had to work hard, and patiently, through listening, and negotiating, to find compromise and consensus among often very opposed interests. This experience and these attributes equip him to be an effective Police and Crime Commissioner.