I NOTE in the recent article in The Mercury, it mentions that Crimestoppers was said to have been “started” by Lord Ashcroft and had charity status at that time.

I NOTE in the recent article in The Mercury, it mentions that Crimestoppers was said to have been “started” by Lord Ashcroft and had charity status at that time. We in Great Yarmouth were involved with the charity commissioners in 1983 and as the result, were granted charity status then. A serving officer, Malcolm Wild and I were involved in the criminal records office in Yarmouth Station when it started. Mick Cole brought the idea from the US and got the go-ahead for the introduction of the scheme here. At that time, many senior police officers including the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, expressed grave concern about giving “rewards” to those offering information to the police to obtain a reward. Self financing was difficult, but several local businessmen were approached and helped with donations. We soon had a working capital and bought a dedicated answering machine to take calls out of office times. Later we designed a Crimestoppers beer mat and thousands were circulated in local shops and pubs. Norwich City opened a their own Crimestoppers.

As it grew, the national press became interested. A full length programme was made by the Gavin Esler of the BBC for Heart of the Matter, which dealt with the ethical aspects. Four other TV teams visited and made small documentaries. As many as 20 senior officers from many police forces including “The Yard” came to find out how the scheme operated. All were impressed. Incidentally, two of the Yard officers were Supts Watson and Holmes, yes their correct names! As funds dwindled, by giving rewards, we were concerned about our capital. Approaches were made to the Charity Commissioners and with help from local chartered accountants we eventually obtained Charity Status in 1983. We then received more interest on our cash balance. After being established for some time, Crimestoppers was very successful. Local knowledge was very important.

The sting in the tail was after many successful months, the Metropolitan Police came up with what they thought was a new idea. They sent entry forms to all police forces, including us, asking if we would like to join Crimestoppers. I know they received a suitably worded reply.


RE Councillor Bert Collins' letter last week. To quote a short statement from it: “I was angered that Labour councillors voted against consulting residents on the plans, they cynically attempted to deny residents in Gorleston and Great Yarmouth a say on the matter.”

He complains of Government making cuts on council finances, which means, councils will have to cut back on their expenditure, what are we looking at, some tens of thousands of pounds that residents were not told about. Borough councillors though have burdened the residents with several millions of pounds of debt, for generations to come with the outer harbour. With such a massive amount of money now the responsibility of the residents, one would think the council would have had a public inquiry spelling out what the council wanted the residents to take on board.

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This did not happen; what did happen was half a dozen councillors and officers decided on our behalf to give the assets of our port away, at the same time loading all the liabilities of the port onto the shoulders of the residents, without a thought to what the residents wanted. The residents were not included in the financial conditions of the gifting of our port. So Mr Collins, before you, as a Tory councillor make comments on what Labour councillors did or did not do, look to your own laurels.


Burnt Lane


WHILE agreeing wholeheartedly with Cllr Bert Collins regarding the utter ineptitude and financial mismanagement of the current Labour Government in Westminster, that is the extent of my concurrence with the borough council.

Is Cllr Collins (Tory) not being more than a tad hypocritical in his protestations over the “political posturing and manoeuvring” of the opposing Labour councillors in their “bemoaning” the resultant financial implications for local government and where Labour voted against public consultation thus “denying residents a say in the matter”?

Surely this is the Conservative councillor who sits on both The Norfolk County and Yarmouth borough councils, as well as being one of the three councillors on the board of the Great Yarmouth Port Authority (GYPA)? Did not these same two councils concur with GYPA when “gifting” Yarmouth river port and all it's associated assets, plus the land for new outer harbour, to a financial institution centred in New York and all this with no public consultation?

Not only is the borough of Yarmouth deprived of the incidental revenues as a result of a buoyant port but the town and the county council is now committed to considerable outgoings, sine die, for the non-revenue generating areas the new port owners do not want. Have not all enquiries into this matter by concerned locals been rebuffed by the port authority, borough council and new port owners?

Cllr Collins must have overlooked the recent council cabinet meeting with public attendance, where the agenda included any potential council objections to the proposal by EastPort for an Act of Parliament to allow them almost total control of all that was once our Port belonging to "its stakeholders". At this meeting, the motion was carried unanimously in favour of EastPort, the discussions and decisions seemingly having been made and confirmed prior to this cabinet meeting, thus depriving those members of public present of any idea of exactly why the vote went in favour of EastPort!

Many are asking why and how the citizens' assets came to be permanently gifted away with no public consultation and who is to gain, individually or corporately?


Dunston Drive


IT is ironic that Cllr Collins should consider himself a spokesman for openness. I went to a borough council cabinet meeting recently expecting to hear the council's argument for either accepting or objecting to the application by EastPort to have an Act of Parliament giving them what few powers remained with the Port Authority. There was no discussion just that they registered no objection leaving me to presume the matter was already cut and dried prior to the meeting and residents once more would be kept in the dark. So much so, that the Port Authority minutes lodged with Norfolk Record office which only go up to 2000 have a 30-year embargo on them and the later ones aren't even there. And this, bearing in mind the Port Authority was a Trust Port which should be open and transparent with its stakeholders. The councillor was one of those on the Port Authority board dealing with the outer harbour project.

I thank the councillor bringing this to our attention but what is he really trying to say over the fire station matter or is it just electioneering? This follows his rhetoric when as a member of the planning committee he made remarks about the shelter on Gorleston's seafront in favour of the kiosk unwanted by so many residents. If the councillor now really believes in openness to the electorate, I, being in his ward have quite a few questions to put to him, just tell me where and when?


Brett Avenue,


THERE is a long term dispute over access rights down Marsh Lane off Sandy Lane in Belton. A large metal gate was put up to prevent joy riders from driving cars down the lane and setting fire to them on the Common. Recently I have found the padlock wars have started again; I have had superglue placed in my padlock which was later cut with a hacksaw and today was covered in axle grease.

I would like to understand the person who believes this destruction to be a sensible course of action. For a start there is no legal right of way down Marsh Lane, there never has been. The only people who have access to the lane are the farmers who tend their animals on the marsh and land owners off the lane, like myself. If walkers wish to access the Common they can do so via the permissive pathway through the Wild Duck Caravan park, which has its back gate open onto the Common until dark most evenings.

Those who want to provide open access down the lane will more than likely get their way; the legal process is in the pipeline probably costing the county council thousands of pounds in fees. So the lane will become accessible in due course so why the disruption and antagonisation now? The “right to roamers” should perhaps bear in mind that opening up access to the Common again is asking for trouble. Are they going to be around to monitor fires and other damage?

The sensible course of action, in my opinion would be to leave the situation as it is now. The security guards on the Wild Duck are well aware of who is going on to the Common and have obviously helped to maintain its safety since the gate has been up. Bear this in mind before carrying on with this mindless activity with the padlocks.



ON my return home from holiday, I was devastated to read of yet two more deaths on the A143, between Haddiscoe and Toft Monks. Let us hope that the Norfolk County Planners take this into account when making their decision on whether it would be sensible to permit an extra 100 HGVs per day travelling on this same road, should a quarry be given permission at Fritton.



IN response to Cllr Collins letter, Mercury, March 26. He is correct in saying residents were not consulted on the proposed changes to local cover provision at Gorleston and Great Yarmouth Fire Stations. A report was commissioned at a cost in excess of �30K by the Conservative administration at County Hall, this report was then presented to the Fire and Community Protection Review Panel for their consideration on the proposed local cover changes, and at no point did the authors of this report ask for residents' views. No Labour councillor voted against consulting residents on the planned changes. And for the record, there is only one Labour councillor on the review panel, so why is Cllr Collins referring to “Labour councillors”?

The only people keeping residents of Gorleston and Great Yarmouth in the dark whether it be the turning off of street lights, withdrawing free bathing services for the elderly, or changing cover provision at our local fire stations, is the Conservative administration at County Hall.


Lapwing Close,


I READ with interest your Name and Address withheld contributor's justification of the alterations at the James Paget. I note that he or she has endorsed my first point that putting up fences does not improve access as the notice claims and in fact the alterations are to improve safety not access. I would like to know how many recorded instances there have been of people being struck by speeding vehicles, how serious these instances have been and where they are recorded.

I agree there are now dedicated pathways, except from the first set of disabled spaces as you drive round the bus lane where there is no pathway at all and any disabled visitor parking there has no option but the walk down the ambulance lane. I also agree the lane designed for drivers to drop of visitors would be a help, but the last time I was there it was blocked off for no apparent reason so was no use at all.

I note your contributor says the system now relies on the cooperation of the public, including the education of both adults and children that the front of the hospital is not the place for fun and games. I agree but would point out that had the educational programme been carried out prior to the "improvements" they would not have been necessary. I am sure if that was the problem there must have been cheaper and better solutions to it than putting up fences. One I would suggest would have been spending the money establishing a totally separate and dedicated ambulance entrance well away from the visitors' entrance.


Royal Naval Hospital

Great Yarmouth

A REUNION is being planned for those pupils who joined the Great Yarmouth Technical High School in September 1961, leaving in 1966-68. The event will be held on Saturday, May 15 in the evening at the Burlington Palm Court Hotel, Great Yarmouth in the form of a buffet. Some former members of staff and pupils have already been contacted. Anyone interested in attending the reunion we would love you to contact either of us on the details here: Wendy Hogg 02075841796, Rosemary Horrocks nee Howell 01493 722316 or email prhorrocks@talktalk.net


I WAS fortunate enough to watch a rehearsal of the rock opera Rent, which is being performed at The Gorleston Pavilion Theatre from April 7 and 10. What a show! The quality of the script, the music and the production will have you rocking in the aisles and crying with joy at the same time. Rarely will you get the opportunity to see the cream of local talent perform a show that is pure entertainment from curtain up to finale. Three hours long and you're gasping for more at the end. There are only four shows.


St Nicholas Court


I IMAGINE I am not alone in receiving a letter from the local Labour Group regarding the proposed reduction in street lighting after midnight. There seems to be a lot of scaremongering about this issue, which is not really a new idea. I well remember back in my teenage years (the 1960's) walking home late at night from Newtown to the south end of town, and the lights going off. I believe it was alternate lamps but I'm not certain on that. We are constantly being assured by our masters that crime is not worse, it is just the perception that it is, so why should reducing the lights make it worse. It seems to me that those who commit crimes these days aren't particularly bothered what time of day it is; one of my family's houses was broken into in broad daylight and nothing was seen. We're all going to have to accept cuts in services to save money in the very near future, and however small the savings might be at least it's a start that should have minimal effect on our lives. If the Labour group wants to send letters making political points, perhaps offering alternate ideas might go down better with the electorate.


St Catherine's Way


I WOULD be grateful if you would give me the opportunity to add my comments to those already expressed concerning the standard of treatment received at the James Paget Hospital. Over the last 15 years I have lost count of the visits I have made to the James Paget. Having had four major surgical operations and a stroke I feel I am more qualified than most to comment on the standard of treatment and I can say that without exception I have been treated with professional care, kindness and respect. A hospital is not a 4-star hotel, nor is it intended to be.


St Peter's Plain

Great Yarmouth

WE all know what a total nightmare it is to park anywhere in the centre of Great Yarmouth, so would it not be logical build a multi-storey on the piece of land on which now stands rusty silos and derelict buildings, and is across the River Bure opposite the railway station? Traffic coming from Caister and Acle New Road and over the new bridge could park there and walk the 200 yards over The Conge into the centre of the town and Market Place.


North Denes Road

Great Yarmouth

IN the light of yet another two tragic fatalities last week on the A143 near Haddiscoe, I would like to know if Norfolk County Council still considers this road suitable to carry an extra 120 HGVs daily, should permission be granted for a wuarry in Fritton?



WITH work on the Gapton Hall roundabout well on the way to ease congestion, today while driving through it, I noticed a big fault: approaching from the Harfrey's roundabout to Gapton they have put in an elongated island to separate traffic turning left into the Gapton estate. This makes it impossible for even small HGVs to go straight through towards Breydon Bridge without taking up both forward lanes on the roundabout. I would like to know who could design, sorry, redesign, this layout without noticing this major problem?


Sorrel Road


THE Yare Valley Citizens Advice Bureau has tragically lost its chief executive Lesley Jones. Lesley came to Great Yarmouth to oversee the amalgamation of the Great Yarmouth CAB with Wymondham and Attleborough bureaux to form the Yare Valley CAB.

By her hard work and application she quickly won the respect and support of all the members of the bureau - staff, volunteers advisers and trustees. Her death will leave a gap that is very hard to fill. I personally will miss her single mindedness and successful leadership which steered us to become the very professional organisation we are. She had great negotiation skills which she used to promote and develop the bureau at all levels. My feelings are with her family at this time and my sadness is felt by all members of the bureau.


Trustee Yare Valley CAB

IN response to Cllr Bert Collins letter ref fire cuts in Great Yarmouth and Gorleston:

1. It has nothing to do with government guide lines or policies it is purely a cost cutting exercise instituted by Norfolk County Tories 2. As regards public consultation: what is to consult on. There is only one option on offer, to cut one fire engine and 14 firefighters jobs in Yarmouth and Gorleston. Even the status quo is not a consideration to which is already a forgone conclusion

3. I would like to point out there are only three Labour members on the county council and only myself on the review panel. but I stand by my actions of not supporting the document and had the full backing of all the firefighters attending the meeting who were very concerned that both the public and their own safety and could be compromised and stated it may save money but it will cost lives

4. As for his comments of Labour keeping people in the dark it will be himself and the rest of the Conservatives doing that when they switch of the street lights in the near future, without consultation.