Search

We started Crimestoppers, not Ashcroft!

PUBLISHED: 09:38 26 March 2010 | UPDATED: 17:12 30 June 2010

THE brains behind Crimestoppers, which started in Great Yarmouth, have criticised shadow foreign secretary William Hague for claiming in a radio interview that the scheme was started instead by Lord Ashcroft.

THE brains behind Crimestoppers, which started in Great Yarmouth, have criticised shadow foreign secretary William Hague for claiming in a radio interview that the scheme was started instead by Lord Ashcroft.

Jim Carter, of The Fairway, at Gorleston, and Fleggburgh man Mick Cole launched Crimestoppers in June 1983 to encourage the public to give anonymous tip-offs to the police in return for financial rewards.

Mr Cole, who was then a serving detective at Yarmouth, had got the idea after seeing a similar scheme in operation while visiting the American state of New Mexico in 1976.

However, Mr Hague said on Radio 4's Any Questions that Lord Ashcroft, the Tory Party's deputy chairman, had started it.

In fact, his role had been to help set Crimestoppers up as a national charity after initially offering a reward for information about the murder of PC Keith Blakelock during the 1985 Broadwater Farm riots in London.

Mr Carter, who was manager of Yarmouth's Woolworths store when Crimestoppers started, said he and Mr Cole had met Yarmouth MP Tony Wright at the Houses of Parliament to mark the scheme's 25th anniversary in June 2008. At that time, Home Office minister Vernon Coaker said that, when people had seen the influence of Crimestop-pers, they would reflect on the brilliance of the two men for picking up the idea and driving it forward.

Mr Carter, now 83, said: “Lord Ashcroft may have rolled the scheme out nationally, but the concept and birth of Crimestoppers was here in Yarmouth, and I am very proud to think it was started locally in the backwater of a little seaside town in 1983,”

Mr Cole said: “It would be very nice if Mr Hague was to make a retraction? But I can't see that happening, can you?”

Mr Wright said he had written to Mr Hague asking him to confirm Crimestoppers began in Yarmouth. He added: “It is just about putting the record straight: that you can't take credit for something that started in Yarmouth.”

Mr Hague was unavailable for comment, but his spokeswoman said the

issue was for the Crime-stoppers charity, not the Conservative Party, to deal with. She added: “As the charity makes clear on its website, Michael Ashcroft played a major part in setting up Crimestoppers as a national charity and continues to serve as chairman of the trustees.”

Most Read

Latest from the Great Yarmouth Mercury

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists