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Round-the-clock security reinstated at historic hotel to protect it from vandals

ACTION is being taken to try to prevent vandals breaking into a historic New Forest hotel and wrecking the ornate interior.

PegasusLife has reinstated round-the-clock security at the Lyndhurst1 Park Hotel and boarded up more of the windows after being told by police to increase security.

It follows a spate of incidents in which hooligans have destroyed a large number of fixtures and fittings.

The hotel, which dominates the eastern entrance to the village, closed in 2014 with the loss of more than 20 jobs.

Plans by PegasusLife to bulldoze the building and replace it with 74 retirement apartments were rejected by the New Forest National Park Authority2 (NPA) earlier this year.

As the complex continued to stand empty, vandals started smashing their way in and wrecking the rooms.

Two months ago conservationists said a priceless stained-glass window installed in the 19th century was among the items that had been destroyed.

Now more of the windows have been boarded up, including those on the upper floors .

In some cases metal sheeting or the original glass has been replaced with wood.

It follows a meeting attended by representatives from Hampshire police, New Forest District Council3 and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.

In a letter to Lyndhurst Parish Council, Police Inspector Katherine Willoughby says: My understanding is that PegasusLife withdrew the 24/7 security once the planning application had been declined.

We have requested that further security is put back on and that the premises are secured with more thorough boarding.

Parish councillors are waiting to see if PegasusLife will lodge an appeal against the NPA s decision or submit a revised scheme.

Speaking last month Grant Drummond, development director for the site, responded to concerns by saying the company was doing everything it could to protect the site.

He said: We are in regular contact with the police and have reported all break-ins that we ve become aware of.

Our security company has detained people on site and passed details of people and vehicles to the police and this has resulted in at least one arrest.

We re taking every practicable measure to minimise opportunities for unlawful access.

Asked about the latest attempts to protect the site a company spokesman said: We currently have 24/7 security with two guards and have installed a welfare unit for them.

A Hampshire Police spokesman added: We attended a partnership meeting about this issue and security at the site has been improved.

References

  1. ^ Lyndhurst (www.bournemouthecho.co.uk)
  2. ^ New Forest National Park Authority (www.newforestnpa.gov.uk)
  3. ^ New Forest District Council (www.nfdc.gov.uk)

China’s leadership gathers for secretive summit amid tight security

For a seaside resort where nothing is officially happening, the town of Beidaihe in northern China has a lot of security. There is an armed police checkpoint on the outskirts. We’re stopped again for another passport check further on. Uniformed officers are stationed at regular intervals along the roads, their plainclothes colleagues, identifiable by plastic earpieces, standing nearby. By the beach, among tourists carrying rubber rings, we saw armed paramilitary police.

Image: Communist Party villas near public beaches

No one will confirm it, but they are here to protect China’s Communist Party leadership, thought to be holding its annual secretive summit at the resort. Mao Zedong started the tradition in the 1950s, with the party elite decamping to the coast to escape the stifling Beijing summer heat, to decide the country’s future in private. For all the appearance of modernisation in China, in 2017, this is still how power is exercised in the “People’s Republic” – behind high walls and carefully guarded gates. There is no mention of the meeting in state media. The only indication it has started is the sudden absence of senior officials from evening news bulletins, and the simultaneous appearance of heavy security on the streets of Beidaihe. On one side of a long fence is the crowded public beach – on the other, the manicured, private sands of the Communist Party villas.

Image: Black cars sweep through at speed

At intervals, black cars sweep through at speed, as ordinary traffic is halted to let them pass. But then we were ordered to stop filming . When I asked why, I was told: “Because we are police.” More plainclothes security agents followed us along the street, before stopping and questioning us about what we were doing there, and taking our names and passport details.

Image: Sky’s Katie Stallard was stopped by officers

This is a crucial year for General Secretary Xi Jinping, who appears to be consolidating his personal control ahead of an important party congress this autumn, which will determine the country’s leadership for the next five years. He may also signal whether he plans to step down in line with the recent convention of serving two terms, which would end in 2022, or intends to stay in power. At a military parade1 to mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army recently, President Xi appeared, unusually, as the only civilian on the podium, and reviewed the troops in combat fatigues.

Image: China’s President Xi Jinping

“Xi was wearing his commander-in-chief hat both literally and figuratively,” Andrew Polk, co-founder of Trivium China explained. “This is a very clear signal that Xi is in charge of the army, which is part and parcel of being a powerful leader.

“The message is: I’m in charge of domestic politics, I’m in charge of the military apparatus, the nation is strong, and I am the leader of that strong nation.” Back in Beidaihe, we found more clues to who was in town on a roundabout, where red characters spelled out: “The Party is in my heart, welcome the 19th Congress.” There were more warm words for the Party’s leadership on the beach.

Image: One of the packed public beaches in Beidaihe

“I think it’s quite normal that the government take some measures and they have the right to do this their own way . They do that for our country’s safety and people’s happiness,” one man assured us. Soaking up the sun nearby, another man told us: “China has thousands of years of history . It needs time to develop, but I think China is getting better and better.”

If Xi Jinping could have heard him on his side of the fence, he would have approved.

References

  1. ^ military parade (news.sky.com)

Security guard suffers daily migraines after being attacked at the …

A SECURITY guard who was attacked while on duty suffers from migraines every day as a result of his injuries, a court heard.

James King was assaulted at the Dolphin Shopping Centre1 just before Christmas last year by a man and a woman.

Andrew Goldstraw, 42, and Christa Stevenson, known as Stacey Coleman, 40, both of Junction Road in Poole, pleaded guilty to assault by beating at Poole Magistrates Court yesterday.

The pair had originally denied the charges.

Police officers were called to the shopping centre on Sunday, December 18 at 5.05pm after a row broke out between a man, a woman and members of security staff.

During proceedings yesterday CCTV footage of the incident was shown to the court.

Goldstraw, who is already in custody serving another prison sentence, could be seen grappling with Mr King on the floor of Poole bus station.

Coleman then appears and is seen to kick Mr King more than once in the leg while he is still on the floor.

Miss Nicola Bowker, prosecuting, told the court that Mr King sustained a cut under his eye as well as bruising and swelling to the head.

She added: As a result of the injuries to his head Mr King now suffers with migraines which can occur two or three times a day.

This also means that he suffers with a lot of pain.

The court heard that Goldstraw apologised for his behaviour on the night in question.

Handing down his sentence District Judge Snow said: The offence is so serious that only custody can be justified.

A security guard is vulnerable to this type of behaviour and this was a nasty injury which has taken a significant amount of time to recover from, he added.

Goldstraw was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison .

Coleman s sentencing was adjourned to later in the day following a pre-sentence report but was told that she was unlikely to face any prison time.

References

  1. ^ Dolphin Shopping Centre (www.dolphinshoppingcentre.co.uk)