Friday, 20 December 2013

Bird smugglers get wings clipped in court

Two people from West Yorkshire have been found guilty of attempting to smuggle live birds into the country through Leeds Bradford Airport.

Fiaz Shah, of Flaxston Place, Bradford and Sobia Bibi, of Newbern Road, Bradford were both were charged with bringing birds into the country illegally, without an appropriate licence.

The attempts to bring the Franklin Partidges – also known as Grey Francolin birds – into the country were thwarted by Border Force officers earlier this year.

On 4 May, officers found four birds concealed inside a suitcase, and another five were detected on 11 May also in wooden cages hidden inside luggage.

All were found on passenger flights arriving at Leeds Bradford Airport from Islamabad.
Shah stated that the birds, native to South Asia and often bred for fighting, were intended as pets while Bibi claimed she didn’t know that the birds had been put in her suitcase.

Shah pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 40 hours unpaid community work, ordered to pay a £60 victim surcharge and £150 towards costs.

Bibi pleaded guilty and was fined £305, and ordered to pay a further £30 victim surcharge and £1,000 towards costs.

Councillor Mark Dobson, Leeds City Council’s executive member for the environment, said:

“This has certainly been one of the more unusual cases we’ve had to deal with. However, it demonstrates that we will use all the legal powers available to us to pursue those who’d put the health and safety of people and animals at risk.”

Kevin Parsons, Border Force Assistant Director at Leeds Bradford Airport, said:

“Our officers work hard to prevent all forms of smuggling, whether the items smuggled are drugs, weapons, tobacco or live animals as in this case.

“We welcome the prosecution brought by Leeds City Council. It is vitally important that unregulated attempts to bring livestock into the UK are stopped - to protect the health of both animals and humans and to prevent animal cruelty.”

The prosecution follows a detailed investigation by the council’s health, safety and animal welfare team. Evidence gathered by Border Force officers was crucial to the case as was the knowledge of Manchester Trading Standards who assisted in the early stages of the investigation, having dealt with similar matters at Manchester Airport.


The cases were brought under the Importation of Birds, Poultry and Hatching Eggs Order 1979.

Franklin Partridges are a native wild bird of South Asia. Like all wild birds they carry bird flu viruses in their intestines, but do not usually become ill from them. Bird flu is highly contagious among birds and can prove fatal for domesticated animals like chickens, ducks and turkeys. There is also a potential risk to human health, for those who come into contact with infected birds.

For media enquiries please contact:
Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1577

Council steps in to bolster winter support

Cold weather support for people in Leeds has been given a helping hand as Leeds City Council teams up with local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to fill a funding gap in winter warmth provision.

The council’s Public Health team have made £200,000 available to enable the council to deliver crucial services to make the cold months ahead less of a threat to those most at risk. The funding package will ensure that the council is able to deliver a range of practical help and support to vulnerable people to help them stay warm and healthy in their homes his winter.

Last winter Leeds accessed £199,067 of funding from the Department of Health’s Warm Homes Healthy People Fund to provide similar services. The Department of Health have this year removed this funding and have instead told local authorities that they need to fund this area themselves, despite facing unprecedented budget pressures.

With winter now underway, the city has prioritised this work locally, identifying funding from the local Public Health budget and supplemented with additional money through Leeds CCGs.

The funding package will help existing winter warmth programmes provided by Care & Repair Leeds, Groundwork Leeds, Leeds Community Foundation and CAB, delivering emergency heating repairs, household energy efficiency measures and advice, and detailed advice on dealing with fuel bills and eligibility for any financial help.

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Executive Board Member for Health and Wellbeing, said
“Local services play a vital role in supporting people most in need to be safe and healthy in cold weather, from gritting roads to offering free or discounted boiler upgrades, loft and cavity wall insulation and external wall insulation.

“We know that the support the city put in place last year made a big difference to many people and it is really important that we continue to deliver these services. This job has been made much harder with the government cutting the Warm Homes Healthy People funding just before the cold weather hits. It has put us in a situation where at a time of unprecedented pressures on health and social care budgets we have had find funding to fill this service gap.

“However, thanks to working closely with our partners in the CCGs, we have been able to provide this vital package of services to keep vulnerable people safe in their homes this winter.”

Director of Public Health for Leeds, Dr Ian Cameron, said:

“We know that cold has a significant impact on health and the extreme weather last winter really showed this. That is why I believe it is crucial for Public Health to play a key role in helping promote effective ways to deal with the problems cold weather causes and play our part in keeping people in Leeds healthy and safe over the coming months.”


Issued by:
Phil Morcom
Communications and Marketing
Leeds City Council
Fourth Floor West, Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR
Mobile: 0772 227 5370
Tel: 0113 395 0393
Fax: 0113 247 4736

Notes to Editor:

The new funding package will be broken down as follows:
• £50,000 to Care & Repair Leeds (Warm Homes Service)
• £50,000 to Groundwork Leeds (Green Doctor Service)
• £50,000 to Leeds Community Foundation (Community Grants Fund)
• £20,000 to (Chapeltown) Citizens Advice Bureau

In addition, £30,000 will be available for cold weather preparedness and as a contingency fund should any of the above projects experience a higher than expected demand.

Direct effects of winter weather include an increase in incidence of: heart attack, stroke, respiratory disease, influenza, falls and injuries and hypothermia. This is why people with underlying health problems, the elderly and frail are at greater risk. Indirect effects of cold include mental health illnesses such as depression, and the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if boilers, cooking and heating appliances are poorly maintained, poorly ventilated or not used properly.

Circulatory system diseases such as heart attacks and strokes account for 40% of excess winter deaths. Around one third of excess winter deaths are due to respiratory illness.

Information on how to stay well is on NHS Choices, the Get Ready for Winter websites, Keep Warm, Keep Well booklet and the Cold Weather Plan for England. If you are worried about your health or that of somebody you know, ring NHS 111, or in an emergency, dial 999.

PHE has a number of key initiatives to protect and improve the health of people, especially the most vulnerable. These are summarised in the Cold Weather Plan for England, and the ‘Keep Warm, Keep Well’ booklet. They both set out a series of cost effective and simple measures people can take to reduce the harm to health caused by cold weather.

The Cold Weather Plan for England aims to avoid preventable deaths in winter by setting out a series of actions for organisations, communities and individuals, to take throughout the year. (

The ‘Keep Warm, Keep Well’ booklet provides advice on staying warm and healthy aimed at the over 60s, low-income families, and people with a disability. (

Apprenticeship awards return for the third year running

Nominations have opened for the Leeds Apprenticeship Awards 2014.

Leeds is set to host the third Apprenticeship Awards, with the event highlighting the work of excellent apprentices and those organisations who are committed to offering quality apprenticeships and make such a positive difference to the city.

The ceremony will take place at the Civic Hall on 4 March 2014, during National Apprenticeship Week when the city will be holding a number of events to inform young people and businesses of the benefits gained through apprenticeships.

Partners including Leeds City Council, Leeds City College, Appris, BPP Professional Education, ESG group and the National Apprenticeship Service launched the nominations for Leeds Apprenticeship Awards 2014 this week.

Individuals and organisations are encouraged to submit their entries before the closing date of 24 January 2014.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibilities for leisure and skills said;

“We have a huge number of very talented young people in our city and apprenticeships are for many of them a great opportunity for their future.

“Our awards are a fantastic way of recognising the achievements of apprentices and of increasing the profile of apprenticeships and I am very much looking forward to the event next year.”

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council said:

“These awards are a great opportunity to celebrate the apprentices, employers and learning providers who are making such a difference in the city, whilst at the same time getting the message across that apprenticeships are about much more than the traditional trades.

“We know that more and more young people are opting for apprenticeships instead of university, and employers really like to be able to take on and grow a motivated, talented apprentice who is looking to build a career in their organisation.”

To discover more, and find out how to enter for one of the award categories visit:

Notes to editors:

The award categories are broken down as follows:

Apprentice of the Year (three awards – Intermediate, Advanced and Higher)

Employer of the Year (three awards – Small under 49 employees , Medium 50- 249 employees and Large 250 plus employees )


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450

Hard-working meals-on-wheels staff set to hit the road on Christmas Day

Caption: Community Meals Leeds driver Alan Scott, a member of the team working on Christmas Day, delivers a meal to Margaret Drooker, 75.

Hundreds of elderly, disabled and vulnerable residents across Leeds will get a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings delivered to their door this year.

A dedicated team from Leeds City Council’s Community Meals Leeds service will be working on Christmas Day, going on their rounds across the city.

Around 20 staff will be out on the road, delivering an estimated 220 festive lunches including turkey and Christmas pudding.

For many customers the person who delivers their meal may be the only contact they have on Christmas Day.

Councillor Adam Ogilvie, Leeds City Council’s executive member for adult social care, said:

“For many of our Community Meals Leeds customers, having their Christmas dinner delivered not only means they can be sure of a hot meal, it can also be the difference between seeing a friendly face on Christmas Day and spending the day alone.

“The work done by the meals-on-wheels team at this time of year, and all the year round, makes a huge difference to the lives of hundreds of residents who might otherwise be completely isolated.”

Councillor Peter Gruen, the council’s executive member for neighbourhoods, planning and support services added:

“While many of us are spending Christmas Day with our family and friends, members of the Community Meals Leeds team will be out making sure some of our city’s most vulnerable residents are not alone.

“The team works hard each and every day of the year, but their dedication on Christmas Day really shows how willing they are to go the extra mile and make sure their customers are not isolated over the festive season.”

Earlier this year Community Meals Leeds was announced as the winner of the National Association of Care Catering’s (NACC) National Community Meals Award.

The prestigious award recognises the authority, business or individual who has proved themselves the best at providing the vital resource to elderly and vulnerable residents.

Community Meals Leeds, run by Leeds City Council, delivers an estimated 124,000 meals every year to more than 500 people around the city.

The service has been delivering hot meals to Leeds residents for more than 30 years.

For more information, contact:
Stuart Robinson
Communications Officer
Leeds City Council
Tel: 0113 224 3937

Parking cheats now on Santa’s naughty list

A total of 23 people now risk being on Santa’s naughty list having been called to appear before Leeds magistrates for Blue Badge offences.

The 23 men and women have faced magistrates throughout December for mis-using the scheme designed to make it easier for disabled people to park and get to where they need to be easily.

The offences date back to May and up to October this year with people using badges in pay and display bays and disabled bays, belonging to people who have died, displaying expired badges and using badges without the badge holder being present.

The majority of cheats caught came from Leeds, but some offenders came from Doncaster, Harrogate, Knottingley and Sheffield.

All the cases against the Blue Badge fraudsters were found proved and while some were given a conditional discharge, the fines and costs awarded total over £5,000.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive board member for the environment, said:

“When questioned, most of these individuals have known they are in the wrong as the rules for using Blue Badges couldn’t be clearer.

“While it might be convenient for you to forget those rules for a short while, you could be putting people with a genuine need at a disadvantage, which simply isn’t fair.

“We’ve highlighted a number of these cases over recent months in a bid to show that we won’t stand by and allow the system to be abused. We hope that this has served as a serious warning but we will continue to monitor and prosecute until that message gets through.”

People could have their Blue Badges revoked or renewal refused if they or others persistently abuse them.

They also face a maximum £1,000 fine if prosecuted and found guilty of abusing the system.

See and for more information.

For media enquiries please contact:
Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1577