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Punter robbed in bookies raid

nlnews@archant.co.uk
23 July 2009

ARMED men burst into a bookmakers, threatened staff and robbed a customer of cash and mobile phones in an early-morning raid.The men hit the Coral bookies in Green Lanes, between Hewitt and Seymour Roads, Harringay, at 8.30am last Wednesday, police said.

The men, described as black and aged between 25 and 30, threatened staff to open a safe and searched the unlucky punter, a 33-year-old man.

They made off on foot, with cash from the customer and the safe, towards Colina Road.

Coral is one of eight gambling establishments in a short stretch of Green Lanes between St Ann’s Road and Harringay Green Lanes station – seven bookies and an adult gaming centre.

Ian Sygrave, chairman of the Harringay Ladder Community Safety Partnership, was part of a campaign against the last three opening up, all of them in the last 18 months.

He said: “Residents have always been concerned that the large number of betting shops in Green Lanes would attract more crime into the area. We can only hope that an incident like this will not be repeated.”

No-one was injured in the robbery, but an ambulance was sent as a precaution.

The Met’s Finchley Flying Squad is investigating.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Constable Pat Dunne, of Finchley Flying Squad, on 020 8358 1751, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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WOOLWICH: Teenager claims he killed David Cooper in self-defence

10:28am Wednesday 8th July 2009

A FAILED asylum seeker killed a man who was trying to rape him, a court heard.

David Cooper was found dead in his flat in Sir Martin Bowes House, Calderwood Street, Woolwich, in November last year.

Mossab Belhocine, 19, from Walthamstow, is alleged to have kicked 28-year-old Mr Cooper so hard he left an imprint of his trainer on his face.

At the Old Bailey this week, the Algerian national denied murdering the sales assistant and said he was defending himself against a sexual attack by Mr Cooper.

But the prosecution deny there was any attempted rape and say Belhocine murdered Mr Cooper in order to rob him.

Belhocine, also known as Adam Saidi, met Mr Cooper in Soho in November last year and the pair travelled to a flat in south London.

Belhocine told the jury that he had been swigging vodka and Red Bull all evening and had smoked a cannabis with Mr Cooper when they got to his home.

He said: “He came and sat next to me on the sofa and put his hand on my leg and started moving it up and down.

“I got up and was going to leave because I didn’t want it to happen.

“He put his hands on my shoulders and pushed me towards the bed. I fell onto it. He came on top of me and was trying to kiss me.”

Belhocine told the jury that in an attempt to get Mr Cooper off him, he started punching him with both fists.

He said: “I was punching him anywhere and trying to fight him off. I pushed him onto the floor. He was holding my left leg as he was lying on the floor. I kicked him in his chest and face a few times to get my leg free.”

Belhocine told the court that he couldn’t remember causing Mr Cooper any more injuries because he was “really drunk”.

He said that he had been sexually abused as a child and believed the memory may have triggered his anger on the night of Mr Cooper’s death.

The court heard that Belhocine ransacked Mr Cooper’s flat while he lay dying and stole a silver bracelet, DVD player, computer console, flat screen television, laptop, a black case and an Oyster card.

Belhocine said that while searching the flat, Mr Cooper was on the floor making noises and was moving but was unable to get up.

He said that he put all the items in two bags and left the flat. He was later arrested after detectives traced the journeys of Mr Cooper’s Oyster card.

The court heard that the failed asylum seeker came to the UK on a visitor’s visa in 2007.

The prosecution say that he was part of a network of Algerian pick-pockets operating in the Finsbury Park area, which Belhocine denies.

Belhocine says he was living off money sent from his mother and earnings from a warehouse job before he was charged with fraud for applying for a visa with a fake passport, using the name Adam Saidi, in September last year.

The trial continues.

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Police urge assault woman: “please make contact”

12:20pm Tuesday 7th July 2009

A WOMAN heard screaming for help on Friday morning has gone missing.

The woman had borrowed a mobile phone from a passer-by to call Haringey police at 6.20am while in Beresford Road, Harringay.

She told officers she had been assaulted but when they arrived at the scene just 9 minutes later the victim had disappeared.

Witness reports reveal a woman had been heard screaming for help.

Officers carried out door-to-door enquiries and even took one of the eyewitnesses on a drive round the area to see if they could spot her.

All efforts to locate the victim have been unsuccessful and police are concerned for her welfare.

Detective Constable Rachel Porter said: “We are asking for this woman to get back in touch with us and let us know who she is.

“She will be treated with sensitivity and we will do all we can to help.”

Officers are now urging the victim to contact DC Rachel Porter, of Haringey CID or Haringey police on 0300 123 1212 to let them know is she is okay

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‘Puppy farms’ breeding wild dogs

nlnews@archant.co.uk
02 July 2009
PC George Thomson with two pitbulls which had to be destroyed after a raid on a council flat in Finsbury Park
PC George Thomson with two pitbulls which had to be destroyed after a raid on a council flat in Finsbury Park
ILLEGAL “puppy farms” on Islington housing estates are breeding hundreds of banned danger dogs every year worth up to £8,000 a litter.

Two dangerous pit bull terriers alleged to have mauled another dog at their owner’s command were seized in a police raid on the Six Acres Estate in Finsbury Park on Friday.

Expert officers from the Metropolitan Police’s new Status Dogs Unit and the

K-9 Dog Support Unit (DSU) were armed with specialist nooses and fire extinguishers as they confronted the owner in his home at 7.30am.

The male and female pit bulls, aged just one year old, had been bought as puppies from an illegal breeder in Islington for £800 and £700 respectively.

PC Mick Holland, of the DSU, said: “It’s like another bit of ‘bling’. If the breeders put out eight or 10 pups every litter that’s a lot of money. They are puppy farms.”

Legally the police are powerless to intervene in dog on dog attacks, and Islington officers have told the Gazette they do not feel safe confronting owners of dangerous dogs being kept off a lead armed only with a truncheon.

PC Holland, an expert dog handler, said: “Dogs will fight. Even the smallest puppy has genetics which says ‘I want to be pack leader’. Legally we have to respect the fact they are animals. But to be a dog owner you have to take responsibility.

“In some respects the owner was glad to get rid of them today. They’re only a year old but they’ve got to an age where he can’t control them. People don’t realise what they’re like. They’re not pets – they’re bred for fighting. They need all their energies channelled into something which is why they get channelled into dog fighting.”

Both banned dogs – which were being kept in the same house as three young children – were destroyed after the raid.

Disgusting

“Dogs like this should never be kept with children, it’s disgusting,” said PC Holland. “Dogs see kids as puppies. If they don’t show enough respect something inside of them just switches. An adult couldn’t bring two dogs off a child.”

Sergeant Chris Walsh, head of Finsbury Park Safer Neighbourhoods Team, who organised the raid, said: “We’ve got a lot of these dogs in the area and they’re causing all sorts of larger problems. It will only take one or two more raids like this and the word will get out that we’re proactively looking to take more dangerous dogs.”

Council tenants are not allowed to keep more than one dog in their home without special permission – but Homes for Islington, which runs Islington Council’s housing estates, admits it barely enforces the ban. Sergeant Walsh added: “I’ll tell HfI what we’ve done today and I’ll be looking for more assistance on this from them. They can impose a ban on owning dogs but breeders are the people that need to be targeted.

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Abduction fears after girl, 10, is chased in street

nlnews@archant.co.uk
02 July 2009
A 10-YEAR-old girl was chased down the street by a man in what is thought to be the fifth case of an attempted abduction since April.

Worried parents fear being kept in the dark about the attacks – seemingly carried out by the same man – claiming nearby schools were not told to warn parents after the latest incident.

The child was approached by a stranger at the junction of Stanhope Road and Claremont Road, Highgate, at about 5pm on Wednesday, June 24, and asked to walk with him.

She ran but was chased for a short distance until he gave up and drove off in a hatchback car.

The man’s description appears to match that of two other attempted kidnappings in Hornsey and Harringay in the last month.

He had blond hair, was aged about 30-35 and wore a dark suit with a red and blue tie with a white handkerchief.

Highgate ward Councillor Rachel Allison, of Claremont Road, whose nine-year-old daughter attends nearby St Michael’s Primary School, said the school was not told of the attempted abduction until five days after it happened.

She said: “I rang the school on Friday and again on Monday but they didn’t know anything about it.

“As a parent you’re extremely concerned and you just want to be kept informed.

“You need to be able to say to your children that they need to be on the lookout. It’s not that you keep them under wraps but you have to be aware of the situation.

“The schools need to know because it could very well be the same person.”

It follows four other reports of attempted kidnappings in the Hornsey and Harringay area involving children aged between nine and 13.

Police are urging parents to tell their children to plan their journeys, avoid deserted short cuts, stop wearing headphones and stay alert.

A Haringey police spokeswoman said: “We advise all children, as part of our schools programme, on what to do if approached by a stranger. his message appears to be effective in that the reports we have received show they followed the advice and have done everything they were supposed to.”

Police do not believe the recent attacks are carried out by the same person adding investigations are still ongoing.

A council spokesman said: “The police are investigating and they have not asked us to issue a Schools Safe alert.

“An alert was issued recently asking schools to be extra vigilant.

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Islington Tribune - by CHARLOTTE CHAMBERS
Published: 29 May 2009

Joint operation: teams at the Tube station targeted men between 16 and 25

Police station crackdown targets knives and drugs

POLICE have sent a warning to anyone hoping to bring drugs and knives into Finsbury Park: you will be caught.
Last Thursday a joint operation by British Transport Police, Safer Neighbourhoods officers and reassurance teams was launched outside Finsbury Park station with the aim of frightening off would-be dealers and anyone carrying weapons.
Part of the anti-knife Operation Blunt, the teams targeted men between 16 and 25, the group most likely to commit drugs and weapons offences according to police data, and used sniffer dogs and a knife arch.
Young men walking out of the station were encouraged to walk through the arch; if they resisted they were asked why. Aggressive behaviour or an unwillingness to account for their presence led to a search. Of 110 people stopped, 10 were arrested, others were searched and released.
Finsbury Park has been identified by police as a trouble hotspot because of the so-called free travel to and from the area; the 29 bus has problems with fare evasion and there are no ticket barriers at the station.
In March the area around the station was also made a dispersal zone for youths and police said its effectiveness would be reviewed when its term ends in June.
Sgt Liam Ahern of Finsbury Park Safer Neighbourhoods hub team said the operation was likely to keep criminals away from the area for at least a month, and planned to launch a similar surprise operation in coming four weeks.
“We are sending out the message: carrying knives in Finsbury Park and you will get caught. We want to reassure the local people and those travelling to Finsbury Park, and act as a deterrent,” he said.
More than 50 people were fined for fare evasion.

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Islington Tribune - by CHARLOTTE CHAMBERS
Published: 22 May 2009

Flowers near the spot Ahmet Paytak was shot

Shop shooting ‘is linked to gangs’


Fight two months before death is probed

DETECTIVES say the investigation into the shooting of a Holloway shopkeeper is “progressing well” and revealed that they identified sev­eral potential suspects.
Last night (Thursday), speaking on the eve of the two-month anniversary of Ahmet Paytak’s death, Detective Chief Inspector Carl Mehta said: “The investigation is progressing well. We’re still working through a lot of information from the public.”

Mr Paytak, 50, who lived with his wife and children in Skinner Street, Finsbury, was shot as they closed up at Euro Wine and Food on the corner of Hornsey Road and Tollington Road. His son Huseyin, 21, was shot in the leg.

In January, members of two Turkish drug-dealing gangs, the Bombacilar and the Tottenham Turks, got into a fight at the Manor Club in Seven Sisters Road. And just hours before Mr Paytak was shot, another shooting took place in Clapton, which DCI Mehta thinks is connected to the fight at the Manor Club.

DCI Mehta said: “At the moment we’ve got reason to believe the shooting at the Euro Wine and Food shop may have been retribution for a shooting incident that took place at 6 or 6.15pm that evening.”

He said he thought the initial fight, which took place on January 24 between around 10 gang members at the club, appeared to be the result of little more than male “bravado” and posturing.

From the start DCI Mehta has described the tragedy as a case of mistaken identity.

He is now looking into whether the gunmen were searching for a man who once worked at the shop who is thought to be connected to the Tottenham gang.

DCI Mehta believes the shooter is a member of a Hackney drugs gang – with more than 10 years’ his­tory who routinely ­carry guns – who opened fire in the shop despite not finding their target.

No arrests have been made so far, while appeals to locate the bike used in the killing, a rare red and black Benelli TNT, have been fruitless.

Anyone with information is urged to call the incident room on 020 8345 3734 or ring Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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