Secret Mobile Phone ‘Listening Devices’ Are Found All Over London

Hi-tech mobile phone ‘listening devices’ have been found all over London – capable of ‘reading’ text messages, emails and listening to calls.

The devices – IMSI catchers, known as ‘stingrays’, are often used by police – but are available on the black market.

An investigation by VICE news used detectors and found the devices in use near Britain’s Parliament – and near the Ecuadorian embassy, where Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is living.

The suitcase-sized devices, called Stingrays, fool mobile phones into thinking they are ‘real’ mobile masts – and revealing their location.

An investigation by Sky News last year found up to 20 ‘Stingray’ devices active in London, using specialised detector hardware from German company GMSK Cryptophone.

Apple criticises UK surveillance proposals

BUSINESS DAILY : Apple has criticised proposals for new surveillance rules in the UK, claiming they could ‘paralyse’ the technology sector. Also today, we look at the latest oil price, and hopes for a ‘Santa rally’ on the markets.

Experts said that these signals were ‘strong evidence’ that the fake masts were in use in London.

‘With IMSI catchers, it’s very difficult for them to be used in a targeted manner,’ Eric King, deputy director of Privacy International, told Sky News.

‘In an urban space, thousands of people’s mobile phones would be swept up in that dragnet. What they do with that data, we don’t know.

‘We know police have been using them for years, but this is the first time that it’s been shown that they’re being deployed in the UK.’

Source: Yahoo News

Why cheap oil isn’t all good news

Why cheap oil isn't all good news

Despite petrol prices being tipped to fall to 86p a litre if the oil rout continues this isn’t all good news for the average person.

Oil prices have fallen by a third since the start of December and well over 70% since the summer of 2014 and now hover at around $30 a barrel.

In spite of the recent price crash, some well-respected investment banks think prices could fall even lower, potentially as far as $10 a barrel, which, according to the RAC, would result in petrol prices of just 86p per litre, a saving of 45p per litre on the prices seen in June 2014.

On a typical 50-litre refill this translates to a £22.50 saving every time you refill. Equating to an annual saving of £579 a year assuming a typical driver covers 10,000 miles annually in a car that averages 35 mpg.

This sounds like good news. At the pumps there’s no denying we’ll be making a significant saving. This is just one reason why inflation has been so lacklustre of late.

So, where’s the downside? Well, the price of oil is arguably the most important financial metric out there. It’s a barometer for the overall health of the global economy.

So what’s driving the collapse in the global oil price? In a word, China.

The world’s second largest economy is seeing a significant downturn. Once revered as the global engine for growth, the Chinese economy has stalled.

The other factor which affects us is pension investments. According to Sky’s business presenter Ian King, Shell accounts for £1 in every £6 received in dividends by UK pension funds.

The fortunes of oil companies matter to just about every man, woman and child in the country.

Shell shares are 36% lower in the last 12 months while BP shares are down nearly 15%.

The other thing to bear in mind is the effect on the environment.

Lower fuel prices not only make gas-guzzling cars more attractive to consumers but also encourage drivers to use their cars more often.

Across the pond there is already evidence of this trend with US vehicle sales hitting a new record in 2015 surpassing the previous record set in 2000.

Low petrol prices in the US caused demand for fuel efficient cars to stall, with Nissan’s Leaf electric car seeing sales plummet 43%. Toyota’s Prius sales fell 11%.

Meanwhile, back in the UK British Airways has shelved plan for a £340m project to produce aviation fuel from household waste.

So although we’re winning at the pumps our pensions and carbon footprint look far from rosy.

Source: Yahoo Finance

 

How The Hatton Garden Jewel Thieves

How The Hatton Garden Jewel Thieves Were Caught.

“They were analogue criminals operating in a digital world. They lacked the knowledge to defeat digital detectives.”

It was described as a “professional” job, carried out in April 2015 by hardened career criminals with a clutch of convictions to their name. They got away with £14 million worth of jewels, gold, and cash from a secure vault without being spotted and left no trace of a break-in.

The thieves – who have a combined age of 442 – disabled a lift shaft to reach the vault in the basement, dismantled the building’s alarm, forced open the iron gates leading to the vault, drilled through some 50cm of concrete, and clambered through a tiny 45cm-wide hole to finally get into the vault and rifle through the precious contents of 73 boxes at the Hatton Garden Safety Deposit Box Ltd.

Metropolitan Police / PA

Metropolitan police / PA

The tunnel leading into the vault at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit company, which was robbed over the 2015 Easter weekend.

The biggest burglary in English history was three years in the making and involved several reconnaissance missions – one of the gang actually entered the building in March 2015 and was later seen tampering with the lift on CCTV. Police believe it wasn’t an inside job – it was simply expertly planned.

But three men were found guilty of their part in Hatton Garden jewel theft on Thursday, following guilty pleas from the four ringleaders last year, and the gang now await sentencing. With the oldest member aged 76, some of the men could live out the rest of their days in jail.

So, how did their meticulous plan fall apart?

The black Mercedes on Hatton Garden on Saturday 5 April. buzzfeed-video1.s3.amazonaws.com

The gang didn’t use their mobile phones at the scene of the crime, knowing that SMS and phone call records could place them there, and used walkie-talkies instead.

But police didn’t need phone records, because the gang went to and from the scene in a very unique car: a white E200 series Mercedes with a black roof and black alloy wheels. When looking through footage from 150 CCTV cameras after the raid, police noticed the car parked up near the Hatton Garden Safety Deposit business.

By running the numberplate through London’s congestion charge database, they were led to the home of John “Kenny” Collins, 74, who acted as the gang’s driver and pleaded guilty to plotting the burglary in October.

It appeared that the rest of the gang didn’t think much of Collins’ criminal ability, referring to him as a “wombat-thick cunt” who “lost the plot” in the weeks after the heist.

The Mercedes and another vehicle, owned by Terry Perkins, 67, who also admitted his part in the heist, were bugged by police soon after the raid, and officers were then able to listen in to the conversations of the conspirators.

According to a police transcript, Collins said on 15 May while travelling in Perkins’ car: “The biggest cash robbery in history at the time and now the biggest tom [Cockney rhyming slang for jewellery, as in tomfoolery] in the fucking world, that’s what they are saying … and what a book you could write, fucking hell.”

John “Kenny” Collins

Met police

Terry Perkins

Met police

Brian Reader

Met police

The police were now on the trail and able to watch the rest of the gang as they talked about what went wrong during the heist, discussed how and where they would divide the loot, and indulged in a good deal of matey banter.

The audio told the police that the heist had almost fallen apart due to dodgy equipment. Having gained access to the building on Friday 4 April, a jack and hydraulic ram the gang planned to use to knock over the securely fitted deposit boxes didn’t work.

The following morning, Brian Reader, 76, despite being referred to “the Master” or “the Guv” by his co-conspirators, “bottled it”, walking out and refusing to go through with the crime. Reader pleaded guilty for his role in the heist back in October.

But the rest of the team went to find new equipment (bought under the name “V. Jones” in reference to footballer turned screen gangster Vinnie Jones) and returned later that evening – still undetected – to carry out the heist.

Money found at a gang member’s house

Met police

Jewels that were recovered from the gang

Met police

A month after the heist, Reader, Perkins, and Collins met up in their regular haunt, the Castle pub in Islington, north London, to discuss the raid. It was here that the gang had planned the burglary during Friday night drinking sessions over the course of three years.

Footage shot by undercover officers at this meeting clearly shows Perkins demonstrating how he breached the vault wall with a diamond-tipped drill. Detective Constable Jamie Day referred to these recordings as tantamount to a confession.

Jones was heard to say: “It was hissing, that pump – BANG – didn’t it? That’s all I could hear – BANG – and I thought, for fuck’s sake, I had a headache, Tel.”

Brian Reader, Terry Perkins, and John Collins in the Castle pub, one month after the heist. buzzfeed-video1.s3.amazonaws.com

The heist was almost scuppered altogether when the gang members forced open a metal shutter before their mysterious red-wigged accomplice, known only as Basil, had disabled the alarms. A text message was sent to the business’s owner and a security guard turned up – but he never entered the building and had no idea of the raid happening beneath his feet. The police were alerted but didn’t go to Hatton Garden that day.

Basil is still at large and police have offered a £20,000 reward for information that leads to his arrest and conviction.

A book found at Daniel Jones’ house. Met police

Police found a copy of Forensics for Dummies at the home of one of the gang, Daniel Jones, and police found no physical evidence inside the vault.

It’s likely that the gang chose not to take weapons as the presence of them could have seen them charged with armed robbery, instead of burglary.

But ultimately, it wasn’t the gang’s actions inside the vault that caused their downfall, but their lax approach outside.

Reader, Perkins, and other members of the gang were famous career criminals in the ’70s and ’80s, and had done time for similarly audacious crimes. But in their heyday the Met didn’t have access to 150 CCTV cameras watching the same street, or 230 automatic numberplate recognition cameras across London that monitor and record millions of cars coming in and out of London every year.

As Peter Spindler, the head of the Met’s specialist crime investigations team at the time of the burglary, told The Guardian: “They were analogue criminals operating in a digital world. They lacked the knowledge to defeat digital detectives.”

Source: BuzzfeedUk

Family May Have Winning Ticket For $1.5 Billion Powerball

Tennessee Family May Have Winning Ticket For $1.5 Billion Powerball

A family of four from Munford, Tennessee appeared on the Today Show Friday morning to announce their potential winnings.

A family of four from Munford, Tennessee, claimed Friday morning on the “Today Show” that they had secured one of three winning Powerball lottery tickets for the $1.5 billion jackpot.

A family of four from Munford, Tennessee, claimed Friday morning on the "Today Show" that they had secured one of three winning Powerball lottery tickets for the $1.5 billion jackpot.

The Johnson family, accompanied by their lawyer and his daughter, on the “Today Show.” NBC / Viatoday.com

The other two tickets were purchased in Chino Hills, California, and Melbourne Beach, Florida.

The Robinson family made the announcement on the Today Show Friday before confirming the tickets with Tennessee lottery officials, but NBC conducted an independent verification to prove the match.

John Robinson told Today Show hosts that he was on his way home from work Wednesday night when his wife, Lisa, called to ask if he was going to buy lottery tickets.

“I really didn’t feel like stopping that night, but I was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll stop,’” John said.

At 6:56 p.m., he bought four tickets as he always does — one for each member of his family — at Naifeh’s Food Market, located around the corner from their home. The numbers were computer-generated, he said.

He said he wasn’t feeling well when he arrived at home.

“I handed the tickets to her and said, ‘I’m going to lay down,’” John recalled.

Lisa said she had written the numbers down to easily keep track when they were announced. When she realized there was a match, she checked three more times before alerting her husband.

“I went running down the hall. ‘John! John! You gotta check these numbers!” she said.

Tennessee lottery rules mandate that for winnings above $600, the person who purchased the ticket must show up in person at the to the Nashville office with a valid ID to claim their prize. The family said on the Today Show that they planned to officially verify the ticket today.

Naifeh’s Food Market received a $25,000 prize for having sold the winning ticket.

Naifeh's Food Market received a $25,000 prize for having sold the winning ticket.

The president and CEO of the Tennessee Lottery presents a check to Dana Naifeh, right, owner of Naifeh’s Grocery in Munford on Jan. 14, 2016. Karen Pulfer Focht / AP Photo

John said he was “a little scared because I didn’t know exactly what to do” about the winning ticket. “I knew that I wanted to get an accountant. I knew that I wanted to get a lawyer and try to follow the procedures that they tell you to follow.”

The family was “up all night” and did not leave their house for awhile, Lisa said. John eventually drove down the street to his daughter’s house to inform her of the news. They told all immediate family members before appearing on the Today Show.

Lisa said she did not plan to quit her job at a dermatologist’s office.

“I’ll be there on Monday,” she said.

The family also expressed that they did not intend to move, as their whole family lived in Tennessee.

In fact, the only major expense the Johnsons said they planned to clear on the show had to do with student loans.

“Sallie Mae’s paid off,” Lisa said.

Watch the full Johnson family interview here.

Source: Buzzfeed

Man guilty of manslaughter

Man guilty of manslaughter after killing Harrow-on-the-Hill mechanic over car dispute.

Dwayne King stabbed a mechanic in a dispute over the cost of repairs to a car.

Dwayne King was found guilty of manslaughter

A man who stabbed a Harrow-on-the-Hill mechanic over a car repair dispute has been found guilty of manslaughter and jailed for twelve years.

Dwayne King, 30, of no fixed address killed Granville Thomas, 55, on June 29.

Metropolitan Police officers were called at about 6.30pm after receiving reports of a disturbance near garages in a courtyard at Ranelagh Road, Harlesden .

Officers and London Ambulance Service attended the scene and found Thomas, also known as ‘Rat’ or ‘Blacks’, with stab wounds to the chest and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officers spoke to King who admitted he was the person that called the emergency services.

He also admitted to the stabbing but said he did it after Thomas attacked him with a knife.

Embroiled in a dispute about costs

The court heard that King was working as a mechanic in garages in Ranelagh Road and Granville Thomas undertook car repairs on the roadside.

In April he was asked to repair a Vauxhall Astra, which he took to King’s workplace.

The owner of the vehicle was unhappy with the repairs and King and Thomas became embroiled in a dispute about the cost King was charging Thomas to repair the vehicle at his place of work.

King refused to let Thomas take the vehicle from the garages until he paid the money they agreed.

King was arrested at the scene and later charged with the murder of Granville Thomas.

Detective Chief Inspector Noel McHugh, Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: “Sadly, it would seem that the origins of the dispute that led to Granville Thomas being killed was something as trivial as the repairs of a vehicle.

“Granville Thomas lost his life and now King will send a considerable period of time in custody as a result.

“I hope that today’s verdict brings some degree of comfort to Granville Thomas’ family and friends.”

Sourc: GetwestLondon

West Londoners urged

West Londoners urged to attend public meeting on future of fire services

People will have the chance to discuss the two proposals outlined in the public consultation.

A list of suggested stations where fire engines could be withdrawn will be discussed

West Londoners are being urged to have their say on the future of fire services at a public meeting on Monday (January 11).

Two proposals were outlined as part of a public consultation launched in December last year, on how the London Fire Brigade can save £6.4m, in response to budget cuts demanded by Mayor of London Boris Johnson for 2016/17.

The first option recommends the return of the 13 fire engines withdrawn from service including Willesden, Ealing and Chelsea, but makes the savings by having alternate crewing at fire stations, and the second option suggests the permanent removal of 13 fire engines including in Hammersmith and Ealing, using savings to reinvest in staff.

London Assembly Members Navin Shah and Murad Qureshi warned that cutting more fire engines could lead to a rise in response times across the capital.

In Brent 11 wards have seen a rise in response times in 2014/15 compared to the previous year; before Mr Johnson’s closure of 10 fire stations and scrapping of 14 fire engines.

Similarly 14 wards in Ealing have seen a rise in response times; 10 wards in Hammersmith and nine wards in Kensington and Chelsea.

Mr Shah said: “With our fire services facing uncertain times, and response times already rising significantly in Brent, it’s important that local people have their say over the future of London’s fire service.

“The mayor’s cuts mean that there are very tough decisions ahead. If you take fire engines out of service then of course response times could rise and lives could be put at risk. Nobody wants to see that happen.

“With frontline services at stake, it is hugely important that local people are given the opportunity to make their views known.”

Londoners are urged to attend the meeting which will discuss both proposals and their impact at the Conference Hall, Brent Civic Centre, Engineers Way, Wembley, at 7pm on Monday.

For people unable to attend the meeting, the first ever online meeting will be held allowing people to ask their questions between 12.30pm and 1.30pm on January 22.

For more information on this, and to have your say on the proposals, visit the LFB website.

Alternatively email your questions to consultation@london-fire.gov.uk.

The first list of stations with a fire engine currently withdrawn from service:

Town

Borough

Erith Bexley
Willesden Brent
Ealing Ealing
Shoreditch Hackney
Romford Havering
Holloway Islington
Chelsea Kensington and Chelsea
Forest Hill Lewisham
Plaistow Newham
Stratford Newham
Old Kent Road Southwark
Poplar Tower Hamlets
Wandsworth Wandsworth

The second is a list of the stations the LFB view to be the optimum ones to withdraw a fire engine from to minimise the impact on response times:

Town

Borough

West Hampstead Camden
Norbury Croydon
Ealing Ealing
East Greenwich Greenwich
Shoreditch Hackney
Hammersmith Hammersmith and Fulham
Romford Havering
Forest Hill Lewisham
Stratford Newham
Old Kent Road Southwark
Wandsworth Wandsworth
Sidcup Bexley
Hornsey Haringey

Sourc: GetwestLondon

Seven taken to hospital

Seven taken to hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning in Harlesden.

Two adults and five children were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning late on Monday night.

A London firefighter
Seven people were evacuated from the building by firefighters

Two adults and five children were taken to hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning suffered in their house in Harlesden on Monday (January 11).

According to London Fire Brigade , the occupants left the house on High Street before the arrival of fire services and were treated on the scene by London Ambulance Service before being taken to hospital.

Seven people were evacuated from nearby properties as a precaution and crews shut down the gas supply to the house before handing the scene over to the police.

London Fire Brigade was called at 11.25pm and the incident took around an hour to deal with.

Fire engines from Park Royal and Willesden fire stations attended the incident.

Source: GetWestLondon

Woman dies after being rescued from Wembley garage fire

Woman dies after being rescued from Wembley garage fire

A woman who was rescued from a garage fire in Wembley has since died, the Times has learned.

The victim was left unconscious after the blaze tore through the garage at the rear of a property in Bowrons Avenue shortly before 1am yesterday morning.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus rescued the woman from the burning building.

She was treated by London Ambulance Service crews before being taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

But the victim later died, the Times has learned.

The woman has been named locally but the Times will not reveal her identity until her family has been informed by the authorities.

It is thought the woman was asleep as the fire broke out. It is believed it started accidentally.

The flames were brought under control by 2.20am.

More to follow.

Source: Kilburn Times

Drivers warned of traffic delays on the North Circular Road (A406) in Neasden

  
Work on the A406 will resume from tomorrow

Drivers are being warned to allow extra time for journeys on the North Circular Road at Neasden from tomorrow as work will resume following a break for Christmas.

One lane will be closed in both directions of the A406 between Brentfield Road and Neasden Lane until March 8 to allow the work to take place causing possible delays.
In addition further lane closures will take place between Staples Corner and the junction at Harrow Road, in both directions, tomorrow from 10pm.

On Sunday the westbound section of the A406 between Staples Corner and the junction at Harrow Road will be fully closed from 12.30am to 5.30am.

On Monday the eastbound section between Harrow Road and Neasden Lane North will be fully closed from 12.30am to 5.30am.

From Monday at 5am until early March a contraflow between Drury Way and Neasden Lane North will be put in place.

To ensure the work does not affect the sleep of local residents during the night Transport for London will be rolling out a range of measures to reduce noise, vibration and disruption, including:

• Noise-reducing acoustic barriers where appropriate

• Compressors and generators fitted with acoustic covers to reduce noise

• Vehicles, plant and equipment fitted with exhaust silencers

• Regularly monitoring dust levels
• Reducing airborne dust by using water sprays

• Taking steps to ensure lights do not shine into people’s homes

The work is expected to end on May 26.

Source: Kilburn Times 

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