Appeal after Teddington Studios blue plaques stolen

During the initial demolition work at Teddington Studios, four Heritage Foundation blue plaques have disappeared, believed to have been stolen prior to the site being securely sealed off.

The blue plaques celebrate the careers of TV and film stars that recorded at the studios, the missing ones are for Benny Hill, Sid James, Irene Handle and Tommy Cooper. These disappeared on Tuesday 30th of June. Television fans and stars including John Challis (Boycie) have expressed their shock at the callous thefts and are urging whoever took the plaques to return them.

Photos: Alan Rolph.

Heritage Foundation president Vicki Michelle: “Blue plaques are a memorial and symbol of great talent. They are put up to keep a person’s memory alive not just for their families’ sake but for those who admired them“.

All the remaining plaques have been removed for safe keeping, if you have any information that may help the police investigation then please get in touch. The blue plaques will remain on site at the housing development as a nod to the history of the studios.

Crime Update

You may have noticed an increased police presence at the corner of Broad Street and Stanley Road recently and wondered if they were attending an accident or crime. They are actually posted here on each approaching road as part of a major Metropolitan Police road safety operation.

Operation Safeway is a joint Police and TFL initiative to make all road users safer by enforcing the law and educating them about dangers. Key junctions such as this one will be policed across London during some rush hours, where they will hand out advice/leaflets and also issue fixed penalty notices to drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians who commit traffic offences such as using mobile phones, not wearing seat belts and jumping red lights.

Fighting and preventing burglaries and shoplifting remain a high priority concern for the area. According to a MoneySupermarket study, Teddington has the 7th highest number of burglaries in the country, but this is based on insurance claims rather than crime statistics and is probably boosted by the high numbers of bicycles stolen in the area from sheds.

Teddington SNT has been working closely with the Neighbourhood Watch groups and residents to prevent these incidents, patrols happen frequently where anyone seen loitering or delivering door to door are asked to account for their presence in the area. If you are concerned with anyone acting suspiciously in your area, call the police non-emergency number 101.

Shoplifting from Teddington branches of Tesco, Morrison’s and Boots have increased lately and advice was given on security visibility and using the town link radio system.

An online consultation has been launched to ask residents which crime priorities should be set for the borough – the closing date for this is the 15th of March 2015.

New legislation will soon come in to place in the borough that will allow Richmond Council to fine or convict owners of illegally-moored boats on the Thames. The new bylaw means it will be a criminal offence to moor without permission on council-owned or managed land. Owners of boats in these areas have been given notice and will be re-visited if they haven’t moved after the new law comes into effect on March 13th.

One group of 10 long-standing boaters by Teddington Lock, some of whom have been there for 9 years feel that the Council haven’t offered them a compromise, have nowhere else to go and that complaints against them are unwarranted and some locals have been verbally abusing them.

Police budget cuts have affected local police budgets and there are even more savings on the horizon. A recent newsletter to Richmond Borough residents also included an appeal (now fulfilled) for an unwanted laptop so that the Police can help victims of crime to identify suspects.

The Teddington Safer Neighbourhood Team host regular drop-in sessions if you want to discuss any matters – the next one is at Costa Coffee on Thursday 12th March 12-3pm.

Cyclist knocked down in rush hour traffic

NewsMotorists today found themselves in long tailbacks after an incident in central Teddington. Just before 9am a female cyclist in her 60’s was knocked off her bike on the roundabout between Waldegrave Road and The High Street.

Police were called to the scene and arrived within a few minutes. The woman was given a blanket to keep warm and not moved from the spot due to her injuries. Drivers of vehicles being managed past the scene were surprised to see the injured woman on the ground for so long.

Met police spokesman: “We were called to a collision between a car and a cyclist in Broad Street at the junction with Waldegrave Road at 8.51. The cyclist, a woman in her 60s, was treated at the scene for serious injuries.”

The fact that the ambulance didn’t arrive on the scene until 90 minutes later at 10:25am, is causing headlines as have cuts to the ambulance service in recent years.

The nearest ambulance station is at Fulwell (next to the Fire Station) and Kingston A&E is three miles from Teddington. The approaches to this roundabout were redesigned two years ago to make it safer for cyclists.

Photo: Ben Harris

[Update 01/12/2014] A Statement from The London Ambulance Service details how two ambulances were dispatched to the scene but both were unfortunately diverted to more serious cases:

“From the information provided, we were told the patient was conscious, breathing and alert.”

“We are very sorry we couldn’t be there sooner and for any distress or discomfort this may have caused but we have to prioritise patients in a serious or life-threatening condition.”

[Update 02/12/2014] See here for an interview with the cyclist in question Angie Cook who ironically is a cycling safety instructor who was on her way to teach cycle safety at a Teddington School when she was hit by a Vauxhall Zafira. Angie spoke of the “shambles” of NHS funding and the impact it was having on care.

“When the paramedics did come they were very apologetic, they told me there weren’t enough ambulances. They said it was a nightmare and last Friday there were 6,000 calls and only 300 ambulances to deal with it. I’m sympathetic to them.”

[Update 23/12/2014] Evening Standard article: Cyclists lying injured for two hours ‘is not good enough’, says London NHS chief.

Police forced to close Broad Street after man climbs scaffolding

NewsBroad Street was closed today by police, leading to backed up traffic and bus routes on diversion.

Road users and pedestrians found just after lunchtime that an area had been cordoned off with police tape around Cavan Bakery after a man climbed two stories up the scaffolding on this building.

Photo: Jesse Webster

The man in question was being pursued by police and this was a desperate attempt to evade them after being spotted. Police cars, two fire engines and an ambulance turned up at the scene whilst officers attempted to talk the man down safely.

Photo: Scott Overall.

He is believed to be in breach of his bail conditions enforced with an electronic tag. Onlookers watched as police tried to convince the man down who at one point threatened to jump. From the shouting between him and police, bystanders heard that he was desputing being in breach of bail conditions and “wasn’t going back to jail”.

Police respond to “fire-arms incident”

NewsTeddington was awash with blue lights and sirens at around 7:30pm tonight.

One of London Met Police helicopters was seen circling an area near The Park Hotel and posted online that it was assisting local officers.

The Causeway and Park Road were closed as many emergency vehicles turned-up en-mass.

Photo: Charlie Lindar

A firearms unit was seen moving towards The Causeway – soon after they entered the ex-Bottoms Up building accompanied by a Police dog team and a lot of shouting. Not long after they left the building with no sign of any suspects.

Photo: Dave Hogg.

For a while Broad Street, The Causeway and Park Road were completely closed to traffic and buses and other vehicles were diverted along Queens Road. Police started re-opening roads just after 8pm.

[Update] A BBC Correspondent has stated that it was a pest controller on the roof with an air rifle.

A close-up of the armed response unit by Mr Walker.

Fatality at Teddington station

NewsA person was hit by a train at 12:30pm at Teddington Station today, halting trains and requiring the power to be switched off.

Emergency vehicles including ambulances and police cars were soon in attendance at the station and two trains remained stationary off-platform.

Many residents were first alerted to the incident after an air ambulance was seen circling the area looking for a suitable landing spot – it touched down just inside Bushy Park so that paramedics could rush to the scene.

The helicopter in Bushy Park caused quite a stir and a crowd gathered to watch it take off again once the crew returned – clearly all part of the job as they waved to toddlers as they prepared to take off and warned parents to hold on tight to their prams and pushchairs so that they weren’t blown away with the downdraft. Traffic through the park was stopped briefly whilst it departed.

Sadly South West Trains staff confirmed that it was a fatality and the station would remain closed for some time even after trains resumed on the line.

[Update 22/04/2014] The person struck and killed by the train was a 65-year old from Cobham and police are not treating the death as suspicious.

Crime update

Top crime trends for Teddington and the borough continue to include burglaries – particularly from sheds and garages. Residents are encouraged to have their bikes marked for free at Police marking events. Bikes recovered after arrests but not re-united with owners are sent to charitable programs or sold at auction to help benevolent funds.

Police also ask home-owners to make it as difficult for thieves to get into gardens and around houses – tall fences/doors, trellises and padlocks on outside doors can make it difficult to get in and out with stolen goods, good hinges and locks on sheds can help prevent thefts too. Alternatively you could also keep bees in your shed as this Hampton resident did, to the surprise of a burgler!

Teddington Natwest cashpoint that has had devices attached

Distraction theft at cashpoints happens in the area, they also occasionally have devices attached to them that aim to help part you with your money. Always cover the keypad when you type in your PIN – this advice is to prevent cameras attached to the cashpoint looking down that can record this information and then use if another device or person nearby takes your card. The left-hand side Natwest ATM is particularly susceptible to these devices due to the lip above the screen that they can be attached to.

Several BMWs have been stolen in the area without keys being first taken, following similar thefts across London. As BMWs can be unlocked and started electronically, police are advising the purchase of physical steering locks and also get in touch with BMW who may be able to apply a free security upgrade.

If a locksmith sticker like the above appears on your front door or window, remove it as soon as possible – these are sometimes used by criminals who visit areas, tagging ‘targets’ that are then burgled on following days. Some are so organised that they steal only gold items, filling envelopes to send immediately to cash-for-gold companies, posting them nearby so that they wouldn’t be carrying stolen items if stopped by the police.

The Teddington Safer Neighbourhoods Team are always interested in knowing who is in the area and recently there have been complaints about pushy door to door salesmen – mostly selling cleaning products. If you experience this or any refuse to display ID, call 020 8721 2748 or 101 to inform police that sellers are in the area with a description, also the registration of any vans that drop sellers off. Most companies are legitimate and are dropped off in 6-8 person teams to cover areas, then return to their home towns.

See the Community Safer Partnership January Newsletter with more info, advice on phone fraud which has affects the area and a new ‘Minority Report’ style crime prevention technique that has already had some success!

[Update 24/02/2014] Two men were seen acting suspiciously around the Halifax cashpoint – queueing up, pretending to change their mind and watching others type in their PIN. Police were made aware of their details.