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Fraudsters who stole over £700,000 sentenced

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Credit: Northumbria Police Facebook

Five fraudsters who committed a series of courier crimes in the North East have been brought to justice.

Between late 2018 and early 2019, the group targeted elderly and vulnerable victims for their own financial gain.

The complex scam saw the criminals contact the victims via telephone pretending to be police officers and claiming their bank savings were at risk.

North East Regional Special Operations Unit was quick into action, launching Operation Tucson to tackle the organised criminals and protect the community.

Detective Constable Gillian Coulson, one of the officers leading the investigation, said: “This is a cruel crime in which criminals target the most vulnerable members of our community and steal their life savings.

“This is a great outcome for the victims and one which protects the public from further offending.

“We remain dedicated to pursuing anyone who seeks to defraud others and we encourage people to look out for vulnerable family members and friends and to challenge anyone on the phone asking for money or valuables.”

With the help of collaborative forces and partner agencies, NERSOU identified five key suspects who resided in the London area and acted as the callers, organisers and couriers.

A collective total of over £700,000 was lost at the hands of the crime gang, with one of the 16 victims losing over £450,000.

The fraudsters would convince the victims to attend their bank and withdraw large amounts of cash that would be collected by the ‘officers’ for fingerprinting.

On other occasions the victims were instructed to purchase high value jewellery for the fake investigation.

The five men, Fawaz Miah, 26, Fras Abdulkarim, 20, Abdul Olayinka, 19, Noor Sharif, 20, and Sahil Zaman, 22, were identified, arrested and subsequently charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and money laundering offences.

In August 2021, three of the men, Miah, Abdulkarim and Olayinka, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation with Zaman and Sharif deciding to try their luck in court.

On 28 January, Zaman and Sharif were convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering offences by a jury at Durham Crown Court.

On 31 January, they joined their criminal peers and the five were sentenced to a total of over 21 years.

Detective Sergeant Shaun Fordy, of NERSOU, added: “As part of Operation Sentinel, our initiative to tackle serious and organised crime, we will continue the vigorous pursuit of criminals who target and exploit vulnerable people and we will bring them before the courts.”

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Saudi Arabia wants its investors to own Manchester United

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North East Updates - Breaking News

Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky News – with the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.

 

Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky News – with the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.

 

It follows the Manchester United board announcing that they are open to a sale of the club.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisalstated he would be keen on Ronaldo signing for a Saudi Pro League after the World Cup, with the 37-year-old a free agent following a controversial interview and exit to Manchester United earlier this week..

 

“Who wouldn’t want him to play in their league?” “He’s a role model to a lot of young players – him and Messi.”

 

Sky news are reporting – It is the availability of United – after the Glazers announced plans for a potential sale – and Ronaldo that is interesting Prince Abdulaziz.

 

What are your thoughts on this – join the conversation on our Facebook page.

 

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Entertainment

Sunday for Sammy Concert Cancelled For 2023 Due To Cost of Living

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A popular charity concert will not be held in 2023 due to the cost of living crisis.

Sunday for Sammy, which is held in memory of North East actor Sammy Johnson, is a biennial event aimed at benefitting young performers.

The long-running event has featured the likes of Joe McElderry, Johnny Vegas, Brenda Blethyn, Denise Welch, AC/DC’s Brian Johnson and Mark Knopfler, Jill Halfpenny and Ant and Dec.

Tim Healy, who hosts Sunday for Sammy, said: “We’ve had lots of enquiries over the recent months asking when the next Sunday for Sammy will take place.

“We are very much aware at the moment that people are struggling with day-to-day living costs and are watching their pennies. Everything is becoming more and more expensive and that includes the cost of putting on a show the size of ours.”

He added: “We can’t in good conscious put on a show that we aren’t sure people can afford to be tickets for. It would be wrong to risk your money you have generously given us.

“So sadly we have decided that there won’t be a show in 2023. We’re going to wait until the time is right.”

Often dubbed The Geordie Command Performance, the shows, which have been running for more than 20 years, are held in memory of Geordie actor Sammy Johnson, who died in 1999.

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STACK Newcastle Bosses Scrap Plans For Christmas Pop-Up Venue

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The owners of STACK have confirmed that there won’t be a pop-up version in Newcastle this Christmas, as plans have been shelved.

At the end of September it was reported that STACK’s owner, Danieli Group, were hoping to bring the brand back to the heart of Newcastle after its Pilgrim Street site was demolished earlier this year, after becoming a firm favourite with locals and visitors since 2018. The pop-up, close to the Crowne Plaza hotel in the Stephenson Quarter, looked set to be a massive draw before STACK makes its permanent return to the city next year, was planned to feature a number of shipping container bars, a new take on its famous Hadrian’s Tipi, street food vans, a stage and large screen, all on one level.

But, it has now been announced that the proposed STACK festive pop-up won’t be happening anymore. Confirming the decision, Neill Winch, CEO of Danieli Group said that while it was sad news that the pop-up would no longer take place, it meant the company can forge ahead with the Worswick Chambers plan.

He commented: “We know how much people miss not having a STACK in Newcastle so we are concentrating our efforts on creating what will become a flagship site back where STACK first began,” he said.

“Work is well underway on the scheme with a view to being open in winter 2023.”

In recent weeks it has announced new developments in Lincoln, Durham, Bishop Auckland and Carlisle.

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