All posts by Glyn Davies

The Fraud Awareness Roadshow.  Andy Foster 5th August 2019

Andy Foster is the Fraud PROTECT Officer work­ing in the Financial Crimes Investigation Unit of South Yorkshire Police.

His dual role is to sup­port vul­ner­able vic­tims of fraud and to work with other sup­port groups.

He also does road shows and other events to bring fraud­u­lent scams to public notice.

Operation Signature’ is the S.Y. police’s cam­paign to help sup­port vic­tims of fraud.

He began by show­ing a slide of facts about fraud, but there were so many I could not  note them all!

However:

  • Men lose 3 times more money than women.
  • Loneliness makes (par­tic­u­larly eld­erly) people vul­ner­able to fraud.
  • Only 5% of defrauded people make a report.
  • In some cases defrauded people have con­sidered, attemp­ted or com­mit­ted sui­cide.
  • 79% of house­hold waste con­tains items that could con­trib­ute to iden­tity theft.
  • Fraud costs people in the U.K. bil­lions of pounds annu­ally.
  • Once anyone is caught by a scam­mer they go on a ‘sucker list’ which is sold to other scam­mers who will inund­ate the ‘sucker’ with more frauds.

Action Fraud is a body that accepts reports about scams from vic­tims.

However, they have about 700,000 calls per year and simply register each call.

They do not invest­ig­ate crimes but send details to the National Fraud Intelligence Centre.

The NFIC decide if there are enough details to take fur­ther action, but on over 80% of reports no action is taken.  This is because crim­in­als are abroad and use phones or emails and there is not enough veri­fi­able detail.

One of the meth­ods fraud­sters use to hide stolen money (so that the banks do not become sus­pi­cious of money going in and out of their accounts) is to approach stu­dents and ask if they can put £5000 into the student’s account for a few days.  They give the stu­dent £100.  The money is soon moved on to another account.

Romance scams.

On dating sites the scam­mer gets the victim to believe they are in love and uses this to extort money.

Social media is used to set up a false pro­file and the scam­mer grooms the  vul­ner­able victim over months or years to scam them.

Telephone scams.

An eld­erly man that Andy met was phoned and per­suaded to invest in shares by paying into an account.  Then he was told that the bank wanted fees that were late.  He said he would not pay because he had not received a dividend.  The scam­mer sent him a £75 ‘dividend’ because he had still £182,000 that he had to invest, but told him that the bank would have to take legal action if he did not pay the fees.

When Andy went to see him about a pos­sibly fraud­u­lent roof repair the man’s stairs were stacked high with unopened mail sent by scam­mers.  Andy removed 17 bin bags full of mail from the house then installed a call blocker phone to keep him safe.  That same day a letter arrived telling the man he

had won £147,000 but to claim it he must send £35 into an enclosed pre-addressed envel­ope to Austria!

Authorised Push Payment Fraud.

This is when you have author­ised pay­ment from your bank.

A 30 year-old man sent £17,000 to his new ‘girl friend’, who lives in Kenya, to help chil­dren with polio.

In 2018 there were 84,624 APP frauds and 78,215 cases of per­sonal account fraud.

Miracle Health Cure Scams.

Calls to eld­erly people to sell health cures.

Other types of fraud were dis­trac­tion burg­lar­ies where someone at the door says they are from the Water Board and need to access the prop­erty.  They get in and steal, and ‘case’ the house so that they can come back later.

Andy gave us advice.

B.T., Sky and TalkTalk have a free call-blocking ser­vice that they will install for you if you con­tact them.

An altern­at­ive is to let all calls go to your answer machine after telling friends and rel­at­ives to always leave a mes­sage for you to call back.  You can then pick up to take the call.  Nearly all scam­mers will hang up when the answer machine cuts in.

Another altern­at­ive is to get a phone that you can pro­gram to block calls.

Probably the most effect­ive method is called ‘trueCall Secure’ which con­nects to your exist­ing phone.  It costs about 120 pounds.

A very inform­at­ive talk, which has aler­ted all of us to be care­ful, and to hang up the phone if we are not sure of the caller’s hon­esty.

Do I know who I am?”  One man’s search for his family. Peter Slater 29th April 2019

Peter has been a sports reporter for BBC radio for many years.

He began by telling us that he was adop­ted at birth.

His adop­tion has led to many ques­tions in pur­suit of his birth family during his life.

In his child­hood he lived in a coun­cil house in Pedmore with his father, Gerald Slater, and his mother.  One day they brought home a baby girl, but she stayed only one day.

(Her mother had decided that she wanted to keep her).

When he was 4 years old he was taken some­where and in a room, which con­tained sev­eral cots, he was told to choose his new baby sister.  He poin­ted at the nearest cot and Suzanne joined the family.  He did not know about his adop­tion.

When he was 6 years old they moved house to Middlesborough, which took him away from his rela­tions and school friends, so he lost touch with uncles and aunts and cous­ins and had to start again.  At times he felt quite isol­ated.

In 1966 when he was 14 he wondered about his ‘nuc­lear’ family.  He was good at or inter­ested in public speak­ing com­pet­i­tions, sport, girls, pop music, etc.  His par­ents were not, so why was he?  His feel­ing of isol­a­tion didn’t decrease when they moved house again and he had to start again making friends.

In 1968 he entered a DJ com­pet­i­tion at a hol­i­day camp and he knew he was going to win.

He had found his way and from then on did Amateur Dramatics, School plays, County Youth Theatre and later, at Sheffield University  where he was read­ing English, he was into Student radio and Politics.

On his 21st birth­day in 1973 his uncle Roger sent him an adop­tion cer­ti­fic­ate which made him real­ise why he was so dif­fer­ent from the rest of his family.  He was adop­ted!!

His birth mother, Freida Kelly, had called him Stanley Kelly.

In 1976 he met his wife-to-be, Alison, and no longer felt isol­ated.  He gradu­ated, and found his first job and knew that this is what he had been born to do, but why?

He mar­ried Alison and they began their own ‘nuc­lear’ family.  He got a job on a local radio sta­tion.  His par­ents moved to Cheltenham.

It was time to find out about Stanley Kelly.

Peter’s birth cer­ti­fic­ate told him that Freda Kelly was a clerk in a bacon dis­trib­ut­ors but he knew noth­ing else.  He got in touch with a social worker called Joe Theaker who found the ori­ginal adop­tion notes.

These notes told him that Freda Kelly was a model, that she went to the National School, that she was Irish, that his father was mar­ried but posed as a single man and that he was Irish.

So Peter is Irish by birth!  He would not find out more about his mother in London — he would have to go to Dublin.

He found cer­ti­fic­ates in Dublin.

His father, Joe Devoy:-  Birth cer­ti­fic­ate, Marriage cer­ti­fic­ate, Death cer­ti­fic­ate, and that he had 6 chil­dren.

Freida:-  just her birth cer­ti­fic­ate and that her par­ents were musi­cians.  He thought she must have emig­rated.  He gave up the search.

A friend, Jim Beglin, said, “Why don’t you put an advert in the Irish Independent and the Dublin Evening News?”  Peter tried this last effort without much hope.

He got a letter from a Mrs. J. Millman Read, saying that she may be able to help him if he explained what he wanted.  He replied, telling her about his search.

He found out that she was his Auntie Joyce but she would not let him meet his mother because Freida was mar­ried and her hus­band did not know about Peter.  However, 2 weeks later he got a letter and pho­to­graph from Freida.

The letter told him that, when she was preg­nant, Joe Devoy dumped her (he was mar­ried with 4 chil­dren).  She went to England, had the child, went back to Dublin, did not get on with her mother (sur­prise!) so went back to England.  There she met Desmond, got preg­nant, was dumped again but kept this child.  She later met a man called Peter and mar­ried him but did not tell him about Stanley in case she was dumped again.

A few weeks later Peter (Slater) met Freida because her hus­band was away work­ing.

In June 1996 he met his mother and had a long chat.  He found out that he had a half-brother called Roy.  He received a letter from Roy and met him, then later at Freida’s 80th birth­day they had a photo taken together.

Both Roy and Freida have passed away but, in 2015, Peter ‘Googled’ Joe Devoy’s wife, found her death notice but also that she was the mother of 9 chil­dren.  He sent an e-mail to the eldest of the sib­lings and got e-mails from Carmel and Maria.  They asked him about his baby teeth  and when he said that the teeth were very poor they said that he def­in­itely was one of the family!

In May 2015 Peter went to Dublin, was met by 5 women waving plac­ards with his name and has met his 4 half-brothers.  DNA tests that are 99% matches show that they are all chil­dren of Joe Devoy and they are happy to wel­come Peter.

This was a very inter­est­ing story, delivered by an expert speaker/presenter.  Full marks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the cradle to the grave?  A personal experience of the NHS” By Barbara Beard. 11th Feb 2019

Barbara first began her talks when she was a member of her U3A Local History Group.

She became par­tic­u­larly inter­ested in the NHS because she was born only two weeks after the “birth” of the NHS on 5th July 1948.

Her par­ents met in the Army and moved to London.  At that time hos­pit­als were run by char­it­ies and, when her mother was preg­nant with her first child she was admit­ted to The Mother’s Hospital, which was run by the Salvation Army.

Later they moved to a top flat in New Cross that had 50 steps up to it.  Her mother had three chil­dren and, to occupy them, took them to Peckham Health Centre.

At the Centre the idea of Doctor Scott Williamson and Doctor James Pearce was that:

Health is a pro­cess that has to be cul­tiv­ated if it is to thrive.  We begin where doc­tors leave off.” 

They were trying to pre­vent ill­nesses rather than cure them by help­ing people to keep as fit as pos­sible.  The whole family had to join the Centre and there they did keep fit and dan­cing ses­sions.  To sur­vive fin­an­cially the Centre needed 3000 fam­il­ies to join but by 1947 had only 500 fam­il­ies paying for mem­ber­ship.  In 1950 the Centre closed for lack of fund­ing and Bevan said that the NHS wasn’t ready to help with fund­ing, although this kind of centre was pos­sibly the germ of the idea the inspired the begin­nings of the NHS.

Barbara’s family moved to Nottingham in 1950.  When she was 8 years old she was admit­ted to hos­pital with ton­sil­litis, where she had a bad exper­i­ence with a bossy nurse, so she hated nurses!  Two years later she was in hos­pital again, but this time had such good care that she decided that she would become a nurse.

In 1967, the ‘Summer of Love’ Barbara became a nurse, although she star­ted in a cohort of 26 nurses and ended with only 8 who stayed the course.  They had a 44 hour week, had to live in the Nurse’s Home, had to be in by 10 pm, no men were allowed, they had to work very hard, and if they mar­ried they had to leave.  They didn’t have much train­ing and didn’t have much idea of what they had to do — but they had fun!

Nursing has changed so much since then, but they had parties, gave con­certs, and there was a Prize Giving, some­thing that doesn’t happen now.

In 1971, Barbara decided to become a mid­wife and came to Sheffield Jessop’s Hospital.  In Sheffield, she found the buses very puzz­ling.  Where did the ‘Circular’ go to?

The ‘Intake’ bus invited you to get on, but where did you get off?  What was the ‘Halfway’ bus half way to?  She also found that in Jessop’s Hospital there was a lovely statue of a mother and chil­dren, but some people were scan­dal­ised and wanted it removed because the mother in the statue was not wear­ing a wed­ding ring!

Barbara later worked abroad in Switzerland and Canada then came back to Sheffield to work at the Royal Hospital in the Renal Transplant depart­ment.  (She was involved in the first Transplant Olympics in 1978 and the second Olympics in 1979.)

The Royal Hospital was later sched­uled to close, so the depart­ment was moved to the Hallamshire Hospital on 29th October 1978.  There was a dis­tress­ing case when a trans­plant patient was moved in a fur­niture van and unfor­tu­nately died.

Barbara became a teacher, took time off from 1984 to 1991, and then went back to work with the hos­pice move­ment with Dame Cicely Saunders and Professor Eric Wilkes at St. Luke’s Hospice.  She worked for 18 years in Palliative Care edu­ca­tion.

In 2008 she moved to Sheffield Hallam University to run a degree course in Palliative Care, and has been a volun­teer at St. Luke’s Hospice for 25 years.

Barbara ended her talk by encour­aging every­one to talk more openly about death, dying and bereave­ment.  She asked if we all were car­ry­ing a Donor Card?  Had we all planned our funer­als, or at least left inform­a­tion about our wishes and pref­er­ences?

Had we left a digital legacy — telling our next of kin our inter­net pass­word etc. so they could find any inform­a­tion that we may have left online?  Had we all arranged an L.P.A (Lasting Power of Attorney)?

This was a very inform­at­ive, enjoy­able talk, extremely well delivered by an impress­ive lady, who does not look any­where near the ‘grave’ in the title of her talk!

Beekeeping. Peter Miles. 10th December 2018

The Honey Bee Show                 Peter Miles

 

Peter has been a bee-keeper for over 45 years and is still find­ing out how bees do what they do.

 

Imagine a com­puter that can fly, can nav­ig­ate to the inch over a dis­tance of ~7 miles and also con­tains a chem­ical fact­ory inside it.  This is a worker honey bee.

 

Honey bee work­ers col­lect nectar, pollen, water and propilis (a sticky resin).

Honey bees are dif­fer­ent from bumble bees.  Honey bees make honey to feed them over the winter, but bumble bees dont — they all die except the queen.

 

There is only one queen in the honey bee hive.  She is fed by the worker bees as she cannot feed her­self.  Her role is to pro­duce eggs to stock the hive with more bees.  A queen can lay up to 2000 eggs in a day so she needs a lot of food

 

There are many male bees, called drones.  Their role is simply to mate with the queen.

This mating takes place during a flight!  Several drones will mate with the queen on this flight. The drones gen­italia are ripped off during this mating and the drones die.  How lucky are the drones, who fol­lowed the queen in this flight, but never man­aged to mate!

 

Honey bee work­ers make the hexagonal cells in the hon­ey­combs from wax that is made by the bees them­selves. The bees must con­sume 8oz. of honey to make 1oz. of wax. 

The cells are used to store honey.  Honey is made from nectar, which is con­cen­trated by remov­ing water.  It is then filled into cells which are capped by wax made by the bel­lies of the work­ers from honey and chem­ic­als from inside the bees.  The caps are stuck on using propilis. 

Some cells are used as a breed­ing area where the eggs laid by the queen become larvae, then pupae, and then new bees. 

Pollen is also stored in the cells to feed the larvae.

The work­ers col­lect nectar and pollen to make larvae bread, which is absorbed by the larvae so they grow and pupate and emerge and are then fed by the work­ers.  After 12 days they get their wings and go out col­lect­ing in their turn.  Some of the work­ers stay at the exit to the hive and fan their wings to provide vent­il­a­tion to the hive.

Some work­ers act as guards to pro­tect the hive from pred­at­ors and other dangers.

 

On these col­lec­tion flights the bees are very import­ant pol­lin­at­ors of plants.  They also col­lect water to take back to the hive to reg­u­late the humid­ity and to dilute the food for the larvae.  A worker that has found a good source of nectar and pollen goes back to the hive and per­forms a wiggle dance to inform the rest of the work­ers of the dir­ec­tion and dis­tance to this new source.  The bees com­mu­nic­ate is this way because there is no light in the hive.  The other work­ers take on enough fuel to reach the source and follow the dir­ec­tions, 40 degrees to the Sun and 1.2 miles know­ing there will be enough fuel there for the return jour­ney. 

 

A bee can pro­tect itself by using its sting.  It will usu­ally attack the eyes and the ankles.

The sting is a sharp prong with a barbed tip.  The sting base is in a mus­cu­lar poison sac but when the bee stings the barbed tip causes the sac to be pulled out and the bee dies.

 

When the hive gets full and becomes crowded the queen will lay some queen eggs.  These egg larvae are fed with royal jelly until one pupates and  is ready to emerge.

When the new queen is born it kills the other queen cells by sting­ing them.

 

The old queen then vacates the hive, taking with her about half the hive pop­u­la­tion in a swarm.  They dont go far and often can be found hanging in a mass on a tree branch with the queen in the middle sur­roun­ded by her swarm.  They never go back to the ori­ginal hive, as if they have for­got­ten the pass­word or it has been changed.

 

Bees see flowers by ultra violet light  and also follow odours given out by flowers.

Good plants for bees are willow herbs, brambles, thistles, dan­deli­ons and clovers, but most nectar is col­lec­ted from trees like hawthorn and syca­more.  Many other flower­ing plants are useful to bees and they will travel up to 4 miles to col­lect nectar.

 

Each worker bee in her life­time col­lects only enough nectar to pro­duce one tea­spoon­ful of honey, but that would fuel her to make a flight around the world.

A 12 oz. jar of honey con­tains 72 tea­spoon­ful of honey and to fill that jar would need 26,705 bee visits, an approx­im­ate flying dis­tance of 25.000 miles.

 

The female bees are given the name work­ers because they are:

Cleaners and hygien­ists, keep­ing the hive and combs as clean as oper­at­ing theatres
Heaters, using body heat to main­tain hive tem­per­at­ure
Feeders, of larvae, pupae and emer­ging new work­ers, and feed­ers of drones
Feeders and attend­ants of the queen
Wax pro­du­cers 
Comb build­ers
Nectar pro­cessors
Guards
Undertakers
Ventilators
Hydrators
Collectors of nectar, pollen water and propilis

 

The expres­sion, As busy as a bee now takes on extra mean­ing for me!

A fas­cin­at­ing talk even though I am not keen on honey.

 

An Indian Wildlife Journey                  by Malcom Walpole 22nd Oct 2018

Malcolm showed a present­a­tion with hun­dreds of pho­to­graphs of anim­als that he saw on his jour­ney.

India’s wild­life is totally dif­fer­ent from African wild­life and although India draws tour­ists to see the cul­ture, Taj Mahal etc. the wild­life is also well worth seeing.

At the first National Park on his travels he pho­to­graphed Asiatic lions.  These are dif­fer­ent from African lions, although the females do the killing and the males turn up to eat the prey.  There are only about 250 indi­vidu­als in the park.  They hunt in dark­ness and prey on Samba deer, which are also hunted by tigers.  These deer were seen feed­ing whilst stand­ing in metre-deep water, pre­sum­ably to stay safe from pred­at­ors.

He also saw Spotted deer, which are more common.  They seem to have a sym­bi­otic rela­tion­ship with Langur mon­keys, because when the deer give warn­ing of danger the mon­keys climb trees to safety then throw down foliage for the deer to eat.

There were pho­to­graphs of many birds: Red-wattled lap­wings, Plum-headed para­keets and Kingfishers (which were identical to the ones seen in England).  There were also Blue peafowl, which are common in India, but Malcolm said they seemed much quieter than the ones we might see in zoos or stately home parks here.

On the way to the second National Park Malcolm was fas­cin­ated by the vari­ety of dif­fer­ent modes of trans­port, par­tic­u­larly the bul­lock carts, which have been used in India for cen­tur­ies.

This National Park was cre­ated to pro­tect the Black-backed ante­lope.  There are no lions, tigers or leo­pards in this park.  The main pred­at­ors are a few grey wolves but the ante­lopes are much too fast for them.  There are also jungle cats, but they prey on smal­ler anim­als as they are only the size of our domestic cats.  Here again was a healthy bird pop­u­la­tion: Montague har­ri­ers, common kestrels, Black-shouldered kites and eagles.

The next stop was at a salt desert to see the Indian wild ass.  This salt desert bor­ders Pakistan.  The asses manage to eke out a living from the salt scrub.

The local people drill down to the water table and salt water rises up to the sur­face, where it is dir­ec­ted into shal­low ponds.  Here the water evap­or­ates in the sun to leave salt.  This is a thriv­ing local industry.  There are also some fresh-water lakes which are home to many bird spe­cies: Storks, Eurasian spoon­bills, pel­ic­ans, night­jars, rock pigeons and Sarus cranes.

Next he went to a for­ti­fied town (Kishen?) where a man was spread­ing sacks and sacks of grain out on the ground.  Soon there was a huge flight of hun­dreds and hun­dreds of Demsol cranes head­ing towards the town and coming in to land.  Lots of pigeons also landed and began to eat the grain but moved away when the cranes came.  The ground became covered in cranes, so closely bunched that there was no spaces between them.  As soon as all the grain was eaten all the cranes flew away.  The grain was sup­plied by local res­id­ents and the ‘hap­pen­ing’ is a famous tour­ist attrac­tion.

Malcolm trav­elled to see the Taj Mahal, then on to the Ganges river basin where he cruised along­side the banks to look at the wild­life.  There was the Galiah? cro­codile, which is the largest in the world.  It can grow to 6 metres in length and weigh over 1 ton.

It is so heavy that it cannot raise its body off the ground so it slides along on its belly when it is on land.  It feeds on fish.  Here again Malcolm saw and pho­to­graphed other cro­codiles and turtles and many, many birds.

He moved on to tiger coun­try where he went out with park staff on elephant-back to see tigers lying in the shade of the forest.  He saw a male tiger being ‘herded’ by an ele­phant and riders.  It was fol­lowed by many tour­ists in jeeps and was obvi­ously annoyed.

However, 15 minutes later it came strolling back, having dodged the ele­phant and the crowds, and Malcolm got his pho­to­graphs.

He ended his trip in Assam where he saw water buf­falo, which can weigh up to 1200kg and have the largest horns of any bovine, and the Indian one-horned rhino­ceros, which is a pro­tec­ted spe­cies.  There are now only about 1000 rhino left and they are still tar­geted by poach­ers for their horns, which are sup­posed to be an aph­ro­dis­iac.

(He also saw lots of birds!)

It was a very well organ­ised present­a­tion, with beau­ti­ful pho­to­graphy.

The fascination of the Romanovs 1894 to 1918 — Rosemary Beney — 20th August 18

Rosemary spoke about Tsar Nicholas II and Princess Alexandra of Hesse and showed us many pho­to­graphs of the family, espe­cially the chil­dren.  Although the pho­to­graphs were ori­gin­ally mono­chrome, many of them had been col­our­ised to modern stand­ards.

Tsar Nicholas was born in 1868, the son of Tsar Alexander III.                 Tsar Nicholas was known to be the richest man in the world but he was regarded as a polit­ic­ally weak man.

Princess Alexandra was the grand-daughter and favour­ite grand-child of Queen Victoria, but was not pop­u­lar in Russia.                                 Nicholas and Alexandra became engaged in 1893 and were mar­ried later in St. Petersberg.  The mar­riage was regarded as a love match and they were a pas­sion­ate couple.

Nicholas suc­ceeded his father, Alexander III, in 1894.   The coron­a­tion was immense with Royal fam­il­ies from all over the world in attend­ance.  Alexandra’s dress was so heavy with jewels and ermine that she had to have help to sit and kneel.   Outside the cathed­ral a crowd of over 50,000 had gathered to see the Royal couple.   There was a stam­pede and over 1300 people were crushed to death and many more were injured.  The couple still appeared before the crowd in the after­noon.

They had five chil­dren; at first four daugh­ters, which did not go down well with the pop­u­la­tion, and finally a son.

Olga was born May 3rd, 1895 when they vis­ited Balmoral and lived at Alexandra Place.

Tatiana was born in 1897 and later did Red Cross work in World War I.

Maria was born in 1899 and was strongly fan­cied by Lord Mountbatten.

Anastasia was born in 1901 and always had poor health.

Alexis was born in 1904.  He was found to be a hae­mo­phil­iac and was always pro­tec­ted because of it.  He was car­ried by a retainer at all public events, even when he was older, and was not allowed a bicycle or to play any sports.  He had a major bleed some years later when the family was on hol­i­day in Finland and was bathed in mud to stop the bleed­ing.

The family trav­elled in luxury in a fant­astic train with guards sta­tioned at 10 meter inter­vals along­side the tracks!  They owned a per­sonal Rolls Royce and another 66 cars.  Alexandra had dia­monds galore.

Nicholas had estab­lished an Entente Cordiale with Great Britain and, early in World War I, took over com­mand of the army.  He left the con­duct of home affairs to his wife, who became dom­in­ated by Rasputin.  At the time there was great unrest and threats of revolu­tion in Russia.

In 1917 Nicholas was forced to abdic­ate and, three days later, they were put under house arrest at Tsarskoe Selo.  They still had the ser­vants and the free­dom of the palace and grounds, so life car­ried on fairly nor­mally.

They were moved to Topol August 1917 with sev­eral of their staff.  The locals were kind and gen­er­ous but life in the Siberian sur­round­ings was not as col­our­ful.

In May 1918 they were put on ‘sol­diers rations’ and con­fined to a small area, then moved to Ekaterineberg  where they were held for 78 days in a ‘house of spe­cial pur­pose’.  Captivity became very harsh and some staff thought they were being sexu­ally abused.

They were assas­sin­ated on July 17th, 1918.

There are many stor­ies of their buri­als  etc. and the mys­ter­ies con­tinue to this day.