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GMP raid Manchester uni halls issuing multiple £800 fines to students in common room

‘People were traumatised by it, we were literally just having dinner with friends’

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ISmitheman / Twitter

Police have handed out multiple £800 fines to students in Fallowfield for allegedly holding a ‘large gathering’ in their common room. 

Officers entered halls of residence twice over the weekend in south Manchester to question students over their socialising. 

Furious parents and students have accused Greater Manchester Police of heavy-handed tactics facilitated by the University of Manchester, the MEN reveals. 

Students say police raided Owens Park halls of residence at around 11pm on Friday and 2:30am on Sunday over a potential breach of lockdown rules.

Under coronavirus law, police do not have power of entry and need a warrant to enter and search premises.

The exception to this rule is if they have ‘reasonable grounds to suspect that a person within is potentially infectious, and they need to direct or remove the person for screening and assessment’.

However, under the Manchester University’s student accommodation contracts, the uni and ‘anyone authorised’ by staff has the right to enter without prior notice.

GMP insist students who were fined showed ‘blatant disregard’ to the rules and that their ‘proactive patrols’ inside the accommodation were agreed with the uni in advance.  

One student spoke to the MEN, saying that a number of her flatmates were issued £800 fines each on Friday because more than 15 people from the same block were in the common room.

She said: “There’s four floors with up to fourteen people on each one. Each floor is your household and at the start of the year the common room was locked.

“We asked for it to be unlocked because otherwise there’s nowhere else for us to sit other than our rooms. I think when police came there was about 15 people in the common room, but they were all from our block.

“The way the building is laid out makes it impossible not to mix between floors. People are always walking between floors. And when we go to the canteen we’re all put in there together.”

She continued: “They brought us into the common room and were getting people from other floors, there must have been 25 people in the end.

“We weren’t able to social distance so it seemed to really defeat the point. They said we were all getting an £800 for being part of a large gathering.

“People were weeping.”

“It’s stupid – they’re fining us for being in a student common room. This whole accommodation doesn’t fit the regulations.

“We’re all mingled together all the time, we can’t stop that, we share everything. People were really upset.”

Students were advised not to return to campus this term unless their course required face-to-face teaching like medicine, due to the latest national lockdown. One student estimated that around 70% of students did return.

The University of Manchester outlined its policy saying: “If you are living in a flat then this is considered to be a household. If you are living in halls that are corridor based then we have identified rooms (maximum of 15) that will be designated as a household and you will be required to ensure that you use the facilities which are for your household only.

“Any government guidance for households will apply in all cases.”

Students say they feel the issue did not require the involvement of the police.

ISmitheman / Twitter

One student said: “We got an email last week reminding us about parties. But nothing about the household rules and using the common room. It’s so disproportionate the force they applied.

“Today they knocked on my bedroom door at 2 in the morning when I was asleep. They said it was just to chase up some details about the night before.

“It’s awful, who’s letting them do this? I haven’t seen a Uni security guard this whole time, it’s just hordes of police.

“They turn up in a van with 10 to 15 of them and storm in at once and scare everyone to death. Surely campus security could have handled this?”

Another student added: “People were traumatised by it, we were literally just having dinner with friends.

“The police just wouldn’t understand. They said we shouldn’t be at uni in the first place and that we weren’t supposed to use the common rooms.

“It’s like walking into someone’s house, it wouldn’t happen in a normal household outside uni. It’s just cruel.

“Everyone is just terrified now and no one is leaving their rooms – we don’t know when police might come back.”

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Wayne Rooney breaks silence after hotel photos leak online

The photos quickly went viral on social media

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@waynerooney / Instagram

Wayne Rooney has broken his silence after he was pictured with several young women in a hotel in Manchester.

The former Manchester United captain apologised to his family and to the club he currently manages, Derby County.

Rooney spoke to Sky Sports after Derby’s friendly against Real Betis on Wednesday, saying: “I made a mistake.

“I went to a private party with two of my friends and from me, I’d like to apologise to my family and the club for the images which were going round and I want to move forward on this.

“I’m grateful to Derby County for giving me this opportunity to get this club back to where it belongs, and I’ll do everything in my power to make sure I do that.”

He added: “It’s dealt with. I’m looking forward to moving forward and preparing for another game on Sunday.”

Rooney was photographed asleep in a hotel bedroom on the weekend, with the images quickly going viral.

The photos show a fully clothed Rooney passed out in a chair after a night out in Manchester, after he went to the hotel with three women.

Yesterday we reported that the former Manchester United captain was asked for £10,000 to keep the photos hidden from his wife Coleen.

According to reports, the police launched a blackmail probe over a message sent to Rooney on Instagram that included a photo from the hotel and the comment: “Morning Wayne 10 grand please mate or Coleen sees this.”

However, officers have now dropped the investigation after concluding that no offence had been committed.

Станислав Ведмидь / Wikimedia

A Cheshire Police spokesman said: “On Monday July 26th Cheshire Constabulary received reports of a possible blackmail relating to a number of images circulating online.

“Officers have spoken to the person involved and are satisfied that no offences have taken place.

“The person involved has also stated that they do not wish to take the matter any further.”

It’s not been suggested that the women from the photos, Tayler Ryan, Elise Melvin and Brooke Morgan, all aged 21, were knowingly involved in any criminal activity.

As the photos went viral on social media, Rooney’s legal team contacted Greater Manchester Police, before the case was passed to Cheshire Police.

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Tesco offers lorry drivers £1,000 joining bonus amid HGV crisis

There is a chronic shortage of drivers in the industry at the moment

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Mark Eslick / Flickr

The ongoing shortage of HGV drivers has seen supermarket shelves empty across the country, with Tesco recently revealing the shortage in drivers is resulting in forty-eight tonnes of food waste each week as fresh goods are being left to rot.

Now the supermarket has stepped up in its bid to entice more drivers to come forward, with a £1,000 joining bonus up for grabs.

Tesco will be offering the £1,000 incentive to recruits who join before September 30th.

@MyUsernameWasTaken / TripAdvisor

Similar recruitment incentives are also being offered by other companies for HGV drivers, it’s understood, with Morrisons saying it was working on training staff to become lorry drivers.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) estimates there is currently a shortfall of up to 100,000 lorry drivers in the UK – and as well as this issue, the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit are also being blamed for shortages, The Mirror reports.

The Covid pandemic has seen travel become extremely restricted, with haulage companies saying their European drivers have simply decided not to return to the UK due to the virus and Brexit.

As well as food deliveries, there have also been issues with some council services, and several councils have been forced to halt services like garden waste collection, according to the chair of the Local Government Association, James Jamieson.

The environment spokesperson for the LGA, Darren Rodwell, said: “While most councils have been able to keep services running, some are having to reduce services such as green waste collection.

“These issues are partly due to the increase in ‘pinged’ staff but also a larger problem with a shortage of HGV drivers.

“The announcement that waste collection staff can apply for exemption is pleasing, but we are awaiting details on how quick the application process will be and whether it includes all waste collection staff.”

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Empty shelves ‘crisis’ in supermarkets to get worse in ‘next three weeks’, haulage boss warns

‘In the next two to three weeks we are facing a collapse of the supply chain’

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@kentishsal & Dr Mike Galsworthy / Twitter

Shoppers have been urged not to start panic buying amid empty shelves and supply shortages in Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Lidl stores across the country.

In scenes reminiscent of the start of the Covid pandemic in March 2020, shelves across countless supermarkets up and down the country have been sparse, leaving frustrated customers speculating what could possibly be the cause of the issue.

Now shoppers have been warned by industry bosses there could be further more empty shelves because of a collapse in the supply chain.

Jivee Blau / Wikimedia

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Richard Burnett, chief executive of the Road Haulage Association, said: “In the next two to three weeks we are facing a collapse of the supply chain meaning even bigger gaps on supermarket shelves.

“We already have hauliers unable to move goods on a daily basis and we’re now facing a perfect storm.

“This is a crisis on a scale we have never seen before in this industry and the government is burying its head in the sand.

“It is not recognising the seriousness.”

A Morrisons spokeswoman told the BBC: “As per the whole of the UK, we are experiencing a rise in cases and close contact notifications.

“We provide guidance and support for colleagues who may need to self-isolate including sick pay and have covid secure controls in place in all our stores to ensure we can continue to operate and keep them open.

“Throughout the whole of the pandemic, we have not been required to close a store.”

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has acknowledged industry-wide problems but said stores are working closely with suppliers so customers can still buy what they need.

But what’s actually causing these shortages?

Rept0n1x / Wikimedia

Well, a large part of the problem can be credited to the ongoing lack of HGV drivers – Tesco recently revealed that the shortage in drivers is resulting in forty-eight tonnes of food waste each week as fresh goods destined for its stores are being left to rot.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) estimates there is currently a shortfall of up to 100,000 lorry drivers in the UK – and as well as this issue, the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit are also being blamed for shortages, The Mirror reports.

The Covid pandemic has seen travel become extremely restricted, with haulage companies saying their European drivers have simply decided not to return to the UK due to the virus and Brexit.

The recent reopening of all shops and hospitality establishments such as nightclubs also means there’s been a sudden demand for certain goods.

Amid all of these issues, the RHA has called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to take action on the HGV driver shortage.

In response, the government says it has ramped up testing for lorry drivers, is paying for more apprentices and is allowing current drivers to increase their working hours. But, even before Covid, the estimated shortage of drivers was around 60,000.

Other circumstances that have been blamed on causing delays include the earlier blockage of the Suez Canal.

Despite all the issues with supply, customers are being warned not to panic buy.

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