Government will impose Tier 3 on areas that don’t improve with or without support from local authorities
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The Prime Minister confirmed the government will step in and impose Tier 3 restrictions even without agreement from local politicians.
Yesterday Greater Manchester was placed in Tier 2 of the new Covid Alert system, avoiding the tightest restrictions. This meant there were few changes to the local lockdown rules that were already in place.
People from other households can now mix in private gardens but mixing with other households indoors is prohibited. Pubs and restaurants are allowed to remain open despite concerns for their closure.
Last night Boris Johnson issued a warning that the government will ‘do whatever we think is necessary over the next few days and weeks’, adding that the rules would be put in place whether there was backing from local authorities and mayors or not.
He said: “We want to take local authorities with us. Obviously a local approach can be immensely valuable.
“In enforcement, the local knowledge of the area, the places where the virus may be transmitted, local activity in closing down people who are transparently breaking the rules, local enforcement, local test and trace.
“These can be fantastically powerful.
“We want to work with local authorities to deliver this, that’s why we are offering the deals and the solutions that we are.
“But if we can’t get agreement then clearly it is the duty of national government to take the necessary action to protect the public and to protect public health and we will.”
Boris also claimed that the government came to an agreement with the only area placed in Tier 3, Liverpool City Region and its metro mayor, Steve Rotherham. In the area, gyms, leisure centres, casinos, and betting shops will all close from Wednesday.
However, Rotherham has denied this. He wrote on Twitter that ‘it was the government that decided we needed local restrictions in our area… it wasn’t local leaders and it’s disingenuous for them to indicate otherwise’.
Boris confirmed last night that increased funding for local test and trace facilities plus the enforcement of new rules in areas put into Tier 3 would be offered.
He said: “It’s absolutely correct to say we’re working with local authorities across the country, but particularly with those badly affected regions that everybody knows about in the North West and the North East, Yorkshire and so on and trying to work with them to support a collective package of measures”
“I was very pleased that Steve Rotheram of the Liverpool city region came forward with a package, we’re helping him. And the offer is that, to all local leaders who are facing problems, big increases in the infection rates, we will help to support more local test and trace, more enforcement and so on.
“We stand ready to work with local government at all levels.
“Clearly as a national government we have to think about our primary duty which is to save life and protect the NHS and we will do whatever we think is necessary over the next few days and weeks.”
It has yet to be confirmed what would trigger an area moving into the highest alert level, Tier 3.
Andy Burnham has explained that he was ‘glad the government has listened and that putting Greater Manchester in Tier 2 is the ‘right decision’.
Police seize 17 dogs after six-year-old girl attacked while playing in the street
The young girl is now in a stable condition in hospital after the horrific attack
Police have seized 17 dogs after a six-year-old girl was mauled in a brutal attack while playing in the street, in Greater Manchester.
The young girl is now in a stable condition in hospital after the horrific attack on Sunday at an address on Ackers Lane, Carrington. Greater Manchester Police say three people arrested on suspicion of owning a dangerous dog have now been bailed.
The force said it was called to the address around 2.40pm and immediately seized four dogs. Four more adult dogs and nine puppies have since been taken away. Officers also said a van had been found in south Manchester as part of the investigation and is currently being examined.
A police spokesperson said: “Shortly before 2.40pm [on Sunday] police were called to a report of a child who had suffered injuries caused by dogs at an address on Ackers Lane, Carrington.
“The girl was taken to hospital and is in a stable condition. Four dogs were seized by officers and have been taken away by specialist partners. Three people have been arrested on suspicion of owning a dangerous dog.”
GMP has since referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) over the incident. Detective Inspector Matthew Dixon, of GMP’s Trafford district, said: “This is a fluid investigation and so far we have recovered 17 dogs and made three arrests, as well as a vehicle of interest.
“However, the investigation is very much ongoing and anyone with information should contact police quoting log 1612-26/03/23.”
The breed of dog has not yet been confirmed, however it has been reported that neighbours noticed a number of American Pit Bull Terriers in the area.
Man hid from police on rooftop after cannabis farm found at property
He stood on the ledge of a skylight to evade the authorities
A man was found to be hiding from police on the roof of a property after maintaining a cannabis farm inside.
Etmond Lika, 32, of no fixed abode, appeared via a video link at Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday March 28th, after pleading guilty to one count of being concerned in the production of cannabis.
Christopher Hopkins, prosecuting, told the court that on February 24th this year, a locksmith was employed to change the front door lock at an address at Stanley Road, Kirkdale at approximately midday, when the discovery was made.
As reported by ITV’s Granada Reports, Mr Hopkins said: “He noticed what he thought was a cannabis installation at the property and called the police. He thought someone was inside.”
Later that afternoon, officers searched the large terraced house and found that across the six rooms inside was a whole cannabis growing installation of at least 200 plants — described as ‘plainly a sophisticated operation’.
The force found evidence that someone had been living there, such as food etc, and said there was ‘no doubt that was this defendant’. Lika attempted to evade police by climbing through a skylight and hiding on the roof of the property, but was eventually captured and arrested.
Mr Hopkins said: “Lika had been employed by somebody to manage or run this installation whether that was tending to the plants or whatever else was required.”
Lika was interviewed by police and initially denied being involved, but said he came to the UK via a boat across the channel, in September last year, in the hope of gaining better economic opportunities.
He said he paid 5,000 euros for that trip, but apart from those limited facts, Mr Hopkins said: “the Crown frankly knows nothing else about this defendant”.
He added: “Lika must have been motivated by some significant financial advantage and must have understood what was going on in the house.” Lika has no previous convictions in the UK, and a foreign antecedent record was requested but none was provided.
Olivia Beesley, defending, said her client was offered £100 a day to live at the property, and left Albania for economic reasons. She said: “He wants to work but he knows now that he should have done so through proper channels.
“He simply wishes to receive his sentence with grace and understands he must be punished for this kind of offending.” She said he requested an English Language course while in custody, and was homeless for a week prior to committing this offence.
Ms Beesley also detailed that Lika said he had no previous convictions in Albania. Judge Brian Cummings KC said: “There are lots of January 1st birthdays on this class of case.
“You entered this country illegally, little or nothing is known about you. I note what was said in the case summary by reference to your police interview, and I quote: ‘It was difficult to get an answer out of him, he continuously changed his account throughout the interview’.
“A question mark always raises in my mind when somebody has a January 1st birthday, it seems to be more often than is statistically probable in cases of this class.”
Lika was sentenced to two years and four months imprisonment, and forfeiture and destruction of the drugs and paraphernalia was ordered. A victim surcharge applies.
Paul O’Grady’s heartbreaking last post before his ‘unexpected’ death
‘It’s awful when you lose a pet’
Paul O’Grady shared heartbreaking news in his final social media post about his pet just days before his sudden death.
In the Instagram post, created just two weeks before his own death, the 67-year-old animal lover shared his heartbreak at the loss of his pet pig Tom Tom.
O’Grady, who passed away ‘unexpectedly but peacefully’ on Tuesday March 28th, said on his social media page how he had returned home from ‘a week in Newcastle playing Miss Hannigan’ in the onstage production Annie to find Tom Tom had been ‘put to sleep’.
Posting a sweet video of the ‘cheeky’ animal, he said he had expected the news as Tom Tom had been diagnosed with a tumour. O’Grady said how ‘fond’ he was of his pet pig, and was mourning his loss.
In the Instagram post he wrote: “Got back from a week in Newcastle playing Miss Hannigan in Annie to find that Tom Tom, one of my pigs had been put to sleep. I knew it was coming as he’d been diagnosed with a tumour but even so it’s awful when you lose a pet.
“He was the cheekiest of the gang and one of the other pigs who was obviously very fond of him is now depressed and gone into mourning and there’s those who say that animals don’t have feelings.
“On a lighter note I’m thoroughly enjoying playing Hannigan again after so long especially with a truly amazing and lovely cast. Next stop Edinburgh. @anniemusicaluk #animals #pigs.”
O’Grady died on Tuesday evening, with his passing announced by his husband Andre Portasio. Best known for his persona of drag act Lily Savage, his wit and love for animals, the comedian became a national treasure loved by many.
He performed comedy acts, hosted Blankety Blank and Blind Date, as well as ITV’s For The Love Of Dogs – for which he won multiple awards. His celebrity game show, Paul O’Grady’s Saturday Night Line Up was also a favourite.
O’Grady was open about his health issues in recent years after suffering two heart attacks and catching Covid-19 last year. Prior to his sad death, the TV and radio legend had been shocked by how badly Covid affected him and the lasting effects it had on him, leaving him unable to work for two months.
O’Grady is survived by his husband Andre, his daughter Sharon and two grandchildren. The cause of his death has yet to be confirmed.