Merseyside gym fined for ignoring Tier 3 rules and refusing to close to save the business
Police have fined a gym owner who refused to close his business on the first day of Tier 3 restrictions in Merseyside.
A gym based in Wirral is the first to be fined after failing to comply with the tough new Tier 3 restrictions.
Liverpool City Region was placed in Tier 3 earlier this week, which sees the closure of gyms, leisure centres, betting shops and casinos from yesterday, Wednesday October 14th.
However, owner of Body Tech Fitness in Moreton, Nick Whitcombe defied the new rules, keeping his gym open because there ‘won’t [be a gym] to come back to’ if he didn’t.
A video of police standing guard among gym members using the equipment has been shared widely on social media.
Body Tech Fitness is one of two gyms in the Wirral that said they would stay open despite the new rules.
Mr Whitcombe shared a video on Instagram where he said: “We have just received our first £1,000 fine at Body Tech.
“After meeting with the police yesterday, they told us we would get a warning first day, then a second warning, £100 fine, £200 fine and so on.
“They were with us this morning gave us our warning, came back this afternoon. Orders from their top boss to issue a fine straight away.
“They’ve told us close immediately or face a £1,000 fine. Obviously, we still had quite a lot of members training and I said to the officers, ‘I’m not asking anyone to leave. Even if I am I’m going to let them finish their sessions first.
“So they’ve issued the fine. First one is £1,000, they can come back in three hours issue £2,000, three hours after that £4,000.”
In a previous video where Mr Whitcombe announced his refusal to close the gym, he said: “If we close our facility we won’t have one to come back to. We will not have a gym to come back to.
“There will be no business, there will be no gym, there will be no jobs.”
He explained that gyms are vital for ‘our physical and mental health’, adding: “Keep fighting the good fight. The gyms need to stay open.”
A petition with over 100,000 signatures has raised £28,800 on a Crowdfunding page to ‘save the gyms’ in the North West.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Mr Whitcombe said that the police were ‘fair and polite’.
He added: “I appreciate that they’re only doing their job and we treated them with equal respect as I’m sure the sergeant will confirm.”
Chief Superintendent Claire Richards said: “We understand that people are frustrated with the current situation and for a number of local businesses, including the fitness and leisure industry, this will be particularly hard.
“It’s not that long ago that gyms reopened their doors after lockdown and they did so after making huge changes to the way they work for the safety and protection of their customers.
“But while this lockdown does present huge challenges, the focus of us all should now be on preventing the spread of the virus and getting us back to normality as safely and as quickly as possible.
“The new restrictions have been brought in to try to achieve that, and if we don’t act decisively and collaboratively, the impact could be harder and last even longer.
“We will therefore continue to encourage members of the public and businesses to adhere to the guidance, explain why they should and – as in this case – use enforcement where there are clear breaches of legislation.”
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.