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Crime: 4 June 2014

We have all heard in the newspapers and on TV that crime is down.  It really is !  Our burglary rate in RBWM has roughly halved so far this year and Ascot – touch wood – has not had a burglary for weeks.  Offenders are moving their criminal activity to other crime types – pickpocketing / mobile phone theft and of course fraud.  There is much less chance of them being caught, the penalties if caught are less severe and of course, the financial rewards are much higher.  If a thief steals a dvd player in a burglary, he will only receive a few pounds for it from the handler.  If he is caught, the punishment will be prison.  Knocking at the front door of an elderly person, or even stopping them in the street and telling them there is money outstanding from spurious building work they say they have had done and taking them to the bank to withdraw large sums of cash, is much more lucrative – and – that is what is happening now.
We have had several cases of this in the last few weeks.  Once they have received cash from a victim, it sometimes goes on for several weeks, before we find out.  It is absolutely brazen.  Again, we need to protect our elderly and vulnerable neighbours and let them know, we are available, ready and willing to help and support them.
You will all have read the new warnings about global malware and will have received 2 Alert messages from our Communications Department at HQ.
Paul, our IT guru has sent me this update, which I think is very re-assuring and helpful:
Following the recent news stories and the Alert messages regarding the protection of computers, there are many people that may still be alarmed and unsure, about what will happen.
Most of us will not have a problem, but just in case, there is one basic rule - BACK UP YOUR DATA !
With all the discussion around protecting your PC and ensuring that it has proper antivirus, there is one basic thing that everybody should also do - that is to back up the files on the PC.
Even if nasty people were not out there trying to infect your machine, you should always back up your files, as you never know if your machine will fail, or get stolen.
A PC can be fixed or replaced, but your own data cannot.  You will have lots of precious documents, pictures, videos and music, which you would not want to lose.
While I could talk chapter and verse about the many ways of backing up data, including copying to ‘The Cloud’, the simplest way, is to buy an external hard drive.
This can be plugged in to the PC or laptop and allows you to copy over the files on your PC. Once plugged in, it will appear as a new disk drive. Go to the folders on your PC and just drag them across to the new drive.
Once you have copied the files, unplug the external drive and keep it somewhere safe. That way, if your PC decides to break or gets stolen, you can copy back the files, when you get your new PC.
You should repeat this process regularly, to ensure all your latest files are copied.
External drives are relatively cheap these days. Places like PC World and Tesco’s, have ones ranging from £45 to £55 that hold over 500 Megabytes (Mb) of data, which is easily more than enough for most people. It is small, doesn’t need any external power and just plugs into one of the USB slots on your machine.
If you go on holiday, why not give the drive to a trusted friend to look after, that way, even if the whole house burns down, your data is safe !
Hope this helps.
Clear and precise as always Paul – many thanks from us all.
AS YOU WILL SEE BELOW – Burglaries ‘BY UNKNOWN MEANS’.  That means, there is no visible signs of damage to doors and windows, as a means of getting into a property.  The inference for us – and your Insurance Company – is that you left the property INSECURE – ie unlocked.  Ignore the fact that by leaving your doors and windows unlocked / unsecured at night, you may be ‘burgled’, that is possibly bad enough.  Think about that burglar / opportunist thief / whoever they may be, wandering about your house at night, while you are up in bed asleep.  You may be in the house alone, you may have children !  You must consider both your and their, safety.  If you are not concerned for your property, please think about your own peace of mind.  I cannot believe I am still having to say this, but can you all please do your final checks, before going to bed.  Electrical items turned off, anything that may cause a fire attended to – AND – all windows and doors secured and locked.
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3/6  Tuesday midnight / 7 a.m.  Tudor Court, Lower Cookham Road.  The owner was asleep in the house, but had left the rear door UNLOCKED.  When he awoke, property was missing from the living room.  iPAD, Macbook Air, Del laptop, Sony VAIO laptop and foreign currency stolen.
3/6  Tuesday 9 a.m. / 8.05 p.m.  Station, King Street.  Bike shed entered and bike stolen.  A gents, blue, Iceni Racing bike.
3/6  Tuesday  9 p.m.  Car Park, Stafferton Way.  Fire Hydrant damaged when it was kicked by a group of offenders.
4/6  Wednesday 1.10 a.m.  Forlease Road.  The owner heard a noise outside and went to investigate.  They looked out and saw the boot of their car open.  They also saw someone in the back of the car with a torch looking through the boot.  The offender got out and very quietly closed the boot and walked off.  The owner followed them to Moorbridge Road, past Waitrose, then keyed a door code into York Court and disappeared inside.
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2/6  Monday 12.30 p.m. / 2.30 p.m.  Terry’s Lane, Cookham.  Burglary.  Property entered BY UNKNOWN MEANS – untidy search.  Internal door forced.  Watch, ladies top and a pleated skirt stolen.
Your Neighbourhood Page on TVP's Website - Click Here
3/6  Tuesday midnight / 7 a.m.  Curls Road.  The owner awoke to find the house had been entered via a rear door – BY UNKNOWN MEANS – no tools needed, NO EVIDENCE OF DAMAGE – tidy search of the house – iPAD Mini, Macbook Pro and a Dell laptop stolen.  This may well be connected to the burglary in Cookham and another during the same period in Bourne End.  The police have several leads.
3/6  Tuesday 7.45 a.m. / 7 p.m.  Brownfield Gardens. New fence damaged.
3/6 – 4/6  Tuesday 5.30 p.m. / Wednesday 8 a.m.  Warwick Close.  Car rear window smashed – Stihl hedge trimmer, Stihl hedge trimmer attachment, Stihl leaf blower and Stihl strimmer stolen.
3/6 – 4/6  Tuesday 5.30 p.m. / Wednesday 8 a.m.  Winchester Drive.  Van driver’s door forced – whole van searched – nothing stolen.
Hi Jeff
I think your contributor who said "There is no facility endorsed by HMRC presently which allows a UK taxpayer to complete a Gift Aid Declaration online" may not be entirely accurate.
HMRC guidelines are quite clear:
"Your charity or CASC can store records of donors who have made a declaration electronically on a database, but you will still need to be able to demonstrate that each donor did give a declaration." The specific guidance can be found at
That declaration by the donor is effected by ticking a box on the electronic donation form which requires the donor to provide their details and a declaration that they are paying at least as much UK Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax for the year of donation as the charity or CASC will reclaim on their donation.
This is the method very widely used by charities, CASC's and collecting intermediary organizations such as JustGiving.
Thanks Mike.  Perhaps we need to keep this to hand if a Charity Collector calls at your door !!!

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