LOOKING BACK ON 2015 . . . take a look at some of news from around Mansfield and Ashfield from earlier in 2015

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It’s been a busy year around Mansfield and Ashfield with news ranging from the tragic to the comic to the downright bizarre. Here is the first part of our review of some of the hundreds of stories we have covered in the Chad this year.

January

This year started with heavy snowfall across the county leading to roads chaos over Christmas and into the first weeks of January, with council bosses accused of ‘putting people’s lives at risk’

But the authority said it had worked ‘round the clock’ to keep major routes open.

Dog owners in Ashfield also fell foul in the wintery weather - outraging residents by kicking snow over their mess rather than picking it up.

Also in January, £30,000 of cannabis was uncovered during one police drugs raid operation in Kirkby. Police discovered a total of 28 plants being grown at addresses on Gladstone Street, and Park Street.

Residents in Rainworth won their battle to prevent their only car park from being sold off, after they lobbied local councillors to step in after they found that Nottinghamshire County Council had planned to auction off the Southwell Road East car park.

February

Dog-owners again bore the brunt in February when Bolsover District Council launched a new task force to combat dog-fouling, as well as other nuisance behaviour. Residents in Newark and Sherwood were also warned about cleaning up after their pets, following a spate of fouling in Ollerton.

On a more distressing note, magistrates also ruled that a fighting dog which tore a family pet ‘to pieces’ in a Mansfield park as a woman tried to protect her nine-month-old granddaughter, should be destroyed.

Also in February, we revealed that dozens of missing swans may have been eaten by desperate poachers after the butchered carcass of a bird was found near to King’s Mill Reservoir.

It was also the end of an era for one long-standing retailer, after B&Q announced its store on Baums Lane, which has been in business since 1989, was to close - leading to a total of 35 members of staff will lose their jobs.

March

Mansfield couple Robert Andre Jones (53) and Amanda Louise Jones (40), of Crow Hill Drive, were sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court after fraudulently removing more than £129,000 from their own company, Armston Developments Ltd. Robert was jailed for two-and-a-half years and his wife received an 18-month suspended sentence.

Elsewhere, ambitious plans to re-open a section of the Robin Hood Line through Edwinstowe and Ollerton were given the backing of Prime Minister, David Cameron.

The air ambulance was forced to land in Mansfield town centre after a man was hit by a car in Leeming Street. He was airlifted to Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre, although police later confirmed that he did not have life-threatening injuries.

Police confirmed that Ashfield Councillor Jason Zadrozny was being investigated over allegations of historic sexual abuse. Coun Zadrozny denies the allegations, and no charges have yet been brought.

April

Shirebrook-based Sports Direct was back in the headlines, after a damning Channel 4 documentary exposed working conditions inside the company’s warehouse - after Chad first investigated the firm in 2014.

Mansfield District Council UKIP hopeful Sid Walker, who was later elected to the authority, was listed as being a member of the British National Party (BNP). Councillor Walker said he had never been a member of the party, but could not remember if he had sent money to support the group in the past.

Mansfield Town Football Club revived plans to continue building a new training facility in Pleasley. Work had already begun on the site at Woburn Lane , but red tape meant it had ground to a halt.

And Ashfield MP and ex-GMTV presenter Gloria De Piero, came first in an online poll set up by the controversial Illicit Encounters website, where 35 per cent of men questioned said they would divorce their wives to be with her.

May

The start of May was dominated by the General Election with a host of senior politicians and celebrity supporters landing in the area to support their respective candidates. Amongst those who rolled-up were David Cameron, George Osborne, Eddie Izzard and Tom Watson. Mansfield’s Sir Alan Meale, Ashfield’s Gloria De Piero and Sherwood’s Mark spencer all kept their seats.

New Mansfield mayor Kate Allsop described her appointment as ‘humbling’ and ‘very emotional’ following a close-run election at the district council. She had been neck-and-neck with Labour’s Martin Lee in the first round, but romped home with 3,000 additional votes in the second round.

Meanwhile, Labour stormed to victory on Ashfield District Council, winning 22 of its 35 seats.

Mansfield District Council appointed Councillor Katrina Atherton, ward councillor for Manor, as its new chair of the council for the year ahead - the youngest person to ever hold the position, although Coun Atherton was later removed from the position by Mansfield Independent Forum.

June

The whole of Mansfield and Ashfield was in mourning in June following the tragic death of teenager Amber Peat. The 13-year-old went missing from her Bosworth Street home and her body was found three days later in bushes off Westfield Lane, less than a mile away.

In another tragic story, Mansfield woman Vanessa Lucas-Heathorn burnt herself to death just days after being charged with arson following a blaze at her Valley View home. Her death occurred just yards from Peafield Lane Primary School.

Persistent Sutton drunk Tracey Partington (33) of Willow Crescent was found in an inebriated condition in a public place just a week after being sentenced to a Criminal Behaviour Order (CrimBO). She was ordered back to face the wrath of Mansfield Magistrates’ Court.

Two Mansfield drug gang members who conspired to supply cocaine and cannabis for sale on the streets of Nottinghamshire were jailed. James Stacey, 30, and his partner Kerrie Ronayne, 28, both of Forest Road, Mansfield, were part of a gang who have been sentenced for a total of 18 years.

Pictured, Amber Peat, traffic in the snow in Ashfield, Eddie Izzard on the campaign trail and campaigners outside Sports Direct.