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 second part of our review of some of the hundreds of stories we have covered in the Chad this year.
In July, it emerged that policing Mansfield Town games cost five times more than Notts County matches during last season. A break down of the costs by Nottinghamshire Police revealed that Stags received a £51,570 bill from the police for the 2014/2015 season, which equates to more than £2,242 per match at the One Call Stadium.
Sherwood Forest was set for a celebrity visitor after it was announced that former Robin of Sherwood actor Phil Rose, who played Friar Tuck in the hit 1980s TV programm, would be a special guest at the annual Robin Hood Festival.
Bolsover brothers James and Thomas Hill were jailed for a “brutal, vicious and unprovoked” attack which left an elderly dog dead. James Hill, 22, of Hillcrest Close, Bolsover, and Thomas Hill, 20, of Houfton Road, Bolsover, subjected the animal to a terrifying ordeal while they were high on the drug MCAT and drunk.
Leading Ashfield councillor Jim Aspinall described how he was going through a ‘living nightmare’ after allegations of benefit fraud were made against him. Coun Aspinall, a Labour councillor for St Mary’s ward, said the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)was looking into allegations that he is falsely claiming disability living allowance after he was filmed taking part in a march in support of the NHS.
Brave Ashfield teenager Corah Slaney also lost her long battle with a degenerative illness, dying peacefully in her parents’ arms.
Ill health and advancing years finally caught up with animal-lover Terry Marsh, who took the painful decision to close his renowned animal welfare rescue centre, based on Gladstone Street, Mansfield, after 30 years.
Shocked residents who lobbied for the council to remove fly-tipped rubbish from their Mansfield street were left furious after being hit with the bill. Those living on Victoria Street were told by Mansfield District Council in May to remove the rubbish from the alleyway behind their homes, which included old fridges, clothes, settees and general waste, or risk a fine. The residents refused and, following a standoff, the work was done by Mansfield District Council, which then sent them a bill.
Serial armed robber Jamie Richard Lakin from Mansfield Woodhouse admitted to five robbery offences after terrorising shop staff around the Mansfield ares. Lakin, 39, of Gladstone Street, entered a guilty plea at Nottingham Crown Court. Defending himself, he accepted the charges straight away.
In September, police conducted a controlled explosion on an industrial estate after a number of century-old grenades were found on-site - but only after they had been first called out for a false alarm. Cops received the call to the Veolia recycling plant on Warren Way, on the Crown Farm Industrial Estate at Forest Town.
Armed muggers got more than they were bargained for when a Sutton man hit back during a bungled robbery to floor his two attackers. Gary Sanderson, of Grafton Close, had been walking home from work along the path next to King’s Mill Reservoir when he was attacked from behind. But the would-be thieves were not expecting what happened next, when the 35-year-old ‘victim’ fought back, punching and headbutting the pair and leaving them in a heap.
The family of tragic Mansfield teenager Amber Peat said they have been ‘let down’ by police after confirming that an officer who has been suspended had spread confidential details of the youngster’s death by text message before the teenager’s family had been told.
October began with King’s Mill Hospital back in the news, after crisis measures were brought in to tackle high levels of patient deaths. Health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) revealed that Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, had failed to improve in all but one of the 18 targets set in 2013 - while the trust was performing significantly worse in many areas.
It was also a bad month for Mansfield Mayor Kate Allsop, after police revealed that a cash probe had been launched into her election expenses. A complaint was put to police alleging more was spent on Mrs Allsop’s campaign than was legally permitted. At the time of writing, the police investigation is still ongoing.
The Chad also got Mansfield and Ashfield politicians hot under the collar after we called on elected members on both district authorities to put the voters first and to stop focusing on party political squabbles. The comment piece led to a raft of responses from councillors.
In November, the ongoing row over gay Southwell clergyman Jeremy Pemberton took its latest turn after an employment tribunal ruled he was not treat unfairly when church officials revoked his license to practice at King’s Mill Hospital, after he married in April 2014. Canon Pemberton said at the time that he was considering an appeal.
Mansfield Independent Forum Councillor Stuart Rickersey came under fire over plans to give Mansfield’s market a major facelift. The move includes moving the stalls off Westgate and onto the Market Place and scrapping the market on a Monday. But opponents have called foul over allegations that hundreds of letters opposing the move were ignored. The bid eventually went to a scrutiny panel and is expected to be resolved in 2016.
Violent thug Tomasz Borowicki, who pursued his frightened mother from Poland to Shirebrook was jailed for 26 weeks after he breached a restraining order and attacked her. Magistrates were told how Borowicki, 37, of Coronation Drive, Shirebrook, repeatedly verbally abused his mother and stepsister before he assaulted his mother at her home.
Sports Direct dominated the news agenda in early December following a major investigation by the Guardian Newspaper, which the Chad contributed to, exposed working conditions at the company’s Shirebrook headquarters, and revealed that agency staff were not being paid the national minimum wage. Protests also took place at stores around the country, including Mansfield, calling for better conditions. Owner Mike Ashley has not pledged to review how agency workers are treated.
Much of Mansfield was at gridlock after an Asda lorry overturned on Leeming Lane in Mansfield Woodhouse, at its junction with Peafield Lane and Sandgate Lane. The contents of the lorry were scattered across the road, but thankfully nobody was hurt.
More than 80 Syrian refugees were also welcomed into Nottinghamshire as part of the government’s ‘national resettlement scheme’. The 81 Syrians, who have fled from Islamic extremists ISIS, will be rehomed around the county, with some coming to Mansfield.
Pictured (from top) Terry Marsh, Corah Slaney, Mansfield mayor Kate Allsop and Jeremy Pemberton (left)