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Illegal immigrants had been drafted in to protect St
OLYMPIC chiefs were today threatened by fresh scandal after it emerged suspected illegal immigrants had been drafted in to protect St James’ Park.
Three alleged bogus workers – employed as security guards – were arrested in a co-ordinated strike on the home ground of Newcastle United.
It came just 24 hours before Mexico and South Korea kicked off Tyneside’s Olympic celebrations.
UK Border Agency workers made the arrests alongside officers from Northumbria Police after acting on intelligence and carrying out routine checks.
The suspected illegal immigrants had been contracted in to provide security at the site and had already been installed at their posts, it is believed.
It comes just days after Tyneside doormen were drafted in from private security firms to protect the stadium.
The Chronicle understands those arrested were brought into the city by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games(LOCOG) from a security company based in the south of the country.
LOCOG were unable to comment on the incident, but a spokesman from the Home Office confirmed they had staged the sting on Wednesday.
The spokesman said: “These arrests show that UK Border Agency security checks are working.
“The responsibility for ensuring employees have the right to work in the UK rests with the employer.
“The UK Border Agency is working closely with employers and contractors at Olympics venues to prevent illegal working.”
Security firm G4S have faced heavy criticism in the run-up to the Olympics in Newcastle, after they failed to live up to their promise of providing security staff on Tyneside.
Earlier this week more than 500 staff from security firms across the country were called in to patrol St James’ Park, check bags, marshal spectators and carry out routine public safety and security functions for the tournament, which runs to August 4.
It was the latest foul-up by the company after it emerged this month they had failed to ensure enough security staff turned up to provide protection for footballers staying at the Hilton Hotel in Gateshead.
On that occasion Northumbria Police were forced to step in.
But today Olympic chiefs were facing fresh criticism after police helped Border Agency officers carry out the arrests at St James’ Park.
Home Office officials were unable to release the nationalities or ages of those arrested, but confirmed they had carried out a raid.
Meanwhile, a Northumbria Police spokesman said: “On Wednesday, July 25, officers carried out a number of arrests in conjunction with the UK Border Agency in connection with suspected immigration offences.”
Last week two Olympic security guards were arrested on suspicion of being illegal immigrants at Coventry’s Ricoh Stadium. One was due to be a supervisor for G4S.
The Pakistani pair, aged 21 and 24, are believed to have been working for several weeks at the ground, which is one of the 2012 football venues.
LOCOG further came under fire after fans reported delays getting into St James’ Park prior to Mexico’s goalless draw with South Korea.
Today Newcastle City Council’s director of operations 2012, Stephen Savage, said: “LOCOG are responsible for ticketing, sales andcollections, and as soon as the city council became aware of the delays we made the strongest representations to LOCOG to tackle this issue.
“I’m pleased they have now come up with a solution to reduce delays.
“The atmosphere at yesterday’s games was absolutely marvellous and the fans of Mexico, Korea, Gabon and Switzerland were a credit to their nations.”
See on www.chroniclelive.co.uk
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23 July 2012
The troubled UK Border Agency faces a backlog of cases equivalent to the population of Newcastle, MPs warned today.
Missing foreign criminals, failed asylum seekers, illegal immigrants and others refusing to leave the country make up more than 275,000 cases which the agency still needs to deal with, the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee said.
Keith Vaz, the committee’s chairman, said the backlog, which will take years to clear, was unacceptable, adding that the agency seems to have “acquired its own Bermuda triangle”.
“It’s easy to get in, but near impossible to keep track of anyone, let alone get them out,” the Labour MP said.
“This is the first time that the committee has collated all the cases at the UK Border Agency that await resolution. This backlog is now equivalent to the entire population of Newcastle upon Tyne.”
The latest damning report on the agency’s work also said the committee did not believe the Government’s aim of cutting the 260,000 student visas issued each year by a quarter would benefit the UK.
Students should be excluded from the net migration figures instead, it said.
Britain would then continue to attract international students, a market worth £7.9 billion, and still be able to aim to meet Prime Minister David Cameron’s pledge to cut net migration from 250,000 to the tens ofthousands by 2015, the report said.
Mr Vaz added: “This will enable the Government to encourage students to come to the UK whilst maintaining their position on curbing immigration.”
University chancellors and campaigners have urged Mr Cameron to class international students as temporary rather than permanent migrants, removing them from the figures.
But Immigration Minister Damian Green has said students staying for more than a year are not visitors and their numbers affect communities, public services and infrastructure.
Today’s report, looking at the agency’s work between December last year and March, also called for the agency to make all its inspections of colleges unannounced, rather than giving them advance notice so key people and documents can be ready.
“If we are to eliminate bogus colleges from the education landscape and employers that abuse the immigration system then visits will have to be unannounced, robust and thorough,” it said.
On the backlog, the committee said it included at least 150,000 migrants who have been refused permission to stay in the UK but who may still be in the country illegally, 21,000 asylum cases, and 3,900 foreign offenders living in the community.
A further 57 foreign criminals who were released in 2006 without being considered for deportation have not yet been traced.
And the so-called controlled archive, used for cases where the agency has lost track of the applicant, contains 80,000 asylum applications and 21,500 immigration cases, the report said.
The agency “does not have a strong record in deporting foreign national offenders” and should set up a team to examine why the foreign criminals living in the community had not been deported and then to ensure that they are sent home, the MPs said.
In future, deportation proceedings should begin as soon as a prisoner is sentenced to speed up the process, they added.
A Home Office spokesman said: “This report highlights the improvements we have made to tackle the huge backlog of cases we inherited. Over 2,000 overstayers have recently been removed following targeted enforcement activity, foreign national offenders are being removed more quickly and we are performing well against visa processing targets.
“Talented students are welcome in the UK, but we have introduced new powers to toughen up the system, keeping out the fraudulent and unqualified while ensuring genuine students continue to benefit from our excellent educational facilities.
“The report has raised some legitimate concerns about issues that we are aware of and are already tackling.”
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Peter Copeland, 29, of West Rainton outside Sunderland Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to sending racist tweets about Newcastle United players.
A SUNDERLAND AFC fan has admitted posting vile racist abuse about Newcastle United on social networking site Twitter.
Peter Copeland sent two hate-filled messages after becoming embroiled in an online row with a Magpie supporter.
At Sunderland Magistrates’ Court yesterday the 29-year-old pleaded guilty to two offences under the Malicious Communication Act.
However, the court heard that when he was arrested and interviewed by police, Copeland claimed he was not a racist and counted former SAFC captain Gary Bennett – now heavily involved in the Show Racism the Red Card campaign – amongst his friends.
Magistrates were told that a report of the offensive tweets was made on the evening of Tuesday, January 17.
Prosecutor Paul Anderson said Copeland tweeted about Senegalese NUFC striker Demba Ba, and made another abusive comment about the number of black players at Sunderland’s Tyneside rivals.
Copeland, of Benridge Bank, West Rainton, was quickly forced to close down his Twitter account after receiving between 50 and 60 angry responses to his comments.
In a statement read out to the court, NUFC’s head of security Steve Storey hit out at the remarks.
“We are appalled by the recent comments made on Twitter in reference to the club and its players.
“NUFC has a zero tolerance of racism, and we are working with Northumbria Police in supporting action against those responsible for such abhorrent remarks.”
Magistrates also heard that Copeland was subject to a deferred sentence for a different matter at Newcastle Crown Court, and had a previous conviction for sending an abusive message to his ex-girlfriend’s new partner.
Mitigating, Ruth Forster said her client was “extremely remorseful”.
She added: “I think it is fair to say that this case may serve as a stark reminder to other users of social media sites, that as soon as comments are posted online they become available to see.
“He never intended these messages to reach a worldwide audience, but attach a www tag to anything and they are there for the masses to see.”
Mrs Forster went on to say Copeland had reacted after being abused by a Newcastle fan, and had himself received threats of violence against him and his family from outraged tweeters.
He delivered a letter of apology to NUFC and still maintained he was not a racist.
Chairman of the bench Thomas Eastick said the tweets had caused public outrage, and adjourned sentencing for three weeks so reports could be prepared by the Probation Service.
In modern day Britain, our police and CPS are going after white people 100 miles an hour for racist tweets and speaking their mind on the train, while violent gangs attack in packs and walk free. CPS refuse to charge racial aggravation to anyone other than white people as has been seen time and time again. NEI you need a demo in Sunderland. See link below.
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Shani Rahman at Newcastle crown court
A TEENAGER who smashed a broken bottle into a man’s head during a street attack by up to 30 youths has walked free from court.
The victim had told the gang he “didn’t want any trouble” before he was punched to the ground then repeatedly kicked in the head and face.
Shani Rahman then broke a bottle against a wall and thrust the sharp remains into the victim’s head.
Prosecutor Glenda Turnbull told the court the victim had been walking along Eden House Road, Eden Vale, in Sunderland last April, when he was punched.
Miss Turnbull said: “Eventually, he ended up on the ground with the group of Asian males gathered around him, repeatedly kicking him in the head and face.
Yet he doesnt get jailed?
“There was about 15 males in the group.”
The court heard one witness to what happened said there could have been 30 males involved.
The victim managed to get up and tried to stagger away, but that did not bring an end to his ordeal.
Miss Turnbull said: “A witness saw the defendant approach the injured party from behind and swing his arm towards the rear of the male’s head.
“The male’s head was covered in blood and so were the defendant’s hands.
“Another witness saw the defendant with a clear glass bottle in his hand which he smashed on a nearby wall.
“She saw him lift up the broken bottle and strike the injured party to the head.”
The court heard the victim did not make a statement to the police or co-operate with the prosecution so it is unclear what injuries he suffered.
Miss Turnbull said there is no evidence to suggest it was a race-hate attack. One of the attackers has already been dealt with by the courts and was given a referral order.
Rahman, 19, of Burnville Road South, Eden Vale, Sunderland, admitted affray.
Mr Recorder Miller sentenced him to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with supervision and programme requirements.
The judge said Rahman could be given a chance to keep his freedom, but warned: “Anyone who uses a glass bottle and smashes it against someone’s head as you did would normally expect to face immediate imprisonment.
So why didnt he then?
“It is a very serious matter indeed.”
Vic Laffey, defending, said Rahman comes from a respectable family and is “keen to get himself on the right track”.
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