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Christmas Trees are coming! Be Prepared this December

Types of Christmas Trees

There are various types of Christmas trees available, and you must choose the one that is perfect for your home during the holiday season. There are various types, as you will see below:

Nordman Fir

The Norman Fir Christmas Tree barely drops its needles, making it the most popular choice in Modern times, due to the safety issues related to children and pets, and the sharp Christmas tree needles. They come in a range of shapes and sizes, and their needles are a lot fleshier.

Norway Spruce

The Norway Spruce Christmas tree, brings the classic smell of childhood to your home. Its needles do drop a lot more than other varieties, but it more than makes up for that with its beautiful smell, and really traditional tall and narrow shape.

Potted Christmas Trees

The Potted Christmas tree is a great choice if you would prefer your tree to last longer than just a few weeks, as potted trees are more likely to live on through the year, and be fine to use again a year later. The come in both varieties, the Nordman or Norway Spruce, and are often a little cheaper.

Where to buy a Christmas Tree

You can normally buy Christmas trees at your local garden centre, or check online for your nearest Christmas tree farm. Sapcote Garden Centre, Leicester, LE94LG, 01455 274049, (http://www.sapcotegc.co.uk/christmas/christmas-trees) has a range of Nordman Fir, and Norway Spruce Christmas trees for sale, and the price is the same as 2012.

Rare English Civil War coin expected to fetch £50k at auction

  • Rare English Civil War era coin could fetch up to £50,000 at auction
  • 1643 Declaration Pound made just 6 years before Charles I was beheaded 
  • But inscription on back contains King’s belief that he could not be toppled
  • Coin was passed down through a family but owner did not realise its value

By

Ollie Gillman for MailOnline


Published:
12:08 EST, 1 March 2015

|
Updated:
12:36 EST, 1 March 2015

An extremely rare £1 coin dating back to the start of English Civil War is expected to fetch £50,000 at auction.

The solid silver 1643 Declaration Pound was struck in Oxford, which was Charles I’s seat of power after he withdrew from London.

Charles was beheaded just six years after the coin was created, but an inscription on the back declares the King’s belief that he could not be toppled.

An extremely rare £1 coin from the start of English Civil War is expected to fetch £50,000 at auction

An extremely rare £1 coin from the start of English Civil War is expected to fetch £50,000 at auction

The coin was made as the a new mint was set up in the city and was created to launch an official currency for parts of the country under the King’s command.

The legend on the back of the coin translates as ‘Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered’, symbolising the King’s belief in the ‘absolute monarch’.

The words were a declaration of the King’s power, but this belief in an almighty monarchy caused some of the tensions which led to the Civil War between the Royalist Cavaliers and the Parliamentarian Roundheads.

The large coin, which is more two inches across and remains in good condition, was passed down through one family for generations but the current owner did not realise its value. 

Timothy Medhurst, a coin specialist and auctioneer at Duke’s Auctioneers in Dorchester, Dorset, where the coin will be sold, said it was the type of item he dreams of finding.

‘This coin marked Charles I’s attempts to regain his failing power and it represents a pivotal moment in the history of the British Isles,’ he said.

Charles I was beheaded just six years after the coin was created, but an inscription on the back declares the King's belief that he could not be toppled 

Charles I was beheaded just six years after the coin was created, but an inscription on the back declares the King’s belief that he could not be toppled 

‘It is a coin which is rare to find and it will cause a stir in the coin collecting world.

‘The value of coins from this period are at an all-time high, and it will be highly sought after.

‘The coin has been handed down through several generations to the current owner, who had no idea of its value and is as excited about the auction as I am.

‘It is fair to say that 1643 was a crucial year in the history of the Civil War and it is fascinating to think that this coin was produced by hand, in silver, at such a tumultuous time.

‘It was only six years after this coin was struck that Charles I was beheaded and labelled as “tyrant, traitor, murderer and public enemy” by the 59 judges who found him guilty of high treason.’

The English Civil War (1642-1651) was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between the Roundheads and Cavaliers in the Kingdom of England.

It led to Charles I being beheaded and his son being exiled in 1649 as the monarchy was replaced by a protectorate, led by Oliver Cromwell.

After Cromwell’s death, his son Richard was unable to maintain the confidence of the New Model Army, causing the protectorate to fall and the monarchy to be restored with Charles II on the throne in 1660. 

The sale takes place on March 12.

 

Xmas Holidays

Blind woman claims she was refused passport because eyes were not in focus

  • Alexandra Carter, 25, who is registered blind, applied for a passport 
  • She has nystagmus leaving her unable to control movement of her eyes 
  • Application was rejected because officials said expression wasn’t ‘neutral’ 
  • Miss Carter said she believes it was because her eyes were out of focus 
  • Feels she was rejected by passport officials because of her disability 
  • She is registered blind and had to provide evidence proving she was blind

By

Claire Carter for MailOnline


Published:
10:59 EST, 1 March 2015

|
Updated:
12:28 EST, 1 March 2015

Alexandra Carter, who is blind, feels passport officials discriminated against her because her eyes weren't focused in her application picture after they rejected it because of her non neutral expression

Alexandra Carter, who is blind, feels passport officials discriminated against her because her eyes weren’t focused in her application picture after they rejected it because of her non neutral expression

A blind woman claims she was refused a passport because her eyes were out of focus in her picture.

Alexandra Carter, of Wigan in Lancashire, said she feels discriminated against after Passport Officials rejected her application because they said she did not have a ‘neutral expression.’ 

The 25-year-old said she feels her application was refused because her eyes were not focused in the picture due to a condition she has had since birth which makes her unable to move them herself.

However officials have disputed her claims, and said the application was rejected because of her expression. 

Miss Carter has had to provide letters from her doctor proving her eyesight problems in order to have her application accepted. 

‘I feel disgusted,’ said Miss Carter. 

‘I am a registered blind girl who was refused a passport because my eyes were not correct.

‘I have nystagmus from birth which controls the movement of my eyes. It is impossible for me to take a picture where my eyes are focused.

‘Within the application there was no box to tick about my disability. 

‘I rang up to see if I needed to do anything to prove my disability and was told no. I even went to the Post Office to explain my situation and I was told that as long as the photo met the other requirements specified it should be fine.’

Nystagmus is an involuntary eye movement condition, which can cause reduced or limited vision. It occurs in infancy or in later life. 

But officials at the Passport Office in Liverpool in Merseyside rejected her initial application because of Miss Carter’s expression in the photograph she provided. 

She has spent around £25 trying to get the photo right and had feared she was not going to be able to go on holiday with a friend to Santa Ponsa in Majorca – her first overseas holiday in 10 years.  

Miss Carter, 25, was born with nystagmus - a condition which means she can't focus her eyes independently

Miss Carter, 25, was born with nystagmus – a condition which means she can’t focus her eyes independently

‘I have now had to write a letter explaining my disability as well as proof from my doctor and see if they will grant me a passport. I have taken new photos, but they are not much better – my eyes are beyond my control,’ added Miss Carter.

‘This matter is disgusting and discrimination against people who have eyesight problems. I should not have to explain a disability from birth to anyone.

‘I live independently and don’t need any help from anyone. I use a symbol cane to get around.

‘It is something beyond my control and I just hoped they would be more understanding. I found I was treated with a lack of manners.’

Miss Carter said she was concerned she would lose the £400 she had already spent on the much anticipated holiday with her childhood friend. 

Miss Carter was concerned she would not be able to go on holiday after her first application was rejected 

Miss Carter was concerned she would not be able to go on holiday after her first application was rejected 

The 25-year-old has had to write letters to officials and get a doctor's note to confirm her eye condition 

The 25-year-old has had to write letters to officials and get a doctor’s note to confirm her eye condition 

‘I don’t want in 10 years time when I re-apply for my passport to have to go through all this again.’

Passport Office officials have now confirmed that her passport has now been sent out.

A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘The letter sent to Miss Carter to explain why her application was refused stated the photo she had submitted was unacceptable because she did not have a neutral expression.

‘This was not related to her visual impairment and, following her complaint, staff from Her Majesty’s Passport Office have spoken to her to clarify this.’

The rules about passport photos are particularly strict and include that the picture must have been taken in the last month and must not be cut down from a larger photograph.  

 

 

Xmas Holidays

Ukip launches probe after BNP cartoon stereotyping minorities is posted online

  • Ukip’s top election candidates caught posting racist and offensive material
  • The party last night launched as investigation into the offensive media
  • Much of the material came from BNP or other nationalist splinter groups

By

Michael Powell

and
Simon Murphy for The Mail on Sunday


Published:
20:09 EST, 28 February 2015

|
Updated:
09:37 EST, 1 March 2015

Ukips’s official General Election candidates have been caught posting racist and offensive material on the internet, revealing disturbing links between Nigel Farage’s prospective MPs and far-Right groups.

The Mail on Sunday can reveal that at least six Ukip candidates have circulated or endorsed material from the British National Party and other nationalist splinter groups with racist neo-Nazi agendas.

Ukip last night launched an investigation into the offensive media found by this newspaper that included a racist BNP cartoon depicting violent stereotypes of black people, Muslims and Sikhs, and online links to extremist groups Britain First, English Defence League and Infidels of Britain.

The revelations will provoke uproar on the very weekend that Ukip held its Spring Conference, with leaders disassociating the Eurosceptic party with any hint of extremism within its ranks ahead of the May 7 Election.

Pictured is the image which was retweeted by Bill Walker, the Ukip candidate in Aldershot, Hampshire

Pictured is the image which was retweeted by Bill Walker, the Ukip candidate in Aldershot, Hampshire

Bill Walker, 59, left, who is standing for Ukip in Aldershot, Hampshire, retweeted a British National Party cartoon (above). The cartoon, which had been posted to Twitter by Ukip activist David Jones, was drawn by fascist artist Farstar88 who uploaded it to the white nationalist website Stormfront in 2008

Bill Walker, 59, left, who is standing for Ukip in Aldershot, Hampshire, retweeted a British National Party cartoon (above). The cartoon, which had been posted to Twitter by Ukip activist David Jones, was drawn by fascist artist Farstar88 who uploaded it to the white nationalist website Stormfront in 2008

Bill Walker, the party’s candidate in Aldershot, Hampshire, reposted a picture of a racist cartoon featuring a black man holding guns with ‘Kill Whitey’ on his T-shirt, a Sikh man holding a knife with ‘Honour Killing Rocks’ on his T-shirt and a Muslim man holding a grenade and a Koran in his hands with ‘Death to the Infidels’ scrawled on the front of his Islamic dress.

A man in a suit standing on a ‘British Media’ soap box gestures towards a white family wearing Union Jacks and St George symbols and says: ‘As you can see, THIS is the problem that must be stamped out in our country.’ The cartoon, intended to stir up racial tensions, was drawn by a far-Right artist based in South Africa who goes by the name Farstar88. It was originally uploaded by the artist to the white nationalist internet forum Stormfront in 2008 under the heading ‘my latest cartoon for the BNP’.

Mr Walker, 58, a former soldier from Farnborough, Hampshire, retweeted the cartoon on January 11 from the Twitter account of a Southampton-based Ukip activist called David Jones who had added the comment: ‘Brits are treated like second-class citizens in their own country.’ The cartoon was branded ‘disgusting’ by anti-racism groups last night.

Simon Cressy, a spokesman for Hope Not Hate, said: ‘Nigel Farage attempts to hoodwink the public and insists his party and candidates aren’t racist, yet these revelations aren’t going away.’

Several candidates have ‘liked’ the pages of the English Defence League and Britain First, an ultra-Right BNP splinter group, on Ukip Facebook profiles which are being used to campaign for votes.

‘SHARED’ BRITAIN FIRST POST

Michael Waddington, standing in Pendle, shared a post by Britain First, which is led by the BNP’s former head of publicity. 

‘LIKED': INFIDELS OF BRITAIN

Steve Wood, 54, Ukip’s candidate for Bristol South, lists Britain First and also Infidels of Britain among his Facebook likes. 

‘LIKED': ENGLISH DEFENCE LEAGUE 

Bexhill and Battle candidate Geoffrey Bastin, 69, ‘liked’ the EDL on Facebook. 

‘SHARED': BRITAIN FIRST POST

Steve Emmens, 49, standing in Norwich South, shared a post by Britain First – a far-Right splinter group of the British National Party.

There are also ‘likes’ and posts of material from Infidels of Britain, a white nationalist group which calls for the repatriation of ‘non-indigenous’ people living in the UK.

Barry Elliott, who is standing for Ukip in Blyth Valley, shared on his Facebook page an ‘Infidels of Britain’ picture of the late Tory MP Enoch Powell with the caption ‘I tried to warn you’ – in reference of Powell’s infamous ‘Rivers of Blood’ 1968 speech against immigration – which Ukip MP Douglas Carswell insisted was ‘wrong’ in a newspaper article this week.

Geoffrey Bastin, the party’s candidate in Bexhill and Battle in East Sussex, ‘liked’ an EDL page on his Facebook page, while Michael Waddington, the Ukip candidate in Pendle, and Steve Emmens, standing in Norwich South, both shared posts by Britain First last May.

Steve Wood, who is standing in Bristol South, also lists Infidels of Britain and Britain First among his Facebook likes.

THE ‘INFIDELS OF BRITAIN’ FAN 

Blyth Valley candidate Barry Elliott, 48, shared a Facebook post from far-Right group Infidels of Britain

Ukip has repeatedly distanced itself from Britain First, which has been accused of stirring racial hatred after its activists ‘invaded’ mosques and handed out Bibles to Muslims. The far-Right party is led by Paul Golding, a former BNP councillor and head of publicity, and describes itself as ‘a patriotic political party and street defence organisation’.

It pledged its support for Ukip during the recent Rochester and Strood by-election, posting on Facebook: ‘Ukip at the ballot box, Britain First on the streets – a winning combination!’ A Ukip spokesman denied the party had any links with far-Right groups last night, and said: ‘These Facebook likes and other online actions will be investigated and considered at the earliest opportunity by the National Executive Committee as part of an established disciplinary procedure.’

All Ukip candidates named in this report were contacted for comment yesterday. Mr Waddington denied knowing Britain First was a far-Right group when he shared one of the party’s Facebook posts about memorials for murder victims Stephen Lawrence and Lee Rigby.

‘He has never been a member of the BNP, Britain First or National Front and never will be,’ said John Stanyer, Ukip’s North West chairman, who spoke on Mr Waddington’s behalf.

Mr Wood said: ‘The head office has responded and I’m not going to be making any further comment.’

Xmas Holidays

Jihadi John emailed Mail On Sunday saying ‘I’m a dead man walking’

  • Islamic State killer sent astonishing emails to Mail on Sunday reporter
  • Executioner Jihadi John was this week unmasked as Mohammed Emwazi
  • The emails were sent to Security Editor Robert Verkaik in 2010 and 2011
  • Verkaik corresponded with Emwazi regarding his claims he was victimised
  • He claimed he was a ‘dead man walking’ and MI5 was closing in on him
  • They offer remarkable insight into his paranoid and extreme state of mind

By

Robert Verkaik

and
Ian Gallagher For The Mail On Sunday


Published:
17:01 EST, 28 February 2015

|
Updated:
09:36 EST, 1 March 2015

The ISIS killer known as Jihadi John (pictured) claimed he was a 'dead man walking' in emails to a Mail on Sunday journalist

The ISIS killer known as Jihadi John (pictured) claimed he was a ‘dead man walking’ in emails to a Mail on Sunday journalist

The Islamic State killer known as Jihadi John revealed that he knew British security services were closing in on him and that he was a ‘dead man walking’ in astonishing emails to a Mail on Sunday journalist.

His emails were sent before he left Britain to join Islamic State in Syria.

At the time, Mohammed Emwazi, the man now unmasked as the knife-wielding fanatic, was claiming to be an innocent victim of MI5 persecution.

Emwazi, who would go on to orchestrate at least six hostage murders in Syria, said the harassment affected him so badly he was contemplating suicide. ‘I’ll take as many pills as I can so that I will sleep for ever,’ he warned. His emails to Security Editor Robert Verkaik in December 2010 and 2011 offer a remarkable insight into his state of mind at a time when he was already deeply immersed in extremism.

Some verge on the paranoid, with frequent complaints that his every move is being shadowed by intelligence officers.

The news comes amid a series of revelations that:

  • Emwazi was a member of a secret Osama Bin Laden sleeper cell based in Britain called The London Boys, which planned to carry out atrocities in the West;
  • He was involved with a violent street gang who targeted the wealthy residents of Belgravia with stun guns;
  • Emwazi was arrested trying to force his way past security on to a passenger flight from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to Johannesburg without a passport in 2009;
  • The IS executioner’s father was a policeman in Kuwait before he moved his family to Britain;
  • David Cameron will announce new plans to give spies greater powers to eavesdrop on terror suspects’ electronic communication.

A few months before he first contacted Verkaik, Emwazi was stopped at Heathrow and prevented from flying to Kuwait, where he was born.

He claimed he was interrogated by an aggressive officer who threw him against a wall, grabbed his beard and strangled him. He later complained to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

It was as he awaited a response that he first met Verkaik, later sending him, over subsequent weeks, a series of emails chronicling his alleged victimisation.

In one, he recounts what he suggests was a sinister encounter with an MI5 agent.

Jihadi John has now been unmasked as Mohammed Emwazi (pictured) 

Mohammed Emwazi (pictured) claimed he was interrogated by an aggressive officer at Heathrow who threw him against a wall, grabbed his beard and strangled him

Having advertised his laptop on classified adverts website Gumtree, he went to meet a prospective buyer at Maida Vale underground station near his West London home.

He wrote, ungrammatically: ‘When I sell anything via internet i always only write my surname in the ad… I went to meet that person… so that he could have a look at the laptop & if it satisfied him then he would buy it…

‘That person to my surprise didn’t even bother looking to see of the laptop works or not!!! (when you buy something, from someone you’ve never seen before you most likely would test the product!!)…

‘Anyway, in a matter of seconds, I gave him the laptop (thinking that hes going to test the laptop) & he gave me the money straight-away… We “shacked hands” & he said “nice doing business with you Mohammed”. I NEVER TOLD THIS PERSON MY FIRST NAME!! & I NEVER GIVE OUT MY FIRST NAME!! IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM TO KNOW MY FIRST NAME!!’

He added: ‘I felt shocked, & paused for a few seconds as he walked away… I knew it was them!! Sometimes i feel like im a dead man walking, not fearing they may kill me.

‘Rather, fearing that one day, I’ll take as many pills as I can so that I can sleep for ever!! I just want to get away from these people!!!’

PICTURE EXCLUSIVE

Shy schoolboy who became world’s most wanted fanatic 

Peering over a classmate’s shoulder during a game of chess, this is the boy who would become the merciless terrorist butcher Jihadi John.

The image, exclusive to The Mail on Sunday, shows ten-year-old Mohammed Emwazi in his last week at St Mary Magdalene Church of England primary school in Maida Vale, West London.

A former classmate said: ‘I was horrified to find out the Mohammed I spent years with was this person.

‘I don’t know what happened in his life to turn him into this. This was the last week of Year 6 and we were having fun before going our separate ways.’

Mohammed Emwazi, aged ten, peers over a classmate's shoulder in his last week at St Mary Magdalene Church of England primary school, west London

Mohammed Emwazi, aged ten, peers over a classmate’s shoulder in his last week at St Mary Magdalene Church of England primary school, west London

Did he fly the ‘flag of jihadis’ at Harrow rally celebrating 9/11? 

This is believed to be Jihadi John attending a hate-filled rally outside a mosque where one of the killers of Drummer Lee Rigby gave a speech.

Mohammed Emwazi is said to have attended the demonstration outside the Harrow Central Mosque in North-West London in 2009 to ‘celebrate’ the eighth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

During the rally, which attracted at least 1,500 people, Michael Adebolajo spoke to the crowd of his contempt for ‘unbelievers’. Adebolajo – who is in prison for Rigby’s murder – said: ‘They are pigs. Allah says they are worse than cattle. Do not be scared of them. And do not turn your back to them. Don’t be scared of them, or police, or the cameras.’

Onlookers said they also saw a tall Kuwaiti man, believed to be Emwazi, masked with a scarf, and holding aloft a black flag with the Islamic testimony of faith in Arabic.

The flag is usually associated with extremists and jihadis. 

This photo is believed to be of Emwazi, now known as Jihadi John, flying a 'jihadi' flag outside a mosque

This photo is believed to be of Emwazi, now known as Jihadi John, flying a ‘jihadi’ flag outside a mosque

Emwazi claimed the constant harassment wrecked his relationships with women. To illustrate a possible story, he said he would send ‘a picture of one of my past girlfriends, but I must ask her permission’.

It was not forthcoming.

Verkaik recalled: ‘Like many young Muslim men at the time who I had interviewed, he appeared to have a grievance against the police and MI5. But this man was different – in him was a warped sense of injustice that could never justify the barbaric acts of murder that he has gone on to carry out in Syria.’

Details of Emwazi’s remarkable encounter with The Mail on Sunday emerged as it was revealed that he was once part of a terrorist unit tasked by Osama Bin Laden with launching atrocities in Britain.

He was a member of a ‘sleeper’ cell dubbed The London Boys, which included three operatives allegedly trained at an Al Qaeda camp in Somalia. All three were close associates of Emwazi. Until now, Emwazi was thought only to have been a peripheral figure among the capital’s Islamic extremists. Yet a court document seen by this newspaper alleges that he was closely involved in the cell’s activities, including the ‘provision of funds and equipment to Somalia… for terrorism related activity’.

KILLER’S FATHER WAS KUWAIT POLICEMAN BEFORE MOVE TO UK

Jasem Emwazi took his son Mohammed (pictured) to London when the boy was six years old 

Jasem Emwazi took his son Mohammed (pictured) to London when the boy was six years old 

By Nick Craven

The father of Jihadi John was a police officer in Kuwait before the family moved to Britain, according to a former friend.

Jasem Emwazi took his wife, children and eldest son Mohammed, then six, to start a new life in London in 1994.

‘Jasem was in the police like many Bedoons,’ said the friend.

Meanwhile, a senior Kuwaiti military source suggested that, in common with many of his Bedoon ethnic group who originally stemmed from Southern Iraq, Mr Emwazi would have found it difficult to regain his police job in Kuwait following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the 1991 Gulf War.

‘Many Bedoon joined the Kuwaiti police and military in the 70s and 80s, even though they were not citizens of Kuwait,’ said the friend who knew the family when they lived in the scruffy enclave of Taima, ten miles from Kuwait City.

Recently retired Kuwait army colonel Fahad Al-Shilaimi said many of the stateless Bedoon were sacked from the police in the early 1990s.

‘In the days after Saddam’s men left, anyone with a link to Iraq found their loyalty questioned, and many were sacked. Perhaps that was the reason the family left Kuwait.’

He added that the Kuwaiti authorities would now be investigating Mohammed Emwazi’s activities in Kuwait when he returned there for a computer job in 2009-10.

The Kuwaiti Ministry of the Interior is conducting a ‘major investigation’ into Jihadi John’s eight months in the emirate, a senior security expert said.

‘They will be looking into every facet of his life: his friends, his colleagues, his girlfriend, his communications,’ said Al-Shilaimi. ‘They will want to know which mosque he went to and who he spent time with. Many will be interrogated as the ministry wants to make sure any IS sympathisers are identified.’

The colonel also said that MI5 may have ‘failed’ the Kuwaitis by not alerting them to Emwazi’s trip there in 2009, only months after he was deported from Tanzania.

‘It is concerning that Kuwait may have been failed by MI5. If we had known, we could have questioned him or put him under surveillance,’ he said.

Before his death, Bin Laden sent ‘angry’ messages from his Pakistan hideout urging those returning from training to carry out attacks.

Inevitably, the depth of Emwazi’s involvement in extremism – during a period when he was being monitored by MI5 – will increase pressure on security chiefs, who have faced criticism for failing to stop him joining IS in Syria.

Details of Emwazi’s involvement in the terror cell emerged during a ‘control order’ hearing at the High Court in London in 2011.

One of the cell members, referred to only as CE, challenged the order restricting his activities, but it was upheld after security chiefs expressed fears he would return to the UK.

Pictured is an excerpt of one of the emails Jihadi John sent to Mail on Sunday reporter Robert Verkaik

Pictured is an excerpt of one of the emails Jihadi John sent to Mail on Sunday reporter Robert Verkaik

During the hearing it emerged that the intelligence officer given the job of investigating Emwazi’s cell was inexperienced, having been with MI5 less than two years. Identified as AG, the officer was criticised for failing to read all the secret documents before the case was heard.

The judge also said AG was not aware of key details relating to control orders, which have since been scrapped, concerning members of the network. Last night, Labour said the Coalition should never have eroded security chiefs’ powers to restrict the activities of dangerous extremists.

Sources said Mr Cameron will use a report from Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee to give GCHQ and other security services more freedom to monitor terror suspects’ electronic communications.

HOW I MET STUDENT WITH WARPED SENSE OF JUSTICE, by Robert Verkaik

I met Jihadi John, or student Mohammed Al-Zuhary as he called himself then in December 2010, while I was investigating his claims that he was being harassed by the Metropolitan Police and MI5.

Like many young Muslim men at the time, he appeared to have a grievance. But this man was different – in him was a warped sense of injustice that could never justify the barbaric acts of murder that he has gone on to carry out in Syria.

He seemed to have a persecution complex and desperately wanted his story to be told. When he sold his laptop on the internet, he was convinced it had been purchased by the security services. His concerns seemed to border on paranoia.

He sent me the complaint that he had submitted to the Independent Police Complaints Commission setting out his allegations against police officers when he was held at Heathrow after returning from Kuwait earlier in the year.

Throughout all our dealings, he was polite and appeared to understand the pressures of journalism. But he refused to provide a picture to accompany the story and we lost contact.

In 2009 I was contacted by a group of young Muslim men from north London who all claimed to have experienced harassment at the hands of MI5. 

They were mostly of Somali origin and variously alleged they had been interrogated at airports, had their travel plans disrupted and their private lives invaded. 

When the Independent published their story with their pictures it encouraged other members of Britain’s Muslim community to come forward, including Mohamed Emwazi.

It was never possible to know whether the alleged harassment was justified as the police and MI5 will not discuss the intelligence upon which they were working. 

One of the North London men whom I originally spoke to, Madhi Hashi, is now in prison in America on serious charges of terrorism connected to the Somali terror group Al Shabaab. 

Other members of Emwazi’s cell include Ibrahim Magag, a Somali-born former train conductor from London involved in arranging ‘financial support for Al Qaeda’. Magag was put under a control order to stop him fleeing overseas to join a jihad. But on Boxing Day 2012 he vanished. Officials believe he went to join British jihadis in East Africa.

Meanwhile CE, an Iranian, was prevented from attending prayers at a named community centre and banned from using the internet at home.

It was CE along with Mohammed Ezzouek and Hamza Chentouf who attended the Al Qaeda camp in Somalia led by Harun Fazul, suspected of involvement in the 1998 US Embassy bombings in East Africa. On his return to Britain, CE was tasked with recruiting others to join Al Qaeda and the Islamist militant group, Al Shabaab.

The court document also reveals that among Emwazi’s network was a terrorist who the security services regarded as the leader and radicalising influence of the group.

Bilal Berjawi was a senior Al Shabaab commander who MI5 had questioned in 2009 over plans to blow up a Kenyan shopping centre. Emwazi, Berjawi and a third Al Shabaab terrorist from London, Mohamed Sakr, all travelled to Tanzania in 2009 in what they said was a safari holiday. But they were stopped by security services who believed they intended to attend terrorist training in Somalia.

Berjawi and Sakr would later return to Somalia where they both gained reputations as hardened fighters before being killed in American drone strikes in 2012.

Intelligence officers believe Berjawi may also have known the July 21 bombers, who attempted to blow up London Underground targets two weeks after 7/7 in 2005.

Investigators believe that Emwazi, who was 18 at the time, almost certainly came into contact with the same group at some point before or after the failed suicide bombings.

Emwazi attended two meetings in February 2010 at CE’s West London flat where they were accused of discussing ‘Islamic extremist activity.’

As early as January 2007 three of the group, CE, Mohammed Ezzouek and Hamza Chentouf found themselves among a refugee convoy fleeing Somalia after US air strikes on Islamists who had seized Mogadishu. It was reported that they were captured by SAS soldiers across the border in Kenya and handed to its authorities for questioning.

The Britons ended up being sent back to Somalia, before a plane was chartered to airlift them out at an estimated cost of £50,000. Both Ezzouek and Chentouf, who deny terrorism, claimed they were innocents abroad in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Back in London, friends also say that Emwazi was close to a gang that robbed wealthy residents on the streets of Belgravia, Central London, using stun guns. Two of the gang are said to have later travelled to Syria a year before Emwazi, and were subsequently killed.

 

Xmas Holidays

Al-Qaeda’s Abid Naseer ‘took sightseeing photos at alleged British targets’

  • Abid Naseer, 28, was extradited from Britain to stand trial in the U.S. over charges of planning multiple attacks in Europe and America
  • If convicted, the Pakistani student faces life in prison
  • Naseer is accused of leading an al Qaeda cell that was planning to bomb Manchester’s Arndale shopping centre over the Easter weekend in 2009 – as well as a separate plot to attack the New York subway 
  • Photographs released by the New York court on Thursday show Naseer’s friend Tariq ur-Rehman at dozens of locations around Manchester
  • They were recovered from Rehman’s mobile phone and a USB drive

By

Dailymail.com Reporter


Published:
15:11 EST, 26 February 2015

|
Updated:
15:45 EST, 26 February 2015

These are the pictures which prosecutors say prove an alleged al Qaeda operative accused of planning a series of bombings was scouting locations to mount an atrocity. 

A court in New York has released the photographs – taken around the city center of Manchester, England – which form part of the evidence against Abid Naseer.

The 28-year-old Pakistani student was extradited from Britain to stand trial in the U.S. over charges of planning multiple attacks in Europe and America. If convicted, he faces life in prison.

Naseer is accused of leading an al Qaeda cell that was planning to bomb Manchester’s Arndale shopping centre over the Easter weekend in 2009 – as well as a separate plot to attack the New York subway.

These are the pictures which prosecutors say prove Abid Naseer (not pictured) an alleged al Qaeda operative accused of planning a series of bombings, was scouting locations. Pictured is his friend, Tariq ur-Rehman, at dozens of locations around Manchester

These are the pictures which prosecutors say prove Abid Naseer (not pictured) an alleged al Qaeda operative accused of planning a series of bombings, was scouting locations. Pictured is his friend, Tariq ur-Rehman, at dozens of locations around Manchester

Photographs submitted by the prosecution and released by a New York court today show his friend Tariq ur-Rehman at dozens of locations around Manchester - they were recovered from Mr Rehman’s mobile phone and a USB flash drive

Photographs submitted by the prosecution and released by a New York court today show his friend Tariq ur-Rehman at dozens of locations around Manchester – they were recovered from Mr Rehman’s mobile phone and a USB flash drive

He never faced charges in the UK and the evidence against him has only emerged six years after his arrest.

Naseer is alleged to have been at the helm of a British Al-Qaeda terror cell that was part of a broader conspiracy ‘to repeat the devastation of 9/11′.

Prosecutors called it one of the most serious terror plots since the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington.

As well as blowing up the Arndale Centre, the terror group planned to set off bombs in the New York subway and at the offices of a Copenhagen newspaper that had published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, it is alleged.

Naseer, a former student in the UK studying English and computer science, denies the charges.

He is being tried in the United States because of the supposed link to the subway.  

Photographs submitted by the prosecution and released by the court today show his friend Tariq ur-Rehman at dozens of locations around Manchester.

They were recovered from Rehman’s mobile phone and a USB flash drive.

Naseer (pictured) was extradited from Britain to stand trial in the U.S. over charges of planning multiple attacks in Europe and America. If convicted, he faces life in prison

Naseer (pictured) was extradited from Britain to stand trial in the U.S. over charges of planning multiple attacks in Europe and America. If convicted, he faces life in prison

Naseer (pictured above, right with beard - Rehman, on the far left in March 2009) is accused of leading an Al-Qaeda cell that was planning to bomb Manchester’s Arndale shopping centre over the Easter weekend in 2009 – as well as a separate plot to attack the New York subway

Naseer (pictured above, right with beard – Rehman, on the far left in March 2009) is accused of leading an Al-Qaeda cell that was planning to bomb Manchester’s Arndale shopping centre over the Easter weekend in 2009 – as well as a separate plot to attack the New York subway

He never faced charges in the UK and the evidence against him has only emerged six years after his arrest

He never faced charges in the UK and the evidence against him has only emerged six years after his arrest

They include him at Manchester’s Trafford Centre, Cathedral Gardens, Piccadilly Gardens and the Arndale Centre in 2007 and 2008.

Two further sets taken nine days apart in August 2008 show him only in and around the Arndale Centre, a fact the prosecution alleges shows the cell closing in on their final target.

They included pictures of him outside several retail stores, including a branch of Primark and the glass frontage of the centre’s flagship Next store.

Robert Dyson, who works as a crime reduction officer for CityCo in Manchester, advising businesses, was asked by the prosecution to examine the photos.

‘They appear to be at all exit points to the building,’ he said on Monday. ‘They are main exit points.’

Naseer and Rehman were both arrested in April 2009 with eight other Pakistani men studying in the UK. 

No explosives were found at their home and they never faced charges in the UK.

Naseer was extradited to face trial in the U.S. in 2013.

The prosecution alleges they were part of a global Al-Qaeda conspiracy to use operatives with visas or passports allowing them access to Western countries. 

Naseer is accused of using email to stay in touch with an Al-Qaeda commander in Pakistan as they planned their attack.

Naseer is alleged to have been at the helm of a British Al-Qaeda terror cell that was part of a broader conspiracy 'to repeat the devastation of 9/11' - above surveillance photos released today show him in Manchester, England, in March 2009

Naseer is alleged to have been at the helm of a British Al-Qaeda terror cell that was part of a broader conspiracy ‘to repeat the devastation of 9/11′ – above surveillance photos released today show him in Manchester, England, in March 2009

Naseer and Rehman were both arrested in April 2009 with eight other Pakistani men studying in the UK - above, another photo showing Naseer in Manchester, England, more than five years ago

Naseer and Rehman were both arrested in April 2009 with eight other Pakistani men studying in the UK – above, another photo showing Naseer in Manchester, England, more than five years ago

Naseer listens to statements in his trial as seen in a courtroom sketch

Naseer listens to statements in his trial as seen in a courtroom sketch

In particular, the court has been shown an email he sent to his alleged handler saying he had set a date for a nikah – or Muslim marriage ceremony – for the Easter weekend, in what the prosecution believes was Al-Qaeda code for a bombing.

Giving evidence on Thursday, Naseer insisted he had never used any codes or knowingly been in touch with Al-Qaeda members.

Instead he said he had come into contact with the suspect user when posing as a woman online to chat with other women.

‘The messages were of an innocent nature, asking about the welfare of the individual, conditions of the weather,’ he said, adding that he went on to brag about the number of women he knew and his plans for a wedding once he became aware the recipient was a man.

James Neuman, for the defence, said: ‘Did you ever send a coded message?’

Naseer replied: ‘I did not send him any coded message.’

He has also denied knowing any members of Al-Qaeda or ever being asked to buy materials for an explosive device.

‘Killing innocent people is incompatible with Islam,’ he said.

Earlier this week the court heard from five disguised MI5 surveillance operatives who described Naseer’s movements around Manchester and Liverpool in the month leading up to his arrest.

The case continues.

Xmas Holidays

Theo Babbage born ‘dead’ for eight minutes makes remarkable recovery

  • Theo Babbage’s heart stopped beating as soon as he was born
  • Doctors rushed to resuscitate him and reduce the chance of brain damage
  • For his distraught parents, it was ‘the longest eight minutes’ of their lives
  • But doctors managed to revive him; at 5 months, he’s completely healthy

By

Anna Hodgekiss for MailOnline


Published:
11:14 EST, 26 February 2015

|
Updated:
15:29 EST, 26 February 2015

A baby who spent the first eight minutes of his life ‘dead’ has made a remarkable recovery.

Theo Babbage’s heart stopped beating as soon as he was born, leaving his distraught parents facing ‘the longest eight minutes’ of their lives.

Doctors rushed to resuscitate him and reduce the chance of life-altering brain damage.

To his parents’ utter relief, they succeeded in bringing him back to life.

Now five months old, Theo is a completely healthy baby. 

Theo Babbage's heart stopped beating as soon as he was born
Doctors fought frantically for eight minutes to revive him, leaving his distraught parents facing 'the longest eight minutes' of their lives'

Theo Babbage’s heart stopped beating as soon as he was born and doctors fought frantically for eight minutes to revive him. Now five months old, he is perfectly healthy and suffered no long-term damage

Theo's parents, Adam and Rachel, described the period when he was being revived as 'the longest eight minutes' of their lives

Theo’s parents, Adam and Rachel, described the period when he was being revived as ‘the longest eight minutes’ of their lives

His mother, Rachel Cherry, 30, said:  ‘When you give birth, all you want to hear is your baby cry for the first time, but when Theo was born there was nothing.

‘I kept waiting and waiting but there was no screaming or crying, and I knew something must be wrong. 

‘I stared around at the shocked looks on the medics’ faces – I kept asking if my baby was OK but no one could answer. 

‘I thought my baby had died.’ 

When she heard doctors counting down from five, she and Theo’s father Adam, 29, knew their son was being resuscitated. 

‘Time passed so slowly. As a parent, it was unbearable being in the same room as my dying child,’ she said. 

‘After eight minutes he was pale blue from being starved of oxygen for so long.

‘So when we were told they had restarted his heart, a wave of relief swept over me and Adam – we just had to hope he’d be OK.’

With the drama over, Theo was rushed away to intensive care.

‘Like any new mother, all I wanted to do was hold him in my arms and comfort him,’ said Ms Cherry.

‘Thankfully that’s all behind us now. He’s recovered and we’re so eternally grateful to the hospital staff at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital. 

‘Without them our little baby boy wouldn’t be alive today.’

With the drama over, Theo was rushed away to intensive care. 'Like any new mother, all I wanted to do was hold him in my arms and comfort him,' said Ms Cherry

With the drama over, Theo was rushed away to intensive care. ‘Like any new mother, all I wanted to do was hold him in my arms and comfort him,’ said Ms Cherry

After a normal pregnancy, Ms Cherry’s problems began in the delivery suite, when nurses explained Theo was stuck.

Doctors had no other option but to perform an emergency Caesarean to free him.

Following this, doctors then had to bring Theo back to life by clearing his lungs before they could restart his heart.

It was uncertain whether he would suffer permanent brain damage or cerebral palsy from the oxygen deprivation.

When you give birth, all you want to hear is your baby cry for the first time, but when Theo was born there was nothing – so I knew something must be wrong

His mother said: ‘We had no other option than to wait by his beside and hope he would be OK. 

‘He was having seizures on his first night and I thought he wouldn’t make it.

‘He was so fragile – even when I picked him up for the first time he still had tubes all over him, so I had to be very careful.

‘It was frustrating not being able to bond with him , but noone knew what would happen from one day to the next and whether he’d pull through. 

‘When he cried for the first time after one week in intensive care it was such a relief.’

It took 12 days before Theo could be discharged with his delighted parents and he quickly settled into life at home.

Fragile Theo spent 12 days in intensive care - and it took him a week to cry for the first time.
'Even when I picked him up for the first time he still had tubes all over him, so I had to be very careful,' his mother said

Fragile Theo spent 12 days in intensive care – and it took him a week to cry for the first time. ‘Even when I picked him up for the first time he still had tubes all over him, so I had to be very careful,’ his mother said

Ms Cherry said: ‘Now he’s home we can finally bond with our baby and he’s loving all the attention.

‘He’s absolutely gorgeous and constantly has us in fits of giggles, he’s a very comical baby.

‘I am so grateful to the doctors who saved our baby’s life.

‘It really could happen to anyone, but thankfully the right equipment was available to keep our baby alive, although not all hospitals have one.’

The couple are now fundraising to buy another £10,000 specialist incubator – the same as the one that saved Theo’s life – in the hope that it will help other families.

Theo was cooled for his first four days to reduce the chance of any damage, which fortunately he didn’t suffer.

Ms Cherry and Mr Babbage hope that by acquiring another incubator, more babies will be as lucky as Theo. 

Xmas Holidays

British tourist plummets to death from 36th-floor Thailand apartment

  • John Knotts was ‘infatuated’ with Thailand and would visit five times a year
  • The 49-year-old had travelled there in January to see his Thai girlfriend 
  • He overstayed visa and emailed his friend to say he had missed his flight
  • John Westgarth warned him he was ‘heading for a fall’ due to his lifestyle
  • Mr Knotts plunged 36 storeys to his death the next day in North Pattaya  

By

Claire Carter for MailOnline


Published:
12:00 EST, 25 February 2015

|
Updated:
12:35 EST, 25 February 2015

A British tourist who had become ‘infatuated’ with Thailand plunged 300ft to his death in a mystery fall from a 36th-floor apartment. 

Detectives are investigating how John Knotts, of Blaydon in Gateshead, came to fall from the Sky Beach Condominium in North Pattaya.

John Westgarth, a friend of Mr Knotts, revealed how the 49-year-old loved Thailand so much he had become ‘addicted’ and would go several times a year. This time he had gone to the country to see a girlfriend he had met previously and had emailed to say he had missed his flight home.

John Knotts (right) plunged 36 storeys to his death from an apartment block in Thailand, just a day after his friend John Westgarth (left) had sent him an email warning he faced a 'very big fall' because of his lifestyle 

John Knotts (right) plunged 36 storeys to his death from an apartment block in Thailand, just a day after his friend John Westgarth (left) had sent him an email warning he faced a ‘very big fall’ because of his lifestyle 

Mr Westgarth responded by email and told his friend about the dangers of his lifestyle and warned him he was ‘heading for a big fall.’

A day later he was told Mr Knotts had died. 

Thai newspapers reported that Mr Knotts had been to a Chinese New Year Party with his girlfriend Khun Kullaya, 47, before he fell from the apartment.

Mr Knotts first went on holiday to Thailand ten years ago and despite being on benefits would visit up to five times a year. 

He went to Thailand on January 7 to see his girlfriend and the couple had planned a trip to Bangkok to get her a visa. 

Mr Knotts fell from the 36th floor of the apartment block in Pattaya in Thailand 

Mr Knotts fell from the 36th floor of the apartment block in Pattaya in Thailand 

Mr Knotts was only supposed to be away for 28 days and was due back on February 3, but missed his flight and never returned.

‘I was on holiday in Kenya and I emailed him saying it was nearly home time for him,’ said Mr Westgarth, 64. 

‘I never got a reply. I then texted him something similar and never got a reply.

‘I then sent him another email saying ‘have you missed your flight again?’

‘He emailed me back saying “yeah, I’ve done it again. I’ve missed my flight”.’

Mr Westgarth said everything started to go wrong with his friend since he developed an obsession with Thailand. 

He added: ‘He was a likeable character. Since he started to go to Thailand, everything centred around the country.

‘It was worse than heroin. He wouldn’t admit to being addicted but he was addicted to the place.

‘He was 10 days over his visa.

‘He lost all interest in England. He was there and he didn’t want to be anywhere else.’

Mr Westgarth said his friend had one or two relationships during his visits to Thailand over the 10 years and was ‘looking to fall in love.’ 

Mr Knotts died at around 10pm on February 18. 

Local newspaper Pattaya One reported that his girlfriend had suffered facial injuries and he was in financial difficulty, with his home in Newcastle about to be repossessed.  

Detectives are continuing to investigate the circumstances of Mr Knotts’ death.  

 

 

 

 

Xmas Holidays

Killer who murdered Brit teacher Lauren Patterson in Qatar appeals death sentence 

  • Lauren Patterson, 24, was sexually assaulted and stabbed in Qatar in 2013
  • Her burnt remains were dumped in the desert by a ‘casual acquaintance’
  • Badr Hashim Khamis Abdallah al-Jabar sentenced to death for the murder
  • His lawyer has now claimed his client was tortured by prison guards 
  • Defence lawyer also claims Al-Jabar killed Miss Patterson in self-defence

By

Keiligh Baker for MailOnline


Published:
11:22 EST, 25 February 2015

|
Updated:
12:12 EST, 25 February 2015

British teacher Lauren Patterson (pictured) was sexually assaulted and stabbed to death in Doha, Qatar, in 2013 - her killers then burnt her body

British teacher Lauren Patterson (pictured) was sexually assaulted and stabbed to death in Doha, Qatar, in 2013 – her killers then burnt her body

A lawyer attempting to overturn the death sentence of a man convicted of murdering British school teacher Lauren Patterson in Qatar has accused prison guards of torturing his client.

Lauren Patterson, 24, from Kent, was sexually assaulted and stabbed and her burnt remains were left in a remote desert location by a local ‘casual acquaintance’ in October 2013.

Badr Hashim Khamis Abdallah al-Jabar and his accomplice maintained Miss Patterson’s death was accidental, but were found guilty of the brutal killing in March 2014.

Al-Jabr was sentenced to death and accomplice Mohamed Abdallah Hassan Abdul Aziz was jailed for three years for helping to dispose of Miss Patterson’s body.

Both men were arrested after Miss Patterson’s remains were found in a remote desert spot outside the Qatari capital city of Doha after she went missing following a night out.

The lawyer, who represents both men, said his clients had been kept in solitary confinement for 40 days between interviews with prosecutors, and the abuse they suffered would have ‘clouded anybody’s judgement’.

The attorney did not elaborate on his torture claim, which was not raised in last year’s criminal trial that ended in Al-Jabar being sentenced to death.

During yesterday’s appeal hearing, the defence lawyer for the two men once again repeated the argument that Al-Jabar killed Miss Patterson in self-defence and attacked her moral character, calling her ‘promiscuous,’ an ‘excessive drinker’ and ‘irrational’.

The defence lawyer has spent considerable time in previous hearings dwelling on Miss Patterson’s drinking habits. 

During the 2014 trial Miss Patterson’s friend Lea Monet testified how she, Miss Patterson and the two men, who she said they were ‘casually acquainted with’, had left a nightclub at La Cigale Hotel in Doha around 3.30am on October 12.

Lauren Patterson pictured with her mother, Alison, who has criticised the defence lawyer's claims

Lauren Patterson pictured with her mother, Alison, who has criticised the defence lawyer’s claims

She said Miss Patterson, who had just returned from attending her grandmother’s funeral in England, was not drunk and was ‘aware of her surroundings’. 

During the trial the prosecution said the defendant took Miss Patterson to a place he used for sexual trysts with women, ‘conquered her body’, and killed her by stabbing her twice.

Miss Patterson (pictured) went missing following a night out in Doha, Qatar, in October 2013

Miss Patterson (pictured) went missing following a night out in Doha, Qatar, in October 2013

Following yesterday’s hearing, Miss Patterson’s mother, Alison, said she has seen ‘nothing but genuine honesty, clarity and a need for the truth to prevail’ on the part of prosecutors.

She also took exception to the ‘attempted character assassination’ of her daughter by the defence lawyer, saying he provided no evidence to back up his statements.

She said: ‘Lauren was a hard-working girl who loved her job and spent most evenings of her time after work giving private tuition to pupils in their homes or studying to complete her degree.

‘All of which can be corroborated, unlike the defence’s story. 

‘While he attacked my daughter’s character, he forgot to mention that his clients regularly frequented bars and consumed alcohol.’

Mrs Patterson also said the defence lawyer did not address what the men are accused of doing to her daughter’s body following her death.

She argued: ‘If it was self-defence, why did the lawyer not mention them removing my daughter’s body to the desert by car, purchasing coal and fuel and burning her body beyond recognition and then going back to the scene to make sure they had burnt her body? 

‘If it was self-defence, would you do that?’

During yesterday’s hearing, the lawyer for the Patterson family asked that their request for 20 million QR, £3.5million, in compensation from the convicted men be referred to a civil court. 

Financial settlements are a common feature in serious court cases in Qatar.

A final verdict is scheduled for March 23.

 

Xmas Holidays

Tie a Bow

Hello and welcome to another challenge at Winter Wonderland -Lynsey

Thank you for all your lovely entries into last week’s challenge.


Last week’s two lucky winners as chosen by Random Org are:

which is number 7  who  is Ginny from As I Do Rodos  with this lovely entry:


and has won the prize from Crafty Sentiment Designs and our second lucky winner is:

Number 40 which is Helen from Helen’s Craft Haven with this lovely entry:




You have won the Crafter’s Companion prize.

Congratulations to you both – please email (Deborah)  to claim your prizes
before the end of the current challenge. Please make the subject of your e-mail Winter Wonderland Winner and sponsor name.

Now onto the top three

Please take our top three banner to display proudly on your blog.

Now onto this week’s challenge – ‘Tie a Bow‘  so we want to see a bow on all your lovely creations this week.  
 We are sponsored by:
Who are offering a £10 voucher for the lucky winner. 
Here’s the inspiration from the DT.  We always appreciate a visit so if you click the name you can hop over and leave them a comment and also find out if they have combined their challenge with any others, which could give you some ideas.
We all hope you are able to join us in our challenge this week. We look forward to visiting your blogs and seeing your gorgeous creations. Please be sure to post a link back to the Winter Wonderland blog in your blog post in order to be eligible for this weeks prize! Thursday evening (5pm GMT) is the deadline for your creation to qualify for the prizes.
So all that’s left is for you to get creative and leave your entry here with the blue frog so we can come and find you asap.

Have fun and remember you can enter each challenge up to 3 times.

Lynsey and the WW Teamies xxx 


Christmas 2013

Giant crab normally found in the ARCTIC washes up on English coast

  • The red king crab is normally found in the Bering Sea off the Alaskan coast
  • It was found by diver David McCreadie on Redcar beach in north Yorkshire
  • The crabs are an invasive species in Norway and have been moving south
  • Adult red king crabs can grow to have a leg span of up to five feet across 
  • They can devour native species but are also considered to be a delicacy 
  • It is thought to be the first time a red king crab has been found in England
  • The crab measured around 30 inches across but died after a couple of days

By

Richard Gray for MailOnline


Published:
14:11 EST, 25 February 2015

|
Updated:
14:37 EST, 25 February 2015

A giant species of crab normally found in the freezing waters of the Arctic has washed up on the east coast of England.

Oceanographers have been left baffled as to how the crab, which usually inhabit the icy Bering Sea off the coastline of Alaska, got 4,700 miles from its normal habitat.

The crab was discovered on the beach in Redcar, north Yorkshire by oceanographer David McCreadie and his fiancee Diane Weinoski.

The red king crab above was found on Redcar beach in north Yorkshire by oceanographer David McCreadie

The red king crab above was found on Redcar beach in north Yorkshire by oceanographer David McCreadie

The formidable-looking crustacean was around 30 inches across, although the crabs can grow to have a leg span of up to five feet.

It suggests the crab was still relatively young and may have been swept to the UK by powerful currents or in a storm. 

A DELICIOUS GIANT INVADER 

Red king crabs were first introduced to the Barents sea off northern Russia in the 1960s but have now become so numerous they have overflowed down the west coast of Norway.

Some fisherman fear these massive crabs will devastate native fisheries as they devour almost everything in their path.

Although the crabs can live in a relatively wide range of water temperatures, outside ideal conditions their growth rates are severely hampered.

The crabs are thought to be advancing around 31 miles a year.

But despite the concerns around the crab, the species is protected under a diplomatic accord between Russia and Norway that manages fishing quotas.

Only around 250 Norwegian fishermen are allowed to catch the king crab, despite it being considered a delicacy. 

The crabs are increasingly found in the fjords around Norway where they are considered to be an invasive species and can devastate local species.

Some fear that the massive crabs could eventually spread as far south as Spain and Portugal but the sea conditions there are considered to be too warm for them to survive.

David McCreadie, 66, from Great Ayton in north Yorkshire, told the Gazette Live that he had sought the advice of crab expert Dr Normal Sloan, a crab expert in British Columbia, Canada, who confirmed it was a red king crab.

Mr McCreadie said: ‘I have dived as an amateur and professional since 1966 and never seen one anywhere near here before.

‘I have heard that king crabs have migrated under the Arctic ice cap and been found in Norway, but this is so far south.’

The couple found the crab lying on the sands at Redcar on Friday where it was still alive, but when they returned to the beach over the weekend the crab had died.

Red king crabs get their name from the colour they turn when they are cooked.

The average temperature that the crabs live in is between 4 degrees C (39°F) and 10 degrees C (50°F).

The red king crab, seen here next to a pound coin for scale, did not survive for long on the beach at Redcar

The red king crab, seen here next to a pound coin for scale, did not survive for long on the beach at Redcar

It is around 4,700 miles from the Bering Sea where king red crabs are normally found to Redcar in Yorkshire

It is around 4,700 miles from the Bering Sea where king red crabs are normally found to Redcar in Yorkshire

Depending on the stage in their life they live at different depths – moving to between 20 and 50 metres by the age of two and down to 200 metres as adults.

Mr McCreadie said: ‘I know my crustaceans and when I saw this one, I knew it was special.

‘I know king crabs are common in the Arctic, especially around Alaska, and they have turned up in Norway recently, but how on earth this one has got so far south, I have no idea. 

‘To my knowledge, this is the first one.

‘It could only come from very cold, deep water but we don’t have very cold deep water in the North Sea. Perhaps it was on its summer holidays.’ 

Red king crabs are considered a pest in Norway where they are invading fjords. Only a handful of fishermen are allowed to catch the giant crabs, as shown above, due to a diplomatic agreement with Russia

Red king crabs are considered a pest in Norway where they are invading fjords. Only a handful of fishermen are allowed to catch the giant crabs, as shown above, due to a diplomatic agreement with Russia

Xmas Holidays