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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Ram Raiders Target Antiques

Antiques raiders escape with haul worth £20,000

A SILVER haul from an antiques shop in the historic village of Chilham netted raiders around £20,000 police have revealed.

Last night they issued pictures of the stolen antiques and silver items in the hope someone will recognise them.

A bronze garden statue of a male and female intertwined, mounted on a stand was taken along with an antique diamond cluster ring and an antique lamp stand.

A collection of hallmarked silver items was also taken including A fruit bowl centrepiece by Walker and Hall, from 1912, a pair of eight-inch candlesticks Chester HM, a set of 12 teaspoons and tongs in a case, a toast rack, a further pair of candlesticks, a fish slice, a teapot, a Rose bowl, a bowl, a small bon bon basket and a sterling silver bowl,

Anyone who thinks they might be able to help can call PC Darren Brough at Ashford station on 01233 896281 or the Crimestoppers Hotline on 0800 555111 which are free and anonymous.

Police injured in cash machine ram-raid

Two policemen were left with broken ankles as they arrested three men in a dramatic smash and grab on a supermarket cash machine in the early hours of Wednesday morning.Officers were called to the scene after reports crooks had tried to drive a digger into Sainsbury’s in Dymchurch Road, New Romney in a bid to pinch a cash machine at 3.15am.One of the officer’s injured broke his tibia bone and is expected to need surgery. Several police patrol cars were also damaged in the incident.The suspects are in their 20s and 30s. Police are still hunting a fourth man believed to have fled the scene.

Art Hostage comments: If Police join the dots and make the connection between these two raids I am sure they will solve the Antiques raid.

This may involve offering one of the arrested crooks for the ram raid a deal to inform on the Antiques raiders, who are all part of the same gangs.

Friday, February 16, 2007

A Pyrrhic Victory That Leaves A Bad Taste In The Mouth

Lawyer's €12 million fee in Nazi-looted art case is too high, Dutch court rules.

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands: A lawyer's fee of €12 million (US$15.7 million) for negotiating the return of art stolen by the Nazis was too high, a court ruled Friday.

Lawyer Roelof van Holthe tot Echten submitted the multimillion-dollar bill for arranging the return of hundreds of works that had belonged to a Jewish art dealer who fled the Netherlands at the start of World War II.

The heirs of Jacques Goudstikker contested the bill, so the lawyer sought to block the return of 198 works being held by the Dutch government until he was paid 20 percent of the estimated value.

Goudstikker's daughter-in-law Marei von Saher and his granddaughters Charlene and Chantal von Saher, who live in Connecticut, refused, offering to pay an hourly rate instead.

The Hague District Court sided in part with the descendants, allowing them to ship the works to the United States.

It awarded Van Holthe tot Echten at least €1.9 million (US$2.5 million), or €325 (US$425) per hour, but suggested that amount should be quadrupled to €7.6 million (US$10 million) to reflect the risk the lawyer took in working on the case for so long with uncertain prospects for payment.

"A multiplication factor of four is not unreasonable, under the given circumstances," the court said in its written ruling. It left it up to both sides to negotiate the exact amount.

The ruling opens the question of what the Goudstikker heirs will be left with in the end. Evidence cited in the ruling suggested another Dutch lawyer might seek up to 20 percent of the value of the collection, U.S. lawyers another 10 percent, and a U.S. art historian who helped research the case yet another 10 percent.

Christie's estimated the collection, which includes masterpieces by Jan Steen and Salomon van Ruysdael, is worth from US$79 million-US$110 million (€56 million-€84 million).

The Von Saher's new lawyer, Rob Polak, said the amount cited in Friday's ruling was "higher than we believe is reasonable, but the judge had to make an estimate."

He said he was confident the bill would be reduced further in the next phase of proceedings.

Goudstikker, who in the 1930s was the Netherlands' biggest art dealer, fled at the start of the war with his wife and young son, leaving behind an estimated 1,300 artworks.

He died after falling through a trap door on an outbound ship.

After the Nazis invaded, around 800 pieces of artwork were seized by Hitler's right-hand man, Hermann Goering. About 300 of them, mostly by Dutch artists, were returned to the government after the war.

A few were auctioned, but 267 works worth tens of millions of dollars (euros) remained in art museums around the Netherlands.

Goudstikker's daughter-in-law began seeking the recovery of the Dutch works in 1996, but the courts upheld a 1952 settlement with Goudstikker's widow, Desiree. She had accepted a bad deal rather than nothing, under protest and not knowing the extent of the Dutch government's holdings.

But after an international debate began, in the late 1990s, on compensating Jews for stolen Holocaust-era assets, an independent commission recommended that the Dutch government return the works.

Rudi Ekkart, chairman of the commission, said in 2003 that the case "screamed to heaven."

"Those who were robbed but survived the war were then cowed by bureaucrats."

On Friday, he told Dutch NOS television he was saddened by the fight over lawyers' fees.

"It gives the impression ... the whole policy of returning works is based on the claims by people that only see dollar signs in their eyes," he said.

Hundreds of other works Goering took, including pieces by Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Velasquez, Goya, Rubens, Brueghel, Titian and Tintoretto, remain lost.

A handful of others were returned to the family by buyers after their origin became known, including the Israel Museum, Germany's Lower Saxony State Museum and one owned by a private American collector.

The Associated Press
Published: February 16, 2007

Art Hostage comments:

There is something distasteful about all the deductions taken by Lawyers, historians, Auction houses and the like.
I ask myself, what if the rightful owners wanted to keep the works of art for theirs and the public's enjoyment?

However, if this is what it takes to restore every last looted artwork stolen by Nazi Germans during the darkest days of modern history, reluctantly I would agree to a fair reward for the efforts and work conducted by these hangers on.

Although, I think the costs of lawyers should be paid by those demonic institutions that refused to hand back stolen artworks unless ordered to by the courts.

Normally when a work of art is restored to its rightful owner the legal costs should be met by the losing side, why is this not the case?

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam hides many Dark secrets.

It is the Dutch Museums/Government that should be forced to pay the legal costs, and other costs incurred in getting the rightful heirs their own, I repeat own, property back, especially in this case.

Perhaps if the Governments that still hold many looted artworks were to be held liable for lawyers costs as well as the works of art themselves, then they may think twice before resisting noble requests from survivors and their descendants.

We must never forget the dreadful circumstances in which these works of art were stolen/looted.
The screams from Heaven are deafening for all except those who harbour anti-Semitic resentments.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Lord/Lady Archer's Sheep return to the Flock !!

Stolen Archer statues discovered by police

Publisher: Ian Morgan
Published: 13/02/2007 - 12:50:07 PM

Sculptures stolen from the garden of Lord and Lady Archer have been recovered by police.

The two life-sized pieces, including one of a naked shepherd, were stolen on February 6 while Mary Archer, 61, was in the house in Grantchester, near Cambridge.

A police spokeswoman said the sculptures were found yesterday evening three-quarters of a mile down a muddy track in Black Pit Drove, Willingham, Cambridgeshire.

She said no arrests had been made but investigations were continuing.

The spokeswoman said: "The sculptures had been concealed, and due to the size and weight of the sculptures and the remote location where they were found, specialist recovery and lifting equipment was used to recover the statues.

"The statues and material used to conceal them are now being kept in a secure site and will today undergo forensic examination."

The first piece, titled Shepherd and Sheep, is by Christopher Marvell and was installed in 1998.

The second, titled Girl Doing a Handstand, is by family friend the late Sydney Harpley and was commissioned in 1986.

Shepherd and Sheep attracted notoriety two years ago when Margaret Crick's autobiography of Lady Archer revealed she had asked Mr Marvell to reduce the size of the shepherd's penis.

Lord and Lady Archer offered a reward of £1,000 for the return of the sculptures.

Lord and Lady Archer said today: "We are absolutely delighted that our stolen works of art have been safely recovered."

Copyright Press Association 2007

Art Hostage comments:

Way to go Lord Archer, your criminal contacts proved useful.

However, if you have paid a reward be warned, the Police will prosecute you under the 2002 Proceeds of Crime act so better keep quiet.

Furthermore, if you are considering paying a reward you may well want to think of the consequences of the handler going to the media at some later stage and this could come back to haunt you.

Well done for getting you bronzes back.

Monday, February 12, 2007

National Gallery's Continue to Wriggle, the Noble Fight for Justice Goes on !!

'Aryanised' ... the National Gallery of Victoria has been hit with a demand for the return of valuable Dutch masterpiece Lady with a Fan, allegedly looted by Nazis from a prominent Jewish family in the 1930s.

Claim on gallery's 'Nazi-loot' art

By Rick Wallace The Australian
February 13, 2007 01:00am

THE National Gallery of Victoria has been hit with a demand for the return of a valuable Dutch masterpiece allegedly looted by Nazis from a prominent Jewish family in the 1930s.

Lawyers for the descendants of the original owners of the Gerard ter Borch painting Lady with a Fan have issued a formal demand for the painting after informal talks over its ownership ended without agreement.

The painting is worth between $100,000 and $1 million. If the Emden family's claim is successful, the painting would be the first looted work in Australia to be returned to its Jewish owners.

The painting belonged to Jewish retail magnate Max Emden, who fled Hamburg ahead of Nazi rule leaving much of his massive art collection behind. His grandson, Chile-based Juan Carlos Emden, said the ter Borch painting was one of about 100 stolen during the Holocaust. Mr Emden is planning to visit Melbourne to demand the painting's return.

"There is no doubt that the painting was aryanised from the Max Emden collection in or about 1938," his request says, in response to demands from the NGV for Mr Emden to prove the ter Borch is rightfully his.

A spokeswoman said the gallery had begun assessing Mr Emden's claim. "The NGV has very clear policies about returning an artwork if it should be found to belong to another person. We welcome the fact that Mr Emden has now made a formal claim ... and we have accordingly instigated the process to assess it," she said.

Art Hostage comments;

We will be watching this one closely.

British Police, Over paid, over rated, and now Inherently Corrupt

In 2003, the Home Office estimated up to 2,000 officers and civilian staff were 'potentially corrupt'

Corrupt officers damage Met, says report

By Ben Leapman and Tom Harper, Sunday Telegraph

Last Updated: 1:36am GMT 11/02/2007

Police in Britain's biggest force are associating with criminals, taking drugs and misusing their warrant cards, a secret Scotland Yard report has revealed.

A wide-ranging corruption investigation, carried out last month, found "inappropriate relationships or criminal associations" among police officers and civilian staff posed "significant threats" to the Metropolitan Police Force.

The report says a growing number of officers and staff are taking drugs off duty. Cocaine and cannabis are the "drugs of choice" and drug testing has been introduced for junior officers.

Further concerns include the number of police employees accused of domestic violence and sexual assault while off duty, misuse of the Police National Computer and abuse of warrant cards and security passes by both serving and retired employees.

The report also reveals growing complaints about discriminatory behaviour by police, despite anti-racism training.

The damning findings of the Strategic Intelligence Assessment, carried out by the Met's Directorate of Professional Standards, were intended to remain secret. But the Metropolitan Police Authority released the report accidentally on its website last week before its members were due to discuss it.

After a complaint from Scotland Yard, the report was removed from the website and the discussion on Thursday was held behind closed doors. Asked by authority members why the session should be held in private, Asst Comm John Yates, who heads the Met's anti-corruption unit, simply said: "I do not want to explain why in a public forum."

The report, by Det Chief Supt Gregory Faulkner, says the assessment was intended to identify the "risk to the ethical health of the Met posed by corruption, dishonesty and unethical behaviour". It says one new area identified as a cause for concern is the outside business interests of Met employees, which are not recorded on a central register. The report warns "financial irregularities and debt issues have been identified", pointing to "the risk of corruption".

As a result, the Met is to review its policy on declaring business interests, with a view to ensuring that anti-corruption officers are made aware of employees whose outside interests might conflict with their policing duties.

"Pro-active monitoring" of staff email and internet use has helped to reduce the number of information leaks, the report says. Misuse of the criminal intelligence system has also decreased slightly.

The report adds: "Drug and alcohol abuse by Met employees remains a significant threat to public confidence, specifically in safety-critical posts. Intelligence shows misuse of controlled substances by staff has risen slightly, with cocaine and cannabis the drugs of choice."

Under new procedures, Met officers accused of committing violent crimes while off duty will undergo a risk assessment to determine what danger they pose.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "The vast majority of Met staff are hard working and professional, but it is the responsibility of the Directorate of Professional Standards to identify the risks posed to the organisation by the very small minority who behave in a dishonest, unethical or un-professional manner.

Behaviour of this sort is investigated swiftly and thoroughly and, where there is sufficient -evidence of criminal behaviour, through the courts."

Defending the decision to suppress the report, the spokesman added: "The Met considered that there would be a more open and productive discussion about the issues in a non-public forum."

Corruption is a long standing problem for police chiefs. In 2003, the Home Office estimated up to 2,000 officers and civilian staff were "potentially corrupt".

Art Hostage comments:

As with most estimates this is only about 10% of the real figure.

That means there are 20,000 potentialy corrupt Police Officers and civilian staff .

The overhaul of the way Informants are handled was meant to stop corruption of Police Officers.

This news shows that corruption is as high as ever and all that has happened is Informants refuse to give intelligence to Police.

A case of shooting ones self in the foot.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Theft is theft, is theft, is theft, You Cannot be Half-Pregnant !!

Justice is a higher value than culture

By Bobby Brown

Culture and justice are both indicators by which the well-being of modern society can be measured. Culture asks questions about our collective identity. It enables us to observe our fellow human beings and to evaluate events and individuals that live in our collective consciousness. Justice protects modern society. It guards the individual, offers comfort to those who have been harmed, and provides a warning to those who would harm others. Two words, two concepts - we aspire to increase their presence both in our life and in our communal environment. But what happens when culture and justice clash, when a society must decide on preferences and priorities? Such is the situation facing the State of Israel today.

Some of the most breathtaking paintings in the world, foremost among them the treasures of the Louvre and those of other fine French public collections, are slated to be exhibited in Israeli museums and galleries in the near future. The old masters, Impressionists and expressionists, Modernists and Classicists, will be a banquet to our eyes and a festival to our thoughts. Or will they?

France is requesting a seemingly inconsequential prerequisite before opening the floodgates of the Israeli public's access to cultural expression. In order for Israelis to see these treasures, Paris has demanded the adoption of a law that would bar legal action in Israel by those who claim title to those paintings, including works which may have been looted by the German Third Reich or its henchmen throughout Europe during the Holocaust era.

They have been gripped by the fear of international precedents such as art treasures loaned to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which were the subject of intense legal wrangling initiated by the owners of these works, the heirs of Holocaust victims, whose parents lost their property − and their lives − during the Nazi atrocities. And while the wrangling continued, the artworks could not be returned to the museums whence they came. The French are not willing to risk their cultural
patrimony in Israel.

So much for justice.

Beside accomplishing the greatest murder rampage in human history, the Nazis could also boast of being world-class art thieves. The Third Reich ran teams of art experts who criss-crossed Europe looking for great works of art. Whether they were 'degenerate' pieces to be sold for cash in Geneva or more conventional pieces to be placed in the Goering collection or the great museums of Naziland, objets d'art were trophies sought after by the Nazi leadership everywhere. Jews didn't only have their art stolen after their deportation; they were often deported in order [for Nazis] to steal their art.

After 60 years and a monumental struggle, a new sensitivity has taken hold in museums and auction houses. After years of efforts to place this issue on the international agenda, we have now reached the situation in which 'problematic' provenance of artworks does make a difference in values and sales procedures. With the Internet, it is getting harder to hide the paintings that hung in the salons of our parents and grandparents. However, many European countries place obstacles in front of claimants trying to retrieve these 'national' treasures by judicial means from the cultured societies who count them among their cultural jewels, leaving survivors and their heirs essentially locked out of, or unable to afford, due process in order retrieve that which was stolen from their families. It is precisely to preserve this single path to claimants that the French and others are requiring that the Knesset pass a law to safeguard art loans made to Israel's museums.

This presents a dilemma for Israel, a clash between culture and justice. If the Knesset votes for culture, it will effectively be sanctioning the status quo still prevalent in too many countries that is preventing the return of property to its rightful heirs. If it votes for justice, and takes a principled stand that the Israeli courts recognize the supreme right of Holocaust survivors and their heirs to claim back what once belonged to them, irrespective of which country housed these treasures since the end of World War II − it will, in all likelihood, place Israel outside the rich world of international cultural exchanges and deprive its public of viewing these great works on their home territory.

Will the Knesset enact such a law? For me, at least, there is no clash, no struggle between culture and justice. I don't want to see stolen pictures at an exhibition, especially if I know that the pictures' rightful owners have not been able to retrieve them. For me, the right of individuals to reclaim property stolen from their family during the Holocaust is paramount to all other issues. Justice is a higher value than culture and the Israeli Knesset should declare this in the clearest and most unequivocal terms. We may have to content ourselves with seeing reproductions. It's a price worth paying, especially if it ensures that we uphold what the Torah calls tzedek [justice].

At the Conference on Looted Nazi art held in Vilna in October 2000, a very courageous member of Knesset, Colette Avital, asked the ambassador representing France to whom her father's siddur [prayer book], sitting in a French warehouse, belongs. The French ambassador replied, "Madame, it belongs to France." I for one don't want to see that siddur, or any other property stolen from my people, on display.

The writer is a member of the board of directors of the Company for Locating and Retrieving Assets of People who were Killed in the Holocaust, Ltd.

Art Hostage comments:

Never, never, never give up the fight to retore every last artwork, heirloom and lock of hair taken during the darkest days of modern history.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Sheep Without Sheep's Clothing !!

We've been fleeced!

VALUABLE bronze sculptures have been stolen from the front garden of Lord and Lady Archer's home.

Thieves cut through a neighbouring wire fence and backed a van into the grounds of the Old Vicarage in Grantchester on Tuesday evening.

When she woke on Wednesday morning she discovered the Shepherd and Sheep statues by Fulbourn sculptor Christopher Marvell were missing, along with Handstand by the late Sydney Harpley.

Lady Archer said: "They are both original works of art of considerable real value, and sentimental value.

"It is very upsetting. They both have great sentimental value, and Sydney Harpley, who died in 1992, was a personal friend."

Shepherd and Sheep consists of five statues - a shepherd with four sheep. It was bought by the couple in 1998.

Handstand, which is a statue of a girl doing a handstand, has been in their garden since 1986.

Lady Archer believes two or three men would have been needed to lift the heavy sculptures.

CCTV cameras at The Orchard Tea Gardens in Mill Way, which is next to the Old Vicarage, captured two men backing up a white van to the wire fence, and stealing the sculptures between 6.15pm and 7.15pm.

Det Sgt Dean Wiffin, investigating, said: "We would like to speak to anyone who saw any suspicious activity in the area of Mill Way last night. These sculptures would have needed a large vehicle to move them and I would like to hear from anyone who remembers seeing a van in the area."

Police are investigating the possibility the incident may be linked to a spate of metal thefts, with thieves targeting sculptures, plumbing supplies, cables and lightning rods to sell on as scrap.

In June 2006 Margaret Thatcher was invited to the Old Vicarage to unveil a statue of Rupert Brooke, the First World War poet who immortalised the Old Vicarage in his poem of the same name, which contains the famous lines: "Stands the church clock at ten to three, And is there honey still for tea?"

Lady Archer is chairman of the Addenbrooke's NHS Trust, and her husband Jeffrey, the disgraced former MP who was jailed for perjury, is currently playing one of 12 jurors in a new BBC2 programme The Verdictwhich starts on Sunday, as well as giving away his own money to make "people's dreams come true" in ITV show Fortune: Million Pound Giveaway.

Anyone with information should call Cambridgeshire Constabulary on 0845 4564564 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

08 February 2007
First appeared in the Cambridge Evening News

Thieves half-inch Archer's large statues
This is London by Evening Standard

He has written about crime. He has been in jail himself. But today Jeffrey Archer found himself the victim of crime after thieves stole a life-sized sculpture of a naked shepherd and four sheep from the garden of his home outside Cambridge.

The sculpture, together with a bronze of a naked girl doing a handstand, were stolen from his Grantchester home on Tuesday night after thieves cut a hole in the garden fence.

Detectives fear that the pieces may already have been melted down for scrap to be sold abroad.

Lord Archer's wife Mary, who was in the house at the time, said they were going to offer a reward for information leading to the recovery of the pieces, which are thought to be worth tens of thousands of pounds.

"I am very angry, and very sad at the vandalism and possible destruction of lovely works of art," she said.

The thieves - two men in a van - were captured on the Archers' CCTV as they carried out the theft.

Lady Archer, 62, said: "A van arrived at 6.15pm on Tuesday evening, in a neighbours' front area, which unfortunately is not secure. It backs against the boundary fence between the two properties. They cut a hole in the wire mesh fence and entered our garden.

"They helped themselves to some tools out of our tool shed, then removed the statues, which is not easy to do because they were securely fixed in place. I would think it would have taken two men quite considerable effort to move them. They left at 7.57pm."

Girl Doing A Handstand was bought from the late sculptor Sydney Harpley in 1986 while Shepherd And Sheep was made for them by Christopher Marvell in 1998. The piece attracted notoriety two years ago when a biography of Lady Archer by Margaret Crick revealed that Lady Archer had asked Mr Marvell to reduce the size of the shepherd's penis.

Police say the break-in is the latest in a series of metal thefts in the region and believe that scrap is being stolen and shipped for recasting. A spokeswoman said. "We suspect it is being re-used in China and the Far East."

Detective Sergeant Dean Wiffin added: "The sculptures were sawn off their base before being taken from the garden. These sculptures would have needed a large vehicle to move them."

The sculptures were all acquired over the years by Lord Archer, 66, the multi-millionaire novelist and former Conservative Party vice-chairman who was jailed for four years for perjury and perverting the course of justice at the Old Bailey in 2001.

"It is mainly Jeffrey's thing,î said Lady Archer. "My thing is more the house itself and its furnishings. Jeffrey is more the works of art. But I love having them around."

Among the other pieces they own are a girl in a deckchair, naked apart from a sunhat, and another statue called Sun Workshiper.

There is also a stone relief caricature - technically a "grotesque" - of Lord Archer himself. That was not stolen.

Art Hostage comments:

It is all very well offering a reward Mary, but the 2002 Proceeds of Crime Act prevents rewards being paid.

I am afraid your honourable offer will fall on deaf ears.

For more information on rewards just get Lord Archer to talk to Lord Rothschild, who tried, in vain, by offering a reward for the recovery of his £100 million gold box collection, Police threatened Lord Rothschild and Ex Scotland Yard Art Detective Charles Hill, that they would be prosecuted if they paid a reward for the Gold Boxes.

The Mexican Stand Off continues.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Britain: Europe's burglary capital

This Is London from the Evening Standard

Who Says Britain/Ireland Cannot be the Best in Europe?

Britain/Ireland, Europe's Crime Capitals, Vacuous Societies of Avarice!!

Britain is the most burgled country in Europe, a disturbing crime survey reveals.

Levels of assault are also the highest across the EU, while car theft, robbery and sex offences are well above average.

More here:

Foreign officers may help police event, says Yard

Police Performance Assessment tables 2005/06

Jump up and down and shout to beat street crime

Latvian criminals let into Britain were thugs in home country

Met spent £3.5m flying overseas on crime probes

Latest news from the Daily Mail online

In the overall crime league, the UK comes second only to Ireland, with more than a fifth of the population in both countries exposed to crime in the past year.

The findings are a blow to ministers who claim crime is falling, and to campaigners who claim the UK locks up too many offenders compared with other European countries.

Comprehensive research discovered that an astonishing five per cent of the population had suffered assault involving threats of violence over the past year - the highest rate in Europe.

Particularly embarrassing for the Government is the clear link researchers found between levels of violent crime and alcohol consumption - at a time when booze-fuelled violence is rising in the wake of the 24-hour drinking reforms.

The European Crime and Safety Survey is a joint project involving the United Nations and the EU Commission involving some 40,000 interviews across the continent, and is described as 'the most comprehensive analysis of crime, security and safety ever conducted in the EU'.

Instead of relying on official crime data published by EU governments, the researchers started from scratch, asking huge numbers of adults about their experiences during 2004.

Measuring the level of common crimes across the EU, Britain was ranked second worst after Ireland.

The offences which were considered included vehicle related problems such as having a car stolen or something stolen from it, plus theft, burglary, robbery, rape and sexual assault, assaults and threats, hate crimes, consumer fraud, corruption - such as bribery by government officials or police - and exposure to drug-related problems, such as seeing drugs dealt or taken in public.

On average around 15 per cent of Europeans had been victims of one of the crimes over the past year, but in the UK the figure was 21 per cent and in Ireland 22.

Germany, France, Italy and Spain were all below average, with between nine and 14 per cent. Hungary's crime levels were only around half of those in Britain, while those in Portugal and Greece were almost as low.

Yet England and Wales has more prisoners per head of population, at 148 per 100,000, than any other country in Western Europe apart from Luxembourg. In Germany the rate is 94 while in France it is just 85.

The prison population in England and Wales has soared to record levels of more than 80,000 - up from around 60,000 in 1997 when Labour came to power - leaving the system in crisis as ministers struggle against chronic and worsening overcrowding.

Opponents of imprisonment claim the jails are full because of a Draconian approach to law and order which sees too many criminals locked up.

But the EU report suggests that in fact levels of crime in the UK are so high that it would be justified to imprison even greater numbers of offenders.

Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said: 'There is no doubt that because of the Government's failure to address the chronic lack of capacity in our prisons people that should be in jail are not in jail.

'This has more than one negative consequence. Not only are offenders not being properly punished, they also have no chance of receiving proper rehabilitation which undoubtedly leads to higher re offending rates and more crime.'

While Labour ministers have trumpeted the fall in overall crime in the UK in recent years, the EU report shows that in reality Britain has lagged behind a much faster fall in other countries. It scored particularly badly in certain categories of crime.

Some 3.3 per cent of UK adults reported being burgled in the last year - tallying with Home Office figures showing around 733,000 burglaries at 25million households.

That is the highest level anywhere in Europe - against an average of 1.7 per cent - and is around double the rate in France and three times worse than Germany. The UK and Finland were also the only two countries where repeat surveys show a worsening burglary problem.

Britain also tops the league for car theft, with almost two per cent of owners hit in the past year, well over double the EU average.

The UK has the worst figure for 'assaults and threats' at 5.8 per cent, and is well above the EU average for pickpocketing and 'contact crimes' including robbery and sexual assaults.

The only glimmer of good news is that Britons have an 'extremely low chance' of being asked to pay bribes compared with other EU member states.

Mr Davis said: 'Ten years of Government failure have left the public more at risk from both property crime and violent crime than any other comparable country in Europe.'

LibDem spokesman Nick Clegg said Britain was the 'sick man of Europe' on crime, adding: 'The Government should ask itself why the prisons are at bursting point and yet the level of several crimes are still higher than elsewhere in the EU.'

Home Office Minister Tony McNulty dismissed the findings as 'three years out of date' and questioned the surveys 'quality and comparisons'.

He said it failed to take account of recent crime reduction measures and substantial falls in burglary since 1997.

This Is London Readers Comments:

We are leading the way in Europe. We have more crime and more criminals than any comparable country and the criminals have never had it so good. This government has helped to bring more criminals out of poverty than any other country as their income, in real terms, has increased year on year.

Sorry, just trying to imagine how Tony will spin his way out of this one.

- Dan, Manchester

Anyone who has spent more than five minutes on mainland Europe would know that Britain is a more violent, crime-ridden and anti-social place than almost anywhere to be found there.

It's just the Government won't say so!

- Steve R, London, UK

Things might improve if we were given a properly manned and funded Police Service which was not under political control. Forget about the recorded crime figures these do not include illegal drug supplying and drug taking offences or counterfeit currency offences which are only recorded when arrests are made for such. Then ask yourselves about the level of crime in this country whilst considering the growth in offences involving firearms - the growth in terrorism - and the almost daily allegations involving sedition/discrimination which are carried by the media and not investigated. I am afraid crime is almost in free fall.

- Robert, Hull, East Yorks.,

The reason is very simple. The crims know that there is little chance of them getting caught and even if they are they will most likely be sent on their way with a slap on the wrist and a few hours community service. They may even get an ASBO which will give them more street cred.

Of course if you don't pay your TV licence, refuse to pay the increase in your massive council tax bill, put the wrong rubbish in the wrong bin or stray into a bus lane then the full force of the law is brought down on your shoulders.

- Marc, Hatfield, UK

What lies will we hear at the dispatch box about this one?

- Bernard Lawson, London

Start by practicing proactive policing - get 'em back on the street instead of looking at video after the event.

Enact "castle doctrine" legislation so the public knows they can defend themselves without fear of reprisal.

Zero tolerance prosecution like Giuliani did in New York - do not ignore the minor offences instead start with them, let it be seen that anti-social behaviour is a dead end.

- Stan, Expat

Art Hostage comments:

No surprise to see both Ireland and Britain being the most crime ridden in Europe.

For the last two years Police have been investigating crime without the help of informants.

We now see the results of ability, competence and due diligence Police have when they are forced to work on their own.

This disgusting title is a direct result of the manner in which Informants are currently treated.

A 90% fall in intelligence gathering as well as a 95% fall in the numbers of registered informants is the cause of this outrageous dis-honourable title.

The saying "if you pay peanuts, you get Monkey's" comes to mind.

There is a logjam of vital intelligence just waiting to be acted upon, this is for sale as with other commodities.

As soon as Law Enforcement is prepared to pay for intelligence the sooner the crime figures will come down.

Until then it is a criminal free for all.

Finally, Law Enforcement have become so desperate for intelligence they are now trying desperately to extract intelligence from convicted criminals.

Police are visiting prisoners in prison, offering better conditions if convicted criminals inform on criminals on the outside.

This is a last ditch attempt to try and gain some intelligence on criminality on the cheap.

When this proves to be a failure then perhaps Law Enforcement will enter the Capitalist marketplace and purchase intelligence.

Britain is also the European capital of Avarice and is Europe's most vacuous society so it is of no surprise that intelligence on criminality will only be sold to Police, rather than given out of some kind of civic public duty.

Even law abiding honest British citizens, who would normally give information to Police if ever they came into possession of it, require a fee before they will even consider passing information to Police.

The "Loads of money" culture means "Charity's fine, subscribe to mine"

Thursday, February 01, 2007

British, Booming, Burglary, Business !!


Burglaries prompt alert

Homeowners in the Vale of White Horse are being urged to be vigilant following a spate of burglaries.

In more than one case a pane of glass has been removed, suggesting the crimes are linked.

In the past week there have been four burglaries in villages along the A420.

Last Wednesday jewellery and ornaments were stolen from a property in Garford and jewellery worth several thousand pounds was taken during a break-in at a house in Fernham.

On Friday, a house in Ashbury was broken into but nothing taken.

On Saturday evening, offenders broke into a house in Stanford in the Vale. The burglars made off with cash and a pension book.

Police are linking the raids with a burglary in Little Coxwell in December, in which antiques were stolen.

Anyone with information should call Dc Chris Leech, of the Vale priority crime team, on 08458 505505. He urged residents to review their security arrangements, adding: "Make sure valuables are insured, and keep photos of them."

9:22am today

Art Hostage comments:

Talk about bolting the door after the Horse has gone.

The world of Stolen Art and Antiques seems to be booming.