Park attendants ordered to interrogate adults spotted without children


Telford Town Park in Shropshire, where council workers have been told to confront lone adults in the park to check if they are paedophiles

Park wardens have been ordered to stop and interrogate anyone who is not accompanied by children.

The visitors who are quizzed have to explain their presence and risk being thrown out or reported to police if their answers are not satisfactory.

The policy has been introduced at Telford Town Park in Shropshire. The council which manages the 420-acre area says it is a ‘commonsense approach’ aimed at safeguarding children.

But park users accused it of ‘authoritarian madness’ and said the ruling risked panicking parents about the dangers faced from potential paedophiles.

Read morePark attendants ordered to interrogate adults spotted without children

Britain is facing its worst harvest for at least 40 years

Britain is facing its worst harvest for at least 40 years as 30 per cent of the country’s grain lies in waterlogged or sodden ground. Hilary Benn, the Rural Affairs Secretary, is expected to give the go-ahead today for farmers to salvage what is left of their crops by using heavy machinery on wet fields.

European Union rules ban farmers from using combine harvesters on wet land to protect soil quality. Those who flout the ban can be prosecuted. The exemption is expected to last for about three weeks.

Read moreBritain is facing its worst harvest for at least 40 years

Home sales fall to one a week, says Rics


Estate agents are recording the lowest level of sales since 1978. Photo: Getty

Estate agents are selling an average of just one home a week as the number of sales hits a 30-year low, according to a report today.

The latest monthly snapshot of the housing market by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said it had stalled in August as a result of a continued lack of finance for mortgages and uncertainty over stamp duty.

Read moreHome sales fall to one a week, says Rics

Shoppers to use fingerprints or eye scans to pay for goods


Barclaycard has announced it is investing a seven-figure sum in “contactless payment” technology Photo: Getty Images

The futuristic systems, like those used by Tom Cruise in the science fiction film Minority Report, are being developed by scientists for Barclaycard.

The company has announced it is investing a seven-figure sum in “contactless payment” technology.

This allows customers to use everyday items they carry around with them – such as mobile phones, key fobs or even their eyes or fingerprints – to make payments.

It means shoppers will no longer have to rely on cards.

Barclaycard, which is part of Barclays, has already introduced a new-style cash machine in the United Arab Emirates enabling people to use their fingerprints to withdraw money and shoppers in the UK may soon be able to use the same technology.

Read moreShoppers to use fingerprints or eye scans to pay for goods

Sold for £20: just two of India’s million stolen children

In a country with 11 million abandoned children, the fate of those from loving homes who are kidnapped to order goes unnoticed. Many are sold for adoption, often to Westerners; others are trafficked into slavery or the sex trade – yet the police rarely care. Gethin Chamberlain in Delhi reports


Sunita holds up a picture of her son, Rajesh, who was 14 when he disappeared from near their home in Nebsarai Village, south Delhi, last year. Photograph: Gethin Chamberlain

Rajesh was 14 when he disappeared. Beneath a mop of jet black hair, his clear brown eyes glance sideways out of the picture that is all his family have left of him.

Read moreSold for £20: just two of India’s million stolen children

Huge rise in the price of food

Supermarket food prices are soaring, with the price of key items rising at several times the rate of inflation, figures show.


The rising cost of the shopping basket

The price of fresh food has risen by 12 per cent since the start of the year, while meat and fish now costs 23 per cent more on average. Meanwhile chicken and ham have risen by 42 and 45 per cent since January, placing the former staples out of many consumers’ price range.

The rises in the price of both basic pasta and basmati rice have also smashed through the 40 per cent barrier.

Even so-called slump proof tinned foods have registered a price rise of 15 per cent – more than three times the Government’s official inflation rate of 4.4 per cent.

Read moreHuge rise in the price of food

People should work until they are incapacitated

Britain’s workforce should keep working until they are no longer physically able to do so, according to former cabinet minister David Blunkett.


In a speech to the Counsel and Care charity in London, he said people should stop assuming that the Government had “prime responsibility” for supporting them through “the ever increasing years of retirement”.

The former Work and Pensions Secretary said people should be prepared to use equity release schemes to pay for their care in retirement, rather than protecting the value of their inheritances to their families.

Read morePeople should work until they are incapacitated

House prices suffer biggest fall since records began


House prices: Dropped by more than £25,000 over the past year. Photo: Cate Gillon/Getty

House prices fell by 1.8% in August, bringing the average price of a property in the UK below the government’s new stamp duty threshold, figures showed today.

The UK’s largest lender, Halifax, said the average price of a property had fallen by 12.7% since last August – the biggest fall since it began publishing a monthly survey in the early 1980s.

Prices have dropped by more than £25,000 since August 2007 when the average cost of a home was £199,612, and by more than £3,000 since July.

Read moreHouse prices suffer biggest fall since records began

EU is throwing habeas corpus out of the window

British citizens could be convicted in their absence by foreign courts for traffic, credit card or other criminal offences under plans approved in principle by the European Parliament.

The proposals would allow citizens to be extradited automatically under fast-track procedures at the request of another European Union country on the basis of a decision by the foreign court.

The overwhelming adoption by the Parliament of the proposals, which now go to the Council of Ministers, was condemned yesterday as “throwing habeas corpus out of the window”.

Philip Bradbourn, the Conservative justice and home affairs spokesman in the European Parliament, said: “This initiative would enable courts to pass judgments in absentia. It goes against one of the most fundamental corner-stones of British justice – that the accused has a right to defend himself at trial. If other EU countries want to go ahead with this proposal that’s their choice, but the British Government should have no part [of it].”

Read moreEU is throwing habeas corpus out of the window

Scotland launches schoolgirls’ anti-cancer health programme

A PROGRAMME to vaccinate schoolgirls against the virus that causes cervical cancer begins today.
Schools in several Scottish areas will begin vaccinating pupils aged 12 and 13 from this week.

They will be the first in the UK to receive the jab as part of a nationwide programme announced last year.

Read moreScotland launches schoolgirls’ anti-cancer health programme