MVDC publishes new Lower Road rec building plan

New Colts building 'ready in September'

February 12, 2010: Mole Valley's recreation department has submitted plans for a new pavilion on Lower Road recreation ground. It replaces the pavilion burnt down on March 31 last year (right).

The plans, available on the Mole Valley website, show that the new pavilion will occupy slightly less space than its predecessor, but the space used for an open veranda on the old building will be used for a groundsman's store. The pavilion will have a bar and servery from the kitchen and separate showers for the two teams.

The plans, submitted by Grove Millican (GM) on behalf of MVDC, say the aim is to erect "a more robust" Thurston ‘Suresport’ prefabricated building. The system uses galvanised steel external wall panels finished in a graffiti-resistant washable textured coating. The external doors to be factory-finished with hard-wearing dark cherry coating.

The surveyors say the Thurston prefabricated system has a minimum life of 60 years for the main structure and design life of between 20 and 60 years for its external and internal finishes.

The consultation period for the plan ends on March 5. Bookham Colts hope the new building will be ready for the September football season.

What do you think? Tell the editor.

Crime reduction

How much difference has the Bookham's no cold calling zone made to you?

The 'no cold calling zone' in Ashtead, Bookham and Fetcham has been running for a year. The zones were set up by Surrey Trading Standards, the Surrey crime and disorder reduction partnership, Surrey Police and Neighbourhood Watch.

As the Bugle has reported, concerns have been raised that the zones have no legal force. Some Bookham residents say they still have nuisance visits from doorstep salesmen.

But, as reported here on December 9 last year, police say cold calling zones cut crime. Now Surrey Trading standards want residents in these areas to tell them how well the local zones are working. They've prepared a short questionnaire you can download from here. Returns are welcome up to the middle of February: "Once we’ve built up a picture," says Amir Ali of Surrey Trading Standards, "we will report back to you to let you know how the first 12 months went."

Leatherhead is next for a no cold calling zone: "Your continued support for the zone," says Ali, "will ensure that we can build on the early successes and extend good practice into other areas."

Full text of Surrey Trading Standards release:
Surrey Trading Standards is working with the Crime & Disorder Reduction Partnership, Surrey Police, Neighbourhood Watches and local borough and district councils to tackle the problem of unwanted and uninvited callers to households soliciting services or goods (“Cold calls”). A number of “No Cold Calling Zones” have been set up across the county to deter these callers and in turn reduce the number of offences committed against residents.

These zones are being set up in areas where residents have said that they do not wish to receive unsolicited visits to their homes from businesses. Residents are given advice on their rights and how to deal with cold callers and a sticker to display advising that such calls are not welcome. Street signs warning would-be cold callers are also erected in the zones.

There is a lot of evidence in Surrey and the country as a whole that this sort of initiative has a very positive effect and the agencies and volunteers involved are enthusiastic supporters. To ensure that we improve the effectiveness of these zones, it is important that we get the views of those who live there and whether they have seen a positive benefit.

One of the more recent zones to be set up covered Ashtead, Bookham and Fetcham and, now that this has been running for a year, we are seeking the views of residents in these areas. A short questionnaire is available to complete at Do please take a few minutes to give us your views (though please only complete the questionnaire once!). We will welcome returns up to mid February and, once we’ve built up a picture we will report back to you to let you know how the first 12 months went.

Your continued support for the zone will ensure that we can build on the early successes and extend good practice into other areas (Leatherhead will be starting in the new year). If you need a new window sticker or any other advice on dealing with cold calling, please contact:

Mr. Amir Ali, c/o. Surrey Trading Standards, Mid Surrey Area Office, Bay Tree Avenue, Kingston Road, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 7SY.

Bookham and Fetcham Police Forum

Warnings for antisocial behaviour 'not a soft option'

December 9, 2009: Youngsters who break the law have no fear of the warnings and cautions Surrey Police uses to tackle young offenders, a resident told December's Bookham and Fetcham Police Forum. But police say the system is working.

The resident described a pattern of low level disruptive and threatening behaviour which, whether or not illegal, went beyond the boundaries acceptable 40 years ago. "A lot of it goes under the radar," said the resident, 57. "We don't report it because we don't want the aggravation, we don't confront it because we don't want the aggravation… I don't think a warning or a caution is any deterrent to the youngsters who consistently do damage and intimidate," he said. "A lot of their behaviour is intimidatory and detracts from older people's quality of life.

"I don't think there's enough deterrent. You should be afraid to break the law, and there should be consequences." If your car is damaged or your window is broken, "the chances of these guys that damage the car paying you back are remote and all they're going to get is a slap on the wrist."

Sergeant Bert Dean, community safety officer for Mole Valley, agreed that persistent offenders "are quite hard to deal with. But in a lot of cases it's for the courts to decide what's going to happen. It might end up with the Youth Justice Service and then the pressure is on the Youth Justice Service to make sure that person doesn't reoffend."

But persistent offenders are few, and the warnings and cautions are effective in moderating the behaviour of most of the young people Surrey Police deals with. Sgt Simon Cox, Surrey Police's neighbourhood sergeant for Mole Valley north, told the meeting his view had changed about acceptable behaviour contracts between police, youngsters and their parents. Bookham had provided one of the best examples he had seen of their effectiveness. One youngster persistently came to police attention for stealing and other offences. "He signed an acceptable behaviour contract. Being the cynic that I am, I thought, right, we'll see him again in a couple of weeks." That was several months ago and he hasn't offended since.

If the help available through schools, the Youth Justice Service and the Community incident action group (Ciag) don't work, an offender will be served an antisocial behaviour order which, if breached, usually results in a custodial sentence.

"It's easy to be cynical and say it'll never work," said Cox, "but they do work and I think it's important that all these things are tested." He recalled that police used to issue endless cautions which had little effect: "That system has gone. They now get a reprimand, they get a final warning, they go to court."

Surrey Police's community safety neighbourhood team co-ordinator, Neil Clarke, supported this. He too used to take the view that it was a soft option or a slap on the wrist. "I seriously have changed my mind, because the consequences to people who do commit offences are not funny, particularly dealing with young antisocial behaviour. I've seen these processes and thought, 'what's all that about? It sounds a bit of a soft option'. It seriously isn't."

Howard of Effingham head boy Donald Mackay and senior Howard prefect Rob Micklewhite told the forum on its first anniversary that none of their friends had come to police attention. Mackay said knew others who had but behaviour had improved a lot lately: "I go out occasionally but I haven't seen any trouble. Of course there's some loud noises and some hurrahs and so on, but in general there's no damage to property, there's no rudeness, not with the people I hang around with anyway."

Dean's impression was that, by developing partnerships in schools and with other agencies, behaviour was improving: "Something good is going on… there's a lot of good partnership work going on that's actually tackling these core young people, ringleaders in many cases, that we need to invest a little bit more time with, just to turn things around so it's better for everyone."

Feet on the beat

Police recruitment to go ahead

December 9, 2009: Surrey Police will go ahead with the recruitment of 'up to' 200 extra police in spite of budget cuts. The Surrey Police Authority, meeting on December 10, supported what it called chief constable Mark Rowley's 'radical plan' for change. The recruitment will be paid for by closing old police stations and cutting 50 senior management posts. Costs will be further cut by sharing facilities with partners. The changes will take place over three years.

The authority will consult the public over the station closures, which would not take place 'unless better alternatives can be provided'. SPA chairman Peter Williams said in a statement the reality was that the police budget would be cut in the future: "The best and most sensible course of action is to act now to protect front line policing as far as possible from the impact of those cuts."

Rowley (right) said he was please the SPA supported his changes: “We are planning to recruit up to 200 police constables by April 2012 to tackle anti social behaviour and serious and organised crime, including criminals travelling into Surrey.

“By locating neighbourhood policing teams within borough and district council offices we can provide a better service to the public in jointly tackling local problems.

“We will make savings by introducing a simpler policing model, removing around 50 senior police officers and replacing a number of outdated, expensive and little-used police buildings with better locations for the public to meet us.”

Speaking at December's Bookham and Fetcham Police Forum of general public sector cutbacks, Surrey Police's neighbourhood sergeant for Mole Valley north, Simon Cox, said: "Things obviously aren't going to get any better, and we've got to maintain or improve our service while managing a lower budget."

Some costs would be shared among other neighbouring police forces. Surrey is already cooperating with Sussex, said Cox, to set up smaller specialist teams. Some police work was extremely specialised and expensive, he said. "If we can share those, that frees up money for more routine police work." But chief constable Mark Rowley's approach was to maintain or improve performance on the front line.

For more information about the proposed changes click here for a 28kb PDF.

Legislation making its mark

Home Office approach 'is helping police'

Recent legislation is helping to reduce crime and disorder–despite recent budget cutbacks, says a Surrey Police officer working with young people. Asked if, in view of the cuts to the police budget, the police felt their work was supported by local authorities, Sergeant Bert Dean, community safety officer for Mole Valley, said: "I think that, especially in this past year, it has improved immensely."

A main reason, he said, was the introduction of crime and disorder reduction partnerships (CDRPs).

The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and amendments in more recent legislation give authorities a statutory duty to form CDRPs with other local agencies and organisations, "to develop and implement strategies to tackle crime and disorder including anti-social and other behaviour adversely affecting the local environment as well as the misuse of drugs in their area."

Mole Valley CDRP includes the police, Mole Valley District Council, Mole Valley Housing Association, which owns the district's social housing, Surrey County Council and others, said Dean. It has tackled Mole Valley's top eight priorities, at the top of which was antisocial behaviour. Other priorities are being added. "Actually the support that we get is very very good." Communication among police, schools, the housing association and other agencies was much better.

Budgets were constrained, he agreed, especially for Mole Valley's Youth Development Service: "People are going through tough times at the moment but I think the level of service we've been given is superb."

Bookham resident and housing association tenant Mike Pateman said MVHA had given thousands of pounds over the past few years to Mole Valley youth groups. He was part of the team that distributed the money when council housing was transferred to the housing association. It was used to improve facilities all over the district – from helping Bookham scouts to providing nursery places in Capel – and to get a better knowledge of what's going on, especially in 'problem' areas like north Leatherhead, said Pateman. As a result the youth groups "have been making great inroads", and "now this money is actually talking." Pateman told the Bugle that not all the money had been spent.

Click here to download Mole Valley's Community safety plan to 2011 (230kb).

The police team: Pictured at December's Bookham and Fetcham Police Forum are (L to R) Surrey Police customer services manager Sandra Gaches, Mole Valley community safety sergeant Bert Dean, neighbourhood sergeant for Mole Valley north Simon Cox, Bookham neighbourhood officer PC John Hench (standing), and neighbourhood team coordinator Neil Clarke.

'Distraction burglary' rates falling - but stay on your guard

Cold calling zones cutting crime, say police

December 9, 2009: In the year since the 'no cold calling' zones were set up, said Surrey Police's neighbourhood sergeant for Mole Valley north, Simon Cox, only three of the 11 'distraction burglaries' across the whole of Mole Valley were in Bookham and Fetcham. That compares with five in Bookham and Fetcham between April and November 2008. It's a positive result, he told December's Bookham and Fetcham Police Forum.

Cold calling gives criminals an excuse to knock on doors," Cox said. Rogue traders go door to door telling people their houses need work that "probably doesn't need doing in the first place."

Trading standards say that, if you want work done on your house, then you should call companies yourselves rather than rely on people touting for business knocking on your door, said Cox.

Rogue traders are often also involved in metals theft and distraction burglary. Distraction burglaries take many forms, said Cox. In a recent Bookham case, a 10 year old boy knocked on a door and asked if he could fetch his ball from the back garden. "While he's looking for that another person goes into the house and steals from him." Others say they're from the water board and ask you to turn on the taps while someone else takes cash.

Surrey Trading Standards report 28 complaints about cold calling in Bookham and Fetcham in the last year. The no cold calling zones have raised awareness of the risk of distraction burglaries. Cox confirms the Bugle's report earlier this year that the zones are not legally enforceable and that noone going door to door is committing an offence: "What they are is a means of discouraging it," making cold calling not commercially viable. It is not aimed at charities or other community callers.

Residents sign up for Speedwatch

'Vision' returns support crackdown on speeding

Bookham residents appear to support police and local authority efforts to crack down on excessive speeding. As reported, in September Bookham Vision, the group set up to draft a village plan, sent out a large questionnaire to every house in the Bookham area. About 68 per cent were returned.

Surrey Police's community safety neighbourhood team co-ordinator, Neil Clarke, told December's Bookham and Fetcham Police forum meeting that "well over 70 people" had used their questionnaires to volunteer to help community speedwatch. Speedwatch trains residents to use speed guns to monitor and deter criminal drivers. Clarke says he has written letters to each volunteer. Within the first two days, 14 had written back to say they would definitely help.

This is something of a turnround. Only a year or so ago the number of CS volunteers in Bookham was so low that the future of the scheme looked in doubt.

The renewed interest, said Clarke, meant there would be at least two active speedwatch groups in the Bookham area: "That may sound small but actually it's [a] big jump. We're planning the training for that in the new year."

For more information contact Neil Clarke on either 01483 630809 or email

...for everywhere else, it's a quarter, say police

Bookham and Fetcham pack an angry first local police forum

June 28, 2009: Budget cuts mean Surrey Police is already losing the front line services that have the greatest impact on the public, Bookham residents were told last week. A packed meeting of the first Bookham with Fetcham Police Forum last Wednesday heard local PC John Hench say the force had already lost its youth liaison officer, Faye Howitt and crime reduction adviser Mike Bessent. (These job losses have now been reported in the Leatherhead Advertiser.)

Hench said that, though Surrey was next to the Metropolitan Police area, one of the 'busiest' in the country, Surrey was one of the top three safest places in the country to live. "We're constantly being capped and eventually something is going to snap."

Former Surrey Councillor for Bookham and Fetcham West Jim Smith, who chaired the Surrey Police Authority for five years, told the meeting of his anger at the proposals. Five years ago, he said, there were three sources of income for the police: domestic and non-domestic rates, and a government grant. The government changed the rules by giving the business-rate money to the Treasury and giving a certain amount back. Now, he says, for every pound shopkeepers and other businesses pay in business rates, "we only get 40p spent on policing itself."

Smith said recent statements by Surrey chief constable Mark Rowley that half the bill for Surrey police comes from the treasury and half from local people were misleading. The Treasury's half includes the money Somerfield and other businesses pay in business rates – which also comes from local people.

In fact the 50% figure is contained in a letter from Smith's successor as Surrey Police Authority chairman, Peter Williams, to local government minister John Healey. As a result of the capping, said Williams, "Surrey residents now have to provide close to 50% of the cost of their policing through the council tax precept, against a national average of less than 25%."

Smith contests even this: "The people of Surrey do not pay 50% of their policing costs. Worst case they pay two-thirds if I add in the share of the non-domestic precept. But if I include the total now paid which then gets spent in other parts of the country, it's over 80%. I feel very angry about that."

Smith said he had failed in five years to get his colleagues to take this up. But local people should now make clear that "we are not content with paying 80% of the policing costs and getting a reduced service to deal with the kinds of problems [the meeting had been talking about]." (See Bugle report about policing the High Street by clicking here.) Some of the money should be kept back for the essential roles provided by those whose jobs had been cut.

Almost 7,000 people have now signed the SPA petition against capping. Information about the capping issue is available here.

A letter Surrey Chief Constable Mark Rowley sent to policing minister Vernon Coaker MP in May about capping can be downloaded (83kb) by clicking here.

What do you think? Tell the editor.

June 2009 Newsletter

by PC John Hench

Bookham with Fetcham Community Police Forum
I would like to invite you to come along to our Community Police Forum on Wednesday, 24th June, 2009, at 7:30pm in the Bookham Baptist Church Hall.

We have been working for some months to develop a local forum and feel we now have the right format to enable residents to communicate openly and effectively with their local policing team.

We would very much welcome your attendance to represent the needs of your own Neighbourhood Watch area and to meet with other co-ordinators, retailers and members of the community in Fetcham and Bookham.

If you can come along, please let our Team Co-ordinator, Neil Clarke, know on 01483 630809 or email to

This is a great opportunity for you to meet with me and my colleagues and to raise any issues or concerns that you may have.

Securing sheds

There has been a sharp rise in thefts from sheds, garages and greenhouses over the last couple of months. Tools and high value items must be properly secured at all times. Make sure locks are of a sufficient strength to put off would be thieves and don’t forget to check shed/garage doors. There’s no point putting a high quality lock on a flimsy shed door.

Also, always make sure that ladders are secured safely and not just left on the grass in the garden. Thieves don’t like carrying around items that identify them as thieves, so they rely on what they can find. Don’t make it easy for them.

Current Neighbourhood Issues
MV/09/1212 – Anti social behaviour in the Fetcham recreation grounds.
MV/09/1453 – Anti social behaviour in the Bookham recreation grounds.

Male Arrested

In April a male walked into Somerfield and stole some meat. He then walked up to Co-op and filled a bag with items before making off.

I was in the Bookham area and was able to view CCTV and identify the offender. Other officers of the Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) turned out from Leatherhead police station and we commenced an area search. Within the hour the male was located and arrested.

He was put before the court the following day and was charged with two counts of theft, one of assaulting a police officer and one of resisting arrest. He was found guilty and sentenced to 3 months in prison.

This was an excellent result, utilising the local knowledge of members of the SNT and highlighting the importance of neighbourhood policing.

If you live alone and are over 65 years old, we can arrange for door chains and ‘spy’ holes to be installed in your home free of charge. Please contact me on my direct line 01483 631355 and I will make the arrangements for a home visit.

Panel Meetings
Bookham: Next meeting is at 7:45pm on the 6th July 2009 at the Pastoral Rooms at St Nicholas’ Church, Bookham.
Fetcham: Next meeting is at 7:30pm on the 20th July 2009 in St Mary’s Church Hall, Fetcham.

Police Surgeries
Held on the second Friday in every month between 10:15 and 10:45am in the Barn Hall, Church Road,
Fetcham: Held on the first Saturday in every month, between 10:00 and 10:30am in the Reading Rooms, Cobham Road

Mole Valley District Council 01306 885 001
Surrey C C (Highways) 0300 200 1003
Crime Stoppers (Anonymous) 0800 555 111
Consumer Direct 08454 040506

Your Local Officers:
PC 3725 John Hench, E-Mail:
PCSO 11443 Marion Hawkins, E-Mail:
PCSO 13525 Donna Dunning, E-Mail:
PCSO Sue Guy, E-Mail:
Address: 27-29 Kingston Avenue, Leatherhead, Surrey, KT22 7HY

Neighbourhood Watch Supervisor: Alan Berridge. Direct dial number: 01483 638125

Only call 999 in a genuine emergency requiring police attendance.
For all non-emergency policing matters and to speak to your local officers please call 0845 125 2222
For more information please visit our website:

'Please Take Care'

17 year old released on police bail

Ripley youngster is arson suspect

May 12, 2009: More arrests are expected following last week's arrest of a Ripley teenager in connection with the Bookham arson case.

"Three other suspects will be arrested in due course," PC John Hench told the latest meeting of the Bookham Police panel last night.

Last week Surrey Police said detectives from east Surrey had arrested a teenage girl in connection with the arson arson that destroyed the football pavilion at the Lower Road rec.

In a statement, the force said a 17-year-old girl from Ripley was released on police bail until Thursday, 23 July, pending further enquiries.

As reported (below), the fire occurred just before midnight on Tuesday, 31 March, completely destroying the changing hut on the rec.

As before, while enquiries continue, says Surrey Police, anyone with any information should contact Surrey Police on 0845 125 2222 quoting reference MV/09/1441 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

'We'll catch arsonists,' say police

Arson arrests 'a matter of time'

April 3, 2009: The vandals who destroyed the Lower Road football pavilion were captured on CCTV in the locality, according to police sources. "It's just a matter of time," said one.

The fire was started at 11.30pm on Tuesday, March 31 (see story below). Dog teams were used to search the area. Scene of crime officers are testing drinks cans found near the scene for DNA. A jacket left by the skateboard park is also being analysed. A police appeal notice says the vandals also set bushes alight in the Garstons, causing minor damage.

Surrey Police have made house-to-house enquiries and mounted an intensive leafleting campaign in local schools and elsewhere to gather further information.

Sergeant Simon Cox said, "The pavilion was a focal point for the local community and I am saddened that someone has destroyed it… I would appeal to anyone who has any information about this incident to come forward."

Cox urges anyone who knows who was responsible to contact detectives at Epsom CID or call Crimestoppers anonymously.

Call Surrey Police on 0845 125 2222 and quote reference MV/09/1441.

Or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111

The arson task force, a joint initiative between Surrey Police and Surrey Fire and Rescue service, is working with detectives to try to find out exactly who was responsible: "Improvements in scientific techniques are leading to an increase in criminal prosecutions of deliberate fires," said Cox.

Update – April 23, 2009: Surrey Police say they are still pursuing enquiries into the destruction by fire of the changing hut on the Lower Road Rec. "We have a number of officers working on this investigation, which is ongoing," said a spokesman. "A number of positive lines of enquiry are being investigated."

The spokesman added that anyone with any information should contact DC Nicola Hunt of Epsom CID on 0845 125 2222 quoting MV/09/1441 or free of charge at crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Local police sources say DNA samples found on a can at the scene have identified an individual present at the scene of the fire. That isn't the same as saying the individual was involved in starting the fire, however, so enquiries continue.

'This is the thanks we get!'

April 1, 2009: Bookham Colts Football Club will have to build a new hut on its Lower Road home ground after vandals burnt down the changing hut at the recreation ground last night.

The Colts had just spent £2,000 on repairing the hut and strengthening it against earlier vandalism. A support at one corner of the hut had been so damaged that that corner of the roof had been sagging. The club had replaced the support and made other improvements. Now the hut will have to be demolished, says club chairman Jeff Potts.

Club secretary Neil Pudney said, "It's disgusting. It's what we get involved in youth football for, to stop disaffected youth from doing things like this."

He added that the fire brigade had told him the fire was deliberate. The door to the hut had been damaged in a forced entry.

The club leases the hut from Mole Valley District Council: "The council have been very supportive," says Pudney. The club has paid the lease up to May but MVDC have suspended any further payments because the facility can't be used.

The hut may be covered by MVDC's insurance, but that won't help the club train or play for the rest of this season. Potts said that, until this happened, Bookham had a good reputation as one of the few clubs that maintained its hut.

The hut, used as a changing room and to store goalposts and other equipment, was gutted by the fire. As the Bugle visited the site, Pudney and Potts were seeing if there was anything they could salvage. Potts says the flames were so intense they blew the roof off.

Potts says a lot of people work very hard and devote a lot of time to Bookham Colts, "and this is the thanks they get."

The club had been prepared to pay for high frequency sound-beam equipment to deter young people from gathering near the hut outside normal hours, but Mole Valley had said it wasn't their policy to install the equipment.

See also the Leatherhead Advertiser's report.

What do you think? Tell the editor.

Arson is merely the icing on our criminal cake

April 1, 2009: The attack on the Lower Road Rec changing hut is merely the latest in a series of incidents of loutishness and yobbery that have graced our community this year.

To mention just two, on the evening of Friday March 13, a masked man with a knife went into the Co-op, formerly Rusts, in Bookham HIgh Street and demanded money from the till. He grabbed a bunch of notes and fled.

That incident made the local paper. So too did a burglary in Middlemead Road a few days later. The occupant lost money, a TV and a video recorder and the thieves took both car keys and the car they belonged to. Two laptops and purse were stolen from another house in the same road. All in all, these stories and those elsewhere on this page are the tip of a queasy iceberg.

For most of us, Bookham is a nice place to live. Others don't find it so. Ask the residents of the Douglas House sheltered housing block near the road from Bookham Station. Many of them moved from Epsom three years ago and dearly wish they hadn't. According to them, they have been terrified by noise and threatened violence ever since.

They may be exaggerating, they may not. All we can report is what they told a meeting of the Bookham Police Panel last year. What you can say for certain is that the evidence of disorder is all around, in broken signs and graffiti, and in the frequent glint of broken glass on our pavements.

While we're about it, perhaps we should note that CCTV, as proposed by the parish elders at the Bookham Residents' Association and now about to be installed, will be no help. Criminals wear hoods for a reason. It would be quite wrong, however, to treat every youngster following the hoodie fashion as a criminal.

The police pointed out at another panel meeting that all that happens when CCTV is installed is that the criminals and vandals learn where the cameras are and do their dirty work elsewhere. Like the Lower Road recreation ground.

No-one will be monitoring Bookham's CCTV system to interrupt any villains in mid-deed. What it records will be retrieved after the crime has been committed and the perpetrators have disappeared.

Nobody asked the people of Bookham if they wanted to be on CCTV and it shouldn't happen without full consultation, which means a full presentation of the benefits, limitations and drawbacks of the technology. For now, it is regrettably true that many of the community's leaders naively think CCTV will help.

But the wider point is that the burning down of the football changing rooms doesn't happen in isolation. Young people are given a rough time in the media, and hear a lot of lectures about the rule of law and the need in any community to respect the rights, freedoms and, particularly, property of others.

But our authorities talk the talk and not much else. It wouldn’t be surprising if they took a dim view of the full weight of the court system being applied to petty crimes like vandalism or shoplifting, compared, say, with the treatment of bankers who steal millions from their depositors and are rewarded with millions more from the taxpayer.

If you prefer a more pedestrian example, think just a little harder about young people's experience of being daily threatened by illegally speeding drivers as they walk or cycle to school, or having their way blocked by illegally parked cars, without anyone in authority having the least intention of enforcing the laws supposed to banish such behaviour.

Condemn the arsonists by all means, but ask yourself, did you break the law today?

What do you think? Tell the editor.

Article updated June 29 2009 - See Bugle Blunders

No trace found of ambulance crew's attacker

April 22, 2009: Surrey Police's Air Operations Unit was scrambled on Monday night to deal with an incident in Lower Road, Little Bookham (not Middlemead Road, as we wrongly reported in an earlier story).

The incident started when a Surrey Ambulance crew was called to treat a man who had fallen over. Sources suggest the man may have been drunk and incapable. The South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secam), which provides Surrey's ambulance services, says that when the crew got there the man became abusive. Surrey Police also say they were called in at 10.20pm when the man became aggressive.

The man then ran off from the ambulance in the direction of the Lower Road Recreation Ground. Police began a search, says Secam, because they feared for the man's safety. Police sources confirm the ambulance crew's concern that, in his condition, the man may, for example, have become ill and choked as a result.

At 11.45 a Surrey Police helicopter joined officers on the ground, including the dog unit, to carry out a full search of the area using a strong searchlight and heat-seeking cameras. The helicopter returned to its base at Fairoaks Airport, near Chobham, before police could find any trace of the man. Surrey Police have not issued his description.

The Bugle spoke to one eyewitness who said he saw a fire engine in the Lorne, near the recreation ground. Surrey Fire Service says no appliances went to Bookham that night.

See also the Leatherhead Advertiser's report.

If you're interested in why helicopters are flying round your house, the Surrey Air Support unit web page carries a list of helicopter incidents over the last few months, updated daily. The Bookham incident is now on page two of the updated document.

[] Meanwhile Surrey Police say they are still pursuing enquiries into the destruction by fire of the changing hut on the Lower Road Rec. "We have a number of officers working on this investigation, which is ongoing," said a spokesman. "A number of positive lines of enquiry are being investigated."

The spokesman added that anyone with any information should contact DC Nicola Hunt of Epsom CID on 0845 125 2222 quoting MV/09/1441 or free of charge at crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

What do you think? Tell the editor.

NOTE: The Bookham Police Panel meets every other month on the first Monday of the month. Every resident is entitled to come and along and tell local police about their crime and disorder concerns.
Because of the Bank Holiday this month, the next meeting will be held on Monday 11th May 2009 at 7:45pm in The Pastoral Centre, St Nicholas's Church, Bookham.

Treated for eye injury and concussion

31 January, 2009: A young man going home after a party was attacked outside the Crown in Bookham at 11.30 on Friday night. The Bugle understands that a 16-to-17 year old, part of a group of six, confronted him and his two friends and demanded the two bottles of beer he was carrying. When he refused, he was head-butted and kicked on the ground. Some members of the assailant's own group tried to intervene to end the attack.

The youngster was treated at Epsom hospital for a serious eye injury and concussion. Police appeared in some numbers when the news went back to the party the youth had left and a group left in search of his attacker.

Police and the victim's parents are appealing for witnesses to come forward.

Contact details
PC 3725 John Hench
Telephone: 0845 125 2222 extension 6858
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Locals dispute Police insistence that attack 'did not happen'

January 10, 2009: Bookham's Neighbourhood Specialist Police Officer, PC John Hench, has dismissed reports that a teenager girl was attacked with a glass or bottle on Lower Road recreation ground at the end of last year.

The story surfaced at the November 3 meeting of the Bookham Police Panel. The panel, held every two months, allows local residents to meet police and speak of their concerns.

PC Hench said then he had been told that a female student at the Howard of Effingham School had been 'glassed' – attacked with a broken glass or bottle to the face. Police would go to the Howard the following day to investigate.

The incident was discussed again at the November 7 meeting of the Residents of Middlemead Estate (Rome) committee, which discussed two specific recent attacks on youngsters at the rec – the glassing and a head butting incident – and unspecified complaints about incidents witnessed by local dog walkers. The Bugle's editor is a member of that committee.

The Rome meeting heard that the girl's attacker was 'now in prison', but no further details were given of the time or place of the incident or the identities of those involved.

At January's panel meeting last week PC Hench read a prepared statement about the incident: "No incident was ever reported to police," he said. "And if this incident had happened it would have been reported. Therefore I can categorically state that this incident never happened."

Noting a claim that dog owners feared walking on the rec for fear of being attacked, he continued: "I checked for all crime figures for the Lower Road rec for 2008. There was only one incident of violence. This was between two drunken youths, one of whom was arrested for the incident. No dog walker has been attacked, and there have been no reports of threatening behaviour against dog walkers."

Hench said he could not believe any child could be admitted to Epsom Hospital to have stitches for such injuries without either they or their parents reporting it to police. Hench said he had not contacted Epsom Hospital. Hench added that he was concerned about the gap between actual crime and local people's perceptions of it.

Well-informed locals still insist, however, that the incident did take place but was not reported for fear of reprisals. The child's injuries were not obvious because she was glassed above the hairline, not to the face. The Bugle's information is second hand but comes from a trusted source who knows a schoolfriend of the injured child.

This source has spoken to a regular rec dog walker who doesn't wish to be named but says she has seen various incidents on the rec, has called the police but received no response. On one occasion, says the Bugle's source, "she was waiting there for half an hour and nobody turned up."

The Bugle will keep you posted about further developments. If you know anything about this incident, or if you see or hear of any other incidents at the recreation ground, please let the editor know or tell the local police. Click here to go to Bookham's police web page.

Update, February 9, 2009: A schoolfriend of the alleged victim says neither the injured girl nor her family wishes to take the matter further.

Bookham station comes off police troublespot hit list

January 10, 2009: In other police news, Bookham railway station has been taken off the list of Neighbourhood Issues (NIs). Being on the NI list meant local mobile patrol cars had to log all visits they made to the station, though it isn't clear that the number of patrols – 34 in the two months between the last two panel meetings – had been stepped up. British Transport Police (BTP) had also become aware that the station was a collecting point for troublemakers.

Hench said the normal period for NI surveillance was two months. This area had been an NI hotspot for eight months. It remains a 'location of interest', Hench told the meeting.

In September 10 incidents had been reported to either Surrey or BTP. Two incidents have been reported in each of the months since then. Local resident Gary Stoneham has made numerous complaints to the panel about hooliganism in and around the station and the failure of police to tackle the problem. Stoneham said last week that, although there was still low level disorder at the station, he agreed to the station's removal from the NI list, "as long as we can get police to come along as often as they can."

Attendees at earlier panel meetings have suggested that the reduction in crime at Bookham station may be as much due to the cold weather as to higher police activity. Surrey Police deny this.

CCTV for centre of Bookham

January 10, 2009: Bookham is to have more CCTV surveillance, the police panel meeting revealed. At previous local panel meetings, police have expressed doubts about CCTV's value. Local local lawbreakers either move their activities to areas outside its coverage or wreck the cameras. Over the last two months vandals have destroyed the cameras at Bookham station, one of the village's chief trouble spots, though four individuals helpfully allowed themselves to be filmed before their last attack.

But the Bookham Residents' Association has been pressing for CCTV and a budget has now been allocated for two cameras to be installed in the centre of Bookham as part of a set of five now being discussed by Mole Valley community safety officer Clive Smitheram. The others will be in Leatherhead and Charlwood.

The two in Bookham will be mobile cameras, not remotely operated. The locations are not certain because of technical issues, but one of them is likely to be at the crossroads outside the Crown. To reduce the risk of vandalism, PC Hench told the panel meeting, the cameras will be either protected or hidden.

Police 'thumbs up' for Youth Centre

January 10, 2009: Last week's police panel meeting had some encouragement for those running the Youth Centre opposite the Anchor in Lower Road. A year ago PC John Hench told a local meeting that he would rather it wasn't there. Asked by County Cllr Jim Smith about the flow of youngsters coming down from the station and going on to the Youth Centre, Hench said, "The Youth Centre was what attracted them and they found they could get here [by train]. Now we are seeing youths from Leatherhead coming here but there is no correlation between the Youth Centre and the problems we have been having."

More police praise for Bookham Youth Centre

New police faces

January 10, 2009: Two new faces joined PC John Hench and police community support officer (PCSO) Marion Hawkins on the Bookham beat in the new year. Donna Dunning and Sue Guy are job sharing for the vacancy left by PCSO Hermione 'Henry' Pilbrow.

Mole Valley's casualty reduction officer PC Ken Wheeler is to retire. His place will be taken by PC Tom Arthur, John Hench's predecessor as Neighbourhood Specialist Officer for Bookham and Fetcham.

January 2009 Newsletter


Two Males Arrested
On the 8th January 2009, two males were arrested in connection with an attempted burglary in Merrylands Road, Bookham, following an operation by officers from the Metropolitan Police. The males were dealt with by detectives from Surrey Police and as a result one male has been charged and remanded in custody, while the second is currently on bail pending further enquiries.
This operation demonstrates the good links and cross border cooperation between the two police forces. It also serves as a reminder that with the perception of wealth and the local rail and motorway network, we remain a target for criminals based in London. Surrey Police is continuing to run Operation Shield to actively pursue cross border criminals.
Despite our close proximity to the capital, in the year to date, domestic burglaries have fallen by over a third and we remain one of the safest areas in the country in which to live.

Retailers Beware
Recently, retailers have discovered stickers which appear on their front windows overnight. These stickers are for a 24 hour emergency service for glass replacement, boarding up etc. They have a number to call and also “POLICE !” in the top left hand corner. This company is not endorsed by police. If you require glass replacement you should deal with your insurance company as you would normally do. If you discover these stickers on your windows please call Trading Standards on 01372 371700.

Mini roundabouts
PC John Hench writes: "I have recently witnessed many cars driving straight across mini roundabouts and even crossing them on the right hand side rather than the left. The reason for this is, I believe, to avoid slowing down.

"These roundabouts are there for a reason and by failing to use them properly you are endangering pedestrians and other road users. It is an offence to ‘contravene a mini roundabout sign’ for which you can receive a fixed penalty notice of £30.

"There is a current Neighbourhood Issue in Fetcham which covers speeding and parking, so please bear this in mind."

"If you live alone and are over 65 years old," says PC Hench, "we can arrange for door chains and ‘spy’ holes to be installed in your home free of charge. Please contact me on my direct line 01483 631355 and I will make the arrangements for a home visit."

Panel Meetings
Bookham: Next meeting is at 7:45pm on the 2nd March 2009 at the Pastoral Rooms at St Nicholas’ Church, Bookham.
Fetcham: Next meeting is at 7:30pm on the 19th January 2009 in St Mary’s Church Hall, Fetcham.

Police Surgeries
Bookham: held on the second Friday in every month between 10:15 and 10:45am in the Barn Hall, Church Road,
Fetcham: held on the first Saturday in every month, between 10:00 and 10:30am in the Reading Rooms, Cobham Road

Mole Valley District Council 01306 885 001
Surrey C C (Highways) 0300 200 1003
Crime Stoppers (Anonymous) 0800 555 111
Consumer Direct 08454 040506

Your Local Officers: PC 3725 John Hench, PCSO 11443 Marion Hawkins, PCSO 13525 Donna Dunning, PCSO Sue Guy
Address: 27-29 Kingston Avenue, Leatherhead, Surrey, KT22 7HY

Neighbourhood Watch Supervisor: Alan Berridge. Direct dial number: 01483 638125

Only call 999 in a genuine emergency requiring police attendance.
For all non-emergency policing matters and to speak to your local officers please call 0845 125 2222
For more information please visit our website:

'Please Take Care'

Bookham faces new tide of yobbery

'999 calls unheeded,' say 'petrified' family

May 28 2007: Bookham faces increasing vandalism and violent yobbery, say some residents, despite police figures which show a decline in crime. And they complain that their calls to the police are going unheeded.

The May 14 meeting of the local police panel (see below) heard how one man and his young family were terrorised last weekend by a stone-throwing gang.

Two nights earlier some members of a gang collected ballast from the track to throw at appealing targets. These included this family's windows, which are not far from Bookham station. 'My two young childen were petrified,' said the resident, who didn't want to be named for fear of reprisals.

He spoke of 'a continual flow of youths' disrupting his family's peace: 'They're smashing things up, throwing things around and damaging my house.'

The disturbance can happen on any night of the week but is particularly bad at weekends and at its worst between 10pm and midnight.

On that Saturday night, this resident told the meeting, he had phoned 999 but Surrey Police failed to arrive. In desperation he phoned British Transport Police (BTP), who told him this was probably a matter for Surrey Police.

He said he told BTP, 'These are your passengers, on your trains, travelling on your track, using your ballast to throw at my windows, and you say it's not a matter for you?'

Surrey County Councillor and Police Authority chairman Jim Smith, who was at the meeting, said there were 'demarcation issues' that BTP and Surrey police would have to address.

Bookham and Fetcham Neighbourhood Specialist Officer PC John Hench said there had been a serious incident on that night and apologised for Surrey Police's failure to respond. He agreed to make it the police's number one priority for the next two months.

The resident, who works in Epsom, told the Bugle that the latest incident was merely the worst of a series. Gangs of 15 or so frequently gather outside his house. The phone box outside Photo-Me International is a favourite target. 'It could be any night of the week, but especially Fridays and Saturdays.

'They'll pick up anything, stones or lumps of wood, to use as weapons,' he said. He doesn't think it's the same gang every time. "It could be different people," he said.

This family and other residents also complain that Bookham industrial estate and the station car park are used to race motor-and quad-bikes.

These episodes add to recent cases of vandalism and other allegedly drink-related crimes in Bookham and Fetcham. On the same weekend as the attack on the family near the station, the plate-glass window of outfitters David Fuller in Church Street was smashed (above right). Police also report a spate of burglaries in the district: 'Mole Valley has been targeted,' says PC Hench. He also reported an attempted robbery at the Lloyds TSB cashpoint at the 'squareabout' (full report below).

The wave of yobbery adds to concerns, reported in the Bugle, that police statistics seriously under-rate the level of crime and disorder. In the late morning of Saturday May 26, for example, the window of a car parked in the Garstons was broken. A witness told the car-owner he saw children throwing stones nearby at around the same time. The car owner didn't report the crime to police because he saw no point in doing so. If others have the same attitude, this suggests that police incident figures don't reflect the amount of vandalism, petty crime, and intimidatory behaviour that's really happening.

As the Bugle reported last year, there is also widespread, if muted, concern about the accuracy of traffic accident statistics, also collected by the police. It seems unlikely that Surrey is immune from the tendency to produce improving figures which show it meeting its casualty targets.

But the Garstons incident raises other questions. It's widely assumed, for example, that much of the mindless yobbery local people are subjected to is drink related. The breaking of a car window before lunchtime in broad daylight on a Saturday morning doesn't bear this out.

If, however, the Garstons incident is away from the usual run and most petty crime is drink related, then surely it's time to ask whether the right of supermarkets and others to sell alcohol to whoever they like shouldn't take second place to the rights of ordinary people to peace and quiet.

The Bookham Police Panel meets on the first Monday of every other month at 7:45pm in The Pastoral Centre, St Nicholas' Church, Bookham.

Police officers also hold local surgeries at Bookham's Barn Hall on some Fridays from 10:15 am and at Fetcham on some Saturdays in the Reading Rooms, Cobham Road, from 10:00. Check the neighbourhood police website for details.

The Bugle attends and reports these meetings but will not publish the names of those raising concerns with the police unless they expressly wish it.

Burglaries down, and police say they are close to graffiti gang

Full Report
The following is the full report Bookham's Neighbourhood Specialist Officer PC John Hench presented to the May 14 meeting of the Bookham police panel, covering the first four months of the year.

January and February crime figures (see table)


Six out of the seven violent crimes are domestic related. A sat-nav was stolen from a secure and alarmed car in Lower Shott. A van was stolen over night from a drive. The van was later found in Thames Valley and recovered for forensic examination.

Most of the criminal damages were to cars. Several had rear windscreens smashed which are linked to others in Fetcham. A male was arrested on suspicion of causing damage to a disabled carriage, but there was not sufficient evidence to charge him with the offence. Burglaries were exceptionally high in January and linked to a series.

Burglaries are still a problem in the area and remain a high priority within Surrey Police. Thankfully the number of burglaries is down in February, and we hope this is the beginning of a trend towards more usual numbers for the area.

The robbery was someone attempting to get a lady's pin number while she was at the cash machine. However the lady in question showed great calm and entered her pin number incorrectly on three occasions, and her card was swallowed, rendering it useless and unavailable to her assailant, who ran off.

The criminal damages were all graffiti and minor damage, probably caused by drunken youths.

While the figures for February are reduced, which is good news, you can still help yourself by being security aware in your home. Lock away all garden tools securely at night and make sure equipment, like ladders, are not available to would be burglars.

In one of the burglaries, the occupant had locked their rear patio doors and windows, but had left the key in the lock on the inside. All the burglar had to do was make a small hole and then was able to unlock the windows and doors with great ease. Placing the key somewhere else would have made things a lot harder for the burglar, and may have put them off.

Last agreed Neighbourhood Priority / Other matters
Parking remains a priority until the next meeting. Many leaflets have been distributed, and local residents advised of the issues raised at the previous meeting. From the regular patrols an improvement has been seen, especially around Beckley Parade.

March and April figures (see table above)


Good news over the last two months, the number of burglaries (dwelling) has gone down from 12 (January and February) to four for the last two months - let's hope this is a trend which continues. It's also worth bearing in mind that two of the four burglaries were due to an insecure bathroom window and a front door left ajar. Let's not make it easy for them: check all windows and doors before going out or going to bed.

The three incidents of violent crime were an unprovoked attack in the street and two domestic incidents. The burglaries (non dwelling) were two thefts of tack and horse feed from Rectory Lane, a shed being broken into, but nothing taken and the theft of 30 plant pots from a garden centre. The criminal damage ranges from graffiti to windows and car mirrors being smashed.

The one incident of violent crime, although classed as an ABH, was more of a neighbour dispute, with an 84 year old gentleman grabbing his young neighbour by the arm. The young neighbour did not want to pursue it, and words of advice were all that were necessary.
The three non-dwelling burglaries were a copper water tank taken from a drive, a lock being removed from a shed, and the theft of an Xbox 360 [video game console] which was left in an insecure garage. One of the [thefts from a motor vehicle] was from an insecure car and the other had the catalytic converter cut off. The criminal damage again ranges from smashed windows to graffiti.

Other matters
Graffiti: there has been a rise in the number of incidents of graffiti in both Bookham and Fetcham, and the Leatherhead area. The main tag is 'SES' which stands for South End Soldiers. [PC Hench told the meeting they also call themselves the 'green bandana gang' – Ed.] We have received lots of information and have been working closely with [British Transport Police]. We have a list of five names and will be dealing with these people in due course, but if you do see any SES tags could you inform me (as well as [Mole Valley District Council*]) so we can photograph the tags and build a case against these youths.

Parking and Speeding:
I have been out with PCSO Peter Yard to three sites in Bookham (Lower Rd, Church Rd and Little Bookham St) and will be out again in the next few weeks. I have dealt also dealt with a parking issue in St Nicholas' Avenue. I am aware that this is a concern and will continue to focus as much of my time on this as is possible.

Contact details
PC 3725 John Hench
Telephone: 0845 125 2222 extension 6858
Mobile: 07967 988660
E mail:

* How to report graffiti to Mole Valley
If you see new graffiti and wish to report it to Mole Valley, the number is 01306 873545.
You can also report a new incident on-line by adding it to a list of recent incidents.

Rat catching is a job for the Council, says Mole Valley

16 February, 2007: After several phone calls from the public, Mole Valley District Council Environmental Health team today warned householders to beware of rogue pest control officers operating in the area. Residents in Bookham and Leatherhead have been separately misled by a trickster at their front doors who said they had a local rat problem.

Mole Valley’s Environmental Health team are warning everyone not give any caller money when offered a service to get rid of rats in and around homes.

Team leader Mark Wilkinson said: ‘The two independent residents called this morning to tell us that a man in a fluorescent yellow jacket knocked on their doors and said he was from the local council and had come to deal with the reported rats problem. He wanted £35 payment there and then. One resident said ‘no’ and shut the door.

‘One unfortunate elderly lady told us that she gave him £5 out of her purse and he offered to collect the rest of the payment next week. He said that he would come back this afternoon to put a trap down for the rats that were a problem in the garden next door. He didn't return.’

The Council provides a free rat-eradication service for homes, says MVDC: ‘When demand has out-stripped the budget for the service additional money has been provided. The rat population will fluctuate naturally but the steady downward trend in infestations reported to the Council in recent years is good news for the district.’

Wilkinson added: ‘We urge our residents not to part with any money for any pest control services that are said to be from the local council. Neighbours are encouraged to be alert and report to the police as well as the Council if this occurs in their street.’ Surrey Police were alerted to these incidents today.

What do you think? Tell the editor.

13 February, 2007: Bookham PC Caroline Zamir’s latest website update:

Burglaries: Unfortunately we are still getting burglaries in the area. Please don’t make it easy for them, and report any suspicious persons immediately. Make note of their descriptions and any vehicles with the registration if it is safe to do so.

Card cloning: We are receiving many reports from residents who have had their cards used in other countries, when they are still in possession of the card itself. This happens when you pay for goods using your credit/debit card and the details are copied electronically and then copied on to a blank card. We are investigating these offences and several arrests have already been made. Please make sure that when you type in your pin number you conceal it as you do so. Put your hand over so that only you can know what number you put in.

On the same subject I have received information that a card reading device was put onto an ATM cash machine in Bookham. If you find anything suspicious looking on a cash machine then report it immediately, but do not try to remove it yourself. They are often hard to spot, but if you get into the habit of checking the machine before you insert your card then you could prevent your card being compromised. Try to withdraw your money in the day time when the banks are open. The devices are usually put on at night time, but always be aware.

Identity theft: Your identity and personal information are valuable. Criminals can find out your personal details and use them to open bank accounts, get credit cards, loans, benefits etc. Some tips are: never give personal or account details to anyone who contacts you, your bank would never contact you for your PIN or password. Keep PIN number and password safe, never write them down or keep them with your card. Check your statements as soon as they arrive and contact the bank if any unfamiliar transactions are listed. Keep your personal documents in a safe place. Destroy bills, receipts, credit/debit card slips, statements and unwanted post, preferably using a shredder.

More information can be found at the Identitytheft website or we have leaflets at the police station.

And don’t forget; If you are over 65 and living alone, a security assessment can be made of your home and if you require a door viewer, chain or window locks this work could be carried out free of charge. To make an appointment contact Mole Valley community safety officer Clive Smitheram on 01306 879305 or PC 1836 Mike Bessent on 01306 676823.

PC Caroline Zamir - click here for her website

What do you think? Tell the editor.

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