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Essex Chronicle stories feed from registered users of the site and Northcliffe Media editorial

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    A cyclist was left with serious injuries following a collision in Braintree yesterday evening (December 1). The accident happened between 5.20pm and 5.35pm yesterday on the Halstead bound carriageway of the A120 at Galleys Corner. It involved a cyclist and a white Volkswagen Caddy Van. Police are investigating the circumstances leading up to the collision and are appealing for witnesses to come forward. Anyone that can help is asked to contact Pc Andrew Egerton at Stanway Roads Policing Unit on Essex Police 101. The cyclist, a 23-year-old man, believed to be from the Braintree area was taken to Broomfield Hospital by ambulance. He is receiving treatment for injuries which are described as serious but not life threatening. Part of the road was closed until just after 8.30pm.

    Cyclist seriously injured in Braintree collision


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    A mound of eight tonnes in shingle and sand shed from a lorry is causing queuing traffic in Chelmsford.

    A Jewson lorry shed its load of eight bags in shingle and sand at about 8am today (December 2) at the Boreham Interchange roundabout connecting the A130 with Generals Lane.

    The Highways Authority closed one lane on the A130 northbound adjoining the roundabout while two police officers attended.

    Traffic is queuing on the road between Sainsbury's supermarket on White Hart Lane and the roundabout, and also on the A12 northbound before the turn-off onto the roundabout.

    A Highways Authority officer at the scene said the shingle and sand will be removed by 11am.

    Jewson lorry sheds eight tonnes in shingle and sand causing queuing Boreham traffic


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    DAVE MESHAM is looking to utilise the indoor hockey circuit during the winter break to build upon Chelmsford Ladies mid-season form.

    The ladies went into the break five unbeaten after claiming and impressive four points against St Albans and East Grinstead.

    They now face a long period of time without league action but Mesham feels the winter months are a great time to reap the benefits of indoor hockey.

    "We're going to rest because of the injuries we've picked up but we're going to take on the indoor leagues and focus on the indoor section to do in the winter break," he said.

    "Indoors are really good because it's obviously a good way to keep fit but also it really hones in the skills of the individuals because the rules are slightly different where you can't lift and hit the ball.

    "It really emphasises individual play so it will work well for the girls to practice these skills.

    "Come January we're going to go back hard at training and really focus for the re-start of the season in February."

    They'll go into the indoor competitions in good confidence and Mesham feels that is down to the strength of the squad at his disposal.

    "I think it's a true testament to the girls really because they've trained and worked hard. We've had to adjust a few things to manage injuries so we've had people playing in different positions that they wouldn't normally play in but that just shows the strength in depth we have in the team."

    "We're happy with mid-table as that was one of our targets for the Christmas break but we're looking to push the top teams by the end of the season."


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    Roads are closed in Maldon in both directions following a fire at a riverside pub today (December 2).

    Fullbridge and Mill Lane are both closed in both directions following the fire at the Sunny Sailor pub and restaurant.

    The pub and restaurant recently changed ownership and is undergoing a revamp.

    Essex Fire and Rescue Service, which was called at 12.23pm to the blaze and sent three engines, has confirmed it is still, as of 2pm, dealing with the incident.

    A spokesman said: "Firefighters are tackling a chimney fire in the pub which is undergoing refurbishment. 

    "Crews report that their are hot-spots on all three floors of the building. Crews are using chimney rods to tackle the fire."

    The fire was extinguished by 1.44pm.

    Fire at Sunny Sailor pub in Maldon


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    MALDON & Tiptree fought back to grab a hard earned point after going down to nine men in their 1-1 draw at home to Barkingside on Saturday.

    The Jammers went into the game in buoyant mood off the back off successive victories but had a nightmare start inside quarter-of-an-hour.

    Hayes Thomas was found guilty of fouling Andie Edmunds inside the Maldon box and Joe Bricknell sent the resulting spot kick into the back of the net.

    Maldon could have equalised soon after when Cliff Akurang managed to head the ball into the path of Tunde Adewunmi but his lofted effort was well cleared by the last defender off the line.

    The home side resorted to long balls up towards Akurang and Adewunmi but their opponents were more than happy to deal with them.

    Gavin Greenfield was guilty of a mad couple of minutes in the dying minutes of the first half when he was first yellow carded for a foul followed swiftly by a second yellow for supposedly speaking out of turn with the referee.

    This left Maldon with ten men going into the break and a mountain to climb if they were to claim anything from the game.

    Being a man down didn't seem to down-spirit the Jammers and it was the hosts who had the best chance after the break when Tunde Adewunmni's deflected shot caused problems for Chris Clark in the Barkingside goal but he managed to push the ball over the bar.

    The home side were building in confidence and it was Simon Glover's turn to have a try on goal when Akurang laid it back to him but he failed to keep his shot down.

    Their pressure on the Barkingside goal paid dividends on 78 minutes when Nathan Koranteng tricked his way into the box and found substitute Alex Anderson in room to score in to the far corner.

    The goal kicked Barkingside back into life and started pushing men forward to go for the win with Rigers Kabashi and Calvin Poku going close.

    Maldon substitute Joshua Oyinsan made it nerve-wracking for the home side in the final minutes when he was shown a second yellow, reducing the Jammers to nine men, but they were able to hold on to secure the point.

    Nine men Jammers rescue point late on


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    MALDON & Tiptree have announced a new half season-ticket for the final nine games of the season at just £50 for an adult, £40 for a senior/ student and £10 for a junior.

    With teams such as Heybridge Swifts, Witham Town and Burnham Ramblers in close proximity it's been hard for Maldon to attract more than 100 fans per home game – but there are hopes that will change.

    The club brought in Alan Kimble at the beginning of October and, with 11 points out of a possible 18, has changed the clubs fortunes around on the pitch.

    Off field the chairman is showing ambition and commercial manager Adam Drew has come in and they've come up with numerous methods to improve their commerce off the pitch.

    "We came up with this half-season ticket idea and we got 10,000 leaflets sent to every home in Maldon and Heybridge on Saturday to promote it," said Drew.

    "We've upgraded our website and our Twitter because we've got over 3,000 followers so we're trying to update that a lot more. We're trying to get the fixture boards put up all over town, which is what I did in my time at Southend, just so we can try and cement it in people's heads a bit more.

    "After various conversations with the chairman we're going to try and put up more signage to try and make the club look a bit more presentable.

    "He's really ambitious about getting them to the Ryman Premier so we're basically looking at ideas to promote the club and one of the ideas was half season-tickets at a massively reduced rate.

    "It lasts from January 1st and you basically get the last nine home games. If you went as an adult it would normally cost £72 but you'll now get it for £50, which I think is a decent saving, and a junior [under 16] season ticket is just a tenner."

    The prices will struggle to be matched by any other Ryman League side but Drew knows they face an even bigger challenge that is out of their hands.

    "The problem is it's very easy to grow up and support Man United, Liverpool and Arsenal so to try and attract someone to watch their local Ryman league team is really difficult.

    "Somehow we need to make it fashionable and I remember Portsmouth did a brilliant season ticket campaign a couple of years ago called 'don't let your children grow up thinking football is a T.V. reality show' which I really liked, it was unique.

    "It's going to be difficult but if you don't try you don't know."

    If for some reason you failed to get one of the leaflets sent out that feel free to ring Adam at 0845 6897000 for more information or visit the club website.

    Maldon & Tiptree announce extremely cheap half season-tickets


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    James Love has left Chelmsford City and will be re-joining Brentwood Town after 16 appearances for the Clarets this season.

    He lost his place in the City side when he was sent off against Concord Rangers and Rob Girdlestone came in at right-back.

    He left Ryman North side Brentwood Town this summer when the Clarets came calling but he will be returning to Brentwood with the Chelmsford website saying Love is seeking regular football.

    James Love leaves Chelmsford City


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    MALDON & Tiptree overcame the odds to win 1-0 and end Harlow's 34 match unbeaten run despite playing with ten men for the final hour.

    Cliff Akurang was sent off on the half hour mark to leave Maldon with an uphill battle for the rest of the match.

    But Harlow never looked like capitalising on their man advantage and it was Alderberto Pinto who expertly lobbed Ed Thompson after pouncing on a defensive error.

    The opening exchanges were hit and miss from both teams but it was Maldon who looked more dangerous going forward with Nathan Koranteng a major threat going down the left wing.

    The strength of Tunde Adewunmi and Akurang was troubling the Harlow defence but their partnership was broken up by a moment of madness from the latter of the two.

    Akurang went up for an aerial challenge with Fabion Simms and appeared to stamp down on the midfielder leaving the referee no choice but to brandish a red.

    Despite the extra man Harlow never took control of the game with the Maldon players working tirelessly to close down any threat the visitors may possess.

    Their work rate to close down players got them in trouble near the end of the half again though when Simon Glover put in an elbow on Simms but the referee opted for just the yellow to the dismay of the Harlow players.

    The second half started in the same tone as the first but Harlow were starting to find space especially down their left wing through Shane Stamp but the home side's managed to cope.

    On the hour mark the tireless Pinto turned the game on it's head when he pounced upon a defensive mishap and calmly lobbed Thompson to put his side 1-0 up.

    Harlow almost immediately brought the game level again when David Cowley found space in the box to shoot but Lewis Moore got down well to save.

    The visitors were starting to pile on the pressure but the home side defended valiantly to deal with any crosses coming into the box.

    On 81 minutes Glover put his body on the line when Cowley manoeuvred himself some room to shoot only for the central midfielder to dive in front of the shot.

    The Maldon players never stopped running to pressurise their opponents on the ball and it was that work rate that saw them go three unbeaten.


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    ALAN KIMBLE was beaming from ear-to-ear after his sides 1-0 defeat of Harlow Town and indicated his pride in his players.

    It was made difficult in the first half when Cliff Akurang was sent off for a stamp but, after an Alderberto Pinto goal, they managed to put an end to Harlow's 34-match unbeaten run.

    The Maldon boss couldn't have been happier with his side's performance labelling it the 'best result of the season so far.'

    "I said to them before the game that history could be made tonight so go out there and, nobody expects us to get anything and thankfully enough we've come up with the goods again," he said.

    "I'd like to single everyone of them out tonight they have put a real shift in and they do that week in week out.

    "They know now that if they keep playing the way they are I can't ask no more and that's what they're doing for me at the moment.

    "What my players have achieved over the last five-six weeks is something I will never ever forget because they are working their socks off for us and for the whole team."

    Kimble credits the determination and sheer spirit his players have shown on the pitch since his arrival as the sole reason Maldon are climbing the league.

    "One thing they are doing is working for each and every one of them, even when we go down to ten men, are working their socks off. It's just a credit to be at the football club for myself, Anwar [Uddin, assistant manager] and Cliff [Akurang, player/ coach].

    "Now we're starting to be consistent and people are starting to take note of Maldon & Tiptree. As I said when I first walked through the door, we were playing catch up but as you can see the results are starting to come together.

    "You can see the whole place is buzzing and everyone wants to be associated with Maldon & Tiptree at the moment. It's a good place to be and it's now 14 points out of 21 and I'll take that.

    "The credit has to go to the boys though, not me, Anwar or Cliff. It's down to them once they cross that white line, and their doing fantastic for me at the moment."


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    WHETHER they are studying to improve their job prospects, taking a course to make an area of their life easier, or just learning for pleasure, there is no such thing as a typical student at Chelmsford's Adult Community Learning Centre.

    It's a busy Wednesday morning where Italian for beginners, microwave cookery, GCSE English, payroll and massage are among the subjects being taught.

    Open all day from 9am five days a week, with evening classes running Monday to Thursday, Beeches Road and its sister campuses in Spinks Lane, Witham, and the newly-opened White Horse Lane site in Maldon, see thousands of adults pass through the classrooms each week.

    Jean Wilmot, adult community learning marketing officer, said: "We have adults from 18 to 90-plus coming here to take a qualification to help them get a new job or set up their own business, or to pursue a hobby.

    "We also offer a range of courses for people with learning disabilities which help them learn new skills. I could not describe a typical adult learner – he or she does not exist."

    Navigating the social networking site Facebook is a skill Joan Roche is learning in her class.

    Posting and viewing statuses may be easy for most people – but if you are visually impaired it requires much more skill.

    Beeches Close has been running a class helping those with no or poor eyesight to use computers for about ten years.

    Joan said: "I first came about eight years ago as I wanted to try out screen reading software before I bought it for my home computer.

    "I've since kept coming to learn more, and also for the social side. I use the internet a lot for looking up information."

    Mary Hawkes is also a regular visitor. She said: "About 15 years ago I began losing my eyesight and at the same time I was helping a boy at Hylands School who was partially sighted.

    "I started coming to these classes to see what was around to help him, and then became hooked.

    "I have completed several qualifications. It's a nice group of people and I really enjoy coming here."

    Tutor Adrian Isbrecht, who is himself visually impaired, began as a learner on the course.

    He said: "I wanted to formalise what I was doing at home using my computer. Screen reading software makes the internet very accessible for visually impaired people but it is complex software and the more you know how to use it the more you can get out of it."

    Fellow tutor Nicola Logan said: "Learners come to the class and decide what they want to learn; some might want to know how to shop online; others want to look up information and others want to know how to use social networking sites – it is entirely up to them."

    Down the corridor, the smell of food signals the microwave cooking course is nearly over for the day.

    This is a 33-week course for adults with learning disabilities and allows them to improve their cooking skills to enable them to be more independent.

    Tutor Vicky Day said: "We did use normal ovens as well but the aim is to show learners a range of simple healthy dishes they can make at home."

    Eamonn Lowe, from Braintree, is looking forward to tucking into the apple crumble he has made.

    He said: "I like most of the things we make here – except the soup we made last week. It was mushroom – I'm not a fan of mushrooms."

    Meanwhile, an oasis of peace and tranquility can be found in the beauty therapy rooms where students are undergoing a stone massage assessment, under the watchful eye of tutor Dawn Newman.

    She said: "Our courses are popular but it's not surprising as Essex has the highest number of beauty therapists in the country.

    "We help our learners with business skills as part of the qualification courses and know that more than 80 per cent go on to find work afterwards, with more than half setting up on their own, either in a salon or from home."

    ESSEX ADULT LEARNING: From 18 to 90... it's never too late to be a student


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    THE boss of a celebrity rehab clinic dubbed the "Showbiz Alcatraz" has been kicked out of the profession over his "flagrant disregard" for patient safety.

    Brendan Quinn, 38, managed the £10,000-a-week Causeway Retreat on Osea Island, Maldon, which boasted Take That's Mark Owen and Amy Winehouse as clients.

    Advertising for the retreat named Quinn as one of Britain's 250 best private doctors, but he was not qualified, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) heard.

    Quinn was boss and a major shareholder of the facility's operator, Twenty 7 Management, which rented the Edwardian manor. The Causeway, which charged a minimum £5,000 per week, was never registered as an independent hospital with the Care Quality Commission, but patients with mental health problems were still admitted, the hearing heard.

    Quinn failed to tell employees they were working illegally in an unlicensed hospital and the clinic did not have a doctor on site at all times. While Quinn was in charge, medication was administered by unqualified staff without valid prescriptions and drugs were stored in a suitcase in an unlocked room.

    NMC panel chairman James Spencer told him: "Your acts and omissions could foreseeably have caused significant harm to patients.

    "You consistently placed your own commercial needs above those of highly vulnerable patients.

    "You not only deceived the public as to your correct qualifications, by holding yourself out as a doctor, you also deceived those involved in ensuring correct registration of services as to the exact nature of the services provided at the Causeway."

    The hearing began in 2012 and has been adjourned at least five times, having run for more than 90 days, costing the taxpayer more than £300,000.

    Announcing the decision to strike Quinn off, Mr Spencer said there was no doubt his conduct had put patients at "unwarranted risk of harm".

    He told Quinn: "You allowed particularly vulnerable patients to be admitted into an unregistered and unsafe environment, you failed to ensure that the Causeway was capable of providing adequate and appropriate care to patients through your failure to establish and maintain appropriate arrangements for the management of medication and your failure to ensure adequate staffing levels.

    "Throughout the period of the charges, you demonstrated a flagrant disregard for patient safety. The panel was also satisfied that your misconduct brought the reputation of the profession into disrepute."

    He added the NMC had no choice but to strike Quinn off as the public's trust and confidence in the profession, and the NMC as a regulatory body, would be significantly undermined if they did not.

    Quinn, of Lewes, East Sussex, denied all the allegations against him, insisting former staff members had cooked up elaborate stories to ruin his reputation. He said: "They have been determined to absolutely destroy my career and indeed they've done an absolutely superb job."

    He said he had been bombarded with anonymous texts from pay-as-you go phones threatening him and his family, but the panel dismissed his claims of conspiracy, saying it "lacks credibility".

    Quinn was cleared of a series of charges, including claims that he allowed a female client to solicit sex for cash. Allegations that he told a staff member to remove a client's prosthetic leg to stop him wandering about were also unproven. He was also cleared of allegations that clients had access to kitchen knives and ropes and that boats bringing clients to the island were not equipped with enough life jackets.

    The Causeway was shut down after an investigation and Twenty 7 Management was fined £8,000 for running an unlicensed hospital at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court in November 2010. District Judge David Cooper described the company as "atrocious" and said "its standards would really shame a third-world country".

    Quinn has 28 days to appeal the panel's decision before he is struck off.

    Osea Island's 'showbiz Alcatraz' rehab manager is struck off


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    TIRED of jobs in office administration, this autumn Kelly Stowers decided to pursue the career she had first considered a decade earlier.

    The 29-year-old, from Chelmsford, spends three mornings a week in adult learning classes, and does several hours of homework in a bid to realise her dream of becoming an accountant.

    Sitting in the payroll class, which she is taking alongside manual bookkeeping and AAT Accountancy Level 1, the former Great Baddow High pupil said: "I've wanted to be an accountant for many years but I actually started to train as a vet after leaving school.

    "I soon found out that was not for me, so went into shop work, then to office work.

    "I'm really enjoying coming here. All the tutors are very helpful and the courses are structured, but not regimental."

    Sitting next to Kelly was Theela Bourne, 44, who is hoping to become a finance officer in a school or college.

    She said: "I moved down to Chelmsford from Dagenham last year and I had to leave my part-time job in a school as it was too far to travel.

    "I am taking a course here and one in Maldon. They are both very good. The tutors are happy to explain anything to you if you do not understand and will give you more work so you can move on faster if you want to."


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    Police searching for a man missing from his home at Dunmow have found a body at Newport.

    Officers had been searching for 23-year-old Matthew Vernon, of Knights Way, who was last seen at a party in Bury Water Lane, Newport, on Saturday night.

    But yesterday evening, the search was suspended until the identification of a man, found near Bury Water Lane, has been confirmed.

    Mr Vernon was described as white, thin and 6ft tall. He has blue eyes and short, ginger hair and a beard.

    He had not been in contact with his girlfriend or parents since Saturday.

    An Essex Police spokesman said enquiries are continuing.

    Body found in Newport during search for missing Dunmow man Matthew Vernon


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    British Transport Police officers are appealing for help to trace three people after two teenagers were attacked on a train to Colchester.

    The incident occurred on Saturday, September 6, on board a Wivenhoe to Colchester train, while it was at Hythe station.

    Detective Constable Alan Reed said: "The two victims boarded the train at Wivenhoe.

    "After a short time they were approached by a large group who engaged them in conversation.

    "As the train approached Hythe, a physical altercation occurred."

    The victims – both aged 17 – suffered minor injuries.

    Officers believe the three youths pictured will be able to assist them with their enquiries.

    DC Reed added: "Who are the faces in the CCTV images? If you recognise any of them, or have any further information, please get in touch.

    "We take all reports of violence on the rail network very seriously and are working hard to find those responsible."

    Anyone with information is asked to contact British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40, or text 61016, quoting reference E-SUB/B11 of 02/11/14.

    Information can also be passed anonymously to independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

    Three people sought after two teens attacked on Essex train


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    Today's the day to pick your lucky numbers for tonight's National Lottery jackpot draw.

    The person who picks out the winning Lotto balls – whatever the method, be it from your family's birthdays or the age of your cat times the age of your dog minus the age of your hamster – will walk away a cool £2.1m pounds richer.

    And don't forget, there are also an extra 50 Lotto raffle winners, who can get £20,000.

    The results of the draw will be announced on BBC One at 10.35pm tonight. 

    National Lottery: What is the jackpot for Wednesday, December 3, 2014 and what time is the draw?


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    UP to 50 cats are reportedly killed every month by anti-freeze, in many cases after drinking it from garden water features.

    Environment minister George Eustace said he was concerned that many were being poisoned because of the trend of putting anti-freeze into garden water features over the winter months.

    The product is attractive to animals as it contains an extremely toxic sweet chemical called ethylene glycol, which can lead to kidney failure and death, even if consumed in small doses.

    In a debate on Monday (December 1) in the House of Commons, Mr Eustace called for warning labels to be placed on bottles of anti-freeze to warn consumers of the dangers to their beloved pets.

    He told MPs: "I do understand some people may even be using anti-freeze in their garden water features to stop them freezing up in winter and there are some reports of this.

    "There are internet chat forums discussing whether this is sensible or not to use anti-freeze in such features and this could result in animals being inadvertently poisoned, whether domestic pets or wildlife.

    "We don't know again whether this is the cause but it certainly has the potential to be and it's another issue that caused me some concern when investigating this issue ahead of the debate."

    The Commons debate was called by Mark Spencer, the Tory MP for Sherwood, who owns his own cat called Parsnip.h

    Mr Eustace was responding to Mr Spencer, who had said the charity Cats Protection had spotted 1,197 reports of anti-freeze poisoning of cats in the country since November 2012 – around 50 per month.

    Dozens of pet cats 'killed every month by anti-freeze poisoning'


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    3rd December is the anniversary of the very first Laurel and Hardy film.   OK, it may not be a major point of film history.   But what the heck … 

    Q1)3rd December saw the release of the first Laurel and Hardy film: in which year of the 1920s?

    Q2)The film was called 'Putting Pants on …' who: Phillip, Phyllis or Fred?

    Q3)The who concerned, needed pants — or trousers, for those of us who aren't American — as he was constantly wearing what: a skirt, a sarong or a kilt?

    Q4)'Putting Pants …' was the first time Laurel and Hardy were credited as a team.   They first worked together on 'The Lucky Dog', when: 1920, 1921 or 1922?

    Q5)Was 'Putting Pants …' a silent film?

    Q6)'Unaccustomed As We Are' was one of the pairs early talkies. When was it released: 1927, 1929 or 1931?

    Q7)Their first feature film was released in 1931.   What was it called: 'Excuse Us', 'Pardon Us' or 'Pardon Me'?

    Q8)Laurel and Hardy's fan club takes its name from what's arguably their best film.   The film's called 'The Sons Of The…' what?

    Q9)Which of the pair was English: Stan Laurel or Oliver Hardy?

    Q10)Finally … the other half of the pair was from which US state?

    Here's last week's questions and answers … 

    Questions.

    Q1)26th November, 1983, saw robbers steal gold, cash and jewelry from the Brinks MAT warehouse.   The warehouse was near which airport: Stanstead, Heathrow or Gatwick?

    Q2)According to the BBC report, the haul was worth how much: £25 million, £35 million or £45 million?

    Q3)How much is that in today's money: £25 million, £50 million or £75 million?

    Q4)The stolen gold was in the shape of gold bars.   How many gold bars: 3400, 6800 or 13600?

    Q5)Those bars were a standard size: what's known as a 'Good Delivery' bar.   Each such bar weighs an average of 400 troy what?

    Q6)Those gold bars would be marked to show which UK assayers office they'd been certified by.   What are these marks called?

    Q7)How many people do police think were involved in the Brink's MAT robbery: ten, fifteen or twenty?

    Q8)Great Train Robber, Charlie Wilson, is said to have laundered some of the haul.   He, eventually, was shot in 1990: in which Spanish city?

    Q9)Kenneth Noye — who laundered some of the Brink's Mat Gold — was eventually convicted of the notorious Road Rage killing of Stephen Cameron.   In which year of the 1990s WAS that killing?

    Q10)Finally … 1992 saw the release of 'Fool's Gold': the film about the robbery.   Which Sean played Mickey McAvoy, the leader of the robbers?

    Answers.

    A1)Stanstead.

    A2)£25 million.

    A3)£75 million.

    A4)6800.

    A5)Troy ounces.   (Equivalent to 1.097 avoirdupois ounces, the ounce used to measure everything else, or 31.10 grams.   Troy ounces are also used to measure the weight of bullets.)

    A6)Hallmarks.

    A7)Fifteen.

    A8)Marbella.

    A9)1996.

    A10)Sean Bean.

    If you'd like a frequent challenge, you can visit Nik Nak's Old Peculiar, and try the Daily Teaser: today's is at the top.

    If you need quiz questions in a hurry, you're also welcome: you'll find the free Friday Questions Sets — covered by the Creative Commons License* — very handy.

    Movie fans are welcome, too: as are Dr Who fans.   I tend to write about them, too.

    If you enjoy what I do, and wish to contribute, feel free to click the PayPal Donate button in the Old Peculiar's sidebar.   Every penny is gratefully received.

    Enjoy the week, folks.

    *        All that means is that you're free to copy, use, alter and build on each of my quizzes: including the Teasers, Gazette Teasers and the Friday Question Sets.   All I ask in return is that you give me an original authors credit on your event's flyers or posters, or on the night: and, if you republish them, give me an original authors credit AND republish under the same license.   A link back to the site — and to the Chronicle's, if that's where you've found these — would be appreciated: as would pressing my donate button, here.   Every penny is gratefully received. 


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    Campaigner and comedian Russell Brand has threatened to sue The Sun over claims he pays rent to a company which engages in tax avoidance schemes.

    The newspaper alleged the former movie star, who is from Essex, is paying £76,000 a year to landlords who say they are based in the Virgin Islands.

    The report goes on to describe Brand as a hypocrite for speaking out against rich landlords and tax avoidance in his latest book.

    It comes after he was involved in a row with a Channel 4 News reporter while in Downing Street with anti-home protesters in Hackney.

    When the reporter suggested he was one of the 'super rich' buying up properties in central areas, he angrily replied that his was rented, and ended the confrontation by describing him as a snide.

    But today (December 3), Brand sought to explain away the row.

    "When you talk to a journalist I sort of think it's a combination of boring and really annoying, and my personality type is not well suited to that kind of environment."

    Russell Brand threatens to sue The Sun over rent row


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    A teenager was arrested after a mass-brawl in the town centre at the weekend. Police were called to Market Place at 3am on Saturday, November 29, following reports of a group of men fighting in the street. A 17-year-old was arrested on suspicion of assault and has been released on bail pending further enquiries until February 5.

    Teenager arrested after Braintree town centre brawl


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    A pub landlord says he's mystified as to how his historic fireplace sparked a full-blown chimney blaze on Tuesday.

    Three fire engines and police rushed to the Sunny Sailor pub on the banks of the River Chelmer in Maldon, before closing Market Hill, Fullbridge and Mill Lane, after flames were spotted erupting out of the chimney at about 12.20pm.

    Officers used chimney rods to tackle the blaze and fully extinguished it by 1.44pm.

    Landlord Peter Truyens said he will have the fireplace inspected to work out how flickering flames managed to climb up the chimney.

    "We've been running the fire in here for weeks after it started getting cold and because it's one of the nice features here in the pub but then it caught alight," he said. "We have no idea how. It was smoking a lot and flames were coming out of the top of the chimney.

    "Apparently it's the soot which catches fire but we don't know for certain until we hear back from the fire service."

    Mr Truyens said the pub was back in business by 4pm after cleaning up the effects of the fire. No one was injured.

    "I won't say there was excitement because obviously the emergency services had to shut off the roads, but there were lots of people calling and coming on to our Facebook and Twitter websites to see what had happened," he said.

    "It was not my best day but it certainly wasn't a dull day."

    With the roads not all reopened until about 3.30pm, it meant motorists heading into the town centre were blocked.

    Mr Truyens said: "I won't criticise the emergency services because they're here to look after the interests of the town. If they thought they had to do it for everyone's safety then they did the right thing."

    The pub, which is more than 300 years old, was bought by Sue Wilson, the wife of the owner of the Blue Boar hotel, in Silver Street, Maldon, in April.

    The previous owner, Admiral Taverns, had closed it down for about six months.

    The owners are currently building a restaurant at the front of the pub, relocating the toilets to the back and putting in bay windows in a major revamp after reopening in May.

    "The pub hasn't had any attention for many, many, years," said Mr Truyens.

    Maldon pub landlord mystified over Sunny Sailor chimney blaze


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