Saturday, 21 July 2018

Anger over fire at Millennium Wood

SMOULDERING: A separate fire scorched Hodge Hill Common this week

FIREFIGHTERS were called to tackle a blaze which was deliberately started on a Marston Green nature reserve.
Bickenhill and Marston Green Parish Council said it was "disappointed" to report the incident at Millennium Wood on Tuesday evening.
Photos show scorched earth and some blackened shrubbery, but the speedy arrival of the fire service prevented the flames spreading further.
The driest start to summer on record - with hardly any rain having fallen in the region in recent weeks - has meant parks and open spaces are a tempting target for arsonists.
A grass fire was reported near Forth Drive, Chelmsley Wood, on Monday evening and residents in Castle Bromwich may have seen the smoke rising from nearby Hodge Hill Common, where crews doused flames on Thursday.
The region's firefighters have condemned those starting fires in the tinder-dry conditions, warning that they are diverting resources "from where most needed".
The most serious instance of arson since the start of the heatwave was on Saddleworth Moor, near Manchester.
The blaze broke out on June 24 and at its height the inferno covered an area of seven square miles. Soldiers had at one stage been drafted in to help bring the wildfire under control, with fire crews having finally left this week.

Friday, 20 July 2018

Chelmsley man admits murdering his wife

A CHELMSLEY Wood pensioner this week pleaded guilty to the murder of his wife.
Arthur Stonehouse, 73, of Coralin Close, was arrested after his wife Tracy's body was discovered at the couple's home earlier this year. Officers had been called out to the address in the early hours of April 6
A post-mortem examination established that the 51-year-old had suffered multiple stab wounds and other injuries to her head and neck.
Stonehouse (pictured above), who was arrested and then taken to hospital after being falling ill, was charged with his spouse's murder later the same month.
During an appearance at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday (Thursday), he admitted murder.
The defendant is due back at the same court on August 6 for sentencing.

Victim "shaken and scared" after late night attack

A WOMAN was subjected to a terrifying sexual assault in Kingshurst, after being followed home on the bus.
Police revealed that the victim had been waiting to board a late night service in Birmingham city centre when she was approached by two men.
She later got on the No 55 and the pair got on the bus after a couple of stops. They sat next to the passenger and struck up a conversation again.
When she got off the single-decker service the men followed suit and one continued to follow her down the road.
West Midlands Police said: "He grabbed her in a sexual way and made suggestive comments and gestures towards her.
"She continued walking away when he pushed her against a car and continued to touch her inappropriately."
The victim managed to force her attacker off and fled home, where she called the police.
The force has said that the woman wasn't seriously injured but had been left "very shaken and scared" by the incident, which happened on May 26. The victim had first been approached at around 12.30am and the assault happened later the same night.
Officers have said that the suspect is an Asian man in his late 20s with short dark hair. He was wearing a brown coat and jeans. CCTV of the individual was this week released as part of a public appeal.
Anyone with any information or who knows this man is asked to call detectives on 101, quoting crime reference 20SH/116583N/18.

"Shotgun brandished" in broad daylight

ARMED police swooped on a Chelmsley Wood street following reports a man threatened to blast through a front door with a firearm.
The response team were called by a panicked resident in Waterson Croft yesterday morning (Wednesday), following reports of a disturbance at a tower block.
A sawn-off shotgun was recovered at the scene and sent for forensic tests. A 19-year-old man was arrested after being pursued into fields near the M6 motorway.
Checks of CCTV images led officers to another high rise in nearby Woodlands Way, where a 21-year-old man was also detained. The force helicopter and dog units also attended the scene, which was promptly sealed off.
Both men are being questioned on suspicion of possessing a short-barrelled shotgun.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Green Flag Awards for three of our open spaces

THREE sites in North Solihull have once again clinched a Green Flag Award.
The status is awarded to those parks and green spaces which are deemed to have achieved a certain standard in a number of key criteria.
Locally, Babbs Mill Local Nature Reserve, Meriden Park and Woodlands Cemetery were all judged to have made the grade when the full list was published on Monday.
All three locations retain their place, having previously featured in the 2017 list. Across the borough as a whole, 15 sites were handed the coveted Award.
Nationwide, an unprecedented 1,883 Green Flags were awarded this year, which was nearly 100 more than 12 months ago.
Paul Todd, International Green Flag Award scheme manager, said: "It has been a record-breaking year for Green Flag Awards, and it’s fantastic to see such a diverse range of locations have been recognised. 
"We are proud to have so many wonderful green spaces in the UK for people to experience, and encourage the public to head outdoors, explore their local area and find even more unexpected green spaces they can enjoy."
In order for a site to secure a Green Flag it must demonstrate its commitment to public safety, helping the environment and cleanliness.
Projects to nurture nature, promote community involvement and ensure that local people feel welcome are also taken into consideration by the scheme's judges.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Community rallies round after Country Park fire

DESTRUCTION: The aftermath of the fire in Sheldon Country Park

A CHELMSLEY Wood supermarket is helping raise money for a family farm which recently suffered a "devastating" fire.
Earlier this month, flames tore through a toilet block at Sheldon Country Park, near Marston Green.
Fortunately a passing dog-walker raised the alarm and fire crews arrived in force to put out the blaze, which was started in the early hours of July 8. The livestock in a nearby barn were thankfully unharmed.
While Sheldon Fire Station had originally described the incident as arson, it has subsequently been suggested that the fire could have been caused by compost combusting in flower planters.
In the wake of the incident, the Country Park had been inundated with messages of support from local people.
With the site having been left counting the cost of the fire, and still recovering from an illegal traveller camp just a few weeks before, the community has rallied round to try and help the popular spot get back on its feet.
Earlier this week it was reported that an online appeal had been set up, with hopes that £2,000 can be raised to repair the damage that has been done. More than £800 has been donated in a little over a week.
Becki Blackwell, who set up the Go Fund Me page, said she had been "overwhelmed" by the public's support to date.
Now Asda, in Bosworth Drive, has also shown its support and a collection bucket has been placed at the supermarket's customer service desk for people who would like to donate.
Old Rectory Farm, which is located on the Country Park site, keeps animals including Jersey cows, goats, pigs, ponies, geese and chickens. Dating from the 17th century, it has been fully restored and today offers demonstrations of traditional farming practices.

  • The Farm is hosting a fun day on July 28.

Monday, 16 July 2018

Police investigate attempted theft from sparrowhawk nest.

POLICE are investigating an attempted theft from a Sparrowhawk nest in Chelmsley Wood.
It is understood that the would-be thief had targeted the bird-of-prey’s nest in a nearby wooded area.
The incident. understood to have taken place on the weekend of June 23-34, is being investigated by Solihull’s wildlife crime officer PC Andy Timmins.
Under the Protection of Birds Act 1954 it is illegal to take a wild bird’s eggs, with an unlimited fine or even a prison sentence awaiting those convicted.
If you have any information about the incident call Solihull Police on 101.