Progress Cleaning Services won Company of the Year at the annual Cleaning Show in London: Hampshire window cleaners were gleaming with pride after scooping a top award. Progress Cleaning Services went up against more than 30 other window cleaning firms to be named Company of the Year 2015 at the annual Cleaning Show in London. The Hedge End company was set up in 1966 by George Robson and is now run by his sons Kevin and Ian. Kevin said: “We are absolutely delighted. I think our on-going commitment to health and safety contributed to our success in winning this title. “We are fortunate to have a great team supporting us, all of whom thoroughly deserve the recognition that this accolade brings.”

More maids, fewer falls: Three years ago, there was a spate of reports about maids falling to their deaths while cleaning windows in high-rise flats. Since then, the number of such incidents has fallen significantly. The improvement has come even as more maids are working here. A new law implemented by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in 2012 ensures that employers and maid agencies do their part in keeping maids safe when cleaning windows. That year, 10 maids fell to their deaths while cleaning windows.

The stricter rules imposed by MOM prevent employers from allowing their maids to clean windows unless two conditions are met. First, the employer or an adult representative of the employer must be present to supervise the maid. And window grilles have to be installed and locked while the windows are being cleaned. These rules apply to all homes, except for windows on the ground floor or along common corridors. Failure to comply constitutes a breach of the Employment of Foreign Manpower (Work Passes) Regulations.

Employers who fail to comply may be prosecuted and permanently barred from hiring a maid. Statistics provided by MOM indicate that these measures have worked. In each of the next two years, one maid fell to her death while cleaning windows. Mr John Gee, 61, chair of the research sub-committee of Transient Workers Count Too, was glad fewer maids suffered fatal falls. "A reduction in deaths from falls of this order is very welcome. It shows what can be achieved by sound, well-publicised measures," he said."The rules were seen as fully justified by most Singaporeans, which aided their implementation."

Ms Anik Binti Sukigo Parto, 27, a maid from Indonesia, welcomed the additional safety enforcements. She said: "I feel safer because cleaning windows can be quite dangerous, especially if it's quite high." Ms Parto, who had worked as a maid in Saudi Arabia for four years before coming to Singapore about a year ago, was waiting to start a new employment contract. Some employers, however, prefer not to let their maids clean their windows.

Ms Nant Aye Aye Myint, 31, a maid from Myanmmar, said: "I used to work in a ninth-storey flat in Ang Mo Kio. But I didn't clean the windows because my employers were afraid I (might) fall."

First-time maids in Singapore have to go through a mandatory one-day Settling-In Programme before they begin work.

Christine Mendoza Inspires the Widder Curry to Ask “Need your Windows Washed?” or “Been to the Circus Lately?”

Window-Washer at OB Pier Cafe Loves Her New Job: Christine Mendoza Inspires the Widder Curry to Ask “Need your Windows Washed?” or “Been to the Circus Lately?” Hanging over the window sill washing the windows of the “Ocean Beach Pier Café” without a safety net, a harness, or a rope, but wearing the biggest smile you can imagine. Meet Christine Mendoza, otherwise known as “Piper”.  A resident of the Ocean Beach area for many years, but only 5 days on the job at the Café.

When I asked her what she did before accepting this job, she said that she had worked in a beauty supply shop but it just wasn’t something she liked.  She loves her new job; loves the view; loves the idea of looking out over her perch and seeing whales, dolphins, birds, etc. She said working where she is now is interacting with nature – a new adventure.

A native of Chula Vista, she was moved to Escondido for six years until she went to live in a variety of foster care group homes.  She said that she likes people; enjoys being with them, and has many, many “families.” She went to work at the Café because she had heard that the owner is a “spiritual” man and she is on a “quest to find her own spiritualism.”  She thought that maybe he could help her find her own niche in her personal life.

Transflex staff's gift to boss to celebrate company's birthday - a squeegee, ladders and bucket! House husband Peter grew bored of housework - including washing windows - so he started a £10m turnover business that now employs 27 people. A window cleaner’s bucket, step ladders and squeegee were the anniversary gifts for van hire boss Peter Abdale. Three years after he established Transflex Vehicle Rental, his staff presented him with the off-beat presents - as a thank you for their jobs.

Peter, 66, retired as the managing director of Transmore Van Hire in 2010 and became a house-husband. But two years of daily routine – including cleaning windows – drove him mad. He put a business team and investors together and formed Transflex in Stockton. Three years later, he employs 27 people including two apprentices in liaison with the North East Chamber of Commerce and has a turnover of £10m. Today Peter took delivery of the company’s 2,000th vehicle. He started with one Ford Transit Van. He said: “I’m absolutely delighted with the gifts, if I’d actually enjoyed housework we wouldn’t be in business today.”

Vermont innovator designs his 'ultimate one ski' - At 24 years old, Cyrus Schenck is a college dropout and the founder of a ski company — Renoun — that won a coveted gold prize at an international trade show in Munich, Germany, and may be on the cusp of taking the ski industry by storm. Or not. It took two years of handwork at Clarkson to finally make it happen, Schenck said, financed by a window-washing business he had started in Burlington that still exists, and has about 200 clients around the state.

Tall and lanky, with a quick smile and rapid fire speech that sometimes buries words in an avalanche of unintelligible syllables, Schenck followed an obsession at Clarkson University that took him out of the classroom and into a workshop to build a ski using so-called non-Newtonian material. Schenck was first exposed to non-Newtonian material in a classroom at Clarkson, where he was majoring in aeronautical engineering. He found himself captivated by the properties being described on the screen in class. Non-Newtonian material just didn't act like anything else.

Renoun skis, which incorporate a non-Newtonian material into its design. It means the skis instantly change their characteristics to suit conditions, whatever they might be, according to Schenck, whose imagination was fired by that classroom presentation at Clarkson. "I saw a ski that would be the first in the world to change its performance characteristics based on what you're skiing and how you're skiing it, not based on how you turn the screw on something or what kind of ski you bought," he said. "The closest anyone has ever come to the ultimate one ski." "The faster and harder you ski, it gets more solid, more rigid, and so as it gets more rigid and solid, that in a ski exudes dampening characteristics, as if the ski is stiffer," he said. "The ski dampens as if somebody put a sheet of metal on top of it."

Mike Akers' pastime sounds like a punch line: The South Salem resident is an under-water window washer. No joke. About every three weeks, he leads a crew of other volunteer divers at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport. And if you think cleaning out the 5-gallon tank is a chore, consider this:

One of the regular tasks is to use specially designed pads to clean algae from the 200 feet of clear, about 3-inch-thick acrylic tunnels through which visitors walk as they watch fish and other critters swim by. "Probably one of my favorite things is the interaction with the animals because it dispels a lot of myths," the 62-year-old retiree said about volunteering.

"People say, 'You get in the shark tank?' We go 'Yes.' "They say, 'Where do they put the sharks when you're in there?' Well, they're still in there," Akers said with a chuckle. "Everybody gravitates toward the big animals," he added. "The broad-nosed seven-gill sharks are the large ones in there, and the biggest one, she's over 8 feet now. She's a big girl. "We do a lot of what's called targeted feeding to some of the more timid animals," Akers said. "When they do the normal feeding, they broadcast it, and obviously, the more aggressive fish get the most food.

Window cleaners Michael France and Lee Abbott, who helped arrest an offender.

Police officers and members of the public have been honoured for their bravery. On December 12 last year Lee Abbott and Michael France were working in Ramsey as window cleaners when they noticed a man acting in a strange manner and suspected – correctly – that he was entering unoccupied properties and stealing parcels.

They confronted the man, who became aggressive, so much so that they wrestled him to the ground and held him there until the police arrived. It was subsequently discovered that the man, a prolific offender, had been stealing Christmas parcels that had been left in the communal areas of flats by delivery agents. For their quick thinking and for helping in the arrest of the man both Mr Abbott and Mr France were formally commended by the Chief Constable.

Corrupt ex-cop Mark Turner jailed over plan to flood Birmingham with cocaine: Former constable Mark Turner (pictured), 31, was jailed for eight years after he was caught with a kilogram of high-purity cocaine in his car. The shamed ex-officer was previously jailed in 2009 for misconduct in a public office after he passed sensitive information onto criminal associates. Following his arrest on July 18 last year, cops found four slabs of the Class A drug in the Audi he was driving – worth an estimated £178,000. He had collected the drug on the carpark of a Homebase store in Minworth from window cleaner Dale Catley, 35. When Catley was pulled over he was found to be in possession of over two kilograms of cocaine with an estimated street value of £412,000. Bags containing £81,000 were also found.

Thomas Sanderson is promoting its conservatory valet service with a light-hearted TV campaign from The Market Creative. The 30-second spot launches today and runs for four weeks on home interest satellite channels. The “Difference is Clear” concept has been applied across all channels including direct marketing mailers, press and radio ads with a month-long campaign on Classic FM.

Sue Benson, MD at the Manchester-based agency, said: “We tell the Thomas Sanderson story from specialist expertise to amazing ongoing results with a warm-hearted hint of humour to dramatise the difference between the professionals doing the job, and the non-professional – be that the customer, window cleaner, or anyone with a brush and hosepipe. “It’s intended to appeal to house proud, discerning conservatory owners and was inspired by the huge effort involved in cleaning every inaccessible inch of their conservatory that the valeting team undertakes.”

Natalie Thomas, marketing director at Thomas Sanderson, added: “The Difference is Clear helps us to communicate the meticulous effort our technicians employ to valet a conservatory, from their expert knowledge to specialist materials and equipment such as self-cleaning, eco-friendly products. It’s a new approach for the sector and we love the light-heartedness that helps bring the message home to people who perhaps wouldn’t see the difference that professionals can make.”

The TV campaign was written by Matt Baker and art directed by Matt Haigh, both at The Market Creative. It was directed by Ben Tonge through Chief Productions. The Market Creative, who won the work in a two-way pitch at the start of the year, first worked with Thomas Sanderson three years ago, producing idents for the company’s first TV sponsorship deal.

Dementia support centre opens in Lerwick: MSP Tavish Scott said the opening of the centre was a “fantastic occasion”, and he expressed his gratitude to the “big commitment” made both nationally and locally to making sure Shetland had the resources and support needed.

He said: “Dementia affects many people and families across Shetland. It is a great challenge to both those people affected and loved ones. The new resource centre is a welcome and necessary service and I thank all those who have made this possible. I am sure that many islanders will use the advice and help they can now access in Burgh Road.”

Ms Williamson illustrated this support by saying the window cleaner had pledged to work free of charge at the new centre, which has many dementia-friendly features and is designed to offer practical examples of ideas to maintain independent living.

Is this Jack Russell the fittest dog in the UK? A Jack Russell from Burnley is through to the national final of a competition to find the fittest dog in the UK. Michael will compete in the national final of the competition, run by Butcher’s Pet Care, after being crowned the winner in the small dog category for the North West.  He will now go nose-to-nose with 10 other finalists and needs Lancashire Telegraph readers to vote for him to be named the national category winner. Michael’s owner, Dave O’Donnell, said: “I’m really excited we have made it through to the finals of this competition. “I think Michael deserves to win as he can run forever.

“I work as a window cleaner and he comes with me on the job daily, even though he just wants to play with my customers. “He’s also a right little poser in front of the ladies. “We would like people from the region to show their support and vote for Michael now.” The Fittest Dog in the UK competition is a nationwide search to find and recognise the nation’s happy and healthy hounds which are full of life and have bags of personality.

Bid to help Jens Wair after head injury sustained in Colchester:  Friends of an attack victim who has woken from a coma and is breathing on his own have launched an appeal to get him back on his feet financially. Jens Wair, of Colchester, suffered a bleed on the brain after he was knocked unconscious during an incident in St John’s Street, Colchester.

Medics initially feared the self-employed window cleaner could have longterm brain damage, but he was brought out of the induced coma last week and spoke to friends and family. The full extent of his injuries are not known. A group has been set up on website GoFundMe called Get Jens Back on His Feet.

A spokesman said: “He is a self-employed window cleaner, so obviously won’t be able to work for some time and won’t be able to earn money. “So we want to do as much as we can to help him on his road to recovery. “He is our friend and we miss him dearly.” The group has initially set a £1,000 target. The friend added: “He’s started to wake from his coma now, and the prognosis looks better than expected, but there’s a long road ahead. “Here’s our chance to make that journey a little less arduous for Jens. “If you know Jens, you know he’d do it for you, and if you don’t, trust me, there’s no nicer guy on Earth and, of all the people, he deserves our help the most.”

Jens, who played cricket for Eight Ash Green and football for New Field FC, was celebrating his 30th birthday when he was knocked unconscious outside the Dirty Penguin bar, on April 11 at 2.40am.

Chris Evans and Chris Pratt become real-life superheroes during surprise visit to children's hospital.

Kids at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh received a sweet superhero surprise on Friday. Rappelling down their windows were Spider-Man, Batman, Captain America and Superman. Or rather, window washers dressed as the Marvel and D.C. comics superheroes. "Saying hello to Spider-Man! #childrenspgh," read a tweet posted on the medical center's Twitter page, alongside a photo of his window washer doppelganger hanging from a harness outside and looking in at a little boy peering right back at him, hands against the glass. Other window-washers have dressed up like superheroes at the same medical center as well as at other children's hospitals over the past few years.

For several hospital patients at Seattle Children's Hospital, Saturday wasn't just any other day. Instead, it was a star-studded affair as two Hollywood A-listers entered the premises to bring some much deserved joy to patients in need. Almost one month after Chris Pratt made good on his Super Bowl bet against Chris Evans to dress up as Star-Lord, it was now Captain America's job to fulfill his end of the bargain.

"It makes me feel great," window washer Edward Hetrick, who dressed up as Superman and had also taken part in a Superhero Day at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh in 2014, 2013 and 2012, told WPXI-TV on Friday. "There's a lot of kids in here that are going through problems or just some that are coming to get checkups," he added. "So it's making their day, so maybe when they go back into the room, they're not thinking about getting checked out by the doctor, they're still thinikng about us outside and having a great day. I am happy to do that. That makes me feel good too, as a person."

Patient Adam Frenchman Englander with a window washer dressed as a Ninja Turtle.

Window Washers Dress as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Surprise Patients at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: Cowabunga! Patients at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia had some surprise visitors climbing down the windows of the building on Thursday morning. Window washers dressed up as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to surprise about 60 of the hospital's patients, and also performed a short skit outside the window. The event is part of the hospital's effort to make the patients' stay more exciting and engaging, rather than frightening, says Caitlin Novelli, a child life specialist at the hospital.

"We want to let them feel special within the hospital walls, so this is one of the ways in which we've really been able to bring a sense of normalcy and excitement into the hospital," she says. "They had just sheer joy and big smiles on their faces." The washers, from Jenkintown Building Services, have been dressing up and surprising the children for about four years, says Marty Tuzman, owner and CEO of the company.

In the past, members of the crew have dressed up as Spiderman and Sesame Street characters.  "The guys just get totally into it," he says. "It's such an amazing space to be in. There's so much indulgence with the kids." Tuzman says it takes the right kind of guy to perform and dress up outside the windows. "You need a little bit of a ham," he jokes. "Coming down every floor, they just get more and more animated and excited and more engaged with the kids and with each other."

Adam Frenchman Englander, 6, of Villanova, Pennsylvania, who has been in the hospital for three weeks with pancreatitis, was one patient who got to witness the excitement in between procedures. His mother, Jill, says it was a really special moment for her son after a rough time in the hospital. "The days in the hospital are really long, so it was really fantastic to have something to take your mind off it," she says. "To see excitement of a six year old and watch him light up was priceless."

Jill says the event was no more than a half hour, but the excitement of it will get him through the next couple days. "We took a million pictures and he looks back at the pictures and for him it's really exciting because not only did he have this experience, he can go back to school and show his friends what he did and who he met," she says. "He doesn't have to feel like he sat in bed for three weeks while the kids at school did a bunch of fun things."

UCSF Children’s Hospital Patients Witness Superheroes Scaling Hospital Walls.

SAN FRANCISCO – Some children fighting the good fight at the University of California San Francisco’s Benioff Children’s Hospital got some backup Wednesday morning. A group of caped crusaders appeared outside hospital rooms in hot pursuit of grime. The team of window washers dressed as Superman, Iron Man and Robin. “Too bad my 3 week old was finally released yesterday and not today! This is fantastic though. Honestly the best hospital hands down,” CBS SF reader Kelsey Rodriguez posted to Facebook. “Made my day,” said Victor Guerra. The event was part of a national trend designed to brighten the treatment experience for young patients.

Superhero Day at children’s hospital: Patient’s at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center will be getting a super surprise today.  In an effort to recognize National Superhero Day which is April 28th and how super the patients are, some superheros will be visiting the hospital today.

Patients, families and staff will get to see and meet Spiderman, Batman and Superman. They will be dropping in as right outside patients windows. From 1pm to 3pm costumed window washers will scale the outside of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.  At the same time other caped crusaders will be visiting patients rooms.

The day will be filled with activities including life-sized LEGO superhero models and mini LEGO activities.  There will be a superhero obstacle course and even a making of a superhero themed music video. Batman will even bring his Batmobile. The hospital says they want to make sure that patients know at the end of the day, they are the ones that are superheros.

Makers of fake Spider-Man Avengers: Age of Ultron end-credit scene reveal how it was done - Remember that fake Spider-Man end credit-scene that showed Spider-Man interrupting a window washer to tell him that he had missed a spot with the Avengers tower in the background? Remember how we said it was fake straight away and how Joss Whedon confirmed it was a fake? Well apparently some people still weren’t convinced that this wasn’t the real deal. So take a look at the video which shows how the makers of this Spidey end-credit scene and also a teaser shot of Batman reportedly from Dawn of Justice were made!

Local Army veteran opens window-cleaning business in Redmond: Local Army veteran Ben Bare is the owner of Window Genie's newest location in Redmond. Window Genie is a national home services franchise that specializes in window cleaning, window tinting, pressure washing, gutter cleaning and more. Before joining the Window Genie team, Bare spent eight years as an Army ranger, earning the rank of staff sergeant during his service that included nine combat tours to both Iraq and Afghanistan. During his transition out of the Army, Bare explored his options in franchising. “I knew I wanted to be my own boss; business ownership always interested me,” Bare said. “My fiancé and I fell in love with the Pacific Northwest while I was stationed here, so we knew greater Seattle was the community we’d want to settle in and build the business and our future.”

Working with Jim Frank, franchise coach with The Entrepreneur’s Source, Bare was able to narrow his search down based on his goals, interests, strengths and weaknesses. “What drew me to Window Genie was the lifestyle aspect,” said Bare. “A mobile service business means I can operate without the burden of a storefront and my schedule is flexible; I’ll never have to send my crew out for emergency window cleanings in the middle of the night or a gutter cleaning on Christmas.” Bare said what excites him most about his new venture is the opportunity to provide jobs and create a team.

He said, “As staff sergeant, I had 10 people working under me and it became a family. That’s the kind of environment I’d like to build again, a team my community can depend on. Our business will grow and thrive through the relationships we build with the customer base.”

Read About the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower - Twice!  Title: Tricky Vic. Author: Greg Pizzoli. What this book is about: This book is about Tricky Vic (not his given name), a real life con man, who makes those guys in Oceans Eleven look like amateurs. Turns out he was an international thief who tricked people in buying money making machines, counterfeit bills and even sold the eiffel tower - more than once! Of course he made brilliant get aways, shimming down a bedsheet to break out of prison while pretending to be a window washer.

Why I love this book:  Who wouldn’t love a book where the deception is on, and it isn’t fiction but a true account of an artist - con artist that is. Even the artwork is deceptively entertaining. Using mixed media, Pizzoli has created a story that flows effortlessly. The simplicity of the illustrations are striking and the flow of the story keeps the reader entertained. While we see the faces of all the people he encounters, Tricky Vic’s face remains simply a thumbprint. Clever stuff. Creating it as a picture book means the story is full of facts, but never bogged down as we are charmed along with the marks in the story.

New report shares details about the Global janitorial services market - size, share, segments analysis and outlook to 2020: Janitorial services include both indoor and outdoor cleaning services, which include cleaning, trash pickup, floor polishing, and window washing. The global janitorial services market is primarily segmented into two categories: residential and commercial. The residential market consists of maid services, window, carpet, window and other services.

The commercial cleaning segment primarily focuses on window cleaning, vacuuming, floor care, and related services. Among the two segments, the commercial segment accounts for a relatively larger share of the janitorial services market. Janitorial service is a highly labor intensive market and growth of the market largely depends on growth of the real estate market. Due to its dependence on the real estate market, the janitorial services market suffered a downturn during the economic recession post-2008. The market also suffered a decline due to collapse of various mortgage obligations.

A rescue deal has saved 117 jobs at a Darlington-headquartered commercial cleaning company, which has previously secured a £250,000 investment from the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund, after it entered administration. Ashleigh William Fletcher and John Russell from The P&A Partnership were appointed joint administrators of MJF Cleaning Services Ltd on 2 April 2015.

A sale of the company's business and assets by way of a going concern was completed on the same day. All 117 of the MJF's employees were TUPE transferred across to the unnamed purchaser. A statement from P&A said: "We are extremely pleased that we managed to save the business along with the jobs of all 117 employees."

MJF was originally set up in 2006 as a domestic window cleaning business by managing director Martin Ferguson, but widened its service offering as new opportunities arose. The company, which also has an office in Leeds, secured the £250,000 cash injection in April 2013 which was set to be used for development plans including adding £1m to its turnover "every year for the next five years".

The following month, the company outlined plans to create about 80 new positions following a range of contract wins including with Shepherd Construction at the New and Renewable Energy Centre (NaRec) in Blyth. The company has also provided an industrial high-level clean at St George's Park in Burton-upon-Trent, the home of the National Football Centre with more than 330 acres of training facilities, football pitches and five-star hotel accommodation. Other companies with which it secured contracts include BAE Systems, Rockliffe Hall, the Esh Group, JD Wetherspoon, Cleveland Cable and Tolent Construction.

A former mayor of Bourne will fight three elections on May 7. Lincolnshire Independents candidate Helen Powell is contesting the parliamentary seat in Lincoln, the Bourne West ward on South Kesteven District Council (SKDC) and a seat on Bourne Town Council. Helen, who has two daughters and a grandson, has already attended her first hustings in Lincoln organised by the Federation of Small Businesses. She said: “I really enjoyed it – I was able to answer all of the questions.” Helen, who is also a serving county councillor, says the Lincolnshire Independents have all of the strength of a group but they are truly independent. On election night, she intends to go first to the count in Lincoln and then head to South Kesteven. Helen has had a busy and varied working life. She’s a trained dress designer, has worked in retail and merchandising, ran a soft toy business, a dress designing business, and a Post Office – and still has a window cleaning business.

Gardaí appeal for information on cyclist who shot dead window cleaner on his way to work: John O’regan was shot dead while cycling to work one April morning last year. The 48-year-old window cleaner was shot up to six times after he was approached by an unknown man who was cycling a push bike and wearing a high-vis jacket. It happened at Gateway Avenue, Ballymun at around 8:30am on April 15.

Crimestoppers has today launched an appeal for information in relation to the murder. The offender fled the scene on his bike and travelled across Ballymun Road in the direction of Collins Avenue. There was very heavy traffic during this period and a number of witnesses saw the offender as he was making his escape from the crime scene. Detective Inspector Gus Keane said: “We are anxious to speak to anyone who has information in relation to the murder of John O’Regan.

The Assembly yesterday called on Justice Minister David Ford to compensate a former UDR man who says his reputation was destroyed by police accusations that he was a loyalist killer. Colin Worton was held on remand for 30 months for the murder of Adrian Carroll in Armagh in 1983 – part of the so-called UDR Four case.

He was acquitted when it came to trial. However, the self-employed window cleaner lost his job with the Army afterwards and says the damage to his reputation has left him unemployable ever since. Yesterday the Assembly backed a motion 54 to 27 calling on Mr Ford to compensate him. Mr Worton failed to win compensation through the courts in 2010. Yesterday Mr Ford said that the justice system worked entirely properly for Mr Worton and that he was acquitted.

“He is innocent in the eyes of the law, but being innocent in the eyes of the law is not the test that applies for compensation in this jurisdiction or elsewhere in the UK,” he said. Mr Worton said that the DUP, UUP and SDLP all backed the motion but that Sinn Fein opposed it and Alliance MLAs abstained. DUP MLA Arlene Foster, who moved the motion with colleague William Irwin, said someone should have been present with Mr Worton when he was being interviewed by police. This led to a serious default or exceptional circumstance which warrants compensation, she said.

Colourful character is 'gnome' - but not forgotten: Tributes have been paid to Ron The Gnome – a well-loved gnome collector in Lincolnshire. Ron Broomfield sadly died at the age of 80 at the weekend. The eccentric character gained national media attention for his love of gnomes and had a collection of more than 1,800 which he kept at his home. And the collector will be cremated in his popular gnome outfit, which he was often seen wearing out and about in his home town of Alford, near Louth. Ron's family have decided to auction off some of the gnomes in aid of his favourite causes.

The retired window cleaner raised thousands of pounds for charities, including the NSPCC, during his life. Ron's death and his decision to be cremated in his gnome outfit has sparked much interest from national media. Ron's niece Patricia Hammond told the BBC how he had started collecting gnomes after a divorce. She said: "He was very sad, obviously. "He saw a gnome in a shop and thought, 'Oh, he looks happy' so he bought one. "Then he bought two, then three, and now he's got a lot – 1,800."

Ron's love of gnomes became the feature of a Channel 5 programme, Excessive & Compulsive Collectors, which aired two years ago. Ron also starred on ITV's May The Best House Win. Ron converted his home in Alford, which he renamed Gnome Cottage, into a shrine that members of the public were able to visit.

A thief with a bird tattoo snatched a handbag from a woman as she sat in her car parked in a Grimsby street. The 49-year-old woman from Cleethorpes had earlier challenged the man when he claimed to be a window cleaner and demanded payment at an address in Hainton Avenue. Humberside Police have appealed for information from eyewitnesses who saw the man run off after he wrenched the handbag from the woman. She suffered a shoulder injury in the struggle to keep hold of the bag. The woman, who has not been named, was sitting in her parked car in Hainton Avenue in Grimsby at 1.10pm on Friday. The victim had earlier challenged the suspect after seeing him in the garden of an address she was visiting and asked what he wanted. The man said he was cleaning windows and asked for payment. He then leaned into her open car window, grabbed the black leather and lace bag and ran off.

'Likeable' burglar who pretended to be window cleaner before stealing cash jailed: A “likeable” burglar who charmed his victims into believing he was a window cleaner before stealing money from them has been jailed. Levi Bradbury, of Chilton Grove, Southwark, was found guilty of a string of burglaries, frauds and thefts which took place between May 2013 and September 2014. The 31-year-old would visit blocks of flats in Lewisham, Southwark, Hackney and Tower Hamlets posing as a window cleaner.

After convincing residents he was a window cleaner he would stroll into each property and check the windows were closed, claiming it was necessary before cleaning could commence. The fraudster would tell victims he needed the cash up front, usually £15 to £25 a time, and would walk off telling them he was going to get their change. But Bradbury would not return and the windows were never cleaned.

He stole cash and a mobile phone from one of the victims, which was located under a tree a short distance from the flat using the Find My Phone app. Sometimes he would pretend he was part of a larger group of window cleaners working on behalf of their block’s management team – despite having no cleaning materials with him.

He would occasionally walk with residents to a cash point so they could withdraw money to pay him, but did not return home with them. During three incidents he tricked victims out of hundreds of pounds after persuading vulnerable people to hand over their bank cards. The victims gave Bradbury their PIN numbers and trusted him to return with the cash, but instead he withdrew large sums of cash of up to £300. He returned the card to only one of the victims.

Bradbury was found guilty of six counts of burglary, three counts of fraud and four counts of theft during a heading at Snarebrook Crown Court. He was jailed for two years by a sentencing judge at the same court on March 31. Detective Sergeant Kelly George said: "Bradbury is a likeable, chatty, charming man who used his friendly personality to gain the trust of his victims. "I would like to remind the public that they should not invite anyone into their home unless they have the correct identification on them and do not hand over your bank cards or PIN numbers to anyone."


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