Well reader, yes you- the one person reading this, you will know I’ve been in Kingston upon Hull this week. You may think I’ve been scathing about the place. you may be right, but I’m not alone.
‘Crap Towns: The 50 Worst Places to Live in the UK’, listed Hull as the worst place to Live back in 2003
Channel 4 TV placed Hull as the worst place to live in the UK. CHANNEL 4 2005 Ranking
By 2007 Hull was on the up. It was now not the worst place in the Channel 4 TV rankings. It was now 2nd to Middlesbrough. That isn’t really saying much is it?
So, you can see that I’m not being totally unfair. Well, that’s what I thought until today – more of this in a bit.
Hull was clearly a bustling and very wealthy port in the past. There are some buildings that were clearly impressive in the past, but are now decaying. There are some buildings that are still very impressive. The old docks are huge and give some idea of the history of the place. As the port declined and the fishing industry went to Spain and Iceland, the deprivation and decline set in.
Looking round the town there are lots of people who seemingly have never worked and for whom benefits are a way of life. There are a seemingly high number of fast food shops selling unhealthy fare. Greggs shops are on every street it seems.
However, I must be fair and say that attempts have been made to bring new industry to the town and to regenerate the town. Will they succeed? I do not know this, but regeneration in the town centre is very different from regeneration of the whole town.
Today, I had the (mis)fortune to be sent to Grimsby Magistrates Court (more on the cases to follow). The poverty in Grimsby shocked me. It makes S*nderland, even Pennywell, seem prosperous. The town centre is run down. The biggest shop is Netto or Asda it seems. As an example of how poor Grimsby is, a look at the prices at Wetherspoons Pubs is a good comparison. Burger chips and a pint in Wetherspoons Pubs in Hull is £5.10, a curry meal is £5.59. In Grimsby it is £4.10 and £3.99 respectively. The two places are on opposite banks of the River Humber and are port towns and both have seen better days. Is Grimsby Dead?
It seems that the local drunks when not appearing themselves before the courts drink outside the court and then come into court to watch others in the dock! Its not surprising when the unemployment rate in the region is the 10th highest out of 660 + regions in the UK. Hull is 21st in the list. SOURCE.
It is perhaps a lifestyle that most of us cannot imagine living. To spend your life not working or even wanting to work and living off benefits is perhaps something alien to many of us. Some people do not work legitimately because they are earning money on the black economy or through crime. That is one thing, but to spend life existing on £50 per week or less and not seek to better your position is a sad indictment on those people.
I have been in Humberside this week to carry out observations on the Crown Prosecution Service advocates in courts. I have spent the majority of my time in Hull Crown Court, but also visited Hull Magistrates Court and Grimsby Magistrates Court.
The cases before the court and the people appearing as witnesses and defendants make for an interesting snap shot of life for some in the UK. One case involved 4 defendants aged 19 – 23 charged with causing grievous bodily harm to another male. The victim was 6’ 4”” tall and an amateur Rugby League prop forward. He says that he was at a friends 21st birthday party and was attacked by the 4 defendants who were waiting for him as he came out of the party. He claims that this was a completely unprovoked attack. This immediately raises the question as to why would they be waiting for him if it was unprovoked. Clearly the victim was not telling the complete truth.
Oh I forgot to say that the victim refused to make a statement to the police for some 2 1/2 months after the attack. This despite the victim suffering 2 separate fractures to his jaw and the police attending the hospital on the night of the incident!
You won’t be too surprised to learn the defendants were not convicted of causing grievous bodily harm. One defendant pleaded guilty to a lesser charge. It was then interesting to learn that 2 of the defendants who were brothers had previous convictions for violence which occurred when they were together at a party and also, they were before the court for other offences. The defendant who pleaded guilty had a caution for 2 assaults on a previous occasion. Violence it seems is a way of life to some.
Today in Grimsby, there was a defendant before the court for breaching an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) which was imposed by the Crown Court in January. He breached the ASBO yesterday (Wed 9th March). The penalty for breach of an ASBO can be 5 years imprisonment. So, you would think that breaching the ASBO would have had the defendant heading back to the Crown Court for a substantial sentence. Now if I tell you that on Friday of last week this same defendant appeared before the Crown Court for 3 breaches of this ASBO and got a community The decision of the magistrates was to give him another community penalty (probation order) to run concurrent (i.e. at the same time) to his order last week at the Crown Court. Well done magistrates, that will really teach this serial offender. Prison may not rehabilitate him, but the time he is inside will at least give the residents of Grimsby a break from his anti-social behaviour.
There was some interest today for me at Grimsby Magistrates Court. The media in the last couple of days have been reporting about a police investigation into body parts found at Tetney Lock, Lincolnshire, on 3 March. Six men were arrested and the local media this morning were reporting they had been charged with an offence in relation to it. I did not pay much attention, to the story as I was getting ready in my hotel room for work. When I got to court, I learned this case was before the court, so I spent a lot of today listening to the bail applications for the defendants. Details of the case are HERE according to the BBC. However, they seem to suggest the defendants will be at the Crown Court on 19th March which is a Saturday – I think they mean 18th as that was the date the case will be at the Crown Court. Whoops BBC.
Sadly for you, I cannot say more about the case as it is sub-judice, but I am sure if it comes to trial it will make a fascinating case and hit the national media