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   Inside Out - Yorkshire & Lincolnshire: Monday January 23, 2006

Green belt promises

Countryside and tractor
Green belt investigation - exclusive on Inside Out

Inside Out Yorkshire investigates the company that promises to make you rich by buying up Yorkshire's green belt.

We reveal that convicted fraudster Kevin Jones, who was behind one of Yorkshire's most notorious investment scams, is back in business and has set up a new venture.

The English Land Partnership (ELP) sells land in greenbelt areas around Leeds, Kirklees and North Nottinghamshire on the basis that its value will soar when planning permission is granted.

But Inside Out has established that these plots are highly unlikely ever to be released for building.

Sales pitch

Inside Out investigators posing as potential investors met a salesman from ELP at a field in Cookridge, on the outskirts of Leeds, and secretly recorded his sales pitch.

He claimed that the company planned to submit a planning application for houses on the site within a year and that Barratt's, the home builders, had offered £6m for the land, an offer which ELP has rejected.

Barratt's have denied the claim. They say:

"We have never had any dealings with the English Land Partnership and we are very concerned to learn that it has been misusing our name in this way. We are taking immediate steps to ensure there is no repetition."

Leeds City Council told Inside Out: "The prospect of the land's greenbelt status changing in the foreseeable future is highly unlikely."

ELP admitted that Mr Jones was involved in their company but said it made checks to ensure land hadn't been mis-sold or mis-represented before their buyers completed their purchase.

ELP told the BBC they acknowledged Kevin Jones and Stephen Quayle were partners, and had past 'histories', but said they have "no direct contact with our customers and no financial control of The English Land Partnership, and the story of their redemption is and should be an inspiration to us all".

Land banking

Then, Mr McCallum, who drives a £100,000 AMG Mercedes sports car, contacted the BBC to say he was the sole director of ELP.

Leeds North West MP Greg Mullholland said:

"It's pretty dodgy to put it mildly…the reality is that the plots of land are worth a few hundred pounds and they're being sold off for… £18-20,000. Now to my mind that's a rip-off.

"I want to make it illegal to sell greenbelt land on the basis of future development.

"The government can't simply wash its hands of this - this is something that can be done with changes in the law, and I'm certainly going to be one of the people that will carry on doing that until we get a change of law and stop this scurrilous practice of landbanking."

Jones spent five years in jail for his involvement in a number of fraudulent money making scams.

Thousands of people lost their savings when Jones' company Alchemy, the UK's biggest pyramid investment scheme, was shut down by the DTI in 1997.

He is believed to have set up ELP with former Alchemy director Ian McCallum and another business man called Stephen Quayle.

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Baby talk

Talking to baby - the new way

Inside Out investigates the new way to talk to your baby - through sign language.

If you can't wait a couple of years to talk to your baby, salvation is at hand.

Sign of the times

At six months old babies begin to develop a real understanding of what's going on around them - but it's another 12 to 18 months before they start to speak.

But their hands do work quite well so why not bridge the gap with a bit of sign language?

There is growing enthusiasm for baby sign language - some research even says it can develop better language skills as the child gets older.

The signs developed for babies is basically are the same as the sign language developed for the deaf.

Inside Out meets American baby signing pioneer Joseph Garcia.

Basically the parents learn the signs and then take them home and teach the kids.

Back in Doncaster we meet 20-month-old Isabelle who has become so good at signing that she even teaches her dad and the programme presenter Nisha Pankhania how to use sign language.

Mother Jo is a teacher and has been signing to Isabelle for just over a year with some amazing results.

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Tuna tales

Tuna capital and home of the big catch - Scarborough

Inside Out looks at whether big game fishing is making a return in Scarborough.

Back in the 1930s Scarborough was best known as a spa town and resort, Yorkshire's answer to St.Tropez.

But under the water - something big was stirring.

A mysterious fish had been spotted by local fisherman fish about 10 miles out to sea.

They had never seen anything like it before - a huge fish, bigger than any shark, ramming into the Herring shoals and stealing them from their nets.

It weighed more than a Mini, and accelerated faster than a Ferrari.

The Giant Atlantic Bluefin Tuna had turned up off the east coast for a North Sea feeding frenzy.

Back then they called it a Tunny.

The Tunny Club

Scarborough became home to the Tunny Club of Great Britain.

Millionaires hatched plots to catch the giant fish on a rod and line, and they employed local fishermen to do the grafting.

Inside Out meets Bill Pashby was just 10-years-old when he went to sea.

He recalls that the fish caught were colossal in size and the race was always on to hook a record breaker.

One man who made it his mission to catch a big Tunny was Lorenzo Mitchell Henry, a pioneering aristocrat and a professional big game hunter.

Mitchell-Henry designed a special rod and reel for the job.

To see if it snapped, he hooked it up to the front his Bentley while his butler reversed the car - it worked so well that he set sail.

And Inside Out has unearthed the only film ever made of East Coast Tunny fishing.

In the film the intrepid angler hooks a giant fish and struggles to control it such is its power.

Three hours later the fight was over and the defeated fish was brought ashore, weighing in at 851lbs - that's about 4,000 cans worth.

What a whopper!

It was the biggest fish ever caught in British waters and Mr Mitchell-Henry was delighted.

News of the catch led to boom times - as long as you weren't a Tunny.

The rich and the famous descended on Scarborough for a piece of the action.

But Tunny fishing wasn't only a Boy's Own adventure.

In the Summer of 1947 Dr Bidi Evans, a woman, came to the Yorkshire Coast in her father's yacht for the Tunny season.

She caught a Tunny weighing in at 714lbs - this fish and Bidi still hold the British Womens' Record.

Tuna wars

Back in Scarborough all was not well in the Gentleman's Club - the world of Yorkshire big game fishing was about to turn nasty.

Another giant fish was caught by a Lincolnshire gentleman farmer called John Hedley Lewis in 1949.

It weighed in at 852lbs, one pound more than Mr Mitchell-Henry's fish.

Mitchell-Henry was furious that his record had been broken - and by a local farmer - so he complained about the rope.

He said that it was too big, too wet - and it weighed too much!

But Lorenzo Mitchell Henry wasn't going to give up without a fight - and Inside Out has tracked down a witness.

Back at the Hedley-Lewis Lincolnshire family estate Vincent inherited his father's unshakeable belief that his father caught the biggest fish ever.

He didn't take kindly to an aristocratic angler arguing over the weight of a piece of wet rope so the debate rages on.

Decline of the Tuna trade

By the mid 50's the North Sea Herring fleet had hoovered the sea - and with no herring to eat, the Tunny moved on.

Scarborough's Tunny Club proudly posed for its last group photo.

But this North Sea drama isn't played out yet - 40 years after the last giant Tunny was caught off the Yorkshire Coast the giant fish is back in British waters.

Inside Out goes in search of the Tuna and its feeding grounds in the North Sea with Adrian Molloy, a professional tuna angler.

Most of the fish Adrian catches are tagged and released - and a satellite tracks them as they tour the oceans for food.

Inside Out and Adrian reckon that these monsters are heading back to Yorkshire waters.

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