Call to protect South Yorkshire's 'vital' warehouse staff
Warehouse workers keeping "essential supplies moving" should be given greater protection, a South Yorkshire MP has said.
Dan Jarvis called for stronger social distancing measures for South Yorkshire's 21,000 warehouse workers.
Concerns have been raised over conditions at sites in the region used by clothing retailers ASOS and Pretty Little Thing.
The Labour MP for Barnsley Central, who is also mayor of the Sheffield City Region, said a "number of businesses" in the region "continue to operate unsafe working practices".
He said: "Coronavirus is going to dominate our way of life for the weeks and months ahead, so for everyone's safety, it's vital we look after workers making sure communities have the supplies they need.
"The government must provide clear guidance about the required social distancing practices. They must ensure they are implemented and take tough action where rules are broken."
Mr Jarvis said he had been working with trade unions and local authorities to protect workers' safety.
He has written to the Secretary of State for Business, Alok Sharma, asking for clearer guidance and enforcement of social distancing rules where businesses continue to operate.
Thursday's forecast for Yorkshire
We're in for a mix of cloud and sunny spells this morning but that cloud will tend to develop through the course of the day leading to a mainly cloudy afternoon with the chance of the odd shower in places.
Tonight it'll stay cloudy with a possibility of showers but things should clear as the night progresses.
We should see top temperatures of about 9C today:
Call for recently retired police officers to return
South Yorkshire Police is asking retired officers and staff to return to work to bolster numbers and add extra resilience during the coronavirus pandemic.
The force is opening up a broad range of opportunities to former employees during the outbreak.
Retired officers and staff, and those on a career break, are being invited to consider returning for a temporary period so the force and the public can benefit from their knowledge and experience.
Chief Constable Stephen Watson said: "We are well prepared and equipped to deal with this pandemic. Our officers will remain on the front line and we will be here for the people in South Yorkshire who need us.
"In these unprecedented times, however, we are also calling upon those who have left us to consider returning to duties to provide a tremendous public service.
"The skillsets of these former colleagues will be invaluable as we get on with the job in front of us."
Air Ambulance staff to return to frontline NHS roles
Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) is scaling back its service to allow its crew members to return to their jobs and help in the fight against coronavirus.
In a statement the YAA said it was re-deploying staff to ensure Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) and the NHS could provide as much frontline care as possible.
As a result it said one of its two helicopters would be temporarily grounded.
Peter Sunderland, YAA Chairman said: “In the midst of this unprecedented crisis, the YAA wants to do everything it can to support the NHS and YAS in their fight against COVID-19. It is important that everyone does their part, including us.
“As the cases of COVID-19 rise, it also increases the pressure on the NHS. We know that YAS anticipates a significant increase in 999 calls across the region and by redeploying our Doctors and a small number of our Critical Care Paramedics back to their respective hospitals or ambulance operations, we can do our bit to support the frontline effort.”
He said the outbreak had also resulted in a "huge downturn in fundraising incomes", saying that as a result of cancelled events the service would lose an estimated £400,000.
People in lockdown flock to watch peregrines webcam
Hundreds of people have been tuning in to a webcam set up to film nesting peregrine falcons in Sheffield as they look to counter the stress and boredom of coronavirus lockdown.
The webcam was installed by the University of Sheffield on St George's Church lecture theatre in 2012, and live streams the activities of the birds.
Ian Knowles, from the university's technical team, said normally around 25 people a day log on to the webcam, with up to 100 a day in breeding season but, since last week, this has risen to 350 unique views per day.
Martin Abrams, who lived in Sheffield for six years but now lives in a flat in South London, said he has watched the peregrine webcam for five years but now is more important and "soothing" than ever.
“It's a real tonic," he said.
"Looking after your mental health at this time and having an outlet in this crisis is proving to be really helpful.
"Lots of people are facing a lot more time indoors and many are not lucky enough to have a garden.
"The peregrines webcam is a unique insight into a really, really special pair of animals and I'm hoping to get my three-year-old son interested too."
People have been logging on to the stream from around the world including the US, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Canada, Romania and Poland.
Yorkshire people stuck abroad call for government help
BBC Look North
Tourists from Yorkshire stranded abroad due to coronavirus have been telling Look North that they are desperate to get home - and are calling for extra help from the UK government.
The foreign secretary Dominic Raab said earlier this week that any Britons on holiday should consider travelling home now while they still can. But a number of travellers have told us they've unable to get any flights and some are running out of money
Appeal after police van has tyre slashed
Frontline police officers had their tyre slashed as they attended an incident in a Sheffield suburb last night, South Yorkshire Police has said.
The van was parked on Hazlebarrow Road in Jordanthorpe just after 18:00 when the damage was done, police say.
Two men on an electric-powered bike are wanted by police in connection with the incident.
Supt Cherie Buttle said: "Our officers are working harder than ever to carry out their duties and keep the public safe and this is completely unacceptable behaviour.
"Frontline officers were attending an incident when their vehicle was targeted by vandals, it meant we had to deploy extra resources which is unnecessary and a waste of officer time."
Network Rail asks former signallers to return to railways
Retired rail workers are being asked to consider coming back to work to help keep the railways running during the coronavirus crisis.
Network Rail is appealing to former signallers to help man signal boxes and control centres and it looks to provide crucial cover for members of the workforce who may need to self-isolate.
Chris Gee, Head of Operations (Eastern Region) for Network Rail, said: “We are working hard to keep vital services, which get key workers to their jobs and food and medical supplies across the country, moving.
“We are appealing for signallers who’ve retired, moved on to other careers at Network Rail or left the railway to come back and help us keep signal boxes and control centres open.
“Signallers are crucial to keep the railway open and we need more former workers to help us provide back-up if some of our staff can’t come to work. Full re-training will be given.”
People are being warned not to click on links in text messages which have been sent from what claims to be Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Text messages telling people about government refunds have been circulating - something the government has said is a scam.
During the coronavirus outbreak, scammers have looked to take advantage of people who might be unemployed or on a reduced income.
But the government says texts and emails saying people can apply for tax breaks or relief are fake.
It said: "Do not reply if you get a text message claiming to be from HMRC offering you a tax refund in exchange for personal or financial details. Do not open any links in the message."
'Keep kids home' appeal as groups on Sheffield streets
Police in Shefffield say they've had to take groups of youths home after finding them together in the city.
They're appealing to parents to keep their children at home during the coronavirus outbreak.
Writing on social media, police said: "Whilst on patrols we are witnessing groups of children out together without any parent in sight - this is not school holidays":
Gang jailed after sledgehammer attack on police car
A "brazen group of criminals" has been jailed after gang members armed with machetes, axes and crowbars, raided homes and businesses across the north, including some in West and South Yorkshire.
The group stole £1.5m worth of items and caused £230,000 worth of damage.
Eleven gang members were jailed for up to 16 years at Minshull Street Crown Court.
Using stolen cars, the gang would ram-raid buildings and use weapons to threaten members of the public and police officers when challenged, police said.
On one occasion, officers stopped a vehicle for displaying false number plates, unaware the occupants had just burgled a business.
Two men emerged from the car wearing "Scream" masks and attacked the police vehicle with sledgehammers.
Four of the men were arrested after a burglary at a business in West Yorkshire, while a further nine were arrested during police raids in Oldham.
"This dangerous group of offenders showed blatant disregard for the safety of others as they savagely attacked members of the public as well as police officers and security staff," said Det Insp Rachel Smith.
Eleven men have been jailed for their involvement with the gang, who committed more than 50 burglaries and robberies between July 2018 and May 2019.
Police chief's message to 'protect the vulnerable'
The Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police has issued a statement following the prime minister's announcement telling people not to leave their homes except for a few "very limited purposes."
Stephen Watson says: “We are all now being enlisted, not to fight in a war, but to play a very small but crucial role in the fight against Covid-19.
"All that is required of you is to stay at home and to cherish some time with those closest to you.
"In doing so, we are protecting the vulnerable and the elderly, many of whom have given more than this to protect us," he added.
The Chief Constable says his force will "inform, encourage and support," but says if it finds people "not willing to comply with the new rules" it will move to enforcement once it understands the detail of the legislation.
“These are unprecedented times and we all have a responsibility to work together and do everything we can to slow this virus down," said Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis in the wake of Boris Johnson's address to the nation last night.
"The situation is grave and each day more people are dying from this disease.
“I welcome the new measures introduced by the Prime Minister [and] I urge everyone to follow this advice and in particular to stay at home unless there is a compelling reason to leave.
“My heartfelt thanks goes to our NHS workers and all those on the frontline who are each day risking their lives to save others. We will forever be in their debt.
“It’s now time for everyone to follow the advice and take every measure to contain this disease. Lives depend upon it.”