Over the past six months, the police forces say they have seen an increase in the number of holidaymakers reporting issues relating to meet-and-greet car parks that are operating near Manchester Airport, which is why they have come together this week to launch Operation Cicero – a multi-agency crackdown on these fake firms.
Some of the reports the police forces have received this year include more than 55 incidents at the Lode Hill and Moss Lane car parks alone.
The incidents have ranged from car thefts and criminal damage, to travellers returning home to find that their cars have been driven hundreds, even thousands, of miles away while they’ve been on holiday.
In one case recent case, Cheshire Constabulary said that a customer returned to the UK to find their car bonnet had been stolen, while in another report, a customer returned from their two-month holiday to find their car had been driven more than 3,000 miles while they had been away.
In April alone, around 150 people returned home to find that their car keys were missing and their vehicles were stuck in a boggy field in Styal.
Officers were able to resolve matters and the cars were returned to their rightful owners.
However, the two forces say the companies are having “a hugely detrimental impact on local residents and holidaymakers alike”, and so, more than 50 people from Cheshire Constabulary and Greater Manchester Police, along with immigration officers and staff from Trading Standards, the Environment Agency, and HMRC took place in an operation yesterday and attended the Moss Lane and Lode Hill car parks to help address the problems.
“Holidays are supposed to be the highlight of the family calendar, so the last thing anyone wants is to return home and find that their car has been damaged, or even worse is missing,” explained Inspector Andrew Baker from Cheshire Police.
“While many of these businesses are not illegal, some of the activity taking part on their sites is and some the services they are providing are questionable [so] by working together with our partners, we have all been able to use our specialist skills to identify any offences which are taking place and ensure that the appropriate action is taken.”
He encouraged travellers to “do your research” before going on holiday.
Inspector Baker continued: “I you are going on holiday and looking to book a parking slot, do your research, choose a reputable company and always book through an official website and don’t just go for the cheapest option.
“Otherwise your car may be touring the UK while you are travelling the world.”
Manchester Airport says it is “grateful” to the police forces and partner agencies for the work they are doing to tackle the issue, and has committed to continuing to “raise awareness of the risks posed by booking airport parking through these unscrupulous companies”.
Popular London bakery Gail’s to open string of North West cafes next year
Popular craft bakery Gail’s has hinted at plans to open a string of new cafes in the North West next year.
The group, which already has a large number of bakery-cafes in the south of England, has announced it will open its first North West site in Wilmslow in early 2023.
Bosses have also said that ‘further locations in the North West’ will be announced in the new year, adding that all the new bakeries will serve GAIL’s artisan sourdough breads, pastries, sandwiches, and cakes alongside its specialty House Blend coffee.
The news also seems to potentially confirm speculation that the brand is planning a move into Manchester after The Manc shared news of potential plans for a Gail”s opening in the city centre in October.
Having already seen planning documents that suggest the chain is planning to take over the former White Stuff unit on King Street, it now appears that more news on that opening will be coming in 2023 – although it’s hard to say if it will be the first Manchester site to be announced.
The bakery group already has strong ties with Manchester, having run its sister wholesale bakery The Bread Factory in Openshaw since 2017.
Formed in the early 1990s by namesake Gail Mejia, Gail’s began when its eponymous founder decided to bring together the best bakers in London to create bakes for the capitals top chefs and restaurants.
Today, is known more as a customer-facing cafe and bakery whilst The Bread Factory continues the original wholesale legacy – supplying high quality, artisan breads to some of the region’s top local restaurants.
Gail’s first cafe opened on Hampstead High Street in 2005, and now the brand has 79 in neighbourhoods in and around London, Oxford, Brighton and more.
Turning back the clock on industrialised baking practices and moving to bake bread as it used to be baked: by hand, using quality ingredients and time-worn artisanal methods, Gail’s soon established a name for itself and has come a long way since those early days.
Still, the stuff that matters – the ethos, the suppliers, the skill and a handful of tried-and-tested sourdough starter cultures – hasn’t changed.
A champion for sustainability, the bakery also prides itself on minimising food waste by carefully setting aside any leftover food and donating it to a selection of local charities in each eatery’s neighbourhood
On Twitter, someone said: “I wouldn’t mind knowing where he is either he’s [flame emoji].”
In all serious though, Humberside Police said of Robert Rimmer: “If you see him, or know where he is, please do not approach him but instead call us immediately on our non-emergency 101 line quoting investigation reference 20900368291.
“If you would prefer to report information anonymously you can do so via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”