Pensioner led to ATM then ‘hounded’ into handing cash over

The extortion took place in Aberdeen on a number of occasions between June 17 and July 7.

Aberdeen: Police have launched an investigation. Google 2020
Aberdeen: Police have launched an investigation.

Police are hunting a woman who “hounded” a pensioner into withdrawing cash from an ATM and handing it over.

The extortion took place in Aberdeen on a number of occasions between Wednesday, June 17 and Tuesday, July 7.

The victim was approached by the suspect asking for money at the junction of Summerfield Terrace and King Street.

The elderly woman was then taken to an ATM within a shop at the junction of Urquhart Road and King Street.

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Police said she was “hounded into withdrawing cash and handing it over”.

The victim is believed to have withdrawn up to a four-figure sum during the period of coercion.

The suspect, who was described as gaunt-looking, is believed to be in her late 20s.

She had long brown hair, which was sometimes worn in a ponytail, and was wearing casual clothing.

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Constable Louise Calder said: “This has been a traumatising experience for the elderly woman who was subjected to ongoing harassment from the suspect. She is being supported by her family and our officers.

“I am appealing to anyone who was in the King Street area between these dates and witnessed an elderly woman being approached by or withdrawing money whilst next to a woman matching the suspect’s description to get in touch.

“Have you been approached by a woman in the city centre matching this description asking for money? If so, we would also like to hear from you.

“We want to make sure that the people in our communities are kept safe and informed and I would urge you to speak to elderly or vulnerable family and friends to advise them of these types of incidents and reduce the likelihood of them becoming a victim.”

If you have any information, call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


Loch Lomond staff tackle ‘tidal wave’ of litter left by visitors

In just two days, the team collected 81 bin bags of waste in addition to their normal weekly collections.

'Tidal wave of litter': Loch Lomond staff slam visitors. @lomondtrossachs

Staff at Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park have issued a warning to visitors after tackling a ‘tidal wave’ of rubbish.

Due to the easing of lockdown restrictions and a spell of warm weather many tourists are flocking to the popular beauty spot to enjoy the outdoors.

However staff and volunteers have been met with large amounts of waste as a result and are urging people to take their rubbish home rather than leave it behind.

In just two days, the team collected 81 bin bags and assorted camping litter in addition to their normal weekly collections.

The team collected 81 additional bin bags of waste in just two days. @lomondtrossachs
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They posted images of their rubbish haul on social media and wrote: “Our staff and volunteers are out fighting the tidal wave of litter that has been left in the National Park.

“In the past two days alone we collected 81 bin bags and assorted camping litter. This is in addition our normal weekly collections.”

Earlier this week a trail of human waste and litter left locals and businesses on the North Coast 500 trail frustrated. 

Wild campers and those in campervans have been frequently spotted alongside the route, especially in north west Sutherland. 

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The popular Smoo Cave attraction at Durness risks becoming known as ‘poo cave’, due to the amount of human and dog faeces littering the place on a daily basis.


Scotland records 60 new cases of coronavirus in last 24 hours

The total number of Covid-19 deaths in Scotland remains at 2491.

SNS
Scotland records 60 new cases overnight.

Scotland has recorded 60 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours.

The latest Scottish Government figures revealed there have now been no deaths related to the virus for the last 23 days but the total number of confirmed cases is now 18,950. 

A total number of 261 people are currently being treated in hospital with three in intensive care.

The total number of Covid-19 deaths in Scotland remains at 2491.

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The Scottish Government said the newest case figure represents 1.3% of newly tested individuals across the country.

The latest report comes as Aberdeen is spending its first weekend back in lockdown following an outbreak of coronavirus in the city.

Cases linked to the city’s growing cluster increased to 110 on Saturday with 643 close contacts identified.

The Covid cluster is believed to have started in busy bars in the city centre last week.

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Players from Aberdeen Football Club have been condemned by the First Minister after team mates went to a bar at the weekend.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=hzDJ6zdECJU&feature=emb_title

Two players have since tested positive for the virus, with six others self-isolating.

Bars and restaurants have been forced to close as a result of the lockdown, with many concerned about their future.

At Friday’s briefing, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I am pretty furious about this situation because it shouldn’t have happened.”

Murder bid investigation after man stabbed in gang attack

A 45-year-old is fighting for life in hospital after being assaulted by three men in Paisley on Friday.

Murder bid: Man fighting for life.

A man is fighting for life in hospital after being attacked by a gang of three in Paisley.

The 45-year-old was stabbed after being approached by the men outside flats in Fulbar Road shortly before 9pm on Friday. 

He was taken to the Royal Alexandra Hospital and was later transferred to the Golden Jubilee Hospital where he remains in a critical condition.

Police are treating the attack as attempted murder and officers are hunting the attackers. 

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One man was white, in his 40s and of heavy build with black hair and glasses.  He was wearing a blue top and shorts.

The second man was aged between 40 and 50 years old and of heavy build and wearing a blue top.

The third was a younger man with a slim build and wearing grey top and jogging trousers.

Detective inspector Ian Ross said: Extensive enquiries are ongoing into this attempted murder and officers are currently carrying out enquiries in the local area, and checking CCTV footage to gather more information on the three men responsible.

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“The two older suspects were both riding bikes and they made off along the cycle path at Fulbar Road.

“I would urge any witnesses to this attack, or anyone who may have seen the three men responsible in the local area around the time of the incident to contact us as soon as possible.”

Anyone with information should contact Paisley Police Office through 101 quoting reference number 3834 of August 7.  Alternatively Crimestoppers can be contacted on 0800 555 111, where anonymity can be maintained.


Analysis: Aberdeen’s yellow card puts SPFL on notice

If there’s a sense of embarrassment at Pittodrie, it may be tinged with a sense of relief.

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Football doesn't "need" to return.

As most of Scotland took cautious steps out of lockdown and back into social activities last week, others ignored the warnings and went full throttle back to a traditional Saturday night out.

Photos of rammed bars and pubs in Aberdeen were to be seen all over Twitter and Facebook and, somewhere in amongst the noise, eight Aberdeen FC players went out for dinner and a drink.

Less than a week later, as the city finds itself back in lockdown after a cluster of coronavirus cases, two players have tested positive, six more are in isolation, one Premiership match has been postponed, and the game is on warning that it’s only back in business for as long as everyone toes the line. 

This isn’t quite Scottish football’s road trip to Durham, but it’s a stark reminder that the framework that allowed the season to kick off with some drama last weekend is a fragile build.

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The 2020/21 Premiership season began last week behind closed doors and only after a raft of changes and a lot of talking. The return to training was the first step when the Scottish FA, the SPFL and the Scottish Government agreed strict rules and protocols, and competition was allowed after the new regime of distancing, disinfecting and regular testing had bedded in. 

The SFA and the league may have been responsible for ensuring that clubs took all the necessary precautions, but it was Holyrood that gave the go-ahead for games. 

Anyone who heard First Minister Nicola Sturgeon describe the behaviour of Aberdeen’s players as “completely unacceptable” on Friday, and noted her reminder that the situation was created “not through bad luck but clear breaches of the rules” would have been clear that all the preparation and care would count for nothing if another slip-up was to happen.

The gravity of the situation isn’t lost on Aberdeen. Chairman Dave Cormack, who’s been a high-profile voice of concern about the financial impact of the pandemic on clubs and their communities, has apologised to the health and football authorities as well as their fellow clubs. He has stressed the work that has gone into following health advice at Pittodrie and the club’s training base but also promised a review and a renewed focus on adhering to the guidance.

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Saturday’s match against St Johnstone was initially approved by a clinician and set to go ahead before a late U-turn by the Scottish Government. The game was postponed on Friday morning and Cormack was grateful to be allowed the chance to play at a later date rather than forfeit valuable points.

Dons manager Derek McInnes shares that feeling but spoke of his frustration at being without so many first team players for the next two games. Understandably, he said he feels anger and disappointment with the players but he also showed understanding.

McInnes accepts the players’ explanation that, having been in each other’s company as part of a “bubble” that allowed them to train and play, the players believed the same rules applied when out in public. Return To Training protocols say they have to observe all public health guidelines and with more than three households meeting outside, there was no argument that rules have been broken.

The players are remorseful, chastened and fully aware of what is expected of them, he said. But he was also clear where responsibility lay. “We can control the work environment,” he said. “But when the players leave here we are trusting them to show some common sense and be as vigilant as they are here”.

If there’s a palpable sense of embarrassment emanating from Pittodrie, it would be understandable if it was tinged with a sense of relief. The public dressing down and the loss of players for two games  notwithstanding, the outcomes could have been worse.

The bubble burst because of individuals’ behaviour outside of the club, not from the facilities at Cormack Park or guidelines or protocols and, as Cormack noted, the clinician reporting to the Joint Response Group had no issue with the club’s procedures and would have been happy for the Dons to play this weekend.

They won’t, of course, and SPFL secretary Iain Blair had warned of the impact of postponements when releasing the season fixtures. The rescheduling of the St Johnstone match has been worked out without serious disruption. Working out a schedule that could accommodate a full league programme along cup, European and international fixtures, Blair had noted that there was only one free week in March to play postponed games without putting undue stress on clubs.

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This postponement has come so early that it could be quickly rescheduled for August 20, before UEFA qualifiers and Betfred Cup games start filling the calendar.  An outbreak and call-off even a couple of weeks later in the season would have put serious strain on the fixture list and affected the potential for teams to play all their games in time.

Clubs are desperate to get to the point where supporters can return to grounds and while the incident has highlighted that covid is still a clear and present danger, there’s no immediate sense that this has been a major setback when it comes to eventually opening the doors again.

Reaching that point will only be possible if there’s no repeat of the Aberdeen incident and if all clubs follow the procedures that have been working well since players emerged from lockdown in June. Asked for his reaction to the news, Celtic manager Neil Lennon said it should sharpen focus for everyone involved.

“It’s a reminder to all the players and the staff that we have to be on our guard all of the time and follow the protocols in the right way,” he said. “We’ve had a long layoff from football. Nobody wanted that and we certainly don’t want to go back to that.”

Aberdeen players apologise to fans for breaking Covid rules

The group of eight have been named as they admit they made a 'huge error in judgement' by visiting a city centre bar together.

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Apology: Players say sorry for 'huge error in judgement'.

Eight Aberdeen players who visited a busy bar linked to a growing coronavirus cluster have apologised to fans for breaking Covid rules.

Two footballers at the club tested positive for Covid-19, meaning the their Premiership match at St Johnstone on Saturday has now been postponed.

A further six players have started 14 days of self-isolation after coming into close contact with the others.

The group of eight, made up of Sam Cosgrove, Scott McKenna, Craig Bryson, Jonny Hayes, Bruce Anderson, Dylan McGeouch, Michael Devlin and Matty Kennedy, said they made a “huge error in judgement” by visiting Soul Bar in the city centre.

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Earlier this week the First Minister said the players “blatantly broke the rules” agreed by the Scottish FA, SPFL and government.

A club statement read: First and foremost we would like to apologise to every AFC fan, the manager, everyone at the club, the football authorities, the First Minister, all healthcare workers along with everyone else that has worked tirelessly around the clock to get the country, and in particular football, back up and running again.

‘This was a genuine error on our part as professional football players, and in doing so, we have let our manager down.’

Aberdeen players’ statement

“We, as a small group of players, made a huge error of judgement last weekend by thinking it was ok to visit a city centre venue together.

“None of us could have foreseen the escalation of Covid-19 cases in the Grampian area, nor did we deliberately attempt to flaunt or disobey Government guidelines which we all must adhere to, or indeed the clear guidelines set out by the club.

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“This was by no means a team night out as has been portrayed and while we attempted to comply with Government social distancing guidelines, we now recognise that our group of eight exceeded the number of households permitted to meet up. 

Coronavirus.
They players were at busy Aberdeen venue Soul Bar.

“This was a genuine error on our part as professional football players, and in doing so, we have let our manager down.

“As players we appreciate our club has gone above and beyond to put protocols in place to protect us and it was never our intention to put that those jeopardy, or to put our teammates or football staff at risk.

“As a player group, we once again apologise unreservedly to the fans, the manager, the board and all the staff at the club.”

On Friday Sturgeon said the players’ behaviour was “completely unacceptable” and said calling off the fixture was the right decision.

Speaking at the daily coronavirus briefing, she said: “It is now clear that all eight of these players visited a bar in Aberdeen on Saturday night.

“In doing so they blatantly broke the rules that had been agreed by the SFA, the SPFL and the Scottish Government, which – to put it mildly – is completely unacceptable.

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“This morning the Scottish Government convened a meeting with the SFA and the SPFL and, following those discussions, the football authorities have confirmed the game between Aberdeen and St Johnstone scheduled for tomorrow in Perth will not now go ahead.

“I think that is the right decision. We are expecting members of the public to behave in a highly precautionary manner right now.

“When a football club ends up with players infected – and let’s remember this is not through bad luck but clear breaches of the rules – we cannot take even smalls risks that could then spread the infection to other parts of the country.”

Sturgeon said the Scottish Government will be contacting all club captains and managers to “emphasise the importance” of complying with guidance.


Cystic fibrosis patient’s ‘tears of joy’ over ‘wonder drug’

Hailey Mann, from Aberdeenshire, has lived with the life-threatening condition since birth.

STV
Aberdeenshire: Hailey Mann hopes 'wonder drug' Kaftrio will help to save her life.

By Jenness Mitchell & Brandon Cook

A young cystic fibrosis patient said her “legs went to jelly” and she cried “tears of joy” after doctors revealed she’s to be given a miracle drug that could save her life.

Hailey Mann, from Aberdeenshire, has lived with the life-threatening condition since birth, but her health has rapidly deteriorated since January.

With only 14% capacity in her lungs, doctors earlier told her to make end-of-life preparations.

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The 24-year-old has now been given “hope” following the Scottish Government’s approval of ‘wonder drug’ Kaftrio for the NHS earlier this week.

Following approval from the European Medicines Agency, it is expected a licence will be granted in the coming weeks.

However, Ms Mann said she was left “speechless” when she was told on Friday an agreement had been made with Vertex Pharmaceuticals to make the treatment available to her on “compassionate grounds” as soon as possible.

Ms Mann told STV News: “My legs went to jelly, I was shaking like a leaf.

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“There’s so many different emotions going on. There was tears of joy.

“Obviously I’m totally nervous – with any kind of drugs come side-effects – so it’s a bit of the anxiety, the excitement, and just hope that my body will react as well as physically possible.”

The revolutionary drug has the potential to ease sufferers’ condition and improve their quality of life.

The treatment combines three drugs to tackle the underlying causes of the condition by helping lungs work more effectively. 

Health experts believe nine out of ten cystic fibrosis patients could benefit from the drug.

Ms Mann hopes the drug will help her to put on weight to get on the lung transplant list.

She said she’s heard “amazing stories” about Kaftrio, adding: “It gives me life, it gives me hope.”

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Ms Mann is now waiting on a call from her pharmacy to tell her the Kaftrio has arrived.

She added: “It still doesn’t feel real, I feel like I’m dreaming.”


NHS staff fall silent to remember colleagues at pay protest

The demonstration at Glasgow Green was just one of dozens planned across the UK on Saturday.

Getty Images
Glasgow Green: Protests took place across the UK.

Hundreds of NHS staff fell silent to remember colleagues lost during the coronavirus pandemic at a protest over pay in Glasgow city centre.

The demonstration was just one of dozens planned across the country in response to a UK Government pay rise announcement which campaigners say excludes “a massive number of healthcare workers”.

Many of those at the demonstration in Glasgow Green held banners and signs along with two-metre lengths of blue ribbon to emphasise social distancing, with action also taking place in Edinburgh on Saturday morning.

Silence: The NHS staff paid tribute to colleagues lost during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Melanie Gale, a senior charge nurse who ran a Covid-positive ward with an “under-staffed hard-working team”, helped organise the event.

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She said: “It was scary times not knowing what was happening – we were in the middle of a pandemic and our NHS workers stood on that frontline and gave their all.

“We’re here today to say we have had enough, we deserve our equal pay. It’s ten years of not being given a proper pay increase for the jobs we do.

“I’d like to thank the public, our speakers and everybody else who has come out today. There are 33 cities today protesting about this and I’m just so amazed.”

Government: The dispute is over pay conditions.

Sarah Pirie – a nurse treating Covid-19 patients at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital – read a poem out shortly before the two-minute silence at 12pm.

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Scottish Labour health spokeswoman Monica Lennon also showed her support at the protest, having called for the Scottish Government to begin pay talks with workers.

She told the crowd: “People call you heroes but you don’t have superpowers, you should be getting paid a fair pay for the job that you do, the job that you’re trained to do, your expertise and your skills – not just a pat on the back or a clap on the doorstep every week.

“We need to make sure that your work continues to be recognised and properly remunerated, so you have our full support. Warm words don’t pay the bills – we need to get these pay talks under way.

“We know in the months ahead we’re going to have a very difficult winter on our hands. Aside from Covid pressures there’s all the other pressures that are on the NHS.

“It’s very poignant to be here to stand amongst you, our healthcare workers, because you have lost some of your own in this battle.”


Care home residents allowed more outdoor visitors

The health secretary confirmed plans for up to three outdoor visitors from no more than two households.

New rules: Three outdoor visitors allowed.

Care home residents will be able to receive more outdoor visitors from Monday.

Health secretary Jeane Freeman confirmed plans for up to three outdoor visitors from no more than two households.

It is the first change in visiting rules since July 3, when it was announced one designated visitor would be allowed outdoors.

But care homes will only be able to allow a visit at all if the facility has been Covid-free during the pandemic, or affected residents have fully recovered and no residents or staff have had symptoms for 28 days.

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Restarting indoor visiting is still not advised, Freeman said.

“This has been, and continues to be, a very challenging time for care home residents, their families and staff,” she said.

“Care homes are first and foremost people’s homes and we are committed to reintroducing measures that allow residents to connect with their family and friends. But this must be done safely and with precautions.

“It is important that we continue to monitor this situation and that all changes within care homes happen incrementally and with real caution to protect residents and staff.

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“At this point in time clinical advice is not to restart indoor care home visiting, but to ensure the necessary plans are in place to move to this as soon as it is safe to do so.

“This is being continually monitored and I hope we can give a further update on this in the coming weeks.

“We are also working to identify the necessary steps needed to restart communal activity within care homes and to reintroduce external outings by residents.

“This is a complex piece of work and we will of course include key partners in this.”

There will be no change to the current visiting restrictions at care homes in Aberdeen, where lockdown measures have been imposed due to a coronavirus cluster.

The Scottish Government announced on Saturday there had been 60 new confirmed cases of coronavirus in the last day – with three people in intensive care and 261 others in hospital.

In the week ending August 8, there were 305 positive tests – bringing the new overall total to 18,950.

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As of August 5, there were 60 adult care homes with a current case of suspected Covid-19 – which is 6% of the facilities in Scotland.


Aberdeen faces a weekend on lockdown, this time on its own

Cases linked to the city's cluster have increased to 101, which began with an outbreak at a pub.

Aberdeen is preparing for its first weekend in lockdown following an outbreak of coronavirus in the city.

Cases linked to the city’s cluster have increased to 101, following an outbreak at a pub.

Players from Aberdeen Football Club have been condemned by the First Minister after team mates went to a bar at the weekend.

Two players have since tested positive for the virus, with six others self-isolating.

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At Friday’s briefing, Nicola Sturgeon said: “I am pretty furious about this situation because it shouldn’t have happened.”

Bars and restaurants have been forced to close as a result of the lockdown, with many concerned about their future.

The Chester Hotel had been taking around 2000 bookings a week, but are worried about drawing future customers to the city.

Stephen Gow from the hotel said: “I think we’ll have to regain confidence not only locally, but I think nationally as well.

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“It’s not just about our local customers, who are incredibly important to us, but in order to fill bedrooms in the city we need people from outwith the city.”

Meanwhile, extra police will be patrolling the city to ensure people are adhering to lockdown rules.

Superintendent Murray Main said: “People will come and enjoy themselves, we’ve got the five mile [restriction] for leisure so I’d ask people to stick to that. 

“I would ask people not to congregate in peoples houses, but if people are enjoying the weather, they do so responsibly, take account of their own actions and the impact and spread of this virus.”

There are concerns that the outbreak could have an impact on schools reopening, which is due to take place next week.

However Jenny Laing, co-leader of Aberdeen City Council, is hopeful that the city can get the outbreak under control.

She said: “We obviously have the situation currently and that will be reviewed by the Scottish Government and the councils, but we hope to have the schools open as planned, particularly if we can get this outbreak under control quickly.”

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