North London

    Robber jailed for knife-point robbery


    A man has been jailed for four years after robbing a stranger at knife-point and then attacking a police officer with the knife whilst attempting to escape.

    Muhibur Rahman, 19, of Heathland Road, Stoke Newington, North London, was sentenced at Wood Green Crown Court on 26 April 2017 to three years for robbery; three months for possession of a knife and one year for assault with intent to resist arrest. He had previously pleaded guilty to the offences at an earlier hearing.

    Rahman held a knife to the 20-year-old male victim’s throat outside a Tesco Express, on East London’s Hackney High Street. Coincidentally Police Sergeant Carroll Weeden was patrolling the area and chased Rahman. He lashed out at her with the knife. Fortunately, neither she nor the male victim sustained any physical injuries, she said:

    “I believe that I had a very lucky escape that night, and I am acutely aware that things could have been much more serious” and, “I am pleased that the court was able to recognise the gravity, seriousness and effects of knife crime on the victim of the knife-point robbery and me as a police officer.”

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    Investigations continue into London terror plots


    Police in London are currently investigating two separate terrorist incidents. Counter-terrorism police are continuing to question a man suspected of attempting to carrying out a knife attack in the heart of Westminster. In a separate investigation, armed police raided a house in Harlesden Road, Willesden, that was under observation as part of a current Counter Terrorism investigation. During the raid police shot a woman, who is now in hospital, and remains in a stable condition. Six people were arrested in connection with the investigation and further searches at linked addresses across London are under way.

    Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, Senior National Coordinator for counter terrorism policing said: “Due to these arrests that we have made, I believe that we have contained the threats that they posed. With the attack in Westminster on 22 March so fresh in people's minds, I would like to reassure everyone that across the country officers are working round the clock to identify those people who intend to commit acts of terror.”

    In Whitehall, 27-year-old Khalid Mohammed Omar Ali of Tottenham, was arrested by armed officers from the Met's Specialist Firearms Command, who stopped and searched him as part of an ongoing counter terrorism investigation.  He was carrying a rucksack containing at least three knives when he was detained yards from the scene. It is understood the arrest of the suspect was ‘intelligence-led’. Specialist officers swooped on the suspect as he carried a bag of knives. Dressed in dark clothing, he was wrestled to the ground on a traffic island at the Parliament Square end of Whitehall, close to Downing Street and the Foreign Office.  He remains in custody after being charged with Terrorism Act Offences and possession of offensive weapons. There are two ongoing searches at addresses in London as part of the investigation.

    Scotland Yard said in a statement: “The man, aged in his late 20s, was arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon and on suspicion of the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism”.

    Prime Minister Theresa May, who was on a campaign visit at the time, hailed the bravery of the police, the intelligence and security services, who she said were owed a “huge debt of gratitude.” She said: “I think it shows that our police and our intelligence and security services are on the alert as they always are, looking to keep us safe and secure.”

    Westminster has been on a state of heightened alert since the attack by Khalid Masood in March, which killed five people, including police officer PC Keith Palmer.

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    ‘Antiques guns collector’ busted for arms offences


    Detectives became suspicious when they learned Sultan Meer, 29 of The Roundway, Haringey was trying to source firearms. Meer claimed at the Old Bailey that the guns were antique and that he was a firearms collector, but detectives when carried out extensive checks into Meer's activities, they found legitimate firearms dealers he had been in contact with who recalled having conversations with Meer in which he enquired about obtaining bullets. To the police, this strongly indicated that rather than possessing the guns as keepsakes, he intended for them to be purposefully used.

    The police seized parcels they proved were ordered by Meer. These contained 100 year old guns; a Bulldog Elvria Pocket Revolver dating back to the 1900s and a .320 Centre-Fire Five-Shot Bulldog Revolver dating back to 1934. In a search of his home police found a further two guns stashed inside a laundry basket; a Belgian six-shot Vellodog revolver and a Belgian six-shot Bulldog revolver. Following tests, forensic experts concluded that although the guns were obsolete they were capable of firing bullets and could potentially be lethal.

    More incriminating evidence was found, including a signed declaration form, stating that Meer was not prohibited from possessing a gun, when he purchased an Otis Smith .38 revolver. This gun was not found.

    Although Meer has not been arrested for, or charged with terrorism offences; the investigation was led by the Counter Terrorism Command and supported by Trident and Area Crime Command. Detective Chief Superintendent Alexis Boon said: "We strongly believe that Meer had sold a gun and intended to sell these ones also. He had certainly looked into obtaining the ammunition so that the guns were ready to use. They were in full working order and so, in the wrong hands, could have been lethal."

    While Meer pleaded guilty on 18 April 2017 to two counts of possession of firearms by a person previously convicted of crime, he denied two counts of possession of weapons subject to general prohibition and two counts of purchasing a prohibited firearm.

    He is to be sentenced in June.

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    Sadiq Khan to launch inquiry into foreign property ownership

    The mayor of London Sadiq Khan has pledged to launch the UK’s most comprehensive inquiry into the impact of foreign investment on London’s housing market.

    Khan says he will commission the most thorough research on this matter ever undertaken in Britain – the biggest look of its kind at this issue, “so we can figure out exactly what can be done.”

    He insisted there are “real concerns” about the surge in the number of homes being bought by overseas investors, adding that the inquiry would map the scale of the problem for the first time.

    “It’s clear we need to better understand the different roles that overseas money plays in London’s housing market, the scale of what’s going on, and what action we can take to support development and help Londoners find a home,” Khan told the Guardian.

    Earlier this year, it was revealed how a 50-storey block of 214 luxury apartments by the river Thames in Vauxhall was more than 60% owned by foreign buyers. In one of the starkest examples of the impact of foreign investment, it found that a quarter of the flats were held by companies in secretive offshore tax havens, and many were unoccupied.

    In China, experts predict the current scale of global investment in UK property could rise significantly over the next decade, with a “new wave” of middle-class investors from mainland China quadrupling the amount of money flowing annually into foreign real estate – including the UK – to $200bn (£150bn) in the next 10 years.

    Sohaib Hamid of Reeds and Rains, said he expected a major jump in investors looking for a return in Britain, adding: “The UK market, particularly post-Brexit, is really picking up.

    “The interesting thing is that that in many ways the international investment journey is probably just starting … The exciting thing about China and India is that there are many cities with more than a million people. So London is a huge market for them.”

    Critics say the influx of foreign investors is contributing to a housing crisis in the capital. Earlier this week, it emerged that the number of thirtysomethings leaving London has leapt in recent years, as high housing costs have forced people to move out.

    Overseas buyers are also increasingly focusing on towns and cities outside the UK capital – with Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham all identified as “hotspots” as buyers try to get more for their money while avoiding new stamp duty rules.

    Foreign investment has helped drive a fresh property building boom around the UK. Liverpool has received millions of pounds of overseas investment in housing and property in the past five years, including a £200m New Chinatown development that is under construction and is being heavily marketed in China. Earlier this year, Sheffield announced a multibillion pound deal that would generate four or five city-centre projects over the next three years and create “hundreds if not thousands” of jobs in south Yorkshire.

    The Chinese are the biggest buyers of new-build residential accommodation globally, with the Singaporeans second and the British fourth, according to international property agents Knight Frank.

    sadiqkhanwikiKhan said: “We welcome investment from around the world in building new homes, including those for first-time buyers. At the same time, as more and more Londoners struggle to get on the property ladder, there are real concerns about the prospect of a surge in the number of homes being bought by overseas investors.”

    One key aim of the research will be shining a light on who is investing and where the money originates from.

    Khan said: “We urgently need money invested in London property. Londoners need reassuring that dirty money isn’t flooding into our property market, and ministers must now make all property ownership in London transparent so we can see exactly who owns what.”

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    Khan said: “We welcome investment from around the world in building new homes, including those for first-time buyers. At the same time, as more and more Londoners struggle to get on the property ladder, there are real concerns about the prospect of a surge in the number of homes being bought by overseas investors.”

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    Mayor Sadiq Khan appoints deputy mayor for business to safeguard jobs through Brexit fallout

    The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today (29 June) appointed Rajesh Agrawal as his deputy mayor for business.

    Sadiq Khan has tasked Rajesh Agrawal with championing London’s interests following the EU referendum, and protecting jobs and growth while the negotiation process takes place.

    The Mayor is calling for Britain and London to remain part of the European single market, and for the capital to be granted more autonomy in order to safeguard its business interests. This includes greater powers over skills, infrastructure, housing and planning.

    Rajesh Agrawal, a fintech entrepreneur and innovator, is the founder and CEO of Xendpay, an international money transfer service, and RationalFX, an online foreign exchange service - both of which have grown into globally successful businesses.

    Born and brought up in Indore, India, Rajesh arrived in London in 2001, and grew a two-person enterprise working from one small office into a multi-million pound business based in London, with offices in Birmingham, France and Spain.

    Sadiq Khan said: “I’ve pledged to be the most business-friendly Mayor that London has ever had, and it is now more vital than ever that we act robustly from City Hall to protect our economy from the current uncertainty.

    "London must stay in the single market and be given more powers to ensure we can remain competitive, in order to attract the global enterprise that London’s prosperity relies on. Having arrived in London equipped with the ambition to succeed, Rajesh has created a multi-million pound business from scratch and knows first-hand the challenges that our business leaders face, and what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. I know that Rajesh is the best person for the job of protecting jobs and growth in London as we deal with the fallout of the referendum.”

    Rajesh Agrawal said: “Having run my own global businesses, I know how important it is that London remains welcoming to European and international trade. I stepped on a plane for the first time 15 years ago to make the journey to London, and found a city that welcomed me with open arms and didn’t make me feel like a stranger. This openness to talent and enterprise must not change as a result of the referendum.

    “I share Sadiq’s belief that a thriving economy is critical to ensure that all Londoners can share in our great city’s future success. The Mayor and I are determined to build a coalition that ensures the needs of business and financial services are at the fore over the coming months of negotiations with the EU. My first priority will be to listen and engage with businesses, to hear their concerns and deliver reassurance.

    “These are extraordinary times and with this comes clear opportunities to reshape our city’s business landscape. We must champion London’s business at home and abroad, whilst equipping our young people for success, tackling rising business and housing costs and securing critical future infrastructure investment.”

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