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Forty-one people arrested during dawn raids in south-east London.

Today's (24 March) arrests are the culmination of a two-year pro-active operation to dismantle tandardi criminal networks suspected of committing hundreds of offences including burglary, theft, fraud, motor vehicle crime, drug dealing, money laundering and violent crime.

Forty men and a woman were arrested following raids at 53 addresses in Bexley, Lewisham, Greenwich and Bromley during this morning's coordinated action.

They have been arrested on suspicion of a range of offences including conspiracy to burgle, supply of Class A drugs, conspiracy to supply firearms, handling stolen goods and fraud and have been taken to police stations in central and south London where they remain in custody.

The operation is ongoing and searches are continuing at a number of addresses where items seized so far have included drugs and computer tablets.

For the last two years, Bexley police, working with colleagues from the Serious and Organised Crime Command, have been carrying out an operation targeting the most active criminal networks operating in Bexley and surrounding area. These have included teams of prolific burglars, thieves, drug-dealers and people involved in violent and weapon-related offending.

Specialist financial investigators, from the Serious and Organised Crime Command, are supporting today's operation. They will be using the Proceeds of Crime Act (2002) to strip criminals of any assets they have gained from their illegal activities, including cash, cars and houses to ensure they cannot go back to an unlawfully obtained lifestyle.

It is one of the largest scale operations ever to be carried out to tackle serious acquisitive crime in London.

The operation was launched following a rise in acquisitive crime, particularly burglary and theft, in the Bexley area. A dedicated team was established to identify and gather evidence against individuals who had formed criminal networks believed to be responsible for more than 300 offences over an 18-month period.

The Leader of the London Borough of Bexley, Councillor Teresa O'Neill said; "We know our residents want to live in a safe environment. They deserve to feel secure in their own homes. Today we have a safer Bexley thanks to excellent police work.

"We have been in contact with our police colleagues throughout the planning of this targeted operation. It was a solid intelligence-led plan that spanned a number of months and I am delighted to say that the council played a small part in making this morning's arrests possible. The impact of such a large and successful operation will be felt across our borough and beyond.

"This kind of policing and teamwork is a reassurance that crime will not go unnoticed in our borough. We are still one of the safest boroughs in London. We are fortunate enough to have a low crime rate and a positive relationship with our local police.

"Today has been the culmination of a lot of police hard work and I congratulate them on their success."

New business resource for Bexley Libraries

Bexley Libraries have now enhanced their eReference collection of online resources with access to COBRA, the complete business reference adviser. Library Members can get free access via the library website, simply by entering their card number, whether in the library, at home or via their mobile device.

COBRA, is especially helpful to anyone thinking of setting up their own business; but it also includes hundreds of factsheets for the established business owner too, including information on employing and managing staff, exporting and importing, finance, tax etc.

For further information contact Simon Finch or David Bowles or call 020 8303 7777 and ask for the Central Library.

Bexley Bangladeshi Women's Association

Bexley Bangladeshi Women's Association invites you to celebrate Bexley Women and a decade of service by our Association on Saturday 18 April from 12.15pm to 4.30pm at Ashmole Hall, Danson Youth Centre, Brampton Road, Bexleyheath DA7 4EZ.

There will be stories and poems by Bexley Women, Bangladeshi food, Music and dances.

Admission is free, but places are limited, to book your place call Mrs Faozia Rashid 020 8306 0580 or Mrs Syeda Shahid 07882 193433.

Bexley Childminders Conference

Over 70 childminders from Bexley attended a conference on Saturday 21 March aimed at raising awareness of the 'Changing Face of Early Years'.

The London Borough of Bexley event highlighted the need for more childcare providers to deliver the 15 hours of free nursery education that all three and four year olds are entitled to.

It also looked at changes to the Two Year Progress Check, changes to Ofsted inspections which will come into effect in September 2015 and the support available in Bexley to run a successful childcare business.

Those attending the conference were also able to participate in workshops which covered topics such as behaviour management, safeguarding, special educational needs and disability, interactive story-telling and non-violent resistance.

Feedback from the event held at Civic Offices, was extremely positive with those who attended it welcoming the opportunity to network with other childminders and to learn more about the resources and help provided by Bexley.

Anyone interested in finding a childminder or wishing to set up a business to become a childminder should call Family Information Services on 020 8303 7777 or visit Childcare Information

Community litter pickers show support for national clear up

Bexley's volunteer Community Litter Pickers came out to support the Government's first National Clear Up Day on Saturday 21 March - the first day of spring.

Residents from across the borough, who regularly litter pick around the areas where they live, readily gave up their free time for the national spring-clean to show their support for the initiative - and their commitment to helping keep the borough clean.

The borough currently has an estimated 40 volunteer Community Litter Pickers and their welcome contribution enhances the services already provided by the Council, as well as encouraging community spirit.

All volunteers are issued with safety advice, a litter picker, hi-vis vest, gloves and bags to help keep their areas clean and tidy.

If you are interested in joining them, please telephone Jennie Beckett on 020 8303 7777 or email

Woodlands Farm - Mayors inaugurate dipping pond

The Mayors of Bexley and Greenwich attended the formal opening of Woodland farm's new Dipping Pond on Friday 20 March, together with HSBC, who provided the funding. The farm straddles the boundary of the two Boroughs.

The new pond was built by a team of volunteers from HSBC and the farm's regular volunteers who landscaped the surrounding picnic area. The pond will give local school children the opportunity to discover the wide variety of creatures living in our ponds from water shrimps and water boatmen to frogs and newts.

After cutting the ribbon to launch the new pond, the Mayors and HSBC team were able to try a bit of pond dipping for themselves!

Spring is springing along the Green Chain

Early spring is one of the most appealing times of year to get out and about - and where better than to explore South East London's Green Chain. Upcoming events on the Green Chain make for an ideal trip out for all the family and offer the chance to see the snowdrops and daffodils in bloom.

The Green Chain is a network of over 300 open spaces in South East London and offers the perfect route to some of the Capital's best loved attractions. The walk is 50 miles long in total and most people complete it in sections of around 5 miles, combining their walk with a visit to one of the many wonderful attractions the Green Chain offers, from nature reserves to historic buildings.

This spring - as well as longer days and hopefully warmer temperatures, visitors to the Green Chain this month can enjoy:

  • A guided walk from Abbey Wood to Crayford- a semi-urban walk that takes in some stunning parts of the Green Chain Walk and London LOOP
  • Spring Lambing at Woodlands Community Farm in Welling- a must for the all the family!
  • The Thames Barrier in action- the barrier is operated every month for testing. Come and see this amazing feat of engineering in action!
  • A 6 miles linear stroll from Abbey Wood to Falconwood via the delightful woods at Lesnes Abbey and finishing with panoramic views at Oxleas Wood

This is just a taste of what's on offer along the Green Chain in the coming weeks - for full information please go to:

Councillor Alex Sawyer, Bexley Council's Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Leisure said:

"The Green Chain is one of the borough's many fantastic assets and takes in a wealth of fantastic scenery and places of interest. Walking sections of the Green Chain is also brilliant for health and well-being and I know it attracts both residents and visitors alike to the borough. It's a great time of year to make the most of the Green Chain and the various activities and events along it, so I urge people to get out there and explore what it has to offer this spring."

Sign up for the Bexleyheath and Welling Centenary Honour Walk

The Bexleyheath and Welling Branch of the Royal British Legion is organising an Honour Walk and is inviting people to get involved in the Centenary of the First World War, and show their support for the Armed Forces community.

The event will take place on Sunday 10 May in Danson Park starting at 11am, and will be officially opened by the Mayor of Bexley.

The walk will be 10km, and will follow pathways in the park. The route will be five laps each of 2 km allowing a shorter distance to be chosen (2km, 4km, 6km, 8km.). The event will therefore be suitable for all ages and abilities.

Registration fees are £5 for over 16's, £2 for under 16's and £10 for family groups. A sponsorship form will be issued upon registration.

Limited parking is available in the park for cars for a £2 fee.

To sign up or for more information contact Ken Sprowles on 020 8303 2601 or email 

You can also register on April 13-14 at the Bexleyheath Mall, or visit

Deaf Umbrella

In 2011, statistics tell us there were 10 million deaf or hard of hearing people in the UK, that is 1/6 of the population.

By 2031 it is estimated there will be 14.5 million, more than 800,000 of this number are severely or profoundly deaf people, and more than 45 thousand are children. Most of these deaf children will be born into hearing families.

A recent survey on 'openness' showed that most disabled people would be more confident if their 'careers service' showed that an employer was 'disability aware'.

Deaf Umbrella is a small company with big ideas based in South London. Their mission is to empower deaf and hard of hearing people by supporting their communication and promoting their opportunities for education and employment.

For more information call 0333 700 7474, email or visit

Four centuries of Bexley history published online

More than 250,000 Bexley parish records have been published online for the first time, offering unique insight into 427 years worth of local history and unearthing some famous faces.

Digitised by Ancestry, the world's largest online family history resource, from original records held by Bexley Local Studies and Archive Centre, the Bexley Parish Registers, 1558-1985 date back to the 16th Century and detail hundreds of thousands of baptisms, marriages and burials that took place in the current administrative area of the London Borough of Bexley.

Searchable by name, birth date, parish, baptism, marriage and burial date, name of spouse and name(s) of parents, they contain vital information for anybody looking to find out more about a Bexley-based ancestor, as well as the key life events of some famous faces.

The collection also contains civil cemetery records relating to the casualties of the Slade Green Ammunitions Factory disaster. On 19 February 1924, a fire broke out at the factory killing 11 young female workers and the brave foreman who tried to save them. Questions were asked about the explosion in Parliament and the disaster was described as a 'tragedy that rocked the nation'. A memorial for those killed in the fire remains at Erith Cemetery today.

Digitised from original archives held by Bexley Local Studies and Archive Centre this collection is available exclusively online at Ancestry and will help people learn more than ever before about the key life events of people living in the parish at this time.

To search the Bexley Parish Registers, visit

Sidcup Heartswim

The British Heart Foundation Swim took place on Saturday 21 March at Sidcup Leisure Centre, Hurst Road, Sidcup.

Forty swimmers attended on the night. Money pledged on the night totalled £3,018.00.

The British Heart Foundation is the National Heart Charity dedicated to helping every heart in crisis- so the British Heart Foundation needs you donations to keep more hearts beating.

Return to this week's Bexley Bulletin.

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