Reading Time: 3.1 mins

December 12, 2023

Hundreds of women and children trafficked to UK to shoplift 

  • One company in Scotland reported that it had identified a gang with 154 shoplifters stealing high-value items in bulk to sell or ship abroad. 
  • Members have been arrested in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Darlington. 
  • Retailers Against Crime (RAC) said it was tracking 56 shoplifting groups that are funding organised crime. 
  • Maxine Fraser, managing director at RAC, works in partnership with Police Scotland and 1,500 shops in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the north of England. 
  • Mrs Fraser reported that the gang has many children who have been trafficked to the UK, specifically to shoplift. 
  • Former police officer Adam Ratcliff, who runs the Safer Business Network, has worked through hours of CCTV and police information to establish links within this group. 
  • He stated: “Their lives are horrific. They are living in houses of multiple occupancy, 30, 40 of them at a time, sleeping on mattresses in dirty rooms, being used and abused as criminals for financial gain.” 
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.  

Elon Musk fact-checked on X by his own system – but claims it has been ‘gamed by state actors’ 

  • Elon Musk has claimed his community notes system on X (formerly Twitter), has been “gamed by state actors” after one of his own posts was fact-checked.
  • He has promoted the community-based fact-checking system as his flagship policy to tackle disinformation on the social media platform.
  • On Sunday, one of his own posts was marked with a community note, after he commented on the detention of a US YouTuber in Ukraine, who is scheduled to appear in court.
  • Musk, in response to his own post, claimed the community note had been “gamed by state actors.
  • However, that post was also subjected to its own note, which said: “There are criteria that Community Notes contributors must meet to be approved which are supposed to prevent manipulation.”
  • All posts on X which are marked with a community note are also stopped from generating revenue.
  • For more, please visit the Sky News website.

The following story may be regionalised:

Secondary schools with poorest pupils faced biggest cuts, says experts 

  • A new study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) think tank found that between 2010 and 2021, the most deprived secondary schools saw a real-terms cut of 12%. 
  • The Department for Education (DfE) insisted the analysis “doesn’t tell the whole story.” 
  • The findings have been labelled a “damning indictment” of the Government and sparked calls for more funding for education. 
  • The report found that despite the extra funding between 2019-2021, education sectors remain squeezed due to inflation and increasing cost pressures. 
  • Researchers also said the value of the pupil premium, designed to support disadvantaged students, has fallen by 14% since 2015. 
  • A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “Overall school funding is rising to its highest level in history, in real terms, next year – totalling £59.6 billion.” 
  • For more, please visit the Independent website. 

Cheshire primary school with just three pupils to close 

  • The school with three pupils is set to close within weeks after the council ruled it was unviable. 
  • The council reported that the three children had been given places at other schools. 
  • The school had room for 105 pupils, but its declining numbers meant it had a “challenging budget” and was rated inadequate by Ofsted last year. 
  • School councillors raised fears about other schools facing budget challenges. 
  • Poynton councillor Jos Saunders said: “I do hope other schools are going to get the support that they need because I really do not want to be sitting here having to make this sort of decision again. It’s very sad.” 
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.