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Latest News from the Tameside Reporter

Latics sign former La Liga striker

Posted on Fri, 18 Jan 2019 14:48:23 +0000

Oldham Athletic have confirmed the signing of former La Liga goalscorer Urko Vera.

The striker has signed a permanent deal until the end of the season.
Vera has a record of scoring goals throughout Europe and has appeared for a number of top teams in Spain.

The 31-year-old made his first appearance in La Liga, the first division in Spain, with Basque giants Athletic Bilbao where he also spent time as a youngster.

During that season he also made his mark, scoring an injury-time equaliser against Getafe.

During the 2013/14 season he was a key part of the SD Eibar squad that were promoted from the Segunda Division to La Liga as champions, making 31 appearances for them.

Following his spell with them he joined CD Mirandes and scored 17 goals in 38 appearances in the Segunda Division.

He has also represented CA Osasuna and SD Huesca in Spain.

Moving abroad is something that the Basque striker is used to, in 2015 he moved to South Korea to play in the K League with Jeonbuk Hyundai, winning the league whilst he was there.

More recently he has been plying his trade in Romania with Champions League outfit CFR Cluj and Astra Giurgiu.

Vera will wear the number 11 during his time with the club and he is available to play this weekend against Macclesfield Town.

By Oldham Athletic

Picture: Eddie Garvey

Husband and wife jailed as part of multi-million pound drugs bust

Posted on Fri, 18 Jan 2019 12:08:17 +0000

A couple from Hattersley are amongst a gang sentenced to almost a century in prison.

Yesterday (Thursday 17 January 2019) five men and a woman were sentenced to a combined total of 98 years in prison as part of Operation Cosmetic – an investigation into the nationwide supply of drugs and firearms by an organised crime group mainly based in Manchester.

Sam O’Neill, 36, of Hattersley Road West, Hattersley pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin, conspiracy to produce amphetamine, and possession of a firearm and ammunition and has been jailed for 19 years and six months.

His wife Jennifer O’Neill, 32, also of Hattersley Road West, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine and has been jailed for four years.

The criminal empire they were part of unraveled following a three month police investigation led by GMP’s Serious and Organised Crime Group, which resulted in the seizure of cocaine, heroin and MDMA valued at over £2.7 million.

During a swoop on the 8th March last year, Sam O’Neill’s Citroen Berlingo was stopped on the M6 and he was arrested by officers.

In the rear of his van police recovered 30kg of high purity cocaine, which had been placed in shoe boxes with distinctive coloured lids, and was found in possession of a number of mobile phones and an encrypted handset.

Following his arrest, Sam O’Neill’s Hattersley home was searched and 1kg of cocaine was recovered in the vehicle belonging to his wife.

Police also searched a café and bar on Market Street in Hyde, a property for which O’Neill was the licensee, where they recovered 2 ½ kg’s of cocaine, ½ kilogram of heroin and almost 1kg of MDMA, along with other drug paraphernalia such as scales, vacuum packing equipment and empty kilogram bags.

Officers searched a storage unit which O’Neill had rented and a large amount of chemicals and laboratory equipment – capable of producing amphetamine – was discovered.

Had the chemicals and lab equipment recovered from the storage facility been used, they would have been able to produce over 300kg, which would have an estimated street value of over £3,000,000.

In total, the street value of the drugs recovered from the gang by police is estimated at £2,788,390.

Detective Inspector Lee Griffin, of GMP’s Serious and Organised Crime Group, said: “During this operation we monitored the group closely as they conducted their illicit activities across the country, enabling us to gather evidence through surveillance and unravel the conspiracy.

“It is thanks to the hard work of all the officers in this case that a group of career criminals have been stopped from deluging our streets with such a huge amount of drugs. We have also managed to disrupt an even larger quantity of drugs from being produced and ultimately being distributed nationwide.

“Drugs wreck lives, destroy relationships and blight our communities. Those who are responsible for supplying illegal drugs to vulnerable people deserve no place in our society, and our community is a safer place with them behind bars.

“I hope this sentencing sends a clear message that we will relentlessly pursue those persons who supply harmful drugs and we will go to great lengths to bring them to justice.”

Yesterday, the following people were sentenced:-

  • Darren Gill (20/02/1991) of Anderton Crescent, Chorley pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin and has been jailed for nine years.
  • Gary O’Regan (05/06/84) of Derby Road, Salford was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine. He had earlier pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm and ammunition, and conspiracy to produce amphetamine and has been jailed for 24 years.
  • Paul Higginson (23/02/78) of Metcalf Close, Kirkby was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine. He had earlier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to produce amphetamine and has been jailed for 21 years.
  • Sam O’Neill (09/08/83) of Hattersley Road West, Hattersley pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin, conspiracy to produce amphetamine, and possession of a firearm and ammunition and has been jailed for 19 years and six months.
  • Patrick Warde (03/05/66) of Carruthers Close, Heywood was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine and conspiracy to produce amphetamine and has been jailed for 21 years.
  • Jennifer O’Neill (19/03/87) of Hattersley Road West was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine and has been jailed for four years.

Guest pens one-year contract ‘down under’

Posted on Fri, 18 Jan 2019 10:41:00 +0000

Former Curzon Ashton midfielder Joe Guest has signed for Australian side Oakleigh Cannons on a one-year deal.

Upon signing for the club, Guest – who won the Players’ Player award at the end of the 2017/18 season  – said: “I can play a number of positions, but I’d say central midfield is my strongest position,” Guest said.

“I wanted a change of lifestyle and this ticked all the boxes for me. Oakleigh made me the offer, I spoke to Chris (Taylor) about what he had in mind and it fit the bill for exactly what I wanted to do moving forward. I’m excited to get started and hopefully I’ll be successful here.

“I’ve played a number of games in the National League North which is a reasonably good standard.”

Picture: Oakleigh Cannons

Apartments proposed for former Reporter offices

Posted on Thu, 17 Jan 2019 15:49:59 +0000

Plans are back in the pipeline to convert the former Reporter newspaper offices in Stalybridge into apartments.

Initial proposals to convert the office building, which has been empty for a number of years, into ten one and two bedroom apartments were rejected by Tameside Council planners because of the lack of a report concerning land contamination and environmental issues.

However, the proposal has been resubmitted with assessments, including flood risk and mining reports, plus transport and noise impact statements.

The plans for the apartments include parking for residents and landscaping.

It notes the building has suffered significant vandalism inside with lighting features, furniture and roof tiles removed and walls and ceiling tiles damaged.

Outside however the structure is sound and the surrounding area merely overgrown.

Historically the site stands on what was once Stalybridge gas works, which became disused in 1966, with the site then being used for offices from 1971.

The report notes that the main concern regarding contaminants comes from the site’s historical association with the gas works.

Previous reports suggest the site itself was a building / yard area and not actually part of the active gas works.

However, the report lists contaminants associated with gas works and notes the building is of an age that it could contain asbestos – although this is unknown without further testing.

Risks associated with developing the site are therefore considered moderate to low, but an intrusive ground investigation is recommended to establish the ground conditions so that appropriate health and safety measures could be employed if the site were developed.

A specialist asbestos survey is also advised prior to any works on the site being undertaken.

Tameside Council will now consider the development proposals again.

Ashton’s dynamic duo in bid to raise £10,000 for disadvantaged kids

Posted on Thu, 17 Jan 2019 12:02:27 +0000

Two friends from Ashton are running marathons, navigating freezing canals in a canoe and even climbing Mount Everest (albeit virtually) in a bid to raise £10,000 for disadvantaged children across Greater Manchester.

Ian French, 42, and Steve Reid, 39, have been balancing their busy lives by training tirelessly at the weekend, currently clocking 40 miles by canoe through Ashton canal in preparation for their challenge.

From the 27th of January they will be paddling day and night to cover the 167-mile route from Leeds to Manchester, hoping to cut through Liverpool starting on the 27th January.

Armed with an artic tent and support vehicle, Ian and Steve have given themselves plenty of options to get to their destination on the 2nd of February – just in case the canals freeze over.

Ian, who also ran the Stockport and Manchester Half Marathons with his mate last year, said the charity is incredibly close to their hearts, being fathers themselves. 

He said: “I have a little girl and Steve has sons, we’re both family men and luckily our children have all the support and finances to help them.

“Unfortunately some of these children in Manchester have no families or come from struggling backgrounds, so we wanted to do our little bit to help local kids.

The money stays in this area and goes to granted to children in our community who are dealing with issues such as poverty, abuse, neglect and short life expectancy, aiming to give them great experiences in life.”

The duo are also set to take on an 11 hour virtual climb of Mount Everest in March which will be followed by two full marathons in Manchester and Milton Keynes in April and May.

They already have had some support from businesses, such as Senior Aerospace in Poyton who’ve paid the entry fee for all marathons and branded gear from Totally T Shirts in Stockport – but are appealing for further sponsorship to help them achieve their goal.

Ian added: “Whether you’re a big business who would like to sponsor us or simply a Joe Bloggs on the street who could spare £5, every little bit helps our cause.”  

The pair have raised £2,081 so far but are still seeking donations. If you’d like to help, you can give directly at: or give Ian a call on: 07872418548

Man charged with murder following Ashton shooting

Posted on Thu, 17 Jan 2019 09:16:16 +0000

A man has been charged with murder and attempted murder following a shooting in Ashton last year. 

At around 4.50pm on Wednesday 13 June 2018, police were called to reports that a man had been shot on Birch Street in Ashton. 

31-year-old Luke Graham was taken to hospital where he sadly died from his injuries. 

Another man in his 20s later presented himself at hospital with a gunshot wound to his leg. He was treated for non-serious injuries. 

James Denton (10/12/1991) of Barcliffe Avenue, Moston has been charged with murder and attempted murder. 

He has been remanded in custody and will appear at Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court today (Thursday 17 January 2019.) 

Police release CCTV footage after woman robbed in her Ashton flat

Posted on Wed, 16 Jan 2019 16:55:47 +0000

Police have released CCTV footage after a woman was robbed in her own home in Ashton.

Just after 2.30pm on Thursday January 10th, a man sneaked through the front door of the victim’s flat on Katherine Street, which was unlocked.

He hid in the woman’s bedroom and waited for her to enter before jumping out and grabbing her by the shoulders. The man then dragged the victim into the living room, pushed her to the floor and demanded she hand over money.

He fled with the woman’s purse in the direction of Manchester Road.

Detective Chief Inspector Jo Reid from GMP’s Tameside borough said: “Luckily the woman was not seriously injured but this was a terrifying robbery, and the woman has been left incredibly shaken by the ordeal.

“We are doing everything we can to support the victim, and we have a team of detectives dedicated to finding the man responsible.

The man fled with the victim’s purse in the direction of Manchester Road.

“Please take a close look at this CCTV, and if you know who this man is, or if you saw anyone acting suspiciously in the area at the time, then get in touch with police as soon as possible.”

Anyone with any information is asked to call police on 0161 856 5815 alternatively call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

SAVED BY THE BELL: New home for Ashton Albion Amateur Boxing Club

Posted on Wed, 16 Jan 2019 16:26:16 +0000

Ashton Albion Amateur Boxing Club has gotten up off the canvas following the knockout blow that they were to lose their Albion Mill home.

Founder and senior coach Wayne Heywood was given the devastating news just two weeks ago that they would have to vacate their current premises and began a desperate search for a new gym.

He appealed to the public of Tameside to help him find a new home after a quarter of a century on Penny Meadow.

Luckily for Wayne, he had a number of people in his corner who were looking out for him. Nick Worrall, of Ashton Quality Cars, put him in touch with Ashton-based businessman Mike Craven who had the perfect place for the community club.

Mike Craven, Wayne Heywood and Nick Worrall

The new space is located on Dean Street, close to the centre of Ashton in a space that’s roughly twice as big as their current home. The new gym will be located in the old Barrett and Co Mineral Water premises.

However, the hard work is just beginning for Wayne, who now needs to raise £30,000 to transform the building from a disused shell into a gym capable of developing the next generation of Tameside fighters.

Wayne described how quickly the agreement took place: “I went and met him (Mike Craven) virtually within a couple of hours of me ringing him and went and had a look around the premises. 

“They’ve been empty for between eight and 10 years so as you can imagine there’s no electric in, no gas in, it’s a bit of a tip but the potential is absolutely massive.”

The possibilities of the new location is huge for the club, but they need money and expertise to get it up and running. 

Wayne said: “I was begging for premises last time I was here and this time I’m begging for funding really. 

“I’ve had a few people who’ve jumped on board already.

“I’ve put my begging out on social media and the response has been fantastic, I can’t thank people enough. The objective now is to raise between £25-£30,000 and to sort these premises out. It’s a lot of money, I appreciate that, but I think it’s do-able.”

Despite the huge task ahead, Wayne is excited about what the move could mean for the future of the gym: “Id say it’s nearly double the size of the current place. It’s all on one level as well which is better because obviously where I am at the present I’ve got the ring on the top floor and my main gym is on the ground floor. This gives me chance to keep my eye on everyone now. I’m excited, it’s brilliant.

“At the moment I’ve got between 30 and 40 kids in. With the new property I can take even more in and I can do more classes than I do at the moment. It might make the wife happy, it might not because I don’t see her as it is!

“I’m excited because the potential is massive. The kids are getting excited now asking when are we moving in? It can’t just happen overnight, I wish it could.”

At a training session on Monday night the children said they were very excited about the move and told the Reporter how much they enjoy the sessions. 

Charlie Milligan, 13, said: “I enjoy it because it’s like a second family almost, it’s a good place to be. It keeps us fit and healthy and looking forward to the future. I think the new gym has a lot of potential and if we do end up raising a lot of money we can afford new equipment towards our training.”

Wayne leads the kids in a sparring session

The new premises need a complete overhaul including building the new ring, setting up the gym equipment and fitting out changing areas and toilets.

It will be a huge undertaking for Wayne, but he says he’s already had offers of help and donations coming in. 

“We are a voluntary organisation so we welcome anyone that’s willing to give us a hand,” he said.

“I’ve had inboxes saying give us a shout Wayne and we’ll jump in and give you a lift, but donations of anything are welcome. We’ve got to put toilets in – or renew them – you can understand what state it’s in. To be fair he’s had the roof done so it’s all dry.”

Former Manchester City footballer David White has donated a signed copy of his autobiography to help Wayne raise funds and he’s had people dropping off funds at Albion Mill as the community rallies behind him.

Nick Worrall from Ashton Quality Cars is also helping Wayne to source much needed funds for the new space. 

He’s hoping to put on a benefit night soon and told the Reporter: “We’re going to try and do a couple of functions, possibly – if I can get onto Tameside Council – get the Town Hall and I have a few friends that are quite good singers. Hopefully I’ll get on to them to do a fundraising do with charity auctions and things like that.”

Mike Craven owns the building that the gym is moving into and said it’s good to see the historic building back in use. 

He said: “I’ve owned the building for about 25 years or so. It used to be the old Barrett pop building in Ashton. I had a printing company originally in there. The upper floors have been empty for about seven or eight years. Like you do you store rubbish, but when Nick approached me it was the opportunity to give it a clear out.”

If you can help Wayne please get in touch on 07769 536 820 or 0161 339 2675 or donate online at

Arcades Ashton name charity partner for 2019

Posted on Wed, 16 Jan 2019 15:26:50 +0000

Tameside, Oldham and Glossop Mind have been named as the official charity partner of the Arcades shopping centre in Ashton for 2019.

It follows on from the centres ‘Christmas Gift of Giving” campaign where two winners chose to donate £100 each to the organisation.

Mind offers information and advice to people with mental health problems and lobbies government and local authorities on their behalf. It also works to raise public awareness and understanding of issues relating to mental health.

The Tameside, Oldham and Glossop Mind began as a registered charity in 1978. Their mission is to provide the best quality local mental health services in prevention, early intervention and primary care; alongside empowering individuals and communities to live well. The charity provides a wide range of services to the local community including counselling, group therapy and training courses. The charity also offers specialist children services for those aged 8 and upwards.

Arcades Shopping Centre will be raising awareness for the local charity throughout the year with fundraising campaigns and hosting pop up stalls on the mall. During these visits, the charity will be providing advice, support and informative material for shoppers. Details of the dates will be available on the Arcades Facebook Page.

Fundraising and Marketing Senior Manager, Jason Bromley, commented: “We are incredibly grateful to Arcades Shopping Centre, Ashton for picking us as their charity of the year and we are looking forward to working with the team and the public over the next 12 months, to raise awareness of mental health and the local support available through Tameside, Oldham and Glossop Mind”.

Lynne Picken, Arcades Shopping Centre’s Centre Manager, commented: “The team at Arcades Shopping Centre are extremely proud to be working in conjunction with Tameside, Oldham and Glossop Mind and hope to raise a huge amount of awareness as they’re a community focused organisation and always aim to give back to the people of Ashton which we thoroughly support.”

For more information visit the website or visit, or follow them on Twitter @ashtonarcades

Hundreds of acres to be classified as new green belt

Posted on Wed, 16 Jan 2019 14:35:39 +0000

By Charlotte Green, local democracy reporter

Hundreds of acres of land in Tameside is set to be added into the green belt as part of the proposed masterplan for the region which will see new sites allocated for housing and employment.

The latest published draft of the Greater Manchester spatial framework has outlined a vision for how the 10 boroughs will evolve over the next 20 years, with a number of their green belt sites being released for development.

However, while the new proposals would allow building on green spaces, town halls have also put forward fresh sites to be given extra planning and environmental protection.

Compared to the 2016 draft, there are more than 20 times the number of sites that are earmarked to be added into the green belt.

The initial plans saw just three areas, at West Salford Greenway, Rectory Lane in Standish, and land within the Roch Valley in Rochdale included.

This has now risen to 65 portions of land, with the majority located in the boroughs of Tameside and Bury, which have 17 and 14 respectively.

Tameside has got the lion’s share of the new allocations, with 140.4 hectares of newly allocated green belt land in the 2019 spatial framework.

These include four in Stalybridge, three in Denton, and two apiece in Mottram, Hyde, Mossley and Ashton Waterloo.


  • Ardenfield, Haughton Green

A portion of land which could be added into the green belt covers woodland to the south of a housing development on Ardenfield, between Haughton Green and Woodley.

It sits alongside existing green field land that runs alongside the River Tame, and a public footpath and cycleway already runs through the 0.89 hectares of land from Meadow Lane.

  • Cemetery RoadGreen fields and woodland off Cemetery Road are also included in the new green belt proposals.

The site of 2.2 hectares runs next to footpaths linking it with housing at Denbigh Road, and covers a section of Hardy Wood, near to Denton cemetery.

  • City Avenue

And a large parcel of wasteland next to series of industrial sites off the M60 is among the sites to get more environmental and planning protection.

It runs from behind the allotments of Rose Hill, to the back of houses along Ruby Street and with access off City Avenue.

There it continues as scrubland west to the motorway, in total covering 18.3 hectares.


  • Danby Road

In Hyde, two portions of land have been allocated as potentially being given green belt status.

The first runs behind homes off Danby Road and along the M67.

The 4.7 hectares of land – which is a mixture of wood and scrubland – is also underneath the railway line, next to Hyde Newton station with the border stopping at Welch Road.

  • Longlands House, Mottram Road

The second 16.8 hectare site, off Mottram Road, is also bordered by the M67.

A mix of open green fields and woodland, it sits alongside the United Utilities-owned Godley Reservoir, and can be accessed by public footpaths.


  • Demesne Drive, CopleyAnother large site, this time in Stalybridge has been put forward to be part of the new green belt allocation.

Situated off Demesne Drive, the 7.6 hectares is a mixture of green field and woodland behind Wild Bank Community School, and joining onto the wider countryside at the edge of the Pennines.

  • Ridge Hill Lane, Ridge Hill

This parcel of open land, measuring around 600m long and 6.8 hectares in total, runs off Ridge Hill Lane in the north, down to Cambridge Street at the southern point.

It is bordered on the west by housing estates, and on the east is connected to countryside and farmland heading towards Heyrod.

  • Long Row, Carrbrook

A popular walking and picnicking spot, Cowbury Green – off Long Row – is also marked down for green belt status.

The rectangular site of 1.8 hectares, which leads onto the reservoir and links to the climb to Cowbury Dale, also runs adjacent to Castle Lane and sits on the foothills of Saddleworth Moor.

During the moorland fires in the summer dozens of homes near to the site had to be evacuated during the height of the blaze – and satellite images show the moorland is still yet to recover.

  • South View, Carrbrook

Near to Cowbury Green, land known as ‘The Fold’ is also listed in the framework plans.

The 2.1 hectares of land, which is bordered by South View and Swallow Lane sits opposite the Duck Pond, and is a popular site for dog walkers.


  • Fox Platt

The large portion of land earmarked off Fox Platt in Mossley sits behind Livingstone Primary and Nursery School.

The Vale allotments also border the sloping hillside site of 7.9 hectares, which links into the green corridor of land between Tameside and Oldham, up to Springhead.

  • Manchester Road

A smaller site of just 0.87 hectares which follows the westward bank of the River Tame, off Manchester Road has also been allocated for green belt.

It sits directly south of a wood recycling plant and connects to the wider green spaces between Mossley and Carrbrook.

Mottram and Hattersley

  • Ashworth Lane

Plans put forward for the Mottram and Hattersley area see a number of sites brought together into the green belt to create a new connected corridor of protected open space.

The roughly rectangular plot off Ashworth Lane is bordered by Chain Bar Lane, and lies opposite Hattersley Library, and near to the junction with Stockport Road.

Hurtsclough Brook runs through the 1.1 hectares of land, which is a open green field and is backed onto by housing.

  • Broadbottom Road

To the south, a large area of woodland of 18.8 hectares that runs adjacent to Broadbottom Road is also set to be classified as part of the green belt under the new spatial framework plans.

The brook also continues through the woods, and homes off Woodland Close, Bucklow Close and Ball Walk also run alongside the site.

  • Hyde Road

A swathe of open land next to Hyde Road has also been included in the new list of sites earmarked for green belt planning protection.

The 10 hectares includes some scrubland which sits between lanes of traffic which join Hattersley roundabout, and is also bordered by Ashworth Lane.

The site is located next to the Total Adrenaline indoor play park towards the east, and to the south west it runs between Tesco Extra and Arundale Community Primary and Nursery school.


  • Manor Farm Close, Waterloo

This allocation extends planning protection from the adjacent Daisy Nook Country Park to a strip of adjoining woodland.

The land, which is around 280 metres long and 0.78 hectares in total, borders housing development off Manor Farm Close and Taunton Brook Lane.

  • Oaken Clough, Waterloo

Similarly, adjoining land to the Manor Farm Close site, this time off Oaken Clough is also proposed as green belt.

The 3.17 hectares of woodland, which is to the far east of Daisy Nook, is backed onto by housing at Harmol Grove and is bordered by Oldham Road.


  • Yew Tree Lane

Dukinfield Golf Course, off Yew Tree Lane, could also be given green belt protection in the latest framework draft.

Plans for 33 new homes next to the third tee of the course, yards away from the rough at the western edge, were submitted to the council in April last year.

But the new protection would make it almost impossible to develop the rest of the site, which measures 36 hectares and is the biggest amount of land earmarked.

The plans, including the new areas allocated for housing and employment space,  are now open to consultation.

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