Month: March 2016

Cobblers staff chase off sledgehammer gang

Balaclava-clad men who smashed their way into a jewellery store using sledgehammers were chased off by staff working at the cobblers next door.

Adam Spiers, director of Michael Spiers jewellers in Taunton said Timpson’s staff had been “fantastic”.

The men got away with five watches and drove off. But police chased the car, which eventually crashed about 70 miles away near junction 15 on the M4.

Five men have been arrested on suspicion of robbery.

Two other people were treated for minor injuries in the crash, which involved four vehicles, including a police car.

The jewellers was attacked on Wednesday morning by men who pulled up outside in a car and tried to smash their way in using sledgehammers.

Mr Spiers told BBC Points West: “Our neighbours next door, Timpsons, unbelievably all rushed in, frightened them all, they all ran off. They are fantastic, all credit to them.”

Martin Hill, from Timpson, told the programme they had “just kind of heard the noise, rushed in, saw the women in distress. Just acted.. it was all good.”

The car is thought to have headed up the M5 and was chased by police as it got on the M4 heading east, eventually crashing near junction 15 at around 1130 GMT.

The collision closed two lanes of the M4 near junction 15.


UK-based Timpson launches brick and mortar identity store

In the UK, High Street is where the pharmacy, dry cleaner and shoe repair shops are located, the U.S. equivalent of Main Street. A staple on High Streets across the country is Timpson, a shoe repair chain that also does watch repairs, dry cleaning and key cutting.

The services Timpson offer cannot take place in the virtual world, people need to come in drop off their shoes or laundry and then comeback and pick them up. It’s the very opposite of an online business but that isn’t stopping Timpson from making an online play.

Timpson has launched ArkHive, a brick and mortar store that one day will offer online identities. For now, consumers can come into the ArkHive store and open an account that will enable individuals to store scanned and verified versions of their driver license passports and other documents. From the account/app the consumer can choose to share that information with others.

The ArkHive account is free, including storage of verified documents. Eventually, the company hopes that consumers will be able to use ArkHive account to carry out other transactions online, such as proving your identity to open a new bank account.

ArkHive is offering individuals employee screening services, passport application assistance and assistance with database checks. The shop also enables individual to print photos have have photos taken for other credentials, such as passports.

For businesses ArkHive is also offering different services. The shop will do landlord tenant background checks, anti-money laundering checks and employment pre-screening. They will also print business cards and leaflets.

While some of these services might seem rudimentary, ArkHive knows that changes are coming to digital identity in the UK with the Verify project and they are preparing for it, according to Internet of Me.

“We were having conversations saying Verify is such a fantastic idea that we absolutely agree with, but not everybody is going to be able to get through that process online, so we started thinking about where those individuals might go,” asks Will Lankston, ArkHive’s head of retail. “If they can’t be verified online because they’re ‘thin file’, or haven’t got digital skills or can’t access a computer, smartphone or tablet they can’t just fall out of the system. They still need to be able to access these services. So we thought, why don’t we verify these people in person? Allow them to come into a place on the High Street and have their identity verified and be sent home with a new digital ID or be supported in store to access those services online.”

Last November the first ArkHive shop opened in Henley-on-Thames, next door to a branch of Timpson. If there is enough interest, the plan is to open more shops or offer ArkHive facilities within the Group’s other stores.

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Meet the ex-convict who is now the manager… thanks to pioneering prison scheme

Sarah Baker was sentenced to five years in jail. But was given a second chance by Manchester firm Timpsons

An ex-offender has revealed how a Manchester key-cutting firm has helped her unlock the potential to a happy life after prison.

Sarah Baker hit rock bottom after being sentenced to five years behind bars for stabbing a man who attacked her.

But working at Timpson’s Bury branch has helped her turn her life around – and she has now been hailed as one of the firm’s most promising workers.

The key and shoe firm, which is based in Wythenshawe and is still owned by the Timpson family, also operates the Max Spielmann and Snappy Snaps brands.

Sarah, 34, who is originally from Nottingham, got her chance to apply for a position after a representative from the Wythenshawe firm when a representative came to visit her jail to offere potential recruits a chance.

Sarah jumped at the chance and, while under release on licence, worked at the store for six months, going full-time since 2011.

She said: “When I was released from prison I had no family to help me and not very many friends.

“I was so glad to be released, but it felt like such a daunting prospect – I didn’t know where to start. I had nowhere to live and no one to turn to.

“My store manager let me live with her until I was able to transfer to a shop in Bury, where I knew a friend lived.

“I worked really hard and became manager there, but had to take time off because of post-traumatic stress disorder over my attack.

“They were really patient and understanding, and let me return to work in a less stressful position.

“I’ve been with them since 2010 and am so grateful for the support they’ve given me – they really helped me turn my life around and I’m supporting myself now.”

Bosses at the family-owned firm say they are proud to work with the Prison Service to give potential candidates a second chance. They now have 10pc of its workforce recruited directly from custodial sentences. Chief executive James Timpson, also chairs the Employers Forum for Reducing Reoffending.

Greater Manchester Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner, Tony Lloyd, said: “The transition from prison to normal life is enormous.

“Without proper support, ex-offenders can easily find themselves turning back to a life of crime because they are struggling to find employment or adapt to life on the outside.

“Thanks to Timpson’s support, Sarah has worked hard to get back on her feet and restart her life. It’s an impressive achievement for which both Sarah and Timpson should be proud.”

Newport cobbler has cut one million keys, repaired 150,000 shoes and made a shoe for a duck in his 45 years at Timpson

Newport Cobbler

A NEWPORT cobbler who has cut one million keys and repaired 150,000 pairs of shoes is celebrating 45 years at his first and only job.

Kelvin Reddicliffe, who will turn 60 next month, celebrated his 45th anniversary of working at Timpson Shoe Repairs in Newport city centre on January 18.

Mr Reddicliffe, who manages the store on Austin Friars, said he has “loved every minute of it”.

He has now been invited up to a long service lunch hosted by Timpson some time later in the year.

“I have had a blast,” he said. “I joined at 15, it was my first and only job.”

Highlights for Mr Reddicliffe include being nominated for the retail awards in 2003 by head honcho John Timpson.

Mr Reddicliffe said: “I was nominated as store manager of the year, up against Hugo Boss.

“He flew us back from holiday for us to be at the ceremony, we were in Tenerife at the time.”

The store manager was featured in the Argus and then across national news in 2009 when he repaired a shoe for a Newport woman’s duckling.

Lucky the duckling had broken her leg but when it healed, her foot was pointing in the wrong direction making it difficult for her to walk.

Owner Allison Morgan took Lucky to see Mr Reddicliffe who fashioned a tiny sandal out of rubber resin, measured perfectly for the duck’s foot.

Mr Reddicliffe is also well known around Newport for his charity work, fundraising for both St David’s and St Anne’s hospice.

He collects pop and rock memorabilia which he then gets signed and gives to the charities to be auctioned.

In 2014 he produced a piece of art work which depicted a key part of the city’s former Chartist Mural to raise money for St Anne’s

The keen piano and organ player also wrote a special piece of music for the 100th anniversary of the Newport Transporter Bridge, entitled ‘a bridge not far from our hearts’.
He has now been invited up to Timpson headquarters for a long service lunch some time later in the year.

He added: “I haven’t got any plans to retire any time soon. I plan to just go on for as long as I can.”