Ed Lines

THE mystery disappearance of Tamas Fuchsz had police falling over themselves to deny that there was any suspicion of foul play, or involvement of gangs and people trafficking.

Sorry, but if the police told me the sun was cracking the flags outside I’d go find a brolly.

Apparently none of the Hungarian people they ‘spoke’ to (through an interpreter) mentioned the possibility that they are anything other than happy campers, soaking up the cultural delights of Ravensthorpe and saving for a happy retirement on £2.50 an hour.

They presumably sipped champagne on Eurostar, their worldly goods packed in their Louis Vuitton luggage, as they traversed north to settle in this multi-cultural utopia, this haven of financial opportunity.

Why Ravensthorpe, do you think?

Maybe these hard-working employment tourists threw a dart at a map of England – and just got unlucky (I think I’d have said ‘best of three anyone?’).

Perhaps it was the fact that hardly anyone else in the place spoke much English either, that appealed to them, or the abundance of perch and carp to be plundered from the nearby Calder, a guaranteed source of Sunday lunches.

I’m being serious. How exactly do you think a large and growing community of Hungarians came to be here? By accident? Because of the balmy climate?

You don’t think it remotely possible that someone ‘organised’ this sudden migration, or at least significant parts of it, when the main influx came four or five years ago?

And again, why of all places Ravensthorpe?

It couldn’t possibly be because it is mostly beyond the law?

It was when a mob of Iraqi illegals mowed down Lee Massey and stabbed Danny and Darren Lee more than 10 years ago behind the Royal pub, and nothing much has changed for the better.

Scores are settled between ethnic gangs of young men that the police neither want to know about, nor are invited to. Not their business.

The drugs and prostitution trade meanders happily along, with scarce a judicial blip on the radar, until someone is stupid enough to try bringing a stash of heroin through Manchester Airport.

They’re certainly not going to be driven off the streets by uniformed officers, that’s for sure.

I understand that a number of businesses between Scout Hill and Fir Cottage employ people on rates significantly below minimum wage, under conditions that 18th and 19th century migrants to New York might have been familiar with.

The communities in districts like Ravensthorpe are tribal and self-regulatory.

The ‘business’ stays within the streets, so the blithe police statement about Tamas Fuchzs and possible gangmaster activity that “no-one mentioned such concerns” is as risible as most of the stuff the modern force utters.

I wonder. Did the police ask Mr Fuchsz’s friends if they all have their own passports, as opposed to someone ‘safeguarding’ them? Maybe they all do.

Perhaps the source of the worries about Mr Fuchsz was speaking of an isolated case. Again, quite possible.

But if not, the last thing intimidated people will do is blurt it out to a foreign copper.

Perhaps the police could have asked Labour leader Ed Miliband on his state visit to Ravensthorpe yesterday, to make a few inquiries.

Then there really might have been bodies being thrown in Spen Beck – out of desperation at what their new country is coming to.


APPARENTLY May has been designated as National Golf Month, which rather saddens me as I haven’t been near a course in a while. That’s an epic failure for a bloke who owns a golf publication (Yorkshire Golfer, available from all discerning golf clubs!)

Pretty much everything has a ‘day’ or a ‘week’ or in golf’s case a month, from National Pie Week to International Disabled Transgender Day. And next week is Local Newspaper Week, when the few of us who haven’t deserted the ship of truly local papers are invited to tell our readers why we’re the dog’s doodats.

We all had a right good chuckle at work recently, when the Dewsbury Reporter and Batley News printed adverts pushing themselves as ‘your local newspaper’ – then invited punters to place adverts by phoning a London number.

I can imagine the conversation now.

“Orl roight moi san, cheeky chappie Colin yer old Cockney barra-boy ‘ere! Wannin to ran a where’s-yer-dad (ad) for the old trouble-and-strife (wife’s) berfday, are we?”

From a terraced house in Heckmondwike, comes the reply: “Sithee, as tar reet in t’bonce lad? Tha wants ter get thissen some electrocution lessons, if tha wants ter flog me owt.”

Sound of the phone being slammed down...

It will be interesting to see what the lonely few Reporter and News souls, wandering the district with their mobiles and laptops, do for Local Newspaper Week, now that Leeds and Wakefield are ‘home’ such as one exists.


BUT anyway, Local Newspaper Week, and as the company that put the ‘local’ into ‘local publishing’, we’re going to celebrate it with a series of features on just that – ‘locals’ and ‘pubs’!

I still remember when Dewsbury had hostelries like the Granby, Great Northern, Scarborough and Royal Oak, not to mention the more recently departed – and sadly missed – establishments like the Black Tulip, Railway and the grievously missed Market House.

Forget Marks & Sparks and Woolies. Dewsbury turned a terminal corner when we lost the Market House. And it almost hurts to mention that not so long ago, Dewsbury had half a dozen nightclubs to boot (or punch or head-butt too, on some wild Saturday nights).

Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing some personal reminiscences of some of the pubs, clubs and characters – and beer-fuelled escapades! – of different parts of our area.

Some will be first-hand accounts, for others I might have to pick a few brains, and as a Dewsbury lad, born in Ravensthorpe, raised in Thornhill and Thornhill Lees, but of Westtown stock, it’s only fair that I start with the social capital of the Spen and Heavy Woollen – Batley.

Barfield. Where the men are men and not half as scary as the women! Home of the legendary Batley Nash, the sadly defunct Bull and Church Steps, the still ‘wild’ West End, of topless barmaid nights at the ‘Vic at Hick’, the Golden Mile and so much more!

And if my tales spark memories or stir you to hunt out photos of the places I’m mentioning, please do send them in to me on news@thepressnews.co.uk.



I DARE say some of you will be having ‘Eurovision’ parties on Saturday night. Don’t bother asking me round, will you? I’d rather have all my teeth out and try to live for a week on toffee. If that’s your cup of tea, fairy snuff, but I’d like to know who voted for the BBC to set up a special radio station and four days of programming, especially for Eurovision. And I’d like to be told how many people actually tune into it – given that I’m helping pay for the thing. No advertising on the Beeb? All Radio 2 has done all week is advertise this tripe. Time it was sold off, honestly.


I CAN’T believe how much of a fuss is being kicked up over major fast food chains and supermarkets using halal meats on an industrial scale. Not that I like it or agree with it – far from it – but the only surprise is that people are surprised any more. I’m waiting for David Cameron to take a stance. Might be a while, do you think?

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