Cameron backs Star appeal

MORE places should be made available for drug users to help crack down on crime and ease the problem of prostitution in Ipswich, according to Tory leader David Cameron.

By Paul Geater

MORE places should be made available for drug users to help crack down on crime and ease the problem of prostitution in Ipswich, according to Tory leader David Cameron.

As part of a whistlestop visit to the town yesterday, Mr Cameron gave his backing to The Evening Star's Somebody's Daughter campaign which aims to provide rehabilitation for vulnerable people following the killings of five women in the town last year.

Mr Cameron stopped off in Ipswich at the end of a tour of Suffolk and Norfolk to boost his party's local election campaign.


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And he praised the community for the way it had bounced back from the dreadful events of last autumn which shone an unwanted spotlight on the town.

The Somebody's Daughter appeal, which was endorsed when the Star was awarded Britain's community newspaper of the year, showed how people in the town were determined something good should emerge from the tragedies.

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Mr Cameron said: “The problem of prostitution is completely bound up with the drug issue and there must be more places for people seeking rehabilitation.

“But this must be bound up with a zero tolerance approach to kerb-crawlers and the police must tackle the problem from that end as well.”

He was keen to hear that the Star is also reporting on drivers who appear in court accused of kerb-crawling. Part of a new prostitution strategy in the town, launched by Ipswich Borough Council, the police and a number of other agencies is to crack down on the people who prey on the vulnerable and to name and shame convicted kerb-crawlers.

Mr Cameron said: “This is just the kind of thing that is needed to help drive the problem away - nothing will make kerb-crawling less attractive than that kind of publicity and any publicity your paper can give is very welcome.”

Ipswich council leader Liz Harsant told Mr Cameron about the Somebody's Daughter appeal, the new prostitution strategy, and about the efforts the town had made to recover after last year's tragedies.

He said: “I am on a very quick visit today, but I thought it was important to meet people here who are trying to make the town a better place. At some stage I would like to come back and find out more about the issues that affect the town.

“But it is clear that the Conservative council is working to address the issues that helped create the situation in the first place.”

Mr Cameron travelled to Ipswich by train after engagements in Diss and Stowmarket and said improving rail services was a key Conservative pledge.

DURING his visit to Ipswich, Mr Cameron met Conservative candidates standing in next week's borough election - and also bemused members of the public who were travelling during the middle of the afternoon.

One passenger who gave him an enthusiastic welcome was Michael Gustav Nordgren, a 42-year-old who was on a journey through life!

Mr Nordgren said he liked Mr Cameron, but could not promise him his vote next week: “I don't live in Ipswich, I live in Hell!” he said with a smile.

“I've met all the celebrities - Jodie Marsh, Bill Wyman. But David Cameron, he's cool!”

Another fan who met the Tory leader was ten-year-old Alasdair Bevan-Margetts, who was on his way back to school after a dental appointment.

His mother, Michelle, is standing for the Tories in Whitton. He said: “He's the best party leader. My friends at school will be impressed when they see the picture of me with him.”

The Tory candidates were keen to be photographed with their party leader - their pictures will be appearing on their last-minute election addresses to be delivered over the last few days of the campaign.

The Somebody's Daughter Memorial Fund was launched in conjunction with Ipswich Borough Council in the wake of the killings of five women in Suffolk.

The bodies of Gemma Adams, Tania Nicol, Anneli Alderton, Annette Nicholls and Paula Clennell were found in remote rural locations last December. All had worked in the sex trade and all had drug habits.

As a legacy to the five women, and in a bid to prevent others from walking in their same desperate footsteps, The Somebody's Daughter appeal was given a mandate of helping vulnerable young people in Ipswich.

The ultimate goal is to raise enough money to open a refuge where those embroiled in prostitution and drugs can seek support and guidance.

Among the trustees of the Somebody's Daughter appeal, a registered charity, are Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks, borough council leader Liz Harsant and Evening Star editor Nigel Pickover.

Donations to the memorial fund can be made online at www.eveningstar.co.uk, in person at Ipswich Borough Council's customer service centre in the Town Hall, by calling 01473 433777, or by sending a cheque, made payable to Somebody's Daughter Memorial Fund, to PO Box 772, Ipswich Borough Council, Grafton House, 15-17 Russell Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 2DE.

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