News in Brief:

Police seize £8.5m

POLICE have seized nearly £8.5m from criminals in confiscation hearings in South Yorkshire since April 2005.

The local force has been given £2.84m from the cash and proceeds of homes, jewellery, cars and other valuables, and other money has gone to the Government, Crown Prosecution Service and Court Service.

Assistant Chief Constable Andy Holt said: “Villains can live with going to prison but they really dislike having their assets and money taken.

“While they might be prepared to plead guilty and go to prison, they will fight tooth and nail to protect their ill-gotten gains.”

School revamp pays off

A £13M revamp of Bents Green School for young people with complex communication difficulties was completed on time and on budget, with staff influencing the design.

Headteacher Jan Wiggins said: “By organising learning in a way that allows us to incorporate the support for pupils’ social communication and emotional learning needs, our pupils make outstanding progress towards independent lives.

“It cannot be underestimated how important the versatility of this unique design is in meeting our students’ needs.”

The school, in Ringinglow Road, was redeveloped by VINCI Construction, working with the council as part of the Building Schools for the Future programme.

6.2% fail breath test

A CRACKDOWN by South Yorkshire Police at drink-driving hotspots during June resulted in 1,595 drivers being breathalysed, of which 6.2% were positive, or refused or failed to provide a breath test, slightly above the national rate.

The force concentrated on areas with a known record of drink-driving. Chief Inspector for Roads Policing, Stuart Walne, said: “The increased percentage of arrests shows we are serious about keeping people safe from drink-drivers.

“I’d like to thank not only my colleagues for working so hard, but also the public in helping to inform us of regular drink-drivers.”

University accolades

TWO University of Sheffield experts have been awarded fellowships.

Prof Alan Walker, of the Department of Sociological Studies, who is a world authority on the social aspects of ageing and directs the UK’s largest research programme in this field, has been made a Fellow of the British Academy.

Dr Paul Reynolds, of the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, has been awarded a five-year Leadership Fellowship from the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, which will focus on advanced vibration control technologies to design more efficient structures with reduced economic and environmental impact.

Road safety boost

EAST Ecclesfield Labour councillors Steve Wilson and Garry Weatherall are welcoming the installation of safety measures on Wordsworth Avenue near Monteney School after a campaign by residents, including a 1,500-name petition.

Coun Wilson said: “A scheme on this road is well overdue.”