Drones over Pentonville – cops stop crooks in crime ‘copter caper

N176-2016 drone with bagAnyone seen anyone furtively using a state of the art  white four rotor drone locally?  They may have been rehearsing flying drugs and phones into the ‘ville on the cally.  Remarkably an officer topped one ‘in mid flight’ – they don’t let on how.  It looks like a DJI Phantom 4 drone – its sophisticated cameras could well allow someone to fly it in through a smashed window, though that would be complicated with a big underslung load.   Quite pricey at £1200, if you have paid for it.  In the old days it was fishing bait catapults from the Cally, lobbing stuff over the wall.  Now something new to add to the long list of problems at Pentonville.  The police say:


Officers from Islington are appealing for witnesses and information following the recovery of two drones carrying mobile phones and drugs in the vicinity of HMP Pentonville.

Over the weekend of Friday, 12 to Sunday, 14 August, officers from the Caledonian Neighbourhoods Policing Team and the Met’s Special Constabulary carried out patrols in the area of the prison as part of Operation Airborne.

Operation Airborne has been set up to deter and catch offenders attempting to deliver contraband into the prison.

During the early hours of Saturday, 13 August, officers observed a man acting suspiciously close to the prison. On seeing police, he ran from the scene, dropping two bags containing a quantity of Class B drugs and mobile phones. He evaded arrest.

The following day, officers recovered a drone after tracking it flying over HMP Pentonville, before it crashed. Later in the day, they were alerted to another drone being flown towards the prison. The low flying drone was stopped mid-flight by an officer and a package containing a large quantity of drugs and two mobile phones was recovered from it.

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Heatley, said: “These recovered drones carried a substantial amount of Class B drugs, legal highs and a large quantity of mobile phones; we are able to intercept them thanks to the vigilance of officers and the public. We work closely with the prison service to gather intelligence in order to carry out proactive operations to arrest and prosecute such offenders. I would urge anyone with information about these events to contact the police or Crimestoppers to help us to identify those responsible.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

No arrests have been made.

N176-2016 drugs and mobile phones recovered


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Wildlife friendly sculpture wins Silver Gilt award

Vert silver gilt award certificate for Islington in Bloom 2016Vert, the 15 metre high wildlife friendly sculpture on Wharfdale Road N1 9UA was almost totally replanted earlier this year by two volunteers from local environment and arts charity King’s Cross Community Projects (KCCP). They entered the Islington in Bloom 2016 competition not expecting to win anything as their planting scheme comprises mostly native, near native and naturalised plants rather than ‘pretty’ or exotic plants. Yesterday they were astounded and very happy to learn they had been awarded a Silver Gilt prize.

Vert was the result of seven years of development – again done voluntarily – comprising setting up the charity, forming a limited company, promoting the project widely and a tough and long bout of fundraising. Thanks to local gardening expert Mike Jackson, KCCP were put in touch with one of Sir Anthony Caro’s proteges, Neil Ayling who designed the sculpture and managed its fabrication and installation by Benson and Sedgwick (the same company that produces Anish Kapoor’s sculptures). The charity undertook detailed consultation with neighbours in the area and gained planning permission. EC Harris, BAM, Haslemere, J Reddington, Complete Offices and Conisbee structural engineers all donated time and resources. Many local businesses, individuals and Islington Council all gave financial donations.

If you would like to see Vert you can find it here.


Islington in Bloom is a collaboration between Islington Gardeners and Islington Council and is supported by Camden Garden Centre.


Posted in Architecture, Community groups, Green Wall Project, New, Wildlife and Nature | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Gyratory redesign consultation report due next month

King's Cross gyratory systemTransport for London ran a major consultation in February this year to seek opinions on the broad principles they will use to redesign the current hated gyratory. They are aiming to publish the resulting consultation report, which should give us information about who was consulted and what was said, in August. This will be followed early next year by publication of their preferred options and a detailed consultation to finalise these.

Local people have campaigned for decades to get the 1970s throwback gyratory system removed and replaced by a road design that prioritises safety and health whilst adding to the community feel of our area. The gyratory system pushes large amounts of traffic through inappropriate streets as quickly as possible – known as traffic smoothing – which encourages ever more traffic to pollute, endanger and divide us.

We are hopeful that TfL will use an evidence based approach to make radical changes, including making residental streets like Acton, Swinton and Wharfdale Road access only. We’ll be looking for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport to have priority over lorries and private vehicles. And we’ll want to see plans that dramatically reduce the dangerous levels of pollution we currently endure.

We’ll publish details about the consultation report as soon as it becomes available.

Posted in Bad Gyrations KX Campaign, Gyratory consultation 2016, New, Road Safety in Kings Cross | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

HS2 to hit our closest countryside

Perhaps the easiest way to get to the countryside from King’s Cross is to pop out west towards Denham and surrounding area, just a short train journey or 40 minute-ish drive. Sarah, Green, ex-narrowboat resident of Battlebridge Basin, loved it so much she moved there. Now our closest countryside is at risk from the HS2 development and we can help highlight the importance of the area and have a great day out all at the same time.


A Biodiversity Action Day on Sunday 17th July, meeting near the Little White Bridge north of Denham Deep Lock, has been organised and all are welcome. This is Bridge number 182 on the Grand Union Canal. Get there anytime between 8am and 8pm.  There are masses of dragonflies in the wetlands, fantastic old trees in the woods, a wealth of nature for everyone to see.

Organiser Sarah Green said, “Anyone can join in. Bring your wellies! We want to observe, identify and record as many species as possible, so that HS2 can’t ignore Hillingdon’s wildlife in the Colne Valley.”

Fisherman Bill Stephens, aged 90  said, “This is not even on HS2’s route. This is a land-grab. HS2 is claiming nature reserves and public amenity land, to use for things like heavy vehicle access, depots and removal of spoil and rubble.”

If you can’t get there on the day, you can still help by photographing and lodging records of your plant and wild-life sightings whenever you are in the area. Please let everyone know about the fantastic biodiversity of the Colne Valley.

HS2 would obliterate some of the best loved countryside and wildlife in the London Borough of Hillingdon. Ancient woodland, wetland and meadow would go from Denham Country Park, Frays Valley Nature Reserve, as would some idyllic sections of the Grand Union Canal. See https://www.facebook.com/colne.valley.750 for more information.

Posted in New, Things to do, Wildlife and Nature | Tagged | 3 Comments

Five Guys burgers in Lighthouse Building Kings Cross – good but pricey


It’s great to see the Lighthouse Building back in use, now with a Five Guys burger joint on the ground floor.  The conversion is light and airy with a more than 180 degree view of the lovely Kings Cross gyratory.


My first time in a Five guys and I ate a cheeseburger, fries and diet coke which came to a substantial £13.25.  The two-pattie burger was very good though not exceptional, the cheese was better than average, the bun ok.  The diet coke was admix self service.


The fries were partly excellent, tasting distinctly and pleasantly of potato, which says a lot about other high street fries.

IMG_3929 They proudly display where the spuds came from.  Although i was surprised to see what I can only describe as lots of black bits in the chips which suggests they aren’t being prepared properly with the finnicky work of taking out the black lumps from the raw spud.


The muzac was very loud (much louder than anything else locally) and eclectic – ranging from Walk the Line to Venus.

Overall it was a pleasant burger and good fries but felt a bit expensive – though I may be being unfair on fresh ingredients and location.

Posted in Food and Drink, New | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Suez/SITA waste management keeps dumping skips on Randell’s Road


Senior management at Suez (formerly known as SITA) seem unable to control their own workers as they fail to stop rogue staff from using Randell’s Road as a waste transfer station.  Suez/SITA drivers have been repeatedly dumping their skips overnight on Randell’s Road then picking them up in the morning. A local resident says:

‘every night a lorry arrives on Randell’s Road and dumps a large SITA skip on the road in front of the tool hire place. Then at 3am or so another lorry picks it up. Both lorries make lots of noise with loud beeping and the skip hydraulic manoeuvre is very noisy. We can be woken in the night by the collecting lorry.’

When another resident challenged one of the drivers he was reportedly threatened with violence.  Residents have raised this with the Suez/SITA Chief Executive, David Palmer-Jones (@dpj_suezuk) on 12 June

‘My neighbours and I are irritated that every evening a lorry arrives in our street near King’s Cross Station in Randell’s Road and dumps a SITA skip. Then, at about 3am or 4am another lorry picks it up. (The location where the skip is dumped is outside Tool Hire Express, 67 Randells Road, London, N1 0DH.) ‘

A prompt phone call from SITA/SUEZ suggested that ‘They are meant to take the empty thing to Barking. It is a contract with Network Rail.’ but on 15 June residents wrote back to Suez/SITA that the skips were still being dumped.  David Palmer-Jones has delegated it to a colleague Trevor, who writes on 15 June:

Many apologies that this practice has not ceased.

I have instructed the branch manager at Barking to get the drivers to sign a form stating that if this happens again it will result in a disciplinary process.

Could you forward me the picture of the registration that you had and the date so that I can follow up the threatening behaviour that you mentioned.

If you have any more issues please let me know,

Yet on 16 June, the SUEZ/SITA drivers have this evening dumped another skip – the lorry with the white cab in the photo.  In my opinion making this sort of noise at night that disturbs residents when carrying on a business is a statutory nuisance and therefore a crime upon which the council can act.  It is also my opinion that this is a form of fly tipping as the skip is not a road vehicle and it is being abandoned.  The best remedy for the council would be to prevent the skip being collected (a simple bicycle shackle lock on the lifting mechanism) and then scrap it.  Or just not invite Suez to tender the next time a waste contract comes up.

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Children at Kings Cross: New independent grassroots user group for the betterment of Coram’s Fields

Come and join us on Sunday the 19th. of  June 2016, 17.45


Fellow parents and carers of the wider Kings Cross and Bloomsbury area have worked for eight months to set up a user group of interested stakeholders (e.g. parents, children, neighbours and others) to have a voice on the experience and future of Coram’s Fields.

After some critique emerged on various points of how Coram’s Fields  developed over the last few years, there was much desire by parents consulted to set up an independent, constructive and accountable user forum. Its purpose should be the  engagement with  the management and board of the trust of  London’s biggest children playground, Coram’s Fields (and Hamsworth Memorial Trust).

By adding our voice on a regular and consistent basis, we are hoping to be able to help Coram’s Fields become not only the  biggest but also the best and most important kids play ground. Nothing is more important than the opinions of the actual people who use the grounds and we are hoping that with the user group in place, that nothing stops the growth of the grounds as one that is true to its mission, a haven for play of our children.

We already had good meetings with the management and trust who support the idea.

We have our inaugural meeting this coming Sunday 19th. of June 2016, and what’s more there is a talk on Creative Play Outdoors.

As a new group we very much depend on the initiative,  goodwill and time of interested parents and carers. So if Coram’s is a place your kids use, do join us on Sunday 17.45 at Guide Hall Coram’s Fields.

Daniel Zylbersztajn

(founding member and interim chair)



corams poster2-page-001



Posted in New, Young People | 1 Comment

Visit a beautiful local garden in the National Gardens Scheme

From 2pm to 6pm on Sunday 5 June 2016 Mike Jackson (of the film ‘Pride‘ fame) will once again open his small plantsman’s garden to the public at 1 Battlebridge Court as part of the Barnsbury Group.

Mike's garden

Mike’s stunning garden maximises sun and shade with peat block terracing up to the canal basin. This is a challenging spot but Mike is a Kew trained horticulturalist with over 40 years experience whose expertise shines through in his choices.

Highly recommended for a visit. Click here for more information.

Posted in King's Cross People, New, Noticeboard, Things to do | Tagged , | Leave a comment