Powered by Blogger.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

'She's got plenty of property - let her have them': Fury at Vanessa Redgrave after she backs travellers' fight against eviction from Europe's biggest

Last-ditch High Court bid to prevent bailiffs entering site from midnight

By Andrew Levy

Backing: Actress Vanessa Redgrave, right, speaks to the media at Dale Farm alongside traveller Mary Ann McCarthy, second left, and Dale Farm supporter Anne Kobayashi

She has never been shy to speak up for a controversial cause.

And last night Vanessa Redgrave was at the centre of a fresh dispute as she backed ‘strong, wise, warm and gentle’ travellers in their fight against eviction from Europe’s largest illegal camp.

The veteran actress arrived at the 1,000-strong settlement at Crays Hill in Essex to say that kicking out the inhabitants – who must leave by tonight under the terms of an eviction notice – would breach their human rights.

But neighbours accused the 74-year-old of ‘interfering with something she knows nothing about’. They have complained of threats, anti-social behaviour, petty crime and fly-tipping.

Support: Miss Redgrave visits Gratton Puxton, far left, baby Caitlin Mcarthy and her mother at the site ahead of tomorrow's eviction day

Property developer Len Gridley, 52, whose land is bordered by the site, said: ‘She is an actress who doesn’t live in the real world.

‘She is like all the Left-wingers and tree-huggers who come here. If they really knew what it was like they would be on my side of the fence.

‘She’s got plenty of property – let her have them. I think she’d have them on her land for a week and then she’d change her mind.

‘She shouldn’t be interfering with something she knows nothing about. This is green belt land and it should stay green belt land.’

Big issue: Dale Farm is the largest Romany Gypsy and Irish Traveller site in the United Kingdom

Another resident, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, said: ‘We have suffered for years while the travellers have acted like a law unto themselves and used the legal system to sit tight.

‘Vanessa Redgrave has no right to stick her oar in.’

The actress, who has made more than 80 films, is a prominent Left-wing activist who has backed causes including the unification of Ireland, nuclear disarmament and opposition to the Iraq War.

Speaking at the traveller camp, she said she hoped ‘humanity would triumph’, adding: ‘The whole situation is really about planning – there’s no crime that’s been committed.’

Earlier in the day, she said: ‘I am certain that the eviction is illegal under international, mandatory, human rights conventions. I am appalled that such an action can be upheld by our Government.’

Protest: The residents of Dale Farm say the eviction is a massive waste of public money and that they will put up resistance if police try to force them out

Resistance: The Dale Farm travellers say that they won't go quietly if police move in. Many locals fear the situation will turn ugly

Dozens of legal plots have existed at the Crays Hill site for decades but hundreds more travellers began developing land there a decade ago and have used human rights laws and legal aid to fight Basildon Council’s attempts to move them.

The Court of Appeal finally ruled last year that more than 80 families on 52 plots should leave, but the travellers have threatened violent resistance.

Today one of the travellers, Mary Flynn, launched an 11th-hour High Court bid to stop the evictions on the grounds that she was suffering from ill health.

The 72-year-old said that if bailiffs switched off electricity at the site, a nebuliser she uses to aid breathing would cut out.

Mary O’Brien, a mother of two who lives at the camp, said last night: ‘These are our homes. We are not going to go without a fight. It will be bloody and violent.’

Basildon Council said warning letters would be sent to those who ignored the eviction notice.


Great White sharks are already here and UK waters are an ideal hunting ground, claims expert

Shark Trust president Richard Peirce: 'Conditions here mirror those in parts of South Africa, Australia and northern California'

By Stephanie Darrall

British waters are an ideal hunting ground for great white sharks, who are already 'occasional vagrant visitors', claims a shark expert.

President of the Shark Trust Richard Peirce said that it is only a matter of time until his theory that the predators visit British shores is verified.

Mr Peirce believes he almost proved the presence of a great white in the UK with a photograph of a shark caught off the north-east coast of Scotland.

He said: 'I sent the photo to some of the world's leading experts but as soon as they heard it was caught off Scotland they started looking at what else it could be.'

'The real surprise is that we don't have an established white shark population, because the conditions here mirror those in parts of South Africa, Australia and northern California.

'The normal range of water temperature for great whites is between 14C and 20C which fits with British water in the summer.'

The shark expert has investigated more than 80 reported sightings of great whites in British waters over the last 14 years but only seven were found to be credible.

Fishermen in Cornwall have reported great whites sticking their heads out of the water, known as 'spy-hopping', and fishermen on three different boats described a sighting of a great white within three weeks of one another.

Mr Peirce said: 'The reason the evidence is so compelling is that it's from independent witnesses who do not know each other on different boats.

'The problem is these things happen in a flash. Unless the shark jumps right out of the water or is caught, all we'll see is a dorsal fin sticking out the water.

'The closest capture of a great white was off La Rochelle (in western France) about 200 nautical miles from UK shores which is no distance to them.'

There have been sightings of other sharks in British waters over the summer.

Earlier this month fisherman Jim Millar spotted a 15ft thresher shark off Dartmouth in Devon, where they are very rarely seen.

Another fisherman caught a 21 stone porbeagle shark off the coast of Donegal, Republic of Ireland, last month.

There have also been two separate sightings of what was believed to have been an oceanic whitetip shark, a species also known to attack humans, in St Ives, Cornwall, in June.

Mr Peirce believes it is only a matter of time before proof is found that the species at the top of the marine food chain, the great white shark - Carcharodon carcharias - is occasionally present in British waters.

He said: 'Great whites are highly nomadic in movement around the north Atlantic so it's reasonable to say there's a good chance they may stray into British waters.

'I do suspect we do get the occasional vagrant visitor.'

Global warming may have driven the sharks' prey further north, added Mr Peirce, which could further entice the great white to British shores.

He said: 'The water temperatures around Britain are well within the great white's tolerance range. So in theory there's no reason they shouldn't be here already without global warming.

'But what may be happening is that it may affect the distribution of shark's prey - meaning they may follow that.'

However Dr Russell Wynn, co-ordinator of the SeaWatch SW project and a senior marine scientist at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, said the odds of a great white being found in British waters were extremely low as the creatures are very rare in the northeast Atlantic.

The SeaWatch SW survey team has spent more than 5,000 hours scanning the seas off southwest England in the past five years but the only predatory sharks seen have been single blues and threshers.

Habitat: A map showing the global distribution of the Great White Shark

'The only large shark the public are likely to see is the harmless plankton-feeding basking shark, which can grow to over 10m long and is occasionally seen leaping out of the water,' he said.

But Dr Wynn accepted there was a small chance of a great white sighting off the British coast.

'It's certainly not impossible that a great white could be seen or caught in British waters one day, as we know they occur off southwest Europe in very low numbers.'

Spotted: In recent months both thresher (left) and porbeagle sharks have been seen around the British Isles

But despite the recent sightings, the opportunity of seeing sharks is decreasing year on year.

A study by Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, concluded that the North Atlantic shark population had declined by more than 50 per cent between 1986 and 2000 due to overfishing.

Mr Peirce said: 'Unless we do something about shark mortality in the Atlantic we won't be having this conversation in 50 years time.'

The Great White: An expert claims these predators will soon be spotted in British waters


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The bear who dared: Awesome polar animal descends 300ft cliff in a bid to scavenge eggs from some VERY surprised birds

By Julian Gavaghan

-Previously undocumented scene stunned tourists as they watched bear scramble and slip down Russian precipice

-It is believed hungry bears are being attracted to more dangerous terrain because usual icy hunting spots are melting

Watch the birdie: A hungry polar bear inching down a 300ft cliff face in a desperate search for food on in Novaya Zemlya, Russia

For birds nesting on a precarious cliff, the last visitor they might expect to see would be a hulking polar bear clambering down to join them.

Yet this bulky beast somehow managed to descend a craggy precipice in Russia’s remote Arctic archipelago of Novaya Zemlya.

The young male risked life and limb scavenging for eggs along the 300ft-high rock face thronged with hundreds of squawking Brunnich's Guillemots.

Stunned tourists onboard a chartered ice-breaker boat were left in awe as the watched the previously undocumented spectacle.

American photographer Dylan Coker, who captured the incredible scene, said: ‘The height that the bear was at and the sheerness of the cliff face were absolutely amazing,’ said the 40-year-old.

‘Everyone was terrified it was going to fall.

‘Every so often there would be a gasp from someone on the boat when the bear slipped.
‘It was slipping quite a bit and one point it was stretched right out to reach for eggs in a nest.’

What are you doing here?! The bear approches nesting Brunnich's Guillemots, whose eggs he hoped to scavange

Gone again: The birds raced down the cliff every time the polar bear ventured further down. A quizzical seagull watches from above the bulky beast

Remote: The polar bear before making his daring descent on one of the rocky Ostrova Oranskie islands

Describing the moment the passengers relealised they were seeing a bear on the cliff on one of the Ostrova Oranskie islands, Californian Mr Coker, who now lives in Australia, said: ‘It was a really beautiful place; very foggy, cool, and serene with a sky full of squawking birds.

‘We rounded a corner and suddenly we could see this white blob at the top of some cliffs.

‘The cliffs were at least as high as a five-storey building. At first we thought it might be a large bird or a snow patch but as we got nearer we realised it was a polar bear.

‘Everyone on the boat was quiet, we just sat there in awe.’

Despite its bravado, the bear returned to the top of the cliff without enjoying a full meal after losing its footing several times.

Previously the group of group had encountered polar bears hunting on ice floes in Bukhta Maka, after journeying for two days without seeing land.

In awe: Tourists on a small boat capture the previously undocumented scene with their cameras

Precarious: The bear eventually returned to the top after losing its footing a few too many times

But it is believed that a scarcity of ice has led to bears seeking out food in more dangerous locations.

Mr Coker said: ‘There's a real problem with the ice disappearing due to climate change.

Traditionally the bears sit by an air hole in the ice waiting for a seal to poke its head out so they can grab it.

‘But because there's less and less ice, the bears are looking for alternative sources of food and have discovered the birds' eggs.’

During the expedition the tourists also witnessed bears swimming hundreds of miles out to sea.

Mr Coker added: ‘They're used to resting on and hunting from ice floes but now the bears swim around until they are exhausted, then they drown.’

This was the first time a civilian boat has been granted permission to sail in these waters, which also forms part of a large military zone.

Mountainous and shrouded in mystery, the Novaya Zemlya archipelago stretches 1000 km in an elongated crescent between the Barents and Kara seas.

Today it remains one of Russia's most restricted and isolated regions.

Aurora Expeditions secured the first permit on condition that two government representatives act as chaperones.

Mr Coker, who recently won an Archbishops Award for his photography, added: ‘We were really lucky to have witnessed it.

‘We could have easily been there on a different day and who knows how often this kind of thing occurs.

‘I will never forget the day I watched a polar bear hunt for eggs on a cliff-edge.
‘I couldn't have imagined a better or more unique adventure.’


Reunited! Couple handed back 16-week-old puppy stolen by motorbike thieves

By Emily Allen

Puppy love: Pauline and Ian Parsons with daughter Ashleigh Parsons 16, re-united with their puppy Alfie

The delighted owners of a 16-week-old puppy that was snatched by opportunistic motorcycle thieves have been reunited with their pet.

Tiny spaniel Alfie was taken by a pair of thieves in a bank raid-style operation last week and was captured on CCTV.

Despite frantic efforts by his owners, Pauline and Ian Parsons, both 45, to find him, it was only after their story hit the headlines on Mail Online that Alfie's new owners got in touch.

The puppy was returned by a couple who bought him just hours after he was snatched from outside the family business in West Bromwich.

They said they were walking their own dog when a man approached them and asked if they wanted to buy another dog.

They paid over the £150 asking price for the little King Charles Cavalier spaniel, after being told that he was the last of a large litter.

After seeing press coverage about Alfie's disappearance, the couple contacted the Parsons family to tell them the good news.

Happy to be home: Alfie bounding around the garden with his family after heartless opportunist thieves stole him

A couple over the £150 asking price for Alfie the King Charles Cavalier spaniel after being told that he was the last of a large litter

He was quickly reunited with his rightful owners, who said that he is slowly getting over the ordeal.

Mr and Mrs Parsons, from Coseley, West Midlands, had watched in disbelief as two men roared up on a motorbike and snatched their pet from a playpen outside the family-run Metal Supermarket

The pillion rider got off scooped up Alfie and wedged the dog between him and the getaway rider before they sped off.

Mrs Parsons said: 'He was a bit timid at first, but he's settling back in now.
'It must have been a bit of a shock for him.'

She added: 'I've got to be honest, I didn't think we'd see him again.

Dog thieves: The dognappers are caught on CCTV after stealing Alfie

'He's so little, and it would be so easy to shift him on to someone else.'

The Parsons had been tirelessly canvassing their local area in an attempt to find Alfie, as well as posting messages on Facebook and various missing pets websites.

Mrs Parsons said: 'If it wasn't for the press coverage I doubt we would've seen him again.'

Though the family are 'thrilled' to have their dog back, they hope that their ordeal will act as a warning to others to be vigilant when letting their own pets out.

She added: 'The main thing to remember is that these people are still out there.

A treasured photo of Alfie: Ashleigh Parsons pleaded for help to find her dog yesterday

'I can't believe the nerve of them, they came right up to the door and took him. We are still looking out for them.'

But the family said they are finding lots of time to spoil Alfie, and that he can look forward to being a pampered pooch for some time to come.

Mrs Parsons said: 'He isn't going to be allowed out of our sight now.'

The incident last Thursday afternoon was captured on CCTV and the couple are appealing for help in finding the two thieves.

Mrs Parsons said one of them wore a helmet with a black star and silver lining.

They were riding a scrambler-type machine with yellow wheels.

She added: 'He's just gorgeous and a brilliant dog – really clever. The customers really took to him as he's a real character. Everybody turned soft when they saw him – even the biggest blokes were reduced to mush.'

She added: 'We have never had a puppy before. We decided to get one because we could take him to work with us.

Jayne Hayes, founder of the charity Dog Lost, said the number of pedigree dogs being stolen had soared since the recession began.

'We see 150 to 200 cases a week. People just grab the dogs and sell them on and they get away with it because the police don't do much.

'I've never seen a theft like this before, though. This a worrying development, but there is definitely a market out there for expensive pedigree dogs like Alfie.'


'You were and are my best friend. See you soon': Widow's tribute to shark-attack victim at church where they wed just three weeks ago

-The Queen song You're My Best Friend played before burial in the church

By Stephanie Darrall

Devastated: Gemma Redmond attends the funeral of her husband Ian who was tragically killed on their honeymoon

The widow of honeymoon shark attack victim Ian Redmond today gave a heartfelt tribute at his funeral to her 'darling husband' - 'my soul mate and best friend'.

Grief-stricken Gemma Redmond, 27, told the hundreds of mourners at her family's local church: 'I've said it before and I'll say it again - you were and are my best friend.'

The primary school teacher was shaking as she went into St Michael's Church in Dalton, Lancashire, where they were married three weeks ago but composed herself to give a lengthy dedication.

'I promise you will never ever be forgotten and I will miss you so very much. You, above all people, knew how hard I found it to say goodbye to others and so I know you will understand if I don't say it. What I will say instead is 'See you soon!'. I'm looking forward to it so very much.'

Heartbreaking: A lone piper leads a procession carrying Ian's coffin into the church where he was recently married

Tributes: Messages of condolence are left by the hotel where the couple stayed and the British High Commission

Up to 300 people packed the church for the service conducted by the Rev Tim Barton as around 200 more mourners stood outside within the grounds and listened to the service on loudspeakers.

She recalled her wedding day, which was 'quite simply the most wonderful day of my life', and then remembered their honeymoon.

'We were having such a happy time,' she said. "It was a lovely adventure and we were enjoying experiencing new things.

'We felt so at peace, so relaxed and were so excited about the future. It was truly romantic

'Each and every time you went swimming and snorkelling and I watched you, I could never quite believe that I was married to you.

'You were the most handsome and perfect man I have ever seen and I always longed for you to come back out of the sea and be back with me.'

She continued: 'We could talk about anything and everything with each other - laugh, cry or just be quiet.

'You completed me and are the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Pain: Gemma is clasped tightly by her parents David and Coleta Houghton

Outside the church: Just three weeks ago Ian and Gemma Redmond were celebrating their wedding day

Smiling newlywed's Ian and Gemma on a beach in the Seychelles during their honeymoon, days before the fatal attack

'Whilst I cannot believe that you are gone, I am in shock and hurting so very much.

I am comforted and consoled by the rich tapestry of our memories that we formed over our nine years together. Thank you.

'All my love now, forever and always, your wife, Gemma'

A lone bagpipe player had led the procession inside as Mrs Redmond followed behind, clasped tightly by her parents David and Coleta Houghton.

Mr Redmond's parents, Stephen and Corinne, and his brother Paul brought up the rear.

The venue was the same setting as their wedding earlier this month.

Just 10 days after the ceremony, while on honeymoon in the Seychelles, the IT specialist was savaged by a shark as he swam in the waters off Anse Lazio beach on Praslin, the second largest island in the archipelago.

The 30-year-old was quickly brought to shore where a French surgeon, also on holiday, gave first aid on the beach as his new wife looked on.

But it is thought Mr Redmond, formerly from Nelson, Lancashire, simply lost too much blood due to the massive injuries suffered in the attack on August 16.

His death was the second fatal shark attack at the destination in a month. A 36-year-old French tourist was killed by a shark in the same area two weeks before.

The couple were due to set up home in Skelmersdale on their return in a cottage that Mr Redmond had refurbished.

Mrs Redmond said her husband was referred to by his work colleagues in Leyland as the 'Gold Standard' of software developers because of his dedication to work.

'But you were also the Gold Standard of men - always smiling, always finding time for the family and friends that you loved so dearly, you were never cross, just kind,' she said.

'Above all, you were the Gold Standard of husbands. Amazing, courageous, inspiring, entertaining, patient and loving.'

Mrs Redmond's father David placed a symbol during the service of his son-in-law's tool belt - used to mark his commitment and endeavour in renovating the cottage where they planned to live.

The Queen song You're My Best Friend played before committal took place in the church graveyard

Honeymoon destination: Anse Lazio beach (left) where the attack took place. Right, a shark killed by hunters which is believed to be responsible for the attack

Memorial service: Members of the island's close-knit community held a service in remembrance for the IT specialist from Lancashire

Readings were given by Mr Redmond's cousin Claire Redman (After Glow by Helen Lowrie Marshall) and his friends David Snodgrass and William Spencer (Death Is Nothing At All by Henry Scott Holland).

Two tributes were read out, one entitled Ian's Life from his parents and the other A Letter To My Husband from his widow.

Father Michael Howarth, who was priest at Holy Saviours RC Church in Nelson where Mr Redmond was an altar boy, read out his parents' tribute on their behalf.

The former Fisher More High School pupil and Nelson and Colne College student excelled in his exams before he went on to gain a honours degree in computer science from the University of Manchester.

It was there in his final year that he met his future wife.

'On Christmas Eve 2009 Ian romantically proposed marriage to Gemma,' the priest said. 'Kneeling on the doorstep of Gemma's family home in Dalton with a bottle of champagne, a red rose and a giant simulated engagement ring.
'The answer was most certainly 'yes'.'

They shared their news at midnight mass at the church where they were to wed and then the search for their dream home commenced, Fr Howarth said.

Mr Redmond threw himself into refurbishing a shell of a Grade II-listed building into a complete home after learning demolition skills, drawing the plans together and doing the plumbing, joinery, electricals and decorating.

Following the restoration, they moved into their new home on their wedding night.

'The cottage is a dream home," said the priest. "It is a magnificent testiminonial to his work and vision which will stand the test of time.'

The keen Burnley FC fan had a wide range of active interests including climbing rocks and boulders, and road cycling.

Fr Howarth said he was 'smart, athletic, with boundless energy and a ready smile on his face'.

'He enriched so many lives," he added.

'He would undoubtedly say his greatest achievement was to have been married to Gemma, whom he loved so very much.'


Face it, you just couldn't eat the cutest carrot... even if it does look like an alien


Alien roots: The Baby Whisperer Yvonne Darnell has grown her very own intergalactic carrot

She's been dubbed The Baby Whisperer for helping hordes of women realise their dreams of starting a family against medical odds.

Now it seems acupuncturist Yvonne Darnell has used her special skill to give life to one of her own carrots - which bears an uncanny resemblance to an angel-faced alien.

The 'Sussex Stork' dug up the unusual legume from her Burgess Hill garden.

With green shoots for its hair and two dangling tips for its legs, it's easy to see how she has become attached to the arm-less root vegetable.

The 46-year-old has helped 80 women, who had previously been told they had no hope in having children, conceive.

Her first success story was a woman who had endured eight failed rounds of IVF treatment.

Hands up for the carrot. The five-fingered vegetable which was grown in Shropshire

Other crunchy carrots to have hit the headlines in recent years include a five-fingered specimen grown by Peter Jackson, 66, in Shropshire, and a Buzz Lightyear lookalike found by Clive Williams in Henley-on-Thames, Oxon.

In 2010 a U.S.S. Starship Enterprise-shaped potato was spotted at the National Gardening Show in Shepton Mallet, Somerset.

Amateur gardener Peter Glazebrook pulled up the giant spud - weighing a whopping 8lb 4oz.

Baby-shaped pears, a parsnip that looked like a witch and a potato teddy bear have all also been discovered.

Grandfather Clive Williams was shocked to discover the spitting image of the Toy Story character while digging up his vegetable patch

source: dailymail

Monday, August 29, 2011

Workshy Coventry? Advert for 20 jobs in a city with more than 10,000 unemployed 'looking for work' gets just TWO replies

-Bosses baffled and say workers can earn £400 a week

By Daily Mail Reporter

Bosses at a Coventry security firm have been left frustrated after an advertisement for 20 new workers received only two applications.

With 10,275 local people looking for work, the hirers at OnGuard24 are baffled by the poor response.

The company, based in Coventry Point, Market Way, is looking for people to fill minimum-wage telesales posts.

Awaiting your call: David Mawson and Lee Derrig, of security firm OnGuard24, were surprised by the poor response to an advert offering 20 jobs

But bosses are quick to point out that there are also 'good commission rates' on top of the wage, and some employees can earn £400 a week.

Lee Derrig, OnGuard24’s marketing manager, said: 'I expected the phone to be going non-stop. It’s not like we’re selling double glazing. We’re selling a product to help keep people’s homes safe from fire and burglary.

'It’s a good job with good prospects for promotion. Some of our people here are walking away with £400 a week. Yet we’ve only had two applicants.'

Qualified beauty therapist Jadean Steele, 18, of Walsgrave, was one of the two applicants.

Coventry city centre: With more than 10,000 looking for work in the city, Mr Mawson and Ms Derrig expected more than the two responses they received

Unemployed since 2009. she said: 'I think it’s terrible that so few people have been in touch. Lots of people are unemployed at the moment.

'I’ve been trying to get a job in a salon for months but it’s really hard. There’s not much out there. When I saw the advert I was delighted.

'It looked like a job I could do, with good incentives.'

Company director David Mawson said that the jobs would perfectly suit almost anybody in the city.

Unemployment map: The darker areas on this graphic show the regions with the largest unemployment growth. Coventry is in the lower of the two darkest areas

Some of the firm’s best salesmen elsewhere include a retired headmistress and a man who recently underwent a triple heart bypass.

Mr Watson, whose company sells specialist security systems, said: 'I’ve spoken to people whose lives have been saved by our system.

'We are trying to make money but we do employ people and we want to employ more. If I needed a job and I saw one where I could earn a good wage, I would pick the phone up and come here. I can’t understand why more people haven’t.'

Unemployment has now reached 7.7 per cent in the country, with more than 2.53 million Britons out of work in the three months to January - the largest number since 1994.

However, the number of people claiming out-of-work benefits fell by 10,200 between January and February to 1.44 million.

The North-South gap appears to be opening even wider, with unemployment rates hitting low-skilled workers hardest, according to job figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The data looked at the labour market since unemployment hit a 30-year low in 2005 and the results reveal a gloomy outcome for most of the country.

Areas that have seen the largest increase in unemployment are the West Midlands, with a 6.1 per cent increase since 2005, followed by Yorkshire and The Humber, with a 5.3 per cent increase.

In contrast, the lowest rises were found in the south-east (2.7 per cent), east (3 per cent) and London with 3.2 per cent. The overall increase across the UK was on average 3.3 per cent.


Rocking it like Rio! Notting Hill Carnival sees hundreds of thousands on the streets for Europe's biggest festival

-Scotland Yard puts a record 6,500 officers on duty in first big test since the riots

By James White

They came in their hundreds of thousands to dance and have a good time, Rio de Janeiro-style.

And today revellers let their hair down in style at the Notting Hill Carnival in West London, with drumming groups, floats and sound systems all taking centre stage.

More than 6,500 police officers were patrolling the streets for the second day of the event as Scotland Yard continued its unprecedented security operation just weeks after the riots.

By 3pm, 17 people had been arrested, bringing the total held over two days to 99.

Tickertape parade: Dancers scream with delight as they take part in the 2011 Notting Hill Carnival

Main event: Drummers take to the streets of Notting Hill, west London, to perform on the second day of the carnival

Good time girls: Performers brave slightly chilly conditions in their incredible costumes

Huge event: The streets of Notting Hill and surrounding areas are filled with revellers

Record numbers of police officers were on duty, with London's reputation at stake in the wake of widespread violence and looting earlier this month.

The festivities got off to a peaceful start yesterday, with more than 5,500 officers on the streets, as revellers descended on the capital for Europe's biggest street festival.

Between 6am on Sunday and 8am today there were 88 arrests for a variety of offences, including drugs possession, public order, theft, criminal damage, robbery and assault, the Metropolitan Police said.

Flamboyant: A woman shows off her carnival costume, left, while another displays her dancing skills

Record police presence: Scotland Yard has put 6,500 officers on duty today for the carnival

Colourful: The event is expected to draw one million people to the area, making it Europe's largest street festival

Say cheese: A woman makes ingenious use of her camera to help her apply make-up today

Butterfly: This carnival-goer's rig looks dramatic as she hits the streets

Officers from the dog support unit also seized three Pit-Bull type dogs under section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act but no-one was arrested, the force added.

Last night, Commander Steve Rodhouse announced there would be a larger police operation in place today, with yesterday's 5,500 officers increased to 6,500.

What a day: These participants enjoy themselves while wearing dramatic headgear, left, while others take part in the parade, right

Delicious: Chefs prepare industrial quantities of jerk chicken for the hungry masses

Police chiefs launched their 'robust' strategy against troublemakers by making more than 40 pre-emptive arrests last week and agreeing an earlier finish time with organisers.

Commander Rodhouse said: 'Traditionally, Sunday is children's day, thousands of people came out in Notting Hill to take part in this vibrant event which is so important in the capital's calendar.

'Through effective stop-and-search, we believe we have deterred and prevented trouble from taking place.

'We've worked closely with event stewards and have seen huge support from all carnival participants to meet that really important earlier closedown.

'Our intelligence picture has not changed and we will make sure that our officers are out stopping the right people so everyone else can take part and join in the fun.'

Police have put in place a Section 60 order, which allows them to search individuals to prevent serious violence, and a Section 60 AA order, giving officers the power to require any person to remove items that conceal their identity.

Elsewhere in London there were more than 4,000 additional officers 'as well as the thousands who are normally on duty', Mr Rodhouse said.

Mr Rodhouse previously said troublemakers were plotting disruption via social networking technology.

He said the 'degree of chatter' surrounding troublemakers was consistent with previous years - despite thousands of arrests after the wave of looting and violence that gripped England a few weeks ago.

London Mayor Boris Johnson issued a rallying call before the festivities began to 'let the true spirit of London shine through', hoping the carnival will help heal wounds left by the riots.

'It's right that the carnival goes ahead so we can show the world that the overwhelming majority of London's people are decent, law-abiding citizens who respect the law, love their city and want to celebrate our vibrant, diverse and historical culture,' he said.

The Mayor will be visiting the carnival this afternoon.

Carnival-goers have so far enjoyed clearer skies today than they did yesterday.

Victoria Kettley, forecaster at MeteoGroup, said: 'It has been a fine start and should remain dry. Temperatures will be about 18 degrees.'

After downpours the previous day, the weather yesterday was mainly kind to revellers and remained mild, although showers passed through Notting Hill for half an hour.

Fun times: More women join the party as a policeman looks on

Putting on a show: Dancers give a dramatic performance for the Bank Holiday crowds


Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Top Web Hosting | manhattan lasik | websites for accountants