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OPINION: Mr O’Sullivan, if you don’t like our venue then I’ll help you to the door!

The phrase think before you speak has never been more applicable than here.

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I’m fuming!

Someone who I once liked has taken it upon themselves to lash out and criticise one of the finest venues in our county.

Ronnie O’Sullivan (he’s a snooker player for those who don’t know) is currently defending his title at the English Open which is being held at Crawley’s very own K2 this week.

Where did he think he was going to play? Devils Dyke?

Following a victory in his first round he has spoken out to the BBC citing the venue is a ‘hellhole’, that it stinks of ‘urine’ that there is no security and ‘no atmosphere’.

Where did he think he was going to play? Devils Dyke? Did he expect the wind to gently breeze over his head whilst he sipped on sparkling water surrounded by adoring fans as he waited for his turn to play?

Let’s get a few things straight.  K2 is one of the most modern venues anywhere in Sussex.  It’s popularity is so high that when mentioned, people think of it first before the mountain.

It hosts a multitude of events throughout the year and like all sports venues has many changing rooms and toilets and like all toilets they can smell at times but one thing K2 is not is a ‘hellhole’.

The venue is also not responsible for creating the atmosphere OR for building the snooker playing area and practise areas where these apparent ‘wires’ were hanging.  That falls down to World Snooker.

It is also worth noting that ticket sales for this years event have surpassed the total number sold for all previous English Open venues.

But before this looks like a long rant there is a very serious side to responding to this players comments.

K2 is responsible for a lot of peoples jobs.  It is home to countless professional and amateur sports people.  It is a venue that does more than just supply a swimming pool for local residents.

More and more elderly people rely on K2 for some of the groups that are held there.  The town as a whole relies on the venue to bring much needed revenue in.  Much of that comes from businesses and event management that rent out areas of the venue.

And thus lies the real problem here.

Popular and successful sportsmen and women need to think before they speak because the consequences of their actions, like celebrities, can have huge affects on people and peoples livelihoods.

Where criticism is due then of course venues should stand up and take note but when it is completely unjustified or aimed in the wrong direction then it needs to be corrected.

So Mr O’Sullivan, take a long hard look at K2.  If its the security, wires hanging around your table and the lack of budget that angers you so much, make it clear who is responsible for that before you attack a venue and the repercussions that can have such a negative effect on a town.

To quote one of our councillors: “I’m not sure we would welcome him back if that’s what he thinks of our venue!”

News

Let’s just waste more money on imprisoning people for speeding and lying

One man was only six miles over the speed limit while the other was 12mph over.

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Sussex Police have published a press release where two men who lied about speeding were sent to prison. Initially when you read the story it appears two men have been given prison sentences for breaking the speed limit by so little BUT this is where you need to read past the initial report and see what is really going on.

First the background:

CASE ONE:

On 29 May 2017, a white Ford Focus activated a speed camera in Ditchling Road, Brighton – it was travelling at 36mph in a 30mph zone.

A Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) was sent to the registered keeper in Hove, but no response was received.

Therefore a new NIP was sent to Colin Drewitt-Barlow at an address in Sompting on the basis the vehicle was insured to him.

A reply was received stating Drewitt-Barlow no longer resided there, and further enquiries led to another NIP being sent to his new address in Coleman Avenue, Hove.

The 31-year-old, unemployed, and now of Downsway, Southwick, replied and nominated another person, however this proved to be a false name and address.

In police interview, Drewitt-Barlow denied driving the vehicle when the offence was committed or ever owning it. The case was then submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which authorised a charge of perverting the course of justice.

Drewitt-Barlow pleaded not guilty but later changed his plea to guilty at Lewes Crown Court on 12 December 2018, where he was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment. He was also ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge.

CASE TWO:

On 25 June 2017, a black BMW M3 activated two speed cameras in Sussex – it was caught travelling at 38mph in a 30mph zone on the A259 Marine Parade, Brighton, and at 72mph in a 60mph zone on the A24 at West Grinstead.

Two separate NIPs were sent to the registered keeper – Ozgur Uzum, 45, a fast food employee, of Salvington Road, Worthing, however they were both returned nominating another person from Hampshire.

Both NIPs were sent to the nominated driver but no response was received. Enquiries revealed this person had been nominated before, and it was confirmed the individual had been a victim of stolen identity.

In police interview, Uzum continued to deny the offences, however he later changed his plea to guilty after being shown an image from the A24 incident, which clearly showed him driving the vehicle in question.

The CPS authorised two charges of perverting the course of justice, and at Lewes Crown Court on 10 December, Uzum was sentenced to five months’ imprisonment. He was also ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge.

The CPS authorised two charges of perverting the course of justice, and at Lewes Crown Court on 10 December, Uzum was sentenced to five months’ imprisonment. He was also ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge.

So what is really happening is two people are going to prison for perverting the course of justice. Something which can actually hand out a life in prison term.

In-fact both men could have got away with a small fine and some points had they just admitted it was them.

Instead, by lying they have forced mountains of paper work, an appearance in court and now tax payers money to be wasted on sending them to prison.

Surely now sentencing needs to be examined so that rather than wasting tax payers money on putting people inside an already packed prison system they are forced to pay for the huge amount of cost that was allocated into chasing, charging and convicting them.

Sussex Police launched Operation Pinocchio in 2016 with the following aims:

  • To improve safety on Sussex’s roads by tracing and prosecuting offenders who provide false information in an attempt to avoid prosecution;
  • And to prevent law-abiding motorists, who have been badly advised, from committing serious criminal offences by attempting to avoid speeding or red light offences.

BUT unless sentencing changes are made all this is going to do is add even more financial pressure on a system that needs to reform urgently.

At a time when the police have never been under such pressure to perform and reduce crime figures perhaps more thought should have gone into whether publishing this outcome would have a positive or negative impact on them – even though they were only following the law.

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