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News & News Archive

Little Book Of Cyber Scams - booklet now available

on Wed, 07/06/2017 - 1:21pm

Thames Valley Police have joined up with the Metropolitan Police to produce the Little Book of Cyber Scams, to give information and advice to you and local businesses.

The 40-page booklet covers a wide range of cyber and cyber-enabled threats, including malware and ransomware, social engineering attacks – where cyber crime is made possible by someone gathering data deceitfully in person, by phone or email – denial of service attacks and data leakage.

It follows the successful ‘Little Book of Big Scams’, now in its third edition, and can be viewed and downloaded via the Thames Valley Police website.

While some of the information is targeted at businesses, the advice is relevant to all and we hope you find it useful. 

Yoga with Katie Jones, West Challow - Thursday mornings

on Tue, 06/06/2017 - 1:19pm

Free St John Ambulance iPhone & Android app - first aid advice at your fingertips

on Mon, 05/06/2017 - 5:36pm

Even basic first aid knowledge can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.

Ths St John Ambulance free first aid app puts potentially life saving advice at your fingertips.

Available for Android, iPhone and BlackBerry mobile device users, the first aid advice app provides easy to follow advice on a range of first aid scenarios, including CPR , diabetic emergencies, choking and allergic reactions.

Download the free St John Ambulance first aid advice app now and have it with you whenever you have your phone:-

Burglary in Sparsholt between 25th and 30th May

on Fri, 02/06/2017 - 3:34pm

Thames Valley Police is appealing for witnesses following a burglary in Sparsholt Wantage, Oxfordshire.

Between 25.05.17 – 30.05.17 a property in Sparsholt was burgled. Entry was gained through a window.

Jewellery was stolen.

If you have seen any suspicious looking vehicles or people in the area or have any information relating to this message, please call the police via the 24 hour non- emergency telephone number 101.

Alternatively, if you have any information but wish to remain anonymous, please call crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online @ No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court. 

From a Thames Valley Alert email received 2/6/17

Sunday wood fired pizzas & live music at The Blowing Stone, Kingston Lisle

on Thu, 01/06/2017 - 12:46pm


Contact details:-

“Save the Roof” Fundraising to replace Griffin Hall's roof - Update June 2017

on Thu, 01/06/2017 - 10:43am

Griffin Hall's roof dates back to the 1950’s, so has lasted well, but unfortunately the time has come for a new roof. 

The Committee have obtained quotations for the work and they range from £25,200 and £31,194 including VAT. These quotations do not include the installation of additional roof insulation. The decision as to what insulation can be installed will be made once the roof is off and the space available can be assessed, as a consequence the total price will increase.

The Committee is making applications to various grant bodies seeking funding, and has held several very successful fund raising events earlier this year. 

Demonstrating community support is a vital part of the grant application process. In addition to fundraising events, the Committee has launched the “Buy a Tile” scheme. For details, please see the form below.

Please support our fundraising events details of which will be advertised on the village noticeboards and within the diary section of this website. Or perhaps you could organise a fund raising event or seek sponsorship for something and donate the money to the Hall.

The Committee hopes to raise enough money for the work to be carried out during August 2017.

You can follow our fundraising progress by checking the “Save the Roof” Ladder displayed on the Hall door.

Provided by Angie Brown

5 top tips to help you stay safe online, on your mobile and your phone

on Wed, 31/05/2017 - 3:34pm

The best way to protect yourself from fraud is to be aware.

Always be suspicious of unexpected calls, emails or text messages from people claiming to be from companies you trust, such as your bank or broadband provider.

Here are 5 top tips to help you stay safe:-

  1. Never disclose your full Online Banking PIN or full Online Banking password.
  2. Never disclose bank card reader codes over the phone.
  3. Never transfer money from your account after being instructed to do so for "security reasons".
  4. Never allow anyone to access your computer remotely when someone calls you.
  5. Keep your computer operating system (Windows, OSX etc), web browser & antivirus software up to date to help you stay safe online.

Mobile Phone SMS Phishing (Smishing) Bank Fraud Alert

on Tue, 30/05/2017 - 11:28am

Smishing – the term used for SMS phishing – is an activity which enables criminals to steal victims’ money or identity, or both, as a result of a response to a text message. Smishing uses your mobile phone (either a smartphone or traditional non-internet connected handset) to manipulate innocent people into taking various actions which can lead to being defrauded.

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has received information that fraudsters are targeting victims via text message, purporting to be from their credit card provider, stating a transaction has been approved on their credit card.

The text message further states to confirm if the transaction is genuine by replying ‘Y’ for Yes or ‘N’ for No. 

Through this method the fraudster would receive confirmation of the victim’s active telephone number and would be able to engage further by asking for the victim’s credit card details, CVV number (the three digits on the back of your bank card) and/or other personal information.

Protect yourself:

  • Always check the validity of the text message by contacting your credit card provider through the number provided at the back of the card or on the credit card/bank statement.
  • Beware of cold calls purporting to be from banks and/or credit card providers.
  • If the phone call from the bank seems suspicious, hang up the phone and wait for 10 minutes before calling the bank back. Again, refer to the number at the back of the card or on the bank statement in order to contact your bank.
  • If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, please report it to Action Fraud at or alternatively by calling 0300 123 2040

From a Thames Valley Alert email received 26/5/17.

Parish Council Minutes - Tuesday, 11th April 2017

on Fri, 26/05/2017 - 3:38pm


Minutes of the Meeting of Sparsholt Parish Council held on

Tuesday 11th April 2017 at Griffin Memorial Hall starting at 7.30pm

Present: Councillors Brown, Comyn, Downie, Williams and Wiltshire, the Clerk and RFO, 7 x parishioners, DC & CC Constance.





Apologies:  None.



Declaration of Acceptance of Office, Declarations of Interest & Reminder of the Code of Conduct: None.



Minutes of the Sparsholt Parish Council Meeting held on Friday 3rd March 2017:  Proposed as a true record by Cllr Comyn, seconded Cllr Brown and agreed unanimously.




Matters Arising: 

  1. B4507 50mph speed restriction:  In progress.
  2. Breach of Cemetery Rules (fence and clouds):  Cllr Comyn has had email correspondence with Karen Walker and the items have been removed, remove from the Agenda.
  3. Highways issues, white road markings:  Cllr Comyn has spoken to Lee Turner, OCC and it has been agreed to clen the signs and replace the white markings, remove from the Agenda.
  4. Pension for the Clerk:  The Clerk has opted out, remove from the Agenda.
  5. Bus shelter damage:  Mr Lee and Cllr Williams have replaced the felt on the roof.  There has been no more damage since.  Cllr Brown suggested a letter to all households in Sparsholt, Mr Lee agreed to deliver.


Cllr Comyn








Cllr Brown and Mr Lee



  1. Approval of the Finance Report February 2017: Cllr Comyn read through the report and proposed acceptance, seconded by Cllr Brown and agreed unanimously.  Approval of the Finance Report March 2017 and the listing of payments to be made:  Cllr Comyn read through the report and proposed acceptance, seconded by Cllr Downie and agreed unanimously.

Acceptance of the Actual v Budget was proposed by Cllr Comyn, seconded by Cllr Downie and agreed unanimously.  

  1. Resignation of RFO and advert for replacement.  This item was dealt with before item b). The Parish Council proposed a vote of thanks to Brian and Cllr Comyn proposed that Rachel Bennett be offered the position of RFO, seconded by Cllr Downie and agreed unanimously.  Rachel was welcomed to the position of RFO.









Planning Updates: 

  1. P15/V2600/PAR Westcot Farm, Westcot OX12 9QA: Conversion of agricultural buildings to form three no. C3 dwelling houses.  Fully discharged.  Cllr Comyn stated that this was still ongoing and he is pressing for information to be released.
  2. P16/V0274/FUL Church Way, Sparsholt, OX12 9PX:  Revised application for proposed 7 no. new dwellings and works thereto.  No decision.  Cllr Comyn asked DC & CC Constance why the application had not been withdrawn/refused.  DC & CC Constance agreed that the application should be refused and agreed to speak once again to the Planning Officer in charge.



Cllr Comyn



DC & CC Constance



Local Plan 2031 Part 2 Vale sites:  Pg42 of the Local Plan 2031 Part 2 concludes that Sparsholt and Westcot are in “open countryside”.  Pg46 states that development I “open countryside” is not appropriate, unless other policies in the development plan.  There are no preferred options for the western vale at all in part 2.  (Cllr Williams left at 8.00pm).  Cllr Comyn proposed that the Parish Council should support the Part 2 preferred options plan and list why it is supported.  Dalton Barracks has been released and will allow 1,200 houses in the planned period.  Due to the freedom of information act all sites offered had to be published, including all unallocated sites.  Cllr Comyn proposed that he will draft an objection to the call for sites list of unallocated sites, listing that Sparsholt and Westcot are not sustainable, in open countryside and with no public transport.  Cllr Comyn will also draft the response supporting the preferred option plan, seconded by Cllr Brown and agreed unanimously.  The Clerk mentioned that Nick had been challenged for publishing the HELAA and asked for the Parish Council to support his decision to publish, the Parish Council agreed that Nick was correct to publish it.









Cllr Comyn


Notice Board, offer from Mr Lee to the Chairman:  Mr Lee has offered to put a notice board in the bus shelter.

Mr Lee


Highways:  Helen Barham introduced herself as the volunteer Parish Path Warden for Sparsholt and Westcot.  Her role is to walk the footpaths at least twice a year, cutting back brambles and shrubbery, cleaning signs and reporting eg. broken signs to OCC.  Cllr Brown represents the Parish Council as the footpaths officer and it was suggested that the parish was already covered as he is the official Parish Path Warden.  Helen will inform the Ramblers Footpath Society of this.  Helen was thanked for attending.



Helen Barham and Cllr Brown


Cemetery Rules:

  1. Cllr Comyn has produced updated cemetery rules which he proposed acceptance of, seconded by Cllr Brown and agreed unanimously.  Cllr Comyn will forward them to Nick to publish on the website.



Cllr Comyn



  1. Cllr Wiltshire has decided to resign from the Parish Council at the AGM in May.
  2. Westcot Farmhouse has a “for sale” board outside and it has been noticed that the land which has been previously classed as village green is included in the sale.  The land usage is not defined in the sale particulars and is registered to Westcot Farmhouse.  The Parish Council may need to put in a claim if the new owners decide to fence it off.  Arthur McEwan-James has suggested that the forms are downloaded and an application is submitted to register it as village green.  Cllr Brown agreed to action this.







Cllr Brown


Next Parish Council Meeting Date: Sparsholt Parish Council Meeting Thursday 25th May 2017 starting at 7.30pm at the Griffin Memorial Hall.

The Parish Council may need to change these dates as necessary.



Meeting closed at 9.00pm.

Minutes taken and prepared by The Clerk



SPCM 11th April 2017

Microsoft Tech-Support Scammers using WannaCry attack to lure victims

on Thu, 25/05/2017 - 6:50pm

Action Fraud has received the first reports of Tech-Support scammers claiming to be from Microsoft who are taking advantage of the global WannaCry ransomware attack.

One victim fell for the scam after calling a ‘help’ number advertised on a pop up window. The window which wouldn’t close said the victim had been affected by WannaCry Ransomware.

The victim granted the fraudsters remote access to their PC after being convinced there wasn’t sufficient anti-virus protection. The fraudsters then installed Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool, which is actually free and took £320 as payment.

It is important to remember that Microsoft’s error and warning messages on your PC will never include a phone number.

Additionally Microsoft will never proactively reach out to you to provide unsolicited PC or technical support. Any communication they have with you must be initiated by you.

How to protect yourself

  • Don't call numbers from pop-up messages.
  • Never allow remote access to your computer.
  • Always be wary of unsolicited calls. If you’re unsure of a caller’s identity, hang up.
  • Never divulge passwords or pin numbers.
  • Microsoft or someone on their behalf will never call you.

If you believe you have already been a victim

  • Get your computer checked for any additional programmes or software that may have been installed.
  • Contact your bank to stop any further payments being taken.

From a Thames Valley Alert email received 23/5/17.