Deadline News News and pictures from Scotland and beyond Tue, 03 Mar 2015 15:25:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 “Chick sexing” industry faces chronic shortage of staff – despite average salary of £38,500 Tue, 03 Mar 2015 15:25:46 +0000 BRITAIN’s “chick sexing” industry is facing a chronic shortage of staff – despite a salary of almost £40,000 a year.


The poultry trade is struggling to recruit people willing to perform the delicate task of telling whether a tiny chick is a male or female.


Chick sexers train for up to three years and are expected to be able to sort day-old chicks at a rate of up to 1,000 an hour – between 13 and 20 a minute – reaching an accuracy rate of 98 per cent during a 12-hour shift.


They are expected to work these shifts at poultry farms, examining the “miniscule differences” in the size and shape of the chicks’ genitalia, without compromising the welfare of the animals.

Hensioners, chicken rescue

Chick sexers examine tiny differences in the chick’s genitalia

Last year the industry failed to recruit a single chick sexer and it now wants the job to go on an official government list of occupations which a chronic shortage of staff.


This would allow it to recruit more easily from outside the EU, including South Korea, where chick sexing is considered a high-status job.


However, the list’s committee ruled that it should not be put on the shortage occupation list.


Andrew Large, chief executive of the British Poultry Council, said that the job was skilled employment that could not be carried out by a machine.


He said: “Chick sexers examine the vent – the anus – of a chick, its genitalia, and by a very miniscule difference in the size and shape, then determine whether the bird is male or female.

Poultry breeders need to be able to separate the chicks into those that will lay eggs and those that will be roosters.


“It is proving difficult to get people to stay in the job,” Mr Large said. “It takes three years to train someone so they develop the sensitivity and dexterity to reliably sex the bird and a lot of people don’t want to spend that amount of time training.


“It is a job which requires a sensitivity in the use of the fingers, manual dexterity and good eyesight.”


He added that machines could not do the job because it involved looking at the most delicate area of the bird and had to be carried out sensitively so as not to hurt it.


“No machine could ever approach the accuracy or speed of a person. An experienced chick sexer can do 1,000 chicks an hour with an accuracy rate of 97 to 98 per cent,” he said.

Many people are put off by the 3 years training the job demands

There are an estimated 100 to 150 chick sexers in the country but a shortage of 15 workers means export markets risk being lost.


Despite an average salary of £38,500 and wage increases of between 2 and 4 per cent over the past three years, vacancies are remaining unfilled for up to five years.


Mr Large said: “I think the problem is the job itself. You are spending hours every day staring at the backside of a chick. That is not seen as being attractive.


“In southeast Asia, a chick sexer is a high status job. In the UK it is more likely to be the butt of humour.”

]]> 0
JK Rowling “cried her eyes out” over end of The Casual Vacancy Tue, 03 Mar 2015 14:13:12 +0000 JK Rowling was left “crying her eyes out” over the ending of her televised novel The Casual Vacancy, despite fans complaining about changes.
The Harry Potter author gave her seal of approval to the series which was based on her first adult book –  even after writer Sarah Phelps altered the original ending to make it “less grim”.
The three-part BBC version brought an alternative, happier ending, with one character spared a tragic and untimely death.
The final episode, aired on Sunday night, saw 4.6 million people tune into BBC One, two million fewer than its launch.
JK Rowling Time Capsule

JK Rowling – “cried her eyes out”

Rowling, who watched the final episode live, took to Twitter to congratulate the screenwriter and production team, thanking them for their adaptation.
She wrote: “Well, that’s me crying my eyes out, so job done. Serves me right, some might say. Thank you, thank you xxx.”
Phelps praised Rowling for being “so classy and generous and brilliant” about the changes, after she was granted the seal of approval to have free reign over the characters.
The different ending brought mixed reactions from fans who took to social media to express their views.

The multi-million selling author was praised for being “so classy and generous and brilliant”.

Superfan Johnnie Blue, who has in the past received a letter of support from Rowling after he revealed he was bullied at school, wrote: “Even though the ending was different, it really does capture the book perfectly.”
Catriona Child wrote: “Almost glad they changed the ending, that was heartbreaking enough.”
However, Alexandra Hepburn disagreed: “The tragic, harrowing ending is one of The Casual Vacancy book’s best redeeming features. The TV adaptation made it a bit empty and pointless.”
The novel, set in Pagford, a fictional West Country village, explores poverty, deprivation, drug addiction, child neglect, domestic abuse and a middle class turning a blind eye. Its teenage protagonist must cope with a drug-addled mother and the demands of looking after her infant brother.
The drama stars Michael Gambon, Julia McKenzie, Keeley Hawes and Rory Kinnear.
]]> 0
Rolex raider gets away with watches worth £100,000 in armed raid on Laing’s Mon, 02 Mar 2015 17:09:05 +0000 AN ARMED thief hijacked a taxi after stealing £100,000-worth of Rolex watches from an Edinburgh jewellers.

The man, who had most of his face concealed with a scarf and a hood, entered Laing the jewellers on Frederick Street with a handgun at 09:30am.

He demanded staff hand over between 12 and 15 Rolex watches worth £100,000, all of which had been on display in the front of the shop.

The business was closed as detectives hunted the robber

The business was closed as detectives hunted the robber


The thief tried to hijack a black taxi and a van, before getting into the front passenger seat of a private hire cab in Hanover Street.

There was a 19-year-old male student already in the back of the taxi. The thief showed the driver his gun and forced him to take him on a 10-minute drive to Pilton, where he got out at the junction between Pilton Drive North and Royston Mains Crescent.

No-one was hurt in the incident, but police said the young passenger was shaken up by the experience.

Police are looking for a white male in his early 30s, 5ft 10in tall who was wearing a dark padded hooded jacket, blue trousers and a blue and white scarf. He was carrying a black and white rucksack.

They are appealing for witnesses who may have seen the man on Frederick Street, Rose Street, Hanover Street or in the Pilton area.

DI Johnston appealed for help in tracking down the robber

DI Johnston appealed for help in tracking down the robber


Det Insp Grant Johnston, of Police Scotland, said: “This robbery left the staff badly shaken but thankfully unhurt.

“We cannot at this time say whether it was a planned robbery. We are carrying out door to door inquiries and analyzing CCTV footage.

“We are keen to hear from anyone who may have seen the man, or has information about the crime, so that we can trace him as soon as possible.”

A waiter at Chiquitos on Frederick Street, next door to Laing’s, said: “We didn’t notice anything until police put up tape this morning.

“We’ve had a lot of people asking about it but unfortunately none of our staff saw anything.”

Established in 1840 Laing is Scotland’s oldest family jeweller.

The Edinburgh store first opened its doors in 1978 and specialise in luxury watches and jewellery.

A sign posted on the shop front yesterday [Monday] afternoon read: “Following the incident in our store this morning, we can thankfully confirm that no-one was injured.

“It has been a stressful experience for our staff so we have taken the decision to close the store for business for the rest of the day and let the police focus on their investigation.”

Just last year, three masked robbers stormed Hamilton and Inches jewellers in Edinburgh and made off with items worth £2m, including a £325,000 diamond necklace.

In 2013, two men raided the ROX store on George Street, taking £1m worth of jewellery before making off on a motorbike. The pair, who wielded an axe and a gun during the raid, were jailed for a total of 22 years.

Rolex is the largest single luxury watch brand in the world, producing roughly 2,000 watches per day. The most expensive was a classic 1942 Rolex watch sold for over £700,000 at auction.

]]> 0
Traverse Theatre returns with its popular play, pie and a pint series Mon, 02 Mar 2015 16:22:14 +0000 ONE of Scotland’s most popular theatres is bringing back its play, pie and a pint series.

The Traverse, Edinburgh, offers – as the name suggests – a snack, drink and thespian goodness for the all-inclusive price of £12.

Traverse Theatre Artistic Director Orla O’Loughlin said the lunchtime series has “a reputation for presenting some of the most exciting, raw new writing”.

Who ate all the pies? Theatre-goers at the Traverse if the  return of a play, pie and pint proves successful

Who ate all the pies? Theatre-goers at the Traverse if the return of a play, pie and pint proves successful


Leviathan, in collaboration with Sherman Cymru, gets the season underway with a new play by Welsh playwright, Matthew Trevannion (Bruised).

Three generations of women soak up the last of the sun’s rays in their back garden in the Welsh Valleys, where underlying tensions between the three of them are brought to boiling point in this rich poetic drama.

Leviathan is directed by Sherman Cymru Artistic Director Rachel O’Riordan.

The rest of the season comprises The Day the Pope Emptied Croy by Martin McCormick, Take the Rubbish Out, Sasha by Natalia Vorozhbyt, Fat Alice by Alison Carr and Broth by Tim Primrose

The season runs from Tuesday 17 March until Saturday 18 April, with performances at 1pm and a 7pm performance on Fridays.

]]> 0
Activity centre owner jailed for sexually abusing boys in his care 30 years ago Mon, 02 Mar 2015 15:45:58 +0000 AN activity centre owner has been jailed after he was convicted of preying on young boys.

Torquil Johnson-Ferguson was sentenced to 18 months in jail at Oban Sheriff Court for sexual offences against three boys which began over 30 years ago.

He was also placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for 10 years,

Pic Katielee Arrowsmith/Deadline News..Lothian and Boarders PoliceJohnson-Ferguson owns Rua Fiola Island in the Firth of Lorn and until recently operated an activity centre on the island.

From 1976 the centre ran week long courses during the summer months offering kayaking, rock climbing and survival skills targeted at 9-14-year-old boys from private schools throughout the UK.

It was during these courses that on three separate occasions, between 1981 and 1986, Johnson-Ferguson carried out the sexual assaults on the boys all aged 13 or under.

Speaking after the sentencing Procurator Fiscal Fraser Gibson said: “Torquil Johnson-Ferguson was in a position of trust and abused that to prey on vulnerable young boys.

“For nearly thirty years he may well have thought that he had escaped justice but he was wrong and is now paying the consequences for his actions.

“I would urge any victims of sexual crimes, even ones which occurred decades ago, to come forward and report them. They will be treated with the utmost professionalism and sensitivity by the police and our expert prosecutors and we will do all we can to deliver justice.”

]]> 0
YMCA urges UK’s next government to help boost youth employment Mon, 02 Mar 2015 15:32:42 +0000 THE YMCA is challenging the next UK government to remove some of the barriers which prevent youngsters get into work.

Central YMCA, which supports young people into work through its national YMCA Training operation, has launched a roadmap of eight key recommendations.

Its Pathways Into Employment Manifesto 2015 calls for a full review of the ways in which Ofsted grades training providers.

YMCA believes that the current method is limiting opportunities for young people from hard-to-reach groups and penalising training providers for investing time in individuals who may have huge potential but lower initial attainment levels.

The charity is calling for the removal of the current 16-hour rule for young people?in full-time skills study programmes.

It also believes there should be an expansion of the scheme to allow the full recovery of training costs to those aged 19 and older in certain sectors where it‘s not always possible to employ younger apprentices, such as healthcare.

Rosi Prescott, CEO of Central YMCA, says: “As economic recovery leads to a natural reduction in unemployment there is a danger that, whichever government comes into power at the next election, they will think it’s “job done” when it comes to youth unemployment.

“This cannot be allowed to happen. The impact of sustained unemployment for young people will last for the rest of their lives. Even after they re-enter the workforce, young people who have had significant periods of unemployment are at increased risk of becoming unemployed again and, research shows, earn less on average than their peers who have unbroken education and employment histories.”

]]> 0
Children’s charity Hopscotch receives £1,200 donation from Scottish Conservatives Mon, 02 Mar 2015 15:18:54 +0000 THE Scottish Tories have donated £1,200 to Hopscotch, a children’s charity that provides respite care for vulnerable children in the West Highlands.

Hopscotch, based in Edinburgh, was founded in 1998 and since then has enabled approximately 5000 vulnerable young people and carers to enjoy respite with activities including beach visits and horse riding.

The money was raised at an event preceding the Scottish Conservatives’ annual conference in Edinburgh and is enough to enable five children to stay at the retreat for a week.

Ruth Davidson handed  over the cheque to Hopscotch

Ruth Davidson handed over the cheque to Hopscotch


Hopscotch relies entirely on donations to fund the centre.

The cheque was presented by Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson to representatives of Hopscotch during their visit to The Scottish Parliament today.

She said: “We are very proud to be making this donation to Hopscotch – which provides a unique facility at Ardvullin on the Ardnmurchan peninsula.

“It’s so important that kids have access to the outdoors and the countryside, but the truth is that for one reason or another, many children don’t have that luxury.

“It is a credit to everyone who donated at our annual Blue Review event that they are helping such a worthwhile cause.”

]]> 0
Chinese restaurant chain Chop Chop opens its first Glasgow eaterie Mon, 02 Mar 2015 15:08:06 +0000 CHINESE restaurant Chop Chop has opened its first branch in Glasgow.

Chop Chop specialises in serving up dishes from the north-east of China compared with the predominantly Hong Kong cuisine of most restaurants in the sector.

The Glasgow restaurant, in Mitchell Street, features an “an outdoor design, transporting guests to a park in China with a cherry blossom tree and a garden path leading guests from the entrance to the bar”.

The Glasgow Chop Chop is trying to achieve the feeling of the outdoors with its decor

The Glasgow Chop Chop says it is trying to achieve the feeling of the outdoors with its decor


Dishes are brought to the table in random order as soon as they are ready.

The unlimited banquet option is offered to large groups as a way to try a wide variety of different dishes and costs £20.25 per person.
An unlimited business lunch is offered priced at £7.50 and an unlimited weekend lunch at £14.95, including soft drinks, hot drinks and dessert.

Owner and head chef Jian Wang said: “We are really excited about the new design in our Glasgow restaurant which will be emulated across our subsequent restaurant openings.

“We have been planning to expand for a number of years and Glasgow seemed like the obvious next step.”

]]> 0
Operation Quarterlight shifts its anti-car crime focus to Forth Valley Mon, 02 Mar 2015 14:47:28 +0000 A POLICE operation to tackle car crime is shifting its focus to the streets of central Scotland and Forth Valley.

Operation Quarterlight is a nationwide operation aimed at reducing motor vehicle crime across Scotland.

As has happened elsewhere in Scotland, targeted patrols will be carried out in the Forth Valley area and vehicles entering the area will be checked.

Community officers will be on hand across the division to remind motorists of their personal responsibilities including always ensuring their vehicles are securely locked and removing valuables from cars.
Assistant Chief Constable Campbell Thomson said: “Local policing is at the heart of all we do. Officers right across Scotland are targeting criminals who commit car crime.

“Operation Quarterlight is about preventing vehicle crime, and targeting those responsible. I would say this directly to those intent on committing vehicle crime in Scotland – if you engage in such activity, we will use every resource at our disposal to trace you, arrest you and bring you to justice.”

Detective Chief Inspector Jim Smith said: “Currently there are individuals coming into the Forth Valley area who are targeting high-value vehicles. We have placed our officers around the division with the intention of tracing and arresting those criminals, and disrupting any traveling offenders.”

Anyone with information about motor vehicle crime should contact Police Scotland on 101 or through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

]]> 0
Les Mis actress Samantha Banks “drowns” in tough animal rights ad Mon, 02 Mar 2015 14:27:08 +0000 ACTRESS Samantha Barks appears in a hard-hitting new animal rights advert drawing attention to the suffering of fish out of water.

The I’d Do Anything and Les Misérables star, appears to be drowning in the PETA advert, which spells out the fact fish suffocate out of water.

Banks appears to be drowning in the hard-hitting PETA ad

Banks appears to be drowning in the hard-hitting PETA ad


The group is trying to persuade consumers to stop eating fish with the slogan “Please Try to Relate, and Keep Fish off Your Plate.”

“Fish have the same capacity to feel pain and to suffer as dogs and cats do”, said PETA Director Mimi Bekhechi.

“PETA are delighted to have teamed up with Samantha Barks, a long-time vegetarian, to encourage the public to help all animals by leaving them off their plates.”

Winner of multiple awards for her debut film role in Les Misérables, Barks has starred in stage productions of Cabaret, Les Misérables, Oliver! and others. She next stars in A Hundred Streets alongside Gemma Arterton and Idris Elba.

Barks joins a growing list of celebrities – including Vivienne Westwood, John Bishop, Joss Stone, Paul McCartney and Joaquin Phoenix – who have teamed up with PETA to promote the group’s motto, which reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”.

]]> 0