Post memories: Dagenham‘s worst year for road casualties, Castle Gardens ‘slums’ may close, football coach sacked for indecent video
- Credit: Archant
The stories that made the news 60, 40 and 20 years ago...
Three cars and a van that mysteriously appeared, were stripped by vandals at night, then vanished had Dagenham residents scratching their heads.
The vehicles - a Morris Minor convertible, a Wolseley 6/80, a Vauxhall Wyvern and a Ford 5-cwt van - had turned up about two weeks earlier, parked a few metres apart in Martin and Hewett roads.
Since then, they'd been systematically stripped and plundered by children and vandals at night,
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Looters armed with hammers and spanners kept residents awake as they removed wheels, engine parts, seats, lights and everything else detachable.
Then, just as mysteriously as they'd arrived, what remained of the vehicles disappeared.
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In other news, the borough recorded its worst ever year for road accidents, with 798 people injured and 13 killed in Dagenham alone in 1959.
Dagenham's casualty figures, which include 133 people seriously injured, were up 116 on the previous year.
The council was considering closing and boarding up the worst "slums" in the borough... because vandals were making them worse.
The families sent to live in them after failing to pay their rent could be found new council homes as a result.
The flats in Castle Gardens, Dagenham, had been damaged to such an extent that closing them was thought to be cheaper than repairs.
Only 20 of the 36 homes were occupied and the council said even those who had been evicted were reluctant to move there.
Castle Gardens had for several years been used to fulfill the council's obligations under housing laws.
It was obliged to give the homeless a roof over their heads - even those evicted by the council for not paying rent.
Meanwhile, trainloads of deadly nuclear waste were being secretly shunted through Barking.
Not even police, the fire brigade or council were being told about the shipments, which were not officially acknowledged due to the possibility of sabotage.
A football coach was sacked after parents learned he had admitted filming an indecent video recording of a child.
The 51-year-old from Dagenham pleaded guilty to the charge under the Obscene Publications Act 1981 when he appeared at Bow Street Magistrates' Court.
The court heard he had been seen by police officers filming children paddling in the fountain at Trafalgar Square.
Prosecutor Janice Quayle said the hot weather meant children had tucked their clothing into their underwear, and the man was observed filming them for half an hour.
He was then arrested and taken to a police station, where the video was viewed.
The footage included a minute and a half of close-up shots of a girl aged around six trying to change out of her wet underwear.
The telephone engineer was remanded on bail.
He was sacked from his position as football coach after a vote by parents' at a meeting that night.