Tagged: Neil Maxwell

Benefits Street: Police ‘continuing to review footage’

Police are continuing to review footage from the controversial TV show Benefits Street.

Officers from Cleveland Police say inquiries are ongoing into circumstances surrounding some of the scenes and also what unedited footage is available.

The show featured residents living on Stockton’s Kingston Road.

One of the criticised scenes featured Neil Maxwell. The 36-year-old was shown apparently dealing in cannabis and claiming £700 a month in benefits.

Maxwell, who has since been jailed for his role in a double stabbing, was also filmed smoking the drug.

When the first show aired on May 11, Cleveland Police issued a statement confirming they would assess footage from the show to see whether it can assist in criminal investigations.

Full story: http://northstar.boards.net/thread/65/benefits-street-police-continuing-footage

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TV’s Benefits Street in Stockton condemned for showing criminal activity

Community leaders have condemned controversial TV programme Benefits Street for openly shows drug dealing and substance abuse in Stockton.

The show, which was filmed in Kingston Road on the Tilery Estate follows on from the first series which made stars of some of the inhabitants of Birmingham‘s James Turner Street but was described by some critics as “poverty porn“.

Among the residents introduced in the first Stockton episode is Neil Maxwell who is shown bagging up cannabis, smoking the drug and taking pills before a court appearance.

The Northern Echo reported in March that Maxwell and his brother Robert were jailed for a double stabbing after one of them was accused of stealing money and tobacco from a neighbour. Both admitted unlawful wounding and Neil Maxwell was locked up for two years and three months.

The 36-year-old, who told the film crew he has taken “early retirement” from a life of crime after a string of convictions, said he claimed benefits because he suffers from memory loss.

In one scene, he is seen spending his benefits money to top up his tan at a local sunbed salon.

Kieran Smith, from Love Productions which makes the show, said they had followed “strict guidelines” about filming illegal activity.

 He said: “We are never suggesting to Maxwell that he does this on camera, we don’t encourage him in any way shape or form.

“We filmed with Maxwell for quite a long period of time and he was very clear about the potential repercussions about his behaviour and what might happen to him.”

Mr Smith said the show was “not glorying in his behaviour” and was “quite an honest account of what his life is like.

But Cllr Bob Cook, the leader of Stockton Borough Council, Labour, condemned the programme makers. He said:

“Why wasn’t this reported to the police? If there’s a crime the police should be told, that would responsible.”

> I suspect the police will know about it all by now ! I dont think they are dealing with a criminal mastermind here.

Cllr Cook accepted that there was poverty in Stockton but argued the programme was unlikely to give a fair portrayal of the town. He said:

“There is deprivation in Stockton but we also have some of the most affluent areas in the country and it is one of the best areas of the country to start a business.”

 Cllr Cook’s political rival, Cllr Ken Lupton, recent leader of the Conservative Group, agreed. He said:
“As far as I’m concerned, if the programme identifies criminal activity they should be making the police aware. It’s just showing the town in a bad light and is not giving a balanced view.”
> But its worse than that of course – the programme sends out the message that this is what all people on benefits are like.  Mail and Express readers will lap it up.
Source – Northern Echo, 29 Apr 2015