A Grantham man who allegedly “coughed on shop staff deliberately and claimed to have coronavirus” was arrested and charged by police.

Lincolnshire Police received a report that a man had stolen a pair of headphones from Currys in Dysart Retail Park at 1.30pm on Saturday, October 17.

He had been blowing in the direction of a member of staff and claimed to have coronavirus.

Benjamin Wells, 41, of Grantley Street in Grantham was later charged with theft from a shop and common assault.

Wells will appear before Lincoln Magistrates Court on January 15.

A government letter rejecting the Greater Lincolnshire devolution bid has backed the district councils’ argument that it’s not the right time for local reorganisation, leaders have said.

The letter from Housing Minister and Newark MP Robert Jenrick turning down the plans was addressed to Conservative MPs in our region. It announced devolution plans for Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Somerset.

However, in response to other applications, Mr Jenrick said: “Given the pressures councils face this winter with the pandemic, I believe it would not be right at this time for them to further progress or focus on ideas for reform.

“The pandemic has rightly necessitated resources across Whitehall being re-allocated to tackling COVID, and this must be Whitehall’s and town halls’ number one priority at present.

“And, as outlined, there is no expectation that such restructuring is a Whitehall requirement.”

District Council leaders have welcomed the comments, which appear to back their own concerns when Lincolnshire County Council leader Martin Hill and his counterparts at North and North East Lincolnshire initially launched their bid in July.

The leaders acknowledge reform is needed, but say that a solution that works long-term is also required.

Greater Lincolnshire council leaders Rob Waltham, Martin Hill and Philip Jackson wrote to government in May.

“We are pleased that central government has put the potential for local government reorganisation in Lincolnshire on hold for the time being,” they said in a joint statement.

“This enables district councils to put our full focus on protecting the county’s most vulnerable and keeping essential services running during the pandemic.

“We have been very consistent and clear in our message: now is not the right time for local government re-organisation due to COVID and it’s reassuring that Government has shown its support for our view.”

When the news was announced last week Councillor Hill said the authority would continue to work on the “best way forward”.

Boston Borough Council leader Councillor Paul Skinner warned the issue was “not going away”.

The leaders all agreed to continue working together, adding: “If government decides to resurrect its plans for devolution or reorganisation in Lincolnshire, our residents and businesses can be assured that we are well prepared to respond and secure the best outcomes for the residents and businesses of our districts.”

A cafe in uphill Lincoln is delivering fresh tea and coffee, as well as homemade cakes, direct to homes, care homes and local businesses to help customers during the coronavirus lockdown.

Joff Gainey, owner of BookStop Cafe on Steep Hill, came up with the idea as he has a lot of customers who are unable to get out at the moment and wanted to still be able to to serve them.

He launched the service this summer with the help of his friend, former C5 Gadget Show presenter, and Lincoln resident Jason Bradbury.

Joff makes the deliveries in a van with an on-board coffee machine, while his son Sam runs the cafe.

The drinks are made freshly on arrival, which people can collect from their doorsteps, or it can even be delivered through the window.

There is a portable card machine on the end of an extending pole so customers don’t even need to leave the house to get their order.

Lemon and almond, coffee and walnut, and raspberry and apricot sponges are among the homemade cakes on the delivery menu at BookStop Cafe.

The service delivers to Lincoln and the surrounding villages, around a six mile radius. There is no delivery charge, but there is a minimum order value of £5.

Orders can be placed via Facebook or by calling 01522 412133.

The service operates between 8am-4pm Monday to Friday.

Joff Gainey, owner of BookStop Cafe, came up with the idea of the delivery service this summer.

A selection of the teas and coffees on offer.

The van has an on-board coffee machine.

The cafe on Steep Hill is also still open from 9am-4pm seven days a week.

There are limited tables inside due to the coronavirus restrictions, but the cafe continues to offer its takeaway service.

Joff told The Lincolnite: “It’s ticking along and keeping us above water. It is strange times and we don’t know what’s happening so we are doing what we can to keep going.

“The idea is to help my present customers who we’ve built up over the years and also new customers working from home.”

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