Lancashire nostalgia in 2007: Preston bus wars; chocolate-powered cars; and who ate all the pies?

A public inquiry into the so-called Preston bus wars beginsA public inquiry into the so-called Preston bus wars begins
A public inquiry into the so-called Preston bus wars begins
Here's a look at some of the stories that were making the headlines back in 2007:

Preston’s bus wars inquiry opens

A bus giant has accused a government minister, a rival operator and Preston’s MP of launching a witch-hunt against it over the city’s “bus wars.”

Stagecoach has claimed that a “well-orchestrated campaign” has been waged against it by Preston Bus, bringing in MP Mark Hendrick and Transport Minister Rosie Winterton.

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Bichon frise Charlie who ate all the piesBichon frise Charlie who ate all the pies
Bichon frise Charlie who ate all the pies

The accusation came as the national firm made its opening statements against charges it was trying to run its rival off the road.

A public inquiry has now been adjourned until February when customers caught up in the “wars” will be called to give evidence.

Solicitor James Backhouse, representing Stagecoach, said: “My client is concerned as to whether this inquiry is being handled in an even-handed manner, they feel there is a well-orchestrated campaign against them.

“It is not balanced and not supported by the majority of the travelling public in Preston, which has been using its services in significant numbers.

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“They think this is not fair, we are getting attacked for running a successful bus campaign.”

A letter to North West Traffic Commissioner Beverley Bell from the solicitor was read to the inquiry.

It said Mr Backhouse’s client believed the inquiry was being brought as a result of “political propagandering which seems to have been exacerbated by Preston Bus to keep its monopoly.”

The commissioner told the solicitor and officials from Stagecoach that she had “no axe to grind” with the firm and would not allow her mind to be changed by “outside influences.”

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She went on to outline two key allegations that had been made against Stagecoach. The first allegation was that there had been a “failure to operate in accordance with its registration.”

The second that Stagecoach was “intentionally interfering with a rival operator’s service”.

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This is how Lancashire looked in 2007

Chocolate makes the wheels turn

A chocolate-powered car is something you would expect to find in the world of Willy Wonka.

But a Bamber Bridge company takes the stuff we usually like to eat and turns it into fuel for vehicles.

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Biodiesel producer Ecotec, on School Lane, gets waste produce from a major confectionery company and converts it into eco-friendly, cheap fuel.

In the ultimate test, the chocolate invention is to be used to power a car from the UK to Timbuktu on the world’s first carbon negative vehicle expedition.

Chris Elvey, one of the company’s directors, said: “I put 100% in my car because its quite heart-breaking having to go to the local petrol station and spend £1.05 a litre.

“It’s in the experimental stage but conventional cars will run on it.”

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To turn the chocolate into fuel, it is heated up and mixed with a number of chemicals.

The substance then splits to leave two liquids, one of which is cleaned and has a secret ingredient added, to become the biodeisel.

The fuel, made from the oil in the chocolate, costs 15p a litre.

Pigeon and dog in cahoots?

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A Preston dog has thrown Wigan’s annual world pie-eating competition into chaos – by eating them all.

Tiny bichon frise, Charlie, tucked into the official competition crusts which were left in the fridge of former champion Dave Williams at his home in Higher Road, Longridge.

He was distracted by a pigeon in his chimney when Charlie sneaked in and helped himself.

Dave said: “The pies had just been delivered, I went to find out what this racket was and when I got back Charlie had pulled them out of the fridge and had a bit of a do at them.

“He is a bit of a rascal really, but he does love his pies.”

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