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RAPE CASE MAN WON 2 MEDALS; Minister's award to crimebuster.

Byline: SUE CASTLE

A NEIGHBOURHOOD Watch hero on trial for rape told a court yesterday how he was honoured by the Home Secretary for his work.

Ex-soldier Tony Lane told a jury he was presented with a gold medal by Jack Straw after his army of volunteer crimebusters were voted the best Neighbourhood Watch scheme in Britain.

Lane, who founded the scheme in the suburb of Gaer at Newport, south Wales, denies 24 sex and violence offences against four women including six rapes.

The jury has been ordered to return not guilty verdicts on five of the charges including one rape - with a charge of indecent assault substituted instead.

Lane, 56, told Newport crown court that he started the Gaer Neighbourhood Watch in 1994 after tools were stolen from his car.

"I ran the scheme for three years and people would telephone me at 2 o'clock in the morning asking me to check up on their properties," he said.

"I got a gold medal for being the best in the UK from Jack Straw.

"It was the largest scheme in the country and I was also given another silver medal for being the best in Wales."

In just a few weeks petty crime and vandalism on the estate of 7,000 people was cut by 90 per cent.

But the court heard how Lane led a double life, carrying out a series of rapes, indecent assaults and assaults on women.

Lane, who once patrolled in Northern Ireland as a lance-corporal with the South Wales Borderers, denies all the offences.

Prosecutor Martyn Kelly told the court women were made to dress up by Lane provocatively in stockings and suspenders.

"They were then abused while he either joined in with the sexual acts or would just watch," he said.

Mr Kelly said Lane forced a schoolgirl into lesbian sex with two older women before turning her to prostitution.

Lane also advertised his home for swinging parties in which women were forced to perform sex acts, the court was told.

One of his alleged victims said Lane made her strip for another man.

The woman said that after the strip show Lane raped her.

She told the court that Lane also advertised in a contact magazine for men who wanted to have sex with a young girl.

"I was forced to do sexual things with men who came to the house," she told the court.

Lane, of Newport, claims, he has been set up by the women.

The case continues.

welshmirrornews@mirror.co.uk

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ACCUSED: Tony Lane
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 30, 2002
Words:426
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