Yvonne Mosquito, the West Midlands Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, owns a property on TV’s ‘Benefits Street’
A top police chief owns a house in Birmingham’s controversial Benefits Street, the Mail can reveal.
Yvonne Mosquito, the West Midlands Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, bought the property in James Turner Street for £30,000 almost 12 years ago.
It is understood the people living in the property have not appeared on the explosive Channel 4 documentary, which has attracted a record number of complaints to TV watchdog Ofcom.
The show is also being looked at by Ms Mosquito’s own West Midlands force after featuring scenes of possible criminal activity including shoplifting, theft and cannabis plants apparently being grown in one house.
Ms Mosquito earns £65,000 per year as deputy to West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Bob Jones.
She is also a Labour councillor for Nechells, for which she receives the basic councillor allowance of £16,267.
Away from her civic and police roles, Ms Mosquito also has a property portfolio.
According to the Land Registry she and husband Winston bought the James Turner Street house in Winson Green in March 2002 for £30,000.
It is understood a number of tenants have lived there since, while Ms Mosquito lives elsewhere in Birmingham.
On her register of interests on the Police and Crime Commissioner website under the term ‘Property’ she lists ‘land’ at Winson Green, Highgate and Sutton Coldfield.
She does not mention James Turner Street, but did list the house in a Birmingham City Council statutory register of members interests in 2003 and 2007.
The show’s first episode was broadcast last Monday and featured prolific shoplifter Danny Smith who boasted of committing 200 offences and having 80 convictions.
It also showed scenes of apparent cannabis plant cultivation in one property.
Viewers also watched a local called Fungi apparently duping unsuspecting members of the public out of cash by flogging free magazines as supposed copies of the Big Issue.
James Turner Street couple Mark Thomas, 23 and Becky Howe, also 23, also talked on camera about being caught cheating their benefits in the first show.
In episode two on Monday, a gang of Romanian manual workers called in police after claiming their passports had been seized and they had not been paid their wages of £10 per day.
Rubbish was also piled up in the street by some residents, with the narrator claiming council rubbish collectors had not visited the road for two weeks – claims the city council later denied.
Last night, a spokesman for the Police and Crime Commissioner office said: ‘‘Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Yvonne Mosquito is currently on leave and is not available to comment.
‘‘It is a statutory requirement that Police and Crime Commissioners and Deputy Police and Crime Commissioners publish a declaration of interests, including any property held.’’
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that James Turner Street residents are to take part in a live Question Time-style TV debate about the show. It will be hosted by Channel 4 on February 10 at 10pm and will be chaired by broadcaster Richard Bacon.
The announcement came after 100 residents living in James Turner Street and neighbouring streets in Winson Green attended a meeting at the Oasis Academy school to discuss how they had been depicted by the programme.
Channel 4 has said the debate panellists would represent views across the political spectrum “and crucially those who claim benefits”.
Head of Factual for Channel 4, Ralph Lee said: “[The series] does not and never has set out to reflect the experiences of every person who receives benefits. Yet it has triggered a national debate about state welfare at a time in which further welfare reforms are being proposed.”
The show has sparked intense interest in the residents of James Turner Street after it first aired on January 6. Residents claimed they had been misled by programme makers Love Production, claiming they told them the series would focus on community spirit, not benefits.
Critics have argued the show is not representative of people living on benefits.