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Best paid jobs and biggest pay rises: How does your salary compare to the UK average for your profession?

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Whether you’re at the start of your career, mulling a career change, or thinking about asking for a pay rise, understanding what others get paid helps.

But how much do you know about the average salary for different professions? 

You can use our interactive tool below to search for your occupation and see average salaries, plus the biggest and smallest pay rises last year.

What does the average head teacher earn, are all chief executives on million-pound plus salaries, and how big a pay rise did travel agents typically get last year? 

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Figures from the Office of National Statistics shed light on average pay across UK occupations, as well as revealing which jobs bagged the biggest pay rises in 2023.

In many cases you can also see what the top 10 per cent and bottom 10 per cent of earners in specific roles get paid.

Enter the occupation you are looking for in the search box and you can reorder the columns to biggest to smallest and vice versa by clicking on them at the top.

USE THE INTERACTIVE TOOL HERE  

What you need to know about the salary figures

The figures in our table are for full-time earnings and come from the ONS’s Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings report for 2023. This is the official and comprehensive look at earnings across all occupations and it gives two average figures, the mean and the median.

The mean is if you take all the salaries for that occupation and add them together then divide them by the number of jobs to get an average figure. 

The median is if you line up all the earners for that job in a row, from lowest to highest, and then take the middle figure for your average.

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The ONS’s preferred way to measure the average is to use the median salary, which gives a better picture of the average individual’s income – it is less likely to be skewed by a few very high or very low earners. 

We have ordered our table on median salaries, but also provided the mean and the average annual change for the mean, as this is the most comprehensive data. Where possible we have also included the average for the top 10 per cent of earners and the bottom 10 per cent of earners in each role. 

We analyse what each sector pays their employee on average per year and which jobs saw the best, and worst, pay rises in 2023.

Where possible we have included the top 10 per cent and bottom 10 per cent of earners figures, but there are a number of occupations where this information is missing in the ONS stats. 

What are the best paid jobs?

Unsurprisingly, chief executives and senior officials top the list of the UK’s best paid full-time jobs, earning £84,131 on average.

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To many that will seem low though. Aren’t all chief executives on million-pound plus salaries?

Not quite. Firstly, because the figures are for chief executives and senior officials, not just CEOs; and secondly, because the data covers chief executives right across the range of Britain’s companies, from those where the staff could be counted on two hands, to those where employees number in the tens or low hundreds, right through to big firms that employ thousands.

This £84,131 median average marks a fraction of what FTSE 100 chief executives earn though, with the country’s top bosses taking home £3.81million per year on average (excluding pension payments), according to the High Pay Centre. Executives at companies listed on the FTSE 350 earn £1.32million on average.

Those high earners drag up the mean average for chief executives and senior officials to more than £120,000 – and note, bonuses are not included.

Marketing, sales and advertising directors follow closely behind chief executives with a gross full-time salary of £83,015 while IT directors are earning £80,000 as the median average.

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Public relations and communications directors fare well, earning £79,886, while head teachers were also among the best earners too, earning £66,014 per year.

But figures from the Department of Education show this can vary widely. The minimum headteacher salary in England, excluding London, is £53,380 while the maximum is £131,046. In inner London this rises to £62,304 and £139,891 respectively.

By comparison, the average salary for teaching professionals is £41,800, according to the ONS. 

At the other end of the scale, leisure and theme park attendants earned just £17,860 in a full-time role, followed by bar staff, waiters and waitresses, and supermarket workers.

Hospitality workers are often paid very little and are often younger, meaning they often fall into the lower bracket of the minimum wage.

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The National Minimum Wage for 18- to 20-year-olds is £7.49 while those aged 21 and 22 earn £10.18 an hour. The National Living Wage, for those aged 23 and over, is £10.42, which equates to about £21,700 a year on a 40-hour week.

Which jobs had the biggest pay rises in 2023?

Figures from the ONS in January revealed that growth in regular earnings, excluding bonuses, was 6.6 per cent in September to November 2023, while annual growth in average total earnings, including bonuses, was 6.5 per cent over the same period.

Some occupations got a lot more than that, according to the ONS figures. 

It was a strong year for clothes and accessory designers who received a 29.3 per cent pay rise over the course of 2023 to earn an average salary of £40,503.

Employees working in travel also saw bumper pay rises, with travel agents and air travel assistants seeing incomes go up by 20.5 and 16.5 per cent, respectively. 

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Aircraft maintenance and related trades also earned 22.2 per cent more than the previous year.

Despite difficulties within the hospitality industry, pub owners and managers took home 18.2 per cent more in 2023 – although their average salary of £33,477 remains on the lower end of the scale. 

Bar staff didn’t see a similar increaase, with supervisors seeing a 6.9 per cent rise in their take-home pay.

Clinical psychologists saw the largest pay cut of 12.5 per cent to £36,315, while sports coaches and officials saw their pay down 10.6 per cent on average to £23,206.

Delivery operatives also saw a 10 per cent fall in their pay to £22,193, meaning they are among the lowest paid employees in the UK.

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Work in healthcare saw similar falls, with health and social services managers and directors facing a cut of 8.8 per cent to £26,313 while children’s nurses saw a fall of 7.8 per cent to £34,024.

Building technicians, librarians, and tax experts also all saw their pay fall behind inflation, meaning they lost money in real terms.

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

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International

A&E patients wade through 14 PAGES of touch-screen questions before being asked: Are you losing lots of blood?

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Everyone expects a lengthy wait in A&E these days, even if you are in pain.

But a new scheme threatens to add to the agony – with an iPad check-in system that even asks if you are ‘spurting’ blood before summoning a doctor.

Astonishingly, there are 14 pages of multiple-choice questions before patients are asked: ‘Have you lost a lot of blood?’

The screen then reads: ‘We’re checking for very heavy bleeding. It would be spraying, spurting or enough to make a puddle.’

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NHS England’s new ‘Urgent Care Centre self-service’ programme then requires the patient to find the energy to tap on one of the options: Yes, No, or I’m Not Sure.

NHS England's new 'Urgent Care Centre self-service' programme requires patients to check themselves in when they arrive at A&E

NHS England's new 'Urgent Care Centre self-service' programme requires patients to check themselves in when they arrive at A&E

NHS England’s new ‘Urgent Care Centre self-service’ programme requires patients to check themselves in when they arrive at A&E

The questions include one asking whether the patient has lost 'enough blood to make a puddle'

The questions include one asking whether the patient has lost 'enough blood to make a puddle'

The questions include one asking whether the patient has lost ‘enough blood to make a puddle’

Anyone fighting to breathe has to wade through the same number of pages before getting to the question: ‘Have you got sudden rapid swelling of the lips, face, tongue, mouth or throat?’

And anyone seeking help after trying to kill themselves has to complete even more pages before being asked starkly on the computer screen: ‘Are you here because you’ve tried to end your life?’

It is only at a later stage that they are asked: ‘Have you taken or swallowed anything poisonous or harmful? For example, drugs, an overdose of medicine, medicine meant for someone else, cleaning products, plants, or an object like a battery or magnet.’

Patients have to wade through pages of questions before being asked if they have swallowed anything poisonous or harmful

Patients have to wade through pages of questions before being asked if they have swallowed anything poisonous or harmful

Patients have to wade through pages of questions before being asked if they have swallowed anything poisonous or harmful  

Another question asks if the patient is struggling to breathe and has 'sudden, rapid swelling'

Another question asks if the patient is struggling to breathe and has 'sudden, rapid swelling'

Another question asks if the patient is struggling to breathe and has ‘sudden, rapid swelling’

The new iPad-style A&E devices are already in use across much of South London – with The Mail on Sunday finding them in operation at Princess Royal University Hospital (PRUH) in Orpington, as well as hospitals in Beckenham and Sidcup, similarly run by the King’s College Hospital NHS Trust.

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When The Mail on Sunday visited PRUH, two non-medical staff behind a glass screen looked embarrassed as they said those needing help had to ‘check themselves in on the iPads’ in the waiting room, even if bleeding.

A member of the non-medical reception staff at PRUH told the MoS: ‘Since they arrived a couple of weeks ago we’ve been told to send people to the iPads even if they’re obviously bleeding. 

‘We’ve had people bleeding on the floor down there and all sorts.’

NHS England, which designed the programme, said hospitals were welcome to use it to improve efficiency. 

But last night the director of over-60s campaign group Silver Voices, Dennis Reed, said: ‘I’m extremely concerned that self check-in screens like this in A&E could be dangerous and lead to life-threatening delays.

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‘Some patients, including the elderly, will be so stressed or ill when then arrive in A&E that they are not going to be able to cope with filling out a digital questionnaire.

‘The first thing they will want to do is speak to a real person, who can ask them what is wrong and triage them appropriately.’

The check-in systems first query the person’s identity, followed by a wordy page asking ‘What was their sex at birth?’ with the answers Male and Female. 

A long explanation follows, saying the hospital needs to know ‘someone’s registered sex at birth not their gender identity’, and suggesting, for the first time, speaking to staff ‘if you do not see a [sex] option that correctly represents them’.

The check-in systems first query the person's identity, followed by a wordy page asking 'What was their sex at birth?' with the answers Male and Female

The check-in systems first query the person's identity, followed by a wordy page asking 'What was their sex at birth?' with the answers Male and Female

The check-in systems first query the person’s identity, followed by a wordy page asking ‘What was their sex at birth?’ with the answers Male and Female

The patient is then asked if they’ve booked an appointment, been asked to visit by a doctor or recently been in hospital.

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Only then does the screen ask for the ‘reason you are here’, giving options including symptoms or an injury, and mental health concerns. 

Clicking on ‘Symptoms or an injury’ leads to ‘Do you have an injury?’, with a ‘yes’ leading to ‘Have you lost any blood?’ 

It then reaches the question about whether your blood is ‘spraying, spurting or enough to make a puddle’. 

A ‘yes’ here belatedly advises a potentially blood-soaked patient to directly approach the staff at the reception desk.

This advice is given to others only after they have laboriously got the chance to say their throat is rapidly swelling. 

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Attempted suicides have even more screen pages before human contact is encouraged.

Dr Tim Cooksley, immediate past president of the Society of Acute Medicine, said: ‘It would be preferable if we had well-staffed and well-run emergency departments, where patients could be triaged quickly by a real person.’

Last night a PRUH spokesman said: ‘E-kiosks were introduced at the PRUH last week to reduce waiting times and improve patients’ experience of care.’

An NHS England spokesman said: ‘For a small proportion of trusts, a digital kiosk tool is in place to help identify and triage patients’ symptoms in cases where it is safe to do so.’

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Gaza ceasefire talks to resume as US official says ‘deal is on the table’

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Gaza’s health ministry collects data from the enclave’s hospitals and the Palestinian Red Crescent.

The health ministry does not report how Palestinians were killed, whether from Israeli airstrikes and artillery barrages or errant Palestinian rocket fire. It describes all casualties as victims of “Israeli aggression”.

The ministry also does not distinguish between civilians and combatants. 

Throughout four wars and numerous skirmishes between Israel and Hamas, UN agencies have cited the Hamas-run health ministry’s death tolls in regular reports. The International Committee of the Red Cross and Palestinian Red Crescent also use the numbers.

In the aftermath of war, the UN humanitarian office has published final death tolls based on its own research into medical records. The UN’s counts have largely been consistent with the Gaza health ministry’s, with small discrepancies. 

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For more on the Gaza health ministry’s tolls, click here.

(FRANCE 24 with AP) 

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Luis Enrique ‘told Kylian Mbappe he isn’t being punished for wanting to leave PSG in clear-the-air talks’ despite subbing the striker off in their last two matches

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  • Mbappe has been substituted off during Paris Saint-Germain’s last two games 
  • Luis Enrique reportedly told striker he wants to save him for bigger matches 
  • Is Kevin De Bruyne’s confidence uncouth or should we champion self-belief of the world’s best? It’s All Kicking Off podcast 

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Kylian Mbappe has reportedly held clear-the-air talks with Paris Saint-Germain coach Luis Enrique after being substituted off early in his past two matches.

The French striker was taken off at half-time during PSG’s goalless draw with his old club Monaco on Friday, having been subbed after 65 minutes of the draw against Rennes a week earlier.

Enrique said it was his decision to take Mbappe off against Monaco with the 25-year-old watching the second-half from the stands instead of from the bench.

It comes with the 25-year-old forward expected to join Real Madrid on a free transfer when his PSG contract expires this summer.

According to ESPN, Mbappe was unhappy to be taken off and asked to speak with his coach to address the matter amid tensions between the pair.

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Kylian Mbappe and Luis Enrique (right) have reportedly held clear-the-air talks after the PSG coach took the striker off early in their last two matches

Kylian Mbappe and Luis Enrique (right) have reportedly held clear-the-air talks after the PSG coach took the striker off early in their last two matches

Kylian Mbappe and Luis Enrique (right) have reportedly held clear-the-air talks after the PSG coach took the striker off early in their last two matches 

Mbappe, who looks set to join Real Madrid this summer, was taken off at half-time during PSG's goalless draw at Monaco on Friday night

Mbappe, who looks set to join Real Madrid this summer, was taken off at half-time during PSG's goalless draw at Monaco on Friday night

Mbappe, who looks set to join Real Madrid this summer, was taken off at half-time during PSG’s goalless draw at Monaco on Friday night

He duly watched the second-half from the stands rather than with his team-mates

He duly watched the second-half from the stands rather than with his team-mates

He duly watched the second-half from the stands rather than with his team-mates 

Enrique reportedly told the forward it wasn’t personal and nothing to do with his decision to leave the Parc des Princes. Instead, he believed Mbappe wasn’t fully fit and wanted to save him for upcoming games of greater importance.

But ESPN said the feeling in the player’s camp is that he’s being punished for wanting to leave.

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Despite dropping four points in their last two games, PSG remain a comfortable 12 points clear of Brest at the top of Ligue 1.

On Tuesday, they head to Real Sociedad in the Champions League last-16, second leg with a 2-0 advantage. Mbappe scored the opening goal in the first leg in Paris.

Despite the constant speculation about his PSG future, Mbappe has scored 32 times in 33 games this season.

At Monaco, Mbappe emerged from the dressing room having changed out of his kit following the substitution on Friday evening.

He was wearing all black, including a cap, and was followed by photographers as he stopped to speak to the fans in attendance, even posing for a selfie.

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Enrique has argued that PSG will have a better side next season in Mbappe's absence

Enrique has argued that PSG will have a better side next season in Mbappe's absence

Enrique has argued that PSG will have a better side next season in Mbappe’s absence

Mbappe was seen on the phone in the tunnel at the start of the second period at Monaco

Mbappe was seen on the phone in the tunnel at the start of the second period at Monaco

Mbappe was seen on the phone in the tunnel at the start of the second period at Monaco

He made his way up to the stands in changed clothes as his side could pick up only a point

He made his way up to the stands in changed clothes as his side could pick up only a point

He made his way up to the stands in changed clothes as his side could pick up only a point

Mbappe watched the second half of PSG's draw with former side Monaco from the stands

Mbappe watched the second half of PSG's draw with former side Monaco from the stands

Mbappe watched the second half of PSG’s draw with former side Monaco from the stands

The game finished 0-0 in what was a fairly even game in terms of chances despite the visitors dominating possession.

Mbappe went to sit in the stands with his entourage – including his mother – and could be seen in the tunnel on the phone at the start of the second half. He had gone down injured in the 27th minute of the game but played the rest of the first period.

Speaking on the substitution, Enrique said: ‘I have been in football for quite a long time, you must know that everything is important in this kind of club. Sooner or later we will play without Mbappe, we have to get used to that.’

Enrique had hinted before the game that PSG would be a better side without Mbappe next year as they look to finally put the long-running distraction around his future behind them.

‘I know that if everything goes well, next season, we will have a better team from all perspectives,’ Enrique said. ‘Offensively, defensively, tactically. I have no doubt about it.’

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LeBron James becomes first player in NBA history to score 40,000 points

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LeBron James became the first NBA player to reach 40,000 career regular-season points on Saturday, the 39-year-old superstar scoring nine against defending champion Denver to achieve the milestone.

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But the historic effort came in a losing cause as Nikola Jokic scored 35 points to rally the Nuggets late for a 124-114 victory over the Lakers, stretching their win streak to six games.

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“I’m glad we’re playing good,” Jokic said. “We’re doing the things we want to do. We don’t have too many breakdowns. I just like how we’re playing the game right now.”

James, who just over a year ago overtook Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the NBA’s all-time scoring mark, is a four-time NBA champion and four-time NBA Most Valuable Player as well as the league’s oldest active player, now in his 21st campaign.

“Just happy for him. It was a hell of an accomplishment,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “Wish we could have got the win to cap it off.

“But my hat’s off to him. Amazing, amazing run that continues to this day. And you know, everyone in our program, everyone within our organization, is extremely excited and happy for him.”

After scoring five points in the first quarter, James sank a layup 14 seconds into the second quarter to pull within two of the milestone, then missed a free throw and on the next Laker possession missed a 3-point shot.

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James scored the historic basket with 10:39 remaining in the second quarter, banking in a driving layup from the left side of the basket to give the Lakers a 37-32 lead.

The crowd gave James a standing ovation after he made the basket. The ball James used to score the milestone hoop was removed from the game, but with the replacement he added a layup late in the period on the way to the Lakers seizing a 66-58 half-time lead.

James scored his first basket of the game on a fast break layup 6:20 into the opening quarter to give the Lakers an 18-12 edge, then added a 3-pointer from the left corner 63 seconds later for a 23-14 advantage.

In anticipation of reaching the milestone, James said it won’t rank among his greatest feats but the 40,000-point mark is meaningful.

“No one has done it. And for me to be in this position at this point and time in my career, I think it’s pretty cool,” James said.

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“Is it one of the top things I’ve done in my career? No. Does it mean something? Of course. Why wouldn’t it?

“To hit feats and have milestones throughout my career, they all mean something to me. Absolutely.

“Obviously, there’s a pecking order of which ones are higher than others, but I would be lying to you if I said no, it doesn’t mean anything. It absolutely does.”

Porter ‘was amazing’

The Nuggets equalized at 89-89 entering the fourth quarter and seized command with a 9-0 run in the final minutes to lead 117-110, Denver hitting 15-of-22 from the floor in the final quarter.

“They had control the first half,” Jokic said. “They had a really good energy. We didn’t play really good in the first half. They were getting to the paint. They were having open looks.

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“We kind of were battling a little bit in the second half and we scored 124, which is a lot, but I’m just glad we won the game.”

Michael Porter Jr. went 10-for-10 from the floor and scored 25 points while matching Jokic’s 10 rebounds.

“He was amazing,” Jokic said. “It’s always a good thing when you have a guy on your team that can shoot like that.”

The Lakers, 33-29, rank 10th in the Western Conference, the final play-in spot, while the Nuggets are 42-19, third in the West but only a half-game behind leading Minnesota.

In other games, Mikal Bridges scored 38 points to lead host Brooklyn over Atlanta 114-102 while Jimmy Butler netted 37 points to power the Miami Heat over visiting Utah 126-120.

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Anfernee Simons hit 30 points to lead Portland’s 107-100 overtime triumph at Memphis.

(AFP)

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International

Why that lime in your Margarita could be soaked in the blood of a farmer murdered by Mexican gangsters

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The attack began in the early hours of Tuesday. Residents woke to the rattle of gunfire, which continued into the day. Four powerful blasts, thought to be from explosives dropped by drones, shook their houses. By the end of the terrifying onslaught, no one knows how many had died, as the casualties were dragged away by the two rival cartels whose gang war had spilled so bloodily into the streets of the small Mexican town of Buenavista,

Yet this savagery was not over the huge profits to be had from smuggling illegal drugs, but for control of the region’s production of limes.

Mexico is the world’s second biggest producer of the fruit, exported around the world – including to Britain – where they flavour margaritas, salsas and tacos and much more besides.

Gangs are fighting a deadly turf war to control that lucrative business, running protection rackets to impose ‘taxes’ on farmers trying to earn a living. Workers defying their threats and extortion demands run the risk of being killed, kidnapped, losing their homes or banishment.

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An armed member of Pueblos Unidos poses in front of the Welcome to the municipality of Ario de Rosales sign

An armed member of Pueblos Unidos poses in front of the Welcome to the municipality of Ario de Rosales sign

An armed member of Pueblos Unidos poses in front of the Welcome to the municipality of Ario de Rosales sign

A woman buys lemons at a market in Morelia, Michoacan State, Mexico

A woman buys lemons at a market in Morelia, Michoacan State, Mexico

A woman buys lemons at a market in Morelia, Michoacan State, Mexico

One prominent local figure suggested to me that up to 3,000 lime farmers may have been slaughtered in Michoacan, the western state that includes Buenavista, in the past decade.

And it’s just like the war over Sicilian lemons that started the Cosa Nostra 

Fruit farming and organised crime have a long shared history.

The Mafia, or Cosa Nostra, emerged on Sicily in the 1800s after lemons became popular when medics realised they contained vitamin C that could combat scurvy. Farmers on the island saw the business opportunity and began to expand their production and export their lemons all over the world.

But criminals also knew the value of the lemons and began to seize the crops from the defenceless farmers. And so the first of the Mafia’s infamous protection rackets was born. Farmers agreed to pay for ‘mafiosos’ to stop their fruit being stolen.

They would protect the groves, the country paths used to transport the fruits, and the docks from which the lemons were exported. But by the 20th Century protection rackets had expanded to include bars, gambling and trade unions

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The Grecos – one of the most powerful criminal families in Italy and, later, the US – got its start by renting a lemon grove.

have been slaughtered in Michoacan, the western state that includes Buenavista, in the past decade.

It is believed 150,000 people have fled the state’s bloodletting and into America. ‘The whole of the lime industry is controlled by the gangs and there is a lack of freedom for producers,’ Buenavista’s mayor Sergio Baez, 59, told me. ‘So in a way when people in Britain buy their limes, there is a contribution to organised crime.’

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The fighting for this market is so intense that landmines and grenade launchers have been used by gangsters. Last week, security forces in the municipality seized at least 130 home-made explosive devices to be dropped by drones.

According to Michoacan’s governor at least 14 organised gangs operate in the state, but a defiant Baez said: ‘We cannot be betrayed by fear.’

One lime farmer told me: ‘Criminal groups have taken control of our town, control of our economy, control of our lives. This is not a life, living under the rule of a criminal enterprise in the face of authorities who seem complacent.’

Last week’s nocturnal attack involved hitmen tied to the Tepalcatepec cartel trying to oust Los Viagras, a group notorious for its savagery reputedly led in the town by a man nicknamed La Sirena (The Mermaid). This gang won national infamy with a video entitled No Mercy In Mexico, showing the gruesome execution of a father and son accused of collaboration with rivals. The gangsters cut off the head of the father before ripping out the heart of his son.

A RIVAL clan released videos six months ago of a new armed wing named Lime Special Forces. These showed gangsters in armoured vehicles with badges on military-style uniforms featuring two pistols and a skull set inside a yellow lime. Such is the state of terror that the farmer said if Los Viagras were driven out by rivals or by the military, they might be replaced by even more deranged gangsters – as seen so often in Mexico’s tragic recent history.

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‘The Viagras got too ambitious, too nasty and aggressive against the people,’ said another source in the town, adding that many locals supported the insurgents in the hope of reducing the extortion and violence inflicted on them.

Security forces patrol the streets after the murder of Armando Perez Luna

Security forces patrol the streets after the murder of Armando Perez Luna

Security forces patrol the streets after the murder of Armando Perez Luna

Lemons are washed at a packaging warehouse as the government sets up a police operation to curb extortion from criminal groups demanding protection money from lemon producers

Lemons are washed at a packaging warehouse as the government sets up a police operation to curb extortion from criminal groups demanding protection money from lemon producers

Lemons are washed at a packaging warehouse as the government sets up a police operation to curb extortion from criminal groups demanding protection money from lemon producers

‘But why do people have to choose the least evil?’ they added. ‘There should be no evil at all – no quotas, no extraction of wealth, no controlling of people’s lives and the economy.’

The cartels also have their claws into the avocado business, having initially seen the trade in both fruits as a way to launder drug money. But they rapidly realised the potential for hefty profits from the control of these agricultural markets. With Buenavista producing 220,000 tons of lime a year, the gangs’ levy on producers and packers earns them £22 million annually from this single scam in this single municipality.

‘The equation is very simple: you pay up or run the risk that the criminals will stop your next shipment on the road and burn it,’ said one farmer. ‘So it is cheaper to pay the extortioners.’

Most victims are poor rural labourers without the resources to escape. Gangs dictate pricing, transport and even which days of the week farmers are allowed to harvest crops The workers, who typically earn about £20 a day selling their limes to packing plants, are permitted to harvest their fruit only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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‘It is all about control,’ said Gregorio Lopez, an outspoken priest and lime farmer from Buenavista who wore a bulletproof vest during services before being forced to flee for his life. ‘It’s a show of power. They call the shots.’

He said the harvesting ban allowed gangs to impose penalties such as taking over cars or homes if disobeyed, with landmines sometimes planted to prevent work on prohibited days. Lopez, said the lime growers felt ‘betrayed, abandoned and at the mercy of crime’ and that they were ‘disposable cannon fodder’ in the gang wars ravaging so much of Mexico.

He added that four years ago the entire 5,000 population of one lime-growing town left overnight after threats intensified and gangsters began using drones armed with explosives. About 500 have since returned to the ‘ghost town’.

Limes are exported from Mexico to the UK where they flavour margaritas, salsas and tacos and much more (stock image)

Limes are exported from Mexico to the UK where they flavour margaritas, salsas and tacos and much more (stock image)

Limes are exported from Mexico to the UK where they flavour margaritas, salsas and tacos and much more (stock image)

At the end of our conversation, he asked if I wished to buy his lime grove – an offer I easily refused. When I was in Michoacan four years ago to investigate the gangs taking over avocado plantations, nine people, including boys as young as 12, were slaughtered by gunmen who sprayed bullets around a video game arcade near my hotel.

A study last year found that drug cartels behind such massacres are Mexico’s fifth biggest employer with about 175,000 members.

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Other analysts have identified almost 200 armed gangs in the country, the number soaring after a crackdown on kingpins led major cartels to splinter. The violence is expected to intensify ahead of forthcoming elections as gangs fight for influence.

The drug cartels first muscled in on the lime trade in 2010 by burning down packing stations, demanding protection money and stealing land. This sparked a revolt three years later by armed vigilantes led by a farmer named Hipolito Mora, which drove the cartels from the region and caught global attention.

His self-defence movement was quickly corrupted and his son killed, but he remained a vocal critic of both the gangs and the government’s insipid response.

The narcos finally managed to assassinate Mora last June, shooting him and his bodyguards in an ambush as the vigilante leader drove to his home which had been strafed by gunfire three days earlier. The bodies were torched in his pick-up truck in a grim display of strength by the cartels.

Mora’s killing sparked national condemnation, followed by another flare-up of the extortion and terror rackets inflicted on lime and avocado farmers.

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Despite the risks, Mora’s younger brother, Guadalupe, has returned home after almost half a century in California to continue the fight against the cartels, seek justice over his sibling’s murder and tend to his own lime groves.

‘Hipolito was killed since he raised his voice. He spoke out about how organised crime was once again taking over the entire economy,’ said Guadalupe, 64. ‘Now I am speaking out.’

He knows the danger he faces, but says. ‘I am willing to risk my life for this just cause. There is no other way.’

Such is the life of a lime farmer in this land soaked in blood.

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Women of all ages who receive hugs are more likely to be satisfied with their relationships, study shows

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  • Women who receive more embraces are happier in relationships, says study

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Trust, communication, respect, laughter… the list of factors cited as being key to a happy marriage is a long one – but it could all be down to lots of hugs, say scientists.

Women who receive more embraces, cuddles and touches are more likely to be satisfied with their relationship, according to research based on more than 1,000 women aged 18 to 72.

Hugs or just holding hands work, say the researchers, because physical contact boosts women’s body satisfaction.

‘Ours is the first study to show that the physical nature of affectionate touch is a form of communication about one’s body,’ say the scientists writing in the Journal of Sex Research.

‘Recipients see it as a message of positiveness about their body, in part because the affection was placed there.’

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Women who receive more embraces, cuddles and touches are more likely to be satisfied with their relationship (File photo)

Women who receive more embraces, cuddles and touches are more likely to be satisfied with their relationship (File photo)

Women who receive more embraces, cuddles and touches are more likely to be satisfied with their relationship (File photo)

Previous research has suggested that around 40 per cent of women are dissatisfied with their bodies.

In the latest study, researchers asked 1,156 women – 75 per cent of whom were married – about how often they experienced affectionate touches, including hugging, hand holding, caressing, massaging, cuddling, and spooning. 

They were also asked about how satisfied they were with their relationship and bodies.

The survey found that women who reported more affectionate touches from their partner had a greater satisfaction with their relationship, and had higher levels of sexual and body satisfaction.

Relationship satisfaction was scored one to five, with the highest score – one or more touches a day – linked to the highest levels of contentment.

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The average score was 3.61, suggesting a few times a week.

Hugs or just holding hands work, say the researchers, because physical contact boosts women's body satisfaction (File photo)

Hugs or just holding hands work, say the researchers, because physical contact boosts women's body satisfaction (File photo)

Hugs or just holding hands work, say the researchers, because physical contact boosts women’s body satisfaction (File photo)

‘The significant link between body satisfaction and relationship outcomes emphasises how a romantic partner’s messaging – both verbal and non-verbal – can impact body image,’ said the researchers from Indiana University and other centres.

‘Affirming messages of body satisfaction – communicated through affectionate touch – may buoy the relationship by providing frequent, positive non-verbal feedback that makes the recipient feel as though they are a valued relationship partner.’

The researchers added: ‘Our results offer possible avenues for bolstering an individual’s sense of comfort with their body by encouraging gentle, voluntary (rather than requested) affirmative touch, such as holding hands or hugging, on a regular basis.’

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Meet the 21st Century entrepreneurs cashing in on vaping craze in Blackburn

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It was once called ‘the weaving capital of the world’. But with the textile industry long gone, Blackburn has a new – and perhaps more dubious – claim to fame as Britain’s vaping hotspot.

The former mill town in Lancashire has the country’s highest concentration of shops selling controversial e-cigarettes. There are 22.56 registered vape outlets per 100,000 residents, according to online vape retailer Go Smoke Free.

The North-West is the worst place in Britain for underage vaping.

Blackburn and the neighbouring town of Darwen are also home to some of Britain’s richest vaping barons.

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These businessmen are profiting handsomely from the vaping boom amid concerns about the effects on young people – despite a ban on sales to under-18s – and the environmental impact of discarded e-cigarettes.

Success story: Vape Dinner Lady founder Mohammed Patel sells dessert-inspired products in 115 countries

Success story: Vape Dinner Lady founder Mohammed Patel sells dessert-inspired products in 115 countries

Success story: Vape Dinner Lady founder Mohammed Patel sells dessert-inspired products in 115 countries

The vaping tycoons of Blackburn have carved out a lucrative niche in an industry dominated by brands such as Chinese-owned Elf Bar, which has 70 per cent of the market, and giants such as British American Tobacco.

Soaring numbers of vapers have helped to line their pockets. The number of people who vape grew by 9 per cent to 4.7 million in 2023, according to anti-smoking campaign group Ash. Some 230 specialist vape stores opened last year, taking the total across the UK to 3,573, according to the Local Data Company.

Separately, market research company NIQ and trade magazine The Grocer found vape sales were worth £897 million in 2023. The Government, which has encouraged vaping as a way to help cigarette smokers to quit, has spotted a much-needed revenue-raising opportunity. Ministers are said to be mulling a new vape tax, which might be introduced in next week’s Budget.

There is no obvious reason why so many unrelated vaping companies, whose owners are not linked, have formed a cluster in a small area of Lancashire.

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However, Blackburn can boast of being the home of other high- profile entrepreneurs, including the Issa brothers, Zuber and Mohsin.

In the 1960s their parents moved from India to Blackburn. The siblings, who grew up in a terraced house, now own supermarket chain Asda.

Blackburn was named as one of the UK’s most entrepreneurial towns in 2022, based on the number of new small business start-ups.

Another Blackburn business founder making waves is Mo Isap, a tech entrepreneur who recently secured a deal for his award winning business IN4 Group with energy giant Saudi Aramco, one of the world’s biggest companies.

Philip Boyle (pictured) and his business partner Nathan Walton set up Flavour Warehouse 12 years ago

Philip Boyle (pictured) and his business partner Nathan Walton set up Flavour Warehouse 12 years ago

Philip Boyle (pictured) and his business partner Nathan Walton set up Flavour Warehouse 12 years ago

Philip Boyle

Estimated worth: £114 million

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Company: Flavour Warehouse 

Sales: £140 million

Profit: £22.2 million

Philip Boyle and his business partner Nathan Walton set up Flavour Warehouse 12 years ago.

It now produces 30 million liquid bottles per year and sells in more than 80 countries. As well as its base in Darwen, it has a factory in Guildford, Surrey. The firm employs 300 people and aims to be ‘the most trusted vaping company worldwide’ by taking ‘full control of the entire production process’.

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According to its most recent accounts, turnover rose by 95 per cent to £140 million in 2022, and profits nearly trebled to £22.2 million. Boyle netted the majority of a £3 million dividend, up from £42,253 the previous year.

Its flagship brand is Vampire Vapes and export sales go as far afield as Eastern Europe and the United States.

It also acts as a wholesaler for brands such as Elf Bar and it has extended into retail, running its own Vapestore shops.

The company owns convenience store brand Premier Retail. Boyle, 40, sits on the board of the Independent British Vape Trade Association. That organisation ‘exists to give the independent vaping sector a voice with government bodies, regulators, enforcement agencies and many other interested parties’ – while being ‘free from control from any tobacco business’. 

Former salesman Boyle now lives in a £1.2 million mansion in Clayton-le-Dale, an upmarket village nestled in the Ribble Valley near Blackburn.

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Mohammed Patel

Company: Vape Dinner Lady

Sales: £24 million

Profit: £2.9 million

Another huge Blackburn success story is Vape Dinner Lady – which boasts of selling its dessert-inspired liquids in 115 countries. Its unusual flavours include Berry Blast, Melon Twist and Kiwi Melon. Founded in 2005 by Mohammed Patel, 43, it was named Best Vaping Brand in 2022 at the ‘Vapouround’ industry awards and employs 200 people.

Turnover grew to £24 million in 2022, up from £15.3 million the previous year, while profits nearly doubled to £2.9 million.

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Total dividends of £8 million were paid over the last three years. The firm is rebuilding its Blackburn base after a devastating fire last September and it has shifted production to ‘multiple international centres’. Patel said he set it up because he was ‘captivated’ by the booming business of vaping as an alternative to smoking. ‘But the real motivator was driven by my own experience of using e-liquids,’ he said.

‘Despite the myriad of products and flavours available, the selection on offer simply wasn’t up to much, in my opinion.’

Christopher Parker stayed as finance director

Christopher Parker stayed as finance director

Christopher Parker stayed as finance director

Matthew Moden, Christopher Parker and Abraham Spain

Estimated worth: £14.5 million

Company: Liberty Flights

The three founders of vape company Liberty Flights shared up to £14.5 million when they sold their Darwen-based business to retail group Supreme in 2022. Founded in 2009, the firm had grown its annual sales to £9million and profits to £1.5million.

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By the time of the sale, it had a thriving business selling in convenience stores. It had also launched a rechargable vaping device called the Dot Pro. Liberty Flights has seven shops and a brand which sells dozens of varieties of liquids used in e-cigarettes.

Christopher Parker, 36, stayed as finance director after the sell-off, but Matthew Moden, 50, and 46-year-old Abraham Spain headed for pastures new with their fortunes.

Jason Cropper and brother Fraser, pictured, founded Totally Wicked in 2008

Jason Cropper and brother Fraser, pictured, founded Totally Wicked in 2008

Jason Cropper and brother Fraser, pictured, founded Totally Wicked in 2008

Jason and Fraser Cropper

Estimated worth: £107 million

Company: Totally Wicked

Sales: £90 million

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Profit: £1.6 million

Jason Cropper and brother Fraser founded Totally Wicked in 2008 and are thought to have a fortune similar to Boyle’s. The Blackburn-based firm, which employs more than 370 people, has seen sales balloon – nearly doubling to £90.4 million in 2023, up from £54.4 million the previous year. Profit surged from £360,000 to £1.6 million in 2023.

Former smoker Jason, 59, once even kept gold bars in his home. He stepped down from the business in 2013 after refusing to retract comments about e-cigarette licensing in a controversial email to regulators.

Fraser, 57, remains at the helm as managing director. He lives with his wife in a £700,000 home in a village in Somerset.

But the sibling entrepreneurs remain close to their East Lancashire roots and they sponsor Blackburn Rovers Football Club.

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Jason was the victim of a shocking robbery at his home in Samlesbury, Lancashire, in 2013. Four masked raiders armed with crowbars broke into his home, before tying him up, dousing him with bleach and covering his head with a towel.

They made off with his £60,000 Range Rover, two gold bars worth £50,000, plus £70,000 in cash and three expensive watches.

The tycoon suffered head injuries and could not walk properly for a week.

He said he believes the gang robbed him because they thought he had £4 million of gold in his house.

After the raid, he spent about £20,000 on advanced security for his £750,000 home, including 10 cameras, lights, 8ft fencing, a monitored alarm system and a guard dog.

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The local vape firms mentioned were contacted for comment.

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

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Woman who was almost sent to ‘CRUISE jail’ for fighting with fellow passenger aboard a ship reveals what REALLY happens to those who misbehave at sea

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A woman who revealed she was almost sent to ‘cruise jail’ for fighting with a fellow passenger has sparked a fierce fascination into what really happens to those who misbehave while out at sea.

Theresa Rowley, from Dallas, Texas, recently went viral after she admitted that she nearly came to blows with another woman on a seven-day Carnival Cruise she had taken with her mom.

But when she said that the events could have landed her ‘locked up in the belly of the ship,’ it left people wondering if cruise ships really do have a place to detain unruly travelers, what it’s like, and what you would have to do to be sent there.

In a video uploaded to her TikTok account, which got more than 22 million views, Theresa began, ‘I almost spent three days of my cruise locked in the belly of ship in what I now know is referred to as “cruise jail.”‘

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A woman who revealed she was almost sent to 'cruise jail' for fighting with a fellow passenger has sparked a fierce fascination into what really happens to those who misbehave while at sea

A woman who revealed she was almost sent to 'cruise jail' for fighting with a fellow passenger has sparked a fierce fascination into what really happens to those who misbehave while at sea

A woman who revealed she was almost sent to ‘cruise jail’ for fighting with a fellow passenger has sparked a fierce fascination into what really happens to those who misbehave while at sea

Theresa Rowley, from Dallas, Texas, recently went viral after she admitted that she nearly came to blows with another woman on a seven-day Carnival Cruise she had taken with her mom

Theresa Rowley, from Dallas, Texas, recently went viral after she admitted that she nearly came to blows with another woman on a seven-day Carnival Cruise she had taken with her mom

Theresa Rowley, from Dallas, Texas, recently went viral after she admitted that she nearly came to blows with another woman on a seven-day Carnival Cruise she had taken with her mom

But when she said that the events could have landed her 'locked up in the belly of the ship,' it left people wondering what cruise ship jails were really like. Carnival's 'brig' is seen

But when she said that the events could have landed her 'locked up in the belly of the ship,' it left people wondering what cruise ship jails were really like. Carnival's 'brig' is seen

But when she said that the events could have landed her ‘locked up in the belly of the ship,’ it left people wondering what cruise ship jails were really like. Carnival’s ‘brig’ is seen

She told her followers that she and her 67-year-old mom were enjoying a live performance at a bar on the third night of their cruise, when a woman who was sitting next to her ‘wouldn’t shut the f**k up.’ 

‘She talked to the entire time, bro. She’s yelling across the bar,’ she recalled. ‘It was a distraction and so rude. 

‘[At one point], some girl requested a specific ballad and the performer started playing it, and [the lady next to me] goes, “Boo. Boring.” She even pretended to fall asleep. She was a terror, truly.’

A furious Theresa said she made a ‘passive aggressive’ comment to the woman about her non-stop chatting. 

As soon as the performer took a break, she said the lady started talking badly about her to her friend – and it sparked a fierce feud between them. 

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‘My mom said to me, “Just ignore her Theresa she’s being rude,”‘ she continued. ‘But one thing about my mom is, she’s not great at volume control. 

‘She’s an angel but she doesn’t know much about noise levels. So this girl heard my mother call her rude, and she whips around and she goes, “Oh, I think you’re the rude one, b***h.” 

‘She said this to my 67-year-old mother. Every good thought, every good intention I’ve ever had left my body and flew away into the ocean.

Back in September 2022, a lawyer who specializes in 'suing cruise ships' per his TikTok bio, named Spencer Aronfeld, lifted a lid on the topic in a viral video

Back in September 2022, a lawyer who specializes in 'suing cruise ships' per his TikTok bio, named Spencer Aronfeld, lifted a lid on the topic in a viral video

Back in September 2022, a lawyer who specializes in ‘suing cruise ships’ per his TikTok bio, named Spencer Aronfeld, lifted a lid on the topic in a viral video

‘My spine straightened, I hopped down off my stool, I looked down at her and I said, “What did you say?” 

‘She goes, “You heard me.” I said, “Yeah, I wanna hear you say it again.” She was like, “Well you guys are being really disrespectful.” 

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‘I said, “That’s so crazy, because I think everyone in this bar knows that you were the one being disrespectful, so say it again.”‘

‘I said, “Let’s go outside.” Never in my life have I been in a physical fight, okay? But I felt like at this moment, every SoulCycle class, every Barry’s Boot Camp, every SolidCore, yoga class that I had taken had prepared me to throw a b***h into the Gulf of Mexico.’

Thankfully, Theresa said she didn’t end up getting into a physical brawl with the woman because the lady stopped talking and left soon after.

But her story left many wondering if ‘cruise jail’ was a real thing – and what you would have to do to end up there.

Back in September 2022, a lawyer who specializes in ‘suing cruise ships’ per his TikTok bio, named Spencer Aronfeld, lifted a lid on the topic in a viral video.

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He added that brigs are 'not typical' jail cells with 'bars or sliding doors,' but instead, they're 'cabins on lower decks with no windows that lock from the outside.' Carnival's 'brig' is seen

He added that brigs are 'not typical' jail cells with 'bars or sliding doors,' but instead, they're 'cabins on lower decks with no windows that lock from the outside.' Carnival's 'brig' is seen

He added that brigs are ‘not typical’ jail cells with ‘bars or sliding doors,’ but instead, they’re ‘cabins on lower decks with no windows that lock from the outside.’ Carnival’s ‘brig’ is seen

Spencer explained that if you get in trouble for something less severe, you might be 'confined to your' own cabin with a 'guard posted outside' instead (stock image)

Spencer explained that if you get in trouble for something less severe, you might be 'confined to your' own cabin with a 'guard posted outside' instead (stock image)

Spencer explained that if you get in trouble for something less severe, you might be ‘confined to your’ own cabin with a ‘guard posted outside’ instead (stock image)

‘Do cruise ships have jails? Absolutely, they’re called brigs and it’s where passengers and crew end up if they violate the code of conduct or commit violence against another passenger or crew member,’ he shared.

He added that brigs are ‘not typical’ jail cells with ‘bars or sliding doors,’ but instead, they’re ‘cabins on lower decks with no windows that lock from the outside.’

‘They have minimal things inside – a mattress, some toiletries, and that’s it,’ he continued.

‘Passengers will stay there until they can be disembarked and handed over to authorities in port.’

Spencer explained that if you get in trouble for something less severe, you might be ‘confined to your’ own cabin with a ‘guard posted outside’ instead.

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A UK-based cruise content creator, named Emma Le Teace, previously spoke to ‘a former cruise ship security officer,’ whose identity was not revealed, about the subject for her blog.

She explained that the jail cells are only used for ‘serious incidents’ and for people ‘suspected of breaking the law or those who are acting dangerously or recklessly.’

If a guest is ‘drunk and disorderly,’ on the other hand, she said they will be placed on ‘cabin arrest.’ 

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Men who wake in the night for 30 minutes are 20 per cent more likely to get prostate cancer, study reveals

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Men who wake in the night are 20 per cent more likely to develop prostate cancer, a study has revealed.

Researchers found that broken sleep patterns could be a major risk for the onset of the disease.

But the analysis suggested no link between late nights and cancer – nor any connection with problems getting to sleep in the first place.

Yet the dangers soar in men who consistently stir for at least half-an-hour when the lights go off.

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Prostate cancer affects some 50,000 men every year in the UK, and kills almost 12,000.

Men who wake in the night are 20 per cent more likely to develop prostate cancer , a study has revealed

Men who wake in the night are 20 per cent more likely to develop prostate cancer , a study has revealed

Men who wake in the night are 20 per cent more likely to develop prostate cancer , a study has revealed

Prostate cancer affects some 50,000 men every year in the UK, and kills almost 12,000

Prostate cancer affects some 50,000 men every year in the UK, and kills almost 12,000

Prostate cancer affects some 50,000 men every year in the UK, and kills almost 12,000

Major risk factors include getting older, a family history of the disease, obesity and ethnicity – with black men about twice as likely to develop a tumour. 

Disrupted sleep has been proposed as a cause of prostate cancer before, but most of the testing relied on patients accurately recalling how well they slept – a typically unreliable research method.

Experts at the US National Cancer Institute in Maryland instead analysed data on 30,000 British men who had taken part in studies where they wore a watch-like monitor to measure night-time movements and sleep disruption.

None of the men had prostate cancer at the start of the investigation.

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The results, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, showed those recording 30 minutes or more of wakefulness in the night were 15 to 20 per cent more likely to develop a tumour on the prostate later in life.

Scientists believe the danger comes from disruption to the circadian rhythm – the body’s internal clock – which in turn lowers levels of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. 

Previous studies have linked reduced levels with an increased risk of the cancer.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer even lists sleep disruption as a ‘probable’ carcinogen – or cause of cancer.

In a report on the findings, the scientists said: ‘These results suggest frequent sleep disturbances may be a prostate cancer risk factor.’

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NRL in Las Vegas LIVE: Updates and scores as Souths, Manly, the Roosters and Broncos make footy history

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G’day and thanks for joining Daily Mail Australia for our live coverage of footy’s history-making Vegas double header. Stick with us for all the latest updates, scores, photos and eye-catching video from Sin City’s Allegiant Stadium as Souths take on Manly, followed by the Roosters’ clash with the Broncos in what will be a season opener like no other.

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