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Sheep farmer ‘simply couldn’t cope’

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couldnt copeA NARBERTH man has been ordered to complete 240 hours of unpaid work after being found guilty of 25 charges of animal neglect. Lyn Williams, aged 32, previously of Hill Farm, Ludchurch, pleaded guilty to 25 charges of animal neglect towards his sheep.

A video containing footage of dead and neglected sheep was shown in the court.

Prosecutor, Simon Morgan said: “Some sheep were showing loss of wool and were lame. On January 29 a visit was conducted by Mrs Lucy Thomas from the Animal Welfare, who found several dead sheep around the barns. Some were decomposing and others were still warm.”

Mrs Thomas stated that the lamb’s condition scores were marked at 0.5, with 0 being razor thin and 5 being well fed and nutritioned. The animals had not received any care or treatment, and even though food and water had been placed, they were able to get to the food and water because they were too weak to stand. Sheep were being forced to walk on their knees due to untrimmed and overgrown hooves, some of which had split, therefore causing extreme pain.

“Some sheep had glazed and sunken eyes, others with unusual head posture called ‘Stargazing’. Sheep that had been shot were laid out side by side, and no effort was made to treat the sheep before being destroyed”. Mr Morgan said: “Pregnant ewes had been aborting due to the distress and others had had their eyes pecked out by birds. Skeletons of sheep were found near the stream on the edge of the farm who had tried to reach water, though were too weak to return. Williams did not pick up dead animals that were clearly visible. “One dead lamb had become entangled in bale wrap and another that was still alive was entwined in the wrap, which was around its neck and foreleg. It was only found from its feeble cries.

“The farm seriously over stocked on sheep and failed to provide nutrition for pregnant lambs. Many sheep were traumatised from being pecked by birds resulting in eye loss. Williams claims that a wild animal could have caused some of the deaths, but does not stand by that completely as no deaths were caused by attacks”. Defence solicitor, Mark Layton said: “Williams is a man of clean character and has been a father all of his adult life. The basis of plea is that it falls between short and medium in terms of neglect, which could be dealt with by a high level community order.

“I have to accept that there are a number of aggravating features, but consider the question of why things went wrong. There are three reasons for this: up until February, Williams was in partnership with his father who passed away. Williams was then left on his own, and he also had issues with his neighbours.

“He had applied to have wind turbines on his land, which his neighbours opposed. We also had a very harsh winter between December 2012 and March 2013. It was severely cold, and with 2000 sheep on a farm, it’s not unusual for sheep to die.

“In terms of the removal of the sheep, Williams used an external firm, therefore the pellets that had gone through the heads were not his fault and he did not have control over that. A letter from Tom Goddard and Sons shows regular visits were made to the farm, and although getting contractors to come out can sometimes be difficult, he was getting them there. “Invoices of food stocks and welfare material that exceeded £10,000 and vets bills had all been paid. Williams is not a man who was just ignoring his obligations, he just simply couldn’t cope. “He has lost his name and reputation and will have to live and come to terms with this. But please remember that during a 12 week period, things got bad and then better. The worst part was smack bang in the middle of the 12 weeks”.

Magistrates told the court: “We have listened carefully to what has been said and accept that managing livestock in winter is hard, and the percentage of dead stock was low. You were given a chance to tidy up, which you ignored. We are aware of the loss of your father and are going to sentence on the basis of plea.”

Magistrates ordered Williams to complete 240 hours of unpaid work within 12 months, and he was disqualified from keeping sheep for two years. He was also subject to fines and court costs, totalling at £7,774.

After the hearing, Pembrokeshire County Council Cabinet Member for Environmental and Regulatory Services, Councillor Huw George, said: “Mr Williams failed to act on advice offered to him from the Animal Health and Welfare Inspectors. The farm was found to be seriously overstocked during the winter of 2012.

“He failed to take prompt action to control a lameness and parasite problem within the flock resulting in dire consequences for the entire flock during a prolonged wet and cold winter.”

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School staff video spreads positive message to students

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A VIDEO featuring hundreds of Pembrokeshire educators, teachers and support staff is spreading a positive message to their students and around the world.
The video, set to the Madness hit ‘It Must Be Love’, features all staff from the education world in Pembrokeshire from hub schools to staff in their own homes, writing uplifting and supporting messages to their students.

It has been a difficult time for teachers, staff and students, with schools closed for the vast majority of pupils due to the coronavirus outbreak.
And the video underlines that the education world, including teachers, is thinking of their students and urging them to remain upbeat.
Positive messages include ‘keep moving forward’, ‘keep calm, stay safe, look after each other’, ‘keep smiling’ and ‘we will get through this’.
There are also messages of support for key workers and NHS staff.
And the final video – which went from idea to release in just two days – has been a hit on social media, reaching more than 33,000 people in less than a week.
It has attracted supportive comments from Canada to Australia.
Educators rallied to the call to get involved in the Together Educate project which was the idea of Kelly Monroe, Schools Curriculum Manager with Really Pro who provide innovative alternative education services to secondary schools across the county.
Kelly, along with teachers from HHVC school Kate Hudson-Brown, Mollie Hughes, Rhian Owens, and videographer Dean Harries from We The Dee set about getting all educational staff involved in the project.
As well as filming at hubs which have remained open to cater for children of key workers, such as Milford Haven and Haverfordwest High School, an essential ingredient was to get school staff who are currently are at home to join via video link.
And when the time came, the response from the educational world was incredible.
“We didn’t really know what the response would be,” Kelly explained.
“But when we turned on we were absolutely blown away.
“We had to get extra screens just to try to fit everyone in. We had about 300 people wanting to get involved.
“The whole idea was about bringing people together and what shone through is the way that teachers and school staff are missing their students, missing the buzz and the noise of school life and missing what they are fantastic at – educating and teaching.”
The messages that have flooded in following the video have been full of support.
One from a NHS worker said they had suffered a bad day but the video had greatly lifted their spirits.
Kelly added: “The response has been overwhelming. It was a balancing act to bring some joy without being flippant at the situation.
“It was eerie filming in some of the empty classrooms and corridors.
At times I felt quite tearful and overwhelmed because when you love this profession seeing an empty classroom is actually hard to absorb especially when you know what’s going on outside in the world, and you care about the kids.
“But the video’s aim was not to focus on the situation but be full of positivity and the message is that those classrooms and corridors will be full of life again.
“We may not know exactly when but they will and when they are all the amazing educators, support staff and teachers will be there ready to greet our pupils with energy and gratitude”
Together Educate Facebook page has also re-released a video entitled ‘The Gift of Kindness’ filmed in Milford Haven School with Really Pro and the staff and pupils from the school which was originally shared on social media in December 2019.
The video has taken on extra meaning in the current circumstances.

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Pembrokeshire suspends car parking charges for NHS, health and social care workers

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL is to waive charges in its car parks for NHS, health and social care workers from Thursday, April 2.

The Authority’s Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Licencing and Major Events, Cllr Phil Baker, said: “We are very aware that the car parks provide our NHS, health and social care workers with access to essential services such as food and medical supplies.

“The Council will, from today, waive car park fees for this group of workers and this will remain in place during the current lockdown.

“These critical workers will be encouraged to display supporting evidence in their windscreen, such as photocopies of their work pass – with any sensitive information removed – or a letter of evidence from their employer as their parking permit.”

Councillor Baker said the decision would be reviewed in line with Welsh and UK Government guidelines.

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Public bus services change in Pembrokeshire

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Due to the current situation there are a number of changes required
to public bus services in Pembrokeshire.

The County Council’s Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Licensing
and Major Events, Councillor Phil Baker, said: “Changes are required
in order to respond to the Coronavirus situation, and to continue to
maintain services to key locations such as hospitals, GP surgeries,
pharmacies and certain food stores.

“The timetable information on the Council’s website will be kept up-to-
date but unfortunately it is not possible to update the information
displayed at all bus stops.

“These arrangements may be subject to further change at short
notice, and I would ask that anyone wanting to use public transport
services to please visit our website or ring 01437 764551 for the latest
up to date information.”

The one-day-a-week timetable for Coastal Buses (387/8, 400, 404
and 405) will remain until further notice.

Both Community Transport and the Bus Buddies service are

A full list of all public bus services in Pembrokeshire and the current
service provision is listed below. A number of services will be
operated on a dial-a-ride basis.

suspended until further notice.

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