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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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Police confirm firefighter died in Neyland boat collision

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE attended Neyland Marina, Milford Haven following reports of a collision on the waterway at around 11:30am on Tuesday, (Sept 17).

A spokesman told The Herald: “We can confirm a 35-year-old serving Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service Firefighter tragically lost his life during the incident, in which two boats collided.

“Next of kin have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers. Specialist teams from both the fire and rescue service and police were also on scene supporting witnesses.

“We have informed the Marine Accident Investigation Board and will be working with them to establish what happened here today.

“Our thoughts go out to the family of the deceased and to his colleagues at Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service.”

Deputy Mayor of Neyland, Cllr Dr Simon Hancock said: “I extend my deepest condolences to the family of the young man who so tragically died in the accident this morning. I know the whole town will join me in sending them to his family.

“We acknowledge the remarkable professionalism of the emergency and rescue services who responded to this very sad incident.’

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Crown court to sentence Pembroke Dock paedophile

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A 46-YEAR-OLD man who pleaded guilty to being in possession of over 6,500 indecent ‘real photographs’ of children, has been sent to Swansea Crown Court for sentencing by Haverfordwest magistrates.

Brett Johnson of Finch Close, first appeared before magistrates at Haverfordwest Law Court on August 27, and appeared again before the court on Monday (Sept 16) following a pre-sentence report made by the probation service.

Johnson pleaded guilty at the first court hearing to a charge of downloading one indecent image of a child between March 30, 2009, and June 28, 2018, and pleaded guilty to a second charge of downloading 6,570 indecent images of children between June 30, 2005, and June 28, 2018.

Prosecuting at the first hearing, Mr Vaughan Pritchard-Jones told the Court that the reason for the long dates related to when he owned various computers.

Magistrates at Haverfordwest on Monday (Sept 16) decided to decline jurisdiction and sent the case to be dealt with at Swansea Crown Court on October 4 at 10am. Johnson was released on unconditional bail.

Magistrates made no direction under section 45 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999.

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Glebelands Fun Day A Hit

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A FUN DAY at Glebelands play park in Hakin on Saturday (Sept 14) to garner support to further develop the facility, has been hailed a success.

The prime movers behind the community-led event were two local residents, Richard Nicholas and Wayne Richards.

“As well as trying to raise the profile of the park, the aim of the fun day was to get other local residents involved in setting up a community group to move the project forward,” explained Richard.

“I’m pleased to say there was a lot of interest in forming a group and we also had some great feedback on what play equipment should be installed. There was a clear view that people want the park back to being a safe, clean area where children can play.

Working with Richard and Wayne, to organise the community-led fun day were Pembrokeshire County Council and the Invest Local organisation.

The County Councillor for Hubberston, Viv Stoddart, who attended the event, said: “It was an amazing day – a perfect example of the community coming together to host an afternoon of fun for all the family. There was something for all to enjoy – and enjoy they did, with lots of smiley faces from everyone.

If Saturday’s event is a guide, it was evident there is enthusiasm in the community to transform the play park into an up-to-date facility. I wish them well, and will give all the support I can to see the playground become a truly family fun place for all.”

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