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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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Nine Dyfed-Powys Police officers assaulted in one weekend

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NINE Dyfed-Powys Police officers were assaulted in five incidents over the weekend, including a Special Constable who was bitten while on her probation period.

Officers across the force were punched, kicked, bitten and spat at as they responded to domestic assaults, harassment, a disturbance and a missing person.

The offences were alleged to have been committed by women aged between 14 and 61, all of whom were arrested on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker.

Chief Constable Mark Collins said: “Policing, by its very nature, is a challenging occupation, and officers do expect to be put in difficult situations. However, it is completely unacceptable that they should be subject to assaults while they are carrying out their duties – particularly when they are assaulted by the very people they are trying to help.

“Nine officers being assaulted as they respond to five incidents is shocking – and this doesn’t include the verbal abuse and near misses they face daily.

“We take these matters very seriously. For every officer who is assaulted, a plan is put in place to support them, whether they are able to remain on duty or not.

“Our view is that assaults on police officers and staff should be investigated with the same care, compassion and commitment as an assault on a member of the public. This sounds obvious, but too often our response to assaults on officers and staff can be rushed or treated as secondary to other offences.”

Charges have been brought against two of the alleged offenders.

Chantelle Thomas, aged 18, of Water Street in Carmarthen, was charged with two counts of assaulting an emergency worker by kicking and biting them. Police had been called to a disturbance at Maes yr Ysgol at around 9.40pm on Saturday, where the defendant was found to be distressed. Officers attempted to calm her down, but she is alleged to have become irate, kicking out at one Special Constable and biting another.

One of the SCs, who is still in their probation period has been praised by their sergeant for their patience and composure during the incident.

Rhian Jeremiah, aged 32, of Adpar, Newcastle Emlyn, was also charged with two counts of assaulting an emergency worker following an incident on Saturday. She is reported to have bitten two PCs while they attempted to arrest her. She is due to appeal at Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court on March 4.

In other incidents, a PC was kicked while attending a report of a mother assaulting her daughter in Pembroke Dock, and others were assaulted while at a domestic disturbance.

An officer and a sergeant were also kicked, punched and spat at after finding a teenager who had been reported missing.

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Stepaside: Residents group seeks to stop building of 80 houses

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A PLANNING application is causing controversy in south Pembrokeshire.

Stepaside and Pleasant Valley Residents Group have said that they are against 80 “houses” proposed on flood plain over the historical mine workings

The people living around Pleasant Valley have come together to keep their valley ‘pleasant’ and not developed by a remotely owned company just for profit.

The residents group was formed last year by local residents to oppose this planning application for the Heritage Park in Pleasant Valley, Stepaside.

Their Objection, submitted in October 2019 has raised awareness locally and the level of resistance has continued to grow with more and more people joining the mailing list and Facebook group.

The planning application, doubling the size of the Heritage Park in Pleasant Valley may be given the go ahead as early as the Planning Committee on 10th March.

The project proposes to cover the whole area at the top of the valley with a significant development on land riddled with unmapped old coal mines and over a floodplain.

It includes around 80 accommodation units, some of which will, from historic experience in this kind of development, be used as permanent residences, and will surround, and discourage access to, an important CADW heritage industrial site with walks, trees and wildlife, the campaign group have said.

They told this newspaper: “The car parking and access to walks and woodland, that have been enjoyed by large numbers of local people and visitors for many years, will be restricted.

“It will increase light and noise pollution, which along with human activities will significantly repress wildlife such as rare bats, dormice, a wide range of shy birds – woodpeckers, owls, herons, dippers, treecreepers, etc. and proposes to remove trees at the very time we understand the importance of re-wilding our countryside and retaining mature trees.

The pressure group says that the proposal goes against the PCC recently published aim to encourage tourism development ‘while balancing this with the need to protect and celebrate the very features that make Pembrokeshire an attractive visitor destination.’

Ben Morris said: “Our objections are to protect this small community from over development and maintain the long held, access for local people and visitors to this heritage and wildlife area`. He added ‘If there is demand for more self-catering spaces there are many less sensitive sites where such developments could take places.

“The scheme is opposed by Friends of the Earth, Woodland Trust, other environment groups and a high proportion of local residents and visitors.

“Local residents wanting more information, or to join SPVRG should go to http://spvrg.wales”

The Herald has contacted the developer’s agent for a comment to the objections.

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Met Office: More rain and flooding warnings for Wales

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ALTHOUGH the severe weather associated with Storm Dennis has passed, there is further wet and windy weather to come this week.

With much of the ground around the UK saturated from heavy rain over the last two weeks, further severe weather warnings are in force for some of the worst hit areas. Yellow National Severe Weather warnings for rain have been issued for southern and north west Wales on Wednesday evening and through Thursday.

Chief Meteorologist Andy Page said: “Further rain will arrive on Wednesday evening and this is likely to become prolonged and possibly heavy over areas of high ground. For example, there is a chance that 60mm of rain could fall in parts of south Wales over 24 hours. With the ground already saturated there is a chance of further flooding, members of the public should check their flood risk and stay up to date with flood warnings from Natural Resources Wales, SEPA, NI Direct and the Environment Agency.”

Blustery showers will continue through the day on Monday and Tuesday, particularly in the west, these showers are likely to fall as snow over higher ground especially in Scotland over 200m in elevation. Although there will be sunny spells for many, thunder and hail could accompany the heavier showers.

Under clear skies on Tuesday night pockets of frost are likely as more settled conditions associated with a brief ridge of higher pressure pass through.

Rain and increasingly strong winds will move in from the west on Wednesday morning spreading across the whole of the UK through the day. Rain will be persistent and heavy at times in Wales and north western England overnight and a further front will move through on Thursday bringing heavy downpours.

Storm Dennis brought wet and windy conditions after what was an unsettled week, with Storm Ciara bringing stormy conditions the weekend before. South Wales saw the most rain from Storm Dennis, with 157.6mm recorded at a Natural Resources Wales site in Crai Resr, Powys, between midnight on Saturday morning to 10:00 this morning (17 February). The highest wind speed recorded during the storm was 91mph on Saturday evening at Aberdaron, Gwynedd.

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