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​Farmer banned from keeping animals

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A FARMER was told that he was ‘very lucky not to be going to prison’ for a series of animal welfare offences.

Deep in slurry: Aled Morgan failed to provide basic needs for his animals.

Deep in slurry: Aled Morgan failed to provide basic needs for his animals.

Aled Morgan, aged 28, previously of Brynhyfryd, Penffordd, Clynderwen, but now residing at Llan Isaf, Llangynog, Carmarthen, was disqualified from keeping or owning livestock for seven years at Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (Feb 17).

This was suspended for a month to allow for him to sell any remaining animals that are still in his possession.

On February 10, Morgan pleaded guilty to 21 offences relating to the care of his animals in court on January 19 and the case was adjourned to allow for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.

Nine of the offences relate to Morgan failing to comply with animal by-products and another nine relate to him failing to ensure the welfare of his animals.

The others related to him failing to notify the National Assembly of deaths of animals, one of failing to provide an animal for TB testing and one of failing to record the arrival of animals to the farm.

The chairman of the bench said that she and her colleagues were so appalled by the photographs provided and that they had never seen such appalling conditions.

The case followed complaints about animal welfare of cattle and pigs at his Penffordd livestock farm.

Prosecuting, Rhian Young told Magistrates: “Ten visits were made to the farm following a number of anonymous complaints. There were reports of carcasses and improvement notices have also been issued. On April 8, Pembrokeshire County Council Animal Health and Welfare inspectors and vets from the Animal Plant and Health Agency visited the farm. In one shed they found an open bail of silage and bovines were deep in slurry. They were all in a thin condition. There was also a carcass of a new-born calf. In the second shed there was a cow that had died trying to calve. There was also a build-up of faeces and the bovines had access to contaminated water. In the next shed there were carcasses of two calves. In the fourth shed there was another build-up of faeces. They contacted Morgan and told him that this was unsatisfactory. Another complaint was made and three carcasses were found. The inspector noted that the conditions were worse than the previous visit. They tried to contact Morgan but they couldn’t get hold of him and officers did what they could to improve the conditions. They went back and found that a number of the animals had been moved from where the officers had put them. They also noticed that animal by-products had not been properly disposed of. In June, 2014, four young cattle and two pigs were taken into possession by the Council after an Animal Welfare Act section 18 was signed by a vet to prevent further unnecessary suffering. A check was done and it was found that he had not notified the authorities of the deaths of the animals or for the movement of pigs.”

She continued: “There was another anonymous complaint of dead animals and seven carcasses were found in the same place as before. Letters were sent to the defendant reminding him to remove the carcasses. One of the bovines was lying down and when the officer encouraged it to stand it could not do so as its legs were weak. The pig was dehydrated and had no food or water. A decision was made to euthanize the pig to prevent any further suffering. He has had a huge amount of guidance over the past 12 months but he has failed to meet their needs. In total, 14 cattle have died between December 2013 and August 2014.”

Probation officer Julie Norman told the court: “Problems arose following the death of his father. The farm has been in his family for generations. After his father died there were numerous debts that needed to be paid. He was struggling to pay and took up another job on another farm to pay costs. He left his sister in charge of his farm. The needs of the animals were quite basic and whilst his sister told him everything was ok he accepts that it wasn’t. He was so busy on the other farm and he no longer works at this farm. He has moved away and is working on a large dairy farm in Carmarthenshire.”

Defending, Matt Greenish said: “He did what he could to get rid of the debt following the death of his father and he has failed to take adequate steps to look after the animals on his farm. He was working at another farm but he should have taken more responsibility for his own farm. He has little contact with his family now and he is sorry for these offences. Although it has gone on for some time, this can be deemed as an isolated incident. If you do disqualify him that will place difficulties on him but he accepts that he will have to be punished.”

Mr Greenish also asked the Magistrates to consider not banning Morgan but they did not agree with that suggestion.

On sentencing, the chairman of the bench said: “We are so appalled at the photographs and you are very lucky not to be going to prison. We have never seen such appalling conditions.”

As well as the disqualification, Morgan was given a community order with the requirement of 300 hours of unpaid work.

Morgan was also fined £2446.76 to cover legal and investigation costs and he was also ordered to pay a £60 victim surcharge.

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MP calls for cut in beer duty for pubs

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PRESELI MP Stephen Crabb has written to the Chancellor ahead of next week’s Budget calling on him not to increase alcohol duties and to cut the tax on draught sales to help stop pubs going out of business.

Mr Crabb is one of more than a 100 MPs calling for a cut in the ‘keg tax’ to help pubs compete more fairly with supermarket sales of alcohol. 

Currently, beer drinkers have to pay around £1 in tax for every pint they drink in a pub, which is the highest rate in Europe and nearly twelve times higher than in Germany.

Commenting on the letter, Mr Crabb said: “Pubs are at the heart of so many of our communities and when a pub closes down something special is  lost. That is why I am calling on the Chancellor to reduce the beer duty from the keg. A cut will not only bolster our much-loved pubs across our towns and villages, but also have a knock-on boost for British agriculture and employment. 

“Over a hundred Conservative MPs and I hope that after a difficult period the Chancellor will give our pubs and clubs something to raise a drink to this budget.”

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County lines intensification week sees drug supply disrupted into west Wales

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Officers from Dyfed-Powys Police carried out 11 raids during a week of action tackling county lines drug gangs.

COUNTY LINES intensification week (Monday, 11 October to Sunday, 17 October) saw officers carry out warrants, intercepting vehicles potentially involved in the supply of drugs, and working with partners to raise awareness of drug-related crime.

Seventeen people were arrested during the week, with crack cocaine (0.8grams), heroin (77g) and cocaine (6g) seized.

The value of those drugs is estimated to be around £4,500, while officers seized £6,500 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Also seized were an extendable baton and an ammunition magazine.

Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Cotterell said: “The county lines intensification week was successful for Dyfed-Powys Police, and we had a number of excellent results thanks to the proactive work of officers and police staff across the four divisions.”

As well as the front-line warrants and police work, a lot went on behind the scenes, leading to:

  • More than 2,000 people educated about County Lines and exploitation during the intensification week in the community and partner agencies.
  • Some 50 letting agencies/estate agents educated about the dangers of criminality, such as County lines activity in rented properties.
  • More than 150 businesses educated about county lines, with an emphasis on those who provide mobile top-up services and the use of ‘burner phones’.
  • 50 ‘at-risk’ or vulnerable children, young people and adults received targeted safeguarding support on a 1-2-1 basis and in group settings.

DCI Cotterell added: “Few people are aware of the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to support victims, or the measures we put in place to stop people from becoming repeat victims of drug-related crime.”

“It is very important to us as a force that while we act on all new intelligence to disrupt county lines, we also take a victim-oriented approach to working with those affected by these gangs to protect them from becoming repeat victims.”

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Pembroke Dock: Pensioner sentenced to 20 years for child sex offences

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A PENSIONER from Pembroke Dock has been given an extended sentence of 20 years in prison with a further year on licence after being found guilty of historical rape of a child in the 1980s.

Barry Lake, aged 70, was sentenced at Swansea Crown Court today (22 October) having been found guilty of 10 counts of rape of a child and two charges of gross indecency with a child last month.

Lake, now of Newton-le-Willows in St Helens, had denied all 12 charges relating to offences between January 1986 and January 1989.

Lake was first questioned by Dyfed-Powys Police in April 2020 in what would become an intensive and complex investigation.

Investigating officer DC Claire Lewis said: “Lake denied all charges, putting his victim through the ordeal of a trial.

“As they have done throughout the investigation, they showed great courage and dignity in the face of adversity to help us convict their abuser.

“This was a long and intensive investigation with a lot of work to achieve this outcome today.

“This sentence shows that it doesn’t matter how long ago a victim has suffered sexual abuse, we as police are here to listen and take seriously any person who has suffered any form of sexual abuse albeit a day or 35 years after.

“Please do not be scared to come forward, we are here to listen to you.

“Once again, I would like to commend the victim for their bravery for coming forward and achieving this outcome today.”

After serving 20 years in prison Lake will serve another year on licence.

He was also ordered to sign the Sex Offender Register indefinitely and made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

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