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Council obtains forfeiture order on Bramble Hall Farm seized animals

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A LARGE number of pigs will be destroyed, some animals transferred intro the custody of charities, and sheep will be sold following a hearing at Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Court today (Mar 7)

On January 28 and 29, Pembrokeshire County Council’s Animal Health and Welfare Team obtained and executed court warrants at Bramble Hall Farm, Ferry Lane, Pembroke Dock, with the support of other agencies and animal charities. This was covered at the time in The Pembrokeshire Herald both online and in our print edition, with live videos as protestors gathered outside the farm.

Sean and Pamela Burns of Bramble Hall Farm were the respondents in an application by Pembrokeshire County Council for a court order to confiscate the seized animals and sell them on; or destroy them if they were unfit or suffering.

At Haverfordwest court on March 7, an application was made under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which Mr Owen had described as “the most draconian of legislation, its only there the purpose of it is to take property away from third parties like me.”

The application for a civil order sought for 20 horses and a donkey to be put in the care of the RSPCA, 50 dogs to the Dogs Trust, 80 sheep and three goats to the local authority to be sold.

The court was told that unfortunately the pigs would have to be destroyed “due to them all having access to animal by-products, presenting a risk to public health if they found their way in to the food supply chain.”

Represented by Aled Owen, the respondents, who had been convicted of illegal dog breeding in 2018, said that the lack of time they had to prepare for the case was “against the principle of natural justice” – but their request for a 7 day adjournment was denied.

The court was told by Rhian Young, representing the council, that dogs were sited in unsanitary and hazardous shed blocks littered with faeces and urine and that puppies alive and dead from a fresh litter were found amongst the dogs’ food.

Members of the public in the gallery were in tears as the evidence was read out.

Miss Young added that horses had little grass for grazing and were forced to eat litter and forage for food on scrap-filled land. She said that the dominant horses were the only ones able to access a solitary bale of hay.

The court was shown a video of the feeding of pigs on the blood and urine-soaked floor. Also found were chained sheep carcasses, with twenty pigs and piglets competing to feed on the carcasses

The Pembrokeshire County Council request for a civil order was granted

Mr Burns was ordered to pay costs of £76,844.29.

After the hearing, a council spokesman said: “We welcome the decision of the magistrates. The order they have made is in the exact terms of the draft order we submitted, including our application for costs.”

The council is continuing to investigate a range of related offences in respect of a number of individuals.

Richard Brown, head of Environmental Services and Public Protection, said: “Please be assured that we are continuing to monitor the welfare of animals that remain on site. Legitimate grounds for believing that the welfare of any animals is compromised will result in further action.”

Despite public animal welfare concerns, Pembrokeshire County Council is unable to prevent any individual from acquiring or keeping animals. Only a court can do that.

If someone has been convicted for an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, the court can make an order depriving/disqualifying them from owning, keeping, participating in keeping or controlling or influencing the way animals are kept, transporting or arranging the transportation of animals.

There is nothing stopping animals being brought to a site/kept on site until a disqualification is in place.

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Ongoing incident closes busy Haverfordwest road

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A MAJOR road in Haverfordwest has been closed due to a police incident this afternoon (May 5)

A man was seen holding onto the outside railings of a bridge, talking to police officers.

The police said: “We are dealing with an ongoing incident, with concern for the welfare of a male, which has meant the A487 between Cartlett Road and Thomas Parry Way in Haverfordwest has been closed.

“Motorists are asked to avoid the area and find alternative routes.

There are reports of long queues for motorists in and around Haverfordwest with some drivers messaging The Herald saying “Town is gridlocked.”

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James Oulton found not guilty of 30 counts of sexual assault against 11 ex-pupils

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JAMES OULTON, 34, the primary school teacher who was accused of 30 charges of sexual assault against pupils has been found not guilty of all charges at Swansea Crown court today, following a lengthy trial (May 4).

The charges, now dismissed, had related to his time as a Haverfordwest primary school teacher, between 2012 and 2018.

Mr Oulton had described the accusations as a “witch-hunt”.

He confirmed he had made a formal complaint against one officer involved.

Speaking after the verdict, James Oulton said: “I am glad two years and eight months of hell for my family, colleagues and friends has come to an end.”

“I’m just glad it’s over and that the jury came to the right verdict.”

The press was only able to report on the prosecution case, but not the defence case – because Oulton him self via his barrister had made an application to the court for a press restriction.

The Herald feels that this press restriction on the reporting of both sides of the case, once granted, was unlawful, and is appealing to the Court of Appeal on a point of law.

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Nineteen arrests and weapons seized during knife crime action week

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NINETEEN people were arrested and a number of weapons were seized as police took part in a national week of action against knife crime, police have said.

Dyfed-Powys Police has released its results from Op Sceptre, which ran from April 26 to May 2, during which officers across the force took part in activity to crack down on crime involving blades.

The week was led by the force’s roads policing units (RPU), with a focus on targeting operations in key areas throughout the four divisions.

Neighbourhood policing teams were instrumental in engaging with shopkeepers, creating educational videos for communities on social media, and working with RPU on joint patrols in crime hotspots.

Inspector Andrew Williams said: “There have been some excellent results forcewide  from this year’s Op Sceptre, and as a result of the increased proactivity in key areas, there has also been a vast amount of other offences detected.

“This was thanks to some outstanding work by roads policing units, neighbourhood policing teams, the joint firearms unit and response officers.

“Our approach was to educate our communities on the laws around carrying and selling knives, and the dangers associated with having a blade on your possession, which was backed up with operational activity across the force.

“This has been very well received, and will be continued during the next operation.”

During the week 20 stop searches were carried out, resulting in seven arrests and numerous weapons being seized.

Twelve people were arrested for drug driving following stop checks on vehicles, one of which led to the discovery of a cannabis cultivation in the Cardigan area.

Traffic offence reports were issued to 41 drivers, and two people will be dealt with for failing to stop for officers when requested.

Neighbourhood policing activity saw engagement with 95 shop owners and community leaders, with officers and PCSOs reassured to find that most businesses were complying with the Challenge 25 policy. Those who were not will be dealt with accordingly.

Insp Williams said: “Our work to tackle knife crime will continue as we consider intelligence logs that were submitted during the operation and develop targeted plans to deal with concerns in our communities.

“We would also like to remind people that while our knife amnesty has now concluded, the best way to dispose of an unwanted blade is to take it to your local recycling centre.”

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