AN ELDERLY couple, one of whom has dementia, recently contacted The Herald to express concern regarding a number of problems in the bungalow they rent from the County Council.
Dorothy McDonald of Waun Sidan in Llanelli began by telling The Herald:
“We have had problems with rats since November 2015. We had a flood in our kitchen caused by workmen climbing onto the roof to see where the rats were coming in and dislodging four slates.
“We were unable to use our kitchen for over four weeks while they put in a new ceiling and we had to go out to buy meals during that time.”
Dorothy continued: “Four weeks ago when we came back from a few days with our daughter in London , the smell in the bungalow was terrible. We traced it to coming from the attic. We rang the housing department in Llanelli and they said they would send someone out.
“For four weeks, I kept being told that someone would come out. Nobody ever did. My husband, who is 88 -years-old and has dementia, climbed the ladders and had a look but he couldn’t see and he couldn’t climb across the boards.”
Dorothy said: “I got up on Sunday , August 19 , at 5am to go to the bathroom and it was covered in maggots. I killed them all and washed the floor with bleach. I went and bought some spray for maggots and put that down. I got up early on the Sunday morning to find the bathroom crawling with hundreds of maggots again.”
Speaking about her frustration at not being helped , Dorothy said: “That was the final straw. I just broke down into tears. It was awful.
“I cleaned them all up again. At nine o’clock , I telephoned our local Town Councillor , Ken Edwards. He was great and he came round to the bungalow with his wife.
“I told him we had seen some coming from behind the bath . We pulled the side of the bath away to find under the bath was full of builders ‘ rubble.”
With the help of Councillor Ken Edwards , they contacted Carmarthenshire County Council. Dorothy said : “Someone called me straight away and he was really helpful. He said he could hear I was upset and he would get some one out as soon as he could. By 11 o’clock , a contractor arrived and he went up in the attic and at the very far side was what he described as a very large rat which had been dead for some time and it was crawling with maggots.
“He cleared all the area and he said that the workmen who did the ceiling had not finished the job there was also problems with the wiring. He said the rats were coming in under the eaves at the far corner.
Dorothy expressed her disgust at having to pay the full rent and community charge for a bungalow that is not fit to live in. She said : “If the bungalow had been rented out by a private landlord , they would be prosecuted.”
Dorothy says she is now seeking compensation for the distress and inconvenience as well as the money she has spent herself : “I have gone through the press because I want to show the manner in which Carmarthenshire County Council treat their elderly tenants.”
The Herald visited Dorothy’s bungalow on Wednesday (Aug 31). It was difficult to remain inside the bungalow for more than couple of minutes due to the overpowering smell of what can only be described as a rotting corpse. We saw for ourselves the pile of rubble left under the bath by contractors.
Dorothy told us : “The council workmen were supposed to come out at 8am yesterday. They did not arrive. After spending hours on the phone to them , they told me some one would be here in the next seven days. I told them I had enough ; I am near breaking point and was going to the press.”
We asked the Council to comment, but no response to our request was received in time for inclusion.
Head of Housing and Public Protection, Robin Staines, said: “An issue with rats at 13 Waun Sidan and neighbouring properties was resolved in April this year. Mrs McDonald reported this latest problem to us last week and a contractor has visited and laid bait. The drains have also been surveyed and no defects found. The contractor has reported that there may be a new access point to the loft at the properties, and as such, scaffolding will now be erected for roofers to seal off these points. “On the matter in the bathroom, rubble has been removed from behind the bath and works will be carried out to amend any damage. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and will be agreeing recompense.”
Conviction for an illegal waste operator in south west Wales
Natural Resources Wales (NRW), in partnership with Dyfed-Powys Police, has successfully prosecuted a man for operating an illegal waste site in south west Wales.
James Anthony Gunter, aged 32, from Brynamman, admitted the offences in interview, and was charged with operating an illegal waste facility and disposing of waste at that facility in a manner likely to cause pollution to the environment and human health.
He was sentenced at Llanelli Magistrates’ Courts on Friday 31 July. Gunter received a 12 month community order with 200 hours unpaid work. He must pay costs in full of £6,709 and a victim surcharge of £85.
He’d been operating a household clearance and rubbish removal service in the Ammanford, Neath, Port Talbot and Llanelli areas.
He was taking money from customers to take away their waste and was bringing it back to a site in Brynamman, Ammanford, to dispose of it illegally.
David Morgan, waste enforcement officer, Natural Resources Wales said:
“Illegal waste activities like this blight the countryside, have a detrimental impact on people’s lives with issues including smoke or noise, and impact on legitimate waste businesses.
“Gunter left more than enough evidence to lead us to him. Amongst the mostly burnt waste we discovered numerous documents with addresses on. We also found a sign from an old local business. Thankfully, we could trace these items back to their place of origin, and the producers of the waste were willing to give witness statements.”
The investigation began in June 2019 when the Waste Regulation Team received a number of reports of the illegal waste operation.
Large volumes of waste were regularly being tipped and burnt at a location, on the border of Brecon Beacons National Park.
NRW’s enforcement officer and an officer from Dyfed-Powys Police who was on secondment to NRW at the time, visited the site. From that visit and follow-up enquiries they found substantial amounts of evidence that led to this successful prosecution.
Chief Inspector Jolene Mann, of Dyfed-Powys Police said:
“We rely on our communities to share information with us to target and tackle crimes of this nature, which have a significant impact on local people and the environment. We will continue to work with partner agencies to effectively deal with offenders and to keep our communities safe.”
David Morgan added:
“Thanks to people reporting this iilegal waste operation to us, we were able to investigate and prosecute. But members of the public have another important role to play in preventing illegal waste operations.
“If they arrange for waste to be collected from their business or home, they should check that the business collecting it is registered as a carrier. Search the public register of all waste carriers, brokers and dealers on the NRW website.
“If they’re not registered, don’t let them take the waste away and report them immediately to NRW on our incident line 0300 065 3000.”
Llwynhendy man sentenced to two years for handling stolen goods
A man was caught with thousands of pounds worth of items taken from homes and sheds in Llwynhendy after accessing wifi on a stolen laptop.
Josh Palethorpe, of Heol Westfa, hid when Dyfed-Powys Police officers arrived at the house he was staying at, but was found surrounded by stolen goods including TVs, power tools, computer consoles and laptops.
The force had received reports of four shed break-ins and two creeper burglaries in the Llwynhendy area over two nights in March.
An investigation was immediately launched, and enquiries led officers to discover that a wifi spot had been accessed on one of the stolen laptops. The occupants of that address had no connection with the burglaries, and officers began looking at a neighbouring house – where 26-year-old Palethorpe had been staying.
DS Bromfield said: “We received a request to attend the address on a separate matter, and on entering the house officers found a large amount of property which was suspected to be stolen.
“Josh Palethorpe was located hiding in an upstairs bedroom and was arrested on suspicion of burglary. However, it transpired that the suspect had bought the goods – and given the low price he paid for them, he must have been aware that they were stolen.”
Palethorpe was charged with handling stolen goods, and was sentenced to two years in prison when he appeared at Swansea Crown Court.
DS Bromfield added: “What was crucial to this investigation was the ability to trace where the suspect was accessing the wifi from. The laptop he was using was fitted with a tracking device, which led us to the address Palethorpe was staying at, where he was arrested.
“I hope this sentence proves to him that it’s not worth being involved in the stolen goods chain, no matter how little he paid for the items.”
Police seized spice worth £10,000 from car on drugs run
Police officers seized £10,000 of the psychoactive substance spice after waiting near a motorway slipway for a car returning from a drugs run.
Dyfed-Powys Police officers arrested Jack Brennan on Saturday, June 28 after stopping a Volkswagen Polo just off the M4 at Hendy.
Officers from the Priority Policing Team were acting on intelligence that the occupants of the Volkswagen Polo – including 22-year-old Brennan – were travelling to and from Cardiff to collect drugs to sell in Carmarthenshire.
On being stopped, Brennan – who has now been jailed – claimed the half kilo supply of spice was for his own personal use.
Detective Inspector Wayne Bevan said: “Information was received that the car would be returning to Llanelli with controlled substances intended to be supplied to people in the area.
“Assistance was requested from Carmarthenshire Roads Policing Unit to stop the car as it left the M4 at Hendy, where it was searched under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
“As the occupants were detained, Brennan told one of the officers there was half a kilo of spice on the back seat, which was all for his own use.
“A package was found in the car, containing an amount of the drug inconsistent with personal use. Brennan was swiftly arrested on suspicion of possessing class B drugs with intent to supply.”
An Iceland carrier bag was found in a back footwell of the car, which was seized and found to contain a black back filled with a green substance.
This was identified as being 570g of class B drug spice. The street value of this quantity is estimated to be around £10,000.
Brennan, of Railway Place in Llanelli, was charged with possessing class B drugs with intent to supply, and admitted the offence at court.
He was remanded to appear at Swansea Crown Court for sentencing on August 7, when he was jailed for 36 weeks.
DI Bevan said: “Spice is an extremely addictive and dangerous substance, and this operation has prevented a significant quantity of the drug from making its way to Llanelli.
“This is an excellent example of partnership working between departments to identify and stop the vehicle, and to prevent this drug from entering the supply chain.
“Our proactive teams will continue to act on all information received about the abuse of illegal substances, and will endeavour to bring those concerned in the supply of drugs to justice.”
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