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Farmer banned from keeping animals

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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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Third annual Burry Port Raft Race is eagerly awaited

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THE THIRD ANNUAL BURRY PORT RAFT RACE, organised by Burry Port couple, Craig and Isabel Goodman, will be held on Saturday (July 27).

The event which is held in Burry Port Harbour, raises much needed funds for both Burry Port RNLI and a children’s football academy and primary school the couple support in The Gambia.

The day launches at 12pm with stands, food stalls and children’s inflatable games and rides and these will be available until 5pm. You’ll also have a chance to meet the crews, who’ll be busy putting the final touches to their rafts.

Rafts launch at 3pm, followed by a presentation ceremony, including prizes for first raft over the line, first raft to sink and best dressed raft.

Craig said: ” A huge thank you goes to all our sponsors, including overall sponsor Dawsons, along with continued sponsorship from Celtic Couriers, Parker Plant Hire, Burns Pet Nutrition, Burry Port Co-Op, Llanelli Star, LBS Builders Merchants, Burry Port Marina, First Choice Flooring and Pembrey and Burry Port Town Council.

For any further information about the event, please contact 07825 842981.

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The tale of the WW2 Luftwaffe pilot who mistakenly landed in west Wales

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IT WAS this time of year, 1942, that a bizarre series of events led to a German fighter pilot landing at RAF Pembrey in South Wales, unintentionally aiding the war effort of The Allied Forces in the process.

On June 23, 1942, Oberleautnant Armin Fabar was ordered to a fly a combat mission along with his squadron, in response to an Allied bombing raid of northern France.

Armin Faber mistakenly flew to South Wales after the dog-fight

Fabar’s squadron (the 7th Staffel) all flew Focke-Wulf 190 fighter planes. These planes were seen as superior to the then current Spitfires of the Allied Forces, and in the subsequent dog-fight that developed over The English Channel seven Spitfires were shot down, compared to only two Focke-Wulf 190s (FW-190s).

One Czechoslovakian Spitfire pilot, Alois Vašátko, dramatically lost his life when, in the fray of combat, he collided head-on with an FW-190. The German pilot bailed out and was later captured by Allied Forces.

Spitfire pilot Alois Vašátko lost his life in the battle

In the ensuing battle, Faber became disorientated and was separated from his squadron. He was attacked by a Spitfire manned by Seargent František Trejtnar. In a desperate attempt to shake off his pursuer, Faber fled North over the skies of Devon. He pulled off a brilliant ‘Immelman Turn’, a move in which the sun is used to dazzle a pursuer on your tail. Now flying directly from Trejtnar’s view of the sun, Faber shot him down.

Trejtnar crashed near the village of Black Dog, Devon suffering shrapnel wounds and a broken arm.

The victorious Faber had another problem entirely, though he was unaware of it at the time. He had mistaken The Bristol Channel for The English Channel, and flew north into south Wales, thinking it was northern France!

Finding the nearest airfield – RAF Pembrey, in Carmarthernshire, Faber prepared to land. Observers on the ground ‘could not believe their eyes’ as Faber waggled his wings in a victory celebration, lowered the Focke-Wulf’s undercarriage and landed.

Faber expected to be greeted with open arms by his German brothers, but was instead greeted by Pembrey Duty Pilot, Sgt Matthews, pointing a flare gun at his face (he had no other weapon to hand).

As the gravity of the mistake slowly dawned on him, the stricken Faber was ‘so despondent that he attempted suicide’ unsuccessfully.

Faber was later driven to RAF Fairwood Common for interrogation under the escort of Group Captain David Atcherley. Atcherley, fearful of an escape attempt, aimed his revolver at Faber for the entire journey. At one point the car hit a pothole, causing the weapon to fire; the shot only narrowly missing Faber’s head!

Fabers mistaken landing in Wales was a gift for The Allied Forces, a disaster for The Third Reich.

He had inadvertently presented the RAF with one of the greatest prizes of the entire war – an intact example of the formidable Focke-Wulf 190 fighter plane, an aircraft the British had learned to fear and dread ever since it made its combat debut the previous year.

Over the following months Faber’s plane was examined in minute detail, the allies desperately looking for any weakness in the FW-190. There were few to be found.

They did find one, however.

The FW-190s became relatively sluggish at higher altitudes. This knowledge aided the Allied Forces and saved countless lives, as the aerial battles turned increasingly in their favour.

Faber was taken as a prisoner of war, eventually being sent to a POW camp in Canada. Towards the end of the war he was sent home to Germany due to his ill health.

49 years later Faber would visit the Shoreham Aircraft Museum, where parts of his FW-190 are displayed to this day, along with parts of the Spitfire that he shot down in the skies over Devon. He presented the Museum with his officer’s dagger and pilot’s badge.

This little-known but important piece of Carmarthenshire history illustrates not only the high-stakes arms race between The Third Reich and The Allied Forces during WW2, but also the cost of human error.

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NSPCC: Wales conference puts spotlight on domestic abuse

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PROTECTING women and children from domestic abuse was the focus of a ground-breaking conference in Wales this week (Mar 28).

Organised by Cardiff University’s Exchange Network – with support from NSPCC Cymru / Wales and Welsh Women’s Aid – the event aimed to share information on the most effective approaches to tackle all forms of violence against women, domestic abuse and support for victims – be they adults or children.

Preventing violence from happening and protecting those who fall victim to domestic abuse formed the focus of the conference, at Cardiff’s Novotel Hotel.

Representatives from Welsh Government, Relate Cymru, Barnardos and Rape and Sexual Abuse (RASA) Centre also attended.

Domestic abuse continues to be a significant reason for young people to contact Childline. In 2016/17 volunteers at the NSPCC-run helpline undertook 120 counselling sessions with children from Wales who had concerns about abuse by a partner in their own relationship.

And 241 children from Wales contacted Childline to discuss parental domestic abuse.

Some young people who witness this also experience physical abuse by their parents. This can sometimes happen when they try and intervene in the abuse taking place, with some children telling Childline they were hit by their mother or father when trying to stop a fight.

“Sometimes my dad gets in a bad mood and gets really aggressive. He says horrible things to me and my mum and it scares me. In the past he was threatening to hit my mum, when I tried to get him to calm down he slapped me instead. I feel like neither of them listen to me and they don’t understand how upset it’s all making me.” (Girl, 16-18, Wales)

Head of NSPCC Cymru / Wales, Des Mannion, told The Llanelli Herald: “Domestic abuse can have a huge impact on a child’s physical and emotional wellbeing and it’s hugely important that we share information and discuss ways to both prevent violence and protect victims.

“We all have a part to play in tackling domestic abuse and it’s important to pick up the phone if you’re concerned so that our advisers can offer guidance and get help where it’s needed.

“Stepping in early helps to change behaviours and avoid abuse escalating, and putting the child at the heart of interventions is paramount in keeping children safe and limiting long-term damage.

“It is also vital that children and young people affected by domestic abuse have access to the right kind of support to overcome the trauma of witnessing and experiencing domestic abuse.”

Any child worried about domestic abuse can call Childline on 0800 11 11. Any adult who is concerned about a child can call the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000.

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