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​ Aggressive ‘cowboy’ builder in court

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Stress made family ill: Dean Burchill with condemned orangery

A LLANELLI company director was found guilty of using aggressive behaviour to his customers and carrying out shoddy work this week.

Ioan Llyr Berry, director of Pearl Home Improvements, also admitted misusing quality marks when he appeared at Swansea Crown Court in a prosecution led by Carmarthenshire Council.

The court heard that a £13,500 orangery he built for one customer had to be demolished for safety reasons.

Berry, of Nightingale Court, Coedcae, was approached by three customers who wanted work carrying out in their property.

Dean Burchell paid £13,500 for him to build an orangery which now has to be demolished as it does not comply with building regulations and poses a significant risk of failure to the sewer and the property.

He also paid him over £2,000 as a deposit to construct a loft conversion which was not returned. Prior to agreeing for the works to be carried out, Mr Burchell was shown a copy of the company’s website that contained the TRUSTMARK logo. However, subsequent enquires found that the company was not a member of TRUSTMARK and therefore not permitted to use the logo.

Unfinished: Builder Berry was called ‘cowboy’ by judge

When Mr Burchell contacted Berry over the phone to express his disappointment at the works carried out, he became verbally abusive and told the consumer ‘ you had better watch your kids’.

Consumer B also contracted with the 33-year-old to build a conservatory which was never built and printed on the contract for works was the FENSA quality logo, neither the company nor Mr Berry are registered with FENSA.

Berry carried out works for Consumer C but used aggressive behaviour on two occasions when trying to obtain payment for the said works.

In summing up the case at crown court on Friday, Judge Chris Clee QC agreed with Consumer A’s referencing of Berry being a cowboy. He said: “I can’t think of a more apt description.”

Berry was convicted of five charges under the consumer protection from unfair trading regulations 2008 – two relating to misuse of quality marks, two relating to aggressive practices and one for poor workmanship. He was given a 12-month community order to run concurrently and his business was fine £10,000 for the five offences.

A compensation order has been made for £18,597.60 for remedial costs to Consumer A.

Mr Burchell contacted The Herald to explain the impact that Berry’s poor workmanship had on his family.

“My wife Alison and myself have four sons, and with the boys growing up, we felt we wanted more space,” he told our reporter.

“An orangery seemed an ideal idea, we had a few quotes and found Ioan Berry on Facebook and asked for him to come out and quote us a price. Things seemed to be reputable with him. He claimed to use the same team constantly to do the work.”

However, as the job approached completion, the Burchells noticed problems with all aspects of the build, from the roof to the floor.

“The plasterboard had been put right up to the window so you couldn’t open it, they’re sash windows. We had people working here on midnight up until Christmas,” he added.

In spite of Berry claiming that he had completed the necessary consultations with CCC and Dwr Cymru, the build was condemned by both.

“We signed the attic first and then the orangery, I had to take a loan out for this,” Mr Burchell said. “We paid in stages up to £13,500. Trading Standards have spoken to a surveyor and this orangery has to come down, there’s no doubt on that. Even the judge in court last Friday said that we have something that’s worthless.

“This has made my entire family ill, we’ve lost money, health and had far too many sleepless nights. We never realised we were dealing with such a cowboy. If me speaking out stops Ioan doing this to another then it’s some comfort. He has to pay us compensation now over a two year period even though he claims he’s bankrupt. He even misused logos on Facebook as he wasn’t registered.”

The council’s executive board member for public protection, Cllr Phillip Hughes, said: “This man conned an innocent consumer out of thousands of pounds and duped other customers into believing they were being provided with good quality work. Our trading standards and legal team have worked tirelessly to bring this man to justice. I hope this serves as a clear message to anyone thinking of carrying out shoddy work, using aggressive behaviour or ripping off their customers – we have the power to stop you in your tracks and we will.”

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Outdoor hospitality given go-ahead and rules on mixing outdoors relaxed in Wales

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SIX people will be able to meet outdoors in Wales from Saturday 24 April while outdoor hospitality will be allowed to reopen from Monday 26 April as cases of new COVID-19 infections continue to fall, First Minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed today.

The current rule provides for up to six people (not including children under 11 years of age or carers) from a maximum of two households to meet outdoors.

The new rules from Saturday will allow six people (not including children under 11 years of age or carers) to meet outdoors.

People should observe social distancing from people from outside their household or support bubble when meeting others outside.

The rules for meeting indoors remain unchanged.

The First Minister has also confirmed outdoor hospitality will be allowed to reopen from Monday 26th April 2021.

First Minister, Mark Drakeford said: “The public health context in Wales remains favourable, with cases falling and our vaccination programme continues to go from strength to strength. Because meeting outdoors continues to be lower risk than meeting indoors, we are able to bring forward changes to allow any six people to meet outdoors.

“This will provide more opportunities for people, especially young people, to meet outdoors with their friends. This will undoubtedly have a significant positive impact on people’s wellbeing.

“I’m also pleased to confirm outdoor hospitality will be allowed to reopen from Monday 26th April.

“These changes will help the hospitality sector recover after a difficult twelve months.

“It is thanks to the continuing efforts of people across Wales we are able to introduce this change. Together, we will continue to keep Wales safe.”

On Friday (23rd April 2021), the First Minister will confirm further relaxations to the covid rules that will come into force on Monday 26 April 2021.

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Scientists issue urgent appeal for help on ground-breaking Covid genetic study

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SCIENTISTS involved in a ground-breaking COVID-19 genetic research study are urgently asking people across Wales who caught the virus to donate a small amount of blood to their project.

To help encourage as many people as possible to join the study, volunteers are now able to quickly and easily book an appointment for a nurse to visit their home and donate a sample.

The unique GenOMICC COVID-19 Study, which is being delivered in Wales through Health and Care Research Wales, analyses the genes of people who have had the virus to discover why some experienced mild or no symptoms while others became extremely ill. The study is already contributing to the fight again COVID, with preliminary results helping identify possible new treatments.

study open to anyone who caught COVID but didn’t need hospital treatment

However, for the study to continue to make progress, the scientists urgently need to recruit 2,500 more people from all backgrounds. Along with seeking the help of members of Asian and Black communities, they’re also keen for more men to volunteer.

The home appointment system has already proved popular when the scheme was launched in Scotland and Bradford earlier this year – and with lockdown restrictions beginning to be eased in Wales, organisers are hoping for a similar response from people across the country.

“This study has one key objective – to help us understand why COVID-19 has impacted different groups in different ways,” said Dr Matt Morgan, Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine at the University Hospital of Wales and Specialty Lead for Critical Care at Health and Care Research Wales.

“Across the UK, a disproportionate number of people who ended up in hospital have been male as well as people with Asian and Black heritage – that’s why we need people from these groups in particular to join the study as soon as possible.”

“If you are eligible, please register and join the project. You’ll be making a direct contribution to helping improve our knowledge of the virus and discovering new ways of beating it.”

scientists issue urgent appeal for assistance to help them identify new treatments

Dr Kenneth Baillie, the study’s Chief Investigator, said: “We’re appealing for more volunteers from all walks of life to come forward and register. We need to find people who tested positive for COVID but experienced either mild or no symptoms and didn’t require hospital treatment. To maximise the study’s potential, it’s important these volunteers are similar in age, gender and ethnicity of those people who were severely affected and hospitalised.”

Professor Sir Mark Caulfied, Chief Scientist at Genomics England added: “The quicker this research can be completed, the faster we can solve the COVID-19 puzzle and protect vulnerable people.

Genetic research into COVID-19 is now playing an increasingly important role in our fight against the virus, enabling us to identify new forms of the virus and develop treatments.

“The findings from the GenOMICC COVID-19 Study will improve the treatment, care and outcome for those most at risk and lower the number of deaths.”

Dr Nicola Williams, Director of Support and Delivery at Health and Care Research Wales, said: “It’s vital we learn as much as possible about COVID-19 and to do that we need people to volunteer to take part in research. By introducing an appointment booking system, the GenOMICC COVID-19 Study is giving people the opportunity to contribute to potentially life-saving research from their own homes. These contributions can help provide the evidence we need to give all patients the best possible outcome.”

The research project is open to anyone who tested positive to COVID-19 but experienced mild or no symptoms and didn’t require hospital treatment – volunteers can register online here.

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A Llanelli household is hospitalised following reports of an “unknown substance”

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REPORTS of an “unknown substance” at a Llanelli property led to a multi-agency operation.

Police, ambulance and the fire service descended on a property in a village, just outside of Five Roads, Llanelli,  following reports of members of the household feeling unwell and the presence of an “unknown substance”.

Three members of the household in Five Roads, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire were taken to hospital as a precaution.

Emergency services were alerted to members of the household feeling unwell and the presence of an ‘unknown substance’ on Sunday, April 11 at 7.30am.

The ambulance service were first on the scene with one rapid response vehicle, four emergency ambulances and the Hazardous Area Response Team and were supported by police and the fire service.

A spokesperson for the Welsh Ambulance Service said: “We were called to a residential property in the village of Five Roads, Llanelli at 7.30am on Sunday, April 11 to reports of three people needing medical attention.

“We responded with one rapid response vehicle, four emergency ambulances and our Hazardous Area Response Team.

“Three patients were taken to Glangwili Hospital, Carmarthen, for further treatment.”

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MAWWFRS) assisted the police and ambulance service, deploying a specialist officer and an Environmental Protection Unit to the property.

The service ventilated the property and remained on the scene until 5.29pm.

A MAWWFRS spokesperson said: “At 7:44am, crews from Llanelli were called to assist the ambulance service and police at an incident in a property in Five Roads, Llanelli.

“An unknown substance was found at the property and its occupants reported feeling unwell.

“The occupants were taken to hospital by the ambulance service.”

“The incident was contained to one property and there were no concerns for the wider community of Five Roads.”

A Dyfed-Powys Police Spokesperson confirmed the force assisted in the multi-operation incident.

A spokesperson said:: “Members of one household in the village were feeling unwell, and were taken to hospital for assessment.

“They were found to have no medical concerns.

“Following examination of the scene by a number of agencies, there was no cause for further investigation into the incident.”

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