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Littering – the council response

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litteringIN THE WAKE of the article about a ‘littering campaign’ in Carmarthenshire, the Herald was contacted by Paul Morris, the Environmental Enforcement Manager at Carmarthenshire Council. Sadly, because it took Carmarthenshire Council’s Media Centre seven days to forward an email request for information to the person best-placed to answer it, we were unable to incorporate his response to many of the queries that were raised in our article. Because Mr Morris was unable to respond to any of our assertions at the time, here are his views. Mr Morris told us about some of the work that his team carry out: “We have eight Environment Enforcement Officers, who cover all environmental issues in the county including highways problems like abandoned vehicles, and skips and scaffolding on roads. They work in teams of two, so we have one team in Llanelli, one in the north-west, one in the north-east and one in the Gwendraith Valley.”

He added that due to the teams covering approximately 1400 square miles, a lot of the work that they carry out is based on information received from members of the public. Regarding what we described as an ‘anti-littering campaign,’ which we assumed was taking place due to the large number of press releases received from the council on the subject, Mr Morris said that no organised campaign was taking place. Describing the enforcement of littering laws, he added that discretion was always with the individual officer. “I feel very strongly about that,” he told us. “If an offence is committed, it can be dealt with in a number of ways. We can take the person through the courts, give them a verbal warning, or issue a fixed penalty notice.“Our strategy is educating people first, changing social attitudes. The enforcement is just the stick, and it is a very small stick.”

In our initial correspondence we also asked if there had been any quantifiable improvement in the amount of litter in areas patrolled by enforcement officers, as well as a change in social attitudes to littering. While acknowledging that it was more or less impossible to provide accurate measurements, he told us that in his personal experience a lot more people were disposing of their rubbish properly. “Sometimes the team from Carmarthen, say, come in after working Saturday and tell me ‘Paul the town’s spotless, there have been no offences,’ and that’s great even if it puts me out of a job!” Regarding the prosecution costs, which are significantly higher than those asked for by the CPS Mr Morris told us that is was ‘a completely different ball game.’ “When our officers investigate a case, whatever hours are spent, plus the Council’s legal costs and my time, are all written on a spreadsheet and presented to the Magistrates. If the court is not happy with the costs, they are not awarded, and that’s not a situation I want to get into.” The Herald is grateful to Mr Morris for clarifying the work that his department carry out. Had we talked with him at an earlier date, it would have resulted in a more balanced article. After speaking with the Council’s media centre, we have been advised that they are willing to facilitate interviews with individual heads of department in regard to technical issues that fall within their remit, something that we will bear in mind for the future.

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Pigs seized after been found in appalling conditions

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A TYCROES farmer who had his 27 pigs seized after they were found neglected and living in appalling conditions has been ordered to pay £12k.

Adrian Alexander of The Old Stable Yard, Heol Troeon Bach, admitted a charge of causing unnecessary suffering to the animals, including piglets and sows, and one for not meeting their needs at Llanelli Magistrates Court.

In a case led by Carmarthenshire Council, the court heard that the 51-year-old did not provide enough food, water and dry bedding for the pigs despite being advised by Carmarthenshire Council’s animal health officers on a number of occasions.

Living conditions of the pigs were up to their bellies in deep slurry which prevented them from exhibiting normal behaviour. The majority of them were grossly underweight.

When examined by a vet some of the animals were given a body score of 2 and a sow given 1 – Body score 1 being visually thin with hips and backbone very prominent and no fat cover.

Others were found shivering, covered in muck and had difficulty moving around.

Although some improvements had been made following advice from council officers, it wasn’t enough to end the animals’ suffering and they were seized.

Alexander also admitted two charges of breaching Animal By-Products by failing to ensure that no animal or bird had access and burning a dead piglet in a disused bath tub.

He was banned from keeping pigs for three years and given an 18-Month Community Order. He must complete 25 day of rehabilitation activities, do 180 hours of unpaid work and pay £12k court costs. An £85 victim surcharge must also be paid.

The council’s executive board member responsible for animal health welfare, Philip Hughes said: “This was a shocking case of neglect, with the owner not even providing his animals with their very basic needs – food, water and dry bedding – and the living conditions were totally unacceptable. He was warned on a number of occasions and whilst some improvements were carried out, it was not enough and the pigs were seized. Had they not been removed from the farm then the suffering would have continued.”

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Llanelli: Police appeal for information over town centre assault in April

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POLICE are appealing for witnesses to an assault, which took place in Llanelli town centre.

A 36-year-old man made a report to police after sustaining serious injuries during the early hours of April 28.

The victim cannot recall the incident, and reported waking up near the Hungry Horse restaurant.

He sustained fractures to his head, a bleed on the brain, and multiple broken bones during the injury.

These injuries are not believed to be life-threatening or life-changing.

CCTV enquiries show there could have been witnesses to the assault, and officers investigating are keen to speak to them as they might have vital information. Officers would like to speak to a female with dark hair, who was wearing dark jeans and a yellow jacket, in particular.

Anyone who was in the East Gate area, or in Market Street, between 2am and 4.30am on April 28 is asked to contact Dyfed-Powys Police by calling 101. Please quote crime reference DPP/0906/28/04/2019/02/C.

A 20-year-old has been arrested on suspicion of assault, and has been released on bail while enquiries continue.

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Life saving medical kit for police on the roads

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POLICE officers have been given equipment that improves the chance of survival for those injured in a serious crash, as part of Dyfed-Powys Police’s effort to reduce the number of people who die on the roads.

The medical kits are being given to roads policing officers, who are often the first at the scene of a serious crash. They are described as the best available to deal with the type of bleeding they encounter at road traffic collisions, and also in the case of knife and glass wounds, and are the same as those issued to ambulance crews.

Sergeant Owen Dillon, of Brecon Roads Policing Unit, worked with the Welsh Ambulance Service to trial the kit, which he has called ‘simple to use, but effective’.

He said: “We work really hard to reduce the number of collisions on the roads, but unfortunately they do still happen, and people can become seriously injured.”

“It only takes a few minutes for someone to bleed to death, so it’s vital that police officers – who are often first at scene – can deal quickly with any bleeding while waiting for paramedics.”

The equipment has been bought with funding of around £1,000 from the Police and Crime Commissioner. Traffic officers in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys will keep the equipment in their patrol cars.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn, added: “Keeping people safe is a top priority for me and this investment will equip officers with the best medical kit possible to deal with immediate life threatening injuries. I am committed to ensuring Dyfed-Powys plays an active role in keeping road users safe.”

Police officers are already trained to use tourniquets and bandages, and the Roads Policing Units who work as part of Op Darwen – the force’s campaign to reduce casualties on the roads – are being given the additional training they need to use this equipment.

Figures show that in 2018, 67 motorcyclists were either killed or seriously injured on roads in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys, and men were eight times more likely to be affected than women.

The Welsh Ambulance Service is committed to working in partnership with other emergency services to save lives.

Carl Powell, Clinical Support Officer for the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “It is vital that Roads Policing Officers, who are often the first on scene and confronted with serious and life threatening injuries, are supported in preserving life with equipment that is effective in dealing with major bleeding.

“The trauma packs are a proven lifesaving asset and need minimal educational input to be used.”

As part of the Op Darwen, the force is urging motorcyclists to ride safely, and reminding drivers to be vigilant to motorbikes and other powered two-wheelers.

The campaign will run until October, when statistics say the roads are busiest. Roads Policing Units are working across the Dyfed-Powys Police area using a combination of education, engagement and enforcement, to reduce the number of casualties on the roads.

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