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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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Community

Llandeilo Festival publishes its Entertainment schedule

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“CHILDREN AND families are at the heart of our festival this year,” announces festival vice chair Debbie Ince. “On Friday 18th November the festival stalls will start trading at 10am but in the evening there will be the official opening, followed at 6:15pm by Santa coming through the town on his sleigh. A children’s Lantern procession from CK to King Street led by Llandeilo Primary School’s Samba group will meet Santa on King Street to tunes by the Llandeilo Town Band and bilingual hymn singer Ffion Haf. Once the children had their fill of Santa, the Christmas Lights will be switched on by Mayor Gordon Kilby. Local legend singer and actor Harry Luke and Ffion Haf will entertain the crowd until 8pm.”

People enjoying the festival

A spectacular and pet-friendly Laser Show will replace the controversial fireworks at 8pm. “There’s also a tea cup ride on King Street for kids,” adds Ince. “On Saturday and Sunday kids can go to Santa’s Grotto 10 – 4, and on Saturday to St Teilo’s Church or Hengwrt for activities. At our park and ride on Beechwood Estate ‘Sgiliau’ will be open for our youngest visitors.”

“There is of course plenty of entertainment for adults, too,” adds festival chair Christoph Fischer. “From Davies & Co Station Road to Flows on Market Street, most Llandeilo venues will play indoor music, many day and night. The stage will host a variety of acts: from school and adult choirs, bands, solo singers and dance groups, such as Mixed Youth Group, Lotus Sisters Belly dancers and Sunflowers Wales. Cooking demonstrations on Saturday and a Santa Run on Sunday morning round up the festival programme. You can find updates on the Llandeilo Town App Dyma Llandeilo.”

Santa at the Parade

“With our wide selection of street food, arts-,crafts-, fashion- and food stalls there should be something for everyone,” adds stalls coordinator and treasurer Mered Williams. “See you all on the 18th.!”

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Carmarthenshire County Council has launched its annual Christmas Toybox Appeal

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The appeal, in its 12th year, helps hundreds of children with families who can’t afford to buy toys or gifts.

Last year saw us help more families than ever who were struggling financially with more than 7,700 gifts distributed to 1,287 children. This year during these unprecedented times we rely on support more than ever.

The appeal was launched online for the first time in 2020 following the coronavirus pandemic and people were asked to make a financial donation instead of buying gifts and toys.

This year people can either give a financial donation or drop off gifts from games, arts and craft items to toiletry gift sets for all ages – from 18 months up to teenagers, at one of a number of collection points around the county.

Schools, family centres and youth workers identify those who are in greatest need of support and council staff will distribute them in the run-up to Christmas.

The council’s executive board member responsible for the Toybox Appeal, Cllr Linda Evans said:

“I am proud to be following on from the legacy of Cllr Mair Stephens who sadly passed away earlier this year. The Toybox appeal this year is going to be more important than ever. We have always had fantastic support and this year we hope this will continue to ensure that hundreds of children will receive a Christmas gift. We know times are hard, but if people are able to spare a gift or a donation no matter how big or small, it will make a great difference to those families less fortunate.”

You can make a donation of your choice online at the Christmas Toy Box Appeal website. If you have a cash or cheque donation please call 01267 246504.

To view the collection point locations please visit the council’s website

Donations are being taken up until November 30.

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Council responds at pace to deliver significant improvements in its planning Service

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Audit Wales has carried out a Follow-up Review of Planning Services by Carmarthenshire County Council and concluded that the council has successfully addressed all its recommendations.

In July 2021, Audit Wales published a report following a review of the council’s planning services, with its findings identifying significant and long-standing performance issues in the planning service that needed to be urgently addressed to help support the delivery of the council’s ambitions.

A total of 17 recommendations were made by Audit Wales for the council to address. All of which the report has confirmed have been met.

In response to the recommendations of the report, Carmarthenshire County Council convened an Intervention Board to provide oversight of a 49 point action plan to respond to the Audit Wales findings that were published in July 2021. Over the past 15 months, progress against the plan has been monitored through the council’s governance framework to provide assurance of progress made against the recommendations.

Audit Wales has been following the council’s progress through regular catch-up meetings with the council, document reviews and observing governance and audit committee meetings. They have also interviewed key council officers during the audit process.

Within the follow up-review, which can be viewed on their website, Audit Wales states that:

“The Council is to be commended for the swift, decisive action it took in response to the findings of our 2021 report, and for the way it has driven improvements in its planning service.

“The constructive way in which the Council received our report and acted on the recommendations is a particularly positive example of a Council demonstrating its commitment to driving improvement in service delivery.

“The Council has learnt lessons from the review that it has also applied more widely, particularly in relation to performance management.

“Overall, we found that the Council has successfully addressed all our recommendations and has responded at pace to deliver significant improvements in its planning service.”

Cabinet member for rural affairs and planning policy, Cllr Ann Davies said:

“I am very pleased with the Audit Wales report which states that Carmarthenshire County Council has succeeded in overcoming challenges within our planning department.

“The report is excellent, it praises the work and the change in systems, procedures and leadership, recognising the significant improvement that has been achieved.

“The issues in question were not due to a lack of work ethic, as I know first-hand of the effort and commitment that is put in by a number of our officers. It was rather the processes which were to blame and needed to be adjusted, as it did not provide officers with the appropriate environment to carry out the work required.

“I would like to thank all council officers that have worked so hard since the Spring of 2021 to achieve the goal of meeting all 17 of the recommendations that were initially set out by Audit Wales.

“The next step, of course, is to keep going, keep moving forward to stay at the forefront as one of the most productive planning authorities in Wales. There is further work to be done and we are committed to continuous improvement, especially in the world of enforcement but we are moving in the right direction with over 1000 enforcement cases having already been resolved in the last year.”

Click here to visit the Audit Wales website and view a full copy of the Follow-up Review of Planning Services.

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