15/02/2017 Points West


15/02/2017

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Our main story tonight: A councillor and his drug dens.

:00:00.:00:09.

He was part of a gang renting houses and turning them

:00:10.:00:12.

into cannabis farms, while serving as a respectable

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Quite what he was to right at the centre of this conspiracy, only he

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will now. He has lied through his back teeth in these proceedings, in

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my opinion, and now he must face the consequences.

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Tonight, Councillor Hassett is in jail.

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We will have the full story of his deception.

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Our other headlines tonight: Two new mums start a support group

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after suffering strokes days after giving birth.

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Council tax bills are going up by the biggest amount in a decade,

:00:52.:00:54.

but it is not enough to stop cuts in services.

:00:55.:00:57.

And splashing out on a refurb of the pool in Portishead,

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And splashing out on a refurb of the pool in Portishead.

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A councillor has been found guilty of conspiring to grow vast amounts

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of cannabis in homes he rented under fake names.

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Councillor Donal Hassett ? who is 56 - is one of a number

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He has already been suspended from the Conservative Party,

:01:19.:01:25.

but he remains a representative on the council in Bath,

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even though he is in jail tonight awaiting sentence.

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A respected Conservative councillor, Donal Hassett, has been

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A respected Conservative councillor, Donal Hassett has been

:01:39.:01:40.

suspended by his party, though is technically

:01:41.:01:42.

despite now being a convicted criminal.

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This was one of the raids we filmed with police last year.

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Donal Hassett had rented this Wiltshire home using fake

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names and cover stories to access four properties.

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With the rental agreements secured, Hassett's accomplices moved in.

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With the rental agreements secured, Hassett's accomplices moved in,

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Rental properties you wouldn't ordinarily think would be used for

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anything other than normal families. Then electricity would come in and

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after three months, you have millions of pounds worth of

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cannabis, ready to cultivate. Four had already pleaded guilty

:02:27.:02:32.

via Vietnamese interpreters. Bath Council said it could not

:02:33.:02:35.

comment until Hassett Today the leader of its Conservative

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group said Hassett was no longer a member and added,

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we feel very let down as a party and I feel personally let down

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as his group leader. Cannabis farms are often part

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of a criminal portfolio. The farmers inside, often

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Vietnamese, are sometimes, say police, trafficked

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into the UK illegally. The young man we filmed in February

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last year was left looking He has since disappeared, along

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with another young Vietnamese man. Police are appealing for help

:03:02.:03:07.

finding Thang Van Tran and Dang Chien, not for any crimes,

:03:08.:03:10.

but to make sure they are not still The prosecution said the cannabis

:03:11.:03:24.

growing operation was organised and sophisticated. Councillor Donal

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Hassett was remanded in custody today. He will return to court to be

:03:30.:03:34.

sentenced at a later date. When he does, it is very likely he will face

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a prison sentence. The police have released a CCTV

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image as part of an investigation into the death of a woman in South

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Gloucestershire. 43-year-old Joanne Denham was found

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on Hill Street in Kingswood A 38-year-old man arrested has

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been released on bail. Police say that the man in this

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image could be a potential Two women from Wiltshire

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who had strokes just days after giving birth,

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are warning others about their Jo Wallace and Stevi Marshall have

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set up a support group after finding Doctors initially put their symptoms

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down to being new mums, when actually things

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were far more serious. Our Wiltshire Reporter Will Glennon

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went to meet them. Jo Wallace and Stevi Marshall each

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had their first child last year. But just days after the birth,

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Stevi started getting bad headaches, It was like I wanted to just scratch

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that part of my face to get something out. I had a lot of

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confusion. I couldn't read. I would look at words and I couldn't even

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tell you what they said. It got to a point where I couldn't cope. It was

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throbbing at the back of my head. Basically, I lost my eyesight. My

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memory is coming back, but it was quite severely affected.

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The Stroke Association says more women than men have strokes,

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This may be because more women are living longer and having

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But it is still highly unusual for young women

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Stroke during pregnancy and after childbirth is rear, but it does

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happen. Having a stroke can have different effects. Every single

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stroke is different. People do recover and the future can be very

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bright after suffering a stroke. Jo and Stevi feel very

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fortunate to have survived They are now part of a support

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group for Mums in Swindon None of us want to dwell on it. We

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accept this has happened to us, but we are all here, we all have issues,

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but it's not life threatening. We all have our babies and they are

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gorgeous and lovely. And we will hopefully get to see them grow.

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Both women are recovering well, and warning other mums to watch

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Andrew Marr made a brilliant programme about strokes and it is

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available on the iPlayer. We have got lots more

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still to come before 7pm, including: The councillor in charge

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of homeless policy who slept And a new lease of life for the lido

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- the open air pool in Portishead Council tax across the West

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is facing its biggest rise in a decade, despite ongoing

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cuts to services. Today two of our biggest councils,

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Somerset and Gloucestershire, In Taunton, there were protests

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as members voted through controversial changes

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including job cuts. Here's our political

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editor Paul Barltrop. Across the West, it is a time

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for difficult decisions. This morning in Somerset

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that hour had arrived. The reality is that anyone sitting

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in this position would have to make the same tough decisions. The Devil

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is in the detail. I don't like the lack of detail of any of the cuts to

:07:58.:08:01.

services. Controversy in the council

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chamber over ?18 million And outside from unions

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and service users worried Service users are suffering and

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staff are making impossible choices about how to do their job, to keep

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our communities safe. The situation is quite bad. The situation we have

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with the budget for next year is there is no detail about where the

:08:33.:08:34.

cuts will fall. Yet, even as spending falls,

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council tax is rising. It is the same in Gloucestershire,

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but slightly less in Bath In North Somerset it will be 4.75%,

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while all the West's other big councils are going for 4.99% -

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pretty much the most allowed. Overall, that means Band D tax bills

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will rise by between ?50 and ?80, Children and adults need care which

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we need to pay for. The situation is not perfect. We were able to freeze

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council tax for eight years. It is getting more difficult as we go

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forward. He is to meet Government ministers

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to discuss ongoing cuts in funding. But no bailout is expected,

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so cuts including the loss So, strong feelings as councillors

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voted through tax rises and spending reductions. Efforts have been made

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to protect services. Across the West, local elections take place in

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May. After that, councils will have to start planning further rounds of

:09:45.:09:46.

cuts. However, many people in Swindon

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might get a bit of a shock when they receive their council tax

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bills this year. A rise of up to ?200

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is being planned. It will be used to pay

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for new parish councils They will then take over

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services which the borough Concerns have been raised

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about the ethics behind an award-winning green energy

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plant in Somerset. It generates heat and power

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from waste, and one source is slurry But animal rights campaigners claim

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conditions there are appalling. A claim that has

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today been disputed. We are really passionate about

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sustainability... As the UK's biggest

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independent cheese maker, Wyke Farms takes its green

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credentials very seriously. They have even built this green

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energy plant near Bruton. Next door you can see the pig farm

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from where it gets some This is what was secretly filmed

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on that pig farm one Sunday night in January

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by animal rights campaigners. where dead pigs lie

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amongst the living. Perhaps - say campaigners -

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not quite what green energy When people make an ethical choice

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about where their energy comes from, most British people reject factory

:11:26.:11:28.

farming. I think they would be shocked to discover that some energy

:11:29.:11:30.

comes from factory farms. Wyke Farms does not own

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or run the pig farm. But given the link between it

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and their energy plant they told us today they are "committed

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to the highest standards of animal welfare and is extremely concerned

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by what is shown in the video." Adding they "will be reviewing

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future supply of waste The farm owners JMW Farming

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has made no comment. The National Pig Association says

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the farm's been inspected. The National Pig Association says

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the farm has been inspected and that no welfare regulations

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have been breached. Explaining that across the industry,

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dead pigs should be removed But without staff on overnight,

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that sometimes has to wait Wyke Farms says the pig slurry

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is just 1% of the waste source But they will talk to the owners

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before making a decision if they will continue to use waste

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from their pigs. The former Chief Inspector

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of Prisons Lord Ramsbotham says councils in our region

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are being short-sighted for not offering a full-time speech

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and language therapy service He says evidence has been in place

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for more than a decade showing most young offenders have problems

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with speech and language, and addressing this cuts

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their reoffending and keeps Our reporter Lee Madan

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has travelled to Devon, where therapy is offered,

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to see what difference it makes. In any month, where does the 17th

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come? Gulliver has been working with a speech and language therapist for

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three months, but says his life has already been turnaround. He spent

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his childhood feeling out of place, but didn't know why. I was mixing in

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with the wrong crowd. I started using cannabis to fit in with

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people. I think it is what caused my offending. He was first caught with

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drugs aged 15. He got into trouble again after becoming angry while

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unable to explain himself and when others couldn't understand what he

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was trying to say. It would cause frustration because I felt stupid.

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The other person was getting frustrated that I wasn't listening

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to them. Considering communication skills such as empathy and being

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able to understand someone else's point of view, this is crucial

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regarding language. Gulliver has now realised he is not stupid or bad,

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but has problems with memory which he now manages. I take deep breaths

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and count to ten. I have a notebook to take notes. These techniques have

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helped him avoid getting into difficult confrontations. He gets

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better with others, can hold down a job and make nicer friends.

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Important factors that make it less likely he will commit more crime. He

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received help because he lives in Devon, where the council employs two

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speech and language therapists specifically to work with young

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offenders. In our region, it is less likely he would have been helped. It

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is one of the scourges of this century. I wish all councils would

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think this through. This lack of communication was the cornerstone of

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all their problems and the cornerstone of improving prospects.

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Most councils in the West told me they want to run a full-time service

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for young offenders, but are struggling with limited budgets and

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a lack of funding. Gulliver's message is clear. Spending money on

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speech therapy works and it is the reason he is confident he will not

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reoffend. Elsewhere in the region, provision

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is limited. In Swindon, a therapist is only employed one afternoon a

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week. Across the West, there were 1311 young offenders last year. And

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only 7% received the offer of speech and language therapy by their local

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council. Of government data shows that at least 60% are likely to

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speech and language problems which are thought to be a key factor on

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why they committed the crime in the first place.

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Why the link between speech and language problems or crime and

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reoffending? Well, we think speech and language problems make at child

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vulnerable for success in education and once you are not succeeding in

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school, you fall behind, it is difficult to keep up with your peer

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group, get involved in activities that bring you into contact with

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criminal activity. As with any speech and language therapy, it's

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not one fits all. What sort of treatment or reason talking about?

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First of all, many of these young people have quite complex disorders,

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so there might be an underlying delay in their language, they may

:17:11.:17:15.

have problems such as a stammer. They may have difficulties with

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understanding which are not immediately obvious and which they

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will often try to cover up. So they need a detailed assessment. Would it

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not make sense to look at it earlier when they are still at school? It

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would be, but we don't have the sort of screening for speech and language

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problems that other European countries have. Once children are

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showing difficulties such as behavioural difficulties at school

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or they are at risk of exclusion or they are not in education, those are

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all risk factors for undiagnosed speech and language problems, so we

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really should be focusing on children at those points. And what

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would you like to see change? I think it would be good if we had

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speech and language therapy provision within all youth offending

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teams and young offender institutions. That would be helpful

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because then if young people have missed out earlier Ron, we could

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catch them, but we could also support the staff and ensure that

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they benefit from provision to prevent reoffending. As you said, it

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would also be much better if we could detect the problem is much

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earlier. Thank you for joining us. Thank you. .

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Last month on this programme we highlighted the growing problem

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Latest figures show Bristol has had the biggest rise

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Up from just eight in 2010 to 74 now.

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There are nearly five times more people sleeping rough

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on streets in Swindon than there were six years ago.

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Last year, 28 people were without a bed for the night,

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In Bath, the numbers have nearly tripled from nine

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to 25, with a similar picture in Gloucester.

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Well, the councillor in charge of homeless policy for Cheltenham

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spent three nights sleeping rough in the town to get

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Here's Councillor Peter Jeffries' story.

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We are about 4pm and the sun is starting to go down. The temperature

:19:19.:19:22.

is dropping. And going to have a wander around and see if I can catch

:19:23.:19:29.

up with anybody. Then I will find myself quite spot. I have spent

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three nights sleeping year. Relatively close, not fully, very

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cold. Lots of noises. Apologies if I seem in I have not had any alcohol.

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It is sleep deprivation. You get little or no sleep. It is almost

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like the layers of humanity are disappearing. Self-respect and

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hygiene levels are lowered. There are two worlds. There is a world

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that is poles apart completely at odds and they are living at the end

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of almost existence. I found quite quickly a lot of your energy and

:20:26.:20:30.

thought process is about surviving, where you will get your next hot

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drink or hot meal. Will your sleeping spot be safer that night?

:20:34.:20:41.

Having time to think about getting out of the situation is almost

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nonexistent. Before you can scratch the surface to look at the needs and

:20:52.:20:56.

get to that point, there is a definite feeling of resignation to

:20:57.:21:01.

the situation. It is sad. Very sad. It has given me a lot more

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compassion. There will be times where you have to take tough

:21:07.:21:09.

choices, but taking them with the knowledge and compassion, I think is

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good. Having heard her voice, it gives me comfort.

:21:16.:21:24.

Over the next few days on Points West, we are looking

:21:25.:21:27.

at the issue of homelessness and how different organisations

:21:28.:21:29.

are trying to find solutions to the growing problem.

:21:30.:21:31.

In his piece, Councillor Jeffries talked about survival

:21:32.:21:33.

Tomorrow, we will be talking to organisations which help people

:21:34.:21:36.

move beyond survival and get back into normal life.

:21:37.:21:41.

In football, there wasn't much to celebrate for our teams

:21:42.:21:43.

City were unhappy that this first Leeds goal wasn't disallowed

:21:44.:21:48.

for a push on defender Bailey Wright.

:21:49.:21:50.

Bristol Rovers drew 0-0 with League One leaders Sheffield United.

:21:51.:21:52.

Swindon Town suffered a fifth successive defeat

:21:53.:21:54.

and in League Two Cheltenham lost and Yeovil drew ahead

:21:55.:21:56.

Major structural repairs are underway at Portishead Lido

:21:57.:22:19.

But ?25,000 is still needed to finish the job.

:22:20.:22:22.

Michelle Ruminski has joined the volunteers who are now

:22:23.:22:25.

Even if it was raining, we would be down here with our raincoat, sat on

:22:26.:22:42.

the steps, waiting for the lorry to come with the hot water.

:22:43.:22:48.

You will be pleased to know biomass boilers heat the open pool now.

:22:49.:22:51.

But across the decades, it has continued to play a big part

:22:52.:22:54.

Opening in 1962, Dave and his friends were some

:22:55.:22:57.

But now, after 45 years, the cracks are beginning to show.

:22:58.:23:13.

The pool started dropping one centimetre per day after a cracked

:23:14.:23:22.

last year. We are going to like it and it will be lovely.

:23:23.:23:28.

New pipework is being fitted too and the original water treatment

:23:29.:23:31.

plant is being replaced with an energy efficient one.

:23:32.:23:33.

It is all costing three quarters of a million pounds,

:23:34.:23:35.

but the trust which runs it - who are mainly volunteers -

:23:36.:23:38.

They are hoping the public will give them a lifeline.

:23:39.:23:50.

We have loans lined up, should we need it. We will be doing the job.

:23:51.:23:59.

So now it is all a race against time.

:24:00.:24:07.

I remember when it opened and I went there in the first summer. I seem to

:24:08.:24:16.

remember the weather was nice in 1967. Do you have pictures? You are

:24:17.:24:29.

the perfect person to reopen it. I recommend the cafe. Nice cake always

:24:30.:24:45.

wins them over. We must stop chatting!

:24:46.:24:53.

I don't know whether I would want to make a judgment of going into the

:24:54.:25:04.

lido. There will be people swimming in the Bristol Channel at the

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moment. Tomorrow will be a decent day. Some parts of the West Country

:25:12.:25:16.

will be seeing some fog around during the course of the morning.

:25:17.:25:20.

Then it's a question of how quickly that clears. In association with low

:25:21.:25:24.

cloud, to get us into a phase of weather which should be on the most

:25:25.:25:29.

part pretty bright and sunny. Technically, the risk of some light

:25:30.:25:36.

showers around. And overwhelmingly dry story for the majority of you.

:25:37.:25:42.

Earlier, a band of rain moved north eastwards. Still some lingering

:25:43.:25:48.

outbreaks of showers this evening. We expect that to be the way of

:25:49.:25:55.

things tomorrow. A fairly quiet pattern of weather. It should

:25:56.:26:00.

brighten up. This evening, the resurgence of some showery rain.

:26:01.:26:06.

Shouldn't get too far to the east. Looking dry through the course of

:26:07.:26:11.

the night. Towards the south, parts of South Wiltshire and Dorset, here

:26:12.:26:17.

we have a high risk of fraud. In those territories and into southern

:26:18.:26:21.

part of Somerset, the skies may be clear enough for long enough to

:26:22.:26:26.

allow temperatures to drop into a territory to give us a risk of a

:26:27.:26:30.

frost. Elsewhere, I wouldn't be surprised if some urban areas held

:26:31.:26:38.

closer to 6 degrees. We should get under way but some of you under at

:26:39.:26:44.

the fog. That will lift. Low cloud will lift. The should be a

:26:45.:26:49.

reasonable amount of dry weather about. Small chance of an isolated

:26:50.:27:00.

shower. Most places dry and find. Similar story in some respects for

:27:01.:27:07.

Friday. Looking mostly dry and mild. Thank you.

:27:08.:27:14.

Just before we leave you, can we wish a very happy 40th

:27:15.:27:17.

birthday to one of the West's most famous sons.

:27:18.:27:19.

The much loved plasticine character Morph was brought to life

:27:20.:27:21.

He first appeared on Vision On, before finding real fame

:27:22.:27:26.

Nowadays he is often found travelling in his creator

:27:27.:27:33.

when farmers leave their daily routines behind...

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Right, here we come, Dorset! ..for a show day.

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