The latest news, sport, weather and features from the West of England.
Browse content similar to 15/02/2017. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Our main story tonight: A councillor and his drug dens.
He was part of a gang renting houses and turning them
into cannabis farms, while serving as a respectable
Quite what he was to right at the centre of this conspiracy, only he
will now. He has lied through his back teeth in these proceedings, in
my opinion, and now he must face the consequences.
Tonight, Councillor Hassett is in jail.
We will have the full story of his deception.
Our other headlines tonight: Two new mums start a support group
after suffering strokes days after giving birth.
Council tax bills are going up by the biggest amount in a decade,
but it is not enough to stop cuts in services.
And splashing out on a refurb of the pool in Portishead,
And splashing out on a refurb of the pool in Portishead.
A councillor has been found guilty of conspiring to grow vast amounts
of cannabis in homes he rented under fake names.
Councillor Donal Hassett ? who is 56 - is one of a number
He has already been suspended from the Conservative Party,
but he remains a representative on the council in Bath,
even though he is in jail tonight awaiting sentence.
A respected Conservative councillor, Donal Hassett, has been
A respected Conservative councillor, Donal Hassett has been
suspended by his party, though is technically
despite now being a convicted criminal.
This was one of the raids we filmed with police last year.
Donal Hassett had rented this Wiltshire home using fake
names and cover stories to access four properties.
With the rental agreements secured, Hassett's accomplices moved in.
With the rental agreements secured, Hassett's accomplices moved in,
Rental properties you wouldn't ordinarily think would be used for
anything other than normal families. Then electricity would come in and
after three months, you have millions of pounds worth of
cannabis, ready to cultivate. Four had already pleaded guilty
via Vietnamese interpreters. Bath Council said it could not
comment until Hassett Today the leader of its Conservative
group said Hassett was no longer a member and added,
we feel very let down as a party and I feel personally let down
as his group leader. Cannabis farms are often part
of a criminal portfolio. The farmers inside, often
Vietnamese, are sometimes, say police, trafficked
into the UK illegally. The young man we filmed in February
last year was left looking He has since disappeared, along
with another young Vietnamese man. Police are appealing for help
finding Thang Van Tran and Dang Chien, not for any crimes,
but to make sure they are not still The prosecution said the cannabis
growing operation was organised and sophisticated. Councillor Donal
Hassett was remanded in custody today. He will return to court to be
sentenced at a later date. When he does, it is very likely he will face
a prison sentence. The police have released a CCTV
image as part of an investigation into the death of a woman in South
Gloucestershire. 43-year-old Joanne Denham was found
on Hill Street in Kingswood A 38-year-old man arrested has
been released on bail. Police say that the man in this
image could be a potential Two women from Wiltshire
who had strokes just days after giving birth,
are warning others about their Jo Wallace and Stevi Marshall have
set up a support group after finding Doctors initially put their symptoms
down to being new mums, when actually things
were far more serious. Our Wiltshire Reporter Will Glennon
went to meet them. Jo Wallace and Stevi Marshall each
had their first child last year. But just days after the birth,
Stevi started getting bad headaches, It was like I wanted to just scratch
that part of my face to get something out. I had a lot of
confusion. I couldn't read. I would look at words and I couldn't even
tell you what they said. It got to a point where I couldn't cope. It was
throbbing at the back of my head. Basically, I lost my eyesight. My
memory is coming back, but it was quite severely affected.
The Stroke Association says more women than men have strokes,
This may be because more women are living longer and having
But it is still highly unusual for young women
Stroke during pregnancy and after childbirth is rear, but it does
happen. Having a stroke can have different effects. Every single
stroke is different. People do recover and the future can be very
bright after suffering a stroke. Jo and Stevi feel very
fortunate to have survived They are now part of a support
group for Mums in Swindon None of us want to dwell on it. We
accept this has happened to us, but we are all here, we all have issues,
but it's not life threatening. We all have our babies and they are
gorgeous and lovely. And we will hopefully get to see them grow.
Both women are recovering well, and warning other mums to watch
Andrew Marr made a brilliant programme about strokes and it is
available on the iPlayer. We have got lots more
still to come before 7pm, including: The councillor in charge
of homeless policy who slept And a new lease of life for the lido
- the open air pool in Portishead Council tax across the West
is facing its biggest rise in a decade, despite ongoing
cuts to services. Today two of our biggest councils,
Somerset and Gloucestershire, In Taunton, there were protests
as members voted through controversial changes
including job cuts. Here's our political
editor Paul Barltrop. Across the West, it is a time
for difficult decisions. This morning in Somerset
that hour had arrived. The reality is that anyone sitting
in this position would have to make the same tough decisions. The Devil
is in the detail. I don't like the lack of detail of any of the cuts to
services. Controversy in the council
chamber over ?18 million And outside from unions
and service users worried Service users are suffering and
staff are making impossible choices about how to do their job, to keep
our communities safe. The situation is quite bad. The situation we have
with the budget for next year is there is no detail about where the
cuts will fall. Yet, even as spending falls,
council tax is rising. It is the same in Gloucestershire,
but slightly less in Bath In North Somerset it will be 4.75%,
while all the West's other big councils are going for 4.99% -
pretty much the most allowed. Overall, that means Band D tax bills
will rise by between ?50 and ?80, Children and adults need care which
we need to pay for. The situation is not perfect. We were able to freeze
council tax for eight years. It is getting more difficult as we go
forward. He is to meet Government ministers
to discuss ongoing cuts in funding. But no bailout is expected,
so cuts including the loss So, strong feelings as councillors
voted through tax rises and spending reductions. Efforts have been made
to protect services. Across the West, local elections take place in
May. After that, councils will have to start planning further rounds of
cuts. However, many people in Swindon
might get a bit of a shock when they receive their council tax
bills this year. A rise of up to ?200
is being planned. It will be used to pay
for new parish councils They will then take over
services which the borough Concerns have been raised
about the ethics behind an award-winning green energy
plant in Somerset. It generates heat and power
from waste, and one source is slurry But animal rights campaigners claim
conditions there are appalling. A claim that has
today been disputed. We are really passionate about
sustainability... As the UK's biggest
independent cheese maker, Wyke Farms takes its green
credentials very seriously. They have even built this green
energy plant near Bruton. Next door you can see the pig farm
from where it gets some This is what was secretly filmed
on that pig farm one Sunday night in January
by animal rights campaigners. where dead pigs lie
amongst the living. Perhaps - say campaigners -
not quite what green energy When people make an ethical choice
about where their energy comes from, most British people reject factory
farming. I think they would be shocked to discover that some energy
comes from factory farms. Wyke Farms does not own
or run the pig farm. But given the link between it
and their energy plant they told us today they are "committed
to the highest standards of animal welfare and is extremely concerned
by what is shown in the video." Adding they "will be reviewing
future supply of waste The farm owners JMW Farming
has made no comment. The National Pig Association says
the farm's been inspected. The National Pig Association says
the farm has been inspected and that no welfare regulations
have been breached. Explaining that across the industry,
dead pigs should be removed But without staff on overnight,
that sometimes has to wait Wyke Farms says the pig slurry
is just 1% of the waste source But they will talk to the owners
before making a decision if they will continue to use waste
from their pigs. The former Chief Inspector
of Prisons Lord Ramsbotham says councils in our region
are being short-sighted for not offering a full-time speech
and language therapy service He says evidence has been in place
for more than a decade showing most young offenders have problems
with speech and language, and addressing this cuts
their reoffending and keeps Our reporter Lee Madan
has travelled to Devon, where therapy is offered,
to see what difference it makes. In any month, where does the 17th
come? Gulliver has been working with a speech and language therapist for
three months, but says his life has already been turnaround. He spent
his childhood feeling out of place, but didn't know why. I was mixing in
with the wrong crowd. I started using cannabis to fit in with
people. I think it is what caused my offending. He was first caught with
drugs aged 15. He got into trouble again after becoming angry while
unable to explain himself and when others couldn't understand what he
was trying to say. It would cause frustration because I felt stupid.
The other person was getting frustrated that I wasn't listening
to them. Considering communication skills such as empathy and being
able to understand someone else's point of view, this is crucial
regarding language. Gulliver has now realised he is not stupid or bad,
but has problems with memory which he now manages. I take deep breaths
and count to ten. I have a notebook to take notes. These techniques have
helped him avoid getting into difficult confrontations. He gets
better with others, can hold down a job and make nicer friends.
Important factors that make it less likely he will commit more crime. He
received help because he lives in Devon, where the council employs two
speech and language therapists specifically to work with young
offenders. In our region, it is less likely he would have been helped. It
is one of the scourges of this century. I wish all councils would
think this through. This lack of communication was the cornerstone of
all their problems and the cornerstone of improving prospects.
Most councils in the West told me they want to run a full-time service
for young offenders, but are struggling with limited budgets and
a lack of funding. Gulliver's message is clear. Spending money on
speech therapy works and it is the reason he is confident he will not
reoffend. Elsewhere in the region, provision
is limited. In Swindon, a therapist is only employed one afternoon a
week. Across the West, there were 1311 young offenders last year. And
only 7% received the offer of speech and language therapy by their local
council. Of government data shows that at least 60% are likely to
speech and language problems which are thought to be a key factor on
why they committed the crime in the first place.
Why the link between speech and language problems or crime and
reoffending? Well, we think speech and language problems make at child
vulnerable for success in education and once you are not succeeding in
school, you fall behind, it is difficult to keep up with your peer
group, get involved in activities that bring you into contact with
criminal activity. As with any speech and language therapy, it's
not one fits all. What sort of treatment or reason talking about?
First of all, many of these young people have quite complex disorders,
so there might be an underlying delay in their language, they may
have problems such as a stammer. They may have difficulties with
understanding which are not immediately obvious and which they
will often try to cover up. So they need a detailed assessment. Would it
not make sense to look at it earlier when they are still at school? It
would be, but we don't have the sort of screening for speech and language
problems that other European countries have. Once children are
showing difficulties such as behavioural difficulties at school
or they are at risk of exclusion or they are not in education, those are
all risk factors for undiagnosed speech and language problems, so we
really should be focusing on children at those points. And what
would you like to see change? I think it would be good if we had
speech and language therapy provision within all youth offending
teams and young offender institutions. That would be helpful
because then if young people have missed out earlier Ron, we could
catch them, but we could also support the staff and ensure that
they benefit from provision to prevent reoffending. As you said, it
would also be much better if we could detect the problem is much
earlier. Thank you for joining us. Thank you. .
Last month on this programme we highlighted the growing problem
Latest figures show Bristol has had the biggest rise
Up from just eight in 2010 to 74 now.
There are nearly five times more people sleeping rough
on streets in Swindon than there were six years ago.
Last year, 28 people were without a bed for the night,
In Bath, the numbers have nearly tripled from nine
to 25, with a similar picture in Gloucester.
Well, the councillor in charge of homeless policy for Cheltenham
spent three nights sleeping rough in the town to get
Here's Councillor Peter Jeffries' story.
We are about 4pm and the sun is starting to go down. The temperature
is dropping. And going to have a wander around and see if I can catch
up with anybody. Then I will find myself quite spot. I have spent
three nights sleeping year. Relatively close, not fully, very
cold. Lots of noises. Apologies if I seem in I have not had any alcohol.
It is sleep deprivation. You get little or no sleep. It is almost
like the layers of humanity are disappearing. Self-respect and
hygiene levels are lowered. There are two worlds. There is a world
that is poles apart completely at odds and they are living at the end
of almost existence. I found quite quickly a lot of your energy and
thought process is about surviving, where you will get your next hot
drink or hot meal. Will your sleeping spot be safer that night?
Having time to think about getting out of the situation is almost
nonexistent. Before you can scratch the surface to look at the needs and
get to that point, there is a definite feeling of resignation to
the situation. It is sad. Very sad. It has given me a lot more
compassion. There will be times where you have to take tough
choices, but taking them with the knowledge and compassion, I think is
good. Having heard her voice, it gives me comfort.
Over the next few days on Points West, we are looking
at the issue of homelessness and how different organisations
are trying to find solutions to the growing problem.
In his piece, Councillor Jeffries talked about survival
Tomorrow, we will be talking to organisations which help people
move beyond survival and get back into normal life.
In football, there wasn't much to celebrate for our teams
City were unhappy that this first Leeds goal wasn't disallowed
for a push on defender Bailey Wright.
Bristol Rovers drew 0-0 with League One leaders Sheffield United.
Swindon Town suffered a fifth successive defeat
and in League Two Cheltenham lost and Yeovil drew ahead
Major structural repairs are underway at Portishead Lido
But ?25,000 is still needed to finish the job.
Michelle Ruminski has joined the volunteers who are now
Even if it was raining, we would be down here with our raincoat, sat on
the steps, waiting for the lorry to come with the hot water.
You will be pleased to know biomass boilers heat the open pool now.
But across the decades, it has continued to play a big part
Opening in 1962, Dave and his friends were some
But now, after 45 years, the cracks are beginning to show.
The pool started dropping one centimetre per day after a cracked
last year. We are going to like it and it will be lovely.
New pipework is being fitted too and the original water treatment
plant is being replaced with an energy efficient one.
It is all costing three quarters of a million pounds,
but the trust which runs it - who are mainly volunteers -
They are hoping the public will give them a lifeline.
We have loans lined up, should we need it. We will be doing the job.
So now it is all a race against time.
I remember when it opened and I went there in the first summer. I seem to
remember the weather was nice in 1967. Do you have pictures? You are
the perfect person to reopen it. I recommend the cafe. Nice cake always
wins them over. We must stop chatting!
I don't know whether I would want to make a judgment of going into the
lido. There will be people swimming in the Bristol Channel at the
moment. Tomorrow will be a decent day. Some parts of the West Country
will be seeing some fog around during the course of the morning.
Then it's a question of how quickly that clears. In association with low
cloud, to get us into a phase of weather which should be on the most
part pretty bright and sunny. Technically, the risk of some light
showers around. And overwhelmingly dry story for the majority of you.
Earlier, a band of rain moved north eastwards. Still some lingering
outbreaks of showers this evening. We expect that to be the way of
things tomorrow. A fairly quiet pattern of weather. It should
brighten up. This evening, the resurgence of some showery rain.
Shouldn't get too far to the east. Looking dry through the course of
the night. Towards the south, parts of South Wiltshire and Dorset, here
we have a high risk of fraud. In those territories and into southern
part of Somerset, the skies may be clear enough for long enough to
allow temperatures to drop into a territory to give us a risk of a
frost. Elsewhere, I wouldn't be surprised if some urban areas held
closer to 6 degrees. We should get under way but some of you under at
the fog. That will lift. Low cloud will lift. The should be a
reasonable amount of dry weather about. Small chance of an isolated
shower. Most places dry and find. Similar story in some respects for
Friday. Looking mostly dry and mild. Thank you.
Just before we leave you, can we wish a very happy 40th
birthday to one of the West's most famous sons.
The much loved plasticine character Morph was brought to life
He first appeared on Vision On, before finding real fame
Nowadays he is often found travelling in his creator
when farmers leave their daily routines behind...
Right, here we come, Dorset! ..for a show day.