15/02/2017 Points West


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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.


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