Home » Friends. » Carmarthen – Problems Worsen.

Carmarthen – Problems Worsen.

Planning Benefits….who.: June 05 ……………….. Intimidation becomes …:

June 05 ……………….. Intimidation becomes more threatening…….

The intimidation was getting worse and
taking on a physical side. We were now constantly being waylaid as we
went out and came back home.  Friends visiting were also subjected to
the Thomases unwelcome presence as they had to stop to open the gate.
Karen Thomas was spending a lot of time in the right of way area and was
now constantly either filming us or taking pictures over our gate. She
was also videoing anyone arriving to visit as they drove down the right
of way.   Our local farmer had been threatened.  He had been told not to
cut our fields and three of his tyres on his land rover had been cut.

Due to the local police not giving us any
support we had turned to the media.  We had also made contact with an
ex police officer for guidance and advice.

July 05

Our friendly farmer had come again to turn
the hay.  He stayed and had a cup of tea with me, and  asked if I would
open the gate the Thomases had erected at the top of our right of way
as the lane  was now too narrow for him to get out of his tractor.  I
had gone ahead of him and opened the gate.  As he drove out Karen Thomas
was waiting for him in order to take pictures of him.

I began walking back down the right of way
when I was aware Karen Thomas was following down behind me.  I then
felt a huge push into my shoulder which knocked me into the metal crash
barriers.  As I recovered she was standing in front of me blocking my
way.  Her very threatening body language, hands on hips, was shocking.
She refused to move out of my way. When I asked her to move out of my
way and never to do that to me again her response was “what are you
going to do about it”.  I naturally felt very threatened and scared by
her as there was no-one else around  – I was totally alone again, and I
knew the police would say there were no witnesses.  I was awaiting a hip
operation at the time and this was appalling behaviour to be assaulted
in this way, and clearly the nature of the intimidation had taken on a
different tone.  She warned me to stay out of her business, then stepped
aside and allowed me to walk down to my gate.  I reported this to the
police but as I expected I was told ‘it’s your word against hers’.
Again, if the police had asked to view her CCTV cameras they would have
seen exactly what had occurred, but they declined my suggestion.

Eddie was constantly being confronted in
the right of way as he left for work, as he stopped to open the top gate
– a gate which had been installed to make life difficult for us.  One
particular morning as Eddie was walking back to his car after opening
the gate to drive out, the neighbour was as usual in the right of way
and deliberately barged into him knocking him into his car.  This
behaviour was completely alien to us.  As we didn’t have any security,
but did have a camcorder, I took to filming Eddie driving out each
morning.  In the evening, he would stop and telephone me when he was
close to home, and again I would film him driving back in. What had our
lives become?   This camera was thus far our only witness, but would
hopefully deter the neighbours from these physical threats in our right
of way.  We had no other way out of our property and this couldn’t go
on.

Wherever
we were on our property the neighbours would make their presence felt.
Whether we were working in our garden – tending to our horse – mucking
out stables  – playing with our four dogs etc. we would be whistled at
or called out to.  Karen Thomas would frequently be leaning over our
gate, watching us over the boundary hedges, or sitting on the bank
behind their newly erected shed.  We were followed around wherever we
went.  I was feeling a prisoner in my own home as I was becoming more
nervous and anxious whenever I had to go outside.  I wasn’t enjoying the
garden any more nor was I wanting to go down to the stables. Our lives
were no longer pleasurable.

Beer bottles and beer cans were now
appearing on our fields along with old knuckle bones.  Sheep skulls were
hung on branches of trees around our boundary.  We felt impotent and at
our neighbours mercy. I had begun to believe there was some other
reason the police were not giving us any support.  Having made contact
with a barrister and a race relations director in Cardiff they both
confirmed the police should have been doing more to help us, especially
as there was a history of aggressive and threatening behaviour towards
others before us.   We were becoming desperate for help.

Andrew
Thomas had taken to tailgating us as we drove out, and on this day drove
his HGV within feet of our small car.  I was terrified.  We felt
compelled to drive faster and faster to get away from him.  It was the
wrong thing to do but when feeling under such threat knowing we had no
support from anyone, flight instinct takes over.  The first chance we
had, we swerved off the road, at speed, and let him drive past us.   His
conduct was menacing, and of course again, we reported it to the
police.  The police said they were logging these incidents but no action
as yet could be taken because it was our word against theirs.  This was
the theme.  When we spoke to our kindly ex police officer over these
matters he was adamant that this was wrong.  He said the police do not
require witnesses when there is a clear pattern of behaviour and should
have been at the very least warning the neighbours.   I had always
believed the police protected people against this kind of dangerous
behaviour, but in our case they weren’t.  The feeling of isolation just
kept growing.

Our lives were a total misery and we were suffering
in the same way as the two families before us had suffered.  Not only
were we now abused on a regular basis but we were still having to
contend with the noise from industrial machinery, maintenance on HGVs,
horrendous noise from the constant quarrying and the many other
disturbances to our quality of life.  It was obvious that Blaenpant was
being developed for an ever expanding industrial business – with zero
planning permissions and we were suffering the consequences of it.

We had by now logged a long list of
incidents with the police but still no intervention nor help from them,
even though they were aware of the nature of the neighbours and their
intimidation and threats to others.   Carmarthen Council were continuing
to deny the existence of the obvious haulage business and the many
other industrial operations from a site within meters of our home, even
though there was an abundance of evidence to warrant enforcement and
most certainly applications for change of use to industrial.  It
appeared that the neighbours had the support of all local authorities
and we had none.  It certainly felt that way and was a very lonely place
to be in.   Our plans had to be put on hold and our future was
exceedingly bleak. We had no chance of getting away from this nightmare
situation.

July 05

It was a Sunday and I had driven to the
post box which was about a quarter of a mile away to post letters.  As I
was returning the neighbours drove past me in the opposite direction.
Karen Thomas gesticulated at me from the passenger seat, but I was
relieved at least I didn’t have to contend with name calling as I
entered my home.  I had no longer opened the gate at the top of our
right of way, than the neighbours were driving back down towards me.
They had followed me back home.  I was taunted and then assaulted for a
second time.  Statements were taken and eventually I was the one
arrested and charged with assault.  Yet again the police chose not to
view the Thomases CCTV which would have shown the entire incident and
shown Karen Thomas assaulting me.  This was seriously wrong, and only
added to my belief that the police were acting against us and were for
some reason reluctant to take any form of action against our
neighbours.  This became the scariest time of my life.   Carmarthen
Council were doubtlessly responsible for the nightmare that was now our
life. Due to their unwillingness to follow correct planning procedures
which was allowing an industrial business to flourish unimpeded, and
their denial to everyone who asked questions, that there was no such
business operating, they were encouraging aggressive and threatening
behaviour towards anyone who was aggrieved by it.  The violent nature of
the neighbours towards us should have caused concern to the Chief
Executive of this authority.  The TV documentary alone should have seen
the end of our nightmare as the truth was shown.   The question still
remains today – what was – and still is, the relationship between
someone employed by Carmarthen Council and these people, that has caused
so many people to have suffered at their hands.

It was
imperative now that we install some sort of camera at the top of our
driveway as witness to the shocking behaviour of the Thomases, ignored
by both the local police and Carmarthen Council.

Due to my
continued complaints to Carmarthen Council about the disturbance to our
lives caused by this industrial site I was advised to write to the
Ombudsman. I wrote to the Ombudsman but it is no easy task to put
together a complaint to the PSOW.  I believed it was enough to simply
outline a general complaint.  It is not, and due to my naivety in not
putting together enough information, my complaint wasn’t investigated.
This is somewhat different to a complaint being investigated and not
upheld.  However it is usual it seems that Carmarthen Council play on
the fact that a complaint not being investigated somehow exonerates them
from any wrongdoing and use it as a weapon against you for ever more
when putting in further complaints to them.  The Ombudsman has recently
said “the fact a complaint has not been investigated does not mean
you didn’t have a justified complaint, it just means it didn’t warrant
resources being spent”.
  Carmarthen Council need to understand that.

The
neighbours had by now received a letter from the council advising them
to remove the huge blue lorry away from our cottage, but a few weeks
later after the Thomases had refused to move it, the Council took the
view this was an agricultural storage unit for a few bales of hay.  It
seemed irrelevant that they had just built a huge shed which now towered
over us, for the storage of hay.

End of July.…..We
were awoken this sunny morning to the noise from a JCB within inches of
our bedroom window.  Our small cottage vibrated from this industrial
monster of a machine.  It was removing all of the grass around the area
we looked out onto.  We were fearful of what was coming next!   Metal
fencing panels arrived a few days later together with an old container
and another smaller structure that appeared to be the rear of a small
pick-up.  We were left with a sinking sickening feeling.  The neighbours
had more plans for us.  Something was going to arrive – but what?   How
do you describe the worry and the feeling of being constantly under
threat with no-one to help or care?   Bullying of any kind should not be
acceptable to either the police nor the local authority, but when it is
directly related to the council’s negligence, it becomes somewhat
sinister.

 


August 05

 

Another week went by and still nothing had
appeared under our windows.  We had been shopping, and as always we had
a feeling of foreboding upon our return, as we never knew what we were
going to be facing.  We were now to discover what the removal of grass –
the metal fencing panels – the rusty old container was for.  We were
now sleeping within feet of a couple of piglets.  I was also soon to
discover the names Karen Thomas had chosen for them….

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