Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Evicted ‘neighbour from hell’ now banned from neighbourhood

A man who was evicted from his council property after terrorising his neighbours has now been banned from neighbouring streets.

Paul Swales, 43, was evicted from his council flat in 41 The Close, Saxton Gardens, Leeds, after assaulting five men in separate incidents near his home.

He is also alleged to have slashed the tyres of a car belonging to a neighbour – as well as throwing rotten eggs at their front door and playing loud music – in a series of incidents dating back to 2008.

At Leeds Civil Hearing Centre today, the injunction banning him from his home was altered to also ban him from the surrounding area.

Leeds City Council’s Anti-Social Behaviour Unit and East North East Homes Leeds applied for a variation to an injunction to also ban him from the surrounding Saxton Gardens area, protecting witnesses who came forward to give evidence against him. The injunction will remain in place until 4 June 2011.

Mr Swales did not attend today's hearing but handed the keys back to Richmond Hill Housing Office last Friday (2 July) without leaving a forwarding address.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for community safety, said:
“This eviction was the result of hard work by our Anti-Social Behaviour Team, East North East Homes Leeds and the police.
“I’d also like to pay tribute to the neighbours who had to live near this man and endure his threats, noisy behaviour and violent assaults. It can take courage to stand up against a bully like Mr Swales.
“I’m delighted that justice was done with the eviction and Mr Swales has left his flat. Now we need to keep him out of the area so the people of Saxton Gardens can feel safe.”

ENDS
For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council (0113) 224 3937
e-mail: michael.molcher@leeds.gov.uk

Dangers of being under the influence

With the summer really kicking in and drink flowing more freely, Leeds City Council is keen to warn people of the dangers of drink driving.

The longer summer nights can lead to a larger alcohol intake than usual and people may be unaware of exactly how much they have consumed and be tempted to drive afterwards.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds will be highlighting the issue on Monday 12 July when he carries out a police Field Impairment Test (FIT) while ‘under the influence of drink goggles.’

Lord Mayor Councillor James McKenna, will don a pair of ‘drink goggles' which simulate the effect of alcohol by altering the wearer’s visual perceptions of what’s happening around them. He will then be asked to perform a number of recognised police field impairment tests - including walking in a straight line and standing on one leg - to see how the glasses affect his reactions.

******************** Media opportunity ********************

Media are invited to see the Lord Mayor completing the field impairment test on Monday 12 July in Millennium square at 11am. There will be representatives from the council’s road safety team on hand to talk about the dangers of drink of driving. Please contact the press office on 0113 2474450 to arrange attendance.

******************** Media opportunity ********************


Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Jim McKenna said:
“The ‘drink goggles’ demonstrate just how much a person’s judgement is impaired after consuming alcohol - thankfully without the fatal consequences that often result when an impaired person gets behind the wheel of a car.

“There is no excuse for drink-driving whatsoever and the council, together with the police, are committed to reinforcing this message to as many people as possible.”

Becky Prosser, road safety manager for Leeds City Council said:
“The temptation to drink alcohol can be very high during the holiday season, particularly when visiting family and friends or during the warmer summer evenings.

"There is no safe way to estimate the level of alcohol in your system so it is simply safer not to drive after you have consumed even the smallest amount of alcohol. Make use of public transport, book a taxi or arrange a ‘designated driver’ who will stay on the soft drinks all evening. It is important to not drink and drive as it simply isn’t worth the risk either to yourself or others.” .

Notes to editors:

The Leeds road safety promotion unit aims to educate about road safety and offers a comprehensive programme of education to schools in Leeds. It offers advice to parents, drivers and pedestrians and is involved in local, regional and national campaigns.

There is no way an individual can tell if they are over that limit as it can depend on many factors such as the amount and type of alcoholic drink, your weight, sex, age, food intake and metabolism. It is safer NOT to drink and drive.

What is the drink drive legal limit?
The legal alcohol limit for drivers in Great Britain is:
• 80 milligrammes (mg) of alcohol per 100 millilitres (ml) of blood (80mg/100ml), or
• 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100ml of breath, or
• 107mg of alcohol per 100ml of urine
The limit has remained unchanged since its introduction by the Road Safety Act 1967, which also gave the police powers to breath-test drivers suspected of drink driving.

Ends

For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk

Rumours that plans mean dogs will be banned from city’s parks ‘untrue’

Leeds City Council has moved to scotch rumours that it is planning to ban dogs from the city’s parks.

More than 1,000 people have responded to a city-wide consultation on potential powers that could impose new controls on dogs and responsibilities on their owners across Leeds.

Some angry residents have contacted the council to protest because they believe these new powers would prevent them from exercising their pets in open spaces such as Roundhay Park.

This is untrue and, while the orders mean dogs could be banned from areas of the city, the proposals only include certain children’s play areas – not parks as a whole.

Leeds City Council is calling for any resident – whether they own a dog or not – to take part in a massive city-wide consultation about the Dog Control Orders.

These orders are being examined in two phases, with phase two taking place next year. Under the first phase, the council is looking at:
• Excluding dogs from some council-managed children’s play areas
• Limiting the number of dogs that can be walked by an individual – the proposal is for a limit of six
• A blanket city-wide order giving council officers the ability to instruct a dog owner to put their dog on a lead if it is likely to cause annoyance or disturbance


The consultation is asking local people what they think of these powers and how, and where, they could be applied. Posters and leaflets are being distributed to vets, supermarkets, public buildings, and parks notice boards across the city. Details have been put on the Kennel Club website, while the RSPCA and Dogs Trust are aware of the consultation and are informing people where possible.

If the council makes any of these orders it will be a criminal offence to breach them. On conviction the offence can result in a fine of up to £1,000 or an offender can choose to pay a fixed penalty to avoid prosecution.

To give the council their views, people should go to www.leeds.gov.uk/dogs and complete the on-line questionnaire. A copy of the consultation documents, maps and lists identifying land that might be affected are available online or can be inspected at Knowsthorpe Gate, Cross Green, Leeds LS9 0NP. Hard copies of the questionnaire can be obtained by contacting 0113 3951765 or email environmental.action@leeds.gov.uk

Views must be submitted before 31 August 2010, when this consultation will close.

Councillor Tom Murray, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for environmental services, said:
“It is worrying that the rumour has sprung up that we plan to ban dogs from parks – this would make no sense and would prevent responsible dog owners from exercising their dogs and enjoying our open spaces.
“I know that they want us to tackle irresponsible dog owners and I call on them to help us identify where these new powers would be best used.
“Irresponsible dog owners are a problem, blighting parks and streets with their pet’s mess and failing to properly control their animals.
“I am pleased to see that residents – whether they own a dog or not – have begun responding, so I am confident that the message is getting out. But we must always guard against untrue rumours.”

ENDS
For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council (0113) 224 3937
e-mail: michael.molcher@leeds.gov.uk