with Madeleine McMullin

Police shot at by fleeing man

The police received a call from 2 people being threatened by an armed man in the Mailloles area of Perpignan on the night of 5th July.    Neither of the 2 were injured although apparently the armed man who was settling drug scores had tried to use the gun but not succeeded.  A man corresponding to his description was found nearby with a gun in his hand.  He was told to lie on the floor, but he ran away.  When the police ran after him he turned and fired at them without hitting them.  He was eventually detained and arrested for attempted murder of a public authority. 


360 people caught driving without a licence so far in 2016

Police controls have caught 360 people since the beginning of the year driving with no licence, either because they have had it taken away, they’ve used up all of their points or because they’ve never taken their test.  The total for the whole of 2015 was 708.  The crime is punishable by a fine and a prison sentence.


Petition for more bilingual classes in Catalan

The undertaking to offer classes taught in Catalan is being honoured in quite a few primary schools but there are not enough teachers, so some children are being refused the option or forced to take it later.  In secondary schools it is more patchy with the number of hours being offered shrinking.  Embarca’t has organised a petition of 400 signatures which is being presented to the Head of Education Services by representatives of the organisation, pupils’ parents and the General Secretary of Aplec (teaching of Catalan).


Bathing water good in the department

The ARS yesterday unveiled the results of 1100 tests carried out at 60 sites in the P-O covering both sea and fresh water.  The department stands out in France for the quality of its bathing sites.  The tests take place from 15th June to 15th September and the public can look up results on  55 out of 60 sites are graded excellent and 5 good (El Mouli, Camping Canigou Le Llech, the Plage du Sardinal in Canet, the Plage du Faubourg and the Plage de Batteries on the Cote Vermeille).  The Plage de la Crouste is the only place that is closed to bathing: situated on both sides of the Têt where it meets the sea at Canet, it has been out of bounds for the last 22 years.  The sewage works in the lower Têt valley are not yet adequate to get the beach reopened for bathing.  The beaches generally have a better mark than the lakes or rivers but all of them have been passed for bathing and the lakes at St Jean Pla de Corts have gone up from good to excellent.


DNA catches 11 times burglar

A series of burglaries was carried out in Pollestres in 2015.  The burgled properties were both businesses and private homes.  The perpetrator stopped for a snack when breaking into the club house of the rugby club and was caught through his DNA, as he was already known to the police.  A suspected accomplice was also arrested but had to be let go due to lack of evidence.


Fruit and veg controls

The Departmental Agency for the Protection of the Population is carrying out controls on fruit and veg stalls, both at markets and on the side of roads to make sure that the produce is labelled correctly and not passed off as local when it comes from further afield.  Anyone caught is liable for a fine ranging from €400 to €1200.


New restaurant opened at the Village Catalan

Over the last few years the service station has undergone a lot of improvements with changes to the layout to improve parking and traffic flow, the hotel and the shop renovated and a brand new restaurant created.  The manager, Franck Cases explained that they have invested €2.6 million and have a 15 year concession.  The new restaurant seats 350 and will have 40 staff in the high season with 14 year round employees.  It will be open all year round from 6am to 11pm.


OAP wanted for €18670 fraud

A 67 year old man in Elne is accused of fraudulently obtaining RSA and other benefits to the tune of €18670 between June 2012 and September 2014.  He has admitted his guilt and will be sentenced in September.


Stag steals vegetables

A stag has taken to coming into the village of Dorres in Cerdagne and helping himself to the produce in the local vegetable gardens.  He’s been coming in for 2 or 3 years and is getting bolder and bolder.  At first he just raided plots on the outskirts, now he comes into the centre of the village in broad daylight and fences have been built to keep him out.  He takes off whenever anyone tries to approach him.


Police arrest cocaine dealer

The drug squad were performing a stake out on Tuesday when they arrested 2 people who had entered a flat and purchased cocaine.  They then raided the flat and found the dealer and 2 other people present plus 347g of cocaine and €2860 in cash.  Interrogations allowed them to establish that the man had been trafficking a large quantity of cocaine for at least a year and he admitted to supplying the drug to clients.  He has been remanded in custody and the other 2 suspected resellers have been released pending trial.  The clients have received cautions and will have to follow a drugs awareness course.


No more hubbly bubblies on Argèles beaches

The use of hubbly bubblies on beaches has spread and people tend to smoke in groups and not just tobacco.  They smoke next to kids and near holidaymakers who just want to relax in the fresh air.  The mayor of Argèles has therefore decided to follow in the footsteps of la Grande Motte, Palavas and Antibes and ban them from the beach on the grounds of the danger caused by the sparks that they send out and the possible use of illegal substances in them.


Fisty cuffs at St Cyprien municipal council

On Friday 8th July the council met to discuss the downgrading of certain artworks purchased by the town from Jacques Bouille.  The mayor confirmed that “there was nothing really controversial or noteworthy except that Jean Jouandet, the opposition councillor interrupted interminably as usual”.  However after the meeting there was a brief but violent altercation between the mayor and his opposite number.  The mayor’s version of events is that he was in the middle of talking to other councillors when Mr. Jouandet came up to him, put his finger on his cheek and called him a liar.  “I felt that he wanted a fight and so I punched him so as to be able to get away.  One of the members of my list got between us and took Mr. Jouandet out of the town hall”.  Mr. Jouandet’s version is rather different: he says that “at the end of the meeting, the mayor came up to me pale faced and looking very aggressive, shouting and calling me “tu” and grabbed my shirt with both hands.  In order to shake him off I pushed him abruptly and the mayor punched me so hard that he broke my hearing aid.  My doctor has given me a week off sick”.   He added that although he’d not made a complaint in the past despite all of the insults he had suffered, this time he would be going to the police.  In the meantime Thierry del Poso, the mayor has been to the police to complain and various councillors have been asked to make statements.  Claudette Guirard, another opposition councillor but for a different list, said that although she hadn’t seen the actual argument, she had seen Mr. Jouandet come out looking haggard with a red cheek and his shirt torn.  At 78 he is the elder of the council.  She deplored the attitude of the mayor which she found scandalous.


Dangerous dog in Argèles

Last week an 80 year old lady who had been coming to Argèles for years for her holidays was walking her dog not far from the pine forest when a hunting dog which had left its master, attacked her dog and killed it in a few minutes.  The old lady fell over trying to save her dog and had to cut short her holiday due to the emotional stress.  Her children are going to lodge a complaint.   All dogs are supposed to be kept on the lead in Argèles.


Leader Price in the sights of the producers

Tuesday 12th July, fruit producers dumped loads of nectarines in front of the Leader Price stores in Elne, Perpignan and Thuir to protest against the fact that they supposedly buy imported fruit rather than French.  The action was national and organised by the National Fruit Producers Federation and French Vegetables.  The communiqué issued by the unions said that Leader Price was showing social irresponsibility by buying low priced fruit from abroad rather than French fruit which created jobs that helped the buying power of their clientele.


Céret poet’s verses in Paris Metro

Marie Volta, known to many in Céret as Miquette, is a native of the town and her parents still live here.  She has known success with her poems as well as her music and a novel.  One of her poems has just been chosen as one of 12 from 8000  entered into the Poetry Grand Prix which is organised each summer by the RATP.  The 12 poems will be displayed in the RATP all summer.


Occexit – a hit

Al Chemist, the local Catalan band  has released a song against the new regional name.  The video which features Collioure has garnered 7500 views on Youtube.  The band says that they wrote the song to protest as the new name shouldn’t be in the running as it doesn’t include the identity of the P-O department.  They wanted to protest with a smile and not a raised fist.


Bomb disposal divers deactivate underwater bombs

Bomb disposal divers from Toulon were called in on Monday 11th July to deactivate four bombs found 20m off Torreilles beach.  The bombs which dated from the Second World War were moved out to sea and submerged to a depth of 30m where they were detonated by explosive charges which were placed on each of them.  As soon as they were successively exploded the security zone was lifted and people were allowed to bathe again.


Hole in the accounts of the P-O Chambre de Métiers

Lower tax receipts and a reduction in the training grant for IRFMA mean that the accounts for the departmental CMA have gone into the red.  The hole will be partially plugged with the sale of assets, including the building situated on the Avenue du Conflent in Perpignan and the unblocking of €800,000 put aside for regional programmes.  Other solutions are also being sought, such as early retirements or more painful decisions.  The lower receipts are due to the fact that auto-entrepreneurs now represent 40% of the businesses signed up as artisans, meaning that the CMA has seen a drop in taxes including the apprentice tax.


Madeleine McMullin lives in Palalda from where she runs her marketing business Marketing66.  She has worked both in the UK and abroad, with big brand names in the interiors and design industries such as Wedgwood, Denby, Sebastian Conran, Laura Ashley, Hemingway Design……..

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