with Madeleine McMullin

No holiday for traffic checks

Roadside checks continued throughout the Toussaint’s holiday at the request of the Prefect who is concerned at a 5% increase in the number of accidents and a 12% increase in injuries this year. There was also an increase in the number of unmarked cars checking for speeding. 600 tickets were issued; double the number last year. There were 6 motorbikes and an officer with a breathalyser on the D115 and people were  issued with fines and cautions for using a phone at the wheel. The same level of checks will continue for the rest of the year.

67 child migrants arrive in the P-O

The adults who were originally expected in St Marie la Mer last week had not turned up as everyone had been accommodated elsewhere in France but 67 minors from the jungle camp in Calais arrived in the department during the night of 2/3 November.  35 of the children are being housed in the EDF holiday camp in Sainte Marie, the other 32 are in a similar camp in Bolquère.

7kg of coke in a Dutch Golf

Police stopped a Golf with temporary German plates at the Village catalan service station. On board were 3 Moroccans: a woman, her brother and another man. The first two lived in Holland, the last in Spain. They said that they were on their way back to Morocco to sort out a family quarrel and that the car belonged to a friend who had asked them to clear it through customs in Spain. The police were a bit suspicious so they searched the car and found 7.6kg of cocaine hidden under the gear box. The driver owned up to being paid €1300 to smuggle it, but said that the passenger hadn’t known about it until they were on the way, and wasn’t being paid, and that the woman thought that she was being brought along to mediate in the family dispute and not to be used as a way of smoothing their way across borders.   The passenger turned out to have 2 former drug convictions so when they came up before the judges the two men were sentenced to 5 years each, a 10 year ban from French territory and a customs’ fine of €310,000. The woman was freed due to a lack of evidence to implicate her.

Man arrested for infecting women with hep C

A woman made a complaint to the police in 2015 when she found out that she had hepatitis C. She explained to the police that she had asked her partner to take a test when she found out she was infected, but he only gave her part of the results to hide the fact that he had the disease. When she insisted, he confessed that he had not told her because he thought that no woman would want to have sex with him if she knew he was ill. He was arrested and some test results confirming that he was infected were found at his house. Two other women were identified and confirmed that he had had unprotected sex with them without revealing that he had hep C. They also made formal complaints and are currently awaiting the results of their tests. The man in question is not being very cooperative so the police have been unable to identify any other potential victims, but he has been placed under investigation for attempted poisoning and administering a harmful substance and is out on bail pending trial.

Robbed the same hotel three times

The man robbed the hotel in St Cyprien on the 11th June when he emptied the till and helped himself to a bottle of wine and a corkscrew, on the 8th September when he took 2 bottles of wine as the till was empty, and then last weekend when he went back just after getting out of prison. The last time he was caught red handed by the son of the owners. He suffers from behavioural problems and is being treated by a psychiatrist. He admitted that he had seen the CCTV camera but was happy to be filmed and said that he spends all his money and then goes out and robs. He was sentenced to 4 months in prison.

USAP scrum have to push the bus

The bus bringing the team back from a draw in Angoulème ran out of petrol at 3am and the team had to push it across the Leclerc carpark so that they could get back underway. Just what they needed after a disappointing match.

Vegetable garden in Perpignan prison

Prisoners being treated by doctors from Thuir mental hospital have been growing vegetables in the prison courtyard. “The idea is to help the prisoners understand that you have to wait for some things, that not everything is immediate” said Jean Figuère, one of the prison visitors whose association was the driving force behind getting the therapeutic garden approved and started. It has now been going for 6 months and is considered a success by the professionals. The association is asking for support to keep the garden going. If you would like to help, you can telephone Michel Escoffier on 06 66 95 16 87.

Verdict awaited in shopping centre fire

Two men who started a fire in the Canigou shopping centre in St Estève on St Valentine’s Day when they tried to break into a shuttered tobacconist’s with a disk cutter were caught because their DNA was found in the vehicle used in the robbery and on bins at the scene. The fire took hold quickly and destroyed everything, causing various shopkeepers to lose their livelihood. The two accused refused to reveal their accomplices saying that they didn’t know them, they had just met them and been offered money to take part. Sentencing will take place on 1st December.

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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