a weekly update of the local news


Snow, snow, thick thick snow – The happiness of the ski-slopes opening last weekend was tempered by a severe snow-storm which caused major difficulties on the roads of the Cerdagne and Capcir regions.  Several cars skidded off the roads, HGVs were prohibited from continuing and a snow-plough had to lead the way for the pompiers to rescue a driver suffering from a diabetic trauma.
Operation ‘Snail’ causes delays – As part of a demonstration against the proposed eco-tax, lorry drivers travelled in a convoy, at snail’s pace’ between Perpignan and Le Perthus.  Saturday morning’s road-block was accompanied by a ‘symphony of horns’.
Rush hour traffic chaos – Drivers heading into Perpignan last Friday morning experienced huge problems when water from a leaking fire hydrant near Auchan supermarket froze over turning the road into a sheet of ice.  Nobody was injured despite several accidents and the road was closed until 11am when the sunshine melted the ice.
TGV to Barcelona – It has been confirmed that the Paris to Barcelona TGV link will start running from 15th December.  On the first morning of ticket sales, over 2000 were purchased – 50% of them for the Christmas period.  There will at first be 5 trains a day and the cost of a first-class return ticket between Perpignan and Barcelona is 57€
House fire in Villemolaque – Experts investigating the cause of a fire which caused extensive damage to a house in Villemolaque last week have concluded that it was set deliberately.  A man who lodged at the house is being questioned.
Perpignan Parking delays – the much-heralded ‘free-parking for shoppers’ initiative has been delayed due to printing and coding problems.  It is hoped that the tickets will be available from  next week – as already 50,000 tickets have been ordered by local commercants to offer to their clients.
Hit and run driver charged – The 19 year old driver of a car who ran off after he knocked down and killed a motor-cyclist in Espira de l’Agly has been traced.  He will face trial on 24th December
Armed robbery at Pharmacy – While an accomplice stood guard outside the shop, on Monday evening a young man wearing a hood and with a scarf concealing his face entered the pharmacy and demanded money.  The pharmacist, on seeing the weapon (which turned out to be a fake hand-gun) complied and handed over 50 euros.  The two men were very quickly arrested and while one was allowed to go free, the other admitted to the robbery and said that he had needed to steal money to pay for driving lessons.
Missing man died of natural causes – An autopsy on the body of a man found in a drainage ditch near Le Soler has concluded that he died of hypothermia combined with heart problems.  Serge Grau was reported missing from Thuir hospital on 17th November and was said not to be wearing suitable clothes for the weather.
Counterfeit money ‘planted’ in car – Customs officers questioning a 30 year old Italian at Le Perthus discovered over 80,000€ in notes of various denominations.  While counting the money they realised that they were fakes.  The man then insisted that he knew  nothing about it and that somebody must have generously put the money in his car without his knowledge.  He was remanded in custody.
Bonus drug haul at Le Perthus – After finding cannabis resin hidden under the spare wheel in the boot of a car, customs officers took the car for further investigation and found 32kg hidden in the car doors.  The driver, who lived in Grenoble and was driving from Spain insisted that he had been approached by two men at La Jonquera who had offered him 1500€ to transport the drugs – despite the fact that he had registered his car in the Herault in an attempt to go unnoticed.
Puppies found in Ceret bin – One of the members of the Vallespir Animal Protection Society made a shocking discovery as she went to put some rubbish in the town waste-bin.  On hearing noises she was shocked to discover a bin-bag containing 5 new-born black puppies had been thrown in the bottom of the bin.  Tragically the puppies had to  be euthanized and enquiries are being carried out around the neighbourhood in an attempt to discover the perpetrator of this cruel act.
Car crash in Argeles – In the early hours of Sunday morning a car crashed headlong into a wall near the Marina.  Firefighters from Argeles, Collioure and Elne helped the three occupants of the vehicle at the scene and the 18 year old driver and a 28 year old disabled passenger were taken to Perpignan hospital for treatment.
And finally…..

The hunt for Shakira – The singer has been in Perpignan recently to record her new album and has ‘twittered’ her presence – one tweet saying ‘The air of Perpignan inspires me’.  She may soon change her mind as firstly the tv music channel M6 featured an item about her and now Europe 1 have launched a twitter competition to find her.  If anybody is remotely interested, the hashtag is #J’aiTrouvéShakira

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