AND HERE IS THE NEWS….
a weekly update of the local news
WITH CAROLINE HILL
Man falls from 7th floor – At 1h15 on Saturday morning the pompiers were called when a man was seen to have fallen from the 7th floor of a building. Despite their best efforts to revive him, the 48 year old was pronounced dead at the scene and an enquiry has been opened. Suicide is suspected. (nb the newspaper report makes no mention of which town or which building).
French/Spanish border co-operation – Police from French and Spanish forces are combining their efforts in what will be the 5th joint operation targeting drug dealers crossing the border. Their target is to carry out 250 ‘controls’ over the 4 day period.
Driving to the ski-slopes – After a week of unprecedented bad weather which caused major road closures, driving conditions in the Haut Cantons are now described as ‘perfect’.
Mayor’s HQ attacked – The temporary headquarters of the Mayor of Salses has been targeted again. There has already been a campaign of graffiti and leaflets but this time shots were fired through the double-glazed window and buckshot hit the wall of the kitchen. Jean-Jacques Lopez says he is ‘appalled’ and says that ‘this sort of thing doesn’t even happen in Corsica’.
Car accident near Estagel – In the early hours of Saturday morning a young man driving between Cases-de-Pene and Estagel lost control of his vehicle and hit the parapet at the edge of the road. The force of the impact threw him from the car and he has been taken to Perpignan Hospital in critical condition.
Local elections – In several towns and villages around the region the result is a foregone conclusion as nobody has put themselves up in opposition. It is very much hoped that this is because the current Mayors are doing such splendid jobs and that any talk of ‘friendly pressure not to oppose’ is just rumour and hearsay. Towns with an unopposed list include Thuir, Toulouges, Ille-sur-Tet, Arles-sur-Tech, Corbere-les-Cabanes, Fourques, Ortaffa, Pézilla-la-Rivière, Ria-Sirach, Saillagouse, St. Jean-pla-de-Corts, Sorède, Villelongue-dels-Monts, and Villemolaque. In contrast, there are now 9 candidates for Mayor of Perpignan.
Ski accident at Formiguères – On Friday afternoon an adult skier ploughed into a 7 year old child who was learning to ski. The child was helicoptered to hospital suffering from back and neck pain but the injuries are said not to be life-threatening.
Drunk driver runs over policeman – A police motor-cyclist had noticed a car ignoring a Stop sign. When he signalled the female driver to pull over, she accidentally crashed into him, knocking him to the ground. When questioned in court she said that she hadn’t seen him until he was on the ground. She was then asked why her passenger didn’t take the wheel and, after some reflection, she said that he was more drunk than she was and so she thinks she must have been driving at the time, but was not sure. She went on to say that she had ‘finished’ with driving – the court will no doubt agree.
Cannabis found in fuel tank – Another success for customs officers at Le Boulou Péage when they searched a vehicle and found 1.5kg of cannabis resin hidden in the fuel tank. The two occupants (from Eastern France) were already known to the authorities – one for drug offences and one for violence against security forces.
Facebook page for lost pets – Audrey Baldi, a 24 year old student and animal lover is now running the Pyrénées-Orientales area for PetAlert, a nationwide Facebook page for missing animals. Since starting the page, some 299 pets have been reunited with their owners, including cats, dogs, ferrets, parrots, horses and recently a black Vietnamese pig which was lost outside Elne. PetAlert66 can be found on Facebook.
Drunk driver gets worse news – A 40 year old bus driver was arrested for driving his car while intoxicated. During the course of the police questioning, his girlfriend then told the authorities that he had also behaved violently towards her for 2 years. The man appeared in court on Wednesday to face both charges.
Man ‘accidentally’ shoots his friend – After a night of clubbing in Argeles, a young man was being driven home by his friend, when he pulled out a gun from a storage box, waved it in the air and even fired a shot out of the window. Whilst putting it back in the box he states that it then ‘accidentally’ went off again and his friend was hit by a 9mm bullet. In tears he confessed his mistake to the police, and this week faced court charged with serious assault. His lawyer said that he was a stupid young man who just wanted to impress the girls by having such a ‘macho’ weapon, just like ‘small’ men who drive ‘big’ cars.
Couple accused of abusing their triplets – A 35 year old man and his 25 year old partner were in court this week facing allegations about their treatment of their 3 month old triplets. In January 2010 one baby was taken to hospital with a skull fracture, which the father said had been caused when he had accidentally dropped him. However, further injuries were discovered – and the other babies were said to have exactly the same signs of abuse and shaken baby syndrome. The case continues and the grandparents have filed for custody.
Crocodile in Canet – A man faced court this week accused of keeping a dangerous Cayman Crocodile in bad conditions. The man said that he had been asked to look after it by a friend – who never returned to reclaim it. The crocodile lived in a small fish tank in an apartment in Canet and has now been rehoused at Sigean Nature Reserve.
Caught ‘red handed’ – A woman unloading groceries into her car in the car park at Chateau Roussillon was disgusted to see a man in the car next to hers naked from the waist down, playing with his genitals. She remonstrated with him and then took a photograph on her mobile phone before driving off. Unfortunately for the exhibitionist, the lady was a police officer and filed a complaint. Bristling with anger, the 26 year old man defended his action in court this week claiming that he had an ‘irritation of the crotch region which necessitated removing his trousers and underwear to examine the area in detail’. A psychiatric assessment stated that the young man was in denial and he was given a suspended sentence and fined 700 euros.
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