A Possible Reason for All Those Prescriptions

Yesterday the Guardian website was running one of their regular ‘the whole nation is mentally ill and therefore the mental health services need more money’ features. The article maintained that an analysis had shown that the number of prescriptions issued for anti-depressants was extraordinarily high in ‘coastal towns’, such as Scarborough and Blackpool. This phenomenon was declared to be something of a Mystery and the article speculated on a number of possible explanations, including the fact that these coastal towns were now very run down and somewhat depressing environments to live in, or that there wasn’t much to occupy the residents. Dear old MIND chipped in with their mantra that people shouldn’t just be offered anti-depressants, they should be offered ‘talking therapies’ as well. (These would be the talking therapies that MIND has had a vested interest in promoting and lobbying for over a period of many years now and that at present in north Wales has been commissioned by the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to provide, under the guise of an organisation called ‘Parabl’.)

There is however one glaringly obvious possible reason that the Guardian didn’t mention for anti-depressants being dispensed with alacrity in declining coastal towns. That is that for the last twenty five years or so local authorities have followed a policy of housing the dispossessed – including the homeless, the mentally ill and people with drug and alcohol problems – in these declining coastal resorts. Affluent people no longer take holidays in these towns – thus there was a huge number of hotels and guest houses that found themselves without trade and stayed in business only by housing homeless people back in the 80s under Thatcher’s administration. I remember the many exposes of homeless people living in ‘Bed and Breakfast’ accommodation for which local authorities were paying top whack, yet the facilities that the homeless were offered were dreadful – they were often not even allowed into their rooms between the hours of 9am and 5pm and had to wander the streets or spend their time in libraries or parks. As this begun to happen en masse, other people became increasingly more reluctant to live in these areas themselves and they gradually became ghettoes full of people having a very hard time. I used to read about this happening in England, but where I noticed it on a personal level was of course in north Wales.

For as long as I have been in north Wales, Rhyl was one of these towns. I didn’t ever visit Rhyl, but I heard from everyone else that now it was no longer a popular resort for holidaymakers, it had filled up with homeless destitute people and there was alleged to be a huge drugs and associated crime problem there. However, I did find out first hand about shenanigans at Llandudno. Although Llandudno is still popular with holidaymakers, when I spent the year of 1999-2000 working in ‘care homes’ (please see previous blog posts) I discovered the abusive scam that was Prestwood Homes – a chain of homes that were mostly located along the north Wales coast, housing people with learning disabilities and mental health problems many of whom had been transferred there from high security hospitals in England. (Please see post ‘A Very Convenient Arrangement With The Private Sector’ for details of the horrors and abuses that I witnessed at Prestwood.) Prestwood’s clients were all from England. As far as I could see Prestwood did not want local clients because local clients would have had friends, family and other connections in the area and the clients would have told them that they were being abused. Whereas at Prestwood the clients from England had no friends or family for miles, they had not ever visited north Wales before, they couldn’t navigate themselves around the area if they tried to run away – they were sectioned in this hell-hole under the Mental Health Act – and they couldn’t even pronounce local place names. They were isolated and invisible and would be visited by a tame social worker from England once in a blue moon who had arranged the ‘placement’ anyway, so was certainly not going to respond to the clients if they did catalogue the abuse that was happening. Business boomed at Prestwood. As far as I could work out it, this ‘company’ was established in the very late 90s and started off with one ‘client’ in a small house in Llandudno. But Prestwood rapidly expanded, seemed to have a constant supply of clients transported there from England and was soon operating a chain of homes. The two women who ‘managed’ these homes used to boast that when they went to ‘dinner parties in Llandudno’ (what it is to be part of high society!) they impressed everyone else with how much money they were making out of this trade in distressed people. I never found out who was the real mover and shaker behind Prestwood who had the contacts in English high security hospitals who supplied the patients that were Prestwood’s bread and butter – or rather champagne and caviar – but I’ve got a suspect in mind. After experiencing Prestwood, I began to take an interest in similar matters and I discovered that the export of dispossessed people from the metropolitan parts of England to north Wales was very big business. I was told by someone who worked in social work education in north Wales and who now has a senior role in MIND that Liverpool Council had a policy of ‘dumping’ it’s troublesome citizens in Llandudno. I was told that the people involved would be ‘counselled’ whilst they were in Liverpool that they needed to start afresh because their lives were basically a car crash and wouldn’t they like to begin a new life in Llandudno. The local authority would arrange everything for them and they would be duly despatched. I was told that after six months they then became the financial responsibility of the authorities in north Wales. Now this wasn’t just happening to one or two people, it was a movement. As Brown observed, England seemed to be exporting it’s expensive citizens who needed welfare packages to Wales. There was a figure in Plaid in the early 2000s who had noticed this as well and he spoke in public about it, but used some rather ill-advised words. He referred to Wales filing up with odd-balls and nut-jobs from England (or similar words). There was a tremendous row, he was accused of racism and was thrown out of Plaid. That man was Gwilym ap Ioan, who is a regular contributor to the political blog Jac O the North. I don’t share all Gwilym’s political views and I think that he left himself wide open to being kicked very hard by using the words that he did, but he had undoubtedly identified a problem. Some of the residents at Prestwood had committed very serious crimes – there was at least one man there who had raped and attempted to murder someone. No-one living near the Prestwood residents had any idea what their backgrounds were. The people being exported to north Wales had multiple serious problems and they were people that English authorities did not want. At about the same time there was the Blaenau Ffestiniog saga. Manchester City Council purchased a whole load of houses in Blaenau Ffestiniog and housed a high number of what they admitted were ‘difficult tenants’ there. Havoc broke out, there were brawls and fist-fights, with the new arrivals from Manchester alleging anti-English racism and the locals at Blaenau maintaining that their town had been used as a dumping ground for undesirables. One site of confrontation was the Blaenau branch of MIND. A woman from Manchester appeared in the Daily Post alleging prejudice against her because of her ‘mental health problems’ and Englishness – I seem to remember that she was alleging various acts of violence or damage to property. It appeared that the arrivals from Manchester had adopted MIND as their meeting place and there were allegations that they had ‘taken it over’ – the story ran and ran, with people from Blaenau making counter-allegations in the Post. I understand that eventually vigilante action caused the people from Manchester to leave town.

The transportation of the dispossessed to Llandudno and Blaenau was very visible, but the process had been going on quietly for some while. In the early 1990s I worked weekends as a care assistant in what was advertised as a ‘care home’ in Llanfairpwll, which was actually a little bungalow called ‘Lynnewood’. As ever it was a scam. It was owned by a man who’s nickname was ‘Christmas’, I never knew his real name. The ‘manager’ of the home was a woman who boasted about the enjoyment she gained from belittling and psychologically torturing the residents, a woman called Lynn Jones. Every tiny room in this bungalow was crammed with ‘residents’, two sharing each room. Initially most of the residents were Hergest Unit patients. Now Christmas was some sort of businessman, he had never worked in any healthcare profession. But somehow he was tapping into a supply of patients from the Hergest Unit. I discovered that Lynn Jones was a former GP’s receptionist who had scandalised the village by having an affair with one of the GPs and had then been sacked from the same surgery for theft. So it won’t have been Lynn Jones who was facilitating the arrival of the Hergest patients. However there was a problem with the Hergest patients – they were local and were telling people how badly Lynn Jones was treating them. There was a neighbour who was a retired matron who denounced Lynn Jones as a highly unsuitable woman to be entrusted with the care of vulnerable people and advised the Hergest patients to put in requests to be moved as soon as possible. I had no intention of propping up Lynn Jones’s unpleasant regime, so I stayed working at this place long enough to observe a few worrying things and then left. Before I left, one of the residents was most upset because the man whom he shared his room with, a Hergest patient, had been moved to other accommodation and a new resident was arriving – the new resident was from Rampton. How on earth did Rampton, a high security hospital in Nottingham, hear of a bed going in a bungalow in Llanfairpwll? Someone was facilitating all this and it certainly wasn’t Lynn Jones or Christmas. About a year after I left, whilst in Bangor, I bumped into the man who had been filled with horror at the prospect of sharing a bedroom with someone from Rampton. He told me that he was now living elsewhere – Lynn Jones had stolen several hundred pounds from Christmas, he’d found out and sacked her. Christmas had then sold the ‘home’ because he stated that it wasn’t profitable enough. Lynn survived to fight another day though – some six years ago I was told that there was a very abusive warden employed in the ‘sheltered housing’ owned by the North Wales Housing Association at Llangefni. It was Lynn Jones.

Lynnewood was not the only little house hidden in rural north west Wales to double up as a ‘care home’ for seriously distressed people from England. As Prestwood raked in the dosh and expanded and expanded, they established ‘homes’ on the Marina in Felinheli and then at Bodorgan on Anglesey. I have mentioned how invisible the residents at Prestwood were, miles away from family and other contacts, not knowing their way around north Wales. Well the residents at Bodorgan were even more invisible. I have described in previous blog posts how I tried to raise concerns about the abuse at Prestwood, only to be ignored and then threatened. I wrote two letters to the inspection body based at Conwy but got nowhere. I continued to hear dire stories coming out of Prestwood – including an allegation that a resident had raped a support worker but Prestwood had intimidated everyone into silence – and when I heard about the establishment of the home at Bodorgan I decided I’d have another go at alerting the authorities. It was even more bizarre this time – I was told by everyone that I approached that Prestwood did not have a home at Bodorgan. So I asked if Prestwood were now operating homes that weren’t even registered. I was told must firmly that this was not happening, I was mistaken, Prestwood did not have a home at Bodorgan. Well they did, because I knew someone who worked there. And if you went on the Prestwood website, there was a photo of the home at Bodorgan. But that home was not appearing on any official radar. Que???

So it would appear that it is possible for ‘care homes’ housing massively vulnerable people, some of whom have committed very serious crimes, who are being abused themselves, to be situated in little Welsh villages without any official record at all. There was one support worker at Prestwood who was much brighter than the others, who eventually left north Wales for a career in England. This man found out even more than I did about what was going on behind the scenes and he had a better knowledge of healthcare law so he pinpointed even more law-breaking than I did. Of course, he left his job there very quickly. Before he left he made a very interesting prediction. He told me that it was only a matter of time before someone was murdered at Prestwood – and it was so bad there that I didn’t think that was an entirely overblown prediction. So when some years later Mabel Leyshon was discovered in Llanfairpwll having been murdered, disembowelled with her entrails allegedly strewn around her living room and whoever had done this had allegedly arranged artefacts around her body in a ritualistic manner, I was interested to hear Brown observe cynically ‘well that could have been a Prestwood client’. A 17 year old boy – who continues to protest his innocence – was eventually convicted of Mabel Leyshon’s murder, but my blog post ‘Family Annihilation’ details many of the very disconcerting factors in this case. Everyone in Llanfairpwll knew this boy, they knew his family and they knew where they lived. But as I found out through my brushes with Lynnwood and Prestwood, there are some people with histories of serious criminal behaviour hidden away in rural north west Wales and their neighbours have no idea that they are there. But the various arms of the state do know that they are there even if they deny it when the likes of me try to report abuse. Someone with good connections to forensic psychiatrists in England is involved in transferring such people to north west Wales. That someone has also successfully persuaded the regulatory and inspection bodies not to look too closely at what is going on in the ‘care homes’ involved. Oh and that someone probably has links with a few compliant police officers as well – because those police officers were returning injured patients to Prestwood when they ran away without asking them why they’d run away or how they sustained their injuries. And the same someone has connections with local authorities, lawyers, GPs, the social services, indeed the whole infrastructure needed to do business. Who ever could that be?

As readers will have realised, I watched the scene in north west Wales closely for years where costly, vulnerable citizens being transported from England were concerned. But it seems to be going on in other parts of Wales too. Barmouth seems to have been a mecca for quite some while for the dispossessed from the midlands. South Meirionydd and Powys seem to have a plethora of ‘care homes’ – jobs are hard to come by in these areas, but of the vacancies that are advertised, there are scores and scores for ‘support workers’. It is the same in south Wales as well. Wales is filling up with the citizens that England does not want, because they are expensive and they need caring for. This is not a racist argument. Many of the correspondents on the Jac O the North political blog express concerns regarding the effect that this is having on the survival of Welsh language communities and others among his correspondents have an issue with what they perceive to be a Welsh Labour stronghold, the Third Sector, that is being sustained by tax-payers money, that provides services to these dispossessed people. My concerns are slightly different. Primarily that these people may be considered difficult undesirable citizens by many, but they are frequently being grossly abused in their ‘care homes’. Furthermore, the Third Sector organisations receiving dosh from the Welsh Gov’t to provide ‘services’ for these people know damn well that they are being abused but they are not uttering a word, they are totally complicit. The one bit of ‘socialising’ that Prestwood residents were permitted to do was to attend MIND drop in centres and participate in MIND activities. I know that those residents were telling the MIND volunteers what was happening to them because the MIND volunteers told me. And the same volunteers also proudly told me that they had flagged up the revelations of abuse to senior people at MIND and to managers in the NHS. To be fair, the MIND volunteers on the ground probably had no idea that their managers and people in senior positions in the NHS had a very comfy arrangement with Prestwood – and that is why no-one at all put a stop to the abuse. As for the people who own the ‘care homes’ – well Christmas didn’t make as much money as he was led to believe that he would, but that was probably because he had to sack the supply of inappropriate cheap labour when she robbed him. Other ‘care homes’ in the region are doing very well indeed if they’ve played their cards right – by employing cheap casualised labour on zero hours contracts, often marginalised people themselves who can be intimidated into not blowing the whistle or discredited if they do. And the ‘managers’ are then recruited from this pool – the managers are simply people who have been identified as being able to be relied upon to keep a lid on the whole rotten business in return for a very small pay rise. The only time that you’ll usually find anyone with a professional qualification among them is if they are someone who has been sacked from a previous job. This constitutes a con of major proportions, involving the transfer of a huge amount of tax-payers money into the pockets of completely unscrupulous people in the private and Third sectors. It also enables the Westminster Gov’t to make snotty derogatory comments about Wales being a nation with services that can’t cope, with a high proportion of people on benefit and a high level of disabled people (probably all our own fault for not leading healthy middle class lives). Of course we are having problems – England has given us the people that they do not want to look after…

Although the transport of distressed or problematic people into Wales from England has become very evident in recent years, there has been a trickle for a long while, so there must have been a few connections established between the people involved many years ago. My post ‘A Trade In People – Between London and North Wales’ describes how a family of vulnerable psychiatric patients from London were fleeced of their inheritance and tricked into buying an almost uninhabitable house in north west Wales after they asked a few too many questions about their mother’s death in Warlingham Park Hospital in the 80s. There seemed to have been a co-ordinated effort between  number of solicitors and doctors in north Wales and London to achieve this. Yet before I got to know this family, something concerning happened to me involving a house purchase. About twenty years ago I renovated a house in a village near Bethesda and put it up for sale. I thought my luck was in when I received an offer very quickly, for the price that I had initially requested – from a cash buyer. I was doubly surprised because when the person who had made the offer had come to visit the house, he had only had a very brief look around indeed and asked no questions. He came with his brother and just said that he wanted the house immediately. Furthermore he was from the English midlands and had no contacts in the area, but I didn’t think this particularly suspicious – the village concerned was a former quarrying village that was popular with hippyish people who wanted to buy a little house at a low price. The transaction took place very quickly and the man who purchased it moved in and I moved to another house in the same village. I remained very friendly with my former next door neighbour and she and her husband had offered the hand of friendship to the man who purchased my house. It became clear that this man had problems – at first it just seemed that he was chronically shy and was unable to look after himself. He was literally living on boiled onions, never had any heating in the house and never repaired anything. The house started to deteriorate, even though I’d spent quite a lot of money renovating it. The man who purchased it didn’t do any cleaning either – the widows soon were blackening with grime and mould started growing and was not removed. This man then expressed fears to another couple in the village that alien craft were landing at night nearby. It transpired that he had actually heard some noises from the bakery in the village that used to operate at night. The neighbours just concluded that he was a man with serious mental health problems who couldn’t cope – and of course there were a many such people in north Wales thanks to the dreadful mental health services. Then another woman in the village who lived alone started complaining about this man following her and staring in through her windows. This woman was another mental health patient who had been abandoned (there were an awful lot of them) who was known to be very anxious about ‘men’, so no-one actually paid much heed to what she was saying. She later left the village. Then my former neighbour’s husband died. Within days the man to whom I’d sold the house started basically sexually harassing her. He then began directly propositioning her and trying to force his way into her house. He became a very, very serious problem. She felt unable to go into her garden and started locking herself in. She traced this man’s brother back in the midlands, because as far as she knew he was still the only contact that the problematic man had. She told the brother what had been going on – and received quite a shock, as did I when I heard what my neighbour was told. The brother was very apologetic and was most concerned to hear that his brother ‘was doing it all again’. It transpired that not only did the man who purchased my house have a long history of serious mental health problems that were known to the ‘services’ in the midlands but he was also a sex offender. And it would appear that a recommendation had been made that he should move to north Wales where nobody knew him to start anew! And he could buy my house to do so!

Until a few weeks ago I had just presumed that this was simply a dreadful coincidence, although how he ever found out about my particular house for sale I did not know. But I’m now wondering whether those we know and love might have been busy. I know from my medical records and documents recently released that the north Wales mental health services had contacts within the mental health services in London – and Birmingham. As previously explained on the blog, these documents also reveal that the north Wales mental health services were stalking me when I moved to Surrey and then to London – they had a contact in the hospital where I worked in London who was accessing my mail and when I had moved house in Surrey, Alun Davies, the man who later became manager of the Hergest Unit, was writing letters to his colleagues expressing concern that he had not been able to find out my new address. By the time that I put that house near Bethesda up for sale, I was back in north Wales and had been an inpatient in Seiriol Ward at Ysbyty Gwynedd (the Hergest Unit hadn’t yet been built). I thought at that point that the mental health services had called a truce – but I now have documentation demonstrating that they hadn’t at all, they were writing to third parties explaining that they were adopting the pretence of ‘caring’ for me so as to appear in a good light before the Courts, in order to secure a conviction against me… They knew where I lived, that I was renovating houses and selling them. They knew the lot, because I was openly discussing my circumstances with them. And they knew when that house was put on the market.

The reason that I think that it might be worthwhile speculating that their well-oiled machine sent a sex offender in my direction was that the mental health services definitely had something to do with a few other occurrences regarding houses that I owned. My post ‘Disability Support’ details my experiences with two lodgers from hell, who it transpired were not only friends with each other but were also networked with some local criminals, some dodgy police officers and the social/mental health services. A few years after this, the Arfon Community Mental Health team refused a ‘service’ to someone because he was a tenant in my house. But the alarm bells really rang when I moved to Anglesey and rented out a house near Bethesda to a man called Robert Loose. After a few weeks the rent stopped arriving so I went over to see him, to find that the house had been completely trashed. It was in such a bad state that I had to install a new bathroom and re-carpet it. He received a final warning, but he was very apologetic, claimed that a party had got out of hand and promised that it wouldn’t happen again and that the rent would be forthcoming. Because I was living on Anglesey I was not in a position to witness what was happening on a day to day basis. However I had cause to return because of course the rent didn’t materialise as promised.  When I returned I found an unholy scene. The house trashed all over again – with a heap of bodies sprawled around barely conscious. I assumed that they had taken something strong but I wasn’t sure what – it was obvious that there was no point talking to any of them, including Robert Loose, in their state, so I decided that I’d approach Robert Loose when he was compus mentis and give him his marching orders. On the way back to my car I met a former neighbour who had a conversation with me that started off with him saying ‘bloody hell did you know what was going on in your house, there’s a load of junkies in there, they’re dreadful’. It turned out that the whole village knew but no-one had my number so they weren’t able to phone me. However, someone else knew what was going on as well but didn’t tell me either, although they could have traced me. That was the Bethesda Police. It transpired that not only did they know that Loose et al were using – and suspected of dealing in – heroin, but when I finally managed to evict Robert Loose, paperwork concerning charges against him – for theft – was delivered to the house that he had been renting off me. So the police knew exactly the sort of man that they – and I – were dealing with. However trashing my house twice over and owing a few hundred in rent wasn’t enough for Robert Loose. Before he moved in I’d had a new solid fuel stove installed in the house. When I returned to the house after Loose had finally gone, the stove had gone as well. The whole thing had been removed, along with the flue pipe – so presumably a few mates and a van had been roped in to assist with that. I decided that Loose had already cost me quite enough money so I went down to Bethesda Police Station to report the theft. There had been for years two policemen stationed at Bethesda who were actually very nice and I presumed that one of them would be on duty. But there was a man whom I had never seen before on duty. But he seemed to know me. I reported the theft of the stove and he refused to take the details down. I asked him why he wouldn’t and he simply said that he wasn’t interested. I pointed out that the stove had cost nearly £1000 and this was a fairly major theft by a man who was known to the police. The policeman then snarled ‘oh well I’m sure that you can claim off the insurance’. I told him that was hardly the point, but he still refused to document the theft. So I said OK, I would try and track down Robert Loose myself. And the policeman threatened me with arrest. I was threatened with arrest for ‘harassment’ if I approached a heroin user/dealer whom the police themselves had arrested for theft who had stolen something from me worth the best part of £1000. So something very odd was happening in the North Wales Police. Not among all of them, but among some of them. But that is what I have been told again and again about the alleged corruption that plagues the North Wales Police – it is not all of them, but some of them. And I know that the dodgy police are networked into the dodgy mental health services as well as the people who played a role in the north Wales paedophile ring and the local criminals – and between them they have a network stretching across the UK… Complain about the psychiatrists in north Wales – some of whom were closely associated with the people who concealed a paedophile ring – you’ll find sex offenders, criminals and heroin dealers within your vicinity… Ooh, one other piece of the jigsaw. At the time that a nest of junkies set up home in a house owned by me, I had just started teacher training – and the dreadful Keith Fearns, leader of the Arfon Community Mental Health Team, had told someone known to me that he’d make sure that ‘no decent person’ would have anything to do with me. Presumably by ensuring that I was associated with a bunch of addicts and allowing neighbours to believe that I was just ignoring what was going on. A few months after I discovered Loose and the heap of drugged to the eyeballs bodies in my house, I was told that one of those present was a young woman who had taken to drugs after the death of her baby and the subsequent development of mental health problems. Ah, so possibly a client of the Arfon Team and known to the charming Mr Fearns then…