Carmarthenshire driver's road rage attack on road sweeper
BOSSES say they will not tolerate attacks on council staff after a road sweeper was assaulted in an act of road rage.
The sub-contractor was working for Carmarthenshire Council when he was attacked by a property developer while at the wheel of his vehicle.
Stephen Clifford Welsby, of Cwmfelin Mynach, Whitland, pleaded guilty to assaulting Charles Windle by beating him when appearing before magistrates.
The court heard that at around 9.15am on December 5, the 53-year-old was travelling along a rural road at Cwmfelin Mynach in the county behind a slow-travelling road sweeper, driven by Mr Windle.
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Magistrates in Llanelli heard the road was not wide enough for him to overtake, and Welsby became annoyed that the road sweeper would not pull over.
After half a mile, Mr Windle stopped his vehicle to allow motorists to pass, and Welsby then stopped his vehicle and approached the lorry.
The court heard that Welsby said "You f****** council b******* are all the same," before grabbing Mr Windle by the collar trying to pull him out of the car, ripping his jumper and grazing his shoulder.
Welsby was later arrested by police and interviewed in relation to the offence.
Mitigating, Kate Williams said: "This incident occurred because something within him flipped and it was a sign of road rage.
"He accepts that there was no blame on the person driving the vehicle.
"He had recently been involved in civil litigation with the highways agency and this incident tipped him over the edge.
"He is a property developer and he and his wife had been considering separation in the days leading up to the incident before reconciling.
"He is not trying to excuse his actions but this was his mental background leading up to the time." Ms Williams added that Welsby could not believe that he had behaved in the manner he did on the day and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.
She said: "When confronted with the evidence it was only then he realised the extent of what he had done."
Magistrates gave Welsby a community order, and he must pay £150 compensation to Mr Windle, £85 court costs and £60 victim surcharge.
Mr Windle was working for an Ammanford-based company called Jetsweep.
It is subcontracted by Carmarthenshire Council to keep the county's roads clean.
This week the council told the Journal it would not tolerate attacks on members of its staff or those it sub-contracted.
Since April seven of its traffic enforcement officers have been attacked and four of its environmental enforcement officers.
The council's executive board member for street scene Colin Evans said: "Violent or abusive behaviour towards council employees, or those contracted to work on behalf of the authority, will not be tolerated.
"The council is committed to providing a safe and secure work environment for all its employees and we will endeavour to ensure the safety, protection and welfare of staff at all times."