Ynys Mon, Island of Mystery

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY SOON AFTER THIS YEAR’S SENEDD ELECTIONS. POSTINGS WILL NOW BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

This week’s offering concerns Home Office payments made with a procurement card, which is a government equivalent of a company charge card for smaller payments.

THE UNACCEPTABLE FACE OF TOURISM

I became aware of this mystery when I saw a tweet last week from Nigel Ó Ceallacháin. (Otherwise known as Nigel Callaghan.) Here it is.

The link to this payment can be found here, along with the other payments made in the month of November. After reading that tweet I got to wondering, and nosing around a bit. I soon turned up earlier payments in July; two payments, in fact, one for £960.00 on the 8th, and another for £600.00 on the 16th. Here’s the link to the page for the July payments.

So that’s a total of £3,450.00 spent by the Home Office on Ynys Môn in 2020. There may have been further spending in 2021, but I don’t think the figures have been published yet. They’re possibly published quarterly.

You’ll see that the payee is identified as ‘Trearddur Bay Holiday’, which doesn’t make a lot of sense. What I mean is, there’s no such company listed with Companies House. So what does it mean?

The search is complicated by the fact that the information provided by the Home Office shows a number of incomplete names in the payee column. Suggesting a spaces limit (22?), which then suggests that ‘Trearddur Bay Holiday’ is itself incomplete.

With this in mind, there are a number of possibilities for the identity of the payee.

For a start, there’s Trearddur Bay Holiday Homes, run by Richard Ian Tuke, through Sandown Properties Ltd, with its office in Manchester. Tuke also owns or runs ‘Blackthorn Farm’.

Though when I tried to find Blackthorn Farm on the Land Registry website I was unlucky – because it’s still registered as Y Ddraenen Ddu. And it was bought last October by Marcus Brook Ltd of Warrington for £1,380,000.00.

Sandown Properties has another website called Anglesey Holiday Homes where Tuke has written: “The other factor that has influenced prices here and demand has been the Lake District’s decision to ban high speed craft from Windermere. All the skiers and powerboat racers have been looking for an alternative base and many have ended up in north Wales.”

Yes, folks, this is the ‘Welsh tourism industry’ we are all asked to support – foreign ownership, changing Welsh names to English, and selfish twats on jet skis.

So was Richard Tuke the recipient of the Home Office money? Or was it linked in some way to the purchase of Y Ddraenen Ddu by Marcus Brook Ltd? (Run by William Marcus Brook Spencer.)

Even though there’s no company ‘Trearddur Bay Holiday’, if there’s a bank account in the name of Trearddur Bay Holiday Homes then that might account for the Home Office payments.

UPDATE: Long-time councillor, former Lord Mayor of Swansea, and now honorary alderman, Ioan M. Richard, has submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Home Office.

COLONISATION

Another possibility must be the website Trearddur Bay Holiday Cottages, on which Sykes Holiday Cottages of Chester acts as an agent for those with holiday properties to rent. (It’s how I rent out my portfolio of holiday homes.)

Skimming through the properties on offer at Trearddur Bay Holiday Cottages my attention was drawn to a name that sounded familiar. That property being Cerrig, at Rhoscolyn. So why did it ring a bell?

Click to enlarge

Because, boys and girls, it belongs to our old friend Jake Berry MP, the Member for Rossendale and Darwen in east Lancashire. Or rather, it’s a joint ownership involving Berry and what I believe to be his siblings.

Incidentally, Cerrig is right next door to Plas-coch, which is also owned by Jake Berry, this time with a sister and, possibly, his mother.

Click to enlarge

If the name Jake Berry is unfamiliar to you then you must be new to this blog, for I wrote about Jake the Lad a few times last year. If you want to catch up then the saga begins with, Jake Berry MP: ‘They seek him here, they seek him there . . . ‘. Followed by, Jake Berry MP, Part 2, Jake Berry MP, Part 3, and, unsurprisingly, Jake Berry MP, Part 4.

Jake was big buddies with PM Boris Johnson, though some say they fell out last year. Either way, Jake Berry is still a well-connected Tory MP with a number of properties on the island. He could therefore been the recipient of that Home Office funding.

There’s no question that Jake Berry rents out his Ynys Môn properties, as this report from Landl0rd Today tells us.

The problem with the Jake Berry possibility is the same as with Richard Tuke in that there is no company called Trearddur Bay Holiday. This is important because it seems that the payees listed on the Home Office website are company names.

Either well known companies like Amazon, Rentokil, Sports Direct, Milwaukee Power Tools, Argos, or smaller outfits that you’ve never heard of. But they’re all traceable companies or services.

Which only makes the ‘Trearddur Bay Holiday’ payment more of a mystery. Unless it’s possible to pay the Trearddur Bay Holiday Cottages website for the properties it advertises.

VIRGINIA CROSBIE

The local MP is Virginia Crosbie, elected in the December 2019 general election. Crosbie rushed to Jake Berry’s defence last year when it was suggested he had broken Covid lockdown to stay with his family at Rhyd-y-Bont, another Ynys Môn property he owns.

Berry and his wife bought Rhyd-y-Bont in November 2018 for £780,000. No mortgage was needed. No mortgage was needed either for the London property they bought in February 2017 for £2.15m.

The reason I’m introducing Crosbie is that there was some mystery over where she was living in her constituency, or if she was living there at all. Some locals – and there can’t be many left! – said she was renting a property from Jake Berry. Which would make sense; after all, he’s got a few to spare and we know he rents them out.

But the reason I’m introducing Crosbie is that she received an interesting donation on St David’s Day. Two thousand pounds from Charles McDowell Properties, a very upmarket property consultants.

From Virginia Crosbie MP’s Register of Members’ Interests

This stands out because Crosbie’s other donations, totalling £19,000, have all come from ‘unincorporated members’ associations’ – such as the United and Cecil Club – which have been so generous to Jake Berry over the years.

These secret funders even got Jake Berry into a bit of bother when he tried to disguise where the money was coming from.

So, why would a company of property consultants, operating in the most exclusive areas of London, give two grand to the MP for faraway Ynys Môn?

I know what you’re thinking, Charles McDowell expects something in return, but it’s difficult to see what Crosbie could offer because she’s not exactly a high flier. Yes, she’s a Personal Private Secretary (PPS) to the Department of Health and Social Care, but I can’t see that being of any interest to a posh West London estate agents.

The only other post of note is her membership of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee. But would Charles McDowell Properties be interested in this?

Whatever the answer, is this donation to Virginia Crosbie from Charles McDowell Properties linked with the Home Office payments to ‘Trearddur Bay Holiday’?

QUESTIONS

For example, how do these Home Office payments square with lockdown? The payments for July 2020 would seem to be OK, Wales was open for business. Turning to the November payment, this too would have been OK because it’s dated 24th, and pubs, restaurants and cafes re-opened and travel restrictions were lifted on the 9th.

But would the Home Office really be paying for someone’s holidays? Or could it be someone’s rent?

Another possibility offered in comments to my earlier post on this blog is that these payments represent Home Office involvement with asylum seekers:

“Probably the Alouette (MI5 nickname for a dark horse). This is the posh lady with long face and big teeth who works as a fixer and reporting directly to the Home Secretary. When there’s a cock-up she arrives with credit cards. Previous examples include underpants from Primark in Folkestone for asylum seekers shipped to immigration hearings without underwear and PPE from a cosmetics firm in Oxford when MPs turned up for an AstraZeneca briefing without facemasks. The cost and proximity to Holyhead Port suggest that Alouette flashed her Amex card to fix something.”

The “proximity to Holyhead” must make this a possibility, but asylum seekers are unlikely to be using this route, surely? This was explained in a further comment:

“Feral juveniles of Tunisian nationality, unmasked as not being Syrian, those of illegal immigration status, often play the system. Claiming family in Ireland is common. Those rejected at the border then cease to be the responsibility of Serco, the delivery contractors, who have their own arrangements. These children usually fall under the wing of the social services department of the local authority, who also have their own arrangements.”

One final question: Are these Home Office payments still being made?

I’m sorry to leave you with so many questions, I normally give answers. But in this case I’m sure someone out there, perhaps on Ynys Môn, knows the answers I’m seeking. If so, please get in touch.

♦ end ♦




20 thoughts on “Ynys Mon, Island of Mystery

  1. From Ioan Richard 01792 8439861 Craigcefnparc Swansea
    Re – Newspaper Readership and waffle galore about “Green Jobs” :-
    I just GOOGLED the statistics for UK Newspaper Readership and Circulation and found this website :-
    List of newspapers in the United Kingdom by circulation
    At the start of the 19th century, the highest-circulation newspaper in the United Kingdom was the Morning Post,
    The figures given seem to be the CIRCULATION of the hard copy sales and not the figures for their WEB SITES readers and not the obvious that a family will share a newspaper – creating a possible treble figure for each. I cannot vouch for its accuracy. As for influence it is probable The Daily Mail, like it or not, has the greatest influence on the general public whereas THE TIMES and the FINANCIAL TIMES and THE GUARDIAN may influence the actual decision makers more who only care for public opinion during election campaigns
    There is a part Regional List below the main Table (which shows the Swansea South Wales Evening Post SWEP but not The Western Mail WM. These latter two reached a high peak about twenty to fifteen years ago of about 70,000 each when edited by John Humphries (not the one on TV) and Spencer Feeney respectively. Both are now owned by the Trinity Mirror Group and their circulation is now only about a mere abysmal 10,000 each – so they have very little influence in Wales anymore – only struggling to survive seemingly with Local Adverts. In campaigns, I still write letters to both the SWEP and WM but nobody much reads them. It’s a foolish waste of my time really. Another thing to bear in mind is that very few newspapers spend any much time on costly Journalistic Research. They rely now on corporate bodies’ Press Releases, that are all biased one sided “stick and paste” cheap filler jobs. Only a few high circulating papers like The Daily Mail DM can afford RESEARCHING ARTICLES . Love the DM, or hate it, despite its political bias, it does really get to the bottom of State and Corporate scandals these days! I stopped buying newspapers four years ago and have saved hundreds of £ pounds and have a clear mind and more time for better things!
    Here is my latest letter that was published in the ‘Western Mail’ on Saturday 17-4-21 :-
    GREEN JOBS
    There is a lot of hype generally by Politicians about creating “Green Jobs”. This hype is currently intensifying in Wales due to the Senedd (Wales Assembly) imminent election. What does it all mean? All I can say is, that surrounding the village where I live, we have seen many ugly developments that are supposed to be ‘green’. Nearly all the construction jobs went to outsiders and mostly to foreign based companies. Let’s consider the destruction of Mynydd y Gwair here for Wind Turbines in north Swansea. All the Turbine Parts were imported by sea from Germany and transported to the site from the Docks by specialist heavy long haulage lorries from England. The site was prepared by the now defunct Welsh company Dawnus that thenemployed mostly Irish men on the site. The wiring was done by a French company. Then there are numerous Solar Panels covering many farm fields here that once had prime livestock for milk and beef and lamb with some arable. All these solar panels were imported from overseas, China and Spain, and contractors were outsiders notably from Spain. Once constructed, nobody works on these sites, other than occasional maintenance men from away turn up in a white van. One small part of the problem is that Planning Applications that have ticked the correct Boxes on the Forms are now supported by Green Policies whatever real destruction they do on the ground for ineffective schemes.Just 10% for solar and 25 % for wind. If the Boxes worded “Sustainability” ; “Renewable”; Green Jobs”; “Off Grid” ; One Planet”, and the like, are all ticked then Approval is guaranteed. This begs the question – “Where are the green jobs?”. The Politicians are all keen to be seen as green and these greenies must think we are ‘green’.
    Mr Ioan Richard, 23 Mountain Rd., Craigcefnparc, Swansea SA6 5RH
    01792 843861 ap[trefor@yahoo.co.uk
    Here is a link below to a news item today which tries to unravel the wafflers.
    Welsh election: What do politicians mean by ‘green jobs’?
    What do candidates in Wales’ election mean by the phrase and what are they promising?
    *************************************************

    1. Due to the lack of a half decent media in Wales politicians know they can spout any old bollocks and get away with it. ‘Green jobs’ is just another example. Anyone pointing out that these jobs are not in Wales will be denounced as a promoter of ‘narrow nationalism’.

  2. Dafis

    Jac’s memory fails him – “Ah! the mass-participation sport of carriage driving. Now where did I leave my carriage and four? ” Probably somewhere in the Silian area where a long departed old friend used to enjoy his horses and equestrian sport in general.

    1. No problem with horses. Cayo loved his horses. Every peripheral estate in Swansea has its ‘cavalry unit’. But carriage driving is a different world.

      1. Dafis

        My old grandfather favoured a pony and trap. Sadly I lost him when I was about 5 but I’ve had a liking for any sort of horse drawn wagons ever since.

  3. Dafis

    Reporting about coverage of the passing of Prince Philip Nation.Cymru tells us that

    “Theatre producer Jeremy Turner tweeted “How sad, how desperate that @BBCNews, @BBCRadioCymru, @itvnews and, yes @S4C are scraping around for someone with something, anything to say about the queen of England’s husband. Such forced sycophancy diminishes any little respect people might have for him.”

    Says he. One thing for sure I may have little respect for the dead Prince, but I have even less for the opinion of a pumped up theatre producer. FFS there’s an OFF button on the TV. Try using the fuckin’ thing if the programmes don’t do it for you, or find another channel. Watching TV like going to theatre is not compulsory. If the content is crap don’t watch it. Read a book or catch up on the years of collective wisdom on Jac’s blog. That way you you might learn something useful for a change instead of joining in with this nauseating collective hand wringing. Empty headed cnuts.

  4. Dafis

    Now we have elections looming that old chestnut will be revived – free issue care for elderly – lovely in theory, catastrophic in practice. Setting a 5 year residential qualification won’t sort it either. Many of the prospective beneficiaries arrive by mid 60’s, gobble up free prescriptions for 15-20 years, then crash into dementia or total physical decay and get kept alive by “care” ( with questionable quality of life) until their light goes out. If governments want to make this a hand out then they should create either a real or notional credit for each individual which could be drawn upon when he/she seeks care in whatever part of the country. That way late arrivals from darkest elsewhere would bring a transferable pool with them which providers could draw upon. Nice way of getting Anglo authorities to fund care for those who got shipped out to Wales.

  5. As we know Lib Dem Kirsty Williams is retiring from the Senedd. She going back to her own bed leaving the cosy coalition bed she had propping up Labour in Cardiff Bay. How jealous Plaid Cymru has been of her. So there’s a vacancy for a Wales Education Minister. I was just musing over whether it would be Leanne Wood or Adam Price in a possible (inevitable Plaid? / Lab?) coalition. Then my letter box shuffled and a pile of paper leaflet false promises came through my letter box from an assortment of candidates. One interesting one was from Labour showing their Regional List Candidates for my South Wales West area. Top of the Labour list, as a possible hopeful, was no other than the former Swansea East MP Sian James. Do you remember her? She was a minnow compared to Lord Don Anderson as MP there. Then came the present MP Carolyn Harris, more of a Bullfrog than a minnow, with her snidekick Mike Hedges as another tadpole in the Senedd swamp pond. Anyway let’s put the irresistible insults one side. If dear old nice enough come back yesterday girl Sian scrapes into the Senedd, she would be ideal as Education Minister, as Education is her prime background as a once lovely old friendly school dinner lady. So dream on Leanne and Adam, as Sian James must now be favourite for Kirsty’s old job.

  6. Dafis

    You tweeted about that Rob Jones getting up to his tricks at NPT meetings. I can’t see Plaid getting into a coalition with a party containing likes of Jones cos not once did he mention trans facilities, green jobs, or any of those other things to which the Party of Wales attaches so much importance. Drakeford better shape up and reorientate his party because likes of Jones, however devious, is still talking about issues that the Bay set regard as soooo old fashioned, almost fascist !

    1. Rob Jones is most definitely Old Labour. And when it comes to talk of a coalition with Plaid Cymru after May 6 there’ll be many like Rob Jones arguing against it.

      1. Stan

        I was willing to bet a sizable sum that Rob Jones would never come back as NPT Council Leader following his standing down from that position pending investigation, coupled with his suspension from the Labour Party in early March 2021. Since that time a new leader, Ted Latham, has seemingly been appointed. It’s my belief that Rob Jones’ councillor career, which paid him close to £50k a year on top of his handsome police pension, is effectively over, and good riddance to the arrogant dinosaur. It’s not calling Bethan Sayed a cow that will do for him but all the recorded comments about finding money to spend on projects where it would favour his own councillors (though everyone knows that’s been going on all over the shop for years).

        Now will someone please advise the useless NPT Council that Rob Jones should NOT be on their website as Council Leader, nor should he be listed as a Labour Councillor either. Unless they know something we don’t that is!

  7. Dafis

    That chap writing the article in The National about the global rail excellence centre may know something we don’t ! There again, he might have been using his great-grandad’s old O.S map which had all sorts of internal networks for communication on it. While he’s at it he could revive the old link across from Neath around the Cynon Valley to Pontypool ! Make it a high speed shuttle.

  8. Stan

    Will be interesting to see if the Home Office responds in a positive vein to Ioan Richards’ Freedom of Information Request, set out in your recent update to this story. Other Government departments also publish data on spends over £500 but their information is considerably more detailed than the Home Office. Every item listed has a note attached to it, explaining in some detail exactly what the spend was for (refer DEFRA for example). This more detailed format closely resembles how IPSA shows MPs’ expense claims. The Home Office seems to be an exception in its bare bones approach. One of the main reasons cited for publishing this spend is for increased transparency in Government. The Home Office approach, however, raises more questions than answers.

    1. Exactly, it seems to be the bare minimum of information. We don’t get the full name of the payee nor a simple explanatuion for what the payment is for.

  9. Dafis

    Oh dear, completely off topic, but serves to highlight the utter lack of any awareness shown by people when they switch into tourism/leisure mode.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-56647156
    Stupid girl goes off wild camping in Eryri when the forecast was rough to say the least. Inevitably there is a bit of a crisis and the father ends up in trouble. All this nonsense led to an alert for help from Ogwen Valley rescue services. Ended well, no thanks to the fuckwit townies.

    So we Welsh have dummies among us. I see loads of them indulging their incontinent urges to instantly gratify whatever needs they have along the South Wales coast. Worst cases have been known to shit in someone’s garden cos the queue for toilets was too long. Pissing into gutters is the new norm among these scumbags. Is this learned behaviour ? Have they picked up these habits from watching Sais wandering in over that bridge ? Or have we a real problem with a segment of natives who will need to be corrected some time soon if we are ever going to have a better Wales ? After all, not much point blaming Tories from England for this blight on our country.

      1. Dafis

        Wouldn’t rule that out. Plenty of nitwits down there. They used to think that the edge of the world was only just beyond Culverhouse Cross, then when they matured a bit more it was the trip beyond Merthyr that gave rise to anxieties. So I can well imagine some dad sitting in his 4 bed detached getting cramps worrying about his daughter kipping on a mountainside in Eryri. Hell, if the weather didn’t get her a Yeti or its Gog variant might run off with her. Least they could have done was check the weather forecast, we get enough of them on our regional and national news every day. As for the Yetis they are still a touch more unpredictable.

    1. Neil Singleton

      You speculate whether it was the sais coming over the bridge, who had loose bladders/bowels. First time I saw public peeing and defaecating was many years ago on my first visit to Cardiff for the (then) 5 Nations. Numbers of female Wales supporters squatting over drain covers in the roads outside several city centre pubs. Not an edifying sight.

      1. Dafis

        Hello Neil I think I answered my rhetorical question later in my comment –

        “Or have we a real problem with a segment of natives who will need to be corrected some time soon if we are ever going to have a better Wales ? ”

        Notwithstanding that a problem, indeed a variety of problems, exist due to a heavy Sais presence in the tourism sector, I honestly believe that most of these basic flaws are found among our own. These are residents of Wales mostly lifelong who do not respect their own country and its environment. As for the rugby, although the team often performs ahead of expectations, much of the fan base that frequent the stadium has degenerated into an ignorant drunken mob.

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