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Free Trevor Lewis

From Jo Bibby

Friday, 10 October 2014

Surely no-one can feel comfortable in the knowledge that one of our public service workers is now serving a 3 year prison sentence for demolishing the Todmorden re-cycling centre when it is clear his actions were a consequence of his ill health.

As tax-payers we have a moral responsibility for the council service workplace conditions. There needs to be effective support in place for staff to get help for workplace stress and managers need to be pro-active and compassionate in addressing these issues.

Trevor Lewis has been failed and while he is paying a personal cost for this, we too will all bear the burden of the consequences.

If you have energy, ideas or resources to support the family make an appeal against his sentence please post your support here.

I also hope that our councillors are looking at the issue of health in the workplace for our contracted services.

From Christine Law

Friday, 10 October 2014

I completely agree, I was shocked at the sentence that he received when people get less for much more serious crimes! Why was this? Is it because it is damage to 'Council' property so should carry a higher sentence? Also, the trial and sentencing seemed to happen so fast when other trials can seem to drag on for months! As you say, his actions were obviously the result of illness caused by predominantly by his working conditions - can we not start an online petition for this?

From Graham Barker

Friday, 10 October 2014

I agree entirely that Trevor shouldn't be in prison, particularly when you consider all the thugs who should be locked up but rarely are. I often met him at Eastwood and he always went out of his way to help, so whatever he was suffering inwardly didn't affect the way he treated members of the public. He's a good guy in a very bad place.

I do think though that we should have a little faith that his legal team knows how best to play things from now on. There were many expressions of support for him in the online HEC when he was sentenced, so there's probably no shortage of people already on his side.

I gather that one reason for the severity of the sentence was the degree of premeditation, though it could be argued that Trevor planned ahead in order to avoid injury to others.

We also don't really know what his employer (Sita, not the council) did or did not do to help him, so let's not rush to a possibly mistaken judgment. Even if Sita was sympathetic, the NHS doesn't exactly offer a five-star service to people suffering from mental illness.

Trevor has already spent time in pre-trial custody, so let's hope an appeal judge will say enough is enough.

From Darren G

Saturday, 11 October 2014

I agree with everything said on here about Trevor. People often need help not punishment even if they have done something seen to be wrong by many.

The person who designed Eastwood recycling centre should have to answer to the court, putting profits well ahead of peoples health. Carrying heavy sacks up and down those steps was dangerous

From Mo Norwood

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Absolutely right. Compassion and understanding are needed for all people suffering from such extreme stress - especially as there were clear indicators. Can we all learn from this? Public employees are working hard to serve us - give them a break.

From Catie G

Sunday, 12 October 2014

If there is a petition I will sign it as it is disgusting that Trevor Lewis is serving a prison sentance. From what I have heard people say and what i have read in the papers this was a cry for help. He didn't hurt anyone ok, he destroyed property which is wrong but surely the sentance he has received is over the top it would have been better if he had received support and medical assistance instead.

From Ian M

Sunday, 12 October 2014

I couldn't agree more! I always found Trevor polite and helpful.
The sentence handed down is outrageous

I also think we should be bringing Sita and the council to task over the supposed cost of the damage. I believe this has been widely exaggerated, either that or someone has paid through the nose for a bit of steel work. As an example my company had exactly the same type of fence installed last year for twenty thousand pounds, the only difference being that ours was four times as long. No one can convince me that the damage was £400,000

From Martin F

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Can't we take advantage of the Government's e-petition system.

From Chris Marsden

Monday, 13 October 2014

I think the sentence that Mr. Lewis received was harsh to say the least. He was, apparently, suffering from depression and mental health problems prior to the incident, and the council have a responsibility to help and support any of to their employees through such personal difficulties ( I work for Lancashire County Council and they have policies and procedures in place that aim to support any employee who feels that they are under stress) Furthermore, I find it unjust that a crime against property warrants a larger sentence than a crime against a Human Being? I've seen numerous reports in the past, of rapists and sex offenders receiving lesser sentences than Mr.Lewis!?

From Pedro de Wit

Monday, 13 October 2014

Sentencing Trevor to prison doesn't help Trevor or make society a safer place. It just costs the tax payer even more money. Trevor is not a threat to the public and there is not much chance that he will go on a rampage through Hebden Bridge.

That said you can't defend his actions. It is wrong to put blame on the redesign of the waste collection site or on his employer. Trevor's colleagues work under the same conditions and did not climb on a digger to destroy the site. If it gets too much for them they probably stay home or seek help like any other normal person.

Trevor had a mental breakdown and destroying the waste site was a stupid and selfish act of which Trevor and his family are the main victims. Professional help is what he needs, not being locked up.

Mental help comes first but nevertheless I want Trevor to compensate the taxpayer for the damage he caused. Unlikely that he can compensate fully but I expect a repayment that is more than just symbolic.

Does anyone know why since the destruction there is a 24/7 dog patrol on site? Is there anything left to destroy or steal?

From Chris Darlington

Monday, 13 October 2014

I would like to lend my support to freeing Trevor.

To have done such a thing indicates the depth of his despair.

The sentence is cruel and harsh and is not appropriate.

From Graham Barker

Monday, 13 October 2014

To answer Pedro:

First, when bankers start repaying society for all the damage their own running amok has caused, then we can maybe think about asking Trevor for compensation.

Second, I'd guess the security presence on the site is to stop travellers moving on to it.

From Allen Keep

Monday, 13 October 2014

Am I alone in beginning to feel uncomfortable about this thread? It is really good to see that there is a great deal of compassion for Trevor Lewis and I agree with most of the sentiments expressed here (especially Graham's point about the real wreckers in society and how they never pay for their damage).

At the moment however, there isn't a campaign for Trevor for people to get behind that I am aware of. I am sure I would support one if there was - but in the meantime there seems to be an awful lot of speculation and conjecture about Trevor and what happened here and particularly regarding his supposed state of mind/mental health etc. - which I am not sure is helpful to him or his family.

In fact, it almost feels like he on trial again here and while I understand that folk generally want to be supportive I think a little more circumspection would be in order. I am particularly disappointed with Pedro's assertion that Trevor should have sought help "like a normal person" and his association with what (he assumes) was "a mental breakdown" with selfishness and stupidity.

Showing compassion for Trevor is one (commendable) thing as is questioning the health and safety/support mechanisms of Sita and the nature of justice in this country - but speaking for him and his family, making ill-informed judgements of him and offering diagnoses is quite another.

From Kevin Brown

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

I am not depressed or near a breakdown, like it's reputed Trevor was, but every time I went there, I felt the urge to do what he did! Think he did a brilliant job actually, he left no stone unturned, as they say. The judge will be someone ex council or dogooder removed from the norm. 3 years is terrible.

Let's see if they adapt changes on the site, when they rebuild it! A dangerous and not user friendly site. Some of the other staff had mentioned about many people tripping and slipping on the metal stairs.... Just before he demolished it they painted all these stairs with anti slip paint!

Obviously a gross waste of money also. In most of Europe they have compacting containers where you put your waste in at waist height, and the operatives push the buttons to compact. This also eliminates the need of a massive JCB to pat down the containers at various times through the day. A monster of an machine for nothing but to aid on bad design. If that site was designed right, and they did some proper research, there would be no "flipped out Trevor" and no killing machine available!

He was always kind and helpful guy. I didn't know him, but I would like to show my support to "Free Trevor". And also offer my simple mind to the people who have the big wodge of cash who are responsible for putting the site back together!

From John Smithson

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Every time I pass the Eastwood recycling centre the level of destruction that has taken place there astounds me. It is not restricted to damaged fencing which a previous contributor rather disingenuously claimed was all that had been destroyed. Stone walls, gates and wooden fencing together with all the staging for skip access and the site office all need replacing. There is little left on site that can be salvaged.

I can well understand how the final bill will end up around the £400K mark. The 24/7 on site security for 6 months must add up to a considerable amount as well. Add to that the cost and inconvenience to Upper Valley residents of having to manage without the recycling facility for so long and this act of pointless destruction is probably one of the most significant events to affect our community in a long time. And this after waiting so long for the original recycling centre to be redeveloped and opened only months before this incident.

I don't know the perpetrator of this offence and I neither feel comfortable or competent to comment on his alleged mental state at the time. What is clear, however, is that the judge in the trail didn't believe the defence argument that the incident took place as a result of the mental instability of the perpetrator. The judge would have access to medical reports on which he based his sentencing decision, something contributors to this forum don't have.

Three years' imprisonment seems harsh to me although given the seriousness of the offence a custodial sentence was inevitable. I suspect the level of premeditation and 'going equipped' to carry out the offence had a major bearing on the length of sentence. Personally, I would rather he made reparations, both financial and in kind, to those he has affected, his co-workers and the community at large.

From Chris Rowland

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

I was staggered when I heard he'd received a prison sentence at all, let alone the duration of it. I wouldn't have thought it was an appropriate place to send someone with mental health issues. I'd be interested to find out what medical and legal representation Mr Lewis got.

Of course there are the issues of public inconvenience, presumably an increase in unrecycled waste and the cost involved in rebuilding the site, which they'd only just rebuilt once already.

But there seems to be a grotesque mismatch between crime and punishment here.

From Ian M

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

John, at no point did I suggest the damage was limited to just the perimeter fencing but let's be realistic here. That, plus a short section of timber fencing, a few bits of dry stone walling, some galvanised steel gantries and what was clearly a second hand porta cabin can by no means add up to £400,000.

That is, unless we are using the public sector purchasing method of £2000 for a toilet seat, £1000 for a spanner!

From Eleanor Land

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Hearing about the severity of Trevor's sentence makes me very angry. OK he is caused inconvenience for the users of Eastwood and cost the council tax payer money, but does he deserve such a harsh sentence. Not in my book.

His misdemeanour pales in to insignificance when we compare it to the untold damage done to our country by out of control Bankers. What sentence did they get, large bonuses and pay rises and carte blanche from the government to do it all again.

The ordinary worker will be paying the price of their reckless gambling for 10 years plus.

I personally feel very sorry for Trevor and his family, 3 years is a harsh sentence for what he did.

From Rob M

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Three years is very harsh indeed. As someone with no prior conviction it would have been much more appropriate that he had been placed under a community service order.

Free the Eastwood 1.

From Jon Sutherland

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

I'm mystified by these comments about mental health issues. I know Trevor pretty well as we were neighbors on the cut. He is a decent, honest and trustworthy guy, always ready to lend a hand should it be needed. He's no more crazy than the next man and it doesn't do him any good assuming so. Hats off to him for actually doing something; that site was a disgrace.

From Howard H

Thursday, 16 October 2014

I don't know who owns the hardware on the site, but I'm perplexed as to why it takes 5 months to replace some skips, steps, portakabins... etc.

With the earlier 'rebuild', we've now been without this amenity for a considerable amount of time. What shall I do with these cardboard boxes and some old AA batteries? Drive them to Halifax.

IMHO, there is a failing in not providing for local recycling for this length of time.

From Graham Barker

Thursday, 16 October 2014

I agree with Howard that some temporary arrangement should have been possible on a site of that size. Here's a thought. Apart from the cost of security there will be a substantial saving to Sita from not having to operate Eastwood. Could the length of the closure perhaps bear some resemblance to the time it would take to recoup the cost of the damage?

From Pete Sunderland

Sunday, 19 October 2014

In my opinion it should not be Trevor who is behind bars, but the guy who designed this ill thought out recycling centre.

Trevor probably has done us all a favour if they get it right this time.

The design should be obvious to anyone with any common sense.

The access road to the site should be ramped-up so you drive to a higher level at the rear of the site; the recycling skips remain at ground level. Then when getting out from your vehicle the top of the skips are at waste height - you're then throwing recycling rubbish down into the skips, no steps to fall up or down, user-friendly for the elderly and disabled.

Hopefully, they will get it right for the thousands that will use this site over the next 20 to 30 years.


From Peter Walton

Monday, 20 October 2014

I totally agree with every thing said here. This is a massive injustice to Trevor Lewis. His actions were completely out of character and there is a lot more to this than meets the eye. We have only been told Sita's and Calderdale's version of events and not his.

I too know Trevor quite well, and subsequently am sure that he was driven to this. He is as helpful and diligent a person as anyone is ever likely to meet.

I think that both his employers and Calderdale's actions are in urgent need of further investigation as to why an obviously sick man was not given the help and support he was entitled to, more especially from the Council and the supposedly competent people they subcontract to perform our public services.

I think the wrong people may have been prosecuted here, and that if there is any justice in this world, then an appeal launched to get Trevor Lewis freed should be launched immediately.

Further to that I would like to know how Calderdale have arrived at the ridiculously inflated amount of £400,000 for the repairs needed, and hope that the cost of security to guard the (totally empty) site for 5 months of inaction is not included within those figures, as to anyone else but Calderdale, the site needn't have been closed for more than a couple of weeks tops. Security fencing, the odd lamppost here and there, portacabin, and prefabricated steps do not cost 400K

From John Davidson

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Having read and digested the opinion on this thread, am I the only person in Hebden Bridge to not feel any sympathy for the 'gentlemen' that systematically destroyed a very much needed local tip?

This was at least, a premeditated act of nuisance leading to massive damage, that we, as council tax payers will stump up the cost of.
There are many people in our society that suffer from similar problems to this guy, but do not feel compelled to jump in a large piece of Plant and go on a berserker!

I think he deserves his sentence, he will be out just in time to see the tip open again, perhaps some Hebdenites would voice opinion on him getting his job back too!

From Vikki Uttley

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Should we ask our elected councillors for a breakdown of all the costs, for steps, skips, manpower etc . If the electorate feel the costs are excessive, could the work then be thrown open to tender. I'm sure lots of our local work force would apply. If the people in charge won't make the figures public, where, as an interested party could I find the information about the final costs.

From Cllr Steve Sweeney

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Local Councillors will not know the costs of the work at Eastwood as we understand the costs are being met by the Insurance company of Sita whose member of staff caused the damage

From Graham Barker

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Unless I misheard at tonight's Ward Forum, the cost to Sita of the remedial work was announced as £220,000.

From Myra James

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

I heard the same Graham - around £220k. And work to begin next week I believe - about time!

From Michele M

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Clearly community service and psychiatric support would have been a more appropriate sentence for Trevor Lewis. The judges decision to jail someone - never in trouble with the police before - at great expense to the tax payer because he caused great expense to the tax payer defies all logic.

From Dave L

Monday, 3 November 2014

I would love to see a breakdown of costs for the repair of the site. Similarly to an earlier poster I am fully aware of what was actually damaged and what it should cost to replace and it will be hugely increased by the cost of the 24hr security thats been used for the last few months. We are talking about the rear wooden fence, front steel fence, galvanised steps/platforms between skips, the front perimeter wall and a new office shed. I could and would have happily supplied and fitted the lot for £45k and it would have been completed within 1 month. I put the cost of the security so far at approx £50k. Someone somewhere is making a lot of money out of this!

Regarding the redevelopment, they had no choice about the design as the residents next to the site quite rightly refused to allow them to have vehicles driving up a ramp as the noise would be intolerable. What calderdale should have done is move the tip to a more suitable site away from housing to enable a more suitable design for public and staff.

From Ian M

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Interesting to see that in just under two weeks of the repair work commencing that bolting four steel barriers to the floor and the dismantling of a short section of wall is all that has been achieved! At this rate it will be next Christmas before the work is complete.

I've also put a freedom of information request in for a break down of the repair costs.

From Jo Bibby

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Hello Everyone. It has been touching to see the widespread and heartfelt support for Trevor Lewis. I thought that I would share an update and ask that anyone who is interested in providing some kind of practical support to Trevor and his family joins this google group.

I have been in contact with Mr Lewis's solicitors and understand that there are no plans for an appeal. I have written to his wife care of the solicitors to share with her the feelings of concern and support amongst many people in Hebden Bridge and asked her whether there is anything practical anyone can do to help. I will put more details on the google group as I agree with the views expressed by some that it does not feel appropriate to continue with such a public discussion about a private individual.

Thank you though to everyone who has expressed support and please do join the group if you can.

From Frances Minto

Thursday, 27 November 2014

I had more problems accessing the redesigned Eastwood Recycling. Before the renovation you didn't have to climb stairs except for the cardboard skip for which workers always offered to help you out. I totally understand what pushed Trevor to extreme action. I do not think he should have been jailed. I think Sita his employer should take some responcibility for changing his working environment, without accounting for the best access for people (both workers and users).

I have seen two costings, £200,000 and £400,000 and would like to see the bill. It also seem lax for the council to allow such a major change to the site making it more difficult to use.

I would support an appeal on his conviction.

From Jamie J

Saturday, 6 December 2014

The recent benefit concert for Carol Lewis, Trevor's wife, headlined by the Owter Zeds at the Trades Club, raised £522.

The Morning Star reported that "A Yorkshire community staged a storming fundraising event after a local trade union member was jailed for three years for damaging property" - read report

From Jamie J

Monday, 8 December 2014

A collection taken at Dick Gaughan's recent Trades Club gig raised £142 for Trevor and Carol Lewis.

From Jennifer Wilson

Monday, 8 December 2014

I was totally shocked at the sentence that Trevor got. Its a total disgrace. Trevor was so helpful and polite. Many of the other staff just stood about and chatted. The only woman was also very helpful. The new recycling centre was not user friendly carrying bags up steps and then having to lift items above your head.

I once challenged one of the workers, not Trevor, as a young man was about to tip a number of plastic bottles into general waste and not questioned. I spoke to the young man who said he was not aware and the worker grumpily said, "he could pull a knife out at me ".

Trevor should have had support and not prison. Is there a petition? Is there an appeal as I want to help?

See also

HebWeb Forum: Eastwood tip