Who thinks this man is fit to be a councillor?
Not Glenys Phillips, an 86 year-old disabled widow living in Ferndale, Rhondda, that’s for sure. Mr Roberts bought up the freehold property of her home for £6,350 three years ago without her knowledge and is now demanding up to £20,000 for the leasehold of the house she’s been living in for 60 years. Mrs Phillips will just have to go on worrying about being evicted while the case is considered by the leasehold tribunal. That can take 18 months!
Julie Foster and others living in Peterstone Wentlooge, near Newport, may not be overjoyed to have Roberts ‘lording’ it over them either. Over the years Roberts has bought up 60 manorial titles, including that of Romney, which covers common land in and around Peterstone. Having paid £10,000 for the hereditary title at an auction, Roberts then sent letters to the residents, demanding sums of up to £45,000 in return for access to their homes across paths and verges – access they’ve enjoyed freely all their lives! The letter threatened litigation if villagers didn’t cough up immediately. Housing officer Ruth Winstanley faced an £18,000 bill.
“I was flabbergasted when I received the letter demanding I pay for the right to park my car in my own drive, I’ve never heard of such an outrageous thing in my life.”
Julie Foster and her neighbours paid out £100,000 before the legal loophole was closed and Roberts handed a hefty bill for legal costs. A resident of Alstonefield, a village in the Peak District where Roberts tried a similar scam said:
“This is the 21st century and we feel trapped, prisoners on our own land.”
The fishermen of West Wales certainly wouldn’t consider Roberts fit to be their councillor after he tried to establish title to half the coastline of Pembrokeshire and exclusive fishing rights! Who’s to say what fishermen would have been asked to pay? Fortunately, Roberts lost this case as well and earlier this year was handed another bill for hundreds of thousands of pounds, which may explain why he’s now targeting vulnerable people like Mrs Phillips.
Plaid Cymru, however, would be only too pleased to see Mr Roberts, dubbed the ‘lord of extortion’ by the press, in a position of authority. In fact, such is Plaid Cymru’s conviction of Mr Roberts’ integrity and of his commitment to civic duty and social justice, that they backed him as the Plaid Cymru candidate in not one, but two council elections in St Athan in 2004 and Buttrills in the Vale of Glamorgan in 2008, where he finished a respectable 4th out of 6 candidates. Watch out for Mr Roberts at the next Welsh Assembly elections! A bright future as housing minister may be in the offing. Homeowners, check your leases now!