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Council urges public to be aware of scams

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Sandra MacSparron and Emma Hanlan-Baker from the Public Protection Trading Standards team at Pembrokeshire County Council.

Sandra MacSparron and Emma Hanlan-Baker from the Public Protection Trading Standards team at Pembrokeshire
County Council.

EVERY year, hundreds of thousands of pounds are estimated to have been lost in Pembrokeshire as a result of people being scammed. Many hundreds of people in the County fall victim to postal, phone or email scams annually – as well as rogue doorstep traders. Cllr Huw George, Cabinet Member for Enironmental and Regulatory Services said: “There are some heartbreaking stories of people in Pembrokeshire who have been targeted and caught out by these scammers, and have lost huge sums of money.”

As a result, the Trading Standards team at Pembrokeshire County Council has been working on specific ways of protecting people who are more vulnerable to being targeted. People of any age and background can be susceptible to fall for scams. Often they are elderly or live alone with no family nearby. Nigel Watts, Trading Standards, Animal Health and Welfare Manager said: “Unfortunately, criminals have put together lists of vulnerable people all over Britain and are selling them to scam companies.

“We have received a copy of this list from the National Trading Standards Board and our team has identified up to 300 people on it from Pembrokeshire who are potentially vulnerable. “We have been writing to them to ask if we can advise them on issues which may affect them.” He added: “We are also giving talks to local groups about how to spot a potential scam and are working with several partner organisations including social services, local banks, Age Concern, and PAVS.” Signs which indicate someone is being scammed include an increase in post. Once someone replies to one postal scam they will usually start receiving lots more. Some people can receive up to 50 letters a day.

Other signs include changes in spending – withdrawing large sums of money or writing lots of cheques – or receiving lots of phone calls. Nigel added: “If you think you or a member of your family is being scammed, come to us and we will assist. “We are especially keen for any family or carers of elderly people who think something might be wrong to contact us.

“Often, people don’t realise they are being scammed and it doesn’t come to light until a relative or carer notices something suspicious.” Nationally, £3.5 billion a year is lost through scams, including £60 million on fake prize draws. Sandra McSparron, Senior Trading Standards Officer, warned against being duped by letters, emails and phone calls about such draws.

She said: “Remember, if you have not entered a prize draw, then you have not won anything. “People in Pembrokeshire have lost tens of thousands of pounds on these fake prize draws and false inheritance scams. “Some people are tempted to take the risk. It’s the lure of the possibility of being set up for life. And if only one or two out of a thousand take the risk, then that’s worth it for the scammers. “Be warned – if it looks too good to be true, it always is.”

National work to clamp down on scams include an initiative by Royal Mail and the National Trading Standards Board Scams Team, which are working to identify scam mail and stop it entering the postal network. The team has already intercepted up to six tons of scam mail in Britain and £100,000 – and that’s the tip of the iceberg. Sandra continued: “Some people are taken in by rogue companies because they provide a UK address – but some scam companies buy mail forwarding addresses or a UK domain name, to make them appear to be UKbased, when they are actually based abroad.”

She added: “These people are unscrupulous. Businesses can also be targeted- receiving invoices for goods or services not agreed to, followed by threats from alleged debt collectors if payment is not made. “Unfortunately it is happening in Pembrokeshire. We’ve got a number of examples of it. Come and report it to us. We know it can cause a great deal of anxiety. There is advice that we can provide.”

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Pembrokeshire residents can quickly check symptoms for variety of conditions on NHS 111 Wales online

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NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker can save Pembrokeshire patients time by helping them find the right NHS service for treatment. Symptoms can be quickly checked for a variety of conditions and advice given on the best way to treat them by visiting www.111.wales.nhs.uk which is hosted by the Welsh Ambulance Service.

The way we access NHS services has changed as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with more options now becoming increasingly utilised, including the NHS 111 Wales online service which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It can be used for both health information and advice and to access urgent primary care in Welsh and English.

In a recent YouGov survey, a third of Pembrokeshire residents had not even heard of the NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker and only 19% had used it during the past 12 months.

Andrew Carruthers, Director of Operations at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “We are asking everyone to help us by reconsidering the way you access NHS services. The methods available have changed but we are still here for you. It is worth getting to know the different ways you can access the NHS so you can be seen and treated quicker with your first port of call being NHS 111 Wales.”

According to the YouGov survey, carried out for the Welsh Government’s Keep Wales Safe campaign, only 67% of Pembrokeshire residents had heard of the NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker. However, 86% said they felt it was important to have access to the service.   

NHS 111 Wales online can help if you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do. The way it works is: You answer questions about your symptoms on the website and depending on the situation you will:

  •           Get self-care advice
  •           Be told how to get any medicine you need
  •           Find out what local service can help you
  •           Be connected to a nurse, emergency dentist, pharmacist or GP
  •           Get a face-to-face appointment if you need one
  •           Be given an arrival time if you need to go to A&E – this might mean you spend less time in A&E

For those who don’t have confidence going online to seek advice, there is the NHS 111 Wales phone service. This is also a free service where patients can contact the NHS by dialling 111 to receive advice on the best way to manage their issue or gain further assistance if needed. The bilingual telephone service is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

Eighty-four percent of Pembrokeshire residents had heard of the NHS 111 Wales phone service when asked for the recent YouGov survey but only 20% had used the telephone service during the last 12 months.

 

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Trial date for son accused of killing mum

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THE SON of Judith Rhead, 68, who was found dead in her home in Market Street, Pembroke Dock on Feb 20 will now appear in Crown Court again in October.

Dale Morgan, 43, said to be a scout master, appeared in court only to confirm his name, date of birth and address – which was listed as Honeyborough Green, Neyland.

A plea and trial preparation hearing date was set for March 26 with a provisional trial date set for October 4.

He was remanded in custody.

In court papers it stated that the alleged murder took place between December 10, 2020 and February 21, 2021.

The paperwork demonstrates that the police are unsure of the exact date that Ms Rhead died. The large date range, two months, points to the likelihood that this will be a challenging case for all those involved.

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Launch of Haverfordwest Castle Conservation Management Plan

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MEMBERS of the public are being asked to help shape the future of Haverfordwest Castle as a draft Conservation Management Plan (CMP) is launched.

One of Pembrokeshire’s most important historical assets, the Castle is owned by Pembrokeshire County Council, which has produced the CMP.

The plan:

▪ sets out the significance of the castle and describes how the building will be protected with any new use, alteration, repair or management; 

▪ will help with the planning of maintenance, conservation and repair work and adaptation of the site to meet new or changing uses; 

▪ will help promote understanding of the site and look at improving public access and activities for local people and visitors; 

▪ will support proposals to conserve the castle and adaptations of the site in response to climate change; 

▪ and underpin funding applications to support improvements

An engagement exercise has been launched alongside the Plan, giving members of the public with an interest in the historic and/or environmental significance of the castle an opportunity to comment on the document and share their views.

To take part in the engagement exercise, please click on the following link: 

https://haveyoursay.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/regeneration-communities

The deadline for responses is Sunday, March 28, 2021.

 

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