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Police helicopter out of action

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out of actionTHE DYFED-POWYS Police helicopter is temporarily out of action due to a gearbox issue.

Emergency air coverage for the force is being provided by the South Wales and Gwent police helicopter.

Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Christopher Salmon said: “The helicopter gearbox has an issue, discovered in routine maintenance on December 6.

“The aircraft is due to be back in action next week (December 23) but the work will leave us with a repair bill of around £250,000. This will be funded from Dyfed-Powys’s annual policing budget.

“With our aircraft down, we have an agreement with the South Wales Police and Gwent Police to use their helicopter in case of emergency. Police forces routinely share in this way when aircraft are being serviced or repaired.

“As is widely known, I am negotiating with NPAS, the National Police Air Service, regarding the future provision of a helicopter service for Dyfed-Powys.

“Our NPAS agreement, when finalised, will allow us to avoid such one-off repair costs and will offer us a service that’s at least as effective as that we have now.”

Dyfed-Powys Police is geographically the largest force in England and Wales. The force has a nine-year-old fourth generation Augusta 109e Power helicopter. It is used in cases such as searches for missing people, suspects and vehicles, casualty evacuation, transporting specialist teams and gathering intelligence.

To search a square mile of land can take 12 police officers more than 450 hours. A helicopter takes 12 minutes to search the same area.

The repair issue is unconnected with the Glasgow helicopter crash which happened on November 29 and the subsequent precautionary grounding of 21 police and air ambulance Eurocopter EC135 Type 2 helicopters.

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Food premises fined and director banned from running a food business

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A PEMBROKESHIRE restaurant and its two directors have been ordered to pay more than £15,200 for food safety offences, with one of them prohibited from operating a food business.

Both directors of JT3 Restaurant in Fishguard, Daniel Wynne Jones and Lois Thomas, along with their company Me‘n’u1 Ltd, pleaded guilty to all offences at Haverfordwest Magistrates on Friday (Jul 3).

They were fined a total of £10,700 with more than £4,500 costs, and Daniel Wynne Jones was also banned from operating a food business.

In a prosecution brought by Pembrokeshire County Council, the court heard that the premises was issued a Food Hygiene Rating of 0 following an inspection in March 2019 by an officer from the Authority’s Public Protection Division.

During the inspection the officer found the basement kitchen to be in a poor state of cleanliness and repair, with no disinfecting cleaning products or soap available, an inadequate water supply and flies present. There was no evidence of any food safety management system in use and the business scored a 0 food hygiene rating.

Two revisits were made to check for improvements, which were made, but the business failed to display their food hygiene rating sticker and had to be supplied with a new one, along with a warning.

Subsequent visits saw the sticker being hidden behind doors and then behind an umbrella hanging from a hook above it. A fixed penalty fine for the offence of failing to display the sticker went unpaid.

On 13th December 2019 another inspection was carried out at the restaurant. On arrival officers were told that the business was closed, but once in the kitchen, they found that a substantial amount of food preparation was going on and were dismayed to find that conditions had deteriorated again, including the ongoing poor structural condition and complete lack of any implemented food safety controls in relation to the safe production of food. Again, the business scored a 0 Food Hygiene rating.

By December 19 the situation had worsened to the point that two visits had to be made that day and a Remedial Action Notice served to prevent the manufacture of chicken liver parfait and duck. Improvement notices were also served to try to address the level of training and ensure that food safety procedures were introduced and sustained.

Unfortunately these improvement notices were not complied with and the food hygiene rating sticker remained deliberately hidden.

As well as the fine, costs of £4571.11 were awarded to the County Council, with victim surcharges of £240.

After the case, a Council spokesman said: “This is unprecedented in the history of the Food Hygiene Rating scheme in Pembrokeshire where a business has scored 0 twice and conditions have deteriorated rather than improved across the two inspections.

“Despite the best efforts of our officers to move this business towards compliance, the food business operator continued to flout food safety regulations and mislead customers about his food hygiene rating.

“The decision of the court to prohibit him from running a food business and the level of fine reflect the seriousness of this case.”

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Silverdale still a worry for the residents of Johnston

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THE RESIDENTS of Johnston have said the Silverdale Lodge has been a worry for the village since the council rented the premises to house the homeless throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

But The Herald has spoken directly with homeless people staying at the Silverdale. One of them is Mark Thornton.

He wants the local community to come and speak to the residents, and to get to know them first-hand before condemning them.

He said “I’m not here to disrupt, I just want a bed.

“I’m in the Silverdale Lodge because I’m homeless. How does that mean I’m a criminal?”

He added that he is not aware of any trouble from residents within the lodge and that the “majority of recent incidents within the village are a result of kids” and they are unjustly “getting the blame”.

The Herald has this week been contacted by numerous concerned residents.

They overwhelmingly have expressed their disappointment at the increase in anti-social behaviour in the village and blame the Silverdale.

The council say that there has been hardly any trouble at the premises – but residents and an email from police to the local community suggest otherwise.

A petition has been set up against the new temporary use of the premises, signed by over 500 people.

Locals claim onsite security guards and regular police patrol have been ineffective in culling the behaviour of some individuals.

Security guards at Silverdale gave exclusive interview with The Herald

Johnston’s county councillor Ken Rowlands said he had not been told of the Silverdale’s use before arrangements were made and confirms he has been inundated with complaints about drunken and yobbish behaviour by some of those moved there.

Not satisfied with the information he has received Cllr Rowlands made representations to Council Chief Executive Ian Westley, the police and the council’s social services department.

Jonathan Griffiths, County Council’s Director of Social Services, said the council were aware of complaints and were in constant communication with police about the nuisance alleged to have been caused.

Mr Griffiths said that the council was placed under an obligation placed on it by the Welsh Government and the lodges at the Silverdale were available and identified as suitable accommodation to meet it.

Adding that not all of those at the Silverdale should be or deserved to be tarred with the same broad brush.

In a recent video interview with this newspaper, published on our Facebook page, two security guards working on the premises, said that residents have to adhere to an 11pm curfew, a statement that Mr Thornton refutes.

He said: “There is a register of attendance, but no curfew has been issued to the residents.”
Speaking on past troubles, Mr Thornton admitted there had been an issue prior to his residence at the lodge, but the individual concerned had since been removed. He added that to his knowledge there has been no arrests made of any residents of the lodge.

Head of adult services, Jason Bennett, said: “A larger number of people at Silverdale are adhering to all the social distancing and working positively with the housing team.

“A small minority we’ve had to engage with, and police have had to engage with, are tarnishing the otherwise good work that’s happening”

A Pembrokeshire County Council spokesperson confirmed the premises has been leased to ensure social distancing for people who would otherwise be using shared facilities at its homeless hostel in Pembroke.

Adding “There have been some rumours circulating that the site is being used specifically for prison leavers or as a bail hostel or halfway house and will bring more people into Pembrokeshire.”

“We would seek to reassure the community that our primary focus is to use the site to support people from Pembrokeshire who are faced with homelessness”

The Herald has also obtained emails between local residents, Pembrokeshire County Council and the police which confirm that they are aware that some individual’s behaviour are causing problems for the wider community.

In an email from a council representative to one Johnston resident, it said “There is a small minority that are not adhering to the required terms and I have written to all the current occupants to remind them of their responsibilities and to ask for their support and cooperation.

“We are also issuing formal notices to individuals who do not comply and will ask them to leave if this continues.”

One Johnston resident, who wishes not to be named, expressed to us his frustration at comments made on Facebook towards the Johnston community branding the villagers as Heartless.

Our source said: “We are being painted to be heartless. That is not the case. We are more than happy to help those genuinely homeless or vulnerable and support them in any way we can.”

“But as a community we are scared to even walk down our cycle path, we’re avoiding all of our local beauty spots through fear of certain individuals.”

“They congregate in groups of anything from ten to even bigger, they are strewn across the paths with beer cans and apparent drug paraphernalia”

“It is not a case of we don’t want to help vulnerable individuals.

“We have been told that there is a young family that has fled domestic violence being housed there. With the incidents that I have seen at the lodge, it is very sad for that poor family, they must be petrified, and my heart goes out to them.

“The council has a duty of care to both the vulnerable residents of the lodge and the wider Johnston community to do something about this situation”

In an email sent by police to some local residents, the police said: “We have taken proceedings against some individuals and issued relevant paperwork to others to ensure that their attendance at the site is prohibited in the future.”

The resident also told us he had an off record conversation with a county councillor who said that one of the residents at Silverdale had been sent “back to prison”.

This has increased the current feelings of the villagers that the council are not being truthful with the type of residents that are being housed at the accommodation.

Another resident contacted this newspaper to tell of another recent incident, which apparently took place at Nisa, Johnston by an alleged Silverdale resident on Tuesday (June 30).

Image sent to the Herald of the most recent incident in Johnston

We contacted Dyfed-Powys Police for a statement on the incident.

A spokesperson said: “Police were called to the Nisa shop in Johnston at approximately 8.10pm on Tuesday, June 30, following a report of a man being verbally abusive to staff and customers.

“Michael Carruthers, who had also been throwing items around the store and smashing bottles of wine, was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage.

“Following his arrest and subsequent charge of theft, criminal damage and assaulting a police officer, Carruthers of no fixed abode, was transported to Swansea Magistrates Court on Thursday, June 2.

“He pleaded guilty to theft and criminal damage, however a third charge of assaulting a police officer was withdrawn.

“Carruthers was given unconditional bail and will be sentenced at Haverfordwest Magistrates Court on Monday, 27 July.”

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Pembrokeshire pays tribute to local sand artist Marc Treanor

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PEMBROKESHIRE sand artist, Marc Treanor has sadly passed away.

Mr Treanor was famous across Pembrokeshire and further for his beautiful and unique sand markings found often on the local beaches.

He was inspired by the ancient art of sacred geometry which shaped the symbolic meanings behind his work used often to announce engagements, pregnancies and many other types of commissions.

From his website he explained: “I create an existence that can only be grasped until the next tide washes it away and leaves the sand empty and like a tabula rasa, ready to be rewritten upon….and all of that jiving around!”

Although his markings disappear under the wave, he created lasting memories for people and touched the lives of many.

Tributes flooded across social media this week after news of Treanor’s death last week.

This included artist J.ben: “He inspired me and for whom I have the greatest admiration. In my opinion, he was the best of us, by his way of pushing the limits of this art we practice and by his sensitivity.”

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