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Taxi-ride thief locked up

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taxi rideA HAVERFORDWEST man was sent to prison for 14 weeks by the town’s magistrates on Wednesday.

Liam John Matthews, aged 28, of Holloway, pleaded guilty to theft, not paying a taxi fare and criminal damage.

Prosecuting, Nicholas Newton said: “All occurred in the late hours of November 23, running into the early hours of November 24. Matthews got a taxi from Prendergast to Murco petrol station near Withybush Hospital. He told the driver to wait for him while he went inside the garage. While he was in there, he stole sandwiches, milk and alcohol. He was seen by the shop assistant who shouted to him as he left without paying. He then ran from the taxi driver. The police were contacted and Matthews was found in the general area. He was also subject to an electronic tag, which he broke.

“Matthews claims he cannot remember the events due to being intoxicated. He was on a suspended prison sentence at the time of the offence, and was in breach of the order and the curfew”. Defence solicitor, Jonathan Webb said:

“Matthews breached his suspended sentence within one month. If you must activate the sentence, you must activate it today unless you feel it is unjust to do so. You then must decide is it going to be for part of the sentence or all? It is not at the top end of his offences.

“He has children, though he is not allowed contact with them, and as a result is hiding at the bottom of a bottle. When he is not intoxicated, he is the nicest person you would wish to meet. Things got on top of him and he committed petty crimes. They are not serious offences.

“This would be his first taste of a custodial environment. Please bear that in mind. I believe it will do him some good to serve this sentence – it may well be the help he needs to turn a corner”.

The magistrates told the court: “We have listened to his record and we believe Matthews has stretched the legal system to the limit. We will therefore give him four weeks imprisonment for the theft, four weeks imprisonment for making off without paying the taxi fare, and a further four weeks for the criminal damage, all to run concurrently. We are evoking the suspended sentence of 16 weeks, though are giving him credit of two weeks for the early guilty plea”.

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County Council seeking ‘full cost recovery’ for Penally Camp involvement

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COUNCILLORS will hear an update on Tuesday (January 26) on the County Council’s involvement with Penally Asylum Camp.

The council is requesting full cost recovery from the UK Government.

As of January 8, there were still 124 service users on the site with others having already being moved to alternative accommodation.

Transfers to and from the site have also been halted under the Welsh Government’s Alert level 4 coronavirus restrictions.

In a report to the Council’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee, it says that those opposed to the asylum process have targeted the camp to publicise their views which has resulted in ‘significant social media activity’.

It also states that groups and individuals publicly supporting the Asylum seekers or putting support processes in place continue to face high levels of abuse on social media.
‘There also remain a number who do not recognise the importance of adhering to COVID restrictions creating community concerns’, the report adds.

It goes on to say that although the current permitted development rights ends on March 21, a planning application for a sixth month extension is anticipated.

Tuesday’s Committee meeting begins at 10am.

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Concern over misuse of Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard

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PEMBROKESHIRE residents are being asked not to wear the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower as proof of exemption from wearing a face covering, unless they have a genuine need.

The call comes following concern that the lanyards, commonly used as a discreet way of helping the wearer inform staff, colleagues and health professionals that they need additional support, help or time, are being used to avoid wearing a face covering during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jessica Hatchett, Pembrokeshire County Council’s Access Officer, said “Any fraudulent use of the Sunflower reduces its effectiveness for those who genuinely need it, as not all disabilities are obvious.

“I would like to remind those who need the lanyard to get it from a legitimate source, and not pay higher prices for copies that promote incorrect use.

“Even if you are exempt from wearing a face covering, you may not need the lanyard.”

A spokesman for the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower said: “We in no way condone the misuse of our Sunflower lanyard, and find it distressing it might be used for this purpose.

“We do not ask for proof of the wearer’s disability, as some are yet to be diagnosed, or have conditions that are difficult to diagnose.

“The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower is designed to discreetly indicate that the wearer or someone with them has a hidden disability – if that is not you, then please desist from wearing our Sunflower lanyard.”

The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower is a global scheme, with an increasing number of businesses and organisations in the UK, including supermarkets, train and bus stations, leisure facilities and the NHS, now recognising the lanyard.

Face coverings remain a legal requirement in all indoor public places in Wales, including public transport and taxis, and where takeaway food and drink is sold.

This applies to everyone aged 11 and over, unless an exception applies. Children under 11 do not have to wear a face covering.

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Pembrokeshire residents aged 75 to 79 years to receive their first COVID vaccine

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LETTERS will arrive in the coming days inviting Pembrokeshire residents aged 75 to 79 years to receive their first COVID vaccine at a mass vaccination centre, Hywel Dda University Health Board (UHB) has announced.

The letter will provide an appointment time at one of the following mass vaccination centres: Haverfordwest – Pembrokeshire Archives, Prendergast; and Tenby – Tenby Leisure Centre.

These mass vaccination centres will provide a safe environment, space to maintain social distancing while allowing more people to be vaccinated as efficiently and as quickly as possible.

It is vital that you make every effort to attend your appointment.

You will need to delay your vaccination if you have had a positive coronavirus test within 28 days of this appointment or if you are unwell with a fever, have a new continuous cough or a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell.

Please let us know if you cannot attend or need to delay your appointment as soon as possible by calling the number provided in your appointment letter. This will mean we can give your appointment to someone else and save NHS resources.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “Until now we have been using our mass vaccination centres to vaccinate our front-line staff in health, social care and care homes. With over 85% of front-line health workers having had their first dose, and seeing rapid progress with care home staff and social care staff, we are now moving onto the next phase of our delivery plan.

“The opening of our mass vaccination centres to the public will allow us to offer more people a vaccine as soon as supplies are available to us. If you have received an invitation it is because you are in a priority group and at greater risk of complications if you catch COVID-19.

“Vaccines are safe, effective and save lives and the COVID vaccine offers our community hope. By receiving your vaccine, you will continue to play your small but incredibly important part in protecting yourself, the most vulnerable in our communities and our local NHS. Thank you.”

When you attend your appointment please bring with you:

Your appointment letter

Some ID such as your passport, driving license or utility bill in your name
A face mask (if you don’t have one, you will be given one)
People aged 80 years and over will continue to be invited by their GP practice to receive the vaccine, all of which have now received a supply of vaccines. The health board has also commissioned GP practices to vaccinate housebound patients and residents in our care homes.

Hywel Dda UHB is working to offer a vaccine to everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 by mid-February. People over 70 years of age and everyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable as part of priority group 4 will be invited next to receive a vaccine. The health board will provide further information at the earliest opportunity.

Please do not attend any vaccination venue without an appointment and do not contact your GP, pharmacy or health board to ask when you will be invited. People are being invited to receive the vaccine in order of priority and we thank you for your patience.

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