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‘Scandal’ and ‘disgrace’ as IPPG prevent Mik Smith report publication



MEMBERS of the IPPG on Pembrokeshire County Council closed ranks to prevent the publication of a damning report into the Council’s handling of allegations of misconduct into paedophile social worker Mik Smith.

Smith had continued in the Council’s employment even after complaints of ‘grooming behaviour’ towards children had been made against him.

A motion proposing that the report be disclosed to the public was kicked into the long grass following a tied vote. It concerned whether a motion proposed by Hakin councillor Mike Stoddart should go forward or be remitted to the “never-never land” of a review by a Council committee.

Motions uncongenial to either officers or the IPPG have a record of disappearing in such a system, never to be heard of again, as has been remarked on by Cllr Stoddart on a number of occasions.

Although a recorded vote was not carried out, only one member of the Cabinet voted against the party line, St David’s councillor and Education spokesperson David Lloyd, who remains unattached to the IPPG. Former Cabinet members for education and children’s services Ken Rowlands, Sue Perkins and Huw George voted to keep the report under wraps.

As The Herald reported two years ago, the head of Pembrokeshire County Council’s youth services department gave paedophile Smith a positive reference on an application to register as a foster carer.

The reference was given following two council investigations into Smith’s inappropriate conduct towards children, which had resulted in Smith being given a written warning.

The same council officer gave Smith the positive reference for a 2010 fostering application as had previously handed down Smith’s written warning.

Two years ago, Mike Stoddart pointed out that: “The fostering application was thwarted because some of the panel members were aware of the history.

“It happened that somebody on the Fostering Panel happened to know so it was pure luck that saved us from a disaster and not good practice”.

As The Herald had previously revealed, claims made by IPPG leader Jamie Adams at a Council meeting in July 2014 that the Council’s former CE, Bryn Parry Jones,  knew nothing about the serious allegations made by colleagues against Mik Smith are untrue. We revealed the existence of a series of explosive internal documents that showed that when allegations were made about Mik Smith’s inappropriate conduct towards children, Council officers tried to sweep them under the carpet.

In March 2015, revealing that a second investigation was not carried out by an independent social worker but by a graduate trainee in the Chief Executive’s own department, Cllr Stoddart asked whether Mr Parry-Jones had ever explained, when asked about it by Cllr Adams as he had previously claimed in July 2014, why a similar child protection procedure involving social workers and the police wasn’t instigated following a second investigation in 2006.

The council leader answered: “I simply do not recall”.

Speaking impassionedly at Council on March 2, Cllr Stoddart told councillors that they had been systematically misled about what had happened in relation to Mik Smith: “What went on over this foster parent business is a disgrace; I’m determined to get this out in the open. It’s an even bigger disgrace that the youth worker who first exposed the matter was unceremoniously sacked while the person who had handed out references which made no mention of Mr Smith’s previous disciplinary record is sitting at home with a fat pension.

“That is an injustice I’m not prepared to tolerate.”

Following the tied vote, Chair Tony Brinsden, voted in line with the recommendation not to publish the report.

However, the drama did not end there as Labour leader Paul Miller pointed out a discrepancy between the number of votes cast, including abstentions and the number of councillors present. He was told by Monitoring Officer, Claire Jones that it was some possible some councillors present had neither voted nor abstained.

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Police and drugs advice service issue warning over ‘deadly batch’ of heroin



POLICE have asked the media to issue a warning over a batch of heroin.

The drug circulating in west Wales, first detected in Llanelli, is particularly dangerous, it has been confirmed.

“We are warning drug users to take extra care following reports of a particularly harmful batch of heroin circulating in the Llanelli area” said a Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson.

“We have reasons to believe some drugs being distributed and used in the Carmarthenshire area at present have been contaminated with other substances and could be extremely dangerous for anyone taking them.

“We would also appeal to drug users to seek medical attention immediately if they become unwell.

“Please share this information with anyone you believe could come into contact with these drugs.

”In an emergency or if you think someone’s life is at risk always dial 999.”

Earlier this week Barod, the drug and alcohol abuse service reported a dangerous and toxic heroin circulating in Pembroke Dock which a spokesperson described as being ‘potentially deadly’.

To comes as Public Health England issued a formal alert about the risks of heroin containing fentanyl or carfentanyl.

The warning reads: “There is significant evidence from a small number of post-mortem results of recent drug user deaths and from police seizures that some heroin may contain fentanyl or carfentanyl added by dealers.

“These are highly potent synthetic opioids and very small amounts can cause severe or even fatal toxicity.

“Those of you in contact with heroin users should be alert to the increased possibility of overdose arising from heroin cut with these synthetic opioids, be able to recognise possible symptoms of overdose and respond appropriately.”

The fentanyls are a group of synthetic opioids; some have legitimate uses while others are illicit drugs.

Fentanyl is about 100 times more potent than morphine and is a licensed medicine used to treat severe and terminal pain. Carfentanyl is 4,000 – 10,000 times more potent than morphine and principally used as an animal tranquilliser.

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Tenby’s famous walrus ‘Wally’ has been spotted again



TENBY’S most famous marine animal has been spotted again after fears she had been scared away.

Wally was spotted on Friday evening by the seaside town’s Lifeboat station.

Thought to be a two-year-old male, the walrus’s return comes after it was feared she had been disturbed by people flocking to catch a glimpse of her and “getting too close”

The animal has attracted hundreds of people to the seaside town now that the travel restrictions with Wales have been lifted to coincide with the Easter school holidays.

Wally was last seen on Monday, but  members of the public were warned it was in the animal’s “best interests” to be “left alone” as much as possible and they were urged to “avoid the temptation to get near and disturb” her.

A joint statement was issued by the RSPCA, Tenby harbour master Chris Salisbury, Welsh Marine Life Rescue, Tenby lifeboat coxswain Phil John, British Divers Marine Life Rescue, Natural Resources Wales and CSIP Marine Environmental Rescue said that they were concerned to hear that people had tried to get close by using personal watercraft or paddle and surfboards.

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Police plan to deter badly behaved youths from gathering in Tenby



POLICE in Tenby responded to community concerns over antisocial behaviour and groups of between 15-20 youths gathering and clashing over the Easter bank holiday weekend. They moved the youths on, seized alcohol from them and stopped matters escalating when there were clashes between the groups. And they have a clear message ahead of this weekend – there will be extra police patrols and presence in Tenby, including on the trains, so this type of behaviour won’t be tolerated.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers used powers under the Antisocial Behaviour Act to disperse groups of youngsters meeting to drink alcohol in and around Tenby, many of whom had travelled by train to the area to meet up.

Based on these scenes from last weekend, plans are in place as part of a joint operation with Pembrokeshire County Council licensing officers and British Transport Police, to address and prevent any further gatherings.

A Section 34 Order is in place covering Tenby, which allows officers to move people out of the area and prevent them from returning for up to 48 hours.

Sergeant Stuart Wheeler said: “Following last weekend we had some concern from the community of Tenby, due to antisocial behaviour related to the groups of youths from Pembroke, Pembroke Dock and Tenby, and subsequently those groups clashing. Alcohol consumption by these youngsters was a factor.

“Proactive action was taken, and we are keen to avoid a repeat of this behaviour this weekend, and have therefore put plans in place. Additional resources have been allocated, which will allow us to respond quickly and prevent matters from escalating.

“Tenby Neighbourhood Policing Team and response officers, will be carrying out high visibility patrols in the area, covering areas known to be popular with youngsters. Pembrokeshire County Council licensing officers will be assisting us in ensuring youngsters can’t buy alcohol in the area by visiting shops and reminding them of the laws around selling alcohol, and if they bring it with them it will be seized. And our colleagues in British Transport Police will be patrolling the train network to prevent problematic groups getting to Tenby by train.”

Police are also appealing to parents and carers to know where their children are, and what they are doing.

Sergeant Wheeler added: “We would like to appeal directly to parents to be aware of where their children are, and prevent them from gathering in large groups. This type of behaviour is distressing for people living and working in Tenby, and we are urging you to be accountable for your children’s actions.

“We understand that the past few months have been difficult, and that children want to see their friends, but remember that only 6 people from 2 households can meet outdoors still. Please do your best to ensure they are adhering to regulations that are in place for all our safety.”

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