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117mph winds batter county

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Torn off: Roof which blew off a house in Robert Street, Milford Haven, Wednesday.

Torn off: Roof which blew off a house in Robert Street, Milford Haven, Wednesday.

WIND SPEEDS of almost 94mph were recorded on the Cleddau Bridge, as Pembrokeshire County Council advised people to stay indoors and avoid travel unless absolutely necessary.As the storm bore down on the Pembrokeshire coast, there was chaos across the County as schools were forced to shut, roads blocked and buildings damaged by the force of the weather.

So severe were the winds that Council workmen were unable to remove some of the fallen trees, due to the hazardous conditions.

The Council were forced to close Narberth Castle following damage caused by the weather, while part of a flat roof at Sir Thomas Picton School was ripped off by the Force Twelve winds.

One motorist, crossing the bridge at Carew over an hour and a half before high tide, was shocked by a wave that burst over the top of the structure and struck his vehicle as he crossed.

Martin Jones of Haverfordwest said: “I got through the traffic control and started over the bridge when the water hit the stonework and flew over. I’m glad I was driving a larger car. A smaller one would have been damaged and I might have floated away!”

In Milford Haven, both Robert Street and Charles Street were closed to vehicles following storm damage to properties’ roofs that left debris on the roads.

All rail services travelling west of Llanelli were halted at 2pm on Wednesday afternoon and suspended until 10pm. Services to Pembroke Dock, Milford Haven and Fishguard Harbour were all affected by the closure.

The A487 road at Newgale was closed as seas became mountainous and threatened the fragile sea defences, which have been breached twice in the past month alone.

The County Council’s website was updated throughout the day with news of hazards to traffic, pedestrians and buildings.

Wrecked: BMW ruined by falling slates in Pembroke. (Drew Buckley Photography)

Wrecked: BMW ruined by falling slates in Pembroke. (Drew Buckley Photography)

Council Employees Thanked

Pembrokeshire County Council staff worked hard overnight clearing away fallen trees, debris and roof tiles, in a bid to get traffic moving around the county again today. Highways and area maintenance teams worked until 23:00, starting again at 05:30 this morning, dealing with more than 150 reports of trees, large branches and debris.

The County Council’s contact centre usually receives around 1,100 phone calls on a normal Wednesday. Yesterday it received 3,184 calls – more than 2,000 extra.

There were 150 reports of damage to property, council infrastructure schools, utilities infrastructure and street lights.

At 15:00 there were 26 road closures in place. Council crews also helped deal with eight flooding incidents and two oil spills. A total of 25 schools closed early due to the severe weather. A further nine schools are closed today.

On Tuesday and Wednesday alone, the Council’s Facebook page had more than a thousand new likes, and the Twitter account gained another thousand followers. Comments on Twitter included: ‘Thank you for the constant updates, a job well done’ and ‘fab updates all day, really appreciated’. “Staff across the Council rose to the challenge of the extreme weather yesterday and worked exceptionally hard to try and keep people safe and get the county moving again. I’m sure the people in the county would join me in thanking them for their valued efforts,” said the Leader of the County Council, Councillor Jamie Adams.

“All in all, it was a very busy day for the employees of Pembrokeshire County Council.”

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Milford Haven: Man charged over two burglaries and criminal damage

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE have released an update in relation to the spate of burglaries in Milford Haven

34-year-old Thomas John Picton has been charged with two burglaries and criminal damage in the town.

He is, say police, suspected of being involved in a burglary carried out at Cohen’s pharmacy of November 26, another at Heaven Scent shop and criminal damage to a door at The Precinct on the same date.

He will appear before Llanelli Magistrates’ Courts this morning (Dec 3).

An arrest has also been made in relation to a more recent burglary at the Royal British Legion on December 11. He was also arrested on suspicion of possession of class A.B and C drugs. He has been released under investigation.

One suspect is outstanding.

Some 11 arrests have now been made in connection with a spate of burglaries that has targeted businesses and homes in the town.

Dyfed-Powys Police has vowed to continue to crack down on suspects and prevent further burglaries in the lead up to Christmas.

Sergeant Terri Harrison from Milford Haven’s Neighbourhood Policing team said: “Hopefully this arrest provides some reassurance to the public following recent burglaries in the town. One burglary is one too many, and we will ensure that it will remain a priority for us, ensuring that we bring as much patrol cover and preventative effort as we possibly can.

“We are also aware of the impact that burglaries can have on individual householders and businesses alike. Don’t make it easy for them, stay alert to your surroundings and report anything suspicious to police immediately no matter how insignificant it may seem. The report of a suspicious vehicle or people acting strangely in your neighbourhood can help us to prevent and detect crime. We need to work together to tackle this.”

Chief Inspector Harries added: “There has been a significant amount of work carried out by the Criminal Investigation Department, response officers and neighbourhood policing teams from across the county to tackle this rise in burglary offences. We are committed to maintaining patrols in the area and seek support from the community to report any concerns.”

If you would like further advice on home security you can contact your local Neighbourhood Policing Team on 101.

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Carmarthen West & South Pembs still blue as Hart increases majority

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SIMON HART has retained his Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire seat with an increased majority.

Polling over 22,000 votes, he comfortably saw off the challenge of Labour’s Marc Tierney, who recorded just shy of 14,500 votes.

Plaid’s Dr Rhys Thomas polled over 3,000 votes in third. Alistair Cameron of the Liberal Democrats finished fourth.

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Stephen Crabb demolishes Labour with his biggest ever majority

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POLLING the largest ever number of votes for the Conservatives in Preseli Pembrokeshire, Stephen Crabb increased his majority in yesterday’s General Election.

Mr Crabb polled 21,381 votes against his nearest rival’s (Labour’s Philippa Thompson) 16,319.

Plaid Cymru finished third with 2,776 votes and the Liberal Democrats trailed home in fourth with 1,943 votes.

After Returning Officer Ian Westley announced the outcome, Mr Crabb gave a notably short victory speech in which he concentrated on thanking his opponents for a good campaign fought hard but with little personal rancour.

Philippa Thompson called on Mr Crabb to work for the benefit of all his constituents in response.

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