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Mustang fights to stay afloat

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stay afloatOVER 100 jobs are at risk after Mustang Marine, the Pembroke Dock-based boat building facility, announced it could enter administration within days.

The plight of the troubled company was exclusively revealed in The Pembrokeshire Herald’s February 7 edition. It had been hoped that a cash inection involving the Welsh Government, Milford Haven Port Authority and a third party would keep Mustang afloat.

Managing Director Stewart Graves said:

“Unfortunately last week, after completing its review of the business, the external party withdrew its offer and without that party the long-term funding package could not proceed.

“The directors over the past few days have, with their professional advisers, sought other funding and are still trying to find a rescue package to secure the future of the business.

“It’s possible the company will go into administration later this week or early next week if a rescue package cannot be found.”

Mustang is currently taking professional advice from Grant Thornton, the international accountancy firm.Earlier this month Stewart Graves admitted that the business was growing extremely quickly and was therefore “tight for cash”.

He told the Herald on February 10: “There are no plans as we speak to call in the administrators to Mustang Marine Wales. “Our company is productively employing a hundred people and we have a pipeline of work to continue beyond the middle of the year.’

When asked at the time if the company was considering calling in the receivers, Mr Graves simply said: “No comment.”

In November the Herald reported on Economy Minister Edwina Hart opening a new construction hall at Mustang Marine as part of a planning expansion of the company. Mr Graves took over from Mr Kevin Lewis as managing Insolvency rumours denied director recently.

Chief Executive of the Port of Milford Haven, Alec Don told The Pembrokeshire Herald a few weeks ago:

“We are aware Mustang Marine is facing challenges as it undertakes two projects that are bigger than anything it has done before. We know these challenges have put some strain on their cash flow and appreciate this is concerning for local businesses. Mustang Marine is an important player in the local economy and we have been working hard with Mustang and with the Welsh Government to see the company through these challenges. It is important to point out that Mustang has a healthy order book and its customers are very impressed with its products. “

It now seems that the future is beak for the beleagured firm, who reportedly owe local businesses hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council, Councillor Jamie Adams, said:

“This is a sad day for the employees of Mustang Marine and their families who now have to go through some days of uncertainty. I have the utmost sympathy for them.

“It was only a few months ago, in November, that the prospects for the company seemed so rosy with the Economy Minister Edwina Hart travelling to Pembroke Dock to open Mustang Marine’s new £1.5 million boat building construction hall.

“It was hailed as a new dawn for boat building in the town and I hope that a rescue package can still be put together even at this late hour.”

Councillor Adams said that the County Council’s Futureworks and Workdays teams would be contacting the company to arrange to meet staff and help them to find alternative employment should the company fail in the next few days.

Practical help which can be given includes identifying any future training needs which could assist in securing work or advice on compiling CVs.

Councillor Adams added: “We will be working in close collaboration with other agencies such as Jobcentre Plus to offer as much support as we can.”

Alec Don told The Pembrokeshire Herald yesterday:

“We are deeply concerned by news of a potential appointment of an Administrator to the business of Mustang Marine (Wales) Limited. As a 50% shareholder in the business, we have been and will continue to be working with the company and other stakeholders to see if a solution can be found that ensures this business can continue to operate. “An external third party did have a fully agreed package of support from the Welsh Government and the Port and it is disappointing that the third party decided not to proceed.

“We understand this situation is causing anxiety for the staff at Mustang. We need to remain positive that Mustang Marine will find a way through current challenges and that it will come out of this as a reinvigorated business with a sound plan.

“As a Trust Port we are committed to focussing on our core mission which is the operation and development of the port as well as to encourage and promote jobs and economic growth in the region. We will continue to work hard with Mustang Marine’s management and any Administrator to that end.”

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Police urge visitors to stay safe and respect Wales as travel ban is lifted

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POLICE are urging visitors to say safe and respect Wales as they get set to welcome visitors this weekend.

Dyfed-Powys Police has issued a message to people preparing to travel to mid and west Wales after the requirement to stay local was lifted on Monday (Jul 6), asking them to be safe, sensible and respectful.

With people now able to travel around Wales and to cross the border into the country, coupled with a fine weather forecast, police are expecting visitors to arrive in droves to enjoy the Dyfed-Powys area.

Temporary Chief Inspector Andy Reed said: “We are very lucky to police beautiful areas across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys, which attract thousands of visitors every week over the summer months.

“With restrictions having been in place since March, we understand that people are now keen to venture further afield and enjoy the beaches, mountains and countryside they’ve missed, and are anticipating a busy weekend ahead.

“Our officers look forward to welcoming you, and will be here if you need any help, but we ask that you help us by being respectful of the areas you visit, and by planning your journey before you set off.”

For anyone travelling to areas they are not familiar with, police are recommending that they plan their route in advance, check traffic updates regularly online and by listening to local radio stations, and be prepared to turn around or reroute if necessary.

T/CI Reed said: “Many of the areas that are popular with tourists aren’t served by main roads, but by B roads that can become backlogged very quickly.

“Nobody wants to spend hours stuck in traffic when they could be enjoying a day out, and there are ways to avoid this.

“If you’re heading to the beach in Pembrokeshire, for example, don’t set your sights on one place. Make a list of beaches you could visit, and be prepared to change your plans if you hit traffic off the main road.

“If you’re planning a hike in the Brecon Beacons, take a look at a few different walking routes – there are plenty of options besides Pen y Fan, which frequently gets overrun on sunny weekends and can cause problems on the roads with high volumes of traffic and parked cars.”

Over the past three months, Dyfed-Powys Police has implemented Operation Dovecote – an engagement, encouragement, education and enforcement approach to ensuring people adhered to the restrictions. With the ease in regulations, officers across the force will take a different approach this weekend – engaging with visitors, clamping down on antisocial behaviour and working with partner agencies to ensure places are left as they were found.

T/CI said: “Our officers will be out and about across the force, making sure everyone is staying safe and respectful. With that in mind, we ask that you be mindful of people who live in the areas you are visiting by acting responsibly – we will not tolerate antisocial or illegal behaviour that will impact on them or other tourists.

“Please park considerately, leave gates and property as you find them, be careful with barbecues and don’t light fires, keep dogs under control, and check what facilities will be open before you start your journey.

“We will be working closely with partners to protect beaches, countryside and waterways – you can help us by making sure you take all your rubbish and belongings with you, and leaving no trace of your visit.”

If you need to report an incident while visiting the Dyfed-Powys area, you can use one of the following options: Online: bit.ly/DPPReportOnline, Email: contactcentre@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk or Call 101

If you are Deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Always call 999 in an emergency

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Former teacher to stand trial accused of Pembroke Castle Novichok hoax

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A FORMER teacher accused of carrying out a Novichok hoax at a Pembroke Castle following the Salisbury poisonings has appeared in court.

John ap Evans, 66, from Pembroke, is accused of putting bottles of a hoax noxious substance in Pembroke Castle five times during July 2018.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard two bottles labelled “Novichok” were placed in Wogan’s Cavern at the castle.

He denied the charges on Wednesday, telling Westminster Magistrates’ Court that he wanted to appear at crown court to “explain to the judge what happened”.

The discovery of the bottles caused fear and the castle was evacuated, the court heard.

More were placed later in the month before police set up a covert camera.

Evans, who gave his address as Northgate Street, Pembroke, represented himself.

He was released on unconditional bail until his trial at the Old Bailey on July 24.

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Call to be respectful in the countryside

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WITH further reductions of lockdown restrictions expected over coming weeks, those planning to get out and enjoy Pembrokeshire are being asked to be respectful to the countryside.

Pembrokeshire has some of the most stunning countryside and coastline in Wales and is easily explored by the Coastal Path or the network of inland paths that crisscross the county.

At this time of year it is particularly beautiful. The hedgerows and coastal slopes are bursting with flowers and birds and wildlife are in abundance.

However, the countryside is also a busy, working place. Crops are growing and livestock are out in the fields.

You may see Pembrokeshire potatoes being harvested along with silage and hay being made ready for winter.

Please be aware when using Rights of Way in the countryside that you are crossing private land.

Whilst most of the paths are open some may still have advisory signs on them. There will be good reasons for this and we request that you respect landowners’ privacy and business.

During normal times routes are normally unrestricted, but at present there are some routes that aren’t available.

Therefore please follow and observe any signs you may come across.

Please be courteous and take particular care where the route passes through the curtilage of private residences or through working farm yards.

Be considerate and try to use an alternative waymarked route where possible.

The countryside is a working environment and visitors need to be aware of the following:

• Follow any diversion signs provided by landowner.

• Keep a safe distance from other people and use wide areas to pass each other safely.

• Respect landowners as they may be self-isolating or have vulnerable people living with them.

• Ensure dogs are kept on a short lead, but beware of livestock as they may chase your dog.

• Do not let your dog come into contact with other dogs or livestock.

• Clean up after your dog – do not leave dog fouling bags behind, please take your bags home with you.

• Keep to the line of the path, do not allow your dog to run free through crops or chase livestock.

• Ensure gates are not left open allowing livestock to escape

• Respect the property and business you are passing through.

• Keep away from livestock and watch out for farm machinery.

• As part of good personal hygiene always wash your hands after visiting the countryside, take your litter and any used masks or gloves home with you so you can dispose of them safely.

Please respect and look after each other and safely enjoy beautiful Pembrokeshire.

Rights of Way issues can be reported to either Pembrokeshire County Council or the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

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