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Milford Haven: Homeless man back in prison after cannabis arrest

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A HOMELESS man, who had become a recognisable character on the streets of Milford Haven, dressed in his trademark army gear, was arrested on Tuesday night (May 8), for possession of cannabis.

Police were seen speaking to the Big Issue seller on Hamilton Terrace at around 6pm.

The 39-year-old, who calls himself ‘Craig Jones’ or ‘CJ’, wore a day-to-day outfit which included a helmet, stab vest, combat fatigues, and field boots. However, subsequent to his arrest his true identity been confirmed as Charles James McBride.

The PATCH charity volunteer had been squatting in the crazy golf cabin at the top of the Rath until recently, when he was evicted and the structure secured by owner Pembrokeshire County Council.

In the short time that he had been in the Milford Haven area he was known by a large number of locals, including the mayor, a county councillor, the editor of this newspaper, and had found himself a girlfriend on the Mount Estate.

But what no one knew was that behind his new name was a hidden past.

Ipswich Crown Court heard in February 2014 how Charles McBride bound and gagged his girlfriend, 27-year-old Melissa Cousins, and then kept her prisoner for five hours, as he believed she was possessed by demons.

The pair, who had been living in a World War 2 bunker near Lowestoft, had been in a relationship for two years prior to the incident.

McBride, the court heard, threatened to break her arms if she didn’t comply. She was ‘scared and frightened and crying’ as he tied her hands together with shoelaces, and then tied her legs together with tape and string.

With Cousins tied up, he then zipped her in her sleeping bag and recited extracts from the Bible.

McBride was diagnosed by a psychiatrist as having a severe mixed personality disorder, and that he genuinely believe she had been possessed by demons.

He said: “It didn’t entitle him to act in that way but his genuine belief was that he was acting in her best interests.”

Ms Cousins later withdrew her statement to police.

McBride was jailed for six years, with an extended licence of five years.

PATCH Charity manager Tracy Olin said she was both shocked and heartbroken to hear about CJ’s past and that he had was in Swansea Prison.

McBride was seen regularly outside Tesco selling copies of The Big Issue, as well as being a regular volunteer at PATCH.

He had been helping by giving out balloons at the recent Herald family fun day, and was seemingly well liked in the town.

Following that, the owner of a disused building had given him a roof over his head, but he had been struggling for money after his Big Issue vendor licence had been revoked, following an argument with Tesco management.

Herald editor Tom Sinclair said: “It is obvious that mental health issues were the reason behind the original offence. It is a shame that in mental health awareness week CJ is back in jail for having some cannabis on him. It is my understanding that he smoked this to keep his condition under control but he will now be in prison for at least six months.”

“I had allowed CJ to keep warm by staying at the Working Men’s Club which I am currently renovating”

McBride will be in court in Haverfordwest on May 29.

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Pharmacy burglars smashed through ceiling

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THE POLICE have issued a warning following a burglary at a chemist in Milford Haven in which a large quantity of controlled drugs were stolen.

Dyfed-Powys Police is investigating the break-in Charles Street, which took place overnight on Wednesday, July 18.

Controlled drugs including boxes of diazepam and zopiclone, and bottles of oramorph were taken.

The pharmacist told The Herald: “We are open for business as usual despite a large amount of stock being taken, which in addition to what the police have listed also included codeine.

“We are having more stock delivered shortly so are able to meet our orders with customers.

“The criminals broke into the pharmacy, which is very secure all around, from the ceiling – they came in from the flat above the shop.”

“We are all very upset and find this distressing. This is the first time that anything like this has happened.”

Sergeant Andy Williams told The Herald: “A substantial amount of medication has been taken, many of which have the potential to cause harm if taken incorrectly.

“We are advising people to be aware in case the stolen items are discarded in a public place.”

Anyone with information about the break-in, who finds a quantity of drugs, or is offered any of the drugs named above, is urged to contact police by calling 101, quoting reference 64 of July 19.

Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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Council and teaching union come to agreement over possible redundancies

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL and The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) have come to an agreement about the possibility of potential redundancies from Sir Thomas Picton and Tasker Milward staff.

Last month, nearly 100 teachers were involved in a strike over fears of job losses as the two schools merge to form a new one – Haverfordwest High VC School, which will open in September.

Now, both sides have come to an agreement that there will be no compulsory redundancies before the end of the 2019/2020 academic year.

A spokesperson for Pembrokeshire County Council said: “Following discussions with the Conciliation service ACAS regarding the dispute at Sir Thomas Picton and Tasker Milward schools, Pembrokeshire County Council and NASUWT -The Teacher’s Union – have reached agreement regarding any potential redundancies at the schools.

“Both sides look forward to working together in future for the benefit and wellbeing of the pupils.

“It has been agreed that there will be no compulsory redundancies before the end of the academic year 2019/2020.”

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Milford Haven: Five recognised for making a difference

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THE ACHIEVEMENTS of five hard-working women who have made a huge difference in their community in Milford Haven have been recognised nationally in the TPAS Cymru awards.

Sarah Howlin, Kimberly Phillips, Leeanna Povey, Linda Rose and Catrin Tattersall won third place in the Community Action category for their work on the Mount Estate.

Together, as the Mount Estate Play and Participation Team (MEPPT), they provide free weekly play sessions for families in a friendly and welcoming environment at the Orchard Community Centre.

There is a wide selection of toys and games together with a number of art and craft activities and a fire pit where families can chat and toast marshmallows.

On behalf of the team, Leeanna and Catrin attended the gala awards ceremony in Cardiff where they were presented with the award.

Leeanna said the team’s first reaction to hearing they’d been shortlisted was to burst out laughing.

“It’s not the sort of news you’re used to having,” she said. “Two of us went to the ceremony and we were both nervous wrecks and didn’t know what to expect, but everyone was lovely and we are a very happy household!”

Leeanna said the number attending the playgroup varies from week to week, with numbers up to 50 sometimes.

“It’s very rewarding,” she said. “Part of what we’re trying to do is to get the community together; there’s lots here for families to do, you can have a gas and if there’s something wrong we’re here for each other.”

She added that the team are keen to share their experience and will be attending Playday at Scolton Manor on Wednesday, August 1 to talk to others who are thinking of setting up similar groups.

Before launching the play sessions, MEPPT undertook a number of accredited courses, with help from Learning Pembrokeshire and the Council’s Learning and Development team. They have also been supported by Dyfed Powys Police and Milford Haven Town Council.

Damian Golden, Play Sufficiency Officer at Pembrokeshire County Council, supports the group along with Nia Davies, with training, grants and funding advice. He said he was delighted their work had been recognised.

“I’ve worked in this sector for many years and their journey is something very special indeed,” he said. “They really are changing things in their community. What they’ve achieved is extraordinary. It doesn’t happen every day.

“This award is important in that it cements their self-worth and is empowering – knowing that they have the strength to change things.”

Cllr Josh Beynon, County Councillor for Pembroke Dock (Llanion ward) is among those impressed by their work.

He said: “It’s a great testament to the parents who run the play activities on the Mount Estate to be taking home a national award from TPAS.

“Through their hard work they have proved that they are able to bring together a community and I hope they have inspired other communities across Pembrokeshire to undertake similar pieces of work to help those who need it.”

Nia Davies, County Council Housing Customer Liaison Officer, submitted the award nomination to TPAS along with Damian Golden.

She said: “This is a first for a Pembrokeshire County Council group to be nominated and awarded a national TPAS Social Housing Participation Award and I can think of no one more deserving than MEPPT!

“I hope other parents are inspired by this amazing group and are encouraged to do the same as it really does provide invaluable benefits to all members of the community.”

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