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Milford Haven: ​Jaw ​dropping discovery

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A SHARK being billed as the ‘largest fish to come out of Welsh waters’ was caught off Milford Haven on Tuesday (Jun 12).

A 324lb (147kg) porbeagle was caught by Phatcat Charters as they started their sharking season.

The porbeagle is a species of mackerel shark and is the UK’s biggest game fish. They typically reach 8.2ft (2.5m) in length and a weight of 298lb (135kg) making the 324lb shark a particularly large catch.

Mathew Burrett had made the long journey down from Scotland for his fourth trip out with Phatcat Charters, having a long battle with the fish reeling it in. After a few pictures, the fish was released to go on her way, as were another two porbeagles and two blue sharks.

Skipper Craig Dean said: “I’ve been told it was the largest fish to come out of Welsh waters. We didn’t realise how big it was until it was on the boat.”

Phatcat is a 10m Cougar catamaran, that provides charter fishing trips out of Milford Haven Marina from June to September, and Cardiff Marina the rest of the year.

They have been fishing in Milford Haven for roughly five years, with Skipper Craig Deans saying: “It has the best shark fishing in Europe, warm waters off the gulf stream which are also rich in nutrients.

“After the Welsh record thresher three years ago, and now this, it is putting Milford Haven on the map.”

Phatcat have a successful record in catching sharks, with 65 caught in a single day in the 2014 season, with weights in excess of 100lbs. Phatcat operates a strict catch and release policy when shark fishing in order to conserve stocks and to treat the creatures with respect. Barb-free hooks and a special hook extraction tool ensure the release of the shark is as pain-free as possible.

Alongside the porbeagle, blue sharks, makos and threshers have been caught off Milford Haven.

Craig Deans is the experienced charter boat skipper, who encourages anyone to try it, whether you are an experienced boat angler or a complete beginner. Trips leave from Milford Haven mackerel stage, Nelson Quay.

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Narberth: Two men wanted in connection with assault

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POLICE are investigating an allegation of assault which occurred just before 1pm on Wednesday (Aug 15) in  C.K.’s supermarket car park in Narberth.

A 61-year-old male was injured and checked over by the ambulance service.

The two male suspects are described as being 17/18 years old, one approx. 6ft tall with blonde hair and one a shorter, stocky built male. Both were wearing black hoodies.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or anyone with information that can help officers with their investigation is asked to report it by calling 101.

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

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Pembrokeshire rural crime team launched

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FROM investigating reports of agricultural theft, to helping ensure the mental health of farmers is supported, Dyfed-Powys Police’s newest rural crime team is set to tackle a host of issues in Pembrokeshire.

Coming from farming and horsing backgrounds in the county, with knowledge of the issues and concerns these communities face, PC Gerwyn Davies and PCSO Jude Parr are a perfect match for the role.

The Pembrokeshire rural crime team was officially launched at the Pembrokeshire County Show in Haverfordwest on Wednesday (Aug 15), where they spent time meeting farmers, visitors and rural organisations to inform them of the work to come.

The pair will cover the Pembrokeshire division, dealing with issues ranging from sheep worrying and livestock theft, to offering crime prevention advice and support. They will also work closely with agencies including the National Farmers’ Union, the Farmer’s Union of Wales and the Welsh Government.

Speaking about his new role, PC Davies said: “It’s something I’m looking forward to. I’m a farmer’s son, I was born and bred in north Pembrokeshire and I worked on farms while I was at school. I have the background knowledge of the issues faced by farmers, and having been a response officer for 14 years, I’d now like to be a face for this community and have the chance to make a difference.”

PCSO Parr has worked for Dyfed-Powys Police for 13 years – with nine of those spent on the rural neighbourhood policing team, covering a wide farming and coastal area. She received a commendation in 2009 for her work in establishing a Farm Watch scheme, which was followed by a Horse Watch and tack marking scheme.

She said: “I’m looking forward to having the time to dedicate to schemes like these as part of this new, exciting and much-needed role in the rural crime team.

“It’s all about forging links with farmers and the rural community. The trust had gone, and it’s essential that we build that back up. It’s about getting them to report to us and to talk to us. We want people to know that we are here, and we will listen to them, and most importantly that we care about the issues they face.”

The new team has come as a direct result of the force’s rural crime strategy, which was launched in November and committed to identifying named points of contact for rural crime matters, as well as developing the specialist rural skills and knowledge of its officers.

One of the team’s key roles is to impress on rural communities the importance of reporting crimes to police, so the force has a greater understanding of the scale of issues faced and is able to put plans in place to tackle them.

“I think there’s more of an issue than people report back to us,” PCSO Parr said. “People won’t report theft for example if it’s below a certain value as they don’t think it’s worth it, or that we can’t investigate it. We want people to know that’s not true, that we take all reports of crime seriously, and we will investigate.

“But our role is about more than crime. It’s also about things like mental health and vulnerabilities. Farming can be a very lonely occupation, and you can feel isolated, but people might not necessarily know where to look for help. We will be linking in with vets and people who see farmers on a regular basis so we can signpost those who need help and advice.”

PC Davies and PCSO Parr will undergo enhanced training with North Wales Police’s rural crime team later this month, with a mixture of classroom based learning and time on patrol with officers and PCSOs to get a feel for how the team operates.

PC Davies said: “It will be really interesting to see how the team in North Wales works as they have been running for five years now. They have different issues to us, but I’m sure we will be able to take a lot away from them. We are also looking at what our own team is doing in Ceredigion, and how they have worked over the past two months.”

A rural crime board has also been established in Pembrokeshire in conjunction with PLANED, which aims to increase the understanding of the issues impacting on rural communities, and through work with partner agencies, to agree priorities and jointly address the concerns that are having the greatest effect on rural life.

For further information about the rural crime board, contact Chief Inspector Amanda Diggens or Inspector Alan Millichip by calling 101.

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Pembrokeshire has second most public toilets in UK

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AS public toilet provision has declined over a number of years, it has been revealed that Pembrokeshire maintains the second most public toilets in the UK.

The BBC conducted research on the issue, contacting 430 councils and receiving data from 376. Under the Freedom of Information law, the BBC found that despite a growing population, since 2010, at least 673 public toilets across the UK have stopped being maintained by major councils.

The data showed that UK councils have stopped maintaining around 13% of public toilets in the past eight years, with 4,486 toilets currently run by major councils in the UK, down from 5,159 in 2010. 37 major councils do not provide any public conveniences.

The most public toilets maintained are by Highland Council with 92, followed by both Pembrokeshire and Gwynedd with 73.

Yet Pembrokeshire has still seen a reduction, having 92 in 2010. Ceredigion currently has 34 public toilets, a reduction of 14 in the past eight years, whilst Carmarthenshire County Council did not provide any data.

It is not a legal requirement for local authorities to provide toilets, but budget pressures mean that many councils look to close them.

Others have instead shifted responsibility to smaller parish or town councils, or even community groups that pay for the services through fundraising. These smaller councils then face the dilemma as to whether to close local toilets, or take them on and face a ‘toilet tax’ of business rates paid on the premises.

Yet many feel that whilst there is no legal requirement to provide access to public toilets, there is a moral responsibility.

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