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EU protects the Pembrokeshire Early Potato

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THE LAUNCH took place this week of the first crop of Pembrokeshire Early Potatoes to be protected by European law.

Under the European Union’s protected food name (PFN) scheme certain food and drink products receive Europe-wide legal protection against imitation and misuse in recognition of their distinctiveness, quality and provenance.

Pembrokeshire Early Potatoes were granted Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status at the end of 2013. The award has put the famous vegetable among other PFN protected food and drinks including Champagne, Parma Ham and Melton Mowbray Pork Pies, and on a par with fellow PGI products Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef.

The campaign was led by Haverfordwest-based majority farmer-owned company Puffin Produce Ltd – with the application for PGI status made to the European Commission on its behalf by DEFRA and with assistance from the Welsh Government.

As part of the first crop celebrations Alun Davies, Minister for Natural Resources and Food received some PGI protected Pembrokeshire Earlies – straight from the field.

Said Alun Davies, “I am delighted to see a great deal of hard work now coming to fruition. Gaining protected food name status is a fantastic achievement and yet again demonstrates the world class food Wales has to offer on both a domestic and international stage.

“Our new Food and Drink Action Plan will build on this success and seek to ensure that by working together we can deliver 30% growth in the Welsh Food and Drink sector by 2020.”

Pembrokeshire Earlies have been grown in the county’s fertile soils since the mid-1700s and it is one of the county’s most treasured products.

Through its ‘Blas Y Tir’ (Taste of the Land) brand, Puffin Produce has been spearheading the campaign to re-invigorate the place of the Pembrokeshire Early Potato on the plates of Wales and further afield.

Said Puffin Produce’s managing director, Huw Thomas, “The wait is now over and we are ready to start harvesting our PGI protected Pembrokeshire Early Potatoes – which will be delivered to stores over the coming weeks.

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Conservatives hold on to Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire seat

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THE CONSERVATIVES have held on to their Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire seat despite Labour closing the gap.

Sam Kurtz will take over the seat from the outgoing Angela Burns who held a majority of 3,400 at the last election.

This time, the gap was just 936 to Labour’s Hassan Riaz who picked up 10,304 votes.

Plaid Cymru’s Cefin Campbell picked up 6,615 votes.

The turnout in Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire was slightly up to 52.12% from 51.2% in 2016.

However, with a larger electorate thanks to votes for 16/17-year-olds, the number of votes cast went up by almost 3,000.

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Paul Davies re-elected as Conservatives hold Preseli Pembrokeshire

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PAUL DAVIES has been re-elected to represent the Preseli Pembrokeshire constituency.

He won with 12,295 votes, while there were 10,895 votes for Labour’s Jackie Jones.

Plaid Cymru candidate Cris Tomos gained just over 6,000 votes and there were also 1,239 for Reform UK candidate Alan Dennison.

There were over 3000 more votes cast in 2016, down largely in part to the fact that 16 and 17 year olds were able to vote in this election.

Both the Conservatives and Labour received more votes than before while the gap to Labour closed to just 1,400.

After being elected, Paul Davies said he would continue to ‘fight for Pembrokeshire’ and thanked those who had been involved in his campaign.

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Former Cardigan Castle director sentencing delayed

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THE SENTENCING of a former director of Cardigan Castle who has pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and theft totalling over £40,000 has been delayed.

Former director, Jac Davies, pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and theft was due to be sentenced on Wednesday (May 4) at Swansea Crown Court – but has now been delayed.

Davies who held the £40,000 a year post fraudulently obtained £33,098.75 and stole a further £7,932.97 from the award winning restoration project..

Davies held his position at Cardigan Castle from September 2017 to November 2019.

The defendant has pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining £4,143.20 from the castle on December 21, 2017.

Again Davies admitted to fraudulently obtaining £28,955.55 between February 4, 2019 and November 3, 2019.

Two further charges of theft were also admitted – one charge of  theft from the castle of £1,908.18 between May 2, 2018 and May 24, 2019 and a further charge of theft from Cardigan Castle Enterprises to the sum of £6,024.79.

Dyfed-Powys Police conducted a year long investigation after being contacted by the castle board of directors.

Financial discrepancies were identified during financial monitoring.

An internal investigation was launched and Davies left his position within the castle in October 2019 following a disciplinary process.

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