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Wrongful arrest sparks struggle

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A NARBERTH man was given a 12-month conditional discharge after he pleaded guilty to resisting a police officer in his duty. 

Haverfordwest Magistrates also ordered Daniel Edwards, aged 20, of Garfield Avenue, to pay court costs and a victim surcharge totalling £100. Prosecutor Ellie Morgan said: “At 2am on April 3, a police officer questioned Edwards for an unrelated offence. “Edwards resisted arrest and grabbed the officers’ jacket saying ‘I could spark you out’. “They were struggling to control him but eventually they managed to calm him down and get the handcuffs on him”. Solicitor Laura Sherwood said: “He accepts that his conduct was unacceptable but says that he had drunk some alcohol during that evening. “However, he was being arrested for an offence that he was convinced he did not commit and this turned out to be the case. “He does accept that by struggling, he was resisting the officers”.

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Pembrokeshire County Council housing services update

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FOLLOWING the most recent Government guidance, Pembrokeshire County Council’s housing department has had to cut back on all face-to-face meetings and home visits.
Staff are still working to support tenants, those who are homeless and those who are on the Choice Homes waiting list but they have had to make changes to some of those services.
Choice Homes Allocation Scheme

• allocations under the Choice Homes Scheme have now been suspended for the time being. Instead the focus will be on working with the Housing Associations and businesses to identify, match and prepare properties for those in an emergency situation. This includes the suspension of Mutual Exchanges and Transfers.
• customers can still complete housing applications but there may be a delay in these being responded to as the Council prioritises other areas. If customers wish to discuss their housing application they should call: 01437764551 or email: haalloc@pembrokeshire.gov.uk
• if customers have any information to add to their housing application, they are asked to email a picture or a scanned copy of it to: haalloc@pembrokeshire.gov.uk and where possible avoid sending anything in the post.

Homelessness

Staff are available to give advice and assistance over the telephone to those who may be at risk of becoming homeless in the near future.
Demand remains high for this service and given the current circumstances and any landlords who are interested in working with the Housing Department to supply accommodation for those in an emergency situation are asked to get in touch.
Accommodation will need to be fully self-contained and furnished to include cooking and washing facilities in order for people to self-isolate where necessary. To enquire, please email: haalloc@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

Emergency Legislation has been introduced which bans both social and private landlords from starting possession proceedings to evict tenants for at least the next three months.
Support has also been introduced to home owners and landlords in the form of a three-month mortgage payment holiday if they are struggling to meet payments as a result of COVID-19 outbreak.
If you are homeless and need advice, contact the duty team by emailing: housingadvice@pembrokeshire.gov.uk or phoning: 01437 764551 and asking for the housing advice team.

Current Tenants

The housing department will continue to provide advice and support to tenants by telephone for emergency tenancy issues only.
It is in the process of identifying tenants who may be vulnerable and in need of additional support during this time. If you are a tenant who may need additional support, please let us know so that we can link you in with the essential services that you need.
You can also access the Community Hub on: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-communityinformation/i-need-some-help or call: 01437 776301
Housing staff is also asking tenants to let them know if they are in self-isolation or displaying any symptoms so that we can ensure staff safety in the event of an emergency.
Please email: tenman@pembrokeshire.gov.uk or call 01437 764551 and ask to speak to the Tenancy Management Team.

Sheltered Housing Schemes

The department has taken several measures to support and comply with the Government guidance for self-isolation and social distancing within our Sheltered Housing schemes.
• communal lounges have been closed
• tenants have been advised that they must socially isolate themselves.
• wardens are available via phone or email to support tenants and ensure they have access to food, medication and essential services
• tenants are advised to only allow essential visitors to their property (or example to deliver food, medication etc)
• always keep two metres separation from people
The Council is concerned that some residents and visitors are not adhering to the strict government guidance and would plead to keep themselves and others safe by maintaining isolation during this period.

Anyone who is a Sheltered Housing tenant, or concerned about a Sheltered Housing tenant who may need help and assistance during this time, can contact the warden for the scheme or call: 01437 764551 and ask to speak to the Housing Customer Liaison team.
Building Maintenance Service
Our Maintenance teams are working hard to make sure we can respond to emergency repairs only, which should be reported as normal. All other repairs that involve social contact have been suspended.
All customers reporting repairs are asked to inform the department if they are self-isolating or showing symptoms of the virus so that staff and customers alike can be protected
We will keep you updated in the coming weeks as we react to the evolving situation.
Paying Rent
It is important that tenants continue paying their rent where possible, either via the automated phone line on 01437 775164 or by paying online through: https://myaccount.pembrokeshire.gov.uk
If customers need advice or assistance regarding paying their rent, they can email: revenue.services@pembrokeshire.gov.uk
For tenants who are worried about paying their rent or who are in financial difficulty, they may be entitled to help to pay their housing costs through Universal Credit or Housing Benefit depending on their circumstances. To find out about the financial support available, go to: www.GOV.UK or for Housing Benefit and Council Tax enquiries, email: revenue.services@pembrokeshire.gov.uk
If customers require additional support with this, Citizens Advice are continuing to support customers online and via telephone. Local Advice line number is: 01437 806070.
Opening times are: Tuesday and Thursday: 10 am to 5 pm and Wednesday: 10 am to 5.30 pm. Further information is available at: www.pembscab.org

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Police turn away caravans and campervans heading for Pembrokeshire

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PEMBROKESHIRE is currently closed to visitors’ is the message from Dyfed-Powys Police as officers work to prevent the spread of Coronavirus within the county.

Despite the Prime Minister placing the UK under lockdown on Tuesday (March 24), some people continue to flout the rules and are still treating the area as a holiday destination.

Sergeant Hamish Nichols, of Dyfed-Powys Police, said patrols conducted over the last two days had resulted in more than 200 reminders to the public about what currently counts as ‘essential travel’.

“Yesterday we turned away numerous caravans and camper vans whose owners were travelling to Pembrokeshire to self-isolate,” said Sgt Nichols.

“We have also spoken to two campsite owners who have been open for business, and have issued stern advice to them and to all holidaymakers.

“While the majority of local people have taken the government guidelines seriously too many people seem to think the rules do not apply to them.

“The message is clear – this is a lockdown, not a holiday, and anyone who ignores the current restrictions not only puts people’s lives in danger but also risks further action being taken against them.”

Patrols of beaches, coastal areas, and other public spaces will continue this weekend, with officers also conducting increased stop checks on roads across the force area.

Where members of the public refuse to listen to advice, officers will be able to issue penalty notices of £30, which if not paid within 14 days double to £60.

Individuals who do not pay a fixed penalty notice could be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose further fines.

If an individual continues to refuse to comply, they will be acting unlawfully, and the police may arrest them.

“Enforcement is a last resort, and officers will always apply their common sense and discretion to every situation,” said Sgt Nichols.

“But the powers are now available and we will use them if we have to.”

Chief Inspector Louise Harries added: “Our staff are working tirelessly in already difficult times and I ask that people adhere to the simple rules set.

“This will enable us to put our resources towards supporting all agencies in response to this crisis and continuing to protect our communities and victims.”

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Bluestone National Park Resort is to become a COVID-19 recovery centre

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Bluestone National Park Resort is to become a Recovery Centre for patients in Pembrokeshire, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the wake of the ongoing public health emergency, part of Bluestone’s extensive facilities, as well as open spaces, will be utilised to help treat those in need and those recovering from the virus. Bluestone is joining a local, regional, and national effort to do everything possible to prepare for the unfolding outbreak – and ultimately save as many lives as possible.

Bluestone provides a significant addition to the resources and facilities of Hywel Dda University Health Board, which is responsible for the health and wellbeing of the residents of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.

Members of the Bluestone Team will continue to provide security and management of some of the facilities on the site, while the Health Board will manage the addition of medical resources, and Pembrokeshire County Council will lead work on the site. The details of additional personnel required to support the effort, under the full guidance of the Health Board, are currently being worked up, and the facility will available to those in need as soon as possible.

Dr Phil Kloer, Medical Director and Deputy Chief Executive at Hywel Dda, said: “We have followed the situation in Italy closely to learn where possible and to help our planning. Our European colleagues have provided feedback that patient flow and throughput is a critical factor in response to COVID-19 pressures. Delivering these additional beds for patients will therefore be essential to help us manage patient flow over the coming weeks. We are extremely grateful for all of the support that we are receiving from Bluestone and Pembrokeshire County Council to help make this happen and am confident this facility will offer a good environment in which our patients can recover.”

Speaking following the announcement, William McNamara, CEO of Bluestone said: “We are living and operating in previously unimaginable circumstances. It is moments like these that it’s vital we come together to support each other – as family, as friends and as a community.

“It is right that Bluestone is utilised in this time of great national need. We all want – and need – to do whatever we can to make a difference and contribute to tackling the unfolding coronavirus emergency.

“Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with those who are personally affected by this unfolding situation.”

Cllr David Simpson, Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council, added: ”We are very grateful to William and the Bluestone Team for coming forward and making the Bluestone site available. The facilities are going to provide significant additional resources to the local area as we battle the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

“I know that this is an uncertain and worrying time for residents across Pembrokeshire and Hywel Dda. The community is doing a truly heartening job of pulling together – and we will get through this together.”

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