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School reassures parents after drugs incident

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pembrokesdrugsPEMBROKE SCHOOL has been seeking to reassure families following a serious incident involving drugs at the school. 

Headmaster Mr Frank Ciccotti wrote to all parents and guardians on Wednesday following seven students becoming unwell after experimenting with a legal high. Some students were treated at the scene, and others were taken to Withybush Hospital on May 14. Mr Ciccotti wrote: “I know that some parents are worried about drugs following the incident last week which had so much media attention. “I would like to reassure you that this was an isolated incident. One year 10 pupil had brought a ‘legal high’ into school to share with his group of friends at lunchtime. He bought this the previous evening in the local area, not on the school site. This group of 10 friends went to a secluded woodland area, a long way away from the school building, and shared the drug. “Unfortunately, one student had a very severe reaction to it. This was reported to us by responsible students. He was so unwell that we called for an ambulance and they in turn called the air ambulance as a precautionary measure, although ultimately it was not used to take him to hospital. “Together with all the pupils who had taken the drug, he was checked in hospital and released later that evening. All are now well. “All the pupils involved in this incident have received fixed term exclusions. This is our standard practice for the very few incidents involving drugs or alcohol on the school site. It is our way of sending a strong message that Pembroke School does not tolerate drugs and alcohol. “We also co-operate fully with the local police. For example, we recently agreed that the police could come to the school with drug sniffer dogs as a deterrent. This was not because we had an issue with drugs, as has been reported in some newspapers, but as part of a police initiative involving several local schools. It was a very effective exercise. “The police are talking to pupils in special assemblies this week, and I am emphasising to pupils that these drugs are not safe and that we take disciplinary action if ever pupils are found with drugs on site. “I hope this reassures you. Pembroke School takes a strong stand against drugs, and our PSE programme brings in expert speakers to emphasise the risks and dangers of both legal and illegal drugs.” This, however, was not the first letter to parents about drug use at the school, Mr Ciccotti wrote to parents at the beginning of April, warning that legal highs were being taken at the school. The April letter stated: “You will be aware that we are currently cooperating successfully with the police on a programme to raise awareness of illegal drugs. However, there are some problems we are currently facing with a small number of students using other substances which are not currently illegal. I am writing to make our position on these clear.” The letter added: “These are drugs which are often as dangerous as illegal drugs but which have not yet been classified. They result in the same outof- control behaviours and the same risks to students. We will treat them in the same way as illegal drugs both in relation to supply and consumption in school time.” Police attended the school to offer support and reassurance on the day after the incident. Officers carried out further inquiries at the school regarding the “psychoactive substance”. A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson said: “Although the majority were taken to Withybush Hospital as a precaution, none were admitted and soon returned to their parents. “Officers will be visited the school to provide advice, support and reassurance, and conduct further inquiries.” Police said so-called legal highs frequently contained substances that were not legal and could not be assumed safe. “These substances have not been properly tested to see how toxic they are to humans so there is no way of telling how a psychoactive drug will affect you,” added the spokesperson.

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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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Be a considerate neighbour during the coronavirus lockdown

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DURING the current lockdown, Pembrokeshire County Council has seen an increased number of complaints from members of the public who are affected by the actions of their neighbours.
While we are all largely confined to our homes, we ask householders to consider the impact of their actions on others, especially the elderly and vulnerable and those on night shifts.
During the first full week of lockdown we have seen some sunny, warmer weather. It has been ideal for spending time in the garden or on balconies but please be considerate and ensure your actions do not disturb your neighbours.
The Council wishes to stress that most activities will not be a problem but we would ask you to think about the volume of your music and the times that you are doing any DIY.

Music:
• consider the volume of any stereo equipment. If it can be heard beyond the boundary of your home/garden, it is too loud and needs to be turned down
• position any speakers indoors, pointing away from neighbouring properties
• don’t put speakers on party walls or floors
• don’t stand outside making noise on balconies or in gardens late at night

DIY:
• is the work noisy? Keep noisy work to a minimum and think about the hours you are undertaking this work. Try not to do this work late at night
• will the work cause any other issues such as dust problems? If outside please think about the wind direction
• is the work on shared walls where neighbours can hear? Consider the time of day when doing this work
• call neighbours and tell them about the work and how long for so they will be aware and can discuss any concerns they may have (they may be on night shifts)

Can I have a Bonfire?

We ask householders to be considerate and think about what you are burning. Serious harm is unlikely if exposure to bonfire smoke is brief but problems maybe caused for asthmatics, bronchitis sufferers, people with heart conditions and children.
Bonfire Guidelines:
When lighting a bonfire please follow the guidelines listed below to prevent causing problems with neighbours or causing a serious nuisance.
• only burn dry material, do not burn damp material – damp material is likely to smoulder and therefore produce more smoke. This will contain pollutants including carbon monoxide, dioxins and particles.
• never burn household rubbish, rubber tyres or anything containing plastic, foam or paint – this not only creates an unpleasant smell but also produces a range of poisonous compounds.
• never use old engine oil, meths or petrol to light the fire or to encourage it
• avoid lighting a fire in unsuitable weather conditions – smoke hangs in the air on damp still days and in the evening. If it is windy, smoke may be blown into neighbour’s gardens and across roads.
• avoid burning when air pollution in your area is high or very high. This information is included in weather forecasts, or you can check by ringing 0800 556677
• never leave a fire unattended or leave it to smoulder – douse it with water if necessary.
Dogs:
Dogs may bark because they are lonely. Constant barking or whining can be disturbing to your neighbours. A well-trained, happy dog will not bark unnecessarily. Please don’t leave dogs outside for long periods unattended. The lockdown is a great time to play with your dog and keep them entertained.

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