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Protesters block access to Valero Refinery and Pembroke Power Station

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WORKERS making their way to Pembroke Power Station and Valero oil refinery were unable to get to work on Thursday morning (Sept 19) due to the actions of climate change protesters from Extinction Rebellion

Before dawn a handful of protesters laid on the only road to the sites, and joined themselves together with a ‘new design’ of concrete encased handcuffs.

As dawn broke the police arrived – as hundreds of vehicles, mostly belonging to refinery and power station workers, got caught up in a long tail back reaching nearly all the way back to Pembroke.

With a large banner saying “No future in fossil fuels” by their side, the protesters argued with police and security officers.

Once officer asked: “Who is going to pay for this shut down today, these workers just want to do their jobs to put clothes on their children’s backs.”

A protester replied: “Can I just remind you that we are not here for the refinery staff, ask yourself, who is going to pay for a second planet.”

On Facebook activist April Griefsong said: “Nonviolent direct action inspires some awkward and difficult dialogue.

“We are not here to have arguments or disrupt local lives – and it is still necessary and needed to take a stand for life.”

Another protester, Dan, from Llandeilo, said: “We take this action today because the government, big business and general populace are not moving away from fossil fuels fast enough.

“The government declared a climate emergency and has so far not committed beyond words. Everyone needs to act now before it is too late.

“We know that the future of the planet is at stake if we do not take action to stop the flow of oil. Tomorrow is a general strike to protest about the climate crisis and shutting down this refinery is part of that.

“It is time to work together to slow the tumorous growth of consumption. For the sake of all future generations and all life forms, we are acting now.”

Dan added: “We are ordinary people in Wales taking a stand, lying down. There is no future in fossil fuels.”

A police spokesman said: “Dyfed-Powys Police received a report of a group of people blocking entrances to the Valero Refinery in Pembroke at around 5.45am on Thursday, September 19.

“It has been established the group are Extinction Rebellion protesters.

“The protest is currently peaceful but is causing significant disruption to local traffic at the Valero site. No arrests have been made.

“Police officers are at the scene and working with partner agencies to minimise disruption to communities and ensure the safety of everyone involved.

“The right of free speech and protest is the right of everyone, however, officers will take necessary action against those who deliberately choose to act outside the law.

“For those who have to make journeys in the area, police advise you to avoid the area if possible or use alternative routes.”

A refinery spokesman played down the protest saying: “Valero can confirm that a peaceful protest is taking place on public roads on the approach to the refinery.

“The plant continues to operate in a safe and reliable manner without impact.”

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Drug drive arrest following routine check

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A MALE has been arrested following a positive roadside test.

The vehicle, which was stopped this morning, June 6, by the Pembrokeshire Road Policing Unit (Pembrokeshire RPU) was part of a routine check.

Traffic officers suspected the driver may be under the influence after smelling cannabis coming from the vehicle.

A roadside drug test was performed with a positive result with the drugswab provided. A small quantity of cannabis was also found inside the vehicle.

The cannabis was seized and the driver was arrested, later released under investigation, pending the male’s blood test result for the drug drive offence, out of court disposal for the possession.

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Campers from Cardiff sent packing

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PEMBROKESHIRE Road Policing Unit (Pembrokeshire RPU) have this morning, June 5, reported nine individuals for breaching coronavirus regulations.

The occupants of the three vehicles, all from the Cardiff area, had moved barriers that had been in place to close off the carpark to the public and set up camp for the night.

A Pembrokeshire RPU spokesperson said ‘Three vehicles from the Cardiff area located at Abereiddy this morning.

“The occupants of the vehicles, who’d travelled down overnight, had moved the barriers that had been used to close the car park. Having done so they then set up camp nearby.

“All nine persons present were reported for breaching coronavirus regulations. One was further dealt with by means of an out of court disposal for possession of cannabis.

“Rubbish cleaned up, car park closure reinstated, vehicles escorted out of Pembs.”

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Police urge visitors to ‘check the rules’

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POLICE in Powys are reminding people to check the rules before they travel, as tourists from the Midlands, London and Bristol continue to visit despite lockdown restrictions.

Last weekend more than 1,000 cars were turned around by police in the Brecon Beacons after visitors attempted to access the area around Ystradfellte known as ‘waterfall country’.

Many of those stopped claimed they thought the rules around travel were the same as in England, while others had deliberately flouted them.

Seventy-two per cent of people reported for breaches of Covid-19 restrictions in Powys since March 27 have been from outside the police force area.

“I would like to thank the communities of Powys for their cooperation in recent months in complying with requirements of the Covid 19 legislation and also reassure them we are still working hard with our partners to police the restrictions that remain in place across Wales,” said Superintendent Steve Davies.

“Our officers have worked hard to engage with the public at every opportunity throughout these unprecedented times by explaining what we are doing and why, and encouraging people to make the best choices to protect public health in Wales.

“But where people have clearly flouted the rules we have dealt with them appropriately and issued fines.”

He said officers will continue to conduct stop checks throughout Powys and across the force area this weekend.

In England, people can now travel an unlimited distance for exercise and to access so-called ‘beauty spots’.

But the Welsh Government has said people must remain local – ideally not travelling further than five miles from their home – for exercise or limited leisure pursuits, and this also applies to anyone travelling across the border.

Wales’ three national parks – which include popular sites such as Snowdon, the Elan valley and the Pembrokeshire coast – currently remain closed to the public, as do all National Trust car parks and properties.

The latest Welsh Government advice is available at gov.wales/coronavirus.

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