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Don’t come to Pembrokeshire

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AS THE Bank Holiday weekend approaches, visitors and second home-owners are being urged to continue to stay away from Pembrokeshire.

The message from the Destination Pembrokeshire Partnership is that the County will still be here once the crisis is over.

Confusion has been caused by the difference between the advice given by senior police officers in England on permitted travel for leisure and Welsh Government rules. The Welsh Government has kept the lockdown tighter in Wales to delay and suppress the spread of COVID-19 into Wales’ popular tourist areas, overwhelmingly situated in rural West and North Wales. So far, that strategy has largely proven successful; however, growing discontent at the lockdown’s restrictions in England could – it is feared – cause a spike in travel over the delayed Bank Holiday weekend.

The UK broadcast and print media’s reporting of a projected relaxation of the lockdown in England could also lead to an influx of travellers to Wales. Some English right-wing tabloids have stoked expectations, while misinformation on social media and a few crackpots appear determined to push the limits.

“Pembrokeshire is a beautiful place and when the time is right, we will welcome you. But that time is not now,” said Cllr David Simpson, Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council.

“My thanks go to all those who have observed the restrictions and stayed at home so far.”

The Chairman of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, Cllr Paul Harries, added: “Pembrokeshire has earned its reputation as one of the UK’s leading tourist destinations, so it doesn’t come naturally to ask visitors to stay away.
“However, protecting our rural communities is our priority right now and this can only be achieved by adhering to Government guidelines.

“We are urging people to remain patient, to stay at your primary home and only visit when the time is right.”
Jane Rees-Baynes, Chair of Pembrokeshire Tourism, said there was still ‘a lot of concern within the sector that people will be tempted to visit our beautiful area despite it being unlawful to do so’.

“We urge you in the strongest possible terms not to travel to Pembrokeshire this bank holiday,” she said.
“We will be here ready and waiting to welcome you back when the restrictions have been lifted and it is safe to return.”

Together with Dyfed Powys Police, Pembrokeshire County Council has written to some 6,000 owners of holiday homes (including second homes and holiday lets) at their primary address, urging them to remain where they are.

“The single most important action to stop the infection spreading, to reduce the pressure on our stretched emergency services and ultimately to save lives is for everyone to stay at home,” reads the letter, signed by Chief Executive Ian Westley and Chief Constable Mark Collins and supported by Dyfed Powys Local Resilience Forum.

It adds: “The response from both the public and businesses has on the whole been exceptional, with the majority of people acting in the interests of our communities, notwithstanding the extreme challenges that this can present. We are therefore grateful for the commitment and sacrifices made.

“However, over the period that the ‘lockdown measures’ have been in force, we have received reports of people arriving at various properties in the County to take up occupation – allegedly in contravention of the restrictions. If correct, this risks compromising the disease control measures and puts lives at risk.”

Iwan Thomas, Chief Executive of PLANED, added: “Our communities across Pembrokeshire have respected and worked within the lockdown guidelines. However, there is a growing nervousness of potential visitors from elsewhere at this current time, who could expose our population to external risks which would be unfair and unwelcome during the lockdown.
“We need to prioritise the protection and safeguarding of our communities at this time, and then welcome visitors again, only when it is safe to do so.”
The Destination Pembrokeshire Partnership is made up of Pembrokeshire County Council, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, Pembrokeshire Tourism and PLANED.

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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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