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Pembrokeshire lifesavers go the extra mile during lockdown

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LOYAL blood donors in Pembrokeshire have responded to a request from the Welsh Blood Service to ‘donate differently’ by rolling up their sleeves to make a lifesaving donation at one of the Service’s new regional hubs.

Across Wales, of the 6,234 individuals that visited a Welsh Blood Service donation session last month, almost two thirds (65%) of donors attended a clinic that was not their usual donation venue.

In Pembrokeshire, 598 donors came forward to give blood in April, with 72 attending a donation session for the very first time.

Following a series of Covid-19 related venue cancellations and social distancing restrictions, the Welsh Blood Service was unable to host donation sessions at the thirty community venues it would typically visit across Wales each week.

The Service introduced a new collections schedule at the beginning of April which saw collections taken from five regional donation hubs at different locations in Wales each week. Donors were asked to travel to donate at their nearest hub.

Alan Prosser, Director of the Welsh Blood Service, said: “When it became clear we couldn’t continue with business as usual, we knew we’d have to ask donors to donate differently. Our regional donation hubs have replaced our usual local collections programme and the response from donors has been remarkable.

“100% of the appointments we’ve made available since lockdown have been taken and 65% of these appointments have been taken by donors who have been prepared to go even further out of their way than they usually would just to make a potentially lifesaving donation.”

The Service has also observed a sharp rise in the number of new donors coming forward to donate.

Mr Prosser continued: “In April 2019, around 12% of those that attended our donation sessions were new donors. This April, around 17% of our attendance has been people who had never given before.

“We’ve also see a surge in the number of donors who haven’t given in years returning to our sessions to help us boost stocks. It’s been amazing and we’re hugely grateful.”

Blood stocks in Wales have remained healthy throughout the pandemic as the reduced collections activity has mirrored a reduction in the volume of blood used by hospitals. However, the Service is urging donors to continue to attend their local sessions as and when lockdown restrictions are lifted.

“Blood stocks are currently very healthy thanks to the commitment of new and existing donors but we need people to keep giving blood to ensure we can continue to meet hospital demand in the coming months. Travel to donate is considered essential travel and anyone who is fit, well and eligible to donate can book an appointment through the welshblood.org.uk website.”

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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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