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Welsh countrysides and beaches to reopen as five mile restriction is lifted

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Barafundle beach

FIRST MINISTER Mark Drakeford has lifted the five mile travel restriction in Wales as of today (Mon Jul 6).

Prior to the easing, residents in Wales were unable to travel more than five miles from their homes with the ‘stay local’ restriction still in force.

The easing of the restriction will see Wales welcome back visitors to its beaches and countryside for the first time in over three months.

The new measures are said to “pave the way” for the tourism sector, which will begin to re-open from July 11, but Mr Drakeford has made it clear this will only happen “if conditions allow”.

The First Minister has urged those intending to visit beaches, countrysides and beauty hotspots to do so safely – by protecting others, protecting the environment, and following the social distancing rules.

Saturday (July 4) saw the re-opening of pubs, restaurants and cafes open in outdoor spaces in England.

The Welsh Government has set a date of July 13 for the re-opening of pubs, restaurants and cafes outdoors in Wales, this will only go ahead providing there is no spike in the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases.

As the five-mile travel restriction is lifted in Wales, Pembrokeshire County Council has moved to reassure the local community and visitors that it will continue to work hard to inform and support them.

“Our communities will start to welcome visitors this week,” said Cllr David Simpson, Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council. “Although the public have a huge responsibility to act responsibly – as consistently stressed by senior politicians both in Westminster and the Senedd – we as a local authority also have an important role to play.

“We are working closely with partners behind the scenes to make sure that we have procedures and measures in place to ensure the unlocking process is as safe as possible.”

Among the measures are a specific team being brought together by the Council and key partners to coordinate intelligence and information to monitor and manage any day to day issues, using data from the tourism sector, traffic measurements, and various teams on the ground.

Other measures include the production of a promotional film by Visit Pembrokeshire to welcome back tourists – with useful information on the concerns faced by local residents and constructive suggestions of what visitors can do to help.

“The Welsh Government’s Stay Local rule was kept in place to help every part of Wales manage the spread of the virus and properly welcome back visitors safely,” said Cllr Simpson.

“Visitors are an important part of our economy and so it’s important that local communities are welcoming towards them as we safely open up more of the visitor and tourism economy.”

Other measures include the use of electronic road signs (including the ones approaching Pembrokeshire and those in the County) to provide useful and relevant information to anyone travelling. Electronic signage in bus stops will also be used and extra signs are being considered.

A street trading arrangement has already been put in place to support café culture once restrictions ease, and an operational document has been produced to inform the local authority’s work for reopening the public realm – including facilities like car parks and public toilets.

Highways improvements are being considered including the potential re-allocation of road spaces, thanks to grant funding from the Welsh Government for sustainable transport solutions in response to Covid-19. The Council has worked up proposals for reallocation of road space in a few key towns which it will be sharing with communities as soon as possible.

The NHS Wales Test Trace Protect service is also well underway across Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion to track the virus and give extra protection to communities.

Cllr Simpson said it was vital to remember that coronavirus has not gone away, despite some restrictions being eased by Welsh Government. “It continues to be as important as ever to maintain social distancing, keep washing your hands regularly, and to self-isolate if you or someone in your household has symptoms,” he said.

“Pembrokeshire and the rest of Wales is safely and gradually reopening. Together, we’ve made some great progress. But we’re still not back to normal and there are still risks. It’s important that we respect each other, our communities, and the local environment.”

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Monkton man with ‘no regard for the law’ jailed for two attempted robberies

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A MAN who threatened to stab a vulnerable victim just a day after trying to commit a robbery against a stranger has been jailed.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers arrested 29-year-old Jamie Rawlinson 20 minutes after receiving a report that he’d threatened to stab a stranger on June 26.

The victim reported that Rawlinson, of Colley Court, in Monkton, had approached him outside his home and held a sharp object to his chest.

The victim managed to get inside his house safely, and called the police.

Rawlinson was arrested 20 minutes later and taken to police custody, where he was interviewed the following day, and released on bail with conditions while officers carried out enquiries.

But just hours later, he was under arrest for a second time.

Detective Sergeant Tanya Rendell said: “The suspect was released on bail with stringent conditions to comply to while we carried out an investigation into the offence. There were a number of enquiries we needed to progress, which would take longer than we would have been able to keep him in custody. Despite the conditions imposed the suspect clearly had no regard for the law or the conditions imposed, and with less than three hours after being released, went on to commit another attempted robbery, this time against a vulnerable man who was known to him.

“The pair had met at a friend’s house and had gone for a walk, when they ended up in an alleyway.

“The victim was physically assaulted – punched and kicked – and was threatened that he would be stabbed if he didn’t give Rawlinson £40 and tobacco.”

PCSOs on patrol saw the victim and took him to a place of safety. Rawlinson, who was still in the area was arrested following this.

He was charged with two counts of attempt robbery and appeared at Swansea Crown Court, where he was sentenced to six years in prison.

DS Rendell said: “This was a swift an comprehensive investigation, involving officers from a number of teams. Evidence was captured by Neighbourhood Policing Teams at the scene, which was followed up with house-to-house and CCTV enquiries, as well as work from the dog unit, CID and firearms officers.

“This excellent teamwork secured the evidence needed to get a charge, conviction and a prison sentence for a man who is clearly a danger to the community.”

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Surge in reports of personal watercraft incidents on the South Pembrokeshire Coast

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THE NATIONAL PARK is appealing for riders of personal watercraft to consider the impact of their activities on other visitors and wildlife following a recent rise in reported incidents.

Launching the small jet-powered boats has already been banned in a number of locations around the Pembrokeshire Coast due to the actions of irresponsible riders and the noise nuisance generated by the crafts.

Recent reports include a personal watercraft weaving at high speed through the moorings close to the shore in Dale and a near miss with a kayaker in Freshwater East.

Park Authority Chief Executive, Tegryn Jones said: “Noisy, intrusive activities such as personal watercraft riding are not generally welcome on the Pembrokeshire Coast due to their impact on the special qualities of the National Park.

“Peace and tranquillity are some of key things that our residents and visitors value and perhaps more importantly our rare and protected wildlife depends on it. One inconsiderate jet-powered craft user has the potential to ruin the day of hundreds of other people.

“High visitor numbers mean many people are taking to the water in various vessels and kayaks and stand up paddleboards are particularly vulnerable to being overturned by the heavy wakes generated by personal watercraft.

“We are urging people to stick to the dedicated aquabatics zones on the Milford Haven Waterway and follow the ‘dead slow’ and minimum wake guidelines that are in place around beaches, harbours and other people.”

Anyone heading out into the water around the Pembrokeshire Coast is reminded to read and follow the Pembrokeshire Marine Code to minimise any disturbance to wildlife and to enable you to have the best experience possible.

Further information and maps highlighting the dedicated personal watercraft and aquabatics zones on the Milford Haven Waterway is available from the Port of Milford Haven website: https://www.mhpa.co.uk/powered-craft/.

To find out how you can minimise disturbance to wildlife while enjoying the waters around the Pembrokeshire Coast visit the Pembrokeshire Marine Code website: https://www.pembrokeshiremarinecode.org.uk/.

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Johnston: Police appeal after boy on scooter injured in collision

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POLICE are appealing for witnesses after a collision in Johnston, near Haverfordwest, on Wednesday (Aug 5).

A boy on a scooter sustained minor injuries during the collision, which took place at around 4.20pm.

A red 4×4 is also believed to have been involved.

Anyone who was in the area of the St Peters Road pelican crossing, or nearby Langford road, and either witnessed the collision or who has CCTV that covers this area is asked to get in touch with Dyfed-Powys Police

As spokesman said: “You can telephone 101 or email contactcentre@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired you can text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Please quote Dyfed-Powys Police Ref DP-20200805-249.”

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