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Silverdale residents ‘frightened for their lives’

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A RESIDENT of The Silverdale Lodge, Johnston, has spoken exclusively to The Herald today (Jul 22) to vent his frustrations over the current spike in ‘undesirable’ residents within the lodge.

After becoming increasingly concerned with what he has witnessed at the Lodge, Mark Thornton has set up a committee which he hopes will benefit the residents of the Lodge and those in the wider Johnston community.

The Silverdale Lodge has been a centre of controversy for the local community since the beginning of the lockdown restrictions in March, where it has been used to facilitate the homeless in the county through the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Herald has previously reported on the increase of anti-social and criminal activity in the Johnston area, which the community believes is the doing of the residents of The Silverdale Lodge.

Mr Thornton previously gave an interview to The Herald, where he stated at the time he was not aware of any residents causing issues. He insists that this was true at the time, however now he says he has seen incidents himself.

Mr Thornton, who will now lead the group as the official representative of The Silverdale Lodge residents, hopes the Johnston community will band together with him to create a safer environment for them all to live.

Mr Thornton said “We don’t want anymore criminals here and we are going to do our hardest to get the troublemakers removed and ensure they do not return.

“The reason for doing this is to make both the decent residents of The Silverdale Lodge and the Johnston community safe again.

“I have spoken myself with the police today, who have advised me that this is the best way to deal with the issues. I am actively seeking to set up a meeting with the residents of the Lodge, the council, police and the Johnston community.

“Dyfed-Powys Police have assured me they will attend all of the meetings that I arrange.

“Silverdale residents currently feel as if they are in a jail because of the types of people that are being housed here, they need to feel safe and not trapped. We need it to be back to a facility to tackle homelessness within the county.”

Mr Thornton said that it has got to the point where some residents of the Lodge are ‘scared for their lives’, with police in attendance at the Lodge countless times a day to deal with multiple incidents.

Mr Thornton also believes he is being ‘starved into silence’ by Pembrokeshire County Council as punishment for speaking to this newspaper about the ongoing issues at the Lodge.

In the exclusive interview, Mark explains his frustrations about life at the Lodge, his on-going battle with the council and his struggle with receiving food parcels.

As a way to tackle the issues on site a 24-hour security team was placed at the Lodge, however Mr Thornton has told us that this service has now diminished to just a shift covering the evenings.

He added that he spoke to the security team, who have alleged that as of August their service will cease to exist at the lodge, which has infuriated residents who are fearful of the repercussions.

Security guards at Silverdale gave exclusive interview with The Herald

Mr Thornton told The Herald that the only support now available to the Lodge residents throughout the day, is an on-site support worker, which has resulted in residents relying solely on the police for their protection.

The Herald has received reports that on Tuesday (July 21) the police were in heavy presence on two separate incidents at the lodge.

We have contacted Dyfed-Powys Police for a statement, we are awaiting their reply.

The Herald contacted Pembrokeshire County Council with regards to the ongoing issues at the Lodge, a spokesperson said: “ In order to fulfil the Covid-19 guidance from Welsh Government, as a local authority we are required to assist through the provision of accommodation. This is to ensure that individuals are able to comply with social distancing and self-isolate should it become necessary.

“Pembrokeshire County Council is grateful to the Silverdale Lodge in Johnson for supporting the Authority with additional accommodation during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Silverdale has individual lodges that allow for social isolation precautions to be applied within individual rooms so we have moved some of our service to this site temporarily.

“We may at times also be working with people who no longer need to stay in hospital but who cannot go home as their property requires some adaptions and we may also have people who need to isolate themselves from vulnerable people they live with.

“The site offers the Council an additional alternative temporary accommodation for people who are in this position.

“It is not a bail hostel nor halfway house.

“At Silverdale we have support on site. Pobl and Goleudy Housing & Support Services are currently offering support for the residents in the Silverdale. The service is available seven days a week from 9 am to 7pm.

“The service is working with the residents to assist with practical,emotional and wellbeing support and to help people develop and maintain the skills and confidence necessary to secure and maintain sustainable housing for their longer term.

“In addition we have security on site to ensure the site is covered across a 24-hour period.

“We also continue to provide support from our experienced homelessness prevention team within the housing department.

“We are unable to comment on specific individual cases but we can confirm that, as a local authority, we do work closely with Dyfed Powys Police.

“We do not have a planned heavy police presence on the site but are grateful to them for their support if needed and for their proactive work to help residents across the county adhere to the current requirements in relation to social distancing and travel.”

Police were made aware of a gathering at Princess Royal Way in Haverfordwest at around 9pm on Tuesday, July 21.

Around 60 people had gathered peacefully to light candles and lay tributes following the tragic death of a two-year-old child.

Officers attended to ensure there was no community tension.

Later that night, eight people were spoken to by police following a gathering outside a property in Johnston.

Officers also spoke to a small group which had gathered outside Haverfordwest Police Station shortly after.

All gatherings passed without incident.

Superintendent Ross Evans said: “Pembrokeshire is a close-knit community, and we understand that the death of a child will be a cause for grief.

“However we would appeal to the public to refrain from any actions that could impact the ongoing investigation, including comments shared online and on social media.

“Officers will be more visible in the local area over the coming days as enquiries continue, and any concerns can be addressed through them.”

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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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Police ask communities to stay alert to prevent raves this weekend

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Police are asking communities to stay alert to prevent raves this weekend.

As we head into the weekend, police are urging members of the public in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire to help them prevent illegal raves from setting up in their communities.

A police operation, called #OpFlamenco, is urging people living in rural communities, including farmers and landowners, to report anything suspicious to Dyfed-Powys Police.

The information will help police respond swiftly as illegal raves arise and hopefully prevent them from happening or at the very least allow police to respond before they become established.

Superintendent Jon Cummins, Head of Specialist Operations for Dyfed-Powys Police, said:

“We know raves can cause anxiety to the community they are held in, and if not dealt with swiftly are difficult to stop due to the sheer numbers of people involved. There is also a safety concern involved in breaking-up such events. And as we’re currently faced with the pandemic, it is absolutely crucial that these types of gatherings do not take place.

“As a force, action is taken as soon as we gather any intelligence of an event being planned. We will continue to respond swiftly to reports of illegal gatherings, and where appropriate will prosecute those responsible in order to protect our communities. Officers will also be conducting proactive patrols of areas identified as possible sites for these types of gatherings.

“However, these types of illegal events are carefully co-ordinated to avoid police attention, and organisers will always try to find new ways to avoid being found out.

“We rely on the support of communities to report any suspicious activity immediately, so action can be taken to disrupt illegal gatherings swiftly. And there has never been a more important time for us all to look out for each other, and report anything that seems suspicious.

“I would encourage farmers, landowners and local communities to report anything they feel is suspicious or out of the ordinary either online at: http://bit.ly/DPPReportOnline, or by email at: contactcentre@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101.”

Know the signs:

Unusual numbers of vehicles, especially camper vans, vans or trucks, seen in the locality.
Illegal trespassers may recce sites in advance of any rave

People may approach landowners and ask around for land, in the guise of hiring it for acceptable activities such as gymkhanas or scout camps.

If you suspect anyone who approaches you for land hire might not be who they say they are, please do not hesitate to contact police.

Social networks make it easier for organisers to spread the word – rave attendance numbers can grow hugely in short spaces of time, and locations can change quickly.

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Haverfordwest: Appeal for information following incident at Morrisons

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POLICE are investigating a shoplifting and assault allegation which occurred at approximately 3.20pm on Saturday (Aug 1) at Morrisons, Haverfordwest.

A teenage male was involved in an altercation with the store security guard after he and two older people, a male and a female, were stopped for the purpose of checking receipts as they exited the store.

All three had left the store before police arrival.

Police said: “There were a number of customers of the store who may have witnessed the incident.

“Anyone with information which could help the investigation is asked contact police.”

“Police can be contacted at contactcentre@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.”

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