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Local MP seeks answers from Home Secretary over Penally Training Camp plans

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FOLLOWING the protest which took place at Penally Training Camp, the local member of parliament has said that he is trying to find out the exact details on how the camp will be used, and how long for.

Simon Hart has contacted the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, seeking clarification, he says.

Approximately two hundred people were at the demo at the entrance to the base from 6pm on Tuesday night (Sept 15) – police attended and closed the road to keep the attendees safe. The protest passed peacefully.

Protestors said that they were unhappy with the lack of communication regarding the plans, which could see 250 male asylum seekers staying at the camp, very near to the village of Penally.
Simon Hart MP posted on his Facebook page saying: “I have spoken to the Home Secretary to seek further clarification regarding plans to house asylum seekers at Penally Training Camp.

“Whilst being mindful of our legal obligations and our responsibilities, as well as the extensive powers held by the Home Office on all security and immigration scenarios, I appreciate that residents are concerned about a number of issues so I have included as many of these as possible in our submission.

“For example, I have asked how long the site will be used, what the security arrangements will be and whether the Home Office will be funding any additional costs that Pembrokeshire County Council, Hywel Dda Health Board and Dyfed-Powys Police might incur.

“I also want to know how many people could be housed at one time, what the gender balance and likely age profile could be as well as how local residents’ welfare will be ensured.

“I have enquired about the arrangements for occupants entering or leaving the site and further detailed queries regarding healthcare and COVID testing of staff and occupants.

“I have also asked for an explanation of the day-to-day workings of the site in relation to processing asylum claims.

“As soon as I receive a reply, I shall post it on my website and Facebook page. In the meantime, I am keen to avoid too much speculation in case this causes increased tension and concern.”

Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner,  has added his voice to the row over the cap.  Mr Dafydd Llywelyn has also contacted Priti Patel.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn said: “I am deeply concerned about the lack of clarity relating to the proposed arrangements. Greater strategic planning and engagement is needed to ensure we support and safeguard these vulnerable individuals and respond to local concerns.”

In an open letter to the Home Secretary he says: ‘I write in relation to plans being considered to utilise the Ministry of Defence camp at Penally in Pembrokeshire, Wales as emergency asylum accommodation in the near future. I am personally grateful for the actions of your Home Office in Wales Team who coordinating, at short notice, a meeting for an initial discussion with your officials yesterday. I will continue to work with the team on this issue over the coming days and weeks.

‘However, I write to express my significant concerns in relation to the lack of a clear strategy, detail and consultation surrounding these plans. I was not suitably reassured by your officials of the existence of any detailed planning, impact assessment or implementation arrangements on a practical level. Alongside other agencies, a number of practical concerns were communicated to your officials that I hope can be addressed.

‘You will be aware that this evening a protest was held at the proposed site and that since the news has been in the public domain local concerns have been raised. I believe that this largely stems from the lack of consultation and limited information being provided. You will know that in 2016, communities within the Dyfed Powys area successfully supported the Syrian Vulnerable Person Relocation Programme. This was achieved through careful planning and significant community engagement, ensuring that the local community felt a part of the decision making. I repeat to you the comments that I made at yesterday’s meeting in that there is an urgent need for greater clarity on the strategic plan and considerable engagement to ensure we support and safeguard these vulnerable individuals whilst addressing local concerns.

‘I am personally unable to fully understand the rationale for selecting the Penally site and would like clarification on how this decision was reached and how the proposed logistics will work. Asylum seekers, upon arrival at the UK, will have to travel a further 5 hours and 300 miles to a proposed site in Penally, Pembrokeshire albeit there will be no power to detain once at the site. The site and local community is unlikely, in my opinion, to have the necessary infrastructure to support their needs and the location of the site would make accessing services unnecessarily difficult for vulnerable individuals.

‘I fully realise that difficult decisions need to be made in the interests of both those seeking asylum and our local communities and therefore trust that you will understanding and support of my position of wanting detailed planning, community engagement and transparency of decision making.’

Wants answers: Simon Hart MP

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Police and drugs advice service issue warning over ‘deadly batch’ of heroin

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POLICE have asked the media to issue a warning over a batch of heroin.

The drug circulating in west Wales, first detected in Llanelli, is particularly dangerous, it has been confirmed.

“We are warning drug users to take extra care following reports of a particularly harmful batch of heroin circulating in the Llanelli area” said a Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson.

“We have reasons to believe some drugs being distributed and used in the Carmarthenshire area at present have been contaminated with other substances and could be extremely dangerous for anyone taking them.

“We would also appeal to drug users to seek medical attention immediately if they become unwell.

“Please share this information with anyone you believe could come into contact with these drugs.

”In an emergency or if you think someone’s life is at risk always dial 999.”

Earlier this week Barod, the drug and alcohol abuse service reported a dangerous and toxic heroin circulating in Pembroke Dock which a spokesperson described as being ‘potentially deadly’.

To comes as Public Health England issued a formal alert about the risks of heroin containing fentanyl or carfentanyl.

The warning reads: “There is significant evidence from a small number of post-mortem results of recent drug user deaths and from police seizures that some heroin may contain fentanyl or carfentanyl added by dealers.

“These are highly potent synthetic opioids and very small amounts can cause severe or even fatal toxicity.

“Those of you in contact with heroin users should be alert to the increased possibility of overdose arising from heroin cut with these synthetic opioids, be able to recognise possible symptoms of overdose and respond appropriately.”

The fentanyls are a group of synthetic opioids; some have legitimate uses while others are illicit drugs.

Fentanyl is about 100 times more potent than morphine and is a licensed medicine used to treat severe and terminal pain. Carfentanyl is 4,000 – 10,000 times more potent than morphine and principally used as an animal tranquilliser.

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Tenby’s famous walrus ‘Wally’ has been spotted again

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TENBY’S most famous marine animal has been spotted again after fears she had been scared away.

Wally was spotted on Friday evening by the seaside town’s Lifeboat station.

Thought to be a two-year-old male, the walrus’s return comes after it was feared she had been disturbed by people flocking to catch a glimpse of her and “getting too close”

The animal has attracted hundreds of people to the seaside town now that the travel restrictions with Wales have been lifted to coincide with the Easter school holidays.

Wally was last seen on Monday, but  members of the public were warned it was in the animal’s “best interests” to be “left alone” as much as possible and they were urged to “avoid the temptation to get near and disturb” her.

A joint statement was issued by the RSPCA, Tenby harbour master Chris Salisbury, Welsh Marine Life Rescue, Tenby lifeboat coxswain Phil John, British Divers Marine Life Rescue, Natural Resources Wales and CSIP Marine Environmental Rescue said that they were concerned to hear that people had tried to get close by using personal watercraft or paddle and surfboards.

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Police plan to deter badly behaved youths from gathering in Tenby

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POLICE in Tenby responded to community concerns over antisocial behaviour and groups of between 15-20 youths gathering and clashing over the Easter bank holiday weekend. They moved the youths on, seized alcohol from them and stopped matters escalating when there were clashes between the groups. And they have a clear message ahead of this weekend – there will be extra police patrols and presence in Tenby, including on the trains, so this type of behaviour won’t be tolerated.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers used powers under the Antisocial Behaviour Act to disperse groups of youngsters meeting to drink alcohol in and around Tenby, many of whom had travelled by train to the area to meet up.

Based on these scenes from last weekend, plans are in place as part of a joint operation with Pembrokeshire County Council licensing officers and British Transport Police, to address and prevent any further gatherings.

A Section 34 Order is in place covering Tenby, which allows officers to move people out of the area and prevent them from returning for up to 48 hours.

Sergeant Stuart Wheeler said: “Following last weekend we had some concern from the community of Tenby, due to antisocial behaviour related to the groups of youths from Pembroke, Pembroke Dock and Tenby, and subsequently those groups clashing. Alcohol consumption by these youngsters was a factor.

“Proactive action was taken, and we are keen to avoid a repeat of this behaviour this weekend, and have therefore put plans in place. Additional resources have been allocated, which will allow us to respond quickly and prevent matters from escalating.

“Tenby Neighbourhood Policing Team and response officers, will be carrying out high visibility patrols in the area, covering areas known to be popular with youngsters. Pembrokeshire County Council licensing officers will be assisting us in ensuring youngsters can’t buy alcohol in the area by visiting shops and reminding them of the laws around selling alcohol, and if they bring it with them it will be seized. And our colleagues in British Transport Police will be patrolling the train network to prevent problematic groups getting to Tenby by train.”

Police are also appealing to parents and carers to know where their children are, and what they are doing.

Sergeant Wheeler added: “We would like to appeal directly to parents to be aware of where their children are, and prevent them from gathering in large groups. This type of behaviour is distressing for people living and working in Tenby, and we are urging you to be accountable for your children’s actions.

“We understand that the past few months have been difficult, and that children want to see their friends, but remember that only 6 people from 2 households can meet outdoors still. Please do your best to ensure they are adhering to regulations that are in place for all our safety.”

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