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CORONAVIRUS: It’s ‘crunch time’ for Pembrokeshire

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PUBLIC service leaders in South West Wales have issued a stark warning to residents and communities in Pembrokeshire after new figures showed coronavirus cases are growing in the county.
Pembrokeshire County Council, Hywel Dda University Health Board and Dyfed-Powys Police are working closely with Public Health Wales and Welsh Government officials to respond to growing concerns about increased community spread of the virus.

They are urging people and businesses to take action now to avoid local restrictions being brought in that could affect people living in the county.

Numbers are now rising in Pembrokeshire with 37 new positive cases in the county in the seven days between the 3rd and 9th October.

Sadly, to date Public Health Wales have recorded 69 deaths in the Hywel Dda University Health Board area from people who caught the virus.

People are being asked to take the risk seriously and consider how their actions may impact on more vulnerable members of our communities.

Pembrokeshire County Council Leader, David Simpson, said: “I am imploring the people of Pembrokeshire – and visitors – to follow the advice from our health experts and to halt the spread of coronavirus in our county.

“This advice is based on scientific evidence and we must all play our part in reducing the spread of the virus.

“Make no mistake, failure to act now will impact on our daily lives and potential restrictions will be imposed on us

“This is crunch time. If we don’t follow the simple safety messages, we are increasing the risk of entering a lockdown situation again and nobody wants that to happen.

“So please, follow the precautions, look after one another and stay safe.”

Ros Jervis, Director of Public Health at Hywel Dda, added: “Coronavirus remains a very serious illness, especially for the elderly and those with existing risk factors.

“What’s most concerning about the spread of the virus in Pembrokeshire is that we have not yet been able to identify a common pattern of infection – it appears to be affecting people from a number of age groups, backgrounds and geographical locations.

“As we and our partners in Public Health Wales and local authorities deal with these clusters, it’s of paramount importance that we protect our essential services as much as possible.

“I would urge the public to remain vigilant and follow the rules, including wearing face coverings that cover the mouth and nose, keeping two metres away from others outside of their household bubble, as well as washing hands regularly, or using a hand sanitizer if hand washing is not possible.

“It’s also critically important that people self-isolate if you or anyone in your household develops Covid-19 symptoms and that you book a test, as there is plenty of capacity.”

Chief Constable of Dyfed-Powys Police, Mark Collins, said: “It is very concerning that we are seeing increased community spread of the virus in Pembrokeshire, and now is the time for each and every one of us to step up and be more vigilant in complying with the current necessary restrictions and behaviours.

“Please remember that in addition to the Wales-wide restrictions, Welsh Government can impose local restrictions for specified areas where there has been an increase in the number of cases of the virus.

“So, if we want to avoid these additional local restrictions, we must all act now and ensure that we support the current rules as far as possible.

“Our officers continue to be visible in our local communities, maintaining safe distances when we engage with residents, and will explain the circumstances and encourage people to do the right thing in complying with the restrictions.
“We know it’s tempting to gather with friends and family, but it’s vitally important that we stick to the rule of six indoors from an extended household only – including in pubs and restaurants, and outside only gatherings of up to 30 are permitted.
“Faced with non-compliance, and if considered necessary and proportionate to help stop the spread of the virus, we will take enforcement action against those flagrantly or persistently breaching the regulations.”

The key messages are simple:
• keep at least two metres distance from people not in your household
• wash your hands regularly
• wear a face covering in indoor public places, shops and on public transport
• do not meet with more than six people indoors from your extended household (not including children under 11)
• do not meet with more than 30 people outdoors.

The main symptoms of Covid-19 are:
• a high temperature: this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
• a new, continuous cough: this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
• a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste: this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.

Anyone who develops any of these symptoms must follow self-isolation guidance and arrange a test as soon as possible, only leaving home to get tested.

If a Covid-19 test is required, this should be arranged via the UK Booking Portal: https://gov.wales/apply-coronavirus-test
or by ringing 119.

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Vulnerable man targeted by rogue trader

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A ROGUE trader has been ordered to pay almost £2,000 by a court after carrying out shocking DIY work for a vulnerable Jameston man.

Pembrokeshire Trading Standards prosecuted 20-year-old Douggie James Whitbread who traded as Wales and West Property Solution.

Haverfordwest Magistrates were told on Friday (Oct 23) that a joint investigation with Dyfed-Powys Police discovered that Whitbread of 8 Coldwell Terrace, Pembroke, first approached the 66-year-old victim in the summer of 2019.

After agreeing to cut the man’s grass, Whitbread made regular accompanied visits looking for other jobs and pressurising the pensioner to have them done.

The victim did not know him as Douggie Whitbread as the defendant gave a false name.

Whitbread offered to fit new floor lino in the toilet and small adjoining passageway of the victim’s home, saying he would do a good job. Instead, the court heard, he and a fellow worker spent less than an hour and charged £300.

The standard of the work was shocking and showed Whitbread’s inept ability. Jagged edges and numerous gaps were left where it had not been fitted correctly, exposing the existing floor underneath.

Despite there being enough lino on the two metre by two metre roll, Whitbread told the victim he needed more to finish the job.

A few weeks later the victim was approached by Whitbread at a bus stop near his home. He said he would return the next day to finish the work and that he wanted another £300.

The victim informed a neighbour and Pembrokeshire County Council’s Trading Standards team and when Whitbread returned he was arrested by police.

Whitbread was also questioned about another incident involving hedge-cutting for an elderly lady and admitted taking away the waste as advertised on his business flyer. However, he did not hold a Waste Carrier Licence at the time.

Whitbread admitted four offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. These were: carrying out work not fit for purpose; trading without professional diligence; omitting to give required information for doorstep contracts and advertising and conducting waste removal services when not licensed.

A £200 fine was imposed for each offence together with £1,000 costs plus a £110 victim surcharge. A compensation order for £300 was also awarded to the victim and a restraining order imposed prohibiting Whitbread from approaching the pensioner indefinitely.

“I am appalled by the standard of work and how this vulnerable gentleman has been hounded and taken advantage of” said Sandra McSparron, Lead Trading Standards Officer. She added that the incidents had left the victim anxious and unwell.

The County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Protection, Cris Tomos, said: “This court case sends a clear warning to rogue traders that targeting the elderly and vulnerable for financial gain will not be tolerated. We will pursue and prosecute all those who commit such despicable crimes.”

Councillor Tomos also said the case showed the great community spirit of Jameston residents looking out for one another and was a fine example of successful partnership work between the police and Trading Standards.

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Drug driver arrested in Milford Haven after driving through stop sign and into roadworks

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A DRUG driver who drove through a stretch of roadworks on the wrong side of the road, before hitting a parked car and trying to hide from police has appeared in court.

Christopher John Brown led Dyfed-Powys Police officers on a pursuit through Milford Haven on Friday afternoon (October 23), putting pedestrians and other road users at risk.

Pembrokeshire Roads Policing Unit have thanked people for their help in tracing the 31-year-old, of Meyler Crescent, after the manner of his driving became so dangerous they could no longer follow him.

A Roads Policing Officer had attempted to stop Brown at around 1pm when he was seen driving out of The Mount estate at speed.

However, he failed to stop when requested and sped away in his BMW.

As police followed, Brown drove on the wrong side of the road, overtook a number of cars waiting at roadworks, and drove through a stop sign, forcing an off duty officer to take evasive action as the defendant drove towards him.

Police deemed the danger level too high to continue the pursuit when Brown drove through a coned area of roadworks where there were a number of people working.

At this point, members of the public pointed out to officers which direction he had driven in.

Brown went on to collide with a parked car, before getting out of his vehicle and attempting to hide behind another. He was found by a PC, who arrested him on suspicion of dangerous driving and administered a drug wipe.

A Pembrokeshire RPU spokesman said: “This was a highly dangerous incident, during which Brown put a number of people’s lives at risk.

“Driving through a stop sign and into a coned area of roadworks was simply beyond comprehension, and could have had a tragic outcome.

“As we decided to end the pursuit, we were assisted by a number of people, and the team would like to thank members of the public in Milford Haven for their help in tracing Brown.

“Your support is greatly appreciated.”

Brown was charged with dangerous driving, driving with no insurance, driving while disqualified, failing to stop when requested by police, and possession of cannabis.

His vehicle, which had no insurance, tax or mot, was also seized.

He was remanded to appear in front of the next available court, and admitted all five offences at Swansea Magistrates’ Court on Saturday, October 24. He also pleaded guilty to an additional charge of driving whilst unfit through drugs, which was laid on at court.

He will be sentenced at Swansea Crown Court on November 16.

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Five arrested in connection with large cannabis grow in Whitland

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FIVE people have been arrested in connection with the discovery of a large amount of cannabis in Carmarthenshire.

Dyfed-Powys Police carried out a warrant under the Misuse of Drugs Act at an address in Whitland, on the morning of Friday, October 23.

Officers found a significant number of mature cannabis plants, with a sophisticated hydroponics set-up, numerous bags of cannabis bud, and cannabis resin.

Police seized electronic devices, several thousands of pounds in cash and silver bars, as well as vehicles under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Five people – a 58-year-old woman and four men aged 28, 30, 60 and 61 – were arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the production of cannabis, and possession with intent to supply.

They have been bailed with conditions pending further enquiries.

Detective Inspector Rhys Jones said: “This is an example of excellent collaborative work between a number of different departments in the force, which has taken a significant amount of drugs off the streets.

“As our investigation into this cannabis cultivation continues, we ask anyone with information that could help enquiries to please get in touch.

“We urge anyone with information about suspicious or unusual activity in rural areas report it to us, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously.”

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