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Council urges public to be aware of scams



Sandra MacSparron and Emma Hanlan-Baker from the Public Protection Trading Standards team at Pembrokeshire County Council.

Sandra MacSparron and Emma Hanlan-Baker from the Public Protection Trading Standards team at Pembrokeshire
County Council.

EVERY year, hundreds of thousands of pounds are estimated to have been lost in Pembrokeshire as a result of people being scammed. Many hundreds of people in the County fall victim to postal, phone or email scams annually – as well as rogue doorstep traders. Cllr Huw George, Cabinet Member for Enironmental and Regulatory Services said: “There are some heartbreaking stories of people in Pembrokeshire who have been targeted and caught out by these scammers, and have lost huge sums of money.”

As a result, the Trading Standards team at Pembrokeshire County Council has been working on specific ways of protecting people who are more vulnerable to being targeted. People of any age and background can be susceptible to fall for scams. Often they are elderly or live alone with no family nearby. Nigel Watts, Trading Standards, Animal Health and Welfare Manager said: “Unfortunately, criminals have put together lists of vulnerable people all over Britain and are selling them to scam companies.

“We have received a copy of this list from the National Trading Standards Board and our team has identified up to 300 people on it from Pembrokeshire who are potentially vulnerable. “We have been writing to them to ask if we can advise them on issues which may affect them.” He added: “We are also giving talks to local groups about how to spot a potential scam and are working with several partner organisations including social services, local banks, Age Concern, and PAVS.” Signs which indicate someone is being scammed include an increase in post. Once someone replies to one postal scam they will usually start receiving lots more. Some people can receive up to 50 letters a day.

Other signs include changes in spending – withdrawing large sums of money or writing lots of cheques – or receiving lots of phone calls. Nigel added: “If you think you or a member of your family is being scammed, come to us and we will assist. “We are especially keen for any family or carers of elderly people who think something might be wrong to contact us.

“Often, people don’t realise they are being scammed and it doesn’t come to light until a relative or carer notices something suspicious.” Nationally, £3.5 billion a year is lost through scams, including £60 million on fake prize draws. Sandra McSparron, Senior Trading Standards Officer, warned against being duped by letters, emails and phone calls about such draws.

She said: “Remember, if you have not entered a prize draw, then you have not won anything. “People in Pembrokeshire have lost tens of thousands of pounds on these fake prize draws and false inheritance scams. “Some people are tempted to take the risk. It’s the lure of the possibility of being set up for life. And if only one or two out of a thousand take the risk, then that’s worth it for the scammers. “Be warned – if it looks too good to be true, it always is.”

National work to clamp down on scams include an initiative by Royal Mail and the National Trading Standards Board Scams Team, which are working to identify scam mail and stop it entering the postal network. The team has already intercepted up to six tons of scam mail in Britain and £100,000 – and that’s the tip of the iceberg. Sandra continued: “Some people are taken in by rogue companies because they provide a UK address – but some scam companies buy mail forwarding addresses or a UK domain name, to make them appear to be UKbased, when they are actually based abroad.”

She added: “These people are unscrupulous. Businesses can also be targeted- receiving invoices for goods or services not agreed to, followed by threats from alleged debt collectors if payment is not made. “Unfortunately it is happening in Pembrokeshire. We’ve got a number of examples of it. Come and report it to us. We know it can cause a great deal of anxiety. There is advice that we can provide.”

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Covid-19 vaccination venues and timeline announced for everyone locally over 50



EVERY person in JCVI priority groups 5 to 9 will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination by 18 April, Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed.

While the health board’s vaccination programme has the capacity to offer a vaccine to everyone in groups 5 to 9 by the original target date of 4 April, the delivery plan has had to be adjusted based on confirmed vaccine deliveries.

Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire residents in priority groups 5 to 9 can expect to receive their vaccine as follows:

  • Group 5, people aged 65 – 69 years – delivered by GP practices between 15 February and 12 March
  • Group 6, people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers – delivered by GP practices between 22 February and 4 April
  • Group 7, people aged 60 – 64 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 8 March
  • Group 8, people aged 55 – 59 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 22 March
  • Group 9, people aged 50 – 54 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 5 April

The health board currently has mass vaccination centres located in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Carmarthen and Llanelli.

Group 6 is significantly the largest cohort to be vaccinated to date and we understand that many in this group will be anxious to receive a vaccine. Please do not contact your GP or the health board to ask about your appointment, you will be contacted directly when it is your turn and we thank you for your patience.

People in groups 7, 8 and 9 will receive a letter with an appointment date and time. Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. The letter will include a phone number to contact the health board should you need to rearrange or cancel your appointment but please make every effort to keep your allocated appointment time.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “While  our programme has had to slow  due to supplies, we want to reassure everyone in groups 5 to 9 that our amazing teams of vaccinators and GP practices have the capability and flexibility to deliver our vaccine supplies as they arrive into the region.

“Vaccine supplies will start to increase again from mid-March, and we are confident that everyone living in our three counties in the top 9 priority groups will be offered a vaccine by mid-April.

“In Hywel Dda we have an older population compared to some other health boards and so over 50% of our adult population will have been offered a vaccine by milestone 2.

“To be able to say that as we approach the anniversary of the first national lockdown is nothing short of extraordinary.

“And again, I must say thank you to everyone living in our three counties who continue to come forward in substantial numbers for the vaccine. Uptake remains remarkably high and we hope to see this continue through groups 5 to 9 and into group 10.”

People are asked, wherever possible, to use their own private transport to attend an appointment. Lifts can be accepted from someone in their household or support bubble, but not from anyone else due to the risk of transmission of the virus.

The health board has put in place transport support for anyone who may have difficulty attending their vaccination appointment. If you have no other means of travel, please contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 and we will be happy to assist.

Everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 should have received an offer of a vaccination. If you have not been contacted, or have changed your mind, please contact your GP at the earliest opportunity. No one will be left behind.

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Nolton Haven: Man hospitalised after getting into difficulties in sea



A MAN was taken to hospital after getting into difficulties in the sea off Nolton Haven on Friday.

Emergency services were alerted at 2.40pm on February 26 by a 999 call to the control centre.

The Little Haven RNLI lifeboat, Broad Haven Coastguard, an ambulance crew and a Coastguard rescue helicopter assisted police in the operation.

The male casualty was stabilised on the beach and shortly before 4.30pm, was then transported to Withybush Hospital.

A police spokesman told The Herald: “We were called to a male who had got into difficulties in the water at Nolton Haven shortly before 3pm.

“He was taken to hospital by ambulance.”

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Cyclist killed on A40 was serving police officer, force confirms



A CYCLIST who died after a crash with a van on the A40 in Carmarthenshire was a serving police officer with Dyfed-Powys Police, the force has confirmed in a statement to Herald.Wales.

The driver of the van involved in the crash, which happened on Thursday (Feb 25) has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, it was confirmed on Friday (Feb 26).

Police are investigating the fatal collision, which caused the road to be closed for 12 hours, and are asking for any witnesses to come forward by calling 101.

37-year-old Lynwen Thomas, who is a former student at Ysgol Bro Myrddin, Croes-y-Ceiliog, Carmarthen, was a sergeant and a very well-respected member of Dyfed-Powys Police.

A spokesperson for the police said in a statement: “Our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues, who have all been offered specialist support. We ask that family members are given the privacy they need at this difficult time.”

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