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Tesco Aberystwyth plan will go ahead

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tescoFOLLOWING media reports regarding Tesco’s falling business performance and the announcement on Thursday (Jan 9), 49 new planned store developments have received written reassurance. Ceredigion County Council confirmed that the written reassurance was received by the Chief Executive of Tesco wrote that the company remains committed to opening the planned new store in Aberystwyth. A council spokesman said: “This is positive news for Aberystwyth and the wider area. “Physical works have commenced on site and the Council is very pleased to see the private sector demonstrating its commitment to the town by bringing forward this significant investment that will make a valuable contribution to the economy of the area and reinforce Aberystwyth’s role as a regional shopping destination.”

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Pembrokeshire dog sniffs out £10k of illicit tobacco in a single raid

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Cooper and Worcester Police. Image by West Mercia Police

AN OPERATION has successfully been carried out in Worcester, where an estimated £10,000 worth of counterfeit and illicit tobacco was seized

Cooper, from BWY Canine LTD in Clynderwen, assisted in seizing the tobacco from two premises in Worcester city centre. 

West Mercia Police carried out the operation on September 13 in partnership with Worcestershire County Council’s Trading Standards Team.

A spokesperson for BWY Canine Ltd, the leading specialists in detection dogs for the UK, said: “We were working on two operations.

“In Worcester, we found a substantial seizure from two shops, where a large quantity of the tobacco was hidden in freezers.

“Cooper located one of the most sophisticated illegal tobacco concealments that we have seen in the last 10 years.”

PC Susan Parr of West Mercia Police added: “Working with specially trained search dogs, seizures were made at two premises.

“There had previously been seizures of illegal tobacco there and significant intelligence reports and test purchases.”

Councillor Matt Dormer, cabinet member with responsibility for communities, added: “I am pleased to see this great example of Trading Standards Officers working with colleagues at West Mercia Police to tackle illegal activity in the county. Organised crime is at the heart of the trade in illicit tobacco and it can impact on our communities by reducing the takings of local honest businesses.

“The availability of cheap products also makes it much easier for young people to get hold of tobacco, creating a risk to their long term health. Our Trading Standards team will continue to work hard to remove illegal products and where necessary we will prosecute businesses and individuals that ignore the law.”

Officers took part in this joint operation as part of the force’s crack down on serious and organised crimes under West Mercia’s Protect campaign.

Recently, BWY Canine Ltd has been creating headlines across the county by working alongside law enforcement agencies.

Another canine, Yoyo, additionally assisted Warwickshire Police detect £17k of unlawful cigarettes stowed away in a sewer, at a raid on two Rugby shops.

Scamp also, working with West Midlands Police, helped sniff out a huge haul of cannabis in Walsall, with a street value of £200k.

Since 2012, Scamp alone has found over £10 million illegal tobacco products, and in 2019 he found over £1.6 million criminal cash.

Yoyo and Scamp additionally helped officers of Kent Police seize more than 35,000 illegal cigarettes from shops in Maidstone.

The award-winning family-run BWY Canine Ltd business has provided clients with professional search dog services since 2009.

The dogs are able to detect explosives, firearms, drugs, cash, tobacco, meat/products of animal origin, live bodies, human remains (cadaver), blood and semen (crime scene).

Their clients typically include police services, trading standards, private companies, NHS Trusts, Oil Refineries and the third largest Port Authority in the UK.

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Pembroke: Masked vandal smashes window of new petrol station with hammer

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THE NEWLY built Green Garage Service Station in Pembroke was vandalised on Sunday night (Sept 20).

The individual involved, wearing gloves and using a hammer, smashed a window – but was captured on CCTV.

A spokesperson for the garage said on social media: “The repairs, initial cost, will be at least £2000 which is money that could have been used to sponsor local football, rugby or other community projects.

“Whilst the full CCTV is being reviewed, a snapshot of a person [has been released].

“We will use the full extent of the law and prosecute.

“This is wanton damage to a business that works with the community and this is how one individual decides we should be repaid.

“Just another reason why opening 24/7 is a good thing.

“At least if the store was open, this would NOT have happened.

The garage later said they were bringing 24-hour opening forward.

On a Facebook post the garage said on Monday (Sept 20): “Due to the vandalism at our store, we have brought the 24-hour opening forward to Thursday. If the store had been open 24/7 this would NOT have happened.

“We will now be open 24 hours from THURSDAY 23rd September.

“Thank you for all the support locally to make this happen.”

If you have any information, please call the Police on 101 quoting DPP/2706/20/09/2021.

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Children to be turned away from Withybush A&E in department downgrade

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WITHYBUSH GENERAL HOSPITAL’S accident and emergency department will be downgraded to an ‘adults only service’ until at least the spring of 2022, according to Simon Hart. There has been no word yet from the Health Board but the local MP has posted the controversial plan to his Facebook page.

Children requiring emergency treatment will have to be ambulanced to further-away hospitals, putting pressure on the local ambulance service, who are already reducing the number of vehicles available in the county from seven to five.

Withybush is experiencing a severe shortage of staff, and is also grappling with the third wave of COVID-19 infections, which is expected to be announced as one of the reasons for the downgrade.

But some hospital insiders are saying things are worse in Carmarthen.

In addition, hospital sources have told the Herald that three unvaccinated COVID-19 patients died in Withybush last week.

The plan has come to a shock to many, but Steve Moore, the Health Board’s Chief Executive, has this week reported that there are 66 people in our hospitals with confirmed Covid, 10 of these are in Intensive Care

The local ambulance service is under great pressure, with many crews spending long waits at the hospital (Pic Herald)

He stated that about half of those in ICU have been vaccinated and added that the clinical view is that patients respond more quickly and favourably if they are vaccinated. All Covid deaths in the past few weeks have been of unvaccinated people.

Infection rates are coming down slightly but are still very high, with 506 cases per 100,000 people in Carmarthenshire (the 2nd highest level in Wales) and 293 cases per 100,000 in Pembrokeshire. There is a test positivity rate of 16% across the HB area. It is thought that cases peaked on 6th September, though the full impact of schools going back may not yet have been seen.

Reacting to the news of the downgrade to A&E, Tracy Olin, who runs the PATCH charity said on social media: “People without cars and/or money already struggle to get to Withybush. How are they supposed to be able to afford to get to Carmarthen? This will be an added pressure on our ambulance service. Sadly I fear, even with excellent arguments against the plans for Withybush the decision will not change.”

Local resident Bev Jenkins also added her concerns, saying: “Paediatrics is needed full time at Withybush, also now with only five ambulances going to be in Pembrokeshire, its shameful. Withybush needs all its services back! Sack half the pen-pushers at the health board, reduce the managers at the hospital, employ more doctors and consultants.”

Heather Scammell commented on Facebook, saying: “Were I to comment what I really think about Hywel Dda’s shameful disregard for the needs of Pembrokeshire residents, I would be permanently banned from Facebook. To leave our County without paediatric care for so long is indefensible and no further downgrade of A&E is acceptable.

More than 1,200 people – many of who credit Withybush Hospital with saving their life or that of a loved one – came out to protest planned cuts to services in November 2018.

Families, staff and current and former patients braved the bad weather to send a message to Hywel Dda health board: Pembrokeshire must keep its A&E department.

Children will need to be ambulanced to Carmarthen in an emergency, adding extra journey time. (Pic Herald)

Demonstrators shared moving personal accounts of how the hospital has helped them, and aired concerns over the potential impact if it is downgraded, and services moved to a new site between Whitland and St Clears.

Addressing the crowd at the time, Preseli-Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb: “When 40,000 people sign a petition to the health board, they mean it.

“Most of us are here because Withybush is part of our lives, it’s part of our community. The campaign is not over. We will keep fighting to defend our A&E.”

The question now is, how does closing the A&E to children affect their safety, and does it put our children’s lives at risk?

The health board has been contacted for a comment.

A demo against cuts to services in Cardiff in 2018 (Pic Herald)
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