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Whitland: Driver used ‘James Bond-style’ smoke screen to shake off police



Simon Chaplin, 62, flicked a switch on the dashboard of his red Peugeot 309 and "colossal" amounts of smoke came out of the exhaust pipe.

Simon Chaplin, 62, flicked a switch on the dashboard of his red Peugeot 309 and “colossal” amounts of smoke came out of the exhaust pipe.

A DRIVER from Whitland tried to shake off a pursuing police officer by activating a James Bond-style smoke screen.

Simon Chaplin, 62, flicked a switch on the dashboard of his red Peugeot 309 and “colossal” amounts of smoke came out of the exhaust pipe.

PC Dafydd Campbell Birch caught up five miles later when Chaplin turned into a farmyard.

Chaplin had a bucket of diesel behind the passenger seat, connected to a pump with a pipe leading into the exhaust. An electrical system linked to the pump, battery and a dashboard switch.

Simon Chaplin outside Swansea Crown Court © WALES NEWS SERVICE

Simon Chaplin outside Swansea Crown Court

At the flick of the switch diesel was dripped into the hot exhaust pipe to produce clouds of smoke.

James Belton came across the chase, going in the other direction.

“I thought his engine had blown. The smoke was covering both carriageways and I had to slow to five miles an hour,” he told police in a statement read to Swansea crown court.

PC Birch said he wanted to stop the Peugeot because it had a “DE JURE” number plate, which “didn’t  look right.”

He turned around on the B4329 near Haverfordwest, west Wales, and was met by clouds of smoke as Chaplin accelerated away and flicked on the smoke device.

Pc Birch followed Chaplin through country lanes and villages, but sometimes only by the smoke because he couldn’t actually see the Peugeot.

“There was a vast amount of dense smoke coming out the back. It completely obscured the road.

“I had to slow down and keep a distance. I knew when he had turned left only by following the smoke he left behind,” he said.

“At times I came to an almost complete stop because of the smoke.

“I had to look across the top of the hedgerows to see where he had gone.

“For a while I could not see the car but in the distance I could see the smoke going up a hill towards the village of Crundale.

“I caught up with him but the smoke kept coming thick and fast.”
PC Birch cornered Chaplin in the farmyard. He got out of the Peugeot and appeared to hide something behind a post.

PC Birch told him he was watching and Chaplin retrieved a replica 9mm self loading automatic firing Beretta handgun and put his hands up.

Chaplin, recently of Llanfyrnach but now of Parc y Delyn Uchaf, Hebron, near Whitland, Carmarthen,  was convicted of causing a danger to other road users by deliberately causing smoke to be emitted, but cleared of possessing an imitation firearm in a public place.

Chaplin told the jury that on January 19, six days before, he had been attacked by police officers, who dragged him out of his mechanical digger and knocked his head on the ground several times.

He said they later drove him to Withybush hospital, Haverfordwest, where they put him inside an ambulance. After being treated he was placed back into police custody but returned to hospital by the officers when he became unwell.

Chaplin said he saw PC Birch activate a flashing blue light “but sort of panicked” and feared he was going to be beaten up again.

Chaplin said the car, the smoke making “contraption” and fake Beretta–which could, in fact, only fire ball bearings–all belonged to a David Llewellyn.

He said the smoke machine had been designed to get rid of moles.

James Hartson, prosecuting, pointed out that moles lived underground but Chaplin said that during normal usage a pipe would be connected to the end of the exhaust and pushed into the molehill.

Chaplin will be sentenced later and was granted bail meanwhile.

But the judge, Recorder Elwen Evans QC, warned him that a prison sentence could be the outcome.

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Further coronavirus restriction relaxations brought forward



FURTHER changes to the coronavirus restrictions have been announced by the First Minister Mark Drakeford today.

The Welsh Government has confirmed further relaxations will be brought forward from 17 May to 3 May – including the resumption of indoor supervised activities for children, indoor organised activities for up to 15 adults, such as exercise classes, and the re-opening of community centres.

This means Wales will have completed the move to Alert Level 3 by Monday 3 May.

From Saturday 24 April, the rule of 6 will allow for up to six people from six households to meet outdoors, not including children under 11 years of age or carers from those households.

The Welsh Government has also confirmed the relaxations that will take place on Monday 26 April. Outdoor attractions, including outdoor swimming pools, funfairs and theme parks, will be allowed to reopen, while outdoor hospitality can also resume, including at cafes, pubs and restaurants.

Organised outdoor activities for up to 30 people will be able to take place and weddings receptions can begin again outdoors for up to 30 people.

Wales has the lowest coronavirus rates of the UK nations.  The successful vaccine programme continues with a higher proportion of people vaccinated in Wales than other nations of the UK for both first and second doses.

Changes from Monday 3 May:

  • Gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities being able to reopen;
  • People will also again be able to form extended households with one other household.

Relaxations planned for 17 May will be brought forward to the 3 May, including:

  • The resumption of indoor supervised activities for children;
  • Indoor organised activities for up to 15 adults (such as exercise classes and swimming lessons);
  • And the re-opening of community centres.

The First Minister said:

“The sacrifices we have made continue to show results. By us all working together and sticking to the rules, combined with our vaccination programme, mean we continue to make progress. Rates of the virus continue to fall and the public health situation is improving. 

“Due to these efforts we are able confirm more easing of the restrictions from 26 April and for early May we are again able to bring forward some of our plans. However, this progress is dependent on all of us continuing to work together to keep Wales safe.

“At the last three-week review, I set out a forward-look of how the restrictions could continue to be lifted in the weeks ahead, if the public health situation remains stable.

“It will be for the incoming Welsh Government to confirm these arrangements at the next three-week review, which will be held on May 13 – a week after the election. It is my assessment that the hospitality sector – bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes – will be able to open indoors from May 17, together with all other tourist accommodation, indoor entertainment and attractions.”

Further possible easements are subject to the public health situation remaining favourable.

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Tragedy above Milford Haven takeaway



DYFED POWYS POLICE has confirmed that a 20-year-old male passed away in Milford Haven last Saturday, April 17.

Police were called to the USA Fried Chicken store on Charles Street at around 1:30pm but have said there are no suspicious circumstances.

A Herald reporter was at the scene and witnessed a number of police cars and an ambulance while plain-clothed officers were also seen.

HM Coroner has been informed.

A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson added: “We were called to Charles Street in Milford Haven on Saturday 17 April at approximately 1.34pm to reports of a medical emergency. We attended the scene with one emergency ambulance where we assisted colleagues from the police.”

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Tavernspite School the ‘healthiest of schools despite the pandemic’



THE STAFF, governors, parents, and of course, the children of Tavernspite Community Primary School are delighted to gain the Welsh Network of Healthy School Schemes National Quality Award for an incredible 5th time after a recent and very rigorous assessment.

The school is already well known and highly regarded for its outstanding work in developing the health and wellbeing of all members of its school community. To achieve this prestigious recognition in the midst of a pandemic is all the more impressive. 

Health and Wellbeing at the school is led by teacher, Lauren Arthur, who has done an incredible job preparing for this re-assessment and raising the profile of the Healthy Schools scheme.

The assessor Mrs Lynne Perry, enjoyed a virtual tour and presentation by Year 3 pupils who took great pleasure in proudly showing Mrs Perry all the wonderful work the school has done to ensure its children are safe, happy with high levels of emotional and physical wellbeing.

In her report, Mrs Perry wrote, ‘Tavernspite School continues to be an outstanding health promoting school. The health promoting school ethos is evident across the whole school population and it runs seamlessly throughout everything that the school does. Tavernspite School continues to give high priority to promoting and enhancing the health and well-being of the whole school community.’

The school received fantastic support from Mrs Liz Western, Senior Public Health Officer and Lead for Healthy Schools and Pre-schools, Pembrokeshire, to whom they are very grateful.

Head teacher Kevin Phelps said, ‘We were delighted to receive this award for the fifth time, particularly considering the experiences we have all been through these past twelve months. Health and wellbeing has never been so important and we are proud to be leading the way like this.’

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