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Murco: Workers told to down tools following Herald probe

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THE MANAGEMENT of the firms contracted to decommission the former Murco Oil Refinery site in Milford Haven are remaining tight lipped about work stopping on the site on Tuesday (Nov 7).

Several workers and contractors at the refinery, which is being dismantled and shipped to Pakistan, have contacted this newspaper to say that they were told to down tools and were sent home. Workers told The Herald that they were not sure if or when they would be going back to work.

SOLICITORS TRY TO SILENCE HERALD

In a separate development, following the exposé in The Herald on 22nd October, WRD Ltd have instructed Manchester based solicitors Farleys LLP to try and gag The Pembrokeshire Herald from printing any further articles, and have threatened us with legal action for publishing what workers said, claiming they are libellous defamatory statements.

They also want the article Murco: Someone is going to die taken of the Pembrokeshire Herald website, presumably because it is not good for business.

The Health and Safety Executive is currently investigating a serious accident which took place in May, the worker involved is still at home recovering/ having received what a family member has described, as life changing injuries.

But the solicitor’s letter went on to seemingly pass the buck from WRD Ltd to the other contractor REM Engineering Ltd. It said: “The stark reality is that the statements [in the article], regardless of their veracity in all likelihood relate to REM Engineering Ltd and not WRD.”

But WRD and REM have denied that work had come to a stop for health and safety reasons, and that the present time they were in compliance with health and safety rules. Through their solicitor they said: “Our clients confirm that work at the site has not been stopped due to any health and safety breaches. Our clients confirm that neither company are currently in breach of any health and safety regulations.

INSPECTION FOLLOWING HERALD ARTICLE

One worker on site who telephoned The Pembrokeshire Herald on Tuesday said: “Top engineers and bosses walked around site last week after your story was printed, and were happy with everything –  but three days later everyone sent off site.

Attributing what had happened to “client and health and safety issues”, he told this newspaper that sixty three people were sent home from the former refinery.

Our source added: “My boss said to me to blame the whistle-blowers… ‘Blame your friends who talked to The Herald’ he said.
“They said they would be in touch [about getting back to work], but it is not great this side of Christmas.
“Another employee asked how long [the shutdown was] for, but he was told it was a zero hour contract. It wasn’t true.”

This was also confirmed by a secondary source

PROBE CONTINUES

Jack Rimmer from the Health and Safety Executive told The Herald on Tuesday: “We have spoken with our inspectors regarding your enquiry.

“HSE’s investigation into the incident in May is ongoing, and HSE is not aware of the reasons why work has stopped.

“HSE does not have any involvement in commercial or contractual decisions are a matter for the company.

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Ongoing incident closes busy Haverfordwest road

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A MAJOR road in Haverfordwest has been closed due to a police incident this afternoon (May 5)

A man was seen holding onto the outside railings of a bridge, talking to police officers.

The police said: “We are dealing with an ongoing incident, with concern for the welfare of a male, which has meant the A487 between Cartlett Road and Thomas Parry Way in Haverfordwest has been closed.

“Motorists are asked to avoid the area and find alternative routes.

There are reports of long queues for motorists in and around Haverfordwest with some drivers messaging The Herald saying “Town is gridlocked.”

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James Oulton found not guilty of 30 counts of sexual assault against 11 ex-pupils

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JAMES OULTON, 34, the primary school teacher who was accused of 30 charges of sexual assault against pupils has been found not guilty of all charges at Swansea Crown court today, following a lengthy trial (May 4).

The charges, now dismissed, had related to his time as a Haverfordwest primary school teacher, between 2012 and 2018.

Mr Oulton had described the accusations as a “witch-hunt”.

He confirmed he had made a formal complaint against one officer involved.

Speaking after the verdict, James Oulton said: “I am glad two years and eight months of hell for my family, colleagues and friends has come to an end.”

“I’m just glad it’s over and that the jury came to the right verdict.”

The press was only able to report on the prosecution case, but not the defence case – because Oulton him self via his barrister had made an application to the court for a press restriction.

The Herald feels that this press restriction on the reporting of both sides of the case, once granted, was unlawful, and is appealing to the Court of Appeal on a point of law.

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Nineteen arrests and weapons seized during knife crime action week

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NINETEEN people were arrested and a number of weapons were seized as police took part in a national week of action against knife crime, police have said.

Dyfed-Powys Police has released its results from Op Sceptre, which ran from April 26 to May 2, during which officers across the force took part in activity to crack down on crime involving blades.

The week was led by the force’s roads policing units (RPU), with a focus on targeting operations in key areas throughout the four divisions.

Neighbourhood policing teams were instrumental in engaging with shopkeepers, creating educational videos for communities on social media, and working with RPU on joint patrols in crime hotspots.

Inspector Andrew Williams said: “There have been some excellent results forcewide  from this year’s Op Sceptre, and as a result of the increased proactivity in key areas, there has also been a vast amount of other offences detected.

“This was thanks to some outstanding work by roads policing units, neighbourhood policing teams, the joint firearms unit and response officers.

“Our approach was to educate our communities on the laws around carrying and selling knives, and the dangers associated with having a blade on your possession, which was backed up with operational activity across the force.

“This has been very well received, and will be continued during the next operation.”

During the week 20 stop searches were carried out, resulting in seven arrests and numerous weapons being seized.

Twelve people were arrested for drug driving following stop checks on vehicles, one of which led to the discovery of a cannabis cultivation in the Cardigan area.

Traffic offence reports were issued to 41 drivers, and two people will be dealt with for failing to stop for officers when requested.

Neighbourhood policing activity saw engagement with 95 shop owners and community leaders, with officers and PCSOs reassured to find that most businesses were complying with the Challenge 25 policy. Those who were not will be dealt with accordingly.

Insp Williams said: “Our work to tackle knife crime will continue as we consider intelligence logs that were submitted during the operation and develop targeted plans to deal with concerns in our communities.

“We would also like to remind people that while our knife amnesty has now concluded, the best way to dispose of an unwanted blade is to take it to your local recycling centre.”

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