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As further protest planned, police say last nights scenes ‘endangered everyone’

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A FURTHER protest is planned for tonight in Penally. It follows a similar protest last night which saw demonstrators clash with police over the plan to use Penally Army Camp as a holding centre for 250 male asylum seekers.

Following last nights events, described by the Superintendent in charge of Pembrokeshire as dangerous, Anthony Evans said: “Dyfed-Powys Police is a service that relies on co-operation with our communities and we will always work to ensure that everyone’s voices are heard, in a peaceful and safe way. We understand that tensions are running high in the community, but last night’s scenes endangered everyone and caused understandable alarm.

Police and protestors in stand off in Penally on Monday night (Pic: Herald)

“We are actively reviewing a significant amount of footage extracted from our officers’ body worn cameras, from footage shared to social media and intelligence obtained from other sources. Those identified committing criminal offences will be prosecuted – last night’s policing priority was to ensure the safety of everyone at the scene.

“We are in conversation with our partners across Pembrokeshire and are grateful to those in Penally and the surrounding community who are engaging with our officers on the ground and sharing concerns and information with us. Our history as a service is one of co-operation and we are working with partners across the county and the Home Office to get the support residents are asking for.”

Darren Edmundson, one of the protestors, told The Herald that there will be a huge protest tonight at Penally Camp.

He said: “We are expecting a large turnout of protestors tonight – many more than at previous protests.”

“We are expecting the protest to start at 6pm.”

“I am doing this because I am concerned for the safety of our family and our children as we don’t know the background of the asylum seekers. It has been confirmed that is just 250 men. Why not woman and children as well?

“There was a lack of communication prior to the protest. We wanted to know the facts etc.

“It was so disappointed to not see the council or any MPs turn up to answer any questions. Simon Hart should have been there.

“We feel that the camp should have been used to benefit the community especially the homeless.

“Wales has struggled for homelessness for years.”

CRIME COMMISSIONER

In a further development, the local Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn has said that he attended a further meeting with Home Office officials and partner agencies today (Sept 22) to discuss the planned housing of approximately 250 asylum seekers at a military base in Pembrokeshire.

Mr Llywelyn said: “I am totally frustrated that the finer details involving numbers and timescales are being kept from local leaders and residents. There is a complete lack of ownership and leadership being shown by Ministers at the Home Office on this issue and this is disrespectful to the local community”.

The Crime Commissioner has actively been involved in ensuring adequate resources and planning is in place within Dyfed Powys Police since learning of the plans last week highlighting that the response by local leaders of service has been phenomenal. “I am grateful to the Home Office’s operational team in Wales who have supported the planning and I will continue to personally support this activity”.

Last week he wrote an open letter to the Home Secretary, noting local concerns of apparent lack of strategic planning.
The letter stated: “I reiterate once again what I emphasised in my letter to the Home Secretary last week, that greater strategic planning and engagement is needed to ensure we support and safeguard these vulnerable individuals and respond to local concerns.”

COUNCILLOR LOBBIES HART

Penally County Councillor, Jon Preston, is urging Simon Hart MP to do more. He told The Herald that he has contacted the local MP saying the following: “As our representative at Westminster, you are the only one in any position to request that this location is re-considered. We have proven in the past that as a community we can rise to most challenges, however riots on the doorsteps of an elderly community is totally unacceptable.”

“The Home Office have breached their own guidelines placing these asylum seekers here in every respect and some of the threats of planned violence and criminal damage that I have heard being talked about by some outsiders in the protests is a matter of real concern.

“Can you please do all you can to get this awful decision by the UK government/ Home Office reversed as a matter of urgency. The situation is already having a bad effect on the physical and mental health of some Penally residents, myself included.

“I have not had one proper night’s sleep since this decision became known about to the local community last Monday. I have had no sleep at all last night because of the events described.”

LOCAL MEMBER OF WELSH PARLIAMENT

Commenting on the clashes at Penally overnight local Member of the Welsh Parliament, Angela Burns MS said: “I was appalled to see the scenes overnight outside Penally Camp.

“I have been working closely with the County Council, Local Health Board and representatives from the UK and Welsh Government to try and find the best way to accommodate the Asylum Seekers whilst causing a minimal impact on the local community.

“Mistakes have been made and communication from the Home Office has been poor, but the scenes last night were upsetting and disgraceful and not the way to help resolve this issue.

“I am worried that the legitimate concerns of local people have been hijacked by people from outside of the area to make extreme political points. The videos demonstrated not only a total disregard for the rule of law, but a lack of respect for authority and for other human beings. It is not acceptable for mob rule to guide decisions taken by Government.

“I have already written to the Home Secretary to seek assurances and clarity on a number of concerns that both I and local people have about the location of the camp and whether the local community has the resources provide services for residents housed in the Penally Camp. I will be raising the matter later today with the First Minster in questions in the Welsh Parliament.”

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Police Tasered teenager in Hakin following car theft

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A SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD boy who resisted arrest after stealing a vehicle and driving it around Glebelands in Hakin in the middle of the night had to be Tasered, police have said.

The Herald understands that police were called after the teenager took a white car at 3am and started doing loops around the estate. Police units moved in blocking off side roads to keep the vehicle within a confined area, and finally he was arrested and taken into custody.

Some residents in the street who had been woken up by the incident contacted this newspaper.
The boy was not hurt.

A witness said: “The police wanted him detained but he was having none of it, chopsing the police. Next minute they fired and he fell straight to the floor like a log, but not before he had been chased through someone’s garden.”

“He was acting extremely aggressively and I think the police had no option.”

A spokesperson for Dyfed Powys Police told The Pembrokeshire Herald in a prepared statement: A 17-year-old male was arrested in Glebelands in Hakin on suspicion of aggravated taking a vehicle without owner’s consent, driving without a licence and driving without insurance, at around 3.35am on Friday, 16 October.

The male resisted arrest and was Tasered to prevent him causing any injury to himself or members of the public.

He did not require any medical attention.

He has been charged to appear at Haverfordwest Magistrates Court on November 6.

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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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