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Cocktail of drugs caused death

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coroners verdictPEMBROKESHIRE CORONER, Mark Layton declared the death of a Pembroke Dock man as accidental from a mixed drug intoxication. 

Nigel Walker, aged 52, of Albion Court, died at his brother’s house in Laws Street on January 10. Coroner’s Officer, Jeremy Davies said: “On January 9, Nigel Walker visited his brother Steven in Laws Street around 6pm. They drank some alcohol while watching the soaps though did not drink much. Steven went to bed around 9pm leaving Nigel watching TV. At 7am the next morning Steven found Nigel in the same position as the night before, he was cold to the touch and he called an ambulance. When the paramedics arrived, they pronouced Nigel dead.” The post mortem by Petya Nedeva stated: “The drugs morphine, amitriptyline, nortriptyline, sertraline, hydroxyzine, niccotine and caffeine were found in a blood sample. The cause of death was likely to have been from a mixed drug intoxication from morphine, amtriptyline, nortriptyline and hydroxyzine”. Mr Layton said: “Nigel Walker suffered from his illnesses and was in a lot of pain. He was given relief which he took, and I conclude that his death was clearly caused by an accidental overdose of morphine, amtriptyline, nortriptyline and hydroxyzine.”

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Business

1,000 thefts a day: Labour calls for more support for high streets

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SHOCK analysis by the Labour Party has revealed more than 1,000 shoplifting offences are being committed across England and Wales every day – equating to an offence almost every minute of the day.

Yet separate Freedom of Information requests submitted by the party to police forces suggest that charges have fallen by a quarter over the past five years.

Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Mid and South Pembrokeshire, Henry Tufnell, was out visiting local businesses in Tenby last week (April 19) to hear about the challenges presented by shoplifting and anti-social behaviour.

Henry Tufnell, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Mid and South Pembrokeshire, said: “Pembrokeshire relies upon local businesses to grow our local economy, support jobs, and drive tourism. Today’s stats are clear: the Conservatives have lost control.

“Labour has a plan to ensure our town centres are a safe, enjoyable place for Pembrokeshire residents to spend time in. Coupled with the Welsh Labour Government’s Transforming Towns scheme, which will provide £27 million by 2025 in South West Wales towards funding projects to regenerate and support our town centres, Labour’s priority is breathing life back into our high streets.”

Philippa Thompson, Labour’s Police and Crime Commissioner candidate for Dyfed Powys Police, joined with members of the Co-operative Party and USDAW, the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers, to campaign for stronger protections for retail workers.

Today’s announcement comes shortly after the UK government finally committed to introduce a new offence for assault of a retail worker, which Labour, the Co-op and USDAW have called for, for more than a decade.

Labour’s Police and Crime Commissioner candidate for Dyfed Powys Police, Philippa Thompson, said:

“A Labour Government in Westminster means we’ll see more police on the streets, a crackdown on anti-social behaviour, and on retail crime. As a Labour & Co-operative Party candidate, today I am campaigning with USDAW to strengthen protections for retail workers against the assault and abuse they face at work.

It has taken the Conservatives ten years to heed what Labour, the Co-operative Party and USDAW have been saying, and introduce a specific offence for assault of a retail worker. The Tories have run out of steam and run out of ideas, and it’s time for a change. Only Labour can deliver that change.”

Since September, Labour has been calling for the Tories to scrap their Shoplifter’s Charter, which is leaving criminals to steal with impunity.

The rule, brought in by Theresa May in 2014, introduced a new category of ‘low-value shoplifting’ to describe theft of goods worth under £200 and has led to police deprioritising enforcement in these cases – even where there are repeat offences or organised shoplifting. This has left businesses and retail workers at the mercy of criminals.
 
Alongside removing the Tories’ £200 rule, Labour has vowed to put 13,000 more neighbourhood police and PCSOs back on the streets and introduce a Community Policing Guarantee to tackle shoplifting.

Yvette Cooper MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, said: “Under the Tories too many communities and high streets are being blighted by staggering increases in shoplifting, but charge rates are going down. That means more criminals are getting away with it and more local businesses are paying the price.
 
“The Conservative government has decimated neighbourhood policing, leaving our town centres unprotected, and they are still refusing to get rid of the £200 rule, which is encouraging repeat offending and organised gangs of shoplifters.
 
“Labour will scrap the Tories’ Shoplifter’s Charter and bring in a Community Policing Guarantee, with 13,000 more neighbourhood police and PCSOs to crackdown on shoplifting and keep the public safe.”

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Pembrokeshire embraces future with new e-bike scheme

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL, under the chairmanship of Thomas Baden Tudor, has announced an exciting new initiative aimed at boosting sustainable transportation across the region. The council has introduced a “pay as you go” electric bike (E-Bike) service, now available in Haverfordwest, Fishguard, Goodwick, and Tenby as part of a 12-month trial that commenced on 8th April 2024.

The scheme, managed by Zeus Mobility, features the Zip bikes—electrically powered bicycles designed to make cycling less strenuous and more accessible to a broader demographic. Each location will start with 10 E-Bikes, with plans to increase the fleet to 50 by summer. The service will include three main charging stations and numerous satellite bays for convenient access and returns.

Priced competitively, the E-Bikes can be hired for £3.00 for the first hour, with subsequent time billed at 5p per minute. Daily and weekly rates are also available, offering users more flexibility for longer trips. The bikes are aimed at reducing reliance on motor vehicles, promoting healthier living, and contributing to national decarbonisation targets.

Councillor Tudor tested the new bikes himself, describing the experience as “brilliant fun for the whole family” and encouraging all residents and visitors to give them a try. The initiative is part of a broader effort by the council to offer eco-friendly travel options that align with environmental objectives.

To use the E-Bikes, riders need to download the Zipp Mobility app, which allows for bike unlocking, ride tracking, and payment. The app also provides information on bike locations, parking bays, and cycling routes within the county.

Funded by a £150,000 grant from the Swansea Bay and South West Wales Metro, the project focuses solely on this E-Bike trial, aiming to make Pembrokeshire a leader in sustainable travel. For further details on hiring and operating the E-Bikes, residents can visit the Cycle Pembrokeshire webpage or contact the team directly via email at [email protected].

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20mph U-turn: Some roads will return to 30mph following public outcry

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IN a recent shift in policy, Transport Secretary Ken Skates announced that some roads in Wales will revert to a 30mph speed limit following significant public opposition to the Welsh Government’s £34 million initiative to impose a default 20mph limit. This move addresses the concerns consistently raised by many citizens.

The controversial policy, initially rolled out across Wales under former First Minister Mark Drakeford and his transport minister, Lee Waters, aimed at enhancing road safety. However, it has since faced backlash, illustrated by nearly half a million signatures on a Senedd petition opposing the change.

“We’ve put our hands up to say the guidance has to be corrected,” Skates stated, acknowledging the widespread dissatisfaction with the policy’s implementation. He emphasised the need for targeted 20mph zones, particularly in sensitive areas such as near schools, hospitals, and densely populated housing estates. Yet, he admitted that certain routes should not have been included under the stricter speed limit.

Swansea Council Leader Rob Stewart welcomed the revised approach but highlighted the financial burden of changing road signage, urging the Welsh Government to assist with the expenses. Stewart praised Skates’ “pragmatic approach” and stressed that the government should not impose the financial strain on local councils, which are already facing tough budgetary decisions.

The policy has had its proponents, particularly among cycling groups and safety advocates who argue that the lower speed limits contribute to safer community spaces. Despite this, many have called for a more nuanced application of the speed limits rather than a blanket reduction.

In response to the backlash, Skates is set to present the planned adjustments in a forthcoming statement to the Senedd. The changes will allow local councils the autonomy to restore the 30mph limit where deemed appropriate, potentially affecting up to 10 roads in Swansea alone.

Leaders from other councils, including Huw Thomas of Cardiff, expressed relief over the change. Cardiff, where the majority of roads were already under a 20mph limit, saw a favourable reception of the policy. Nonetheless, the decision to empower local governments has been largely welcomed.

The Welsh Conservatives, through their transport spokesperson Natasha Asghar, have voiced strong opposition to the original policy, criticising its expansive application. Meanwhile, Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth called for a more carefully considered implementation, supporting the principle of 20mph zones but criticising their inconsistent enforcement.

Responding to comments made by Ken Skates, Labour’s Cabinet Secretary for Transport on potential changes to the 20mph guidance, Natasha Asghar MS, Welsh Conservative Shadow Transport Minister said: “The people of Wales have rightfully taken significant issue with Labour’s 20mph policy and ‘correcting guidance’ will not be enough to ease concerns.

“The Welsh Conservatives are the only the party to have consistently voted against the ridiculous 20mph policy involving 97% of previously 30mph roads and a £9 billion hit to the Welsh economy.

“The Welsh Conservatives want to see this policy scrapped and have given the Labour Government a number of opportunities to vote to do so. A more targeted approach is needed with the support of the Welsh people.”

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