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Thieves target heating oil from south Pembrokeshire church as fuel cost soar

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POLICE in Saundersfoot have said they are investigating reports that heating oil has been stolen from a church

The heating oil was allegedly taken from a tank at St Issell’s Church last month.

In recent weeks police have been warning people of thieves siphoning oil to avoid paying amid the cost-of-living crisis.

Reverend Steve Brett, from St Issell’s Church, said: “It was really disappointing to discover that heating oil had been taken. It has been reported to the police and we are taking immediate steps to protect our oil tank.

“We know that times are hard for everyone at the moment, and we are no different in church.

“If it’s been taken for personal consumption, and you are desperate to heat your home, come and have a chat, and maybe we can help you find a grant to buy heating oil, or find some other help. Please don’t turn to crime.”

A spokesperson for Dyfed-Powys Police said: “We had two calls on Sunday, April 10, reporting the theft of oil from two properties in Valley Road, Saundersfoot.

“Officers are reminding residents to protect their heating oil supplies to prevent any theft from storage tanks. Residents can take a few simple steps to prevent being a victim of theft.”

“A 1,000 litre tank can be drained within minutes and a tank that’s not properly protected will make an easy target for thieves looking to make some extra cash,” said a spokesperson.

“Fuel thieves usually target farms during the winter nights as the extended cover of darkness gives them more opportunities to steal.

“These criminals often use a basic tube to siphon away the fuel, but more sophisticated measures, such as pumping systems, are now being reported.”

People are asked to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police by calling 101.

Farmers and rural homeowners are being targeted by oil thieves who are exploiting the surge in energy prices by selling stolen fuel on the black market

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, heating oil prices have climbed from between 60p to 70p per litre in February to around £1.30 this week.

The Countryside Alliance (CA) said fuel thieves traditionally target farms during the longer winter nights under the cover of darkness, which gives them more opportunities to get away unnoticed.

“These criminals often use just a basic tube to siphon away the fuel, but more sophisticated apparatuses – such as pumping systems – have been reported by police,” said a CA spokesman.

‘Keep tanks locked’

The NFU is reminding farmers and crofters to be extra vigilant to protect themselves against fuel theft.

“Fuel tanks should be kept locked when not in use, out of sight, and in well-lit areas,” said NFUS transport advisor Jamie Smart.

“Wherever possible, tractors should not be parked in the field. It is important to keep track of your fuel purchases and usage – dip your tanks daily so that you know if there is an unexplained loss of fuel.”

Rural insurer NFU Mutual said the average cost of a diesel theft claim was £2,120 in 2020.

Community

Police launch urgent search for missing 16-year-old in west Wales

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POLICE are actively searching for a missing 16-year-old boy, known only as Kobi, who has not been seen since last week. The teenager has connections across various towns in west Wales, including Llandeilo, Carmarthen, and Cardigan.

Kobi, described as tall with shaved black hair featuring a purple tint, was last spotted in Llanelli. Authorities have urged the public to remain vigilant and report any sightings of the boy immediately.

A spokesperson for Dyfed-Powys Police issued a public appeal, stating: “Can you help find Kobi, who has been reported missing? Kobi is 16 years old, and described as tall with shaved black hair which has a purple tint.”

Anyone with information on Kobi’s whereabouts is encouraged to contact Dyfed-Powys Police without delay, as concerns for his welfare continue to grow.

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Feedback wanted on regional transport vision

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VIEWS are wanted on the future of transport in South West Wales.

Covering Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire and Swansea, a case for change that’s been developed for a regional transport plan is now open for public feedback until Monday August 26.

The case for change shows how the plan is essential to support the ongoing economic development of the region, while recognising its diverse communities and varying transport needs.

Aims of the plan include improving walking and cycling routes to local services, as well as achieving a shift away from private car usage to more sustainable forms of transport. Affordability will be at the centre of the plan to ensure access to transport is available to all.

Comments on the case for change will help inform a draft regional transport plan that will also be consulted on when it’s ready for feedback.  

Swansea Bay and West Wales Metro plans for an integrated bus and rail network will continue to be developed alongside the regional transport plan’s delivery in future. 

The rail metro elements are projected to add over a million journeys to the rail network, helping move more people out of cars and onto public transport than any other scheme in Wales.
Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader and Chairman of the Corporate Joint Committee (CJC) for South West Wales, said: “Adding to an outstanding tourism offer, South West Wales is undergoing a time of unprecedented investment, thanks to developments like the Celtic Freeport and £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal.
“These schemes – in combination with many others – will help create thousands of jobs for local people and attract even more investment to South West Wales in future, but we’ve also identified that our current transport network needs significant improvement to keep pace with these developments, while also better meeting the needs of local people in all the region’s communities – both urban and rural.
“The case for change – which also highlights the importance of affordability, climate change considerations and low-carbon transport – is intended as a guide to help inform the emerging regional transport plan.”
Cllr Darren Price, Carmarthenshire Council’s Leader and Chairman of the CJC’s transport sub-group, said: “The transport network is at the heart or our region. It takes us to work, education, healthcare and leisure and social activities both throughout South West Wales and further afield.
“It affects everyone, which is why we’re opening up our case for change for the regional transport plan for public feedback.
“With the population of the region also expected to increase in the coming decades, we need a transport system that accommodates existing and future developments in a way that supports sustainable travel choices, economic activity and social inclusion across the region.”
Head to www.cjcsouthwest.wales/consultation for more information and the opportunity to give feedback.
Email [email protected] if you have any queries.
Paper copies of the feedback form and consultation materials are available at:
Carmarthenshire: Ammanford Customer Services Hwb on Quay Street, Carmarthen Customer Services Hwb on St Catherine’s Walk or Llanelli Customer Services Hwb on Stepney Street.
Neath Port Talbot: Neath Civic Centre, Port Talbot Civic Centre or The Quays on Brunel Way in Baglan Energy Park.
Pembrokeshire: County Hall in Haverfordwest.
Swansea: The Civic Centre on Oystermouth Road.

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Freshwater West named The Times newspaper Beach of the Year

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FRESHWATER WEST has been named Wales’s Beach of the Year, according to the annual best beaches guide by The Times and Sunday Times. The comprehensive guide, now in its 16th edition, lists the top 50 beaches in the UK and will be available in print on 21st July.

Chris Haslam, the award-winning chief travel writer for The Times and Sunday Times, described Freshwater West as “a wilderness of dunes, sand and rocks that draws surfers from across the world to ride its winter waves.” Haslam has personally inspected all 50 beaches on the list over the past eight weeks.

The guide evaluates the stunning beauty of the UK coastline using a meticulous 11-point checklist. This includes water quality, cleanliness, accessibility, parking facilities, lifeguard presence, hygiene standards at restrooms and showers, and dog-friendliness. For 2024, only beaches rated as “excellent” for water quality by national environment agencies have been included, and the guide exclusively covers mainland beaches.

Here are the best beaches in Wales according to the guide:

  • Wales’s Beach of the Year: Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire
  • Llanddwyn, Anglesey
  • Porth Iago, Gwynedd
  • Penbryn, Ceredigion
  • Mwnt, Ceredigion
  • Manorbier, Pembrokeshire
  • Pendine Sands, Pembrokeshire
  • Mewslade, Vale of Glamorgan
  • Oxwich, Vale of Glamorgan
  • Monknash, Vale of Glamorgan

Chris Haslam reflected on his travels, saying, “My Jack Russell, Dave T Dog, and I have journeyed 5,583 miles and explored 543 beaches. The 50 beaches that made our list are graced with outstanding natural beauty, superb infrastructure, and a clear sense of pride from those who live, work, and play there. I’m still in awe of the beauty of the UK coast. From Kynance to Caithness, and Brancaster to Benone, the beaches of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are the most magnificent on earth.”

For more details, visit The Times and Sunday Times Best UK Beaches.

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