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Headteacher warns of dangers of legal highs

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PEMBS.TV have released a film on the rising phenomenon of the use and abuse of so called, ‘legal highs’. As a pre-curser to what will be an enlightening and in-depth TV report, The Herald can reveal some alarming facts about these seemingly ‘legal’ drugs and has an exclusive interview with a secondary school head teacher who has sent out a stark warning about the dangers of these substances, following a recent and frightening incident at the school in which he leads. 

In the film Pembs TV speak to a number of people directly involved in the sale, use and monitoring of this new and alarming trend. Legal highs are substances specifically designed and manufactured to replicate the effects users can get from some of the established illegal drugs, such as LSD, Cannabis and Cocaine. One local retailer has been clearly linked with the sale of these substances, Allsorts. Daryl Millar, of the Haverfordwest shop, made it clear to us that their shop operated a very strict policy of only selling ‘legal highs’ to over 18s, insinuating that if the drugs involved in the recent school incident had come from their store, it could not have been as a direct result of them selling the product to a minor. He went on to show us which were the most popular of the legal highs that they were retailing; one of which was Pandora’s Box that proved a popular sell whilst we were in the shop filming. Whilst he acknowledged their popularity, he made it clear they were intended for use as either plant food or incense burning (in the case of ‘Pandora’s Box’). What people did with it once they took it home he said he couldn’t say. When asked why, if they were legal, they were being sold from under the counter, as we witnessed, he explained that when openly displayed minors could see how much they were and price up opportunities to get them purchased, also saying that it meant addicts, or anyone to whom they weren’t comfortable selling, could be told they had none of these products in stock. Pembs TV also spoke with Dyfed-Powys Crime Commissioner, Christopher Salmon, who made clear his concerns and frustrations over the use and sale of these legal highs. He said whilst he wasn’t setting up any special units to deal with the problem, his officers were aware of the problem of street dealers buying these in bulk and selling to minors. He believed that neighbourhoods and local people held the key to the success of policing this by contacting their local officers and station if they saw such activity. He also made clear that though there were claims that these drugs were legal he pointed out that many could be laced or contaminated with other, restricted, and in some cases, class A substances. He also warned of the potency of these ‘highs’, saying in many cases they were much stronger than the drugs that were controlled or banned. He did, however, draw the line at legalising controlled drugs expressing his concern of the dangers those addictive drugs posed. Frank Ciccotti, head teacher of Pembroke School, spoke exclusively with The Herald about an incident that occurred on May 14 of this year in which several young people were involved in a drug taking incident that resulted in some of them being hospitalised. Mr Ciccotti described the sequence of events that led to the school’s awareness of the situation: “On May 14 a group of year 10/11 students (15-16 year olds) shared out a legal substance at lunchtime, near a wooded area at the top of the rugby field. It was reported by other pupils. We believe the drug was rolled into cigarettes and smoked. We were alerted by pupils in the area who were not part of it, and they pointed out that one pupil was unwell. “We are fortunate they were responsible and reported it to us, otherwise it could have been a very different day. They escorted the pupil to the office where I attended and decided straight away to call for an ambulance. We set about finding the remaining pupils involved, which was about ten; and of these two were affected. “The worst affected was an alarming case as he was grey in colour and was slipping in and out of consciousness and he looked very ill. Two other pupils had lost colour but were more lucid, and the others were just a bit silly. Ambulance crew insisted they all went to hospital and they knew what they had taken as they had seen the sachet. “There had been a fatality fairly recently so it was a matter of great concern. They also summoned the air ambulance as protocol, but it was deemed the worst affected could be taken by road. Fortunately, all were checked out and released later that day”. On what the substance was, he said he couldn’t say, as the police asked him not to as it was an ongoing investigation, though The Herald has been informed by a student of the school that they believe the drug was known as ‘Exodus Damnation’. Mr Ciccotti went on to talk about how these young people had obtained the drug, which are illegal for minors to purchase. “We believe the drug was purchased the evening before by one of the students from a young adult from a car in the area. They weren’t sold on site, and obviously the child who brought it in had a more severe punishment than the others. The danger with these legal highs is they are portable and easy to carry.” He gave this message to parents who may be concerned that such an incident could occur in a school. “I would say it can happen anywhere, no one can be complacent, at any school and anywhere children could have access to this so parents must stress the dangers to their children.” He also had this to say on how the school could instigate future measures to help prevent a repeat incident. “We have strengthened the PSE programme, and we also have a specialist drugs advisor. The police also did an assembly to stress they (these substances) may be legal but they are not safe. These are drugs produced by profiteers and they are marketed by the greedy and purchased by the naive. “These are sold as plant food and incense and maybe they are safe in those contexts, but not in the context of smoking or taken as pills. They are harmful substances and the effects are acute and even the marketing of these (and on the packaging) suggests they are taken in the presence of someone who is sober. Feed them to your plants but don’t put them in your body.” He finished with a simple message: “We need to be smarter as a nation about ‘legal highs’. They are substances that are harmful to health. In school they would be in a poisons cabinet. We need to prevent their open sale.” To watch the full interview with Mr Ciccotti, as well as those with our Crime Commissioner and Daryl Millar of Allsorts, watch out for the release of the film next week, as Pembs. TV lifts the lid on legal highs and their effects.

Check out the video here: http://pembs-herald.co.uk/video/

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Entertainment

Blue Lagoon to open to the public for one day only as charity fundraiser

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A POPULAR leisure venue will be open to locals this summer with the aim of raising thousands of pounds for local charities.

The Blue Lagoon at Bluestone National Park Resort will throw its doors open to the public on August 27.

Six hundred tickets will be available for the local community to enjoy the tropical water park.

All ticket sales go to local charitable causes, with 75 per cent of funds going to a local charitable organisation and 25 per cent through the Bluestone Foundation.

On Tuesday, August 27, Paul Sartori Hospice at Home and Team Cruising Free will benefit from the fundraising created through ticket sales.

Paul Sartori provides end of life care and support at home for Pembrokeshire patients. Team Cruising Free will row the Atlantic in 2025, raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and Paul Sartori.

The Bluestone Foundation, the charitable arm of Bluestone National Park Resort has generated funding totalling £17,500 for west Wales communities from its latest round of events and funding.

It has supported local groups with more than £250,000 since it was launched in 2010.

The Bluestone Foundation offers two avenues of support: the community events and the community fund. The community events at the Blue Lagoon raise funds and awareness for local charities.

This year, the foundation has already hosted events for Get the Boys a Lift and VC Gallery. As well as the August event, there will also be an event in October for Sammy Sized Gap, a local charity supporting young people with mental health issues.

“We are thrilled to see the positive impact our community events have on local organisations,” said Marten Lewis at the Bluestone Foundation. “The Blue Lagoon provides a unique and enjoyable setting for fundraising, and we are grateful for the community’s support.”

The community fund, which runs in three rounds this year, provides financial assistance to projects focused on economic, social, and environmental initiatives. The foundation recently allocated approximately £7,500 to three projects in its first round of funding and is currently reviewing applications for its second round which closes in July. A third round of funding will close on 17 October.

Among those to have benefited in the first round are the South Ridgeway Community Association in Manorbier to help develop a community garden and allotments; The Tenby Project, to support weekly sessions with a trained nutritionist on healthy eating for adults with learning difficulties; and Transition Bro Gwaun in Fishguard, to host community energy engagement events.

Tickets for the August event can be purchased at Eventbrite For more information about the Bluestone Foundation and its initiatives, visit www.pavs.org.uk/apply-for-funds.

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Entertainment

Broad Haven’s Music Festival set to rock village

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GET ready for an electrifying day of music and fun as the Havens Events Crew proudly presents the highly anticipated Broad Haven Music Festival. Scheduled for Saturday, July 20, from 3 PM to 11:30 PM, this event promises a vibrant mix of live bands, local talent, and a delightful BBQ, making it an unmissable occasion for music lovers and families alike.

The festival, at Broad Haven School Field, will feature an impressive lineup of performers. Attendees can look forward to the acoustic melodies of Cadence Acoustic, the energetic rhythms of Coastal Horizon, and the dynamic performances by Loose Change. These local bands are set to deliver a variety of genres, ensuring there’s something for everyone.

In addition to the musical performances, the festival will offer a range of delicious BBQ options, perfect for enjoying a summer evening outdoors. Whether you’re a long-time resident or a visitor, the Broad Haven Music Festival is an ideal opportunity to experience the local culture, connect with the community, and enjoy high-quality entertainment.

Tickets for the event are available for purchase at the Broad Haven Post Office and Lobster and Môr. Early acquisition is recommended to secure a spot at this popular event.

It promises to be a memorable day filled with music, food, and community spirit. The Broad Haven Music Festival is more than just a concert; it’s a celebration of local talent and a testament to the vibrant culture of our town. Don’t miss out on this fantastic event!

For more information, visit the Havens Events Crew’s official website or follow their social media pages for updates and announcements.


Event Details:

  • Date: Saturday, July 20
  • Time: 3 PM – 11:30 PM
  • Location: Broad Haven School Field
  • Performers: Cadence Acoustic, Coastal Horizon, Loose Change
  • Tickets Available At: Broad Haven Post Office, Lobster and Môr

Be sure to mark your calendars and get your tickets soon – we look forward to seeing you there!

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News

England’s Euro 2024 semi-final victory captivates millions

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ENGLAND’S Euro 2024 semi-final victory over the Netherlands garnered a peak audience of 20.3 million on ITV, cementing its status as the most-watched television programme of the year. Broadcasters are now hopeful that Sunday night’s final against Spain will attract over 30 million viewers, surpassing the numbers that tuned in for England’s Euro 2020 final defeat.

The overnight viewing figures, provided by ratings agency Digital-i, do not account for the millions who streamed the match on ITVX or watched in public venues. The coverage of Euro 2024 in the UK is split between the BBC and ITV, with the channels alternating first choices for matches in each round. ITV executives celebrated Jordan Pickford’s crucial penalty save against Switzerland, which secured another high-profile England match and delivered a substantial advertising boost to the channel.

Both the BBC and ITV will broadcast the final, with approximately a fifth of viewers typically opting for ITV over the BBC. Euro 2024 has demonstrated the enduring appeal of live sports broadcasting, which continues to draw massive audiences, particularly when the events are free to watch. Even matches not involving home nations have attracted significant viewership, with the Spain v France semi-final on BBC One peaking at 11 million viewers.

The Euros are part of the UK’s “crown jewel” sporting events, which include the football World Cup, Wimbledon, and the Olympics, all mandated by law to be shown on free-to-air channels. In contrast, other sports have opted for the higher revenue available from pay TV channels, resulting in substantially lower audiences for international matches. The England and Wales cricket board successfully lobbied in the 2000s to keep England test matches off the free-to-air list. Consequently, Jimmy Anderson’s farewell match against the West Indies at Lords, broadcast behind a paywall on Sky, attracted a peak audience of only about 700,000 viewers.

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