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Carmarthenshire

Council asks people to consider isolating before Christmas as COVID cases in Carmarthenshire surge

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People in Carmarthenshire are being asked to consider isolating themselves to protect their families in time for Christmas with another sharp rise in Covid-19 cases in our communities.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Test, Trace, Protect (TTP) team is experiencing a huge surge in demand as the virus is spreading so rapidly, with around 600 new cases coming in over the last few days alone.

With the current isolation regulations standing at 10 days, it means anyone contacted from today – December 15 – will be told they have to isolate on Christmas Day.

People who have recently tested positive are being asked to get in touch with potential contacts themselves, as whilst the TTP team will make contact as soon as they can, they cannot guarantee to call within 24 hours due to the huge surge in cases.

The acceleration of the spread in Carmarthenshire is a serious concern – latest available figures show there are now 413.7 cases per 100,000 (as at 9am on 14/12/20) – up significantly on the case rate released just last Friday, which showed 367.1 per 100,000, and 252.2 the week before.

The council is asking people to do more to protect themselves, not just to ease the pressure on health and social care services, but to prevent potentially spreading the virus to their families over the Christmas period.

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Employers are being asked to ensure they are supporting staff to work from home, in line with Welsh Government advice, and people are being urged to stay as local as possible to finish their Christmas shopping – both to limit the spread of the virus and to support small community traders.

Leader of the council, Cllr Emlyn Dole, said: “We want everyone to be able to enjoy Christmas, but the surge in cases we’re currently experiencing in Carmarthenshire means it’s inevitable that some people will be isolating over Christmas and the New Year, or worse still suffering with Covid-19.

“We can only hope that for most people this is just a minor illness. But as we all know, Covid-19 is unpredictable and unfortunately some people are becoming severely ill or losing loved ones to this terrible virus.

“This is a very serious situation – we are so concerned that in the run-up to Christmas and with the virus spreading so quickly in Carmarthenshire, we are asking people to consider self-isolating to protect themselves and their families.

“Please don’t invite people into your home, please don’t mix with others – please, so far as you can, keep yourself to yourself and do what you can to have a safe Christmas.”

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As the Covid-19 situation continues to evolve – including changes to the self-isolation period and the roll-out of the vaccine – the council is encouraging people to stay up to date with information from official sources.


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Ammanford

Man who filmed rape on Ammanford victim’s phone changes plea mid trial

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A man who filmed himself raping an Ammanford woman on his victim’s phone has changed his plea to guilty midway through his trial.

Cameron Hassan, aged 31, of no fixed abode, attacked the woman, raping her as she slept on 21 August 2021.

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Hassan had been on trial at Swansea Crown Court after denying any wrongdoing. However, after the jury was shown the video of the attack and hearing the victim was going to give evidence yesterday (Tuesday, 10 May), Hassan changed his plea to guilty.

Investigating Officer DC Sophie Lambert from Dyfed Powys Police said the victim had shown great strength and determination throughout the investigation.

“I must commend her tremendous courage in coming forward and the tenacity shown throughout the investigation,” she said.

“We hope this case demonstrates that Dyfed-Powys Police acts on serious allegations such as rape and sexual assault with officers working tirelessly to secure justice for victims.

“If you are suffering because of similar abuse, please contact the police, or if you would rather speak to someone in confidence, New Pathways are an independent charity that will support you through every step of the investigation.”

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New Pathways can be contacted at 01685 379 310 or email enquiries@newpathways.org.uk

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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Carmarthenshire

Women’s Tour of Britain returns to Carmarthenshire

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The countdown is on before the world’s top women riders will race through Carmarthenshire as part of the Women’s Tour of Britain.

Some 108 cyclists will race through the County to the finishing line on top of the Black Mountain between Llangadog and Brynamman as part of the stage five event on Friday, June 10.

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The route will be starting from Pembrey Country Park at 10.45am and riders competing for the title will go through Pinged, Carway, Pontyberem, Horeb, Llansawel, and Llangadog.

A rolling road closure will take place along the 65-mile route which will come into action at 10.45am until 1.50pm.

Roads will be re-opened once the cyclists have passed through. A full road closure will be in place over the Black Mountain from 5am-5pm.

The event will be broadcast on ITV4 and across Europe with a helicopter camera crew following the race.

The Women’s Tour departs on Monday, June 6, and coincides with the final day of a four-day Bank Holiday weekend in the UK to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. The race will culminate with a prestigious finale six days later on Saturday, June 11.

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Pembrey Country Park previously hosted the Grand Départ of the men’s Tour of Britain as well as the overall finish of the Women’s Tour in 2019.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Chief Executive, Wendy Walters said: “We are thrilled that we have again been chosen to host this top cycling event. Previous years have brought an immediate economic boost to the tourism sector as well as providing a great deal of positive media coverage.”

(Lead image: Carmarthenshire Council)

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Dyfed Powys Police

Man banned from driving for 12 months for fishing offence

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A man from Merthyr Tydfil who travelled to the River Loughor, near Llanelli to fish using a barbaric and illegal method, has been banned from driving for 12 months as part of his sentence.

Vu Quang Tien pleaded guilty to an illegal fishing charge and also to a charge of obstruction of a Natural Resources Wales (NRW) Fisheries Enforcement Officer on 26 April at Swansea Magistrates Court.

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Mr Tien and two other anglers were witnessed by NRW Fisheries Enforcement Officers deliberately using the illegal foul hooking method of fishing – also known as snatching – at the river Loughor on 15 August 2021. NRW officers attended the site after several reports of illegal fishing were made to NRW’s 24/7 incident call centre by concerned members of the community.

When approached and questioned by NRW officers, Mr Tien and his accomplices showed significant hostility and reluctance to share identification documents which eventually had to be extracted by use of reasonable force.

All of Mr Tien’s fishing tackle and fish, along with his associates’ fishing tackle was seized by NRW Officers at the time of the incident. The district judge on the day at Swansea Magistrates Court gave permission to NRW to confiscate these items permanently from each of them.

The District Judge disqualified Mr Tien from driving for 12 months due to seriousness of the incident, and the premeditated and deliberate action of travelling such a distance to commit the offence.

He was also ordered to pay a total of £2,334 in fines, NRW costs and a victim surcharge.

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Mark Thomas, Fisheries Enforcement Officer for NRW, said: “We would like to again thank Dyfed Powys Police, the local communities and also the law-abiding anglers in the area for their continued support in reporting these illegal fishing activities.

“Foul hooking is a truly barbaric form of fishing carried out by a small minority of anglers in Wales, who have no regard for fish welfare.

“NRW and the Police take these incidents seriously as do the courts.

“Hopefully, the small minority of anglers who may in future, think of using any illegal fishing methods will take heed of the heavy fines and driving ban in this case issued by the courts.”

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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