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Dyfed Powys Police

Emergency Services come together to tackle impact of grass fires

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Operation Dawns Glaw, a multi-agency taskforce of specialists from key agencies across Wales has reformed to reduce, and where possible eliminate the impact of grass fires across Wales.

The task force, which was initially established in 2016 to tackle the incidents of deliberately set grass fires across Wales, will also be turning its attention to the increase in accidental fires, often caused as a result of our own careless behaviour when out enjoying the countryside.  

During 2020, Fire and Rescue Services across Wales dealt with 2,253 grass fires. Whilst this was a slight increase on 2019, the number of accidental fires in 2020 had increased by 20%. This increase has in part been attributed to the number of us who spent our Spring and Summer months enjoying our local countryside, due to the lockdown measures in place as a result of the Coronavirus Pandemic – and as we enter another year whereby staycations here in Wales are likely to dominate our holidays, the Task Force is keen to make sure that we all do so safely, protecting the precious countryside to include its wildlife and habitats which we are so proud to have on our doorsteps.

The Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government, Hannah Blythyn said: “With more people enjoying their local countryside and the prospect of more people opting for a staycation this year, it is more important than ever that we work together to eliminate grass fires and protect our environment. Careless behaviour resulted in an increase in accidentally-set grass fires last year.        

Deliberately setting grass fires by any means is totally irresponsible and unacceptable. At a time of increased pressure, we need to work together and avoid putting further strain on Wales’ emergency services.” 

Firefighters tackling a grass fire (Image: Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service)

Mydrian Harries, Corporate Head of Prevention and Protection for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, and Chair of Operation Dawns Glaw, said: “I think it is particularly poignant that we are launching our campaign on St David’s Day this year as we appeal to our patriotic nature, with a plea that we all work together to protect the green grassland and countryside that we are all so fortunate to have on our doorstep.

“While we know that the warm weather we experienced during the early summer months last year will have contributed to the slight increase in grass fires across Wales, we also know that the number of fires caused accidentally increased as well. While accidents do happen, they are also avoidable and this year’s campaign will focus on educating us all on some of the small steps we can take to ensure we don’t accidentally cause a grass fires to ignite.

“I would also like to take the opportunity to reinforce our messages that while accidents can happen, there are others within our communities who are deliberately setting fire to our countryside – not only is this a crime, for which they will be prosecuted, but it also places unnecessary pressure on  front line services and puts our communities in harm’s way. I would encourage anyone with information relating to such crimes to call 101, or to report anonymously to CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111”. 

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The Operation is also continuing its work with farmers and landowners across Wales, reminding them that while they may burn heather, grass, bracken and gorse up until the 15 March (up to 31 March in Upland areas), they must have a Burn Plan in place to ensure they are burning safely. It is against the law to burn outside of the burning season and can result in penalties of up to £1000.

Find out more about #DawnsGlaw 2021 via Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service’s website www.mawwfire.gov.uk/DawnsGlaw, where you can also access some simple safety tips and download the campaign’s safety messages for use on your own social media channels. Together we held stop grass fires and protect our countryside and our country.

Remember – If are out enjoying the countryside and you do come across any suspicious activity, please call CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, or ring 101. In an emergency, always call 999.

(Lead image: Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service)


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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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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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Ammanford

Police appeal after cyclist dies in Garnant accident

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Dyfed Powys Police have issued an appeal after a cyclist died in a single vehicle road traffic collision on Friday (6 May).

The accident took place around 8.45pm outside the Discovery Book Shop on Cwmamman Road in Garnant, Ammanford.

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A spokesperson for Dyfed Powys Police said: “Sadly the 58 year-old male rider of the pedal cycle sustained serious injuries and passed away in hospital.

“We are appealing for any witnesses who may have seen the pedal cycle at the relevant time, or who may have dashcam footage if they travelled along this stretch of road at the time, to get in touch.

“Also local residents and business owners are asked to contact Police if they have any CCTV footage covering the location.”

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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