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Carmarthenshire

Welsh bathing waters top destination this summer

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As Covid-19 restrictions continue to ease in Wales, and thoughts turn towards enjoying holiday destinations closer to home this summer, visitors to Wales’ beaches can be assured that they have met rigorous quality standards according to the findings of a Natural Resources Wales (NRW) report.

For the third consecutive year, the Wales Bathing Water Quality Report 2020 found that there have been no poor classifications of designated bathing waters in Wales, with one additional excellent classification being awarded in 2020 compared with the results in 2019.

The bathing water sampling season usually runs from the 15 May to 30 September and tests all 105 designated bathing waters around Wales on their water quality.

Water samples are taken away, analysed in a specialist laboratory and assessed against a set criteria.

At the end of the season the results will be compiled for each bathing water and used to assess the water as ‘poor’, ‘sufficient’, ‘good’ or ‘excellent’.

The report found  all 105 designated Welsh bathing waters met the rigorous Bathing Water Regulations 2013 stringent water quality standards. 84 were found to be excellent standard, 14 achieved a good standard and 7 were classified as the minimum, sufficient, standard. For the third season running no designated bathing waters were classified as poor.

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Caswell’s beach’s water quality was designated as ‘excellent’ (Image: Swansea Council)

Executive Director of Evidence, Policy and Permitting at Natural Resources Wales, Ceri Davies said: “Never more so than over the past year have blue spaces and being out in nature been so important for our mental health and wellbeing. Here in Wales we are blessed with beautiful beaches, and those living in the surrounding communities or those visiting for the day naturally want to be assured of the quality of the water before they dip their toes in.

“NRW has an important role to play in ensuring the quality of our bathing waters, sampling the areas for two types of bacteria which indicate pollution from sewage or animals, both of which can have impacts on human health, such as causing stomach upsets and diarrhoea if swallowed.

“The 2020 results are very reassuring and shows that we, together with Dŵr Cymru, Local Authorities, farming organisations and landowners are achieving our goal to protect and enhance our natural resources.”

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Due to the impacts of coronavirus on working practices, completing the 2020 programme posed considerable challenges. The monitoring season, which usually runs from May to September was delayed after it was found that the pandemic would impact on the ability to undertake water sampling fully and safely.

Sampling was eventually completed at the end of September  and the findings of the process have been published on the NRW website.

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Ceri Davies added: “The results show how hard we and our partners worked both locally and nationally last year during very challenging times, and the tremendous dedication that our organisations have to an important environmental service.

“Several of Wales’ beaches such as Barafundle and Tenby, are regularly voted Britain’s best with activities such as swimming, surfing, angling and rockpooling being very popular all around the coastline. Our aim now is to ensure that this high standard is maintained, and we’ll continue to work with our partners to achieve this target.”

Lead image: Blue flag beach at Tenby (Image: Natural Resources Wales)

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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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