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Carmarthenshire

Health Board hails ‘significant legacy’ as Llanelli field hospital taken through decommissioning phase

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Plans are in hand to formally take Llanelli’s Ysbyty Enfys Selwyn Samuel through its decommissioning phase ahead of being returned to town council ownership later this spring, bringing an effective end to Hywel Dda’s Covid-19 field hospital programme after two years.

Local authority contactors are due to begin a programme of reinstatement works before the health board hands back the Selwyn Samuel Centre – which provides a local indoor bowls facility and events centre – to Llanelli Town Council in late April.

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The health board is also due to hold talks with Carmarthenshire County Council over the future of Ysbyty Enfys Caerfyrddin, based at the town’s leisure centre, which has been held in reserve for some time as a field hospital and is now back fully open and operational as a leisure centre.

Nine field hospital sites offering 915 beds across the counties of Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire were designed and constructed and handed to the Health Board on 24 April 2020 in readiness to meet the expected Covid-19 case demand.

Ysbyty Enfys Selwyn Samuel has seen the longest operational service (16 November 2020 – 23 June 2021) of all of Hywel Dda’s field hospital sites, treating 263 patients in that time.

Selwyn Samuel Centre in Llanelli

Since being wound down as a field hospital in June 2021, the site has supported broader Health Board activity by acting as a base for the local acute response team, a lymphoedema clinic and as a training and development venue which helped us bring 160 much needed additional health care support workers into the system ahead of winter.

Ysbyty Enfys Caerfyrddin was operated as a pilot during the late summer of 2020 and supported the care of 32 inpatients.

However, the impact of a lower than expected and plateauing of the Omicron coronavirus strain infection rate, along with staffing challenges, have resulted in the facilities not seeing further inpatient clinical use during the most recent period of health system pressures.

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Hywel Dda’s Chief Executive, Steve Moore, paid tribute to Llanelli Town Council for their support throughout in helping the health board to manage its patients, and for being flexible in the face of great uncertainty.

He added: “This will be a significant legacy statement for the facility and of course Llanelli Town Council. For the Health Board, the centre has proved to be an immense source of support in our aims to tackle the indirect impacts of the several waves of coronavirus we have seen in the past two years.

“On behalf of the Health Board, I would like to thank the Town Council for the support, flexibility and patience provided in the past two years which has been exemplified through a true spirit of collaboration and partnership.”

The Leader of Llanelli Town Council, Cllr John Jenkins, added: “I am very, very proud of the support Llanelli Town Council was able to give our NHS through the provision of the Selwyn Samuel Centre to be repurposed as Ysbyty Enfys Selwyn Samuel.

“I want to thank Paul Francis and Anyone Waiting for their support and cooperation and Llanelli Indoor Bowls Club for their support. This is a fantastic team effort to support the Local Health Board during the pandemic.”

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(Lead image: Hywel Dda NHS)

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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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