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Campaign urging people to be responsible around coastal wildlife launched by RSPCA and police in Wales

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A campaign to stop people behaving irresponsibly near marine animals such as seals, dolphins and nesting birds is being rolled out in Wales.

Operation Seabird is a joint campaign between the RSPCA, all four Wales police forces – North Wales Police, South Wales Police, Gwent Police and Dyfed Powys Police – and other partner organisations such as Natural Resources Wales.

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The first action day on 14 April saw RSPCA officers patrolling areas in Colwyn Bay/Angel Bay and Abersoch with North Wales Police, and aimed to raise awareness and educate people about how vital it is not to disturb the mammals and birds of Britain’s coastal areas and to enjoy watching them from afar.

RSPCA animal rescue officer and wildlife officer Ellie West took part in the first action day with Dyfed Powys Police in Pembrokeshire.

The RSPCA say that sadly, common disturbances to wildlife include speedboats, kayaks and paddleboards deliberately getting too close to seals, dolphins and cetaceans. This often causes stress to the animals and can result in the females suffering spontaneous abortions or babies being abandoned by their mothers.

The animal charity say that other issues include dogs off leads disturbing nesting birds or seals, litter including plastic rings severely injuring seals, wild camping beach barbecues and camp fires causing significant damage on the beach, and quad bikes or 4x4s vehicles riding over nesting areas.

There have even been incidents where beachgoers have got too close to wild animals for the sake of a selfie. Users of boats and other watercraft can also cause severe injury to some marine mammals if they collide with them while trying to watch them.

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Sergeant Matthew Langley of Dyfed Powys Police’s Rural Crime Team said: “The aim of Op Seabird is not that of enforcement but of engagement and education with the public to ensure they enjoy our beautiful coastline safely and responsibly.

“Last year we saw a large increase in disturbance offences mainly due to a certain celebrity walrus who came to holiday in Tenby! It is important for the public to also be aware that by disturbing wildlife they may be committing offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.”

RSPCA inspector Andy Broadbent said: “We want people to enjoy watching our marine wildlife but this should be done at a safe and sensible distance without disturbing the animals.

“Every year, the RSPCA’s wildlife centres have to treat and rehabilitate a wide range of wildlife – including seals and seabirds – which have been injured or orphaned due to human disturbance.

“While last year, we may remember Wally the Walrus who visited Pembrokeshire for a long period of time. It was really concerning when we had reports of some people trying to get close to him by using jet skis or paddle and surf boards. It wasn’t in his best interest and we always urge people to act responsibly when they see any marine animal.

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“If people have concerns about an animal, they should keep their distance and contact the RSPCA helpline on 0300 1234 999 (daily 7am-10pm).”

Operation Seabird is urging people visiting Britain’s coastline to maintain a significant distance from wildlife, both at sea and around the coast; never get close enough to touch animals or take selfies; read signs and stick to paths; and keep dogs on leads where instructed to do so and keep dogs under control at all times.

As the holiday season begins, high visibility patrols by the RSPCA, local police forces and wildlife groups will target coastal areas where people and animals interact, such as beaches with seal colonies, dolphins swimming offshore or sites with nesting seabirds.

Sergeant Liam Jones of the North Wales Police Rural Crime Team said: “Op Seabird Cymru seeks to engage key partners to work with the police throughout Wales to educate those people who use our coastal areas and seas and to enable them to enjoy our wildlife safely and without disturbance.

“Over the years we have seen an increase in people using our coastal areas and being unaware of the effect that they can have on coastal birds and mammals if they act irresponsibly. A disturbance can have a devastating effect on certain species and their habitats and with simple education and engagement we can help prevent it from happening.”

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Dog attacks can kill seals, as well as posing a risk to the dogs themselves from bites that can become infected from the bacteria that live inside a seal’s mouth. Seal pups disturbed by curious people will move off into the sea, using valuable energy which they need to survive and grow. Birds such as little terns travel thousands of miles to breed in very specific UK coastal points.

They have one annual chance to nest and produce young, but if disturbed this opportunity is lost, and due to their ground nesting habit they are particularly vulnerable to dogs, and careless feet.

Andy added: “While our beautiful beach and coastal areas are great to have fun in, they are natural habitats and breeding grounds for many native and migratory animals, including several species on the endangered list. We humans share this space, and we can easily and unwittingly cause disturbance, fear, and distress.

“For many tourists it can be surprising and exciting to see marine mammals, including seals and their pups which will normally rest on the beach at various times of year, as well as ground nesting birds which are usually resident between March to September. But as tempting as it is to approach them, we would respectfully ask that everyone stays at a distance and keeps their dogs on leads and under control.

“Our message is to ‘Observe, Don’t Disturb’ as people visit Britain’s wonderful coastline.”

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Ammanford

Man who filmed rape of Ammanford woman on victim’s phone jailed for 10 years

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A man who filmed himself raping a woman on his victim’s phone has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

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

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Hassan, who was midway through his trial at Swansea Crown Court after denying any wrongdoing, changed his plea to guilty after the jury was shown the video of the attack.

He was back before Swansea Crown Court today and was sentenced to 10 years in prison .

Senior Investigating Officer DI Melanie Havard said the victim had shown great strength and determination throughout the investigation and trial.

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

“We appreciate this is not easy for anyone to do but the victim has expressed her gratitude to the officer in the case for her support and empathy throughout this process.

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“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.”

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

You can report it to Dyfed-Powys Police online, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk, or by calling 101.

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South Wales Police

Twelve men arrested in cannabis raids in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot

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A dozen men were arrested following a series of pre-planned raids at addresses in Neath and Swansea on Wednesday (15 June) in a police operation aimed at dismantling an organised crime group involved in the production and supply of cannabis in south Wales.

Police officers from Tarian the Regional Organised Crime Unit for southern Wales, supported by officers from South Wales Police executed a number of warrants at properties across Swansea and Neath Port Talbot.

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The men were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to produce cannabis.

Detective Inspector Gareth Grant from Tarian said: “This was a jointly co-ordinated approach to tackling serious and organised crime in the region between Tarian Regional Organised Crime Unit with support from our partners in South Wales Police.

“Tarian ROCU focusses its assets on the most serious organised crime that occurs both across the southern Wales region and nationally.

“The safeguarding of our communities will always be our priority. Officers have worked tirelessly to ensure this investigation has reached this stage and as a result these individuals have been charged with large scale drug offences.

“The success of this investigation demonstrates that we will relentlessly pursue those involved in large scale criminality to ensure effective justice is sought against such individuals and that they are brought to justice.”

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All 12 men were all taken to Queens Road police station, Bridgend, where they were questioned.

A substantial amount of evidence was recovered and all 12 will appear before Cardiff Magistrates Court on Friday June 17th charged with conspiracy to produce class B drugs – cannabis.

They are:

  • Aurel Gjoshi, 27, from Godre’r Graig, Neath.
  • Mario Vishi, 37, from Sandfields, Port Talbot.
  • Christopher Mace, 40, from Swansea.
  • Deomald Sallufi, 27, from Swansea.
  • Cornel Macoviciuc, 32, from Swansea.
  • Vilson Tufa, 30, from Swansea.
  • Ardjan Sherifi, 33, from Swansea.
  • Admjerim Balla, 23, from Swansea.
  • Florian Balla , 28, from Pontardawe.
  • Zorba Ardit, 25, From Swansea.
  • Edi Toska, 27, from Swansea.
  • Sadik Selemi, 27, from Newport.
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South Wales Police

Two men jailed for three years after Dunvant burglary

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South Wales Police say two men have each been sent to prison for three years following their conviction for burglary of a house in the Dunvant area in April.

Alin Lacutas, 35, from London and Dima Constantin, 33, from Coventry were both arrested on the same day they committed their offence.

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Detective Inspector Gareth Jones of South Wales Police, said: “The prompt action of detectives in identifying the culprits who were still in the area led to the swift detection of this crime.

“The early apprehension of these criminals who had travelled to Swansea to commit their crime has prevented further burglaries from taking place and ensured these two men are put behind bars.”

As well as being sent to prison, they will have to pay a victim surcharge of £190 and have their BMW car confiscated.

(Lead image: South Wales Police)

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