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Machete wielding Pagan off the hook

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magMAGISTRATES found that a man did have a good reason to be holding a machete and an axe at Haverfordwest Law Courts on Monday (Dec 15). Aaron Simpson, aged 23, of Maeshenffordd in Cardigan, pleaded not guilty to two charges of possessing the two items. The magistrates heard how Simpson is a Pagan and that he was going to collect wood to start a small fire to help clear his head following an argument with his mother. Prosecuting, Nick Newton said: “This incident occurred in the early hours of October 24, 2014 at around 1.20am. “PC Garney was on duty in an unmarked police car on Maeshenffordd when he saw Mr Simpson walking in the street and noticed that he was not wearing a top.

“The officer saw the man put two items on the ground before approaching the police car. When the officer asked who he was, he became confrontational, claiming ‘everyone knows who I am’ and stated that he was just out for a walk. “After a short while, the officer went back to him again and informed him that he was going to search him, as he suspected he had something he shouldn’t have. “He put his stuff on the floor and pulled his trousers down, saying ‘is that good enough for you officer?’

The officer called for a temporary sergeant to attend the area and informed him when he arrived that he was going to search the area where he had first spotted Mr Simpson. “He heard Simpson shout ‘you’ll find an axe and a machete up there’. He picked up the items, which were an axe and a machete. Simpson said ‘I told you there was an axe and a machete. He told the officers that he had previously had an argument with his mother and that he was going to collect wood to start a small fire to clear his head.”

A recording of his interview at the station was then played to the court and when Simpson was asked why he put the items on the ground he said: “I could hear a car coming and I didn’t want to make anyone feel ill at ease.” Simpson also told the court that he has had noise abatement notices to his flat and he has been told not to burn certain things but added he has not been told that he cannot start a fire.

He also told the magistrates that he is a qualified tree surgeon, and he listed a number of other similar qualifications that he has. Summing up the prosecution case Nick Newton added: “If you decide to cut wood, you wouldn’t walk down the street with no top on. The items would not be on display and you would not be confrontational with the police. Defending, Robin Reed said: “He is a Pagan and he believes in living off the land and at this time he was observing the pagan festival known as Samhain.

“He is quite proud of those items as he has restored them himself. They are used for cutting wood and they have no other purpose. “He did tell the officers what he was doing and he explained his account in great detail. “In terms of placing the items down this was quite a sensible thing to do as he didn’t want a confrontation with anybody. There has been no threat to use the items at any point”. Magistrates found that he did have a good reason to hold the axe and the machete and found him not guilty of the offence citing that he has an alternative lifestyle. They also warned him that he should be aware of others when out and about in the future.

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Man arrested for illegal fishing in Teifi valley

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A MAN has been arrested after environmental crime officers from Natural Resources Wales (NRW) spotted an illegal net in a mid-Wales river.

The officers were conducting a routine patrol of the River Teifi on Thursday (May 14) when they came across a net in the water.

Following an investigation carried out in partnership with Dyfed Powys Police, a man was arrested on suspicion of illegal fisheries offences in the Teifi valley.

At the scene, officers retrieved the net which contained seven dead sea trout.

David Lee, NRW’s North and Mid Wales Operations Team Leader, said:

“Thanks to the excellent work of our officers and Dyfed Powys Police we were able to prevent further damage to the Teifi sea trout population.

“We take any activity that threatens sea trout and salmon extremely seriously and this is especially true of illegal fishing.

“Nets can potentially capture large numbers of fish and given the current challenges facing stock numbers currently every sea trout or salmon taken represents another blow to our efforts to protect these iconic fish.”

Despite the current Coronavirus lockdown, NRW officers are continuing to patrol Welsh rivers and people are encouraged to check that fish they buy locally – particularly through social media – are from a legitimate source.

If you see any suspicious or illegal activity on our rivers please report it to the NRW incident hotline on 0300 065 3000.

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Mother-daughter foot patrol brings 30 year career to a poignant end for Chief Inspector

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AS Chief Inspector Nicky Carter ended a 30 year career in policing, there was no better way to do it than going out on patrol with her daughter.

And for PCSO Charlotte, taking to the streets of Lampeter with her mum was a fitting way to mark her first six months at Dyfed-Powys Police.

Patrolling together in uniform was something the mother-daughter pair had long imagined, with PCSO Carter wanting to join the police from a young age.

The 19-year-old said: “I joined in September 2019, and have wanted to be a part of Dyfed-Powys Police since I can remember. I was inspired by my mum working in the force, and thought it would be a great career.

“I’m really glad I joined before she retired, as it gave us the opportunity to go out on foot patrol in the town where mum had been the local Inspector. It was really lovely.”

Embarking on a career she’d planned since childhood, PCSO Carter took the chance to gain valuable advice from her mum – whose experiences on the frontline inspired her to join.

“Mum has told me to always treat people as I would wish to be treated,” she said. “That’s something I’ll take forward with me.”

“I’m six months in now, and I enjoy dealing with the public and offering reassurance to people in the communities of Lampeter town and surrounding areas.”

For former CI Carter, the foot patrol drew a 30-year career – starting at North Wales Police – to a poignant close.

She ended her time at Dyfed-Powys Police in her home division of Ceredigion, transferring to Aberystwyth in 2006 to take up an inspector post.

Despite admitting there will be concerns for her only child as policing inevitably comes with risks, it was a career she encouraged.

She said: “I was very proud of Charlotte wishing to join Dyfed-Powys. As I retire I still consider that policing offers tremendous job satisfaction and I know that the organisation looks after and cares for its staff.

“I encouraged her to find out about the PCSO role before she applied, and also encouraged her to attend an open evening in Ceredigion to speak to staff. I wanted her to make an informed decision to join the organisation.

“As a parent and a former officer, it is natural to be concerned about what may occur when Charlotte is at work. However, the training, mentoring and support from staff and supervisors is second to none, so that offers me reassurance.”

Looking back at 30 years in policing, CI Carter has achieved plenty to inspire her daughter – and other women thinking of joining. From being a founding member of female networks in two forces, and a committee member of the British Association of Women in Policing, she has also proudly contributed to local and national work to ensure all staff reach their full potential.

She was humbled to receive a leadership award from Chwarae Teg in 2017, and represented chief officers at the International Association of Women Police awards in Alaska in 2019, where two Ceredigion officers were rewarded for their bravery.

When it comes to passing on her wealth of experience to her daughter, the former CI urged her to always consider her own wellbeing as well as that of the community.

“The most important advice I have given Charlotte is to look after herself and her wellbeing as whilst policing is a very rewarding role, it is one that can be both challenging and stressful at times,” she said.

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Ben Lake MP “disappointed” after Agriculture Bill amendment on the standard of food and agricultural imports is rejected by House of Commons

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The UK’s new Agriculture Bill was put before MPs on Wednesday (13 May) for the final time as it reached the Report Stage and Third Reading.

Alongside farming unions and campaign groups, Ben Lake MP has lobbied for the Bill to include a number of important amendments. One of the amendments sought to introduce a legal requirement that agricultural or food products imported into the UK under future trade agreements would need to be produced or processed according to equivalent animal health, welfare and environmental standards as those required of UK prodcuers.

This amendment, in the form of New Clause 2, and which was tabled by the Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Neil Parish MP, was rejected by the Commons. All Plaid Cymru MPs supported the amendment and Ben Lake MP said he was “disappointed” that the house did not vote in favour of an amendment to prevent the importation of products produced to lower animal health and environmental standards, and which in turn would have supported the high standards of Welsh produce.

Ben Lake MP said:

“Without this amendment there remains no legal requirement for future UK trade agreements to ensure that any agricultural or food imports are produced to the same standards as those required of domestic producers.

“Farmers in Wales strive to produce quality food in a sustainable manner, but the failure to include this amendment to the Agriculture Bill risks undermining these efforts by keeping the door open to imports produced to lower environmental and animal welfare standards.

“I have always argued that in order to protect our own high standards it is crucial that a level playing-field is maintained in relation to imports, and that farmers in Wales are not put at a disadvantage by having to compete with imports that are produced to lower standards. I sincerely hope that this amendment will be adopted by the House of Lords, so that the House of Commons has another opportunity to support it.”

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