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Rare whale found on south Wales beach

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Northern bottlenose whale carcass on Sker beach in Bridgend, showing distinctive bulbous forehead and long beak. Photo by Fay Lorraine Phillips/ Sea Watch Foundation.

Northern bottlenose whale carcass on Sker beach in Bridgend, showing distinctive bulbous forehead and long beak.(Pic. by Fay Lorraine Phillips / Sea Watch Foundation)

THE SEA WATCH FOUNDATION were “flabbergasted” to see photos of a dead Northern bottlenose whale that had washed up on Sker veach near Porthcawl in Bridgend on Sunday (Sep 11).

The photographs were sent by Neil Bright and his girlfriend Fay Lorraine Phillips, who discovered the animal as they walked their dog.

The species can usually be found in deep ocean trenches and is usually only seen in British waters off the north-west coast of Scotland.

The images were immediately forwarded to the marine mammal strandings coordinator for Wales, Rod Penrose, who was able to confirm that he’d already attended the animal which was a 5.3m long northern bottlenose whale and had taken samples for DNA testing.

“Due to the state of decomposition together with extensive scavenger damage of the carcass I was unable to determine the cause of death” stated Rod.

bottlenose whales from above. Photo by S Hooker/ Sea Watch Foundation

bottlenose whales from above. (pic. S Hooker/ Sea Watch Foundation)

“This is the third record for Wales, the first was a 6.7m live stranding in Tenby, Pembrokeshire in August 1996 which was luckily persuaded to swim away, the second was a 6.21m female in slight decomposition which stranded at Prestatyn, Denbighshire in October 2009.”

Kathy James, Sightings Officer for Sea Watch Foundation, said: “Northern bottlenose whales have extremely bulbous heads with a protruding ‘bottle-shaped’ beak similar to that of a bottlenose dolphin

“These animals are much larger than their dolphin counterparts measuring up to 10m in length in males. It is thought that this individual is a juvenile as we’d expect an adult to be a minimum of 7.5m”

The most famous bottlenose whale is the ‘Thames Whale’ which found its way into the River Thames in London ten years ago. This disorientated individual was found to be a female measuring 5.85m and died following a failed rescue attempt. In January the whale was commemorated with a march from the Natural History Museum (where its bones are displayed) to Battersea park beach where she stranded.

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Police advise ‘hang up on suspicious callers’

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A NATIONAL telephone scam, aiming to steal money, has reached residents living within the Dyfed-Powys area.

Paul Callard, of Dyfed-Powys Police’s Financial Crime Team, said: “Action Fraud has today  made us aware three people living in Dyfed-Powys have been contacted by fraudsters claiming to be from BT, in the past four days. While three people have reported, we suspect many more have been targeted.

“Victims receive a telephone call from someone pretending to be from BT who is calling due to a problem with the victim’s internet connection speed. During the call the victim is asked to open their online banking, eBay, Tesco and other accounts. The scammer then tries to gain remote access to the victim’s computer to empty the victim’s bank account.

“BT will never ask for remote access to your computer or access to your online bank account. We urge anyone who receives unsolicited/cold calls from any company hang up immediately. Do not enter into conversation with them, provide them with any personal details or send them any money. You should only phone the company back using a trusted phone number.”

If you have been the victim of fraud, attempted fraud, or cyber crime, or have received a potential scam message or computer virus but no money has been lost or you haven’t responded to it, report it to Action Fraud either online or by calling 0300 123 2040.

For further advice and information on how to avoid being scammed visit www.actionfraud.police.uk.

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Four arrested as man remains in ‘critical condition’

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FOUR men have been arrested after a man was hospitalised in the early hours of Sunday morning (Jan 14).

19-year-old Ifan Richards Owen is in hospital in critical condition after the attack.

The incident took place in High Street, Aberystwyth, at approximately 2:20am.

Four men, aged 19, 20, 23 and 25 have been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm with intent.

They are in police custody.

Police are now appealing for witnesses to contact them as a matter of urgency.

DCI Anthony Evans, of Dyfed-Powys Police, said: “We are issuing a fresh appeal for witnesses to the assault on Ifan Richards Owens, aged 19, which occurred on High Street, Aberystwyth at around 2.20am on Sunday, January 14.

“In particular we would like to speak to anyone who gave first aid to Mr Owens before emergency services arrived.

“Mr Owens remains in hospital in a critical condition.

“We would urge anyone with any information that could assist in our investigation any witnesses to the incident or anyone who may have any CCTV or video footage of the incident to contact police on 101, quoting incident number 402 of January 14. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

“Four men, aged 25, 23, 20 and 19, have been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm with intent and remain in police custody at this time.”

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£750,000 funding for highway improvements

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CEREDIGION COUNTY COUNCIL has recently been awarded almost £750,000 of additional grant funding from the Welsh Government’s Local Transport Fund and Road Safety Capital Grant to carry out further highways improvement schemes in the County.

£596,000 has been allocated from the Local Transport Fund for various schemes across the county which will include removing the pinch point on the C1010 at Gogerddan, near Penrhyncoch. £249,000 of funding is allocated for active travel improvements in Aberystwyth to create an improved shared use path along Boulevard St Brieuc which will continue along the side of the Police Station and up Park Avenue towards Glyndwr Road. A pedestrian crossing on Boulevard St Brieuc will be upgraded to a new toucan crossing, which cyclists can also use alongside pedestrians. This will be the first of its kind in Ceredigion.

The funding will also purchase a new scooter shelter at Plascrug Primary School. Head Teacher Menna Sweeney said: “This is great news because the shelter purchased just 16 months ago following grant funded works on the Avenue cannot cope with current demand due to the amount of children scooting and cycling to the school every day. This is really helping to alleviate the traffic congestion problems previously experienced in the area”.

Two new public cycle repair stands with integrated cycle pumps will be installed in Aberystwyth. One will be placed outside Plascrug Leisure Centre and the other on Aberystwyth University Penglais Campus.

Councillor Alun Williams, Cabinet Member for Transport said: “I’m delighted that we’ve managed to obtain funding to further improve facilities for pedestrians and cyclists. The work will complement the new Parc Kronberg Skate Park and improve the look of this important gateway into Aberystwyth by increasing the number of trees and spreading them wider along Park Avenue as well as renewing the currently uneven section of pavement on the street.”

Additional funding has been allocated to the Cardigan Active Travel Area Year 2 Scheme,  which earlier this year saw a new 20mph zone with traffic calming outside Cardigan Secondary School and a new footway link and pedestrian refuge crossing on Aberystwyth Road. The extra funding will fund footway widening on Pontycleifion Road and the provision of new dropped kerbs to assist mobility and pushchair users to improve the link between the Town Centre and Parc Teifi Industrial Estate.

Deputy Leader of the Council Cllr Ray Quant MBE and Cabinet Member for Technical Services said: “I’m delighted that Ceredigion residents will benefit from a further three quarters of a million pounds funding from the Welsh Government for transport schemes throughout the County and I look forward to seeing the improvements which should be completed by the end of March 2018.”

A Road Safety Capital Grant of £149,963 will fund the replacement of 15 Vehicle Activated Signs. These signs alert drivers exceeding the speed limit to slow down at locations with a history of personal injury collisions.

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