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Fire service pay tribute to London high rise victims

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Tragic: The fire in London this morning (Jun 14)

MID AND WEST WALES FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE have paid tributes to the victims of the tragic fire in London today (Jun 14).

Chris Davies, Chief Fire Office of Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: ”As the terrible events in London are still unfolding and the circumstances of today’s incident remain unclear, our thoughts are with those who have lost their lives, been affected by this incident or are responding from London Fire Brigade or as part of the wider multi agency response. This incident has been traumatic and challenging for all those concerned.

“At this stage, we do not yet know what caused the fire, where it started or how it has spread in such a way. As such, it’s important that we do not try and speculate on these key questions and allow those who are conducting the investigation to come to their conclusions. However, there is some important advice that we can share with those that live in high rise properties across mid and west Wales.”

The fire service advice is as follows:

  • If you live in a high rise property, you are no more at risk of a fire starting. Our advice is that people who live in high rise properties / purpose built flats or maisonettes, aside from having a working smoke alarm and taking fire safety precautions, is to make sure you know your escape route and what to do if there is a fire inside your home of somewhere else in the building.
  • Never prop or wedge doors open. The exterior doors of your home are specially designed to resist fire and stop the spread of smoke. However, to do this, they must be kept closed when they are not in use. It is also a good idea to close your internal doors when you retire for the night.
  • Make sure that your escapes routes, inside and outside of your flat, are kept clear of obstacles at all times.
  • Know where your keys are – vital time needed to escape may be lost if you have to scramble around looking for them.

If the smoke alarm sounds:

  • Don’t open doors looking for the source of the fire.
  • Alert everyone else and leave the flat, closing the door behind you.
  • Don’t stop to gather personal belongings or pets.
  • Don’t use a balcony to escape unless it’s part of an official escape route.
  • When you are out of the building, find a phone and call 999 – and remember to keep calm and speak clearly.
  • Never go back into the building until you have been told it is safe to do so.

If a fire breaks out elsewhere in the building:

  • It will normally be safe for you to stay in your own flat. Open a window if you need fresh air, and stay by the window where you may been seen. If your own flat becomes affected by smoke, leave at once, closing windows and doors behind you.
  • If you have to leave the building, always use the staircase and never use the lift.
  • If you have to move through smoke, keep as close to the floor as you can, where the air is fresher.
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AM calls for further protection of wild animals after Lynx deaths

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MID AND WEST AM Simon Thomas has called for further protection from the Welsh Government following the death of two wild cats from a zoo in Borth, near Aberystwyth.

The AM quizzed the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths in a topical question in the Senedd.

Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Climate Change and Rural Affairs for Plaid Cymru Simon Thomas said: “The deaths of the two Lynx wild cats have created a great deal of concern to many people in the area and, more broadly, to people who care for animals and their welfare at zoos.

“I asked whether the Welsh Government approved of the steps taken by Ceredigion County Council in this case and more broadly with the position of the zoo. It’s clear that there’s something amiss when a wild animal can escape and another dies because of its handling. I requested we look at national regulations that govern organisations such as this to ensure that people who run zoos do have the appropriate skills, but also that the equipment is suitable for the animals kept there.

The Cabinet Secretary Lesley Griffiths replied: “Ceredigion County Council is investigating the escape of the lynx and the death of a second lynx linked to the zoo to establish whether there have been any breaches of the operating licence. While inquiries are ongoing it would be inappropriate for me to comment further on this matter.”

She added: “Officials have been in frequent contact with Ceredigion County Council. The decision to dispatch the animal was taken by the county council along with Dyfed-Powys Police, officials from Welsh Government and also the chief veterinary officer. There are several issues that I think need to be looked into very carefully around the licence.”

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Police warn about scam phone calls

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE are warning Ceredigion residents about reports of scam telephone calls.

Officers have received reports of someone purporting to be from the Her Majesty Revenue and Customs (HMRC) asking for money.

Sgt Richard Marshall said: “Officers responded to a report of a telephone scam by fraudsters pretending to be HMRC collecting debt, in Aberaeron, yesterday (Thursday 16 November).

“Fraudsters are carrying out these calls in an effort to get personal financial details from residents, and eventually get them to pay money stating that they owe taxes.

“The HMRC would never target people in this way and would certainly never ask for money or bank details over the phone.

“Thanks to the prompt actions of a local shop in alerting us, we were able to quickly locate the victim and minimise his loss.

“Taking advantage of the vulnerable through fraud is wrong, and we will do all in our power to stop it and protect those who need safeguarding. Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) have been out and about this week spreading the message of how not to fall prey to fraudsters and ask for community support.

“A strong and concerned community is our best tool in protecting the vulnerable.

“Please be vigilant, do not part with any money or personal information. Remember – It is OK not to speak with cold callers – just put the phone down. If you are concerned please contact police on 101.”

Top tips on how to avoid scams:

· HMRC would never use texts to tell you about a tax rebate or penalty or ever ask for payment in this way.
· Telephone numbers and text messages can easily be spoofed. You should never trust the number you see on your telephones display.
· If you receive a suspicious cold call, end it immediately.
· Do not enter into conversation with them, provide them with any personal details or send them any money

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

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Cardigan: Welsh language nursery’s treasurer stole £16,336 from coffers

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A FORMER treasurer of Cylch Meithrin Penparc in Cardigan has been jailed today for a fraud that brought the Welsh language nursery to its knees.
Catrin Davies, a 33 year old single mother of two daughters, cheated the organisation out of £16,336.
After she left the post the nursery struggled to pay debts and at one stage was left with £1.84p in its bank.
Davies, of Bwthyn Lleine, Ferwig, admitted fraud and was jailed for eight months.
Judge Geraint Walters, sitting at Swansea Crown Court, told her the offending was too series for the sentence to be suspended.
Craig Jones, prosecuting, said Davies was appointed treasurer in September, 2015, and left the post in December 2016.
The new treasurer noticed discrepancies in the accounts. Davies tried to cover them up by sticking pieces of paper onto bank statements to blank out figures, photocopying them, and then carefully typing in new and bogus figures.
By then Davies had failed to pay money into the account and withdrawn some herself.
Mr Jones said that at one stage the nursery had to pay a roof repair bill. Davies knew there wasn’t enough money in the account but to keep the fraud going and to avoid detection she actually paid the bill out of her own money.
Mr Jones said after the true financial situation had been established Cylch Meithrin Penparc was at risk of closure. Internet access was cut off because the telephone bill could not be paid and staff found themselves buying essential items out of their own money.
And there was still a fear, he added, that the nursery would struggle to overcome the blow and to recover the confidence of parents.
Janet Gedrych, representing Davies, said she had suffered a devastating fall from grace.
Davies ran the Pink Orchid florists in Priory Street, Cardigan, for nine years and had a good reputation in the town.
But her partner left her and his debts behind and ran up more and she owed £30,000 in personal and business debts. By October, 2015, debt collectors were knocking on her door and she defrauded Cylch Meithrin Penparc to pay them off.
Judge Walters said the nursery provided a hugely valuable service to parents who wanted their children to learn Welsh and Davies had helped herself to money they had paid in.
“Your activity has reduced its ability to operate. It has not closed but it’s hanging by a thread.”
Judge Walters said he accepted that Davies had found herself squeezed financially, but many people struggled under similar circumstances.

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