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Joyce visits flood forecast centre

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flood forecastFOLLOWING the recent storms that battered the Pembrokeshire coast, AM Joyce Watson has been to see the Haverfordwest unit responsible for forecasting future floods.

Earlier this month, high tides combined with gale force winds and heavy rain to cause storm surges that breeched flood defences in many coastal areas. Mrs Watson this week met Andy Irving, team leader at Natural Resources Wales’ Haverfordwest base, to learn how local area forecasts help communities prepare for the worst.

Mrs Watson said: “At the height of the floods I knocked on doors in Fishguard, Newgale, Cardigan and Aberystwyth. While residents and businesses were understandably anxious, they were not caught off-guard.

“Through its free Floodline Warnings Direct service and community engagement projects, Natural Resources Wales has helped people prepare for the worst.

“NRW has visited all properties within flood warning areas since 2010. In Solva, for example, since the river flooding of October 2005, it has worked closely with the community to provided individual property protection to everyone who has asked for it. Residents and business owners can deploy non-permanent floodgates when a flood warning is issued – they have to be non-permanent because of National Park rules.

“Whilst these floods were severe, they were not exceptional – we must expect similar conditions in the coming years, perhaps weeks. Flood prevention works and forecasts are key to mitigating the damage.”

Floodline Warnings Direct provides free flood warnings by phone, text or email. It uses the latest technology to monitor rainfall, river levels, groundwater levels and sea conditions 24 hours a day.

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Scrutiny committee votes to close Bodlondeb

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AT A recorded vote this morning (Nov 20) Ceredigion’s Healthier Communities Scrutiny Committee voted to back the Cabinet’s decision to close Bodlondeb Residential Home by the end of March 2018.

In refusing to remit the decision to Full Council, the committee dashed the hopes of campaigners fighting to retain Bodlondeb until adequate replacement facilities are in place.

The vote was nine to seven with no abstentions.

There will be more on this breaking story later and in this week’s Ceredigion Herald.

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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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