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Two men jailed for assaulting police in Ceredigion

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THREE police officers have been assaulted in Ceredigion in the past week, with offenders spitting and coughing in their faces.

Two men involved in the incidents have been jailed for their abusive behaviour towards Dyfed-Powys Police PCs in Aberystwyth.

The first incident took place while officers were trying to help a man who needed medical attention.

Police were called to Aberaeron at 5.20pm on June 4 following a report of an unconscious man on the floor in North Road.

On officers’ arrival, four paramedics were at the scene treating Nathan Newman, who was believed to be under the influence of alcohol and illegal substances.

Throughout his treatment, the 18-year-old was abusive towards ambulance service staff and was behaving in an aggressive and threatening manner.

T/Inspector Rhys Jones said: “His condition improved and he appeared to have calmed down, so he was helped to his feet by a PC.

“Without warning he suddenly spat in the officer’s face, with saliva going in the PC’s eye.

“He was immediately arrested and a spit hood was put on him as he continued to spit while on the floor.”

Two PCs arrived to provide support, and put Newman in leg restraints as a result of his continued threatening behaviour.

Despite restraints, the offender continued to lash out and make threats towards officers.

At 5.40pm, he was arrested on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker and was taken to hospital for medical treatment.

T/Insp said: “On the way to the hospital, he managed to take off the hood, before spitting repeatedly across the back of the police van.

“His abusive behaviour continued, and he shouted that all he could do was spit, give officers a ‘horrible disease’ and ‘hope they die’.

“This is a completely unacceptable way to behave towards officers who had been called to help when he needed medical attention.”

Newman was charged with assaulting an emergency worker and criminal damage, which he admitted at Swansea Magistrates’ Court on Friday, 06 June 2020.

He was sentenced to 32 weeks in prison.

On Wednesday, June 10, police were called to the Co-Op store in Penparcau, where a man had run off with a charity box and a purse after being found in the staff room.

Officers stopped Christopher Jones, of First Avenue, a short distance away as he matched the description given by staff.

He was found with cash and a bank card in someone else’s name, and was arrested on suspicion of burglary.

While in the back of a police car, Jones turned towards the PC sitting next to him, he had Coronavirus and coughed in his face.

The 41-year-old was charged with burglary and assaulting an emergency worker and appeared at Swansea Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, June 11, where he pleaded guilty.

He was sentenced to 28 weeks in prison.

T/Insp Jones said: “We will not tolerate assaults or abusive behaviour towards emergency service workers, who are carrying out their duty to protect the public.

“In both these instances, officers were left fearing their health might suffer as a result of an offender’s appalling behaviour. Nobody should be made to feel this way while carrying out their work.”

An officer was also spat at while booking a woman into custody on June 8.

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A glimpse at the first few weeks of Penweddig’s new Headteacher

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Penweddig Comprehensive School has appointed a new Headteacher to lead the school.

Dr Rhodri Thomas joins the school after a period as a Deputy Headteacher at Glantaf Welsh Comprehensive School and Cardigan Secondary School.

Originally from Carmarthen, he was educated at Bro Myrddin Welsh Comprehensive School. He studied Chemistry at Oxford University, before studying for a doctorate degree at Edinburgh. He continues to be an ambassador emphasizing the importance of the sciences, and he is the author of a number of A Level Welsh and English textbooks in Chemistry.

Dr Rhodri Thomas, Head of Penweddig Comprehensive School, said: “I started my career in higher education by working in universities in the UK, USA and Australia. I was inspired by the work of educating students, and in particular by the outreach work with pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. I saw the difference an individual can make to the lives of children and young people. I moved to work in secondary schools about twenty years ago, and I’ve spent my career in Welsh medium and bilingual schools – I strongly believe in the importance of our work to develop Welsh citizens. In my work at Penweddig, I will focus on nurturing ambition in all pupils and supporting them to develop the skills and qualities to achieve their aspirations. That’s the privilege of being a teacher – we work to help pupils fulfil their dreams.”

Meinir Ebbsworth, Ceredigion County Council Corporate Lead Officer for Schools and Culture, said: “We are delighted to welcome Dr Rhodri Thomas to Penweddig, and we look forward to continuing to work together for the benefit of all pupils and staff in the school.”

Ceredigion County Council would like to thank Rhian Morgan for her work as an Acting Headteacher, and wish Dr Rhodri Thomas well as he takes over.

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Businesses reminded to keep to the coronavirus rules

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Businesses in Ceredigion are reminded to keep to the coronavirus rules to avoid a rise in cases.

Businesses are reminded to be consistent with their COVID precautions. This includes social distancing, queuing and one-way systems, provision of hand sanitisers and PPE equipment for staff.

Ceredigion County Council shares the concerns raised by Councillor Andrew Morgan, the WLGA Leader, relating to an apparent and general ‘drop in standards’ in social distancing measures in some supermarket settings.

Complaints received by the Council’s Public Protection Service on this matter have been increasing and raise more general concerns associated with a wider range of premises including dining places, public houses and supermarkets. These complaints suggest that there has been a decline in compliance with social distancing guidelines in some of these businesses.

In Ceredigion, the Council will be re-focusing attention on these business sectors and conducting targeted inspections with a view to reminding businesses of the regulations that are in place and their legal responsibilities. Improvement Notices will be issued to premises where it is considered necessary and appropriate.

New regulations came into force on Monday, 14 September which has provided local authorities in Wales with new powers to control premises, events and public places in their areas to help control coronavirus. This includes closing premises and public places and stopping events.

The public are also reminded of the need to follow the rules when out and about in Ceredigion. Wearing masks in shops and other indoor public spaces is now compulsory.

Information on Ceredigion and the Coronavirus is available on the Council’s website: www.ceredigion.gov.uk/coronavirus

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Ceredigion MP welcomes High Court ruling on Covid-19 business interruption insurance

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HOLDERS of business interruption insurance have welcomed a victory in a High Court test case to determine whether the Covid-19 pandemic should trigger payouts under their policies.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) brought a test case earlier this year over the wording of business interruption (BI) insurance policies, which some insurers argue do not cover pandemics.

The FCA previously said it was bringing the legal action following widespread concern over the lack of clarity and certainty for businesses seeking to cover substantial losses incurred by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent national lockdown.

The FCA selected a representative sample of 17 policy wordings used by 16 insurers, which were considered at an eight-day hearing in July.

Eight insurers agreed to assist the FCA by taking part in the test case, which the regulator has said it hopes will provide clarity and certainty for everyone involved in these BI disputes, policyholder and insurer alike.

The High Court judges ruled that pay-outs should put businesses back in the position they would have been in had Covid-19 never occurred.

According to FCA estimates, the findings could affect as many as 370,000 policyholders one way or another — and each successful claim could potentially run to tens of thousands of pounds.

Ben Lake MP has been following this case closely after raising the matter with the UK Chancellor on behalf of many Ceredigion businesses. In response to today’s ruling, Ben Lake MP said:

“This is a significant judgement. Covid-19 has caused substantial disruption to businesses across the county, and many are under immense financial strain as a result. By making existing insurance policies effectively worthless during this crisis, many insurance companies have left businesses out of pocket and have damaged trust both in the market and in the Government containment measures.

“I therefore welcome the actions taken by the Financial Conduct Authority, and I hope that following today’s High Court ruling the UK Government will do its utmost to ensure that the insurance industry takes effective, fair and immediate action to assist businesses that fell foul of their original interpretation of these policies.”

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