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Illegal off-roaders targeted after near misses with walkers at beauty spots

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POLICE are clamping down on illegal off-roaders in rural areas after a number of complaints and near misses with walkers over the weekend.

Dyfed-Powys Police received several reports of off-road motorbikes being ridden illegally in Nant yr Arian forestry, near Aberystwyth, and Dyffryn Crawnon, near Brecon, on Sunday, July 19.

Among the reports were complaints of off-roaders riding recklessly on footpaths and biking trails, with near-misses leaving walkers concerned for the safety of visitors to the area.

Natural Resources Wales staff also reported wild campers leaving significant amounts of rubbish behind.

Aberystwyth Sergeant David Hawksworth said: “In response to these concerns, officers from Aberystwyth Response Team, Ceredigion Rural Crime Team and the Roads Policing Unit, in conjunction with staff from NRW, carried out a proactive operation to tackle the problem of illegal off-roading.

“During the course of the day, we located and dealt with more than 30 off road bikers, as well as a party of wild campers who were responsible for damage to the trail network and failing to dispose of refuse.

“This is an example of Dyfed Powys Police’s commitment to working with our partners to safeguard both visitors and residents, and to preserve our beautiful countryside for those who come to enjoy it.”

A multi-agency day of action also took place in Dyffryn Crawnon to disrupt illegal off-roading in the Brecon Beacons National Park following a number of complaints in recent months.

Breconshire Neighbourhood Policing Team and Powys Rural Crime Team worked with BBNP wardens, volunteers and NRW on Sunday, speaking with residents and visitors to highlight the issue.

Around 45 scramblers and off-road bikes, and two 4×4 vehicles were spotted in the area, and enforcement resulted in six warning being issued, as well as a small quantity of cannabis being seized.

Sgt Hawksworth said: “While we appreciate that people want to come and enjoy the beautiful countryside we’re lucky to police here in Dyfed-Powys, we ask that they respect the area and leave it as they found it.

“We’d like to remind all members of the public – both those who live in these areas, and who travel here – that antisocial behaviour, littering, and reckless or illegal use of off road vehicles will not be tolerated.

“We want everyone to enjoy the beautiful unspoilt environment safely, responsibly and lawfully, and as a result our officers will respond robustly to any reports of illegal or antisocial behaviour which damages the environment or threatens the safety or enjoyment of others.”

Andy Rendell, of Natural Resources Wales, said: “Now that travel restrictions have been eased across Wales, we are seeing an increase in visitor numbers at our sites.

“We’ve had to take special measures and carry out safety checks to be able to re-open to visitors. Riding motor vehicles on footpaths, bridleways and purpose built mountain bike trails is illegal, dangerous and unacceptable, so clamping down on illegal off-roaders is vitally important to make sure that our visitors can remain safe during their visit.

“Working with Dyfed-Powys Police, we were able to target specific hotspots and take proactive action, as well as issue reminders to people to respect the area, behave responsibly and help look after our beautiful countryside by disposing of their litter appropriately.

“This robust approach is also about protecting the environment, nature and wildlife on our sites. Illegal off-roading can damage those environments causing destruction that might take years to repair, if repair is possible at all.

“Please respect the Countryside Code; leave nothing behind you and treat others the way you would like to be treated.”

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Ceredigion dog breeder fined for failing to comply with dog breeding licence

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A CROWN COURT has upheld a conviction that the dogs under the care of Mr. Jones were kept in overcrowded conditions in contravention of the minimum space standards required by the license conditions.

Other convictions were overturned.

On 27 November 2020, and 22December 2020, the Crown Court heard an appeal by Mr. Dorian Wyn Jones, of Dorwan Kennels, Penrheol, Talsarn, relating to convictions for failing to comply with dog breeding licence conditions. 

Mr. Dorian Wyn Jones had previously been convicted at Aberystwyth Magistrates Court of running a licenced dog breeding establishment far in access of the number allowed on his licence and that the dogs in his care were kept in overcrowded conditions.

The Court heard evidence that Mr Dorian Wyn Jones had been granted a licence for 33 dogs. However, during a visit undertaken by Ceredigion County Council’s Public Protection Officers on the 07 August 2019, they found 91 dogs at the premises excluding puppies, in breach of his license. The dogs were kept in pens of a size that were inadequate for the number of dogs kept within them.

On 9 February 2021, Dorian Jones was fined £1000 for the overcrowding offence, and ordered to pay legal costs amounting to £2500. 

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Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, dies aged 99

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The Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen’s ‘strength and stay’ for 73 years, has died aged 99.

Prince Philip’s health had been slowly deteriorating for some time. He announced he was stepping down from royal engagements in May 2017, joking that he could no longer stand up. He made a final official public appearance later that year during a Royal Marines parade on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace.

Since then, he was rarely seen in public, spending most of his time on the Queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk, though moving to be with her at Windsor Castle during the lockdown periods throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and where the couple quietly celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary in November 2020. He also celebrated his 99th birthday in lockdown at Windsor Castle.

The duke spent four nights at King Edward VII hospital in London before Christmas 2019 for observation and treatment in relation to a “pre-existing condition”.

Despite having hip surgery in April 2018, he attended the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle a month later and was seen sitting beside the Queen at a polo match at Windsor Great Park in June. He and the Queen missed Prince Louis of Cambridge’s christening in July 2018, but he was seen attending Crathie Kirk near Balmoral in August, and driving his Land Rover in the surrounding Scottish countryside in September.

It is expected that flags on landmark buildings in Britain will be lowered to half-mast as a period of mourning is announced.

The First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford has expressed his sadness on the news of the death of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh and offered condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal family on behalf of the Welsh Government.

He said: “It is with sadness that we mourn the death of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. Throughout his long and distinguished life, he served the crown with selfless devotion and generosity of spirit.

We offer our sincere condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, his children and their families on this sad occasion.

He will be missed by the many organisations that he supported as Patron or President over many decades of service”.Andrew RT Davies, the Leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd, has led tributes to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, whose death was announced today.

In light of the sad news from Buckingham Palace, campaigning has been paused with immediate effect.

Mr Davies said: “This is a very sad day for the United Kingdom.
“The Duke of Edinburgh led a remarkable life, excelled himself with his career in the Royal Navy, was the strength and stay to Her Majesty The Queen, and has left a legacy to the nation through the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

“Dutiful, devoted, and diligent, his like will never be seen again, and Welsh Conservatives offer their deepest condolences to The Queen, and the rest of the Royal Family.”

Adam Price, leader of Plaid Cymru said: “On behalf of Plaid Cymru, I send my condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and her family. Many young people in Wales will have benefited from the Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme, a reflection of many decades of his public service. Thoughts are with the Royal Family at this time.”

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Elin Jones calls for a plan to revive Aberystwyth town centre

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AS NON-ESSENTIAL retail re-opens on April 12, many of larger shops in Aberystwyth town centre will not be re-opening, with head offices scaling back on their presence on high streets across the UK.

In Aberystwyth, their absence will be particularly obvious with many of these retailers being located along Great Darkgate Street. Multiple retailers such as Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Clinton Cards, Edinburgh Woolen Mill, M&Co and Lloyds Pharmacy will not be reopening leaving a large proportion of empty properties.

These closures are in stark contrast to many independent retailers on Aberystwyth’s other streets looking to expand or start.

Commenting on this issue, Elin Jones said: “It’s time for a major rethink for Aberystwyth’s Great Darkgate Street.

“The multiple larger retailers are turning their back on our town centre and now we need to re-focus these large premises in order to make them more attractive and accessible to independent, local businesses. There have been smaller independent shops opening along other streets in Aberystwyth and throughout Ceredigion, so there is definitely businesses who could be persuaded to have a presence on the high street.

‘It would be great to see a partnership effort in the town to persuade the absentee landlords to give rent-free start up opportunities, to re-purpose the larger premises to suit smaller businesses and to ensure the buildings look attractive on the street.

‘Welsh Government has confirmed that no rates will need to be paid for this whole financial year and therefore now is a great opportunity to support small local businesses to reclaim their place on Great Darkgate Street.

‘It is the town’s largest street and needs to be a star attraction in Ceredigion.’

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