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RNLI withdraws from talks with Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign

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THE long running dispute over the future of New Quay lifeboat has taken another turn with the RNLI announcing that it is cutting ties with the group campaigning for the retention of Ceredigion’s only all-weather lifeboat.

In a joint statement issued by the RNLI and the Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign (CLC) in December 2018, both parties had agreed that they would meet regularly to discuss the proposed reconfiguration of lifeboats in the New Quay area as a “platform to review concerns.” At the time, both parties welcomed the opportunity “to exchange views and data, and to work constructively towards ensuring the most appropriate future lifeboat configuration for the Ceredigion coast.”

However, that dialogue now seems to be over. In a recent letter to the CLC, the RNLI’s Operations Director, George Rawlinson, states “it has become increasingly apparent to us that the dialogue is not heading towards a positive or productive outcome for either party. We have therefore reached the conclusion that further liaison with the CLC is not appropriate.”

A spokesperson for the CLC cited “cultural differences” for the breakdown in dialogue, “The RNLI has consistently made it clear that it is not prepared to submit its decision to public or peer group scrutiny, whereas the CLC is an open organisation, encouraging two way dialogue with local stakeholders.

“It is vital that the CLC retains the trust and confidence of the people we represent. We would lose that trust if we were to engage with the RNLI behind a veil of secrecy. The decision to strip Ceredigion of all-weather search and rescue provision in 2020 is a serious matter of public interest and should be explored in the public domain.

“We have made it clear to the RNLI that we will continue to gather relevant data and informed opinion, that we will present the evidence-based case to maintain an all-weather lifeboat in New Quay to the RNLI for their consideration, and that our completed report will be available to the public.”

Meanwhile, the RNLI has announced that it will commence dialogue with local volunteers over its proposed reconfiguration of lifeboats in Cardigan Bay.

A CLC spokesperson commented, “Whilst long overdue, we applaud the RNLI’s decision to engage with the crew and volunteers at New Quay lifeboat station, and we wish the process well. We hope that the RNLI will listen closely to many years of accrued local knowledge and seamanship.”

Despite the breakdown of talks with the RNLI, the campaigners are undeterred. The CLC spokesperson added, “The CLC enjoys committed support from our local communities and we have been given a mandate by over 29,000 petition signatories to seek to reverse the RNLI’s decision to remove New Quay’s all-weather lifeboat. We remain committed to this objective.

“We have recently had productive meetings with the Welsh Fishermen’s Association and the Wales Fishing Safety Committee and we would like to thank them for their support. Our MP, Ben Lake, has met with ministers from the Department for Transport and the Wales Office, and has further meetings planned with them for the coming weeks. We have a number of events planned for the coming months and we continue to build support, with donations arriving from as far afield as the US and Japan.”

To find out more about the campaign to save Ceredigion’s only all-weather lifeboat, visit www.ceredigionlifeboatcampaign.org.uk

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Jail after heroin worth £45,000 seized

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AN ABERYSTYWYTH woman has been jailed, and an organised crime gang disrupted, after heroin worth £45,000 was found at her home.

Dyfed-Powys Police found more than 400g of the class A drug during a warrant at Susan Marie Proffitt’s home – resulting in one of the force’s largest single seizures of heroin in Ceredigion.

The result has disrupted an active organised crime gang supplying class A drugs to the area.

Sergeant Steven Jones said: “This swift and thorough investigation involved officers and staff from departments across the division, who worked together to secure this result.

“The defendant had a huge amount of heroin at her home, with efforts taken to conceal bags of the drug around the property.

“There is no doubt that in taking Proffitt out of the supply chain we will have disrupted an organised crime gang which she was a trusted part of in supplying heroin into the division.”

Officers carried out a warrant at the 52-year-old’s home in South Road on August 30, 2020.

On searching the property, a box containing 408g of heroin was found concealed in a vent under the staircase, and two further wraps were found in a shower head bracket. Fingerprint marks matching those of Proffitt were found on these items.

Four mobile phones were also seized from the property.

Sgt Jones said: “The quantity of heroin recovered is far in excess of what he would expect to see someone who is simply a user to be in possession of for their own use.

“Given the value of the heroin recovered and the financial circumstances of the defendant, we were confident it was unlikely she would be able to fund a purchase of such a quantity of heroin without being involved in the supply of drugs.

“The only realistic reason for possessing this quantity of heroin was for supply onto others.”

Proffitt was charged with possession with intent to supply, and pleaded guilty. She was sentenced to 57 months in prison when she appeared at Swansea Crown Court on Thursday, November 26.

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New permanent walk-in test centre opens in Aberystwyth

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PEOPLE in Aberystwyth with symptoms of COVID-19 now have access to a permanent walk-in testing facility.

Hywel Dda University Health Board has arranged for a Local Testing Site (LTS) to be located inside the former Padarn Nursery building, (behind, but not connected to, Padarn Surgery), on Penglais Road.

Local people should avoid using the nearby nursery car park, leaving it free for those people accessing tests to park there. People who attend the walk-in centre must wear a face covering.

Meanwhile, the drive-through facility at Canolfan Rheidol has now been relocated to Cardigan in response to a rise in cases in that area. Residents of Aberystwyth will not be impacted by this move as there is plenty of testing capacity at the LTS.

Alison Shakeshaft, Director of Therapies & Health Science at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “We are very pleased to have secured this LTS for the people of Aberystwyth. Many residents in the town, including students, do not have their own private vehicle in order to access drive-through testing facilities, so the option of a walk-in facility is very important.

“This is a challenging time and I urge everyone to remain vigilant and follow the rules, including wearing face coverings where required, maintain social distancing, washing hands regularly, or using a hand sanitiser if hand washing is not possible.”

Anyone who has symptoms of the virus (a new persistent cough, high temperature or loss/change of taste or smell) must book a test as soon as possible.  This can be done through the online UK portal at www.gov.wales/coronavirus.

University students with COVID-19 symptoms, when booking a test, are required to provide their local address in Aberystwyth.

Please do not book a test if you do not have COVID-19 symptoms and do not attend testing centres without booking first as you will not be seen without an appointment.

Please follow the latest self-isolation guidelines which can be found here.

For the latest news and updated from Hywel Dda University Health Board visit https://hduhb.nhs.wales/

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Improvements required at a pub in Devil’s Bridge

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A HOSPITALITY business in Devil’s Bridge has been required to make improvements to safeguard the public’s health and well-being as part of the coronavirus regulations.

A Premises Improvement Notice has been served to The Hafod, Devil’s Bridge, Aberystwyth by Ceredigion County Council’s Public Protection Officers due to non-compliance with The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 4) (Wales) Regulations 2020.

As part of the Premises Improvement Notice, the Premises must ensure that a distance of 2 metres is maintained between any persons on the premises, and put measures in place which limit close face to face interaction and maintain hygiene. 

These measures will need to be implemented by 17:00 on November 27, 2020. The full notice can be seen on the Council’s website under Improvement and Closure Notices.

Information for businesses is available on the Council’s website under Supporting Ceredigion’s Economy.

Any business who is unsure of their responsibilities is urged to check the Welsh Government website

Any business that requires further information or guidance can contact the council’s Licensing Team on 01545 570881 or clic@ceredigion.gov.uk.

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