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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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New international travel rules for Wales confirmed by First Minister

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International travel will restart for people in Wales from Monday 17 May, the Welsh Government has confirmed today.

As part of changes to Wales’ coronavirus regulations, people living in Wales will be able to travel to some overseas destinations without the need to quarantine on their return.

But additional safeguards will be put in place to help prevent new cases of coronavirus being imported into Wales.

A traffic lights system, aligned with England and Scotland, will be introduced. Countries will be classified as green, amber and red, depending on their rates of coronavirus.

Mandatory quarantine is in place for all people returning to the UK from countries on the amber and red lists. All people returning from overseas travel must have a PCR test.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

 “Wales, like other parts of the UK, will be restarting international travel. But protecting people’s health continues to be our top priority and we want to do everything we can to prevent coronavirus from being re-imported into Wales.

 “This will not be like travel in the past. Everyone travelling abroad will have to have a test when they come home and for many people, they will need to quarantine when they get home. There are significant fines in place for those who do not follow the legal requirements.

“Some countries are not yet opening up travel to people from the UK. It’s my strong advice that this is the year to stay at home and enjoy all that Wales has to offer.”

Under the international travel rules:

• People arriving from green-list countries are not required to quarantine on their return to Wales, but they must book and pay for a mandatory PCR test on or before day two of their return. All travellers and members of their household will also be reminded about the availability of additional lateral flow tests to continue to monitor their health.

• People arriving from amber-list countries are required to quarantine for 10 days at home on their return. This is a legal requirement. They are also required to book and pay for mandatory PCR tests on day two and on day eight. Unlike in England, Wales does not operate a test-to-release scheme where an additional test can be taken on day five to reduce the period of quarantine. This is because some 30% of people who develop Covid-19 do so after day five.

• People arriving from countries on the red list are required to quarantine for a full 10 days on arrival in the UK at a designated UK port in a government-managed facility – a ‘covid hotel’ – at their own cost, starting from £1,750 per person. All UK entry points for arrivals from red-list countries are in England and Scotland, which means Welsh residents returning from those countries will need to quarantine outside Wales. Travellers are also required to book and pay for mandatory PCR tests on day two and day eight.

All those who do not follow the rules for red-list countries face fixed notice penalties of £10,000.

Welsh residents must also consult the requirements for visitors for any country they plan to travel to. Restrictions may be in place, including proof of vaccination, tests, quarantine and reasons for entry.

Vaccination status certificates will be available for people in Wales who have had two doses of their vaccination and need to urgently travel to a country that requires covid vaccination proof from Monday 24 May.

The First Minister added:

“We call on people to think about whether they need to travel overseas at this time. We should be cautious about going abroad in light of the ongoing risk of coronavirus and the presence of variants of concern in many countries.

“My clear message to everyone is make Wales your destination of choice this year.”

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Date for re-opening leisure facilities brought forward

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AS A RESULT of the current infection rates in the county and the latest Public Health Wales advice, a decision has been made to bring forward the date of the re-opening of indoor sport and physical activity provision in Ceredigion County Council operated facilities.

The updated timetable is:

  • Wellbeing Walks – 17 May
  • Outdoor Exercise Classes; Community Organisations use of Outdoor Facilities including Astro Turf Pitches (Lampeter, Ysgol Bro Teifi and Synod Inn), Playing Fields – 28 May onwards
  • Indoor Leisure Facilities at Aberaeron Leisure Centre, Lampeter Leisure Centre, Lampeter Swimming Pool, and Penglais School Sports Hall including Community Organisation use – Week commencing 07 June onwards.

The activities remain dependent on there being no significant increase in the number of cases in the county.

The significant decommissioning and re-instatement works have commenced at Plascrug Leisure Centre following its use as a field hospital.  No date has been set for its re-opening at present. 

Cardigan Leisure Centre remains closed as it is currently being used by Hywel Dda University Health Board as a Mass Vaccination Centre.

Further information will be available on the Ceredigion Actif Website, www.ceredigionactif.org.uk and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

We would like to thank all users of these facilities for their understanding during this challenging period. We are looking forward to welcoming you back to our activity sessions and facilities.

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Join the Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Panel as an independent member

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THE Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Panel is looking for two members to join them in their work to support and challenge the Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Commissioner.

The Panel is made of up of members nominated by Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys county councils along with at least two independent members.

Opportunities have now arisen for two independent members to join the Panel and carry out key statutory roles that will support the Commissioner exercise his role effectively.

Members will be expected to attend and take part in regular meetings and take part in decision making, creating reports and making recommendations to the Commissioner.

They will review the Commissioner’s annual draft Police and Crime Plan and annual draft budget, review and scrutinise his decisions and actions, and if necessary review the proposed appointment or removal of the Chief Constable and other senior police force appointments.

Applicants will need to demonstrate that they can take a balanced and objective approach in supporting the Panel and the Commissioner, make strategic and well-informed decisions, and interpret and question financial, statistical and performance related information.

They will also need to be able to act as a ‘critical friend’, challenging views or proposals for change constructively.

Applications close on May 31, and appointments to the Panel will be made until October 31, 2024. 

For further information, visit www.dppoliceandcrimepanel.wales

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