Ceredigion residents are being warned they risk fines of up to £10,000 and possible criminal conviction if they breach COVID rules.
The warning comes following recent massive fines being issued to the organisers of parties and mass gatherings.
As part of the national fire-break, which was introduced by the Welsh Government in response to a sharp rise in cases of coronavirus, and to save lives and prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed, people in Wales have to follow strict rules, including staying at home, except for very limited purposes, and not visiting other households or meeting people they do not live with.
Failure to follow the rules would result in fixed penalty notices being issued, carrying a fine of £60, which would increase to £120 for a second offence and continues to double for repeated offences, up to a maximum of £1,920. If prosecuted, a court can impose unlimited fines. Meanwhile, organising an unlicensed music event of more than 30 people is a separate criminal offence punishable by conviction and an unlimited fine or, as an alternative to conviction, by a fixed penalty set at £10,000.
Dyfed-Powys Police Superintendent, Robyn Mason, said: “Let’s be clear – the national firebreak measures apply to everyone in Wales. We are supporting the Welsh Government in its efforts to regain control of coronavirus across our communities, and our officers and PCSOs are being proactive to help keep us all safe. Our approach in the first instance is to engage with people, explain what you need to do and encourage compliance. But for those that don’t respond, we do have powers and we will use them.
“Everyone needs to understand the severity of the situation, and the potentially serious health consequences for individuals and their loved ones, which should see them complying with the regulations – without having to be issued penalties. But if they refuse to comply we will enforce. The success of the firebreak depends on each and every one of us playing our part. It’s simple, before going somewhere or doing something, ask yourself if it’s really necessary.”
Ros Jervis is public health director at Hywel Dda University Health Board and chair of the Ceredigion Incident Management Team, a multi-agency partnership between Ceredigion County Council, Aberystwyth University, Public Health Wales, Dyfed-Powys Police, the Ceredigion Contact Tracing Team and Aberystwyth Student Union. The IMT was established to tackle the spread of the virus in the county. She said: “While the majority of people are behaving responsibly and protecting themselves and others, it is apparent that a small minority are not following the rules, which in turn is putting people’s health and even lives at risk. I strongly urge people to follow the rules, maintain social distancing guidelines, wear face coverings, wash hand regularly, and get tested if they have any symptoms – a new persistent cough, loss or change of taste or smell, or a high temperature.”
In Manchester, the organiser of a party attended by more than 50 people received a £10,000 fine for breaching Covid-19 regulations. Meanwhile, in Nottingham, four students received fines of £10,000 each for breaching lockdown restrictions by hosting a house party.
Tests must be booked via the online UK portal at www.gov.wales/coronavirus.
Stand up for slowing down speed campaign launched
INAPPROPRIATE speed contributes to around 11% of all injury collisions reported to the police, with 15% of collisions resulting in a serious injury and 24% of collisions resulting in fatalities.
Starting on the 26th July, the National Police Chief Council (NPCC) Speed Campaign will kick off across the UK, with GoSafe and the four Welsh Police Forces participating in both engaging with the public about the risks of speeding and enforcing the speed limits on the roads of Wales.
In 2019, 60,073 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) were issued in Wales to drivers/riders for speeding.
Speeding is a major contributing factor to collisions on the roads of Wales. This includes both ‘excessive speed’, where the speed limit is exceeded, as well as driving or riding within the speed limit when this is too fast for the conditions at the time; for example, in poor weather, poor visibility or high pedestrian activity.
During the Coronavirus pandemic, we saw less traffic but higher speeds. Now our restrictions are lifting, traffic volumes are up and as we are holidaying in the UK more, we are seeing more people speeding on the roads in Wales. We want to change this, but can only do that with your help.
Over the next few weeks you will see an increased presence on the road network of Wales as we aim to keep all road users safe and reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads.
We know that the majority of road users comply with the speed limit; but the minority of those who do not increases the risk to the safety of all road users and need to be educated on the risks to their own safety as well as to the safety of those around them. Throughout this campaign, GoSafe and our partners in the Police and Local Authorities will encourage and educate more people to reduce their speed to save lives.
Teresa Ciano, GoSafe Partnership Manager said: “GoSafe enforce at sites across Wales in order to encourage motorists to comply with the speed limits and in turn make our roads and communities safer for everyone. If we all play our part and stand up for slowing down we can make a difference, and we can save lives on the roads of Wales.”
Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Climate Change said: “I am very pleased to support this campaign. Driving at high speeds costs lives and a greater police presence on our roads will mean motorists will be more likely to drive within the speed limits, protecting lives and avoiding a speeding fine.”
Cardigan man accused of murder in court
A CARDIGAN man who is accused of stabbing a man to death has appeared in court today (Jul 28).
Ashley Keegan, 22, of Golwyg y Castell, Cardigan, appeared before court via video link where he spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth.
Swansea crown court heard how Keegan is accused of stabbing 37-year-old John Williams Bell seven times in the back.
Mr Bell’s body was discovered in the early hours of Wednesday Morning, July 21, on the road to Cardigan Bridge.
The court set a provisional trial date for January 3, 2022.
Keegan will remain remanded into custody until the trial.
Suspected drink driver tracked for two miles by police dog
A SUSPECTED drink driver was arrested after a police dog tracked him for two miles along a cycle path.
Dyfed-Powys Police dog Storm and his handler PC Mike Barnsley located the driver following a collision between Bont and Tregaron on Sunday, July 25.
Officers had attended the scene of the collision, discovering that a car had hit a tree and overturned – however, the driver was not present.
PC Barnsley said: “There were concerns that the driver could have been injured due to the significant damage to the car, so a search was immediately launched to find them.
“With PD Storm, I focussed on the cycle path running alongside the road, where Storm picked up a track and followed it for around two miles.
“Local response units accessed the cycle path ahead of us, while another unit searched from the main road along an unclassified road in the same direction.”
PC Barnsley and Storm reported a sighting of a man on the cycle path, and he was stopped and arrested on suspicion of drink driving.
Sergeant David Hawksworth said: “This was an excellent demonstration of teamwork and coordination by officers, whose good local knowledge resulted in the suspect being swiftly found and arrested.”
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