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Dyfed-Powys Police urges communities to report stalking

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is making sure communities have the confidence to report stalking during National Stalking Awareness Week 2018.

Officers, PCSOs and specialist staff are raising awareness of stalking and harassment during National Stalking Awareness Week 2018, led by Suzy Lamplugh Trust.

They will be visiting stalking victims, offenders, partner agencies – including refuges – and hosting pop-up stalls out in their communities to raise awareness of stalking and the support available. This includes the national helpline and more localised support for victims and witnesses via Goleudy, a service provided by the Police and Crime Commissioner of Dyfed-Powys.

Stalking is repeated unwanted contact from one person to another, which demonstrates either a fixation or obsession and causes the victim to feel alarm, distress or fear of violence. It may involve personal contact but also via the phone, email, letter or social media.

Stalking behaviours could be as simple as rearranging garden furniture, sending unwanted gifts, loitering on the pavement outside their house or even calling social services to maliciously report ‘poor’ parenting.

The law to protect people from stalking in England and Wales is the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. It was amended in November 2012 to include ‘stalking’. Since that change, Dyfed-Powys Police has recorded 94 stalking crimes to date.

Detective Superintendent Anthony Griffiths, force lead for the Protecting Vulnerable People Unit, said: “Stalking can have a huge emotional impact on victims affecting their self-esteem, self-confidence and feelings of safety.

“Statistics show victims may suffer up to 100 incidents before reporting the issue to police and we want victims to know that they can come to police sooner and will be taken seriously. They should never feel they are wasting our time or that they are over-reacting.

“It is also vitally important that our partner agencies, community groups and members of the public recognise the behaviours associated with stalking and know how to get help for victims.”

Taken in isolation, events might seem unremarkable. But in particular circumstances and with repetition, they take on a more sinister meaning.

Unwanted communications may include telephone calls, letters, emails, faxes, text messages, messages on social networking sites, graffiti or sending or leaving unsolicited gifts.

Unwanted intrusions include following, waiting for, spying on, approaching and going to a person’s home. A stalker may also order or cancel goods or services, make complaints (to legitimate bodies), damage property or follow and try to talk to you online (cyberstalking).

ADVICE FOR VICTIMS

  • Keep a record of what happened, where and when you were followed or telephoned, or when you received post or email messages.
  • Write down information as soon as possible when events are still fresh in your mind.
  • Tell the police if any neighbours or others saw or heard what happened.
  • Record how the suspect looked or sounded – try to include what they were wearing and the make, number plate of any involved car.
  • Stay alert and aware of your surroundings at all times.

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Local charity wins award

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AFTER winning the hearts of judges and residents, local Llanelli charity, Ail Gyfle Second Chance, has been named as a winner in the Jewson Building Better Communities competition.

Following thousands of regional entries being submitted from across Great Britain, the community rehabilitation and skills development centre has been awarded £4,000 worth of materials from the builders’ merchant.

Using their winnings, Ail Gyfle will expand its current facilities to make the charity accessible to people with disabilities, by levelling out the yard and installing disabled toilets.

This year’s Building Better Communities competition was launched in April 2018 and more than 2,400 entries – made up of good causes from up and down Great Britain – were submitted. These were later narrowed down to a shortlist and put to a public vote, with the winners announced at an awards ceremony held in Coventry on July 3.

At the event, Ail Gyfle and 36 other UK successful projects were presented with prizes by renowned architect and TV personality, George Clarke. After being awarded their prize, Sian Waters, CEO, Ail Gyfle Second Chance said: “This is perfect and will make a huge difference for us. We’ve had accessibility issues in the past, but we’ll use the materials to make our building more disabled friendly, which will open up so many doors when it comes to helping more people in the local community.”

George Clarke commented: “It’s community charities like Ail Gyfle which help bring people closer together and Jewson does great work in supporting them with Building Better Communities. This competition is a fantastic idea and it’s always great to see so many happy faces at the awards presentation.

“By giving something back to the areas that support them, Jewson is creating brighter futures for those who need it. I’d like to congratulate Ail Gyfle on their deserved win.”

Jewson Managing Director, Thierry Dufour, added: “At Jewson, we believe in the positive power of community spirit and it is local causes such as this one, which bring this to life. By lending a helping hand to those who need it, we can help build better communities across Britain and support those unsung heroes who go out of their way to help others.”

Building Better Communities is being supported by Jewson supplier brands: Velux; Marshalls, Polypipe; British Gypsum; Tarmac; Recticel and Norbord. To see the full list of winners, visit: www.buildingbettercommunities.co.uk

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Shark catch may be biggest ever in Welsh waters

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A LLANELLI fisherman had a day to remember on a recent angling trip – landing a massive 21 stone shark.

George Simmonds was on a charter trip fishing out of Dale, Pembrokeshire, when he hooked the enormous thresher shark – thought to be the biggest ever caught in Welsh waters

It took him two hours to land the shark, and three men were needed to lift it onto the boat, where its weight was calculated before it was released alive.

Only three thresher sharks are believed to have been caught in Wales, with the previous record set in 2015 by Mr Simmonds’ friend, David Thomas – also in waters off Milford Haven.

The pair were together on the latest fishing expedition on Wednesday morning when they saw a pair of thresher sharks leaping from the water, before Mr Simmonds’ reel started to spin. The shark ran off around 300m of line, and was finally landed after over two hours.

“It was pretty hard and when I saw it, let’s just say I said a few choice adjectives,” he said.

“I’ve been fishing since I was young enough to hold a fishing rod and I’ve travelled all over the world fishing – but this was a big moment, a personal achievement for me.

“It’s so rare and difficult to land a thresher shark as they are so large. In the shark world, it’s up there at the top of the list.”

Thresher sharks get their name from their long tail, which is often as long as their body. The sharks are active predators, and are commonly found along the North American and Asian continental shelves.

Meirion Williams, from Bridgend – who is known as Pie – organises regular shark fishing trips in the summer months off the Pembrokeshire coast and was with Mr Simmonds and others when they made the catch.

He said records showed it was only the third thresher shark caught off the coast and they believed it was a the largest and heaviest – but they are unable to claim an official record because they did not kill their catch.

“It was so big it got caught in the hatch door of the boat as we tried to get it on board,” he said.

“The body was 6ft 8in long and the tail was 6ft – it was the length of the boat.

“We put the shark back quickly and then it swam off really calmly.

“These sharks are very, very rare to see in Wales and so hard to catch.”

Andy Truelove, the skipper of the boat, added: “As with any shark there is a risk of being bitten and it does happen – never seen an incident myself and wouldn’t want to, teeth are like razor blades.

“With a thresher there is also a risk from the tail, it could do you a lot of damage. Fortunately this lady was well behaved.”

Research published this week showed that Pembrokeshire was one of the top five places in the country for spotting different species of shark, with more predicted to move into the waters around the coast as a result of rising sea temperatures over the next 30 years.

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Homeless man killed by drink and drugs

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A HOMELESS man who had spent the majority of his life with no fixed abode passed away after drinking heavily and taking morphine on the same night.

An inquest held at Llanelli Town Hall on Wednesday (Jul 18) heard that 50-year-old Colin Young was born in the Merthyr area and grew up in Aberdare.

He became estranged from his family, and aside from a brief spell working as a painter and decorator, he spent much of his time moving between the Valleys and Llanelli, living on the streets, which was partly the result of drug and alcohol issues.

Coroner’s Officer Hayley Rogers explained that on the evening of April 19, Mr Young visited a friend’s house and after consuming alcohol fell asleep on the sofa.

A short time later, in the early hours of April 20, he was found in an unresponsive state, and the emergency services were called. However, despite the efforts of paramedics, he was pronounced dead at 3:44am.

A post-mortem gave the cause of death as mixed drug and alcohol intoxication, and the death was treated by police from the outset as unexplained and non-suspicious.

Coroner Mark Layton quoted the toxicology report, which showed a high level of blood alcohol and the presence of a quantity of morphine. The latter, combined with alcohol, was sufficient to be fatal, he added.

In conclusion, the death of Mr Young was found to be related to the drugs and alcohol he consumed in the last hours of his life.

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