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Possession of knife sentencing

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A man who showed a driver an eight inch kitchen knife and demanded a lift across Llanelli minutes after stealing 200 cigarettes and tobacco from a shop has been jailed.

Patrick Duffy, aged 26, made a driver fear he would be hurt if he did not comply when he got into his car on the morning of February 22.

He was sentenced to 52 weeks in prison after admitting to theft, affray and possessing a weapon in public, and was jailed just two days after the offences.

Llanelli sergeant Craig Roderick said: “This was a particularly worrying incident for the victim, who genuinely feared his safety was at risk.

“Thanks to swift and diligent enquiries carried out by the officer in case, the offender was quickly arrested and brought to justice within two days.”

Duffy had gone into the Premier Store in Llwynhendy and asked the cashier for a number of boxes of cigarettes and tobacco. When items worth £116 were placed on the counter, he grabbed them and ran from the shop without paying.

Down the road, he flagged down a passing car and asked for a lift to the Morfa area of Llanelli. Despite the driver saying he could only take him as far as Asda, Duffy opened the car door and got in.

When the driver repeated that he was only going to Asda, Duffy revealed a knife with an eight inch serrated blade, and said ‘take me to Morfa’.

While there was no direct threat made, the driver said he clearly felt that he had no choice but to take him where he wanted, and feared he might be hurt if he did not comply.

As the car passed Trostre, Duffy asked the driver to pull over for him to get out, but wanted him to stay until he returned.

The motorist immediately drove off, and could see Duffy running after him. He noticed that he no longer had the knife in his hand.

On seeing a passing police van, he flashed his lights to alert them and reported what had happened.

The knife was later found under the passenger seat of his car.

Sgt Roderick said: “The victim told officers that while he was driving, Duffy had shown him a tattoo of the word Beefy on his arm. It was established through enquiries that this is Duffy’s nickname, and the fact the victim recalled this led officers to identify the suspect.

“CCTV footage from Premier Store gave further confirmation to officers that Duffy had stolen a significant amount of cigarettes and tobacco from the shop.

“He was arrested in Loughor, and despite making no comment in his interview there was sufficient evidence to charge him with theft. 

“Taking a victim-focussed approach, officers diligently pursued all avenues available and CPS later authorised further charges for affray and possession of an offensive weapon.

“This is a clear example of excellent initiative being used in terms of using every second available to the team to gain justice for the victim.”

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Health

Those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster should get jabbed by end of June

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ALL those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster are being urged to take up their offer of the vaccine before the end of next month.

A deadline of 30 June has been introduced to ensure all those eligible for the spring booster will have a long-enough interval between this and the autumn 2022 booster, if they are also eligible.

An announcement by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) about which groups will be eligible for the autumn booster is due to be published shortly.

The JCVI has advised that people over-75, older care home residents and all those aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed are eligible for the spring booster.

Those who are 75 on or before 30 June, can get their booster at any point up to the deadline.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “It is important we continue our very high take up levels of the vaccine to help protect us against the risk of serious illness from Covid-19. I would urge everyone who is offered a spring booster vaccination takes up the invitation.”

If someone eligible for a spring booster has had a Covid infection recently, they will need to wait 28 days from the date they tested positive before they can be vaccinated. They will still be able to get vaccinated after 30 June as part of this campaign if they have to postpone their appointment.

All those eligible for spring boosters will be invited by their health board or GP.

It is not too late for anyone who needs a primary dose (first, second or third) to be vaccinated.

Please check for local arrangements.

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Health

Young people in Wales being failed when moving from child to adult mental health services

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MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES are failing young people when they move from child to adult services, says a mental health charity.

Mind Cymru is calling for Welsh Government to make urgent changes to improve the system.

Nia Evans, Children and Young People Manager at Mind Cymru, said: “Young people have told us that their needs, thoughts, and feelings about moving to adult services are often unheard, or ignored.

“Welsh Government must support Local Health Boards to make sure this doesn’t happen, change the way services are run and make sure our young people are being heard and properly cared for.”

Mind Cymru has published a report, in ate the result of interviews with young people about their experiences of moving from Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services – (SCAMHS) to AMHS.

They highlighted five key areas where services are failing young people:
– Poor information offered to young people, particularly on their rights
– Inconsistent use and follow through of care and treatment plans
– High thresholds for SCAMHS and AMHS referrals to be accepted
– Feeling abandoned / cut off from SCAMHS
– Age still dominates decision making process for moving from SCAMHS to AMHS

Nia Evans said: “Any one of these issues could make the process of moving from children’s services to adult services difficult for our young people. But often, more than one is happening at any one time.”

“Our young people have a right to care and support from a mental health system that has been put in place to help them recover. Action must be taken immediately to make sure support systems are robust and doing the job they were designed to do.”

Mind Cymru is asking people to email their Member of the Senedd (MS) and amplify the voices of these young people whose experiences are often unheard, and use the #SortTheSwitch hashtag on social media.

The full report is available here, including what a good move from SCAMHS to AMHS would look like for young people, and where the current system could improve.

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Business

Average UK price of diesel hits record of more than £1.80 a litre

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LESS than two months after Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a 5p a litre cut on the average price of fuel – diesel prices have reached a record high price of 180.29p a litre.
The previous high of 179.90p was recorded on March 23rd 2022 – the day of the Spring Statement from Sunak.

In recent weeks, the UK government has tried to move away from its reliance on importing Russian oil, following President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Worryingly for drivers of petrol cars, the price per litre is fast approaching the record levels of 167.3p per litre set on March 22nd.

This latest price rise adds another challenge to UK households, as the cost of living crisis continues to impact families across the country.

RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said: “Sadly, despite the Chancellor’s 5p a litre duty cut the average price of a litre of diesel has hit a new record high at 180.29p.”

“Efforts to move away from importing Russian diesel have led to a tightening of supply and pushed up the price retailers pay for diesel.”

“While the wholesale price has eased in the last few days this is likely to be temporary, especially if the EU agrees to ban imports of Russian oil.”

“Unfortunately, drivers with diesel vehicles need to brace themselves for yet more pain at the pumps. Had Mr Sunak reduced VAT to 15% as we call on him to do instead of cutting duty by 5p, drivers of diesel vehicles would be around 2p a litre better off, or £1 for every full tank.”

“As it is, drivers are still paying 27p VAT on petrol and 29p on diesel, which is just the same as before the Spring Statement.”

“The average price of petrol is also on the rise having gone up nearly 3p a litre since the start of the month to 166.65p which means it’s less than a penny away from the all-time high of 167.30p set on 22 March.”

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