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Legal Highs – the fightback begins

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A NUMBER of businesses selling ‘legal highs’ in Carmarthenshire were targeted as part of a Trading Standards crackdown, after a spate of serious incidents involving unnamed drugs.
An illegal product has been seized from two Carmarthenshire businesses, and another business has voluntarily surrendered their stock of the product ‘Amsterdam Gold’, also labelled as ‘Liquid Gold’, after finding it contravened the General Products Safety Regulations 2005 and The Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations 2009. The businesses involved cannot be named pending further prosecution. A product sold online as Amsterdam Gold is described as an alkyl nitrate derivative, but it has not been confirmed that the product seized is the same.
In the last week alone, three people in Llanelli Town Centre have been hospitalised after taking the as-yet unidentified substances.
On March 26 two teenagers in Llanelli Town Centre required the assistance of an ambulance, which police said was connected to legal drug use.
On April 1 a 40 year-old man collapsed at Carousel Amusements in Llanelli Town Centre, and was conveyed to Prince Philip Hospital by ambulance. A police spokesperson said that the incident was ‘believed to be linked to legal highs’.
In Pembrokeshire it is thought that legal highs may have played a part in the sudden deaths of two men, Dean Boswell, 36, and 40 year-old Stephen John from Pembroke Dock.
Carmarthenshire County Council’s Trading Standards Manager Roger Edmunds said: “We are working proactively to seize illegal products from businesses, and to advise businesses about the sale of so-called legal highs. As the name suggests, many of these products can be legally sold, however that does not mean they are safe. We are concerned about several products currently on sale in Carmarthenshire and are running analysis on these products to determine whether they are fit for sale.”
While the sale of legal highs is not outlawed, the trading standards officers have certain powers to ensure public safety.
It is the view of some senior law enforcement officers that on their own the police force can have little effect when it comes to tackling the problem of legal drugs.
Many formerly legal drugs have been placed on the list of prohibited substances in the last few years, but there are an almost infinite number of variants, which differ in minute ways, and which have not yet been made illegal.
Shops selling legal highs can fall foul of trading standards regulations in two ways – through the Consumer Protection against Unfair Trading regulations of 2008, and the 2005 General Product Safety Regulations (GPSR).
In the first instance, it must be proved that customers are misled into a transaction they would not usually make, like paying £15 for a sachet of ‘bath salts’, or ‘plant food’. This is often difficult.
Under the GPSR, Trading Standards Officers have a range of powers, including entering premises with a warrant, making test purchases and undertaking testing, and placing suspension or withdrawal notices on products.
Carmarthenshire Trading Standards officers used this tactic, buying samples of other substances from a number of Carmarthenshire businesses in test purchases and subjecting them to chemical analysis to determine whether they can be legally sold.
Trading Standards have confirmed they are working with the Home Office to bring about changes in the law which will allow them to take more products off the shelf.
Cllr Jim Jones, Executive Board Member for public protection, said: “Our hands are tied behind our backs in some cases, where the law does not allow us to take the kind of action we’d like to get these products off the shelf. However, we want to assure people that we are doing all we can
The use of Trading Standards legislation to tackle the sale of legal highs has been implemented to great effect in other areas of the country. Last year, forces in Kent and Cornwall seized a range of drugs for testing, and issued shops with warning notices.

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Community checks out new Carmarthenshire Policing Hub and Custody Suite

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POLICE and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn today (24.06.22) hosted an open doors event for local stakeholders at Dyfed-Powys’ new Custody Suite and Policing Hub, that is currently under construction at Dafen, Llanelli Carmarthenshire.

Planning permission was granted to the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner by Carmarthenshire County Council back in April 2021 for the proposed development, which is to be an ambitious sustainable construction, with a BREEAM excellence rating.

Wilmott Dixon, who are the Construction Contractor have been on site since autumn preparing for the first construction phases, with specific progress now beginning made on the development, that aims to be completed by May 2023.

PCC Dafydd Llywelyn said; “This is a major investment for us which will see an ambitious, modern, sustainable fit for purpose policing hub and custody suite that will meet the needs and expectations of modern policing. 

“During the planning application process between 2020 and 2021, we engaged widely with the local community,  and It was a pleasure to open the door, and welcome local community representatives to the construction site today, to show the progress that has been made to date.

“I’ve worked extremely hard with partners over recent years to ensure that we get to this position and I now look forward to seeing the construction work continue to develop at pace over the year”.

In being a BREEAM related development, the new build will offer a more sustainable environment, that aims to enhance the well-being of the people who work within it, and help protect natural resources.

Amongst some of the sustainable credentials of the new build will be a photovoltaic solar power installation to minimise the carbon footprint of the building; a rainwater harvesting facility for toilets and non-potable water, and electric car charging facilities.

Chief Inspector Richard Hopkin, Dyfed-Powys Police’s operational lead on the new build, said: “We feel very fortunate to be having a new build custody suite and hub coming to Llanelli.

“Our current Llanelli estate is old, so to see a new build that is being designed with such consideration for the environment and the wellbeing of our staff and the community within which it sits is really positive.

“The development will provide a fit for purpose, future proof solution which will complement the town centre Neighbourhood Police Team base.”

Ian Jones, Director at Willmott Dixon commented, “This is the first project that we have worked on with Dyfed Powys Police, and as part of what has being a collaborative partnership, we are delighted to have the opportunity to deliver this development. 

“This is a purpose‐built, new custody suite to replace and supplement provision of custody within Carmarthenshire which will provide excellent facilities to meet the needs of modern law enforcement and detainee wellbeing for Dyfed Powys Police. 

“We were delighted to have the opportunity to welcome guests to the site to show them first-hand how construction is progressing.”

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Ryan Giggs quits as Wales manager with ‘immediate effect’

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EX Man-Utd winger has left his position as the manager of the national football team with ‘immediate effect’.

Giggs stepped back from his role in November 2020 following after being arrested.

49-year-old Giggs has been charged with assault and using controlling behaviour towards an ex-partner. A claim that Giggs has denied.

In a heartfelt statement on his decision, Giggs said: “After much consideration, I am standing down from my position as manager of the Wales men’s national team with immediate effect.

“It has been an honour and a privilege to manage my country, but it is only right that the Wales FA, the coaching staff and the players prepare for the tournament with certainty, clarification and without speculation around the position of their head coach.

“I do not want the country’s preparations for the World Cup to be affected, destabilised or jeopardised in any way by the continued interest around this case.

“I am sad that we cannot continue this journey together because I believe that this extraordinary group will make the country proud at our first World Cup since 1958.

“It is my intention to resume my managerial career at a later date.”

Following Giggs arrest in 2020, former Wales captain Robert Page took over as interim manager.

Under Page Wales beat Ukraine to earn themselves a place at Qatar World Cup for the first time in 64 years.

Giggs faces one charge of using controlling and coercive behaviour August 2017 and November 2020, one charge of assault causing actual bodily harm of his ex-girlfriend Kate Greville on November 1, 2020.

He also faces a charge of common assault on the victim’s sister.

Giggs denies all charges against him and will stand trial on August 8.

The trial is expected to last five days.

Following the announcement, a FAW spokesperson said: “The FAW places on record its gratitude to Ryan Giggs for his tenure as manager of the Cymru men’s national team and appreciates the decision he has taken, which is in the best interests of Welsh football,

“The full focus of the FAW and the Cymru men’s national team is on the Fifa World Cup in Qatar later this year.”

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M&S opticians opens its doors in Llanelli Parc Trostre

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MARKS & SPENCER has opened the newest branch of its M&S Opticians service, located in the retailer’s popular Llanelli store.

M&S Llanelli Parc Trostre will offer customers an expert opticians service, which includes a full eye health examination (OCT scan) for every eye test booked at no additional fee.

Free eye tests are available as an opening offer, as well as 15% off glasses and sunglasses for Sparks customers. There’s a wide range of designer brands to choose from including Mulberry, Prada, Joules, Kate Spade, Oakley, Police, Maui Jim along with leading lens manufacturers – Zeiss and Nikon.

Expert advice on contact lens fitting and wearing is also on hand, alongside a contact lens home delivery option. The store will also be home to a hearing aid audiologist who will be offering free hearing health checks along with latest hearing aid technology, including rechargeable models and mobile connectivity.

In addition to the physical experience in-store, customers can book appointments online here, as well as view, purchase and try on glasses via the innovative ‘virtual try on’ tool here

M&S Llanelli Parc Trostre is the second optician service to open in Wales following a successful trial across ten UK cities, during which the service received a customer satisfaction rate of 96% and a customer recommendation rate of 96%.

M&S Llanelli Parc Trostre Store Manager, Aled Bonnell, said: “We’re always looking for ways to make shopping at M&S even more rewarding and feedback from our trial showed that customers loved the convenience of having an Opticians service in our store. We’re really excited to be opening our M&S Opticians in Llanelli and hearing what our customers think. The choice of different brands we’re offering is second to none and we have brilliant opening offers to suit all budgets.”

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