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Bonfire warning after 7 hectare blaze

Thomas Sinclair

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firfighterMID AND WEST WALES Fire Service has warned about the dangers of controlled burning after a garden bonfi re in Burry Port spread out of control and set light to 7 hectares of gorse. 

Fire crews from Gorseinon, Carmarthen, Llanelli and Ammanford were called on Monday evening (Apr 27) at around 6.15pm. Up to 26 fi refi ghters helped tackle the blaze, which happened to the rear of Gwscwm Road. Firefi ghters used hose reel jets, knapsacks and beaters to extinguish the fi re. Residents living nearby were evacuated by Police as a precaution.

Firefi ghters left the scene at 8.20pm, and re-attended the following morning to dampen down some hotspots. Fire Service Control dealt with over 70 repeat emergency calls about this incident as the fire was visible over a wide area and close to a main road. The cause of the fi e was identified as a garden bonfire which had spread out of control.

Arson Reduction Manager, Steve Richards said: “People need to be aware that fi res are unpredictable. Controlled burnings, such as a garden bonfi re should be small, adequately supervised, and at least 5 metres away from the property. A means of extinguishing the fi re should be immediately available, such as a hose pipe or buckets of water. “Accelerants such as petrol should never be used on a bonfi re. The fumes given off produce a cloud of explosive vapour that can’t be seen. The resulting explosion can cause serious injury.

“Controlled burning should only be undertaken between sunrise and sunset, and frequent controlled burning can lead to prosecution, due to the smoke being classed as a nuisance. “During sustained periods of dry weather, as we have been experiencing in recent weeks, it is inadvisable to set fi res at all.” There are more environmentally friendly ways of disposing garden waste or rubbish. However if you do have to carry out a controlled burn then the Fire Service should be contacted before lighting a fire and again once the fire has been extinguished on 0370 60 60 699 to ensure that a fire appliance is not sent to the address.

Keith Davies AM told The Herald: “After receiving high volumes of calls from witnesses and residents, the fire service were able to efficiently bring the fire under control; with police officers assisting in diverting people and cars. Along with Burry Port residents and everyone who witnessed or read about the fire, my thoughts are with local residents and I am very glad that nobody was hurt.

It does appear that this fi re was accidental. Burning rubbish in a garden quickly got out of control. We must bear the accidental nature in mind, especially considering the deliberate grass fi res lately across South Wales.” The AM added: “There is a wider public safety message here. We need to highlight the dangers of burning – it can quickly get out of control in dry weather and windy conditions.

Homeowners need to be vigilant when burning any garden waste or doing anything that can reasonably result in fires. Regulations must be followed and equipment on standby to bring unintended blaze consequences under control, especially when close to residential areas.The fire service do a good job of engaging local communities of fire risks and precautions like checking smoke alarms.

We could benefit as a community from increased community engagement – between the fire service, local schools and residents for example – raising awareness of the risks of home burning or otherwise.” Keith Davies AM continued: “On the wider point of grass fi res across South Wales – there have been instances of fi res on the mountains around the constituency and neighbouring areas. I re-iterate comments made by the Public Services Minister – those who deliberately start fi res are committing a criminal offence.

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Four charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs

Carli Newell

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FOUR people have been arrested and charged as part of an investigation into an organised crime gang supplying class A drugs from London to Aberystwyth, Llanelli and Swansea.

Dyfed-Powys Police, with support from The Met Police, carried out warrants at four addresses on July 21, resulting in four arrests.

Mohammed Osman, aged 23, Yonis Mohammed, aged 20, Salman Mohamoud, aged 23 – all from Islington – and Amy Simmons, aged 21, from Dulwich were charged with a total of 12 offences:

  • Mohammed Osman: Two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine,
  • Yonis Mohammed: Two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine.
  • Salman Mohamoud: Conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine
  • Amy Simmons: Conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine.

All four appeared at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Friday, July 23, where they were remanded in custody. They are due to appear at Swansea Crown Court for their next hearing on August 20.

The investigation is being carried out by the Ceredigion Serious and Organised Crime Team, Aberystwyth CID and the Operation Orochi command of the Met Police.

Detective Sergeant Steve Jones said: “These four arrests and charges are the result of a coordinated approach to target an organised crime gang we believe is running a county lines operation into the Dyfed-Powys Police force area.

“We will continue to work diligently to disrupt gangs of this kind, to prevent the supply of illegal substances into our community.

“I would like to thank all officers involved, as well as the Met Police for their part in the operation.”

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New children’s play area in Bryn as part of new council housing development

Carli Newell

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A NEW children’s play area has opened in time for the summer holidays in Bryn, Llanelli as part of a new £5.9million council housing development.

Carmarthenshire County Council is building 32 new homes on land close to the Dylan housing estate in Bryn.

The scheme will be made up of 22 two-bedroom homes, four two-bedroom bungalows and six four-bedroom homes and is part of the council’s ongoing drive to deliver more affordable homes across the county. It has been part funded through the Welsh Government’s Affordable Housing Grant.

The development also includes a new children’s play area, funded by the council in partnership with Llanelli Rural Council, which will take over the running and maintenance of the play area on completion.

Executive Board Member for Housing Cllr Linda Evans said: “I am delighted the park has been completed in time for the summer holidays for the local children to enjoy.

“We are committed to delivering more affordable housing across Carmarthenshire and this development will benefit dozens of families in Llanelli, as well as proving much needed facilities for the local community.

“I would like to thank the rural council for collaborating with this us on this and I hope the children are thrilled with it.”

Before designing the play area, the rural council liaised with local schoolchildren to find out what play equipment they wanted at their new park.

Llanelli Rural Council Chairman Cllr Tegwen Devichand said: “The council is delighted to be working in partnership with Carmarthenshire County Council to provide this wonderful new play area for the community.

“The opening of the play area couldn’t have been better timed to coincide with the school holidays. I hope the local children will enjoy the range of challenging play equipment on offer and that they have lots of fun using it over the summer.”

The housing development is due to be completed by the beginning of 2022.

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Burry Port Harbour lighthouse overhaul tops council’s £2million investment

Carli Newell

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A £2MILLION investment in Burry Port Harbour is nearing completion, topped off with the iconic lighthouse getting a fresh lick of paint.

Carmarthenshire County Council is behind a range of improvements to maintain and restore the historic harbour which is one of the county’s most loved and well visited beauty spots.

Restoration of the Grade II listed harbour walls, undertaken under the guidance of CADW, will conclude within the next few weeks.

The council has also been working alongside The Marine Group, which operates the harbour, to improve mooring facilities. They are working closely with fishermen to bid for funding for new commercial pontoon infrastructure.

It will add to investment made over previous years which saw the council spend almost £1.5million on new pontoons, and over £300,000 in maintaining the harbour railings and bridge.

A local operator has agreed a lease for a cafe and public toilets on east side of Harbour, and the refurbishment of the old RNLI harbour office has recently started by The Marine Group (TMG) to create a harbour-side coffee house.

TMG has also invested in a state-of-the-art dredger which arrived at the harbour last autumn. Dredging is well underway and will continue until targeted depths are reached.

Boat lifting equipment and new fuelling points are also planned.

The council has introduced community safety officers to patrol the harbour assisting tourists and local people during the summer months, especially to advise around Covid regulations, as part of a tourism hotspot plan to take care of issues such as parking, litter, street cleansing, enforcement and signage.

Temporary car parking surfacing has also been laid on the east side along with new pay and display facilities ahead of a wider multi-million regeneration plan that will transform the harbour with a mix of housing, commercial and leisure space covering around 13 acres of prime development site.

Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said: “We are proud of our continued investment in Burry Port Harbour. We are spending millions restoring and maintaining historic features that are much-loved by local people and visitors who come from far and wide to enjoy what the harbour has to offer.

“We continue to work closely alongside The Marine Group and Pembrey and Burry Port Town Council to plan and prioritise works and ongoing maintenance. We are as keen as everyone else to ensure it is well-maintained and continues to be a place people can enjoy.

“We appreciate that there has been some upheaval during these improvement works but we ask people to understand that our investment will make Burry Port Harbour an even better place for the future.”

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