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Police dog finds missing mum and baby on first operational shift

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A MISSING mother and baby were found on the edge of a ravine after spending the night outdoors thanks to a police dog on his first shift.

Newly licensed Dyfed-Powys Police dog Max, and his handler PC Peter Lloyd, were crucial in tracking down the woman who had spent a night in a remote location in Powys with her young child.

Two-year-old German Shepherd cross Max swiftly put his training into action during his first operational shift, covering a significant distance to find the mum and child.

He was called into duty at just before midday on Saturday, August 1, when the force received a call reporting the mum missing and immediately launched a search to find her and her one-year-old.

Inspector Jonathan Rees-Jones said: “The woman had not been seen or spoken to for two days, which was out of character, and her phone wasn’t working, so naturally concern for her safety was high.

“Response officers, neighbourhood policing teams and specialist search officers were dispatched to her home, and enquiries were carried out to try and trace her steps.

“Thanks to excellent work between teams, the woman’s car was quickly found on a mountain road. Although this gave officers a location to search from, there was still a vast area to cover given the amount of time she had been missing.

“This is where PD Max’s tracking skills really came into play. Despite only recently becoming licensed, and on his first operational shift, he immediately commenced an open area search.”

With support from Brecon Mountain Rescue Team and an NPAS helicopter, along with advice from a search expert, additional units were deployed to assist in searching the area which included a small reservoir and woodland.

Police dog Max and PC Peter Lloyd

PD Max and PC Lloyd covered a significant distance, and at around 1.30pm, guided by Max, the officer spotted the missing woman waving for help near a steep ravine on the mountain side. She was helped down, and arrangements were made for her and her baby to be checked over by a Mountain Rescue doctor and the ambulance service.

Insp Rees-Jones said: “Extensive searches of the area were undertaken by officers, supported by specialist assets such as the dog unit and the NPAs helicopter, with advice from a police search adviser.

“Thankfully, after an hour-and-a-half of searching, the mum and baby were found. They were safe, but cold, and appeared to have been in the area for a significant amount of time.

“This was a fantastic coordinated and determined team effort from everyone involved, which no doubt ensured the safety of the mum and baby who were at significant risk of harm.

“I must give a special mention to PC Pete Lloyd and Max, who on their very first day since completing their training together covered a significant amount of mileage in the search, eventually locating them safe.”

PC Lloyd joined the Dyfed-Powys Police dog section in February, and was on his first operational shift with Max when the woman was reported missing.

Max is a general purpose dog, who will primarily be used for tracking and locating people in buildings and open air, tracing discarded property and tracking and detaining suspects.

PC Lloyd said: “I was really pleased that during our first operational deployment as a dog team, myself and Max were able to safely locate the missing mother and baby. Max remained focused throughout the long search and he proved invaluable when he reacted to the call for help which resulted in us locating them.”

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RNIB brings LEGO® Braille Bricks toolkits to children in Carmarthenshire

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CHILDREN with vision impairment in Carmarthenshire are set to benefit from LEGO® Braille Bricks toolkits thanks to the Royal National Institute of Blind People’s (RNIB) work with the LEGO Foundation.

The toolkits have so far been distributed to Ceredigion Council, Swansea Council, Conwy Sensory Support Service, Carmarthenshire Council, Bridgend Council, Neath Port Talbot Council and Rhondda Cynon Taf.

LEGO Braille Bricks introduce a new way to help children with vision impairment develop tactile skills and learn the braille system. The kits are made up of approximately 300 LEGO bricks that are specially moulded so that the studs on top reflect individual letters and numbers in the Braille alphabet. The bricks also feature printed letters, numbers and symbols so that they can be used simultaneously by sighted peers, classmates, and teachers in a collaborative and inclusive way.

The kits are being brought to the UK by RNIB, which worked with the LEGO Foundation to develop and test the Braille Bricks and will distribute toolkits to schools and home-schooled children in Carmarthenshire from September.

RNIB Director of Services, David Clarke said: “We are excited to bring the LEGO Braille Brick toolkits to UK classrooms to help children learn how to read and write braille in a fun and engaging way. Braille is an important tool and these inclusive toolkits will make a real difference to children with vision impairment, allowing them to play and interact with their sighted classmates.”

RNIB has also trained teachers and support staff working with children with vision impairment in the teaching concept. Although the toolkit is intended as a playful introduction to braille for younger children aged from four up, it has also proven to have learning opportunities and benefits for children in secondary school.

Senior Play & Health Specialist at the LEGO Foundation, Stine Storm, said: “We are thrilled to launch the first wave of the LEGO Braille Bricks program and get the toolkits into the hands of children. With LEGO Braille Bricks, students and educators can tailor their activities in countless different ways to meet their needs and learning goals in a fun and inclusive manner. The possibilities for learning through play are endless, and we look forward to seeing how LEGO Braille Bricks can inspire children of all ages along their journey to learn braille.”

The UK is one of several countries that LEGO Braille Bricks will launch in this year. The toolkits, or sets of bricks, are not on general sale and can only be ordered by heads of service from local sensory services. Heads of service can also nominate an education professional from schools for children with vision impairment, or a QTVI (qualified teacher of children and young people with vision impairment), to place an order on behalf of their area. For more information visit www.rnib.org.uk/legobraillebricks

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Police appeal for witnesses after 20-year-old pedestrian tragically killed on A40

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is appealing for witnesses to a fatal road traffic collision on the A40 west of Carmarthen on Saturday (Sept 26) in which a 20-year-old man, a pedestrian, lost his life.

The police have asked The Pembrokeshire Herald to publicise this appeal.

A spokesman for the police told this newspaper: “At around 9.40pm, a white VW Transporter was in collision with a pedestrian on the A40 westbound, near the junction of Llangynog, Carmarthen.

“The pedestrian, a 20-year-old male, died as a result of his injuries.

“It appears the pedestrian had left his vehicle, a black Seat, following a single-vehicle collision further along the westbound carriageway shortly before.

The police have asked that if anyone has any information on either or both collisions, or may have been travelling along the A40 at the relevant time, please contact the serious collision investigation unit, quoting reference DPP-20200926-339.

This can be done by email: contactcentre@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, by phone on 101 or by text: If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

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Tir Coed build outdoor classroom for Cross Hands Primary

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The local charity Tir Coed teamed up with Cross Hands Primary School to design and install a locally
grown woodland shelter to enable primary school pupils to benefit from outdoor lessons-even when
the rain pours!

Last year Cross Hands Primary School received funding from Carmarthenshire is Kind for their
intergenerational project. The project brought the schoolchildren together with older people in the
community. Through intergenerational activities, everyone involved increases social connectedness,
reduces social isolation, learns from one another and has a great time!

Before the lockdown, Tir Coed was contracted to lead a group mainly made up of parents from the
school on a shelter-building course. The attendees would gain knowledge and skills and the children
and the older people would be able to use the shelter, a third generation now included in this
fantastic project. The plans, however, had to change due to restrictions and in an effort to have it
ready for the children when they returned to school, three intrepid Activity Leaders braved the wet
August weather to build the beautiful shelter .

Studies have shown that being in the outdoors significantly reduces the risk of spreading the Corona
Virus. With this addition to their already impressive outdoor area, it is hoped that more learning can
take place outside the classroom. Deputy Head, Emma Walters said, “It looks amazing! I am very
impressed with the shelter and I cannot thank Tir Coed enough for organising this. Additional
covered space in the outdoors will mean that we can take more learning into our lovely nature
area.”

If you would like to find out more about the work of Tir Coed or have a project you would like our help
with you can contact Nancy, the Carmarthenshire Coordinator: carms@tircoed.org.uk

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