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New analysis shows extent of attacks on sheep

Credit: David Jones/PA Archive/PA Images

North Wales Police say they are using specially collated data to tackle the problem of dog attacks on sheep.

The North Wales Police Rural Crime Team shows the true extent of attacks which they say is an under reported national issue.

The analysis shows that in the last 12 months there were 108 separate incidents recorded, with most involving more than one sheep.

The county with the highest incidents is Gwynedd with 27 recorded, nearly three times that of the Wrexham County, with 10.

The average number of attacks is nine a month. In one incident more than 30 sheep were attacked by a Rottweiler in Buckley.

The statistics also reveal that Friday is the day of the week when most attacks occur, substantially more than on a Monday, but it unclear why this is the case.

As a team we needed to decide what the real issues are with rural crime and we have achieved this by recording accurate daily statistics for all manner of incidents.

This has led to significant drops in all rural incidents in North Wales, including sheep attacks. We have found that the only answer with such attacks is to take a zero tolerance approach with irresponsible dog owners.

This has led to court cases and heavy fines.

– Sgt Rob Taylor, Rural Crime Team

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Wales 'ideal to trial driverless car use'

Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

A group of academics says driverless cars could provide the answer to poor public transport links in rural areas of Wales and the nation’s country roads are an ideal place to pioneer their use.

Engineers at Glyndwr University believe that, subject to local consultation, opportunities to trial use of the revolutionary vehicles should be prioritised in Wales.

They say driverless cars have the potential to be used effectively on the steep, narrow, slow and sinuous roads of Wales.

They believe the vehicles have the potential to significantly improve the quality of life in rural areas, in essence being used as taxis.

Driverless car being tested. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

We believe that driverless cars have real potential to deliver a sustainable rural economy for Wales.

There is a decline in rural populations as more and more young people head into the city to find work and the offset of this has been that public transport links have become even more infrequent – and non-existent in some areas.

I think we’re looking at five to ten years before something like this could become a reality and it would of course need the consent of people living in rural areas, with all of their concerns addressed.

– Barry Johnston, Glyndwr University’s engineering department

The academics have submitted their views to the Welsh Government to help inform its Transport Strategy for Wales.

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Decision due on Carmarthenshire CCTV cameras

Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire

A decision is due later on whether to stop active monitoring of CCTV cameras in Carmarthenshire.

Cameras are provided in Ammanford, Burry Port, Carmarthen and Llanelli. A total of 87 are monitored.

An independent review commissioned by the Police and Crime Commissioner claimed there was little evidence that the cameras deterred violent or alcohol related crime.

It's claimed stopping active monitoring could save around £100,000. A public consultation was held last month.

Dolphins return to Cardigan Bay for summer

Marine charity Sea Watch Foundation says sightings of bottlenose dolphins in Ceredigion will increase 'week on week', as they return to the shelter of the area to protect their young.

Male and female bottlenose dolphins can live for more than 25 years Credit: Sea Watch Foundation

Cardigan Bay is famous for hosting one of Europe's largest semi-resident populations of bottlenose dolphins, one of the area's most important economic assets.

This winter also saw a more unusual visitor, in the shape of the short-beaked common dolphin. This type of species is usually seen in deeper waters such as in nearby Pembrokeshire.

Since it was first recorded, the charity has continued to receive reports from other local observers.

The common dolphin has been spotted in New Quay harbour numerous times Credit: Sea Watch Foundation/Ken Pilkinton

What will the common dolphin do when the bottlenose dolphins return, people ask me. The truth is we can't be sure! We would love to see this elegant and unusual New Quay resident spend its life in the bay, but there are high expectations that its larger cousins will not tolerate its presence. We'll have to wait and see.

– Kathy James, Sightings Officer, Sea Watch Foundation

Sea Watch Foundation monitors whales, dolphins and porpoises all over the UK.

Death-watch beetle 'threatens' Welsh Castle

Hay Castle is thought to be the oldest Norman castle in Wales Credit: Wales News

Rescuers are spending £5m in a battle to save a 900-year-old castle which has survived sieges and wars from a new enemy - death watch beetle.

The medieval Hay Castle, thought to be the oldest Norman castle in Wales, is being eaten away after withstanding centuries of attacks.

Now the battle plan using £5m lottery cash has been launched to save the imposing castle on the Welsh-English border.

A team of architects aim to save the castle towering above the small town of Hay-on-Wye - now famous for its bookshops and annual literary festival.

"The most vulnerable part of the building is the derelict part of the mansion which hasn't had a roof since 1939.

It's hanging on by hook and by crook. Ivy is holding it together but destroying it at the same time. The walls are flapping about and are not stable.

When the restoration project is finished it's hoped it will be possible for visitors to stroll around the castle walls and enjoy a bird's eye view from the top.

– Juliet Aston, Rick Mather Architects
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