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Appeal over missing Pontypool woman

Gwendoline Metcalf, 79, was reported missing yesterday afternoon. Credit: Gwent Police

A 79-year-old woman is missing from her home in Sebastopol, Pontypool.

Gwendoline Metcalf was last seen in Ash Grove Close at about 5.30pm yesterday. She is 5ft 4ins tall, of slight build with short grey/white hair and blue eyes. She was wearing a blue mac, lilac shirt and navy trousers.

Gwent Police says she may be wearing a hat and have beige handbag with her. She walks with the aid of sticks.

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 quoting log number 494 30/05/14.

New gritters for Torfaen Council

Torfaen Council has three new gritters to help deal with winter weather. They replace older, more unreliable gritters that have become costly to maintain. The council has a total of seven large gritters and two smaller ones.

Three new snow blades, which can be fitted to the ride-on mowers, will also help clear pedestrianised areas of any snow and ice.

These new vehicles will help us keep Torfaen moving regardless of the weather. Our winter maintenance teams are extremely dedicated and are once again preparing for what could be another difficult winter.

There has already been seven gritting actions in the last two weeks, with many more predicted over the next few months. However, we are fully prepared. We have 4,000 tonnes of salt in our barns, plus a reserve stock of 2,000 tonnes in a shared regional barn in Ebbw Vale.

– Cllr John Cunningham, Torfaen Council

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Sweet shop fined for selling wonky Wonka bars

A Cwmbran sweet retailer has been prosecuted for selling fake Wonka chocolate bars for £3 which were actually repackaged supermarket-value bars.

Sweet66 Ltd pleaded guilty to eight offences of breaching trademark legislation and misleading consumers.

A court found the Cwmbran sweet shop guilty of selling fake chocolate bars. Credit: Torfaen Council

An investigation, led by Torfaen Council's trading standards, found that Sweet66 Ltd were selling fake Wonka chocolate bars for £3 that were actually repackaged Smart Price chocolate bars from ASDA, which they had bought for just 30p.

The £3 Wonka bars were really a 30p Asda supermarket brand. Credit: Torfaen Council

Newport magistrates court heard Sweet66 candy store in Cwmbran Shopping Centre had duped consumers and was fined £400 and ordered to pay £1000 towards the prosecutions costs.

Sweet66 Ltd, which is owned by Mr Alexander Gwillym, 39, of Llantarnam, Cwmbran, started selling the counterfeit chocolate bars in September 2012 and continued to do so, despite advice from the council's trading standards service.

Welsh Govt: Concerned at Estyn's findings

The Education Minister Leighton Andrews says he is 'very concerned' with Estyn’s findings after they recommended Torfaen's education services are place into special measures.

He says it is "particularly disappointing to see that an authority that has had the benefit of an Estyn inspection, and been left with clear recommendations to address, has failed to tackle the issues with the required pace and urgency."

The conclusion reached by Estyn, that 16 months after their initial inspection the progress made by the authority has been limited and slow, is unacceptable. I look to the Leader of the Council to take the appropriate action.

These failings reflect serious weaknesses in the management of education services.

Our response needs to quickly improve outcomes for children and young people in the area, but any action we take must also be sustainable in the long term.

As such my department will be working over the coming weeks to consider how best to respond. A full update on our proposed course of action will be provided to Assembly members as soon I have determined the matter.

– Leighton Andrews AM, Education Minister

Torfaen schools faces 'special measures'

Estyn has recommended that education services in Torfaen are placed into special measures. The council becomes the sixth local authority to be told it requires 'significant improvement.'

The schools inspectorate said they found that since their "original inspection in October 2011 the authority has made limited progress against most of the recommendations and improvements have been slow."

"On completion of the original inspection Estyn identified five recommendations for the authority to address, during the monitoring visit the inspectorate concluded that the authority has partially addressed 3 of these recommendations and not addressed the remaining two."

"As such it is the view of the inspection team that the authority has made insufficientprogress to address the recommendations in the inspection report and thatthe authority should be placed in the category of Special Measures."

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Torfaen Council left with thousands of laptops

Torfaen County Borough Council has kept more than 2,000 laptops intended for school pupils and teachers in storage for over 18 months. The machines were bought under a Welsh Government pilot project.

The authority says the laptops were to be shared with Monmouthshire and Newport councils. Torfaen was left with kit costing around £1 million, after Newport City Council pulled out of the deal. Newport says it never made a formal commitment to the project.

Outbreak of Cryptosporidium investigated in Newport

Health officials say they are investigating an outbreak of Cryptosporidium in Newport.

The main symptoms include stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and fever. It can be acquired from other people, from animals, and from drinking or swimming in contaminated water.

Seven of the 14 people who became unwell had visited the swimming pool at Newport Centre, where subsequent water sampling revealedthe bug to be present.

But a spokesperson for Public Health Wales said some of those affected had ‘other possible exposure’ that could also explain their infection.

The pool remains closed until the investigation is complete.

More information on Cryptosporidium is available from the Public Health Wales website.