Two fines, issued when a desperate pensioner had to have a wee in the woods near St Davids Cathedral, have been dropped, after the Western Telegraph contacted the local authority.

Fran Abbott-Hawkins was visiting St Davids on Thursday, October 1. Her elderly mother-in- law, who is disabled and has a chronic heart condition, was caught short on arrival at the car park near the cathedral. The two women discreetly found a private spot in the nearby woods and disposed of the tissue used in a bin afterwards.

When they came out of the woods a district enforcement officer was waiting for them and told them they had broken a local law by urinating in the woods.

Mrs Abbott-Hawkins says she felt intimidated, frightened and humiliated during the exchange with the officer, who she says threatened the two women with fines totalling £5,000 if they did not give him their details and accept the penalty notices.

She also said that he stood within two metres of her without wearing a mask, breaking Covid-19 regulations.

"In a covid-pandemic it is completely unreasonable and frightening for them to ignore social distancing guidelines," she said.

Mrs Abbott-Hawkins and her mother-in-law were fined for littering, which she said they hadn't done, and that they did not understand that they were being fined. She added that the officer was sited in the car park for some hours.

She appealed the fines and contacted the Western Telegraph.

"This is a ridiculous way to welcome people to your town and its attractions," she said.

"It has ruined what was otherwise a nice week visiting west Wales."

Pembrokeshire County Council initially declined to comment on the complaint saying that the matter was being investigated by District Enforcement so it was inappropriate to comment further.

However, a council spokesperson said that the authority did have a 'proactive enforcement campaign against environmental offences similar to this incident'.

"Over the period of Covid-19 unlocking the authority has experienced individuals urinating and defecating in public spaces despite our public toilets being open," he said.

"Our elected members, residents and partners have requested that, as the local authority, we take a firm line on this type of behaviour."

Within hours of the Western Telegraph getting in touch, the council then said that the fixed penalty notices issued had been cancelled 'following District Enforcement's acceptance of the representations of the ladies involved'.

"We are of course pleased at this outcome, but disappointed that it happened in the first place," said Mrs Abbott-Hawkins.

"It overshadowed what was otherwise a really nice visit to the town, the cathedral and its nearby arts and crafts market.

"We would suggest that the council might save money by investing in a sign directing people to the nearest loo, rather than employing someone to ambush visitors to the town. What a way to deter people from visiting."

She added that despite the incident they had been 'privileged to have been staying in this beautiful part of the country'.

"Our lasting impression of Pembrokeshire is overwhelmingly positive and everyone else we met went out of their way to be pleasant and welcoming," she said.

"Social distancing was adhered to and there was a real spirit of everyone doing their bit."