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02.12.22 – Avian Flu, PD Pablo joins Staffs Police Dogs, Newfriars College launch Christmas at Springfield

Written by on 2 December 2022

Birdkeepers and members of the public are being reminded to do what they can to help reduce the spread of avian influenza.

The current outbreak has been the largest and longest ever on record in the UK and in many parts of Europe.

Staffordshire County Council’s Trading Standards Animal Health service works closely with the Animal and Plant Health agency to manage outbreaks in the county and have dealt with around six local outbreaks affecting domestic birds.

Poultry and birdkeepers must now keep their birds indoors and follow strict bio security rules.  They should ensure wild birds cannot have access to any bedding, feed or water intended for use for kept poultry or birds. In addition to this, steps must be taken to reduce the movements of people into or out of the areas where birds are kept.  The guidance applies to anyone keeping birds, whether it’s a few hens in a back garden or a large commercial farm.

Members of the public who find small numbers of dead garden birds on their land should dispose of them in their household waste bin or bury them in the garden.  Visitors to country parks should not feed any wild birds and keep their dogs on leads near the water. People who find sick, dead or injured birds should notify staff or rangers and report them to the Defra helpline on 03000 200 301.

Dedicated webpages at have further advice on reducing the spread of the disease.

Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member responsible for Trading Standards Animal Health team at Staffordshire County Council said: “It’s really important that we all do what we can to help reduce the spread of avian flu.

“Whether an outbreak occurs in pet birds, a backyard flock, or a commercial flock, the same disease control measures apply and the same impacts on bird keepers and trade in poultry occurs.

“For birdkeepers, good biosecurity is essential and is key to limiting its spread.  Members of the public and visitors to our country parks also have a role to play and should follow any local guidance and report dead or sick birds to the rangers.  There’s lots of useful advice on our website at but If anyone has any concerns or needs further information, they can contact our Animal Health team.

People can contact the trading standards team for further information on 01785 277875 or email


A three-year-old English springer spaniel and his experienced handler are the latest duo to join the Staffordshire police dog unit.

Police Dog Pablo and PC Craig Neeson have been working hard on the beat after passing their intensive 10-week training course earlier this month.

PD Pablo moved in with PC Neeson back in August and has impressed with his worth ethic and energy to impress. They both received their licenses and were presented with a certificate by Chief Superintendent Emily McCormick last week.

It’s not the first time that PC Neeson has taken a police dog through training – he joined the unit back in 2018 and still works with his General Purpose dog PD Kev.

He can now count on PD Pablo to locate and identify a number of different explosive substances whilst on duty. He’s able to search cars, buildings and different terrain and signal PC Neeson if he’s identified anything of interest.

PC Neeson joined the force as a response officer in Hanley in 2014 and spent most of his spare time with the dog unit and has always wanted to work with Police Dogs becoming a fully licensed handler in June 2018


Students from Newfriars College, Bucknall will be launching Christmas at Smithfield this Friday. The students will switch on the Christmas lights in the public area of Smithfield, which will in turn light up the new multi-storey car park.

The Christmas fun doesn’t stop there! This Sunday, Smithfield will be hosting a Christmas market between 12 and 4pm, with local makers, reindeer, Father Christmas, and Carol Singers.

The 730 space multi-storey will open to vehicles for the first time on Monday, December 5 as the Christmas shopping period gets underway in the city centre.


Staffordshire Fire and Rescue  have issued a candle safety reminder after firefighters attended a flat fire in Stoke-on-Trent on Tuesday.
Crews were called to an address in Fenton just after 7am following reports of a fire on the second floor of the property.   The occupiers were all accounted for and no one was reported injured. Following an inspection, It is believed that the fire was caused by accidental ignition from a candle.
Station Manager Dan Keeling said, “It’s really important you never leave candles unattended and keep them away from anything that could catch fire such as curtains, furniture or clothes.  We recommend swapping traditional candles for LED flameless ones as they are much safer, but if you do use real candles, follow the simple safety tips shared on our website.”

For more information please visit: Candle safety (

Candle safety tips

  • Never leave, candles, incense or Bukhoor unattended.
  • Always use a holder or a burner
  • Burners and holders should always be put on a flat, non-flammable surface and away from windows.
  • Keep candles, incense or Bukhoor out of reach of children.
  • As with cooking keep you clothing out of the way of the flames.
  • When you have finished with an incense stick douse the tip in water and break it off. The remainder can then be relit later.