MILFORD Haven is on a mission - to become the first autism-friendly town in south west Wales.

The Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) is working with businesses throughout the community, to help educate and inform people about how best to support those with autism.

NPT Sergeant Terri Harrison and PC Emma Smyth have been encouraging businesses to complete an autism awareness course, via ASD Info Wales.

To do this, people complete an online questionnaire, and then earn a certificate which they can display in their window or shop.

"Lots of businesses are excited by it and have done their course already," said Sgt Harrison.

"It's a really positive step for Milford Haven."

PC Smyth's four-year-old daughter has autism, and she knows first-hand how hard day-to-day tasks can be.

"She can have quite severe meltdowns and make noises that people don't generally like.

"If I saw a sticker on the window of a shop or cafe that suggested that it's an autism-friendly location I would have more faith that I would be able to cope in that situation, and don't have to worry."

Among those supporting the project are Milford Haven School, Milford Town Council and youth council, the Meads School, Value Independence, Meads Leisure Centre, Milford Haven Library, Torch Theatre, Tesco, Snapdragon and Connie & Jo.

Jo Llewellyn, from Connie & Jo, said: "As the mother of an autistic son I am more than aware of the challenges families face when shopping.

"The ASD info Wales campaign is a fantastic initiative to raise awareness and educate more shops to become autism friendly, and Connie & Jo is proud to support this campaign."

Peter Doran, artistic director at the Torch Theatre, said: "Theatre has played a significant part in supporting people who are on the autistic spectrum.

"Now, most theatres in the UK run ‘relaxed’ performances and the Torch is no exception.

"The idea is that whereas in a standard performance where any noise from audience members would be frowned upon, in a relaxed performance, this would be totally acceptable and everyone would be sympathetic and understanding.

"This would hopefully help by taking the stress away from not only autistic people but also their carers.

"We are delighted to be part of the Milford Haven initiative to be an autistic friendly community.

To get involved, contact the NPT on 101.