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Machete wielding Pagan off the hook

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magMAGISTRATES found that a man did have a good reason to be holding a machete and an axe at Haverfordwest Law Courts on Monday (Dec 15). Aaron Simpson, aged 23, of Maeshenffordd in Cardigan, pleaded not guilty to two charges of possessing the two items. The magistrates heard how Simpson is a Pagan and that he was going to collect wood to start a small fire to help clear his head following an argument with his mother. Prosecuting, Nick Newton said: “This incident occurred in the early hours of October 24, 2014 at around 1.20am. “PC Garney was on duty in an unmarked police car on Maeshenffordd when he saw Mr Simpson walking in the street and noticed that he was not wearing a top.

“The officer saw the man put two items on the ground before approaching the police car. When the officer asked who he was, he became confrontational, claiming ‘everyone knows who I am’ and stated that he was just out for a walk. “After a short while, the officer went back to him again and informed him that he was going to search him, as he suspected he had something he shouldn’t have. “He put his stuff on the floor and pulled his trousers down, saying ‘is that good enough for you officer?’

The officer called for a temporary sergeant to attend the area and informed him when he arrived that he was going to search the area where he had first spotted Mr Simpson. “He heard Simpson shout ‘you’ll find an axe and a machete up there’. He picked up the items, which were an axe and a machete. Simpson said ‘I told you there was an axe and a machete. He told the officers that he had previously had an argument with his mother and that he was going to collect wood to start a small fire to clear his head.”

A recording of his interview at the station was then played to the court and when Simpson was asked why he put the items on the ground he said: “I could hear a car coming and I didn’t want to make anyone feel ill at ease.” Simpson also told the court that he has had noise abatement notices to his flat and he has been told not to burn certain things but added he has not been told that he cannot start a fire.

He also told the magistrates that he is a qualified tree surgeon, and he listed a number of other similar qualifications that he has. Summing up the prosecution case Nick Newton added: “If you decide to cut wood, you wouldn’t walk down the street with no top on. The items would not be on display and you would not be confrontational with the police. Defending, Robin Reed said: “He is a Pagan and he believes in living off the land and at this time he was observing the pagan festival known as Samhain.

“He is quite proud of those items as he has restored them himself. They are used for cutting wood and they have no other purpose. “He did tell the officers what he was doing and he explained his account in great detail. “In terms of placing the items down this was quite a sensible thing to do as he didn’t want a confrontation with anybody. There has been no threat to use the items at any point”. Magistrates found that he did have a good reason to hold the axe and the machete and found him not guilty of the offence citing that he has an alternative lifestyle. They also warned him that he should be aware of others when out and about in the future.

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Lecture considers the future of war

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INTERNATIONALLY renowned war scholar and military conflict expert, Professor Christopher Coker delivered this year’s Kenneth N. Waltz Annual Lecture on Thursday (Nov 16).

Christopher Coker, Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, is a prolific author on all aspects of war. He is a former NATO Fellow, a former twice serving member of the Council of the Royal United Services Institute, and a regular lecturer at Defence Colleges in the UK, US, Rome, Singapore, and Tokyo.

In his lecture entitled ‘Still ‘The Human Thing’? Thucydides, Waltz & the Future of War”, Professor Coker discussed war as a feature of what we call ‘human nature’ or ‘humanity’ in general, while focusing on urgent contemporary issues such as possible changes in the nature of war by the blurring of the distinction between humans and machines.

He also considered how, as Artificial Intelligence becomes ever more a fact of life, the traditional functions and forms of war could change, discussing such questions as: will we still need war and will war still need us?

Talking ahead of the the event, Professor Ken Booth of Aberystwyth University said: “Chris Coker is a very imaginative, interesting, and controversial thinker. Intellectually ambitious, he always addresses the biggest questions. The titles of some of his most recent books attest to this: Future War, Can War be Eliminated?, Warrior Geeks: how 21st Century Technology is Changing the Way We Fight and Think about War, The Improbable War: China, the US, and the Logic of Great Power Conflict and Men at War: what Fiction tells us about Conflict. We can be sure of a fascinating and challenging lecture about a supremely important area of human behaviour.”

The Kenneth N. Waltz Annual Lecture brings distinguished scholars to Aberystwyth to talk about issues that were central to the concerns of the late Ken Waltz, the leading theorist of international relations over many decades.
Hosted by the David Davies Memorial Institute and the Department of International Politics, this year’s lecture was held in the Main Hall in the International Politics Building on the Penglais Campus.

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Youth Service invited to international training event

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TWO Youth Workers from Ceredigion Youth Service have been selected to represent the UK on a week’s training opportunity in Horažd’ovice in the Czech Republic.

‘The danger of a Single Story’ is a training course funded by Erasmus+, that combines stories, media, global education and active citizenship to empower trainers, educators and youth workers with the tools to educate young people on issues such as cyberbullying, hate speech, and online harassment.

Elen James, Head of Youth Engagement and Continuing Education​,​ said​:​ “We are extremely proud of both Rebeca Davies and Guto Crompton, 270 people had applied, for 24 places, 2 were allocated for the UK and both places have been assigned to Ceredigion Youth Service staff.

“This is an excellent training opportunity for them, which will inform them and encourage them to reflect on the evolution of media and the consequences that it has on the formation of stereotypes and prejudices. We wish them all the best in Prague!​”​

Rebeca Davies and Guto Crompton will join 22 other Youth Workers from Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey. The week will be hosted at the PROUD Environmental Centre approximately 120km from Prague, from ​Sunday (Nov 19) for a week.

Rebeca Davies, School Based Youth Worker said​:​ “I’m really looking forward to visiting Prague, and meeting other Youth Workers from across the World. It will be a fantastic opportunity to learn new tools and techniques to encourage and empower young people back here in Ceredigion.”

Guto Crompton, School Based Youth Worker ​added​:​ “I’m looking forward to learning more about different Youth Work methods and approaches. I’m also eager to develop a greater awareness around education, active citizenship and democracy.”

Cabinet member for Learning Services, Children and Young People’s Partnership, Councillor Catrin Miles, ​commented: “As a Council, we are very proud of the hard work of our Youth Service to the young people of the county. This will be a very important and worthwhile opportunity for Rebeca and Guto to represent Ceredigion and Wales and we wish them all the best at the event.”

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Pot Noodles bought with theft proceeds

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ON WEDNESDAY (Nov 15), Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court heard that a 23-year-old man stole an HDMI cable from a store and sold it for a tenner to buy ten Pot Noodles.

Joel Alexander Owens, of Portland Street in Aberystwyth, pleaded guilty to stealing alcohol to the value of £24.96 belonging to his hometown’s B&M Bargains on June 29. He also admitted stealing an HDMI cable to the value of £14 belonging to Tesco in Aberystwyth on September 24.

Prosecuting, Helen Tench said a staff member at B&M was notified by a member of the public about a male who left the store without paying for items.

CCTV footage was checked, which showed Owens select a number of alcoholic items and leaving the store without making any payments.

Police officers later viewed the footage and identified the defendant.

On October 14, a member of staff at Tesco was informed of the incident at B&M. The Tesco CCTV footage was viewed as a result and the defendant was seen removing an HDMI cable from its box on September 24 and leaving without paying.

Ms Tench said Owens was interviewed on October 19, where he admitted committing the offences in his personal statement.

The defendant also admitted he sold the HDMI cable for £10 in order to buy ten Pot Noodles.

Defending, Katy Hanson said Owens pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and admitted to stealing beer and cider from B&M.

Probation officer Julian Davies stated that the defendant was currently serving a 12-month community order for two previous offences of theft and a breach of a conditional discharge.

Aberystwyth magistrates revoked Owens community order and imposed a 12-month community order with 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and a four-week curfew.

Owens was told to pay prosecution costs of £85, compensation of £14 to Tesco and compensation of £24.96 to B&M Bargains.

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