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Save Bodlondeb campaign continues

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Former Ceredigion MP Mark Williams: Took time to join campaigners at Sgwar Owain Glyndwr, Aberystwyth

THE SAVE BODLONDEB campaign is urging every concerned resident in Ceredigion to complete and return a consultation document to the Council as fears arise that Hafan Deg, Lampeter, and Yr Hafod, Cardigan, are facing increasingly uncertain futures.

This emphasises one of the campaign’s fears, that Bodlondeb is the first ‘domino’ in a row which is to be ‘toppled’ by Council closures.

Ben Lake, MP for Ceredigion urged the Council to listen to the public’s views before embarking on any potentially disastrous courses of action, advising the Council to ​’take the time to analyse the responses to the consultation, as each response must be considered – we need a worked-out plan for the future of residential care in Aberystwyth and ​north Ceredigion, it isn’t something that can be rushed​’.

Campaigners, out again at the weekend in the centre of Aberystwyth with petition forms and copies of the consultation document noted a hardening of attitude against the closure of Bodlondeb. One campaigner remarked ​’
what was different today from previously is that people were coming to us and asking to sign the petition​’​.​

Mark Williams, former Ceredigion MP, and Chair of the Save Bodlondeb Steering Group explained​:​ “Our Campaign is urging as many as possible to participate in the Council’s consultation. Much is at stake, not just Bodlondeb in isolation. We believe Bodlondeb has a key role in care provision on the North of Ceredigion, and that Council run care homes are a key part in the continuum of care our increasingly elderly society requires.”

Underlining the cross-party support which the Campaign enjoys, Ben Lake, who also sits on the Steering Group, summed up by saying​:​ “It is crucial that people in Ceredigion participate in the consultation so that their opinions are expressed clearly to the Council.”

Consultation documents are available online at dss.adadmin@ceredigion.gov.uk, from Council offices in Aberystwyth, or by telephoning: 01545 572616.

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AM calls for further protection of wild animals after Lynx deaths

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MID AND WEST AM Simon Thomas has called for further protection from the Welsh Government following the death of two wild cats from a zoo in Borth, near Aberystwyth.

The AM quizzed the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths in a topical question in the Senedd.

Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Climate Change and Rural Affairs for Plaid Cymru Simon Thomas said: “The deaths of the two Lynx wild cats have created a great deal of concern to many people in the area and, more broadly, to people who care for animals and their welfare at zoos.

“I asked whether the Welsh Government approved of the steps taken by Ceredigion County Council in this case and more broadly with the position of the zoo. It’s clear that there’s something amiss when a wild animal can escape and another dies because of its handling. I requested we look at national regulations that govern organisations such as this to ensure that people who run zoos do have the appropriate skills, but also that the equipment is suitable for the animals kept there.

The Cabinet Secretary Lesley Griffiths replied: “Ceredigion County Council is investigating the escape of the lynx and the death of a second lynx linked to the zoo to establish whether there have been any breaches of the operating licence. While inquiries are ongoing it would be inappropriate for me to comment further on this matter.”

She added: “Officials have been in frequent contact with Ceredigion County Council. The decision to dispatch the animal was taken by the county council along with Dyfed-Powys Police, officials from Welsh Government and also the chief veterinary officer. There are several issues that I think need to be looked into very carefully around the licence.”

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Police warn about scam phone calls

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE are warning Ceredigion residents about reports of scam telephone calls.

Officers have received reports of someone purporting to be from the Her Majesty Revenue and Customs (HMRC) asking for money.

Sgt Richard Marshall said: “Officers responded to a report of a telephone scam by fraudsters pretending to be HMRC collecting debt, in Aberaeron, yesterday (Thursday 16 November).

“Fraudsters are carrying out these calls in an effort to get personal financial details from residents, and eventually get them to pay money stating that they owe taxes.

“The HMRC would never target people in this way and would certainly never ask for money or bank details over the phone.

“Thanks to the prompt actions of a local shop in alerting us, we were able to quickly locate the victim and minimise his loss.

“Taking advantage of the vulnerable through fraud is wrong, and we will do all in our power to stop it and protect those who need safeguarding. Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) have been out and about this week spreading the message of how not to fall prey to fraudsters and ask for community support.

“A strong and concerned community is our best tool in protecting the vulnerable.

“Please be vigilant, do not part with any money or personal information. Remember – It is OK not to speak with cold callers – just put the phone down. If you are concerned please contact police on 101.”

Top tips on how to avoid scams:

· HMRC would never use texts to tell you about a tax rebate or penalty or ever ask for payment in this way.
· Telephone numbers and text messages can easily be spoofed. You should never trust the number you see on your telephones display.
· If you receive a suspicious cold call, end it immediately.
· Do not enter into conversation with them, provide them with any personal details or send them any money

For further advice and information on how to avoid being scammed visit www.actionfraud.police.uk.

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Cardigan: Welsh language nursery’s treasurer stole £16,336 from coffers

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A FORMER treasurer of Cylch Meithrin Penparc in Cardigan has been jailed today for a fraud that brought the Welsh language nursery to its knees.
Catrin Davies, a 33 year old single mother of two daughters, cheated the organisation out of £16,336.
After she left the post the nursery struggled to pay debts and at one stage was left with £1.84p in its bank.
Davies, of Bwthyn Lleine, Ferwig, admitted fraud and was jailed for eight months.
Judge Geraint Walters, sitting at Swansea Crown Court, told her the offending was too series for the sentence to be suspended.
Craig Jones, prosecuting, said Davies was appointed treasurer in September, 2015, and left the post in December 2016.
The new treasurer noticed discrepancies in the accounts. Davies tried to cover them up by sticking pieces of paper onto bank statements to blank out figures, photocopying them, and then carefully typing in new and bogus figures.
By then Davies had failed to pay money into the account and withdrawn some herself.
Mr Jones said that at one stage the nursery had to pay a roof repair bill. Davies knew there wasn’t enough money in the account but to keep the fraud going and to avoid detection she actually paid the bill out of her own money.
Mr Jones said after the true financial situation had been established Cylch Meithrin Penparc was at risk of closure. Internet access was cut off because the telephone bill could not be paid and staff found themselves buying essential items out of their own money.
And there was still a fear, he added, that the nursery would struggle to overcome the blow and to recover the confidence of parents.
Janet Gedrych, representing Davies, said she had suffered a devastating fall from grace.
Davies ran the Pink Orchid florists in Priory Street, Cardigan, for nine years and had a good reputation in the town.
But her partner left her and his debts behind and ran up more and she owed £30,000 in personal and business debts. By October, 2015, debt collectors were knocking on her door and she defrauded Cylch Meithrin Penparc to pay them off.
Judge Walters said the nursery provided a hugely valuable service to parents who wanted their children to learn Welsh and Davies had helped herself to money they had paid in.
“Your activity has reduced its ability to operate. It has not closed but it’s hanging by a thread.”
Judge Walters said he accepted that Davies had found herself squeezed financially, but many people struggled under similar circumstances.

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