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Driving offender learns ‘valuable lesson’

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A MAN ‘now understands the implications of drink driving’ and is said to have learnt a ‘valuable lesson’ after committing four offences.

Benjamin Paul Callow, 29​,​ of Pencarreg in Llanybydder, appeared before Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday (Oct 18)​ and pleaded guilty to four charges. He ​admitted two charges of failing to stop after a road accident​,​ whereby damage was caused to a wall and a telegraph pole, causing the VW Golf vehicle to be left in a dangerous position​, and ​failing to provide specimen for analysis​.

Prosecutor Helen Tench said​ that,​just after 10pm​ on July 9​, police officers received a report regarding a vehicle parked within the Black Lion pub in Lampeter​,​ which reversed into a wall causing damage.

A member of staff at the pub heard a loud bang outside the property and when they went to investigate, they found the defendant, who had been consuming alcohol in the pub,​ in the driver’s seat,.

The staff member asked Callow to return to the premise to provide his details, but the defendant drove away from the scene.

At 11.20pm, police received another report regarding a single road collision whereby a car was turned on to its side after colliding with a ​telegraph ​p​ole​ which snapped in half.

When officers checked the vehicle,​ they smelled alcohol ​and noticed inflated airbags and samples of blood.

On July 10, Callow was eventually located and was seen to be wearing casual clothes and no shoes. His eyes appeared to be glazed and officers noted his slurred speech.

An ambulance arrived at the scene to escort the defendant to hospital for treatment.

At approximately 3am on July 10, Callow refused to provide a specimen of blood for analysis at the hospital, and officers attended the Black Lion pub to view the CCTV footage.

On August 22, the defendant was interviewed; he confirmed he was the driver of the VW Golf vehicle and admitted that he made no effort to report the road accidents.

Defending, Alison Mathias explained that Callow ​was very embarrassed and remorseful for his actions.

She said the offences had ‘shocked him’ into addressing his ways and he d​id not wish to put forward any excuses for his behaviour.

Ms Mathias stated the vehicle had turned onto its side and the defendant’s head injuries ‘may have affected his judgement’ when he walked away from the road accident​, adding that the offences had been a ‘very valuable lesson’ and an ‘unfortunate incident’.

Delivering a pre-sentence report, Probation Officer Julian Davies explained Callow went to Lampeter after work on July 9 and had a pint of alcohol at the Black Lion pub. When he crashed into the car park wall, the defendant ‘panicked’ and drove away from the scene.

Mr Davies said Callow went to buy more alcohol some time later and crashed the vehicle again, ​but could not remember the incident.

Mr Davies concluded by saying the defendant is disappointed with his actions and now understood the implications of drink driving.

Magistrates imposed a 12-​month community order with 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days and a punitive element of 150 hours of unpaid work.

He received a 24​-​month driving disqualification and ​his licence was endorsed. He was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £85 and a surcharge of £85.

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£1 billion deal set to solve poor mobile coverage

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BEN LAKE MP has worked with cross-party MPs in recent months on a campaign calling for a Shared Rural Network to extend mobile rural coverage to hard-to-reach areas.

On Friday, 25 October, a £1bn plan between the UK’s four main mobile phone companies and the UK Government was unveiled with the aim of banishing these signal dead zones. The proposed deal – which includes EE, O2, Three and Vodafone – promises to get 4G coverage to 95% of the UK by 2025.

The new plans for all operators to share phone masts to improve UK coverage is a world first. It will mean EE, O2, Three and Vodafone will invest £530 million in a network of new and existing phone masts they would all share and which any mobile user can access, and which would be supported by £500 million investment from the UK Government.

72 cross party MPs, including Ben Lake, wrote to the then Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright MP asking him to support a Shared Rural Network which would significantly improve rural coverage and enhance economic, educational and leisure opportunities in rural areas.

Mr Lake said “This is fantastic news. It will make a huge difference to so many people in my constituency where, in some areas, there is no mobile coverage at all. It will put an end to the frustration felt by thousands of people who currently feel cut off and mean people will get good mobile signal on the go wherever they live, work or travel and it will have a big impact on the local economy.

“I was glad to have the opportunity to meet with the Secretary of State to press the case for allowing newly constructed Home Office masts to be utilised as part of this new programme, something that would expedite progress in areas such as Ceredigion.”

The current Digital Secretary, Nicky Morgan said “We are determined to make sure no part of the country is left behind when it comes to mobile connectivity. We are closing in on a deal with the mobile network operators so those living in rural areas will be able to get the fast and reliable mobile coverage they need and deserve. Brokering an agreement for mast sharing between networks alongside new investment in mobile infrastructure will mean people get good 4G signal no matter where they are or which provider they’re with.”

A final agreement between UK Government and the mobile industry is expected early next year.

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Successful first year for the Childcare offer

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PARENTS of 400 Ceredigion children have taken advantage of the Childcare Offer in its first year. The scheme has been running in Ceredigion since September 2018 and has saved parents almost £850,000 in childcare costs so far.

The Childcare Offer for Wales is a Welsh Government funded scheme, which provides 3 and 4 year olds with a combination of 30 hours of Foundation Phase Nursery education and childcare. The offer is available to working parents of three and four year olds for up to 48 weeks of the year.

To be eligible, a child must be aged three or four and the parent or guardian must earn the equivalent of at least 16 hours at national living wage or national minimum wage; or receive specific caring benefits.

Catrin Miles is the Cabinet member responsible for Learning Services. She said, “It’s great to see that the Childcare Offer is having such an impact across Ceredigion in the first year. The Childcare Offer is not only a fantastic opportunity for parents, but it is also an opportunity to provide better sustainability for childcare providers.”

A dedicated team of staff has been developed within the Ceredigion County Council to administer the offer in the county and on behalf of Carmarthenshire, Powys and Pembrokeshire county councils. Ceredigion County Council is the delivery authority which processes all parent applications and deal with payments to childcare providers.

The cost of childcare can be a significant burden for working parents. A scheme like this has really made a difference to families’ financial situation. One parent who has taken advantage of the offer said, “It’s helped us quite a bit. There was a bit of work to do to set it up and find the paperwork, but once that was all done, it was really easy. All you have to do is take the child to the childcare setting each day and pick them up at the end of the day!”

“The Childcare Offer has meant that the money we’ve saved through the offer has enabled us to give our children other experiences.”

The application form for parents and carers to apply for the Childcare Offer is available on the Ceredigion County Council website: https://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/resident/children-young-people-services/childcare/childcare-offer-for-wales/childcare-offer-application-form/

Childcare Offer applications for children born between 1 September 2016 and 31 December 2016 can be submitted from 4 November 2019.
As part of the application process, parents/carers will need to provide the following evidence:

· Copy of child’s birth certificate
· Proof of address (latest Council Tax Bill or an utility bill dated within the last 3 months
· Last three months’ payslips for all applicants,
· Or, if self-employed a copy of your most recent self-assessment tax return form. Alternatively, if you are relatively new self-employed person provide proof of your Unique Tax Reference number from HMRC.

Parents or childcare providers in Ceredigion who require further information should contact the Ceredigion Childcare Unit on 01545 570881

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Environmentally friendly electric sweepers replace old diesel models

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CEREDIGION COUNTY COUNCIL has replaced old diesel street sweepers with new electric powered models.

The new electric sweepers replace diesel ones which have been in use for many years and had come to the end of their useful life. The new sweepers will mainly be used in Ceredigion’s town centres to help keep the streets clean. The electric sweepers will be better for the environment and will be cheaper to operate.

Councillor Dafydd Edwards, is the Cabinet Member responsible for Highways and Environmental Services together with Housing. He said: “These new sweepers will be of great benefit in supporting the efforts of our Street Cleaning Team to keep Ceredigion’s towns clean. As part of Caru Ceredigion everyone can play their part in this by dealing with their waste including litter, cigarette ends and dog waste responsibly and legally. This would be a huge help in keeping Ceredigion clean and ensuring it remains a great place to visit, live and work as well as maintaining the positive profile it deserves.”

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