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Arriva Trains Wales pulls out of Welsh rail franchise bid

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THE COMPANY which runs most of Wales’ rail network has pulled out of the contest to continue running it from next year.
Arriva Trains Wales has told the transport authority in Wales it will withdraw from the bidding process and has said it is “no longer participating in the Wales and Borders competition”, adding it had “not been an easy decision”.
Transport for Wales said it was “not uncommon” for bidders for major projects to withdraw.
General Secretary Mick Cash said: “This decision by Arriva to abandon their operations in Wales exposes the whole flakey and opportunist nature of the rail franchising process. They appear to have pulled out because they can’t make enough money which is extraordinary.
“This news presents a golden opportunity for the Welsh to take back control of their railways through public ownership and that opportunity should be seized with both hands.”
Arriva Trains Wales’ parent company Arriva said it “had been proud” providing rail transport in Wales for almost 14 years.
A spokesman said: “We will continue to work constructively with TfW to help make the next franchise a success and build upon the legacy that Arriva has built with Arriva Trains Wales,” said an Arriva statement. We remain fully committed to delivering for our customers.”
Tom Joyner, managing director of Arriva Trains Wales said: “We have been notified that Arriva Group have withdrawn from the bidding process for the next Wales and Borders franchise.
A spokesman for Transport for Wales added: “We would like to thank the company for their support and positive attitude since the procurement started and we will continue to work closely with the company to ensure that existing staff and customers are central to our transition planning over the next 12 months.
“With final tenders due later this year, we have three companies with world-class credentials each putting their own, distinct cases for how they will deliver the ambitious objectives we set, with the goal of delivering a step change in rail services for passengers across Wales and the Borders.”
The remaining bidders are Keolis-Amey, Hong Kong-based MTR Corporation, and the Abellio Group, which operates bus and rail networks across Europe and is the international arm of the Dutch national rail operator.
The new franchise is due to start in late 2018.

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Stoned Dihewyd driver reached ‘frightening’ speeds of 120mph

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A DRIVER who raced along country roads at speeds of up to 120mph has today received a suspended prison sentence and a driving ban.

Nico Royan, aged 37, admitted dangerous driving, driving with an excessive amount of cannabis in his blood, driving with a tyre without the required degree of tread and possessing a small quantity of cannabis.

Swansea Crown Court heard how shortly before midnight on April 19 Royan overtook an unmarked police car on the A487 near Llanrhystud at 100mph.

The officer began to pursue Royan, who reached 120mph on a narrow, twisting road with high hedges concealing entrances to properties.

After a mile the officer activated blue lights and Royan pulled over.

The court heard the officer could smell cannabis and Royan admitted he had been smoking the drug. Just over 5 grams of the drug were found in a bag in the front passenger footwell.

And an inspection showed the the rear offside tyre was below the legal limit for tread.

During police interviews after his arrest Royan, a sound engineer, accepted that his driving had been dangerous.

His barrister, Ian Ibrahim, said Royan now understood he had been stupid. But he knew the road well and at that time of night there was no other traffic about.

His only motive, said Mr Ibrahim, was that he was in a hurry to get home.

Royan, of The Caravan, Felinfeinog, Dihewyd, was jailed for 12 months, suspended for 18 months, and banned for three years.

He must also complete 200 hours of unpaid work for the community and £480 in costs and a surcharge.

Judge Keith Thomas said the speeds reached by Royan would have been dangerous even on a motorway and, on country roads, were positively frightening.

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£12,000 found in drugs bust to be retained by police

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POLICE have successfully obtained an order allowing them to retain £12,000 in cash seized in a drugs bust in Aberystwyth for six months whilst they investigate.

On October 19 at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court, the CPS, on behalf of Dyfed-Powys Police, said that they had reason to believe that the money they found in a raid at a residential address on St Davids Road, Aberystwyth, is recoverable property – as it was found with a substantial amount of prohibited drugs.

The money had been seized from Sadik Miah – he was not in court for the hearing.

The order was made under section 295(2) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

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Police release new CCTV image of murder suspect

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE has released a new CCTV image of Steve Baxter, who detectives are keen to speak to in connection with the murder of Simon Clark from Pendine, Carmarthenshire.

The image was captured in Glynneath on Saturday, September 29. He is believed to have traveled to the west Wales area shortly afterwards and is believed to be in the Haverfordwest area.

Baxter, also known as Steve Tidy, Steve Rowley, Wayne Tidy or William Tidy, is aged 52, 5’5” (1.65cm) tall and has tattoos on his forearms – the name Chez and entwined circles on his left arm and a serpent on his right arm.

He is bald, but was last seen wearing a hat and wig, as shown in this image. He may have made other attempts to alter his appearance such as growing facial hair or wearing glasses.

Detective Superintendent Huw Davies said: “We’re releasing this CCTV image from the latest confirmed sighting of Steve Baxter to give people the most up to date example of how he may be dressed and how he may currently look.

“Time is passing and we really need to speak to Steve Baxter to build a more accurate picture of what happened in Pendine.

“To anyone that may know where he is, please pass this vital information to police.”

The independent charity Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to £5,000 for information leading to Steve Baxter being found. Information would be taken by the charity anonymously.

If you see Steve Baxter call Dyfed-Powys Police on 999.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Steve Baxter call Dyfed-Powys Police on 101 immediately.

To pass on information anonymously, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or through the non-traceable anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

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