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Welsh language nursery’s treasurer stole £16,336

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A FORMER treasurer of Cylch Meithrin Penparc in Cardigan has been jailed 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 £1.84 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By then Davies had failed to pay money into the account and withdrawn some herself.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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A digital future for Ceredigion

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STARTING from today (Dec 15), we are excited to announce that The Ceredigion Herald will be a digital only publication.

Our website and social media pages have always been an important outlet for delivering news to Ceredigion, and with the re-launch of Herald Radio this year, and the launch of our news channel Herald News 24 next year, the methods in which we deliver news to Ceredigion is only going from strength to strength.

Put simply, what this means for our readers is more content, delivered quicker, and with all the benefits that only an online platform can provide – such as picture galleries and video content.

Since the first edition, The Ceredigion Herald has gained a reputation for tackling the tough stories which others ignored, reporting on local news and events, and being a voice for the communities across Ceredigion.

This is not changing.

Over the coming weeks and months we will be rolling out new additions to the website, launching our online news channel, and much more.

We hope you look forward to the evolution as much as we are, and if you have any comments, feedback or ideas, we’d love to hear them.

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FUW holds open meeting to discuss bank closures

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​IN LIGHT of the announced NatWest bank closures in Ceredigion, affecting the Lampeter and Cardigan branches, the Farmers’ Union of Wales is holding open meetings with Plaid Cymru to discuss a way forward with local MP Ben Lake and AM Elin Jones.

The meetings will take place on Thursday ​(​Dec 21​)​ at Lampeter Rugby Club and Thursday, January 18 at the Guildhall, Cardigan. Both meetings will commence at 7.30pm and are open to all.

Speaking ahead of the meetings, ​​FUW Ceredigion CEO Mared Jones said: “The closure of those banks will have a detrimental effect​ on​ our local towns, as they serve not only villages close by but many of the neighbourhoods in surrounding areas, as well as providing employment to local people.

“We are therefore holding two open meetings with our local elected representatives to discuss a way forward and I hope many of you will be able to join us.”

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Farmers warned of targeted fraud attacks

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​DYFED-POWYS POLICE is warning the farming community to be extremely wary of any suspicious calls, texts or emails as a scam specifically targeting the agricultural sector has been identified.

During December farmers start to receive payments through the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy).

Information about the payments, including the recipients’ names and the amount paid, is publically available, meaning criminals are able to directly target victims making their approaches appear more convincing.

The scam communications will typically claim that fraud has been detected on the farmer’s bank account and that urgent action is required to safeguard funds.

The victim is then persuaded to divulge personal or financial information, or even to transfer money directly into a so-called ‘safe account’.

With some grants worth thousands of pounds, in past years fraudsters have stolen significant amounts of money from their victims.

Paul Callard, Financial Crime Team, Dyfed Powys Police said: “If you receive such a call or message, hang up the phone and do not reply directly. Instead, wait five minutes and ring your bank to alert them to the scam, using a phone number that you trust – such as the one from the official website.”

Be wary of:
• Any calls, texts or emails purporting to be from your bank, the police, a Government body or other organisation asking for personal or financial details, or for you to transfer money.
• Cold callers who suggest you hang up the phone and call them back. Fraudsters can keep your phone line open by not putting down the receiver at their end.
• Any request to check that the number showing on your telephone display matches an organisation’s registered telephone number. The display cannot be trusted, as the number showing can be altered by the caller.

Remember:
• You will never be asked for your 4 digit PIN or your online banking password, or for you to transfer money to a new account for “fraud reasons”.
• If you receive a suspicious call, hang up, wait five minutes to clear the line, or where possible use a different phone line, then call your bank or card issuer on their advertised number to report the fraud.

Never disclose your:
• Four digit card PIN to anyone, including the bank or police.
• Your password or online banking codes.
• Personal details unless you are certain you know who you are talking to. People are not always who they say they are.

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