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Police urge public to be aware of ‘romance fraud’

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LOVE might be in the air around Valentine’s Day, but Dyfed-Powys Police is urging people to be wary of who they meet on dating websites after saving potential victims from sending £52,000 to fraudsters.

The force’s Financial Crime Team has offered advice to people dating online to help stop their heart – and their finances – take a bruising.

Romance fraud is where fraudsters set up fake profiles to form relationships with unsuspecting people looking for a genuine partner on dating websites. They use the site to gain your trust and ask you for money or enough personal information to steal your identity.

Over the past six months, Dyfed-Powys Police has stopped people from being conned out of a total of £52,000 in romance fraud cases through the banking protocol – a scheme that sees bank staff trained in how to spot signs that a customer may be withdrawing cash to give to a scammer.

Since the scheme was set up, the force has been able to save people a total of £156,841 – with 33% of calls taken (or £52,000) connected to romance fraud.

Fraud investigator Dawn Jones said: “The majority of accounts on dating websites are genuine people, but sadly there are fraudsters who might try to contact you by making a fake profile, using a fictional name or taking on the identity of real trusted people, and building what feels like a loving relationship.

“Without wanting to sound cynical, what we’re asking people to bear in mind is that your perfect online partner might not be who they say they are.

“There are certain things fraudsters tend to do, which should set alarm bells ringing – for example they will express strong emotions within a short space of time.  They may ask you to move away from the app or website and use a more personal, private means of contact, such as email, instant messaging, or over the phone. They might even send you gifts and shower you with compliments to make you feel special.

“Once they’re confident that they’ve won your trust, they will pretend to confide in you and tell you about a fictional problem that they need money for – maybe for a sick relative, to pay taxes, or even to pay for flights to come and see you.  Whichever way they chose to ask for money you could end up losing a lot – and the money you send is almost impossible to recover.”

The force has offered advice to anyone using online dating sites:

  • Avoid giving away too many personal details when dating online – revealing your full name, date of birth and home address might leave to your identity being stolen.
  • Never send or receive money, or give away or bank details to someone you’ve only met online, no matter how much you trust them or believe their story.
  • Pick a reputable dating website and use the site’s messaging service. Fraudsters want to quickly switch to social media or texting so there’s no evidence of asking you for money.

If you become a victim of romance fraud, report it immediately to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, as well as to the dating site where you met, no matter how embarrassing you might think it is.

This could result in recovering your money (although this is unusual), and help others from becoming victims to the same person.

Dial 999 if you or someone else is in immediate danger or at risk of harm.

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Eligible unpaid carers encouraged to register for COVID-19 vaccine

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UNPAID carers in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire who are not already registered as a carer with their GP practice are being asked to complete an online registration form if they wish to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended that unpaid carers are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine as part of priority group 6, subject to certain eligibility criteria.

Revised national guidance from the JCVI describes unpaid carers as those who are eligible for a carer’s allowance, or those who are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of COVID-19 mortality and therefore clinically vulnerable.

Those clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 include children with severe neuro-disabilities, those who are designated Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV), adults who have underlying health conditions, and those who need care because of advanced age. Eligible carers should be vaccinated in priority group 6.

Anna Bird, Assistant Director of Strategic Partnerships at Hywel Dda UHB, said: “Unpaid carers play a vital role offering care and support and it is in everyone’s interest that they are supported. 

“For many years now, the health board has built strong links with unpaid carers across our three counties through initiatives such as our Investors in Carers scheme, designed to help organisations focus on, and improve, their carer awareness and the help and support they give to carers.

“There are over 10,000 unpaid carers registered with GP practices or the local authority across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire but we know there are many more people out there who may not recognise themselves as an unpaid carer and are unaware that support is available for them, including their eligibility for a COVID-19 vaccine.”

If you believe you may be eligible, are aged 16 or over and are not registered as an unpaid carer with your GP, please complete this online form https://hduhb.nhs.wales/healthcare/services-and-teams/carers-information/covid-vaccine-for-unpaid-carers/covid-vaccine-for-unpaid-carers/ to register your details. People without internet access can contact the health board on 0300 303 8322.

Those already registered as an unpaid carer with a GP will be contacted directly to receive a COVID vaccination and do not need to do anything further.

Please wait to be invited for your vaccination and do not contact your GP or health board to ask about your vaccine appointment.  You will be contacted when it is your turn, thank you for your patience and understanding.

To find out more about the support available for unpaid carers in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire please visit https://hduhb.nhs.wales/healthcare/services-and-teams/carers-information/

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Intense Hopes and fears as Woodland homes to go before planners

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FINDING a home and finding a job is the most important challenge for young local people.

So the excitement is intense at the prospect of six live work units on the edge of Rosebush village, edged by the 100 acre forest. The zero carbon homes would be fuelled by wood and solar PV and be built of local timber.

The developers are Coed Preseli and Down to Earth, with the support of Cooperative Wales, PCC housing department and  the Future ‘Generations office of Welsh government. They would be rented to local people in perpetuity, at low rents, people who want to run a business from home, relating to the forest resource or supporting the local area.

Architects plan

Thirteen local young families are queuing up for the six homes, one writes: “It would be mine and my partner’s dream to have something like this project. He is a time served carpenter, spoon carver, furniture maker. He has also done some chainsaw carving. Oh and is a qualified engineer. I am a newly qualified furniture maker, and we are slowly building up a collection of tools to start a workshop of our own.”

Another said: “I used to work in forestry driving a forwarder and harvester mainly doing thinnings, but now I have become an arborist (tree surgeon) and I know Huw the forest manager has been trying to introduce pine Martins and Ospreys down here. Which a friend has been climbing the trees to put in man made nests for them and I’d love to be part of helping them”

Another works with big machinery in forests, leaving his family for long days in an upstairs flat with a small child and no access to a garden. It is hard on them. For this family too, the development would be the answer to their prayers.

The National Park Authority is recommending refusal on the plans

But The National Park Authority is recommending refusal on March 10. They give a number of reasons for rejection. The architect representing the owners have written to explain how each reason is erroneous or has been addressed.

The young families are puzzled. Under One Planet Development people can come in from away and build a home in the open countryside, but local people offered the chance of the workshop they desperately need, with a home to rent at social housing rates, on the edge of an existing village, are all turned down. There is heartbreak and bewilderment among them. 

“We are offering new businesses. We are working and paying taxes. This is our community where our families are. Don’t they want us here?” As a well known north Pembrokeshire Councillor exclaimed “What is wrong with the Park?”

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Aberystwyth walker’s 100 miles challenge in time for 64th birthday

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HYWEL DDA Health Charities has thanked epic fundraiser Annette Smith from Talybont, Aberystwyth who has raised £710 so far walking over 100 miles in 21 days, around her local area to raise money for Bronglais Chemotherapy Day Unit.

Annette normally walks at the most 60 miles a month, so the 63 year old had really pushed her limits. She started on 10 th February and finished mile 100 on Tuesday 2 nd March, ten days before her 64th birthday on 12 th March, when she’ll celebrate her achievement with some well-deserved cake!

Annette has walked every day, trying to get to walk done in the morning to give her a good start to the day.

She says “I want to give something back to our local services in the NHS. I feel incredibly lucky that my family and I haven’t been too affected by Coronavirus and I want to do my bit to help. I feel like I need to do something to say thank you.

“I also want to set myself a challenge and push myself out of my comfort zone. Something for me to feel proud of.

“I have friends who have used or are using the chemo unit and I am worried pressures on services will increase once life starts to go back to normal.”

Annette said the challenge was a test of her physical and mental grit, but added that it was lovely to explore her local area and enjoy the surroundings.

She added “I feel ecstatic that my personal challenge has raised such a goodly sum to contribute to the great work of the Chemotherapy Day Unit at Bronglais Hospital. Their work will continue beyond this current crisis. Thanks to all my supporters and it would be great to think that my efforts could raise even more!”

Hywel Dda Health Charities is the official NHS charity for Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and

Pembrokeshire. Fundraising Manager Tara Nickerson said, “We are always grateful when people take the time to support our work, delivering services and activities above and beyond what the NHS provides. It’s truly inspiring when people who have received NHS care decide to give back as Annette has. The money she raises will directly benefit NHS patients and staff.”

There’s still time to support Annette’s amazing efforts and donate at

http://www.justgiving.com/anothersmithy

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