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Former AM handed suspended sentence for child sex images and videos

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FORMER Assembly Member, Simon Thomas, was handed a suspended prison sentence this afternoon (Oct 31) after pleading guilty to three counts of making indecent images of children.

Appearing at Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court, the former Plaid Cymru AM admitted making hundreds of indecent images of children.

He was found with more than 600 images and video of children.

94 images and 56 videos were in the most serious category A, with 87 and 16 in category B, and 354 and five in category C.

The judge said that there was no evidence he produced or distributing the material, only possessing them.

Defending the former AM, Richard Williams said that since his arrest, Thomas’ family had been strained and he was ‘anxious’ to address his issues.

Following his guilty pleas, he was handed a 26-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, and he must also sign the sex offenders register for the next seven years.

An NSPCC spokesperson said after the sentencing: “Within these images are young victims of abuse and by possessing them, Thomas has fuelled the demand in this awful trade. It is not a victimless crime.

“His actions betrayed the trust placed in him by the communities he represented at Cardiff Bay and Westminster and it’s now extremely important that he receives appropriate rehabilitation as part of his sentence.

“Ridding images like these from the internet must be a priority for tech companies, government and law enforcement.”

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Ceredigion chosen as rehearsal county for the next census

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CEREDIGION is one of four regions in England and Wales chosen by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to take part in the Census Rehearsal on Sunday, 13 October 2019.

For the first time ever, the 2021 Census is designed to be answered primarily online. Because of this, this year’s rehearsal is particularly important as it gives the ONS the chance to test out their brand new systems and processes to make sure that everything works as it should.

Later this year, everyone who lives in Ceredigion will be asked, by the ONS, to complete a questionnaire about the people in their household as on 13 October 2019. The rehearsal will be ‘digital first’, like the 2021 Census.

Help will be available for people who find completing the online form difficult, and paper forms will be supplied to those people who really need them.

Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn is the Leader of Ceredigion County Council. She said: “The information gathered during a census is very important to all of us because it helps us to understand our population and guides our planning for the whole range of public services, such as the number of school places needed and the provision of housing, hospital and GP services and social care in local areas. The information collected is the basis of the Council’s level of financial allocation for the next 10 years. It is therefore vital that we gather up-to-date information about our population.”

“A sample of primary schools across Ceredigion who have already been contacted by the ONS are being provided with educational resource packs to inform children about the Census Rehearsal. In 2021, secondary schools in Ceredigion will also be provided with information packs but they won’t be asked to take part in the rehearsal process this year.”

“The Census Rehearsal should not be mixed up with the annual Electoral Registration canvass which is currently being carried out by Ceredigion County Council. During the annual canvass, each household receives a Household Enquiry form which is used to check who is living at an address and confirms who is currently on the Electoral Register – You need to be on the electoral register to vote in elections and referendums.”

Ceredigion was chosen for the rehearsal because it has a high proportion of Welsh speakers and includes a large rural area with varying internet coverage. Tower Hamlets and Hackney in London and Carlisle in Cumbria will also be taking part.

Director of ONS Census Operations, Pete Benton, said: “As the Census only takes place every ten years, it is important we hold an operational rehearsal to ensure that all our processes run smoothly. The people who take part will all be helping to ensure the overall success of the 2021 Census.”

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Llanbadarn Fawr – Sulien ward by-election results

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MATTHEW WOOLFALL JONES won the majority of votes at the Llanbadarn Sulien by-election held on Thursday, 18 July 2019.

Matthew, from Plaid Cymru will now represent the ward as a County Councillor for Ceredigion County Council.

The position became vacant following the tragic death of the late Paul James in April 2019.

The turnout for the Election was 38.16% with 63% of the votes going to Matthew Woolfall Jones. He will begin his position in the coming days.

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Brownies work together to increase their use of the Welsh language

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CERED: MENTER IAITH CEREDIGION have been working closely with Penrhyncoch Brownies over the last year to increase their use of the Welsh language and to raise awareness of its importance.

The partnership has enabled Penrhyncoch Brownies to receive the Ceredigion Girlguiding Vice President award which represents their commitment and contribution to the Welsh language.

Cered has been working closely with Girlguiding Ceredigion by working with Girl Guides branches as well as the Brownies. Cered’s intention is to continue working closely with Brownies and Girl Guides in Ceredigion so that they are able to offer a wide variety of Welsh language activities.

A series of Welsh activities were organised for members including Welsh song composition sessions supported by Mari Mathias, a young singer from Ceredigion.

Rhodri Francis, Cered Development Officer said: “Cered has established a successful partnership with the Brownies in Penrhyncoch which has enabled them to increase their Welsh portfolio. The Welsh song which they composed is a testament to their success, their commitment and enthusiasm towards the Welsh language.”

Wendy Reynolds, Penrhyncoch Brownies Leader said: “It was a wonderful surprise to learn that we had won the Ceredigion Girlguiding Vice President award for our contribution to the Welsh language. We always encourage the girls to speak Welsh. The composition of a Welsh song with the help of Mari Mathias in particular, certainly raised the girls’ confidence and as a result they are using the Welsh language. I am very proud of them.”

Caroline Wilson, County Commissioner for Girlguiding Ceredigion said: “The Penrhyncoch Brownies really enjoyed working with Cered to produce the CD. This was a new experience for the girls which they really enjoyed. The Penrhyncoch Brownies were put forward for an award at the recent Inspire event at Broneirion home of Girlguiding Cymru. As county commissioner for Girl-guiding Ceredigion I was invited to the unit to present the awards to the girls – it was a great honour!

Girlguiding Ceredigion welcomes the opportunity to work more with Cered in the future. We are always looking for new leaders so that more girls can have opportunities of experiencing guiding.”

Cered’s main aim is to support, influence and develop the use of the Welsh language in Ceredigion through partnership and co-operation to establish the best possible foundation for the development of the language in the society and community.

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