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A “spiteful” burglar who targeted the home of a bride knowing she would be at her wedding has been jailed.

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86576Ceri Davies, 26, broke into Annwen Bell’s home as she was marrying her long term partner Jonathan.
Davies “trashed” the house after learning that his mother, Jill, had not been invited to the wedding.
Annwen Bell’s father had left home two years earlier and formed a relationship with Davies’ mother.
As Annwen and Jonathan planned their wedding it was decided not to invite Jill Davies “to keep the peace”.
They invited her father but Annwen refused to allow him to give her away.
Janet Gedrych, prosecuting, told Swansea crown court how Davies broke into the couple’s home at Maes Gwyn, Llanfair Clydogau, west Wales, on the afternoon of May 25 knowing that the couple were due to be married at 3pm and to then enjoy a reception in the seaside village of Aberaeron 20 miles away.
“It was motivated by malice,” she added. “It was targeted to that house due to the relationships between the parties
“Annwen had taken her mother’s side and there was ill feeling between the two sides.”
Davies caused Ł5,500 worth of damage, slashing furniture with a knife, leaving on water taps in a bathroom and the kitchen to cause flooding and using a hammer to leave imprints on computers, televisions and kitchen work surfaces.
He also stole Ł295 in cash, a 20 euro note and even the cards of congratulations for the marriage.
But, said Miss Gedrych, two men carrying out an archaeology study nearby heard the sound of breaking glass and challenged Davies.
They saw him leaving the property with a carrier bag and followed him.
They called the police who continued the chase until Davies threw away the bag and ran across a field.
But he was caught by police and arrested.
Miss Gedrych said police had to approach the couple at their reception that evening and explain that their home had been burgled and trashed.
In a victim impact statement, Jonathan Bell said, “Annwen invited her father to the wedding but she was not willing for him to give her away.
“It was such a special day and we cannot remember that day as we should.
“Gifts from her grandparents were broken. It does not feel like a home anymore.”
Jill Davies was also arrested after police became aware that her car had been in the area at the time. But she said she had given her son a lift so he could go for a walk and had no idea a burglary would be carried out. She was not charged with any offence.
Davies, of Room 2, 4 Albert Place, Aberystwyth, admitted burglary and causing criminal damage. He was jailed for three years and four months.
Davies’ barrister, Victoria Thomas, said Davies was addicted to cannabis at the time.
“That does not take away the pain that was caused to the couple. It was their wedding day.
“His mother accepts that what he did was terrible. She is ashamed at what he has done.
“He ruined their wedding day,” added Miss Thomas.
She said he turned on water taps in the hope of washing away any DNA evidence.
Judge Paul Thomas told Davies, “Any house burglary is taken very seriously by the courts. It usually causes psychological and emotional harm.
“In any way this was a particularly spiteful burglary. It was a revenge attack.”
Davies, he added, had set out to cause as much harm as he could to a woman on the most important day of her life.
“It was a simple dispute. Because of the wedding your mother had not been invited. It happens at weddings week in, week out.
“But you decided not only to burgle their home but to wreck it. You vindictively trashed their home.
“You made as sure as you could that they would come back and they would face a scene of heartbreaking devastation.”
Judge Thomas said Davies had a record for arson and criminal damage and “seemed to get a kick” out of destroying other people’s property and the pain it caused them.

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Alerts issued ahead of Storm Brian

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NATURAL RESOURCE WALES (NRW) is warning people that parts of the Welsh coast could see localised flooding as Storm Brian combines with high tides this evening and tomorrow.

The conditions could cause a storm surge, which in some areas could lead to overtopping of sea defences. Current predictions show that the worst affected areas are likely to be along exposed sections of the west coast of Wales from Southern Gwynedd to Llantwit Major.

High tides in these locations are expected to peak between 6am and 11am tomorrow (Oct 21).

NRW has already issued a number of flood alerts for the west coast, and is likely to issue flood warnings for Aberystwyth and Newgale later today. Further alerts or warnings for other areas will be issued as necessary.

24/7 Emergency response workers from NRW will be out at key areas of the coast over the next couple of day to monitor the high tides and condition of its sea flood defences.

NRW has also contacted its partner agencies such as local councils and the emergency services to ensure that appropriate responses are in place should the need arise.

Richard Hancox, from Natural Resources Wales said: “Conditions across the coastline are likely to be extremely dangerous this weekend and we urge people to stay clear, and avoid visiting the coast during this time.

“We know people are tempted to try and take photos of these storms, but it really isn’t worth putting your life at risk. Sea spray and flood water can knock you off your feet easier than you might think, and the large waves can send debris flying onto shore.

“If anyone is concerned about the risk of flooding to their home, please check to see if flood warnings are available in your area, and visit our website for advice on how best to prepare.”

Flood alerts and flood warnings are updated on the Natural Resources Wales website every 15 minutes.

Information and updates are also available by calling Floodline on 0345 988 1188. People can also register for free flood warnings either by calling the Floodline number or at NRW’s website.

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​Major bequests for Aber research ​

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TWO major legacies to support postgraduate research have been announced at Aberystwyth University’s Founders’ Day held in the Old College on October 13.

The University revealed that Eleanor and David James had donated £2m to the institution where they both worked for 35 years, while former student Margaret Wooloff has bequeathed £400,000.

Both bequests will be used to fund postgraduate research at the University, in line with the wishes of the benefactors.

The legacies were announced as part of the University’s now annual Founders’ event, which echoes the celebrations held in the town back in October 1872 when the first students arrived at Old College.

The Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University, Professor Elizabeth Treasure, said: “It is extremely fitting that these very special bequests have been the focal point of this year’s Founders’ Day event. They remind us how the University has been supported since its early beginnings by the generosity of the people of Wales and the wider world.

“Eleanor and David James, and Margaret Wooloff all dedicated their lives to the furtherance of knowledge and their valuable contributions to education in Wales will live on in their legacies. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”

The Director of Development and Alumni Relations at Aberystwyth University, Louise Jagger, said: “There is a very strong bond between the University and our family of alumni across the world. Eleanor and David James and Margaret Wooloff were all active members of the Old Students’ Association during their lives and we are immensely grateful to them for their support over the years. Their generous legacies will now enable the scholars of the future to pursue their particular fields of expertise and undertake research with impact, which is integral to our mission as a leading University.”

Members of the local community joined staff and students at the Old College to mark Founders’ Day.

The guest speaker at the event was Ceredigion MP Ben Lake who said: “The story of how Aberystwyth University – or the University College of Wales as it was originally called – is one in which we can all take pride as a nation. Driven by the vision of its founders, the dream of establishing a college with University status in Wales was made possible thanks to the generosity of ordinary people. The roots and foundations of the University reflect our values in Wales and it is vitally important that we commemorate and celebrate this very special heritage.

“May I take this opportunity to congratulate Aberystwyth on being named recently as the University of the Year for Teaching Quality by the Good University Guide – a well deserved accolade which is testament to the dedication of all its staff.”

In July 2017, the Heritage Lottery Fund announced that it had earmarked £10.5m for ambitious plans to redevelop Old College in time for the University’s 150th anniversary in 2022.

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Driving Wales to international skills success

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AS SKILLS CHAMPION for Wales, Coleg Sir Gâr and Coleg Ceredigion principal Barry Liles is at the forefront of aspiring young people to develop high quality, world-class skills.

The vehicle used to drive this ambition are skills competitions, which are held on a Welsh, UK and international level.

Competitions in Wales begin with regional Welsh Government supported competitions which are events that culminate to find Wales’ top competitors who progress to take part in UKSkills national and WorldSkills international events.

This year, 36 competitors from the UK are competing at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi, four of which are from Wales, two of which represent Coleg Sir Gâr, which is an impressive percentage of UK representation. These competitors have undergone a rigorous training process by WorldSkills UK, supported by training providers and employers.

Coleg Sir Gâr students have been selected for Team UK since 2009 when carpentry student Cliff Williams made the team in 2009 competing in WorldSkills Calgary. He was followed by web designer David Bowen who competed for in WorldSkills London, 2011. Carpenter Gareth Jones won gold in EuroSkills in 2012 followed by Simon McCall and Eleni Constantinou who won two silvers at EuroSkills in 2014 for hairdressing and carpentry with Eleni progressing to represent the UK and Coleg Sir Gâr in hairdressing at WorldSkills, Sao Paulo in 2015.

Last year, the college was ranked joint third place in the UK for its medal success in the Skills Show – the UK final, for achieving three golds, one silver and one bronze award. The show, held at Birmingham’s NEC every year, brings together medal winners from all nations to compete and showcase their skills and to hopefully continue their journey to the international arena, representing the UK in Worldskills which brings over 50 competing countries together and is likened to the Olympic games.

Barry Liles, Skills Champion for Wales said: “To have an impact on the economy and raise Wales and UK’s GVA, we must raise the skills of the UK population and we’re trying to do this from a young age and we’re significantly targeting industries that are important to Wales’ economy.

“The anticipated result is hoped to impact on young people and help them raise their ambitions and to find highly skilled work.”

In Wales, to help achieve this ambition, is a Welsh-Government funded project called Inspiring Skills Excellence (ISE), which is providing a supportive infrastructure to enable competitors from Wales to achieve success at national and international level.

“Much of our work is supporting competitors across Wales in their participation, training and mentoring to help them achieve excellence in skills relevant to economic growth and delivering medal winning success at national and international competitions,” said Paul Evans, ISE pan-coordinator for Wales.

“Using state of the art equipment we also engage with schools, providing hands-on and exciting experiences for young people to raise awareness of careers and the pathways available to them.”

Barry Liles added: “Being Skills Champion for Wales is a long-held ambition perhaps because I came from a vocational engineering background, I am very passionate about it.

“Industry skills are vital in our economy and I don’t want Wales to be left behind, in fact in the last seven years we have helped drive the nation forward to being one of the leading and successful nations in UK skills competitions.”

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