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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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Completing the Census will help improve the county’s services

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As Census Day approaches, everyone is reminded of the benefits of taking part in this once every ten years survey.

The Census gives an accurate picture of the population and the needs of the people in the county, and affects the funding that is allocated to Ceredigion from Welsh Government annually and therefore the funding that’s available to provide critical services in the county. As a result, it is vitally important for everyone to take part in this year’s survey.

Every household in the county will receive a Census Pack in the coming weeks, which will include either a letter with a unique access code for online completion or a paper questionnaire. The Census Packs will include instructions on how to complete the questionnaire.

The last Census, which was held in 2011, showed that 75,922 people lived in Ceredigion, including 11,318 students. The most popular occupation for the county’s residents was farming, with 2,063 people identifying themselves as farmers, and 676 people noted they were nurses.

Data from Census 2011 supported the identification of Ceredigion (and three other local authorities in Wales) as target areas for the £2 million Arfor Innovation Fund Scheme.The data highlighted Ceredigion as a suitable area for the scheme, due to the county’s high proportion of Welsh speakers, and inflow of older people and outflow of younger people. Consequently, almost £500,000 has been made available by the Welsh Government to Ceredigion, to support Welsh language businesses and entrepreneurs in the area.

In addition to this, the data collated during Census 2011 helped to develop play and recreation areas at Llanddewi Brefi, Llanon, Ponterwyd and Cardigan. By using this data, it was possible to apply to the Welsh Government Rural Communities Development Fund (RCDF) and show how much these services are needed by local residents.

Information gathered as part of the Census enables local and national governments to plan services for various sectors, including healthcare, social care, schools and transport.

Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council, said: “Not only is the Census fascinating, but it also gives the best possible estimate of our population today. Over the years, we have been able to use this data to plan services, by tackling and prioritising the needs of our communities in Ceredigion. I urge everyone to complete this mandatory survey in order to gain a true picture of the county’s fabric. Who knows what the data from Census 2021 will bring? But one thing is certain, taking part will benefit the residents of our county.”

Census Day will be on 21 March 2021, but households will soon receive Census Packs in the post explaining how they can take part. The Census will include questions about your sex, age, work, health, education, household size and ethnicity. And, for the first time, there will be a question asking people whether they have served in the armed forces, as well as voluntary questions for those aged 16 and over on sexual orientation and gender identity. 

In Wales, households will also be asked a specific question about their Welsh language skills. And those who wish to complete the Census in Welsh can do so both online and in paper form. 

Because these things matter to us all, everyone needs to complete the Census. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) runs the Census in England and Wales and is independent from government. Your details are protected by law and information published is always anonymous.

For more information and to find out how you can access help, go to www.census.gov.uk or call the contact Centre on 0800 169 2021.

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Elin Jones backs calls for business rates holiday extension for independent businesses

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CEREDIGION’S Member of the Senedd, Elin Jones, has backed calls by the British Independent Retail Association for the extension of the current rates holiday for non-essential businesses in 2021/22.

Many local independent businesses have been closed for the best part of a year, and many will be in a more precarious situation now than when the initial rates holiday was announced last year. Many businesses will be looking forward to the easing of restrictions over the next few months, but Elin Jones warned that many would benefit from the continued business rates holiday.

Elin Jones said:

“Every effort must be made to secure the future of independent businesses in Ceredigion. They are such an important feature of life in Ceredigion, both as employers, and as a draw for people to our towns and villages.

“Normal trading will eventually resume, and these businesses will be able to flourish again, but local businesses owners know that this cannot be rushed. Therefore we must continue to sustain our businesses until they are once again back on an even keel.

“It will take a while for footfall to resume, and extending the business rates holiday is one way to help in this time of need.”

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MP makes Budget case for support for self-employed and small businesses in Ceredigion

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BEN LAKE MP has called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend the government’s financial support package for businesses and self-employed workers in next week’s Budget as many struggle to stay afloat during continued lockdown restrictions. 

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak is to set out the UK Government’s budget on Wednesday 3 March, almost a year since the last Budget on 11 March 2020. 

To help businesses and our local high streets over coming months, the Ceredigion MP has called on the Chancellor to extend the lowered rate of VAT at 5% for hospitality and tourism for a year to March 2022 and to extend the business rates relief package. 

Mr Lake also called on the Chancellor to retain the furlough scheme for the duration of pandemic restrictions, as recent figures show more than 178,000* in Wales are still receiving government help from the CJRS. He also urged the Chancellor to expand the existing eligibility criteria for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme in order to offer some help to the many individuals who have not received a penny in Government support thus far. 

Ben Lake MP said: “For many businesses and self-employed workers, the financial support government has offered over the last 12 months has been a lifeline. Now, as we are finally starting to see light at the end of the lockdown tunnel, we cannot remove this lifeline prematurely. Extending this help for a little longer, and expanding the criteria to help those that have been excluded thus far, would offer small businesses the support they require to ‘bounce back’ from the pandemic.” 

Many businesses who are still not open due to lockdown measures are also now expected to start repaying their Bounce Back Loans. This is despite their situation largely remaining unchanged since they took out the loan, or in some unfortunate instances, worsened as they have not yet been able to trade.  

UKHospitality has estimated that the hospitality sector lost around £72 billion in sales in 2020 and faces, frankly, a debt mountain, including £4.2 billion in state-backed loans.  

Mr Lake said:  “It is important that businesses that took out bounce back loans and CBILS are required to pay only when they are in a position to do so – once they have ‘bounced back’ from the pandemic. Affording such a level of flexibility, and thus preventing avoidable business failures, would protect jobs, the taxpayer’s investment in the recovery, and the integrity of our financial system.

“We remain in the early stages of a vaccine-led recovery, and it is likely that we will have some form of restrictions for many months to come. Having done so much to protect the economy and the workforce, we must not withdraw support prematurely, as to do so would risk throwing away the investment taxpayers have made in the last year, and potentially our economic recovery.” 

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