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Milford Haven: Former solicitor Simon Griffiths jailed

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Facing charges: Simon Griffiths

Facing charges: Simon Griffiths

A FORMER West Wales solicitor who went bankrupt has been jailed for two years on Friday (Mar 27) after cheating an elderly disabled woman out of her inheritance.

Simon William Griffiths, aged 52, admitted two offences of fraud involving £60,000.

Swansea crown court heard the money came from the estate of Helen Ward Jones, of Pembrokeshire.

Robin Rouch, prosecuting, said that two sisters, Barbara Collins and Christine Sheridan, were to be the beneficiaries and the women put their trust in Griffiths, then running Eaves Solicitors in Milford Haven, to handle the will.

Christine Sheridan was by then disabled and living in sheltered accommodation in the Midlands.

Mr Rouch said Christine Sheridan did not receive the £60,000 she was entitled to.

There was also mystery over the sale of a flat in Aberystwyth for £107,000, added Mr Rouch. When Barbara Collins received a cheque from Griffiths in relation to the sale it bounced and it was still unclear what had happened to the proceeds of the sale.

The court was told that on two occasions Griffiths, of Rose Valley, Lower Lamphey Road, Pembroke, transferred money totalling £60,000 from Helen Ward Jones’ estate to a property company he was in charge of.

The judge, Mr Recorder Chris Clee, told Griffiths, “Christine Sheridan didn’t receive a penny and the question remains what happened to the £107,000 from the sale of the flat?”

Mr Clee said: “Griffiths had told police that he had been in practice for 23 years and had been “well aware that the worst thing he could do was to utilise a client account.”

But that was exactly what he had done, added the judge.

Griffiths maintained that he had used the money to invest in property and he had intended to repay the money in full.

“You don’t need me to tell you that your life’s in ruins. You’ve been struck of the solicitors’ roll, made bankrupt and lost your good character and reputation.

“This was a significant and high degree of breach of trust and you took advantage of Christine Sheridan’s disability. The public expects members of the profession to be above reproach.”

Dyfed Thomas, defending, said his client was remorseful and after police involvement had made it “abundantly clear” he would admit the two offences of fraud, each involving £30,000.

He said Griffiths had no previous convictions and added “he wants me to express to the court his genuine remorse”.

Mr Thomas added,“He was a trusted professional until his spectacular fall from grace.”

Mr Rouch said Griffiths appeared to have any or many assets out of which the women could be repaid.

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New Quay RNLI lifeboat crew trains with lifeguards

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NEW QUAY lifeboat station hosted a special training evening with the lifeboat crew and Ceredigion’s RNLI lifeguards last week.

Pete Yates, one of New Quay RNLI’s inshore lifeboat helms, worked closely with Ceredigion lifeguard supervisor, Tirion Dowsett, to plan scenarios for the teams to practice working together in casualty care situations.

A large scale scenario included four casualties to be dealt with by the inshore lifeboat crew and two lifeguard teams on a nearby beach, whilst a third lifeguard team and lifeboat crew members dealt with a separate scenario at the lifeboat station.

Pete said: “It was a great evening of training. We had 9 lifeguards and 13 lifeboat crew in attendance.

“The main scenario included casualties suffering from hypothermia and propeller injuries. A second scenario involved a mechanic suffering head injuries in the forepeak of the all-weather lifeboat and requiring extraction on a stretcher.

“On completion of these scenarios we all gathered back at the station where one of our senior crew members sprung a great act at being a diabetic having a hypo, and being suitably angry and aggressive.”

Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager, added: “It was great for our lifeboat crew members to work with the lifeguards as it builds a deeper understanding of each other’s roles and encourages teamwork between us. This is of great benefit when dealing with real life casualty care situations.”

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Coastguard rescues dog stuck on cliffs

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LAST TUESDAY (Aug 27), New Quay RNLI’s inshore D-class lifeboat, Audrey LJ, was tasked by Milford Haven Coastguard to assist the Coastguard with a dog stuck on the cliffs near New Quay.

The volunteer crew launched the inshore lifeboat at 1.50pm with four crew members on board and made their way south down the coast.

Brett Stones, New Quay RNLI’s helm said: “We located the dog on the cliffs by Castell Bach, near Cwmtydu. We stood by while the Coastguard team caught the animal. The dog was unharmed and safe with the Coastguard so we were stood down.

“However, while returning to station we were then tasked to a small vessel with engine failure. We towed the stricken boat with three people on board back to New Quay. We rehoused the inshore lifeboat and it was ready for service by 2.40pm.”

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New maintenance Lorries cut carbon emissions

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The Ground Maintenance Team has purchased three new lorries to support ground maintenance services in Ceredigion.

The new lorries will move Ceredigion County Council’s Ground Maintenance Service’s equipment to and from the grounds that they look after. The lorries will also take cut grass away for composting. This provides the most efficient way of maintaining the areas that the team is responsible for.

Councillor Dafydd Edwards is the Cabinet member responsible for Highways and Environmental Services together with Housing. He said: “The new vehicles replace ones which had provided excellent service for almost 20 years. They are fitted with Euro 6 engines which are considerably more efficient and better for the environment.”

The Grounds Maintenance Team is also incrementally introducing electric-powered mowers, blowers, hedge cutters and strimmers into its fleet. This equipment is better for the environment, is easier to use and causes less noise and vibration.

The new lorries support Ceredigion County Council’s commitment to be a net-zero carbon council by 2030.

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