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Ceredigion tradesman sentenced for fraud and supplying unsafe goods

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COLIN HARDING, a model railway layout builder based in Ceredigion has been sentenced to a 6 month custodial sentence, suspended for 15 months, after pleading guilty to fraud and supplying unsafe electrical goods.

Colin Harding, of Pontsian, Ceredigion whose trading names included ‘Model Railway Layouts’, had pleaded guilty to four fraud offences and one safety offence earlier this week at Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court. He was also sentenced to 120 hours unpaid work.

The Court heard how Harding had taken payments of over £15,000 from customers as part of his business which he ran from home. He offered a service to design and construct model railway layouts but failed to provide any orders to those customers that he had defrauded. The Court heard that when he did supply a layout to one of the complainants, it was considered so unsafe by an expert electrical engineer who examined it that there would have been a high risk of electrical shock to anyone using it.

Harding gave a range of excuses to his customers for non-completion of work, including debt and other personal problems. His solicitor, told the court that Harding had spent the deposits on general living costs.

District Judge David Parsons noted in his summing up that the persistence of the frauds, the amount of money involved and the continued excuses given to his clients, made these serious offences and therefore the sentence immediately crossed the custody threshold. However, given Harding’s lack of previous convictions he suspended Harding’s six-month sentence for 15 months and ordered Harding to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay compensation of over £4000 to the complainants.

Councillor Gareth Lloyd, Cabinet member with responsibility for Public Protection said: “Dishonest traders need to be aware that persistent offending of this nature is likely to attract harsh penalties. The Ceredigion Public Protection team acts not only to protect consumers from dishonest traders, but also to help maintain trust in the honest traders who are in the majority in Ceredigion’s business community.

“I urge any consumers who believe that they are being defrauded by unscrupulous businesses to report the matter to Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 040505 (Welsh language line) or 03454 040506 (English language line). The Public Protection team works in partnership with Citizens Advice and any matter reported will be notified to the relevant local authority.”

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RNLI in Wales urges people to stay safe as Storm Brendan hits

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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is urging people to stay safe near the Welsh coast as severe weather could make our seas and coastlines particularly dangerous.

Lifesaving charity, the RNLI, is encouraging people to exercise extreme caution if visiting the shoreline, especially along exposed cliffs, seafronts and piers.

The expected strong winds and severe gales pose a severe safety risk to those visiting the coast.

Named Storm Brendan by Met Eireann, it swept eastwards across Ireland before making its way through the rest of the UK this morning with yellow wind warning in place for most of the Welsh coast.

Chris Cousens, RNLI Regional Water Safety Lead for Wales said:

‘This rough weather could make visiting parts of the Welsh coastline treacherous and bring very dangerous sea conditions.

‘Sadly, around 150 people lose their lives on British and Irish coasts each year and over half of these people didn’t plan on ever entering the water. Slips, trips and falls can be a major factor in these kinds of incidents.’

If you see someone else in danger in the water, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. If you have something that floats that they can hold on to, throw it to them. Don’t go in the water yourself – too many people drown trying to save others.

The charity, which provides a search and rescue service around the UK and Ireland, is facing its own Perfect Storm as demand for its services has increased but it is facing a shortfall in funds. This past year, the RNLI has been busier than ever, and stormy conditions can mean additional call outs for the already extremely busy volunteer crews. Whatever the weather, RNLI volunteers will still be on call to rescue those at difficulty at sea.

The RNLI’s major new fundraising appeal, The Perfect Storm, which aims to help the charity get back to living within its means, is running throughout November and December. To find out more or to donate visit RNLI.org/ThePerfect Storm.

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Are you missing out on a Council Tax reduction?

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IF YOU’RE struggling to pay your Council Tax bill, then help could be available for you through the Welsh Government’s flagship Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS).

The scheme, which will continue to support vulnerable households in 2020-21, currently benefits one in five of all households in Wales. In the last year almost 280,000 low-income households have received help from the scheme, with 220,000 paying no council tax at all. Many more receive other discounts or exemptions.

You may be entitled to pay less council tax if:

• you believe you live on a low income
• you live alone, or with people/children who do not pay council tax
• you are a student
• you are disabled
• you are severely mentally impaired

Understanding why there are still vulnerable households not benefitting from the help they are entitled to is a priority for the Welsh Government. Last year we commissioned research to understand the circumstances of households in Wales and the effects of the UK Government’s Universal Credit on the CTRS.

The interim report out today shows that for many households, the move to Universal Credit can have a significant impact on council tax reduction awards. Whilst many households currently receiving a 100% reduction will continue to do so, for others, the move to Universal Credit is shown to have an adverse impact, particularly for employed households, self-employed households, and working households in receipt of a Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.

Full findings of the interim report are available on the Welsh Government website. These findings will now be considered in more detail to inform the next stages of the research and policy development in this area.

Encouraging people to make sure they are not missing out on help they could be entitled to, Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said:

“Ensuring every household in Wales receives the council tax support they are entitled to is an important part of our commitment to making council tax fairer.

“Our scheme is already helping hundreds of thousands of households across Wales, but we know that there are still many missing out on the discounts, reductions and exemptions they are entitled to. I encourage everyone to check the Welsh Government website to find out if they could be paying less.”

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Ysgol Bro Pedr raise funds for life saving machine

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PUPILS at Ysgol Bro Pedr have raised enough money to buy a defibrillator machine for the school.

The idea came after 15 Year 11 pupils achieved their Level 3 Emergency First Aid Qualification with Ceredigion Youth Service. Pupils felt that it was incredibly important that they and others at the school had the skills, knowledge and equipment to use in an emergency.

Mrs Caryl Jones and pupils raised an outstanding £1,150 through organising a bake sale at the school on 28 March 2019. The school extends their thanks to Lampeter businesses ‘Oh My Cod’ and ‘Y Becws’ for their kind contribution towards the sale.

Guto Crompton, School Based Youth Worker said: “Although first aid is not a mandatory part of the school curriculum in Wales, young people at Ysgol Bro Pedr felt that it should be something that all pupils knew about. This would help them to know what to do in an emergency, whether that be in the school or out in the community. Pupils worked hard to achieve their First Aid qualification which covered aspect such as CPR, casualty management and the use of a defibrillator.”

The defibrillator machine will be placed in the school reception.

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