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Dyfed Powys Police

Narberth fraudster sentenced for scamming Pembrokeshire charity out of £6,300

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A charity treasurer has been handed a suspended jail sentence for stealing thousands of pounds intended for good causes.

Following a lengthy investigation by Dyfed-Powys Police, Lee Squelch, of Llanddewi Velfrey near Narberth admitted four counts of fraud after defrauding the Pembrokeshire Bridleways and Byways Association out of more than £6,300.

The offences came to light in December 2018 when a report of theft was made by the association, which aims to improve access to bridleways while also raising money for a range of charities.

They reported issues with their treasurer – 37-year-old Squelch – who had failed to produce accounts for four years, and who they suspected had been stealing money.

Investigating officer Sergeant Gerwyn Davies said: “During this time, Bridleways had arranged a number of events believing the funds raised were being donated to a number of charities including the Wales Air Ambulance, Royal British Legion, RNLI, Greenacres Animal Rescue, Healing the Wounds, and Hive Youth Club in Haverfordwest.

“However it was established that while claiming he had made the relevant donations to these charities, Squelch had falsified invoices and paid the cheques to himself. He tried to cover this up by writing the charity names on the cheque stubs.

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“In total, he had taken £6,300 from these deserving organisations.”

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Despite denying the allegations throughout the investigation, Squelch entered a guilty plea at court on March 5 – such was the evidence compiled against him. He appeared at Swansea Crown Court on Friday, April 30 where he was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for 18 months. He must carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and complete a rehabilitation course.

Sgt Davies added: “This was a long enquiry involving a number of witness statements, financial enquiries and court orders, which was made more difficult by Squelch’s continual denial of the offences.

“With a number of charities struggling through the Covid-19  pandemic, this money could have – and should have – been used for a number of benefits including funding life-saving devices, equipment for children to enjoy at youth club, or helping to care for rescued animals.”

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(Lead image: Geograph)


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Ammanford

Man who filmed rape on Ammanford victim’s phone changes plea mid trial

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A man who filmed himself raping an Ammanford woman on his victim’s phone has changed his plea to guilty midway through his trial.

Cameron Hassan, aged 31, of no fixed abode, attacked the woman, raping her as she slept on 21 August 2021.

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Hassan had been on trial at Swansea Crown Court after denying any wrongdoing. However, after the jury was shown the video of the attack and hearing the victim was going to give evidence yesterday (Tuesday, 10 May), Hassan changed his plea to guilty.

Investigating Officer DC Sophie Lambert from Dyfed Powys Police said the victim had shown great strength and determination throughout the investigation.

“I must commend her tremendous courage in coming forward and the tenacity shown throughout the investigation,” she said.

“We hope this case demonstrates that Dyfed-Powys Police acts on serious allegations such as rape and sexual assault with officers working tirelessly to secure justice for victims.

“If you are suffering because of similar abuse, please contact the police, or if you would rather speak to someone in confidence, New Pathways are an independent charity that will support you through every step of the investigation.”

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New Pathways can be contacted at 01685 379 310 or email enquiries@newpathways.org.uk

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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Dyfed Powys Police

Man banned from driving for 12 months for fishing offence

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A man from Merthyr Tydfil who travelled to the River Loughor, near Llanelli to fish using a barbaric and illegal method, has been banned from driving for 12 months as part of his sentence.

Vu Quang Tien pleaded guilty to an illegal fishing charge and also to a charge of obstruction of a Natural Resources Wales (NRW) Fisheries Enforcement Officer on 26 April at Swansea Magistrates Court.

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Mr Tien and two other anglers were witnessed by NRW Fisheries Enforcement Officers deliberately using the illegal foul hooking method of fishing – also known as snatching – at the river Loughor on 15 August 2021. NRW officers attended the site after several reports of illegal fishing were made to NRW’s 24/7 incident call centre by concerned members of the community.

When approached and questioned by NRW officers, Mr Tien and his accomplices showed significant hostility and reluctance to share identification documents which eventually had to be extracted by use of reasonable force.

All of Mr Tien’s fishing tackle and fish, along with his associates’ fishing tackle was seized by NRW Officers at the time of the incident. The district judge on the day at Swansea Magistrates Court gave permission to NRW to confiscate these items permanently from each of them.

The District Judge disqualified Mr Tien from driving for 12 months due to seriousness of the incident, and the premeditated and deliberate action of travelling such a distance to commit the offence.

He was also ordered to pay a total of £2,334 in fines, NRW costs and a victim surcharge.

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Mark Thomas, Fisheries Enforcement Officer for NRW, said: “We would like to again thank Dyfed Powys Police, the local communities and also the law-abiding anglers in the area for their continued support in reporting these illegal fishing activities.

“Foul hooking is a truly barbaric form of fishing carried out by a small minority of anglers in Wales, who have no regard for fish welfare.

“NRW and the Police take these incidents seriously as do the courts.

“Hopefully, the small minority of anglers who may in future, think of using any illegal fishing methods will take heed of the heavy fines and driving ban in this case issued by the courts.”

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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Ammanford

Police appeal after cyclist dies in Garnant accident

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Dyfed Powys Police have issued an appeal after a cyclist died in a single vehicle road traffic collision on Friday (6 May).

The accident took place around 8.45pm outside the Discovery Book Shop on Cwmamman Road in Garnant, Ammanford.

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A spokesperson for Dyfed Powys Police said: “Sadly the 58 year-old male rider of the pedal cycle sustained serious injuries and passed away in hospital.

“We are appealing for any witnesses who may have seen the pedal cycle at the relevant time, or who may have dashcam footage if they travelled along this stretch of road at the time, to get in touch.

“Also local residents and business owners are asked to contact Police if they have any CCTV footage covering the location.”

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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