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Briton Ferry

Unlicensed Briton Ferry landlord pleads guilty in Rent Smart Wales prosecution

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A landlord refused a Rent Smart Wales licence to carry out letting and management activities has been found guilty of managing his properties illegally.

Derrick Morgan, of Crossways, Parc Newydd, Briton Ferry, continued to issue tenancy agreements and collect rent from tenants living in his properties in Neath Port Talbot, despite having been refused a licence by Rent Smart Wales in 2019.

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All landlords and agents in Wales who undertake letting and management work at rental properties are legally required to have a Rent Smart Wales licence.

At Cardiff Magistrates Court, Mr Morgan pleaded guilty to failing to comply with the requirements of a notice served as part of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014. He was found guilty of a further two charges under the Act including failure to be licensed to carry out letting and property management work and was fined £4,620 and ordered to pay £2,500 in costs and a £190 victim surcharge.

Investigations into the management of Mr Morgan’s portfolio began after Rent Smart Wales suspected a requirement to appoint a licensed agent to manage his properties, following the refusal of his own licence, had not been met. Information requested about the management of the properties was not provided.

Mr Morgan did appoint various agents to manage his properties but continued to carry out management tasks himself – contrary to the requirement to hold a licence to be able to do so. 

Cllr Lynda Thorne, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities at Cardiff Council, the single licensing authority for Rent Smart Wales, said: “The requirement for landlords and agents to hold a Rent Smart Wales licence to carry out letting and property management activities is in the legislation for a reason, and it is to ensure that individuals carrying out these duties are suitable to do so and are appropriately trained in their rights and obligations.

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“Unfortunately, despite appointing licensed agents to act on his behalf to manage his properties, Mr Morgan continued to be involved, including liaising directly with tenants, and now he must pay the price for that error.

“This is a good time to remind all tenants living in private rented accommodation who have a landlord that carries out letting or management duties to check their landlord is licensed. Checks can be carried out quickly and anonymously by visiting the Rent Smart Wales public register here: https://www.rentsmart.gov.wales/en/check-register/

“If your landlord isn’t licensed, let us know by calling 03000 133344 or via the website www.rentsmart.gov.wales

Lead image: File photo (Image: Wikimedia / Creative Commons / Albert Bridge)

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British Transport Police

Life-saving defibrillators at train stations damaged

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British Transport Police are warning of the consequences of damaging defibrillators after a spate of vandalism at train stations across Wales.

Defibrillators, which are used to give a high energy electric shock to the heart of someone who is in cardiac arrest, were recently installed at several stations by Transport for Wales.

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Since their instillation, seven incidents of defibrillators being damaged or stolen have been reported in the last nine months at locations including Pencoed, Ninian Park, Briton Ferry, Sarn, Llandeilio and Llandudno.

British Transport Police Officers are patrolling stations and cameras have been installed to capture incidents and pursue prosecution against any offenders. Defibrillators have also been locked in cabinets to prevent theft or damage.

According to British Heart Foundation Cymru, there are around 2,800 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in Wales each year, but just 1 in 20 people survive.

Every minute without cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation reduces the chance of survival by up to 10 per cent, but immediate CPR and defibrillation can more than double the chances of survival.

British Transport Police Inspector Richard Powell said: “Lives are being put at risk by people who steal and vandalise defibrillators.

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“Offenders should think how they would feel if they themselves, or their relatives, were unable to be saved because of equipment being out of order due to vandalism or theft.

“If anyone witnesses anything suspicious on the railway, text us on 61016. In an emergency, always call 999.”

Karl Gilmore, Rail Infrastructure Director for Transport for Wales, said: “It is extremely disappointing that within weeks of the first phase of life-saving defibrillators being installed at TfW railway stations, a number have been vandalised and will now need to be repaired.

“The defibrillators are a vital tool for the whole community and this vandalism is putting people’s lives at risk.

“A cardiac arrest can happen to people of all ages and the use of a defibrillator can greatly increase someone’s chance of survival. It’s important the defibrillators are available in key locations, such as railway stations, and in good working order.

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“We ask anyone who sees a defibrillator being damaged to call the British Transport Police immediately.”

Tomos Hughes, a Public Access Defibrillator Support Officer at the Welsh Ambulance Service, explained: “Once somebody suffers a cardiac arrest every minute counts. They need immediate CPR from those around them as well as a shock from a defibrillator.

“It’s so disappointing to hear about devices which have been stolen or damaged, which is basically putting lives at risk. If you’re that vandal, imagine if it were a member of your family in cardiac arrest who needed that defibrillator – how would you feel if it wasn’t available? Don’t be that person. We would urge anyone with information to contact police.”

Adam Fletcher, Head of BHF Cymru, added: “Every second counts when someone has a cardiac arrest, and, alongside CPR, prompt use of a defibrillator is critical in giving them the best chance of survival. To put it simply – access to a defibrillator could be the difference between life and death, and anyone who vandalises a defibrillator is putting lives at risk.”

(Lead image: British Transport Police)

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Baglan

Police want to speak with this man after staff verbally abused on Briton Ferry train

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British Transport Police have released a CCTV image of a man they want to speak with in relation to an incident on board a train travelling between Neath and Baglan.

A man boarded a train at Neath station and attempted to alight at Briton Ferry station. The train doors would not open due to a malfunction and the train began to leave with the man still on-board.

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The man then activated the emergency alarm and stopped the train. The train guard went to investigate, and the man proceeded to verbally abuse them.

The train driver intervened and was also subjected to verbal abuse.

The train continued to Baglan station and the verbal abuse towards the train crew continued until the train departed.

Officers believe the man in the CCTV image may have information which could help their investigation.

If you recognise him, or have any information, British Transport Police would like you to contact them by texting 61016 or calling 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference 458 of 18/01/22.

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Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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Briton Ferry

£1.14m improvement to Briton Ferry school complete

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Pupils and staff at Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Tyle’r Ynn in Briton Ferry are benefiting from the successful completion of a school improvement project which has seen the provision of two extra classrooms and new Welsh medium childcare provision.

YGG Tyle’r Ynn is a 3 – 11 Welsh-medium school with capacity for 206 pupil places. In part due to the new facilities, pupil numbers are projected to increase by 3% over the next few years.

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The aim of the project at YGG Tyle’r Ynn is to create a more attractive and stimulating learning environment with high quality Welsh-medium childcare on site. In the longer term it is anticipated this will ease accommodation pressures in the area, with demand for Welsh medium pupil places increasing year on year.

A total of £1.14m of Welsh Government funding was awarded for the project which is a welcome and timely addition to the school. Pupil numbers have already shown an increase with both nursery and reception classes full in September 2021.

As well as increasing the school capacity by 60 pupil places thanks to the two new classrooms, the work has provided accommodation to support the development of a Welsh-medium childcare offer at the school providing up to 40 places. This has allowed the school to reconfigure Foundation Phase classrooms and further develop key stage 2 classrooms to deliver improved learning experiences. 

Additional funding received through Welsh Government’s Community Learning Centres/Community Hubs Capital Granthas also allowed the school to establish a fully resourced and integrated community room/annex – Yr Hafan (The Haven).

This will offer organised training and support for local residents and school families to participate in a range of learning opportunities such as Welsh language, digital skills and healthy eating etc – all in a dedicated, attractive and welcoming environment.

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Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Culture, Cllr Peter Rees, said: “By creating a more effective, attractive and vibrant learning environment, this project will encourage parents in the catchment area who choose Welsh medium education to seek admission for their child at YGG Tyle’r Ynn rather than alternative Welsh-medium schools outside the catchment area. 

“The project also creates opportunities to provide childcare on site, meeting demand already identified in the area, and it allows the expansion of existing school based community services.

“Neath Port Talbot Council recognises that language and culture are critical parts of an individual’s identity and is committed to promoting and ensuring meaningful access to Welsh language learning for pupils across all phases and sectors.”

Both the number and percentage of reception pupils in Welsh-medium schools in Neath Port Talbot has increased for the third year in a row with the percentage higher than it has been since 2013.

The total spend to date (Bands A and B) under the 21st Century Schools programme in modernising Neath Port Talbot’s school estate has now reached £165m – a massive investment in Neath Port Talbot’s next generations and the biggest of any council in Wales outside of Cardiff.

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The 21st Century Schools programme is a collaboration between the Welsh Government and local councils in Wales. It is a significant, long-term and strategic capital investment programme with the aim of creating a generation of 21st Century Schools across Wales.

(Lead image: Neath Port Talbot Council)

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