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Carmarthenshire

Driver jailed for head-on crash that caused life-changing injuries

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A driver who caused a head-on collision with a car being driven by a pregnant woman told police officers at the scene he had drunk 13 cans of strong lager the night before.

Rhodri Rees, aged 36, of Llandysul, admitted his drinking had gone into the early hours before he got behind the wheel and caused the crash on the A476 in Llannon, near Llanelli, by overtaking another car on a bend at around 7.40am on December 11, 2020.

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The severe impact meant both drivers were trapped in their cars and had to be cut free by firefighters.

Thankfully the baby was unharmed in the collision, however, its mother suffered serious, life-changing injuries. She had a number of operations to repair the damage and was unable to walk for a year and still suffers the effects of the accident today.

Dyfed-Powys Police Sgt Nicholas Brookes said: “When Rees was spoken to by our officers at the scene he told them he had drunk 13 cans of Stella Artois and that he had gone to bed after midnight.

“He failed a breath test at the scene and was arrested on suspicion of drink driving before being allowed to go to hospital for treatment.”

The following day he was interviewed at Carmarthen Police Station where he told officers he had consumed eight or nine cans of Foster’s before going to bed around 2am, before getting up at around 6.45am and setting off.

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A sample of blood was taken just before 1pm on December 11 showed Rees had 39mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood – the legal limit being 80. A blood alcohol expert had calculated that at the time of the collision the level of alcohol would have been no less than 113mg and more likely 129mg.

PS Brookes added: “This was a serious case that could have been so much worse.

“Rees admitted drinking a considerable amount of alcohol and getting little sleep before getting behind the wheel. He was lucky no-one was killed.

“I would like to commend the officer in the case, PC Benjamin Stevenson, who conducted a thorough and meticulous investigation for the offence of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.”

On Tuesday, 17th May, Rees appeared before Swansea Crown Court, having pleaded guilty at a previous hearing, and was sentenced to 18-months in prison.

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He was also disqualified from driving for three years and 9 months, with a requirement for an extended test to regain his license.

(Lead image: Geograph)

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Dyfed Powys Police

Drivers in Dyfed-Powys police area least likely to have car stolen

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New research has shown that drivers in Dyfed-Powys police’s area are the least likely to have their car stolen in all of England and Wales.

There were 623 vehicle thefts in 2021. This means just 1.2 cars were stolen per thousand households.

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The study, conducted by  A-Plan Insurance, was carried out by assessing Home Office data of vehicle thefts in each Police Force Area and determining the rate according to the number of thefts per household. 

With 100,185 cars stolen in London in 2021, England’s capital had 11.1. vehicle thefts per thousand households. This puts it first for the area where drivers are most likely to be the victims of vehicle theft. 

The West Midlands comes second for its vehicle crime rate, with 10.4 vehicle thefts per thousand households (30,608 cars stolen in 2021), while Greater Manchester had nine cars stolen per thousand households (25,495 vehicle thefts), making it the third most dangerous place to own a car. 

Cumbria and North Yorkshire are also some of the least likely areas for vehicle theft, with 727 and 1,433 cars stolen respectively in 2021. That’s 1.5 vehicle thefts per thousand households in Cumbria and 1.7 in North Yorkshire. 

The research also analysed data from 2020, to determine whether vehicle thefts have increased or decreased in each Police Force Area since last year, finding that although London is still the worst place for vehicle theft, the crime rate is improving. Compared to 2020, car thefts in the capital are down by nine per cent, however, it’s a different story in the West Midlands, with 12 per cent more vehicles stolen in 2021.  

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Greater Manchester also saw an increase of five per cent on last year, but Hampshire is the area where vehicle theft has increased the most, with 22 per cent more cars stolen in 2021 than in 2020. 

Gloucestershire has seen the biggest improvement when it comes to the number of cars stolen in the area, with nearly a third fewer thefts in 2021, compared to 2020. 

The full results of the research

Police Force Area Household figures (mid-2020) rounded to 100 Vehicle thefts per 1,000 households (year ending Dec 2021) Total vehicle thefts (year ending Dec 2021) Percentage change in vehicle thefts (from 2020 to 2021) 
London (Metropolitan Police and City of London) 3,543,000 11.1 100,185 -9 
West Midlands 1,148,800 10.4 30,608 12 
Greater Manchester 1,190,500 25,495 
South Yorkshire 599,500 7.5 10,572 -4 
Bedfordshire 267,900 6.9 4,704 -17 
West Yorkshire 964,400 6.1 14,358 -4 
Hertfordshire 485,400 7,180 
Essex 768,400 5.9 10,896 -6 
Warwickshire 247,600 5.4 3,167 -18 
Cleveland 245,100 5.2 2,989 
Thames Valley 964,200 4.9 12,000 -18 
Hampshire 839,500 4.9 9,760 22 
Nottinghamshire 489,000 4.9 5,714 -12 
Avon and Somerset 737,300 4.9 8,407 -4 
Leicestershire 438,800 4.8 5,330 -20 
Dorset 344,100 4.8 3,718 -4 
Merseyside 632,500 4.7 6,726 -1 
Cambridgeshire 345,600 4.7 4,028 -8 
Northamptonshire 316,900 4.6 3,512 -25 
Surrey 474,900 4.6 5,545 -7 
Kent 778,300 4.6 8,508 -14 
Lancashire 643,600 4.4 6,735 -1 
South Wales 582,100 4.2 5,610 -14 
Northumbria 648,200 4.1 6,082 -15 
Derbyshire  461,800 4,229 
Sussex 750,100 3.8 6,522 -3 
Gwent 256,700 3.7 2,242 -9 
Staffordshire 488,600 3.6 4,079 -8 
Durham 283,900 3.4 2,150 -16 
Humberside 407,600 3.3 3,052 -20 
West Mercia 556,600 3.1 3,977 
Gloucestershire 275,200 2.9 1,838 -31 
Suffolk 330,800 2.9 2,178 -18 
Lincolnshire 332,400 2.8 2,144 -10 
Wiltshire 309,700 2.7 1,947 -14 
Cheshire 467,300 2.4 2,604 -1 
Devon and Cornwall 778,700 1.8 3,210 -7 
Norfolk 398,800 1.8 1,613 -15 
North Wales 308,300 1.7 1,225 -4 
North Yorkshire 360,900 1.7 1,433 -22 
Cumbria 227,000 1.5 727 -13 
Dyfed-Powys 231,200 1.2 623 -12 

Commenting on the findings, a spokesperson for  A-Plan Insurance said: “Theft is one of the main concerns for drivers, especially if you live in an area like London or the West Midlands, where there’s a higher risk of your vehicle being stolen than there is in somewhere like Dyfed-Powys and Cumbria.

“It’s interesting to see that some of the places with the highest vehicle crime rates are improving, though, and drivers can rest easier by making sure they have adequate insurance cover for their vehicles to protect them from theft and other risks.” 

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Llanelli

West Wales car dealership to double in size

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Dafen-based Llanelli Motor Company have broken ground on a new development that will see their forecourt double in size over the coming months.

Led by Managing Director Ian Jonathan, the two-phase project will see the independent car dealership increase the number of used vehicles it has on sale to over 400 by January 2023.

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“It’s certainly an exciting period for the business,” said Ian, “and with the significant changes to the used car market, we felt now was the right time to start the project, which has been in the pipeline for over five years.”

Although the business was potentially looking at 2020 as a start date for the developments, the Coronavirus Pandemic put the brakes on the project.

However, since the easing of lockdown restrictions and the delay in obtaining new vehicles, the used car market has seen an unprecedented spike in demand.

Dafen based Llanelli Motor Company is planning to double in size
The company have broken ground on an expansion that will see over 400 cars on sale by the end of January 2023

“The last 12 months have been exceptionally busy,” continued Ian.

“No sooner are we finalising our 140-point safety check on vehicles before placing them on the forecourt, than they are being purchased within a matter of days”.

With the ability to stock 150 nearly new vehicles of all makes and models at the moment, the 1-acre expansion will increase this to 250 by September before more than doubling it to 400 by the spring of 2023.

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In order to facilitate this growth, the company will also be entering a recruitment phase and looking to employ at least 10 new members of staff across its sales, workshop and admin teams as well as taking on new apprenticeships.

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Transport for Wales

New trains for Wales and Borders services go on show

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Brand new trains that aim to transform services across Wales and the English borders have been on show today at Chester railway station.

Assembled by CAF at their factory in Newport, the first Class 197 train with its ‘Made in Wales’ tag was revealed to the public today (Friday 1 July), offering a taste of what’s to come for customers in the next few months.

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TfW are spending £800 million on new trains throughout their network and the Class 197 will be the first of the brand-new stock to enter service in North Wales before the end of this year.

Providing an increase in capacity, reduced emissions and enhanced comfort onboard, these trains will allow TfW to run faster and more frequent services to key routes including services in South West Wales – Manchester to Milford Haven, Cardiff to Fishguard and Swansea to Pembroke Dock.

Offering leather seats, modern air conditioning systems, wider doors and customer information screens, the new trains will transform the customer experience. They’ve also been fitted with electronic charging points and disability features for those with limited mobility.

The Deputy Minister for Climate Change with responsibility for Transport, Lee Waters said: “I am pleased to welcome the new Class 197 trains to the rail network. These new vehicles represent a real transformational improvement on the trains that they will be replacing, providing comfortable and frequent services, encouraging people to leave their cars behind and move onto a more sustainable form of transport.”

Alexia Course, TfW’s Director of Transport Operations, said: “At Transport for Wales we’re continually moving forward with our transformational plans to improve public transport for the people of Wales and the borders.

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“The Class 197s on show at Chester railway station today will be an important part of the transformation of the Wales and Borders network, and when they enter service, they will enable us to run more services and carry more customers in comfort.

“The construction of our new trains has been four years in the making, and customers and colleagues are incredibly excited to welcome passengers onto them from later this year.

“It’s also important to recognise that these trains have been made in Wales at the CAF factory in Newport and the building of them has provided jobs and supported the local economy”.

Richard Garner, UK Director CAF said: “CAF is thrilled that the first of our Class 197 trains for the Wales and Borders network has been officially launched.

“We are immensely proud of our key role in delivering Transport for Wales’ vision to transform rail travel for passengers.

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“The manufacture of our trains is taking place at our state-of-the-art facility in Newport, South Wales. We see ourselves as a local manufacturer, supporting highly skilled jobs and bringing employment opportunities to the local area whilst focusing on sustainability issues and addressing the needs of the Welsh economy.

Our trains are being built in Wales to serve the Welsh communities”

(Lead image: Transport for Wales)

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