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Carmarthenshire

Ringleader of 20-year Teifi poaching operation to pay just £1 as he ‘cannot afford’ fine

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Judge orders the ringleader of a long-running illegal poaching operation on the Afon Teifi to have £61,791.50 confiscated due to the financial gains he made from his crimes.

In a sentencing hearing at Swansea Crown Court on 8 July, the Judge also ordered that Emlyn Rees, of Dan y Graig, Cenarth in Ceredigion will pay a fine of £1,600 and costs of £1,000. Mr Rees will also have his fishing and netting equipment seized from him.

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As Mr Rees was unable to pay the sum for confiscation, he was made to pay a nominal sum of £1. If he comes into money or assets in the future, the remaining debt will be confiscated.

Mr Rees had previously pleaded guilty to illegal fishing charges brought forward by Natural Resources Wales (NRW). NRW had also made an application under the Proceeds of Crime Act to confiscate ill-gotten financial gains.

Mr Rees kept a detailed ledger of his illegal catches. Over a seven-year period, 373 dated entries of fish capture were made detailing the number and weights of the fish caught, which included 989 sea trout and 302 salmon.

The illegal fishing undertaken by Mr Rees and his associates between 2013 to 2020 has led to the loss of an estimated 686,534 salmon eggs and an estimated loss of 2,285,164 sea trout eggs.

The investigation was triggered after NRW Enforcement Officers were patrolling a stretch of the River Teifi near Cenarth and found that a gill net was illegally set in the river.

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While monitoring the area overnight, a person wearing dark clothing was seen retrieving the net at 5am and was identified as Emlyn Rees, a person known to the enforcement officers and who has three previous convictions for illegal fishing offences.

Although he fled the scene by jumping into the river, he was later arrested with the support of Dyfed Powys Police officers, and his home was searched. The outcome of the search was the basis for the rest of the investigation and the implication of his co-defendants.

Ann Weedy, Mid Wales Operations Manager at Natural Resources Wales (NRW) said: “The impact of this illegal operation is staggering. The sheer scale of the number of fish caught has undoubtedly resulted in a significant and unsustainable loss of breeding potential.

“Since 2020 all salmon and large sea trout caught in Wales have to be returned alive to the river to help protect these vulnerable stocks.

“This case should stand as a warning to would-be offenders that we will pursue every case where there is evidence of wrongdoing, and if we can demonstrate that a significant financial gain has been made, we will look to confiscate that gain.

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“I would like to thank our legal team for pursuing the illegal gains made from Mr Rees’ crimes.

“I would also like to thank our dedicated team of Enforcement Officers, whose detailed and dogged investigation exposed an astounding scale of criminality.

“We are also very grateful to our colleagues at Dyfed Powys Police for their support and to members of local angling associations who provided victim impact statements which greatly helped our case.”

Sergeant Esther Davies, Dyfed-Powys Police said: “This is an excellent example of joint partnership working between the police and NRW. In 2020 Dyfed-Powys Police’s Rural Crime Team arrested Mr Rees for offences under the Salmon and Freshwater fisheries Act, which then led to joint searches of his address and a vast amount of evidence being recovered.

“Subsequently Dyfed-Powys Police and NRW executed seven warrants as part of the investigation into an illegal fishing operation on the River Teifi.

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“The operation involved 25 police officers from the force and nine NRW enforcement officers, and targeted seven properties in the Cardigan area, linked to people believed to be involved in illegally catching and obtaining salmon and sea trout, or sewin, on an unprecedented scale.

“Poaching has been a real issue on the River Teifi for many years, and I hope this investigation and the sentence handed down today strongly demonstrates our commitment to investigating wildlife crime and reassures our fishing and angling communities.”

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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Carmarthenshire

Health board recruits 45 international nurses to fill staffing shortfall

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Hywel Dda University Health Board has recruited 45 international nurses and says it plans to increase this number significantly over the coming months.

Hywel Dda say they aim to recruit 100 international nurses this year through a centrally delivered programme with NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership, local health boards and the Welsh Government.

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The first cohort of 11 nurses arrived in May. The nurses have taken their objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) and are based in Glangwili and Prince Philip hospitals

The second cohort of nurses arrived in June. The group of 19 nurses have also taken their OSCE and are based across Glangwili, Prince Philip and Bronglais hospitals.

The third cohort of nurses arrived in July and are currently undergoing OSCE training in preparation for their examination. The 15 nurses are spread across Glangwili, Prince Philip, Withybush and Bronglais hospitals.

Judith Avan from Nigeria, who works at Bronglais Hospital said: “Living in Wales has been lovely, people are so welcoming, and the weather has been so lovely. I look forward to developing in my career and specialise in respiratory therapy.”

Nabitha Kabeer from India, who works in Glangwili Hospital said: “I’m excited about working with NHS Wales. I look forward to enjoying the beauty of Wales and developing in my career. I want to specialise in Infection control or operating theatre nursing or forensic nursing.”

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Oyebola Opemipo Tikolo from Nigeria, who works in Glangwilli Hospital said: “It has been a nice experience on and off the ward, the people are friendly and helpful. I am looking forward to developing in my career by taking more courses, I also look forward to bringing my family over and settling down here. I intend to specialise in midwifery as I have experience in midwifery from my country.”

Hywel Dda say that international nurses have been part of the NHS since its inception in 1948 and continue to play a vital role.

Director of Workforce and OD Lisa Gostling said: “We continuously work together to be the best we can be as we strive to develop and deliver excellent services, putting people at the heart of everything we do. We want to attract a diverse workforce and are delighted to welcome the newly recruited nurses to the Hywel Dda family.”

(Lead image: Hywel Dda NHS)

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Carmarthenshire

Residents encouraged to have say on Teifi Valley flooding schemes

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Consultation on flood prevention schemes by Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion councils in the Teifi Valley has been extended to August 31 to give more residents an opportunity to have their say.

Face-to-face events in Llandysul and Llynybydder have been added to the previous online only consultation.

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Residents can visit the powerhouse in Llandysul on Wednesday 24 August between 10am and 1pm, or between 3pm and 6pm. There’s also an event at Llanybydder RFC on Thursday 25 August between 10am and 1pm, and also between 3pm and 6pm.

Officers from Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion County Councils and Natural Resources Wales will be in attendance to answer any queries along with a representative from the consultants appointed by both authorities.

The council’s say that all partners involved want to understand the impact that flooding has on communities, how the flooding happens and to assess different flood measures that will reduce the impact during increasingly stormy weather in the future.

People will be able to submit feedback in person by writing their comments down and putting them in the box located at the venues. This will be in addition to the comments and suggestions submitted during the online consultation process.

The councils say that feedback from the consultation and these events will feed into the next stage of work and form part of any decision making that Natural Resources Wales and Welsh Government will undertake to design and implement any flood risk reduction scheme.

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Carmarthenshire County Council’s  Cabinet Member for Transport, Waste and Infrastructure Services Cllr Edward Thomas said: “We want as much feedback as possible from residents so that together we can look further into the options available to us to manage flood risk in these communities. The drop-in events will provide an opportunity for residents to speak to officers about the different options available and the next steps.”

Ceredigion County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Environmental Services and Carbon Management Keith Henson said: “We encourage the residents of Llandysul, Pont-Tyweli and Llanybydder to have their say in this consultation, either by attending the in-person events at the said locations or by visiting the online link on the council’s website. The responses from this consultation will enable us and our partners to explore what options we have to manage flood risk in the Teifi Valley.”

Lead image: Humphrey Bolton / Geograph)

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Ammanford

Jenkins family set to grow Capel Hendre business as the UK’s leading manufacturer of chimney cowls and flue systems

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Midtec, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of chimney cowls and flue systems has completed the construction of 2500 square feet of additional manufacturing space at Capel Hendre Industrial Estate near Ammanford, using a £220,000 loan from the Development Bank of Wales.

Formed in 2003 by Managing Director, Trefor Jenkins, Midtec first benefitted from investment from the Development Bank in 2005.

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They have since had several rounds of funding from the Development Bank to support growth plans and the next generation is looking to the future with the new additional space being used to house a state of the art ENSIS laser cutting machine, supplied by Amada.

Trefor said: “The ongoing support of the Development Bank means that we’ve been able to grow the business, drive efficiencies and invest in new market opportunities. We’ve also introduced new products including the MidCat, an innovative solution for reducing the pollution created by wood burning stoves and the only one of its kind in the UK.”

“Our latest investment in our technology means that we can now offer a laser cutting service that will help to improve our quality and production processes and save time on the turnaround of customer orders. We hope that this will play an important part in our future growth. Indeed, our turnover is on target to exceed £2 million this year and I’m delighted that my son Thomas and daughter Hannah are already playing a vital role in the business as we focus on our long-term sustainability.”

Midtec make chimney cowls and flue systems at their Capel Hendre manufacturing base
Midtec make chimney cowls and flue systems at their Capel Hendre manufacturing base

Richard Easton, a Portfolio Executive with the Development Bank, said: “Midtec is a family run and owned business that is known for its high quality and excellent customer service. With our continued support, Trefor, Thomas, Hannah and the team have created a modern manufacturing facility that has a really exciting future ahead.”

The loan came from the £204 million Wales Business Fund which is financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the Welsh Government. Loans, mezzanine finance, and equity investments are available for deals between £50,000 and £2 million with terms ranging from one to seven years for small and medium-sized businesses (those with fewer than 250 employees) based in Wales, or willing to relocate to Wales.

Construction company TRJ of Ammanford carried out the building work, while Jamie Reynolds of Cennen Solutions has also been providing strategic support.

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