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Car drifter’s ‘moment of madness’

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‘A moment of madness’: Ben Griffiths

‘A moment of madness’: Ben Griffiths

A VIDEO posted on the Pembrokeshire Herald website and Facebook page showing dangerous driving on a Haverfordwest roundabout last year has led to the driver of the vehicle being banned.

Over 100,000 people viewed Ben Griffiths’ antics in the film which depicted him ‘drifting’ his BMW around a roundabout.

The Milford Haven man appeared before Haverfordwest Magistrates Court on Tuesday (Apr 26) where the 21-year-old pleaded guilty to the offence, which happened last November in Haverfordwest.

Prosecutor Ellie Morgan told the court: “Police got to find out about this incident because of some footage placed by a friend of Mr Griffiths on social media. This led to Officer Dwayne arresting Mr Griffiths for this incident of dangerous driving which happened on November 1 at 12.38am.

“The vehicle in question was found in a lock up managed by the defendant, which was found to match the vehicle in the film.

“The video shows the car heading eastbound on to the Cardigan roundabout at the top end of Haverfordwest. The ground was dry at the time.

“The driver of the car negotiates the roundabout, heading towards Scotchwell. The footage stops, then shows the vehicle coming back.

“The driver, Mr Griffiths, purposely makes the car slide around the roundabout, doing one and a half circuits, continuing his drift manoeuvres.

“Police, who undertook a vehicle examination of the defendant’s BMW found it to be defective, stating that it is ‘unroadworthy’ and in dangerous condition.

“Mr Griffiths presented himself as a potential hazard for road users. The car was also modified, with its 1.9 litre engine being removed and replaced with a 3 litre engine, which wasn’t disclosed in the vehicle’s insurance. Mr Griffiths has no previous convictions.”

In his statement, Ms Morgan said that Griffiths stated: “I only use the car for Pembrey Circuit drift track. When the video was circulated online, I’ll admit it is me. I shouldn’t have done it on a public road. I didn’t put anyone in danger though.”

Mark Layton, representing Griffiths, explained: “Ben Griffiths is a man of clean character. He is hard-working and is currently holding down a job.

“This incident was a moment of madness. He is passionate about drifting, but doesn’t try to minimise his actions that night – he knows it was stupid. He feels as if he has placed everything in jeopardy.

“Mr Griffiths is a valued employee. His boss gave a character reference for the court. It speaks highly of him, also mentioning: ‘

As his job is fixing cars and driving cars, he’s not going to be able to fulfil his employment responsibilities.’”

“The defendant hopes that his career hasn’t been destroyed. It has already been badly damaged by his actions.

“He was alone in the vehicle and says he was completely in control due to his off-roading experience. He says that no one else was endangered by his actions. He felt comfortable in carrying out this skill, but just did it in the wrong place.

“Not being able to drive will add four hours to his commute to and from work.”

Probation Officer Ms Norman told the court: “I have talked to Mr Griffiths. He had been working on his vehicle. He took it up the bypass for a test drive.

“He can’t explain his actions in driving the car. There could’ve been a risk of something happening. It was a stupid action on his part.

“Fixing cars is his life. He’s been working in the garage for four and a half years. He’s recently moved in with his girlfriend and any effect on his employment will affect his girlfriend too.

“This is his first offence. Hopefully he would’ve learned his lesson about driving like this on a public road.”

Mark Layton continued: “Mr Griffiths’ clean character speaks for itself. He hasn’t been to court before and he is unlikely to come to court again.

“Driving is his life – it is a great love of his. He relied on it in his work, and this driving ban will definitely have career implications.

“If the disqualification is not for too long then his employers may keep him on until he can complete the extended driving test in twelve months time.”

Magistrates told Griffiths: “We have reduced the severity of the sentence due to Layton’s mitigation and early guilty plea.”

Magistrates issued Griffiths with a 12 month driving disqualification, with the need to complete an extended retest at the end of the ban.

He was also told he would have 12 weeks custody suspended for 12 months. As part of this, he will have to complete 100 hours of unpaid work. He also had to pay £85 prosecution costs and a £80 victim surcharge.

Magistrates told Griffiths: “Consider yourself a very lucky man. Lucky that you’re walking out of this court and not down to the cells and lucky you didn’t kill or injure anyone.”

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Health

Police and drugs advice service issue warning over ‘deadly batch’ of heroin

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POLICE have asked the media to issue a warning over a batch of heroin.

The drug circulating in west Wales, first detected in Llanelli, is particularly dangerous, it has been confirmed.

“We are warning drug users to take extra care following reports of a particularly harmful batch of heroin circulating in the Llanelli area” said a Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson.

“We have reasons to believe some drugs being distributed and used in the Carmarthenshire area at present have been contaminated with other substances and could be extremely dangerous for anyone taking them.

“We would also appeal to drug users to seek medical attention immediately if they become unwell.

“Please share this information with anyone you believe could come into contact with these drugs.

”In an emergency or if you think someone’s life is at risk always dial 999.”

Earlier this week Barod, the drug and alcohol abuse service reported a dangerous and toxic heroin circulating in Pembroke Dock which a spokesperson described as being ‘potentially deadly’.

To comes as Public Health England issued a formal alert about the risks of heroin containing fentanyl or carfentanyl.

The warning reads: “There is significant evidence from a small number of post-mortem results of recent drug user deaths and from police seizures that some heroin may contain fentanyl or carfentanyl added by dealers.

“These are highly potent synthetic opioids and very small amounts can cause severe or even fatal toxicity.

“Those of you in contact with heroin users should be alert to the increased possibility of overdose arising from heroin cut with these synthetic opioids, be able to recognise possible symptoms of overdose and respond appropriately.”

The fentanyls are a group of synthetic opioids; some have legitimate uses while others are illicit drugs.

Fentanyl is about 100 times more potent than morphine and is a licensed medicine used to treat severe and terminal pain. Carfentanyl is 4,000 – 10,000 times more potent than morphine and principally used as an animal tranquilliser.

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Tenby’s famous walrus ‘Wally’ has been spotted again

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TENBY’S most famous marine animal has been spotted again after fears she had been scared away.

Wally was spotted on Friday evening by the seaside town’s Lifeboat station.

Thought to be a two-year-old male, the walrus’s return comes after it was feared she had been disturbed by people flocking to catch a glimpse of her and “getting too close”

The animal has attracted hundreds of people to the seaside town now that the travel restrictions with Wales have been lifted to coincide with the Easter school holidays.

Wally was last seen on Monday, but  members of the public were warned it was in the animal’s “best interests” to be “left alone” as much as possible and they were urged to “avoid the temptation to get near and disturb” her.

A joint statement was issued by the RSPCA, Tenby harbour master Chris Salisbury, Welsh Marine Life Rescue, Tenby lifeboat coxswain Phil John, British Divers Marine Life Rescue, Natural Resources Wales and CSIP Marine Environmental Rescue said that they were concerned to hear that people had tried to get close by using personal watercraft or paddle and surfboards.

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Police plan to deter badly behaved youths from gathering in Tenby

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POLICE in Tenby responded to community concerns over antisocial behaviour and groups of between 15-20 youths gathering and clashing over the Easter bank holiday weekend. They moved the youths on, seized alcohol from them and stopped matters escalating when there were clashes between the groups. And they have a clear message ahead of this weekend – there will be extra police patrols and presence in Tenby, including on the trains, so this type of behaviour won’t be tolerated.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers used powers under the Antisocial Behaviour Act to disperse groups of youngsters meeting to drink alcohol in and around Tenby, many of whom had travelled by train to the area to meet up.

Based on these scenes from last weekend, plans are in place as part of a joint operation with Pembrokeshire County Council licensing officers and British Transport Police, to address and prevent any further gatherings.

A Section 34 Order is in place covering Tenby, which allows officers to move people out of the area and prevent them from returning for up to 48 hours.

Sergeant Stuart Wheeler said: “Following last weekend we had some concern from the community of Tenby, due to antisocial behaviour related to the groups of youths from Pembroke, Pembroke Dock and Tenby, and subsequently those groups clashing. Alcohol consumption by these youngsters was a factor.

“Proactive action was taken, and we are keen to avoid a repeat of this behaviour this weekend, and have therefore put plans in place. Additional resources have been allocated, which will allow us to respond quickly and prevent matters from escalating.

“Tenby Neighbourhood Policing Team and response officers, will be carrying out high visibility patrols in the area, covering areas known to be popular with youngsters. Pembrokeshire County Council licensing officers will be assisting us in ensuring youngsters can’t buy alcohol in the area by visiting shops and reminding them of the laws around selling alcohol, and if they bring it with them it will be seized. And our colleagues in British Transport Police will be patrolling the train network to prevent problematic groups getting to Tenby by train.”

Police are also appealing to parents and carers to know where their children are, and what they are doing.

Sergeant Wheeler added: “We would like to appeal directly to parents to be aware of where their children are, and prevent them from gathering in large groups. This type of behaviour is distressing for people living and working in Tenby, and we are urging you to be accountable for your children’s actions.

“We understand that the past few months have been difficult, and that children want to see their friends, but remember that only 6 people from 2 households can meet outdoors still. Please do your best to ensure they are adhering to regulations that are in place for all our safety.”

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