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Pembroke Dock: One of the longest running benefits fraud cases ever

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A PEMBROKE DOCK man has been jailed today for one of the longest running benefits fraud cases a court had ever heard of.

Andrew Johnstone, aged 66, admitted fiddling £121,874 from Pembrokeshire County Council and the Department for Work and Pensions.
Johnstone, of Front Street, got away with the fraud for 13 years by pretending he was living alone when in fact he was co-habiting with Marylyn Katra.
Laura Shepherd,  prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court that Johnstone’s claims for income support, housing benefit and council tax relief had been fraudulent from the outset.
She said it began in February, 2003, and did not stop until he was found out in August, 2016.
During that period, she added, he had been required to notify both bodies of any changes in his circumstances that might affect his entitlement to benefits.
Not only did he fail to do that but in December, 2011, on reaching the age of 60, Johnstone tried to escalate the fraud by applying for pension credit by again claiming he was living alone and unable to work.
Johnstone admitted four offences of fraud.
His barrister, David Williams, said it was accepted that Johnstone’s claims had been false from day one and that only a prison sentence could follow because of the amount of money involved.
And it was also accepted that he continued the frauds after receiving a suspended prison sentence for the theft of money.
Mr Williams said Johnstone’s health had deteriorated because of stress since an incident when, as the manager of a public house, someone put the barrel of a shotgun into his mouth.
“He has made two serious attempts on his life,” added Mr Williams.
Judge Peter Heywood said the courts always took seriously offending that involved the public purse.
“Public services in this country have been under considerable threat for the last ten years.  Those who are entitled to benefits can find difficulties in receiving them.
“The length of these frauds aggravates the situation,” he added.
Johnstone was jailed for 14 months with an additional six months for breaching the suspended sentence imposed in March, 2016.

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Meet the Pembrokeshire Mower Doctor

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A NEW Pembrokeshire business is proving to be an inspiration for young people after its recent launch.

The Pembrokeshire Mower Doctor is the brainchild of Ewan Griffiths, who turned his dream into reality thanks to the advice and support of Cam Nesa.

The project aims to reduce the number of young people aged 16-24 who are not in education, training or employment.

Before signing up to Cam Nesa, Ewan was out of work and struggling for direction, and anxiety was preventing him from maximising his potential.

Throughout his journey with Cam Nesa, Ewan worked closely with youth worker Donna Wright to devise a plan that provided support and guidance to improve his confidence and self-esteem, and provide mechanisms for coping with anxiety.

In addition, the project provided Ewan with opportunities to gain qualifications and obtain information that would help him with starting his own business.

Ewan’s message to other young people is simple, “If you find yourself struggling, there is help.”

“Cam Nesa supported me in all aspects of my plan, and working with Donna was fantastic.”

“I would definitely encourage others to reach out for support.”

Donna Wright, who supported Ewan throughout his Cam Nesa journey, said that the launch of his new business is a great source of pride for Cam Nesa and Pembrokeshire Youth Service.

“Ewan has come on leaps and bounds, and it was his engagement and determination that has made his outcome with Cam Nesa so successful and inspiring”, she said.

“Congratulations Ewan on your achievements, and we all wish you good luck with your new business.”

The Pembrokeshire Mower Doctor provides repairs and servicing for mowers, strimmers, hedge cutters, and most agricultural engines, with the mobile service providing collection and returns.

For more information, search ‘Pembrokeshire Mower Doctor’ on Facebook.

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Milford Haven: Mount estate death not being treated as suspicious say police

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POLICE have confirmed that following a welfare visit to a property in Mount Estate, they discovered a male occupant, in his 30’s, in need of medical help.

Despite the best efforts of medical staff he sadly passed away on Sunday.

A spokesperson for the police confirmed to The Pembrokeshire Herald: “Dyfed-Powys Police attended a property at the Mount Estate, Milford Haven on Friday 30th April 2021, following a report of concern for the welfare of the occupier.

“A male was taken to hospital where he died on Sunday 2nd May 2021.

“The death is not being treated as suspicious.”

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Polling station changes in Pembrokeshire

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POLLING STATIONS in Pembrokeshire are open today (May 6) but a small number may have changed from the last time you voted.

In Neyland, the polling station will be at the new Community Hub building on John Street.

St Katherine’s Church Hall will be the new host for the station in Milford Haven, having previously been held at the Murray Suite in the town hall.

A polling station will be placed at the leisure centre in Haverfordwest while one at Trecwn has been moved to the Gate, Scleddau.

Voters in the county will be electing for the Preseli Pembrokeshire and the Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire constituencies.

People will also be able to select five MSs to represent the Mid and West Wales Region.

The candidate with the most votes will win the constituency but the ballot for the region will be decided by a different process.

People will be elected according to their share of the vote, using a mathematical process, and gives parties who may have won fewer or no constituencies a better chance of winning regional ones.

It will also be a big day for 16 and 17 year olds as they will be able to vote in Welsh elections for the first time.

The ballots will be counted on Friday (May 7) with results expected to come in from the afternoon.

Polling stations opened at 7am and will close at 10pm.

All those who vote will be required to stick to Covid-19 safety measures including wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing.

Clean pencils will be available but voters can bring their own pen or pencil.

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