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Police urge public to be aware of ‘romance fraud’

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LOVE might be in the air around Valentine’s Day, but Dyfed-Powys Police is urging people to be wary of who they meet on dating websites after saving potential victims from sending £52,000 to fraudsters.

The force’s Financial Crime Team has offered advice to people dating online to help stop their heart – and their finances – take a bruising.

Romance fraud is where fraudsters set up fake profiles to form relationships with unsuspecting people looking for a genuine partner on dating websites. They use the site to gain your trust and ask you for money or enough personal information to steal your identity.

Over the past six months, Dyfed-Powys Police has stopped people from being conned out of a total of £52,000 in romance fraud cases through the banking protocol – a scheme that sees bank staff trained in how to spot signs that a customer may be withdrawing cash to give to a scammer.

Since the scheme was set up, the force has been able to save people a total of £156,841 – with 33% of calls taken (or £52,000) connected to romance fraud.

Fraud investigator Dawn Jones said: “The majority of accounts on dating websites are genuine people, but sadly there are fraudsters who might try to contact you by making a fake profile, using a fictional name or taking on the identity of real trusted people, and building what feels like a loving relationship.

“Without wanting to sound cynical, what we’re asking people to bear in mind is that your perfect online partner might not be who they say they are.

“There are certain things fraudsters tend to do, which should set alarm bells ringing – for example they will express strong emotions within a short space of time.  They may ask you to move away from the app or website and use a more personal, private means of contact, such as email, instant messaging, or over the phone. They might even send you gifts and shower you with compliments to make you feel special.

“Once they’re confident that they’ve won your trust, they will pretend to confide in you and tell you about a fictional problem that they need money for – maybe for a sick relative, to pay taxes, or even to pay for flights to come and see you.  Whichever way they chose to ask for money you could end up losing a lot – and the money you send is almost impossible to recover.”

The force has offered advice to anyone using online dating sites:

  • Avoid giving away too many personal details when dating online – revealing your full name, date of birth and home address might leave to your identity being stolen.
  • Never send or receive money, or give away or bank details to someone you’ve only met online, no matter how much you trust them or believe their story.
  • Pick a reputable dating website and use the site’s messaging service. Fraudsters want to quickly switch to social media or texting so there’s no evidence of asking you for money.

If you become a victim of romance fraud, report it immediately to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, as well as to the dating site where you met, no matter how embarrassing you might think it is.

This could result in recovering your money (although this is unusual), and help others from becoming victims to the same person.

Dial 999 if you or someone else is in immediate danger or at risk of harm.

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Success for pupils on A-Level results day

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THE OVERALL Pembrokeshire pass rate at A-Level was 96.6% compared with the Wales national average of 97.4%.

Nationally there has been a slight decrease in the pass rate compared with last year.

The percentage of pupils gaining A* and A grades in Pembrokeshire was 20.2% compared to a Welsh average of 26.3%.

There has been a good improvement in the percentage of pupils achieving A* and A grades since last year in Ysgol Greenhill School at 24.3%, Sir Thomas Picton School at 24.7% and Tasker Milward School at 30.3%.

The overall Pembrokeshire pass rate at AS-Level this year was 85.2% compared to a national average of 90%.

Pembrokeshire County Council’s Director for Children and Schools, Kate Evan-Hughes, said: “Most of our students have achieved the outcomes they require to take the next steps in their journey whether that is university, apprenticeship or employment.

“It is good to see improvements being made in a number of our schools, particularly at the higher grades of A*/A in Tasker Milward, Sir Thomas Picton and Ysgol Greenhill School.

“We are pleased that the strategies to support the most able and talented learners continue to show good results.”

Councillor David Lloyd, Cabinet Member for Education, said: “We continue to work committedly with our schools to achieve better outcomes for learners in Pembrokeshire. We are confident of achieving this.

“It is especially reassuring to see successes in particular schools for our most able pupils. At the same time where there are weaknesses we will acknowledge them and dedicate bespoke resources to remedy them.

“In conclusion I would like to wish all students every success with their future ventures and thank the teaching staff for their ongoing commitment to our young people.”

SCHOOL A*-A A*-E
Ysgol Greenhill School 24.3 95.7
Milford Haven School 9.0 96.2
Pembroke School 11.0 99.0
Sir Thomas Picton School 24.7 95.8
Tasker Milward School 30.3 95.5
Ysgol Bro Gwaun 5.5 92.7
Ysgol Dewi Sant 13.0 98.6
Ysgol Y Preseli 24.8 97.9
Pembrokeshire (overall) 20.7 96.6
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Saundersfoot: Two elderly people allegedly assaulted

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POLICE are investigating an allegation of assault which occurred at approximately 10.30pm on Saturday, August 4.

Two elderly people were assaulted by a male. One of the victims required hospital treatment.

A 20-year-old male was quickly arrested in connection with the incident and has been released under investigation.

PC Corissa Smith said: “This was an isolated incident and officers quickly arrested a man. We are appealing for any witnesses to come forward.

“We are especially looking to speak to a female who may have had contact with the male suspect moments before the incident.

“She is described as being in her mid to late twenties, large build, with blonde hair and wearing dark clothing. She may have been with a smaller female friend.”

Anyone with information that can help officers with their investigation is asked to report it by calling 101. If you are Deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

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Haverfordwest: Lorry blocks Clay Lane

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A LORRY has blocked Clay Lane in Haverfordwest this morning (Aug 16) shortly before 9am.

Motorists reported a delay on the road and were forced to turn around.

Several large vehicles have blocked the road over the last year.

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