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Trecwn businessman ‘robbed Peter to pay Paul’

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A TRECWN businessman who ‘robbed Peter to pay Paul’ but also his wife and aunt has been made the subject of a suspended prison sentence.

Matthew Andrew Creed, aged 50, transferred £166,000 without telling the bank he owed more than £300,000 too.

His main company, Pembrokeshire Estates Ltd., later went under and after Natwest had sold the firm’s properties the bank was still owed £222,400.

Creed, of Ordnance House, was convicted after a trial of four offences under the Insolvency Act.

They were of making transfers of £114,000 to Gwaun Developments and £8,000 to AAA Management Ltd., two of his other companies,  £25,000 to Annette Marshall, his aunt, and £19,000 to Nicola Creed, his then wife.

The court heard that Pembrokeshire Estates suffered a fire at one of the firm’s properties. The firm received an insurance payout of £247,786 but Creed paid the money into a new Santander account Natwest were not aware of.

Creed secretly made the offending payments from that account leaving Pembrokeshire Estates in financial difficulties.

His barrister, Paul Hobson, said Creed had not spent the money on high living but in a desperate attempt to keep his businesses afloat.

He had always intended to repay mortgages taken out with Natwest and his dishonesty took place when both his businesses and his marriage were heading for the rocks.

Creed, he said, had been made bankrupt and had signed an agreement not to act as a company director before 2025.

Mr Hobson said Creed now had a job with an internet marketing company and earned £680 a month.

The Judge, Mr Recorder Peter Griffiths, told Creed he had robbed Peter to pay Paul and if he suspected he had spent creditors’ money because of personal greed he would be going to jail.

He told Creed, who arrived in court with a bag ready for jail, he had driven a coach and horses through the Insolvency Act but he accepted he had found himself in a desperate situation.

Creed was jailed for 12 months, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work for the community.

He was also ordered to contribute £1,000 at the rate of £100 a month to the costs of his prosecution.

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Milford Haven: Three residents win in Postcode Lottery

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THREE people in Milford Haven got a lovely surprise this morning (Jan 22) after waking up to the good news that their bank accounts will be boosted by £1,000 each, all thanks to their lucky postcode.

The Roebuck Close neighbours landed the lolly when SA73 1AS was announced as a Daily Prize winner with People’s Postcode Lottery.

People’s Postcode Lottery ambassador Judie McCourt sent her congratulations and said: “What a terrific Tuesday for our players in Milford Haven who have picked up a prize today! I hope they treat themselves to something special with the windfall.”

A minimum of 32% of ticket sales goes directly to charities and players of People’s Postcode Lottery have raised £382 million to date for 5,500 good causes across Great Britain and internationally.

Many good causes local to the winners have benefitted from the money raised, and the next opportunity to apply for funding will be on the 6th of February.

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Two men arrested following discovery of illegal slaughterhouse

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TWO men were arrested on Monday (Jan 21) after a multi-agency response to an illegal slaughterhouse in west Wales.

Police say that live animals were found living amongst carcasses.

As the investigation is ongoing, police have refused to comment where exactly the site of the illegal slaughterhouse was discovered.

Warning: Shocking image below.

A spokesperson for Dyfed-Powys Police’s Rural Crime Team said: “Rural Crime team attended a call with multi-agencies to a report of an illegal slaughterhouse in West Wales.

“Live animals found amongst carcasses.

“Two males were arrested and enquiries are ongoing.

“At this early stage of the investigation we are not prepared to release further information.”

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Llangwm: Solicitor jailed for six years for £1m fraud

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A PEMBROKESHIRE solicitor who overcharged clients by almost £1m has been jailed this week for six years.

Edgar Stephen Thomas, aged 58, charged one client at the rate of £20,000 a week without doing any work at all.

Another was charged at £12,000 a week and went on to lose a total of £100,000.

Thomas, of Stephen’s Green, Deerland Road, Llangwm, admitted 23 offences of fraud and theft, which stopped only when his firm of Steve Thomas and Co was closed down by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority.

Jim Davis, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court that Thomas got away with the frauds by deducting monies from the estates of deceased people without telling the beneficiaries.

“He grossly overcharged and then deducted the payments directly from the estates of deceased people,” he said.

“He helped himself without telling them what he was doing.”

The overcharging began in 2005 when he was asked to handle the estate of Richard James Rogers. He charged the estate £41,800 plus VAT but internal documents showed that as the work decreased his bills increased.

Thomas agreed overcharging that estate by £12,000.

Thomas went on to plunder many more accounts.

The most outrageous example, said Mr Davies, related to the estate of Audrey Williams, who died in 2013.

Thomas charged £127,250 plus VAT, sometimes raising–but not posting–two invoices a day. He agreed he had overcharged by £100,000.

Mr Davis said Thomas’ offending did not stop there. His firm was hired by Vaughan’s Radio, an electrical store in Haverfordwest, to handle the purchase of a business in Aberystwyth.

Thomas simply kept for himself £50,000 of the purchase price.

Mr Davis said Thomas had worked for Eaton Evans in Haverfordwest, rising to becoming a partner, before leaving to form his own firm in 2005.

His accounts had to be audited and as a result the SRA were alerted to fears that he was overcharging.

A detailed forensic examination of his accounts was carried out and the fears were confirmed, along with the discovery of a shortfall in his client’s accounts of £144,326.

There was then an administrative error at the SRA and the initial report was not acted upon until June 2014, when a second financial investigation revealed more fraud and he was later struck off.

In February 2015 Thomas was declared bankrupt.

Mr Davis said the SRA had reimbursed those who had lost because of Thomas’ fraudulent behaviour, but there remained the question of costs and whether he could be made to repay any of the money. An investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act is underway.

Thomas’ barrister, Ian Ibrahim, said his client was now broke and all the money had gone on keeping his business afloat.

“His fall from a high place has been dramatic. His remorse is complete and utterly without qualification.

“He has lost everything and knows that he will go to jail today.”

Judge Keith Thomas said those who worked in the legal profession had to demonstrate the highest level of integrity because the public put trust in them, sometimes at the most stressful times of their life.

“Your victims have described your behaviour as disgusting and despicable.

“You were struck off in 2016 and have had to wait a long time for the process to be complete, but that is partly because you were not willing to admit the extent of your offending,” he added.

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