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Stay vigilant as more heavy rain expected say Natural Resources Wales

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NATURAL RESOURCES WALES is reminding people to stay vigilant as heavy rain will continue to affect parts South Wales, and in particular Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire on Friday (9 November).

Significant river and further surface water flooding impacts are likely in West Wales as heavy rain is forecast to fall this afternoon on already saturated ground, which could lead to some localised flooding and disruption to travel.

Pembrokeshire was worst hit on Thursday (8 November) as the amount of rain combined with leaves and other debris blocking drains causing flooding of road surfaces and properties.

The Mid and West Wales Fire Service crews were called to action to flooded properties, and some businesses and garages were inundated by flood water across the county. Pumps were used in Lower Priory, Milford Haven try to reduce the level of the pill below Lower Priory during the high tide, and Fire Service and Police were on hand to assist residents affected by flooding.

NRW has issued four flood warnings for the Haverfordwest and Solva areas, and these remain in force.

Officers from NRW will be monitoring forecasts closely and may issue further warnings, and teams are continuing to check that flood defences are in good working order and that rivers are clear of debris which could restrict river flows.

People are advised to take care near fast-flowing and swollen rivers and not to drive through flood water.

Andrea Winterton, NRW’s Duty Tactical Manager for South West Wales, said:

“We’re asking people to take care and regularly view our flood alerts and warnings, updated every 15 minutes on our live flood warning map available on our website.

“With more wet weather forecast it is also advisable to check local weather reports and news for any disruption in your area and leave extra time for journeys.

“If you want to find out if you are at risk of flooding or want to sign up for our free Flood Warning Service, please visit our website or call Floodline on 0345 988 1188.”

Pembrokeshire County Council has also warned property owners in Haverfordwest to be prepared for the possibility of more flooding tonight.

A council spokesperson said: “Predicted heavy rainfall this afternoon and evening is expected to significantly increase the level of the River Cleddau running through the town.

“Quay Street and the Riverside – including County Hall – are expected to be most at risk along with Prospect Place and properties in the vicinity of Cartlett Brook.

“Four flood warnings are currently in place in Pembrokeshire at Solva and nearby Middle Mill and for the Western Cleddau at Merlins Bridge and Riverside, Haverfordwest.

“Last night six cottages near the Havenshead retail park in Milford Haven were evacuated due to flooding as were four properties at Lower Priory on the outskirts of the town.

“The town’s library on the retail park is closed today and other businesses nearby have been advised of the risk of further flooding. Pembroke library is also closed today.

“For further flooding updates.”

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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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