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Pressure brought to bear on Bryn witness

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County Hall: News of Simpson's departure from cabinet a shock to many

County Hall

THE PEMBROKESHIRE HERALD can reveal that Peter Morgan has discovered that pressure has more than one face and comes in more than one form over recent weeks.

On Saturday morning (Sept 27), after we published an article on-line based in part on a phone call that took place on Friday evening (Sept 26), Peter Morgan was contacted by members of the IPPG leadership. In those calls, Cllr Morgan was berated over his comments expressing support of David Simpson and those telling how pressure had been applied to him regarding the appearance he was then still due to make before the committee investigating allegations against the council’s CEO Bryn Parry-Jones.

When we spoke to Peter Morgan on Friday he told us: “I don’t do pressure.”

A member of the ruling group on Pembrokeshire County Council, Peter experienced pressure back in February. Having walked out of a meeting of the full council because he believed he had expressed a public opinion prejudging the issue to be debated (the future of Bryn Parry Jones), Peter – and Keith Lewis – were ordered back into the meeting by Deputy Chief Executive Ben Pykett as nobody had followed the pair on their trek to the moral high ground, and the IPPG might have lost the vote.

Quite what Mr Pykett thought he was doing interfering in the political activities of the council and the actions of its members is anyone’s guess.

After a subsequent council meeting, Peter Morgan was one of two councillors summoned to the presence of Chief Executive Bryn Parry-Jones and berated about voting against his personal interest in a vote.

Last Thursday, Peter spoke with his friend David Simpson. He told David about phone calls he had received and pressure that had been applied to him by members of the council’s leadership about evidence he was due to give about that incident.

Cllr Simpson was appalled by what his friend told him. He decided to resign as a result of what he had heard about the actions of Cllr Rob Lewis is seeking to influence Peter’s appearance before the investigatory committee.

Thankfully, due to the fact the editor’s office was locked on Friday evening when our chief writer was working on the report of Cllr Simpson’s resignation from the Cabinet and IPPG, he had to phone Cllr Morgan from The Pembrokeshire Herald’s sales room. In common with virtually all telesales rooms, calls made on the sales system are recorded.

On Monday (Sept 29), the same writer bumped into Peter Morgan outside Committee Room 2.

In the presence of another councillor, Cllr Morgan told him of the reaction to our online article. Phone calls had taken place on Saturday morning and Cllr Morgan left little doubt as to what those phone calls had been like and who had made them.

And after that Peter Morgan gave his evidence to the investigatory committee.

We cannot know what was said in private, but we can report the reaction to it.

After Cllr Morgan had finished his evidence he left Committee Room 2 with his fellow councillor and witness Mark Edwards. Shortly afterwards they were followed out by their friend and colleague David Simpson.

As it does not relate to evidence that was heard in Committee Room 2, we can safely report that whatever Cllr Morgan had told the Committee had caused Cllr Simpson to “have a face like thunder.”

Councillor Simpson asked Peter Morgan about elements of his evidence that varied sharply both from what he had said at Councillor Simpson’s home the previous Thursday and what he had told our reporter the following evening.

Councillor Morgan referred to the pressure put on him by – amongst others – Council Leader Jamie Adams. Jamie had told Peter that what he had said could mean the end of the Independent Group’s control of the County Council.

While this exchange took place the committee was in recess, and Cllr Mike Stoddart, then a member of the committee happened upon the scene. David Simpson left to fetch Keith Lewis, the Committee Chair so he could tell the chair the truth about what had happened.

Cllr Lewis reconvened the meeting to hear afresh from Cllr Morgan, only to find that – as he had once done on the rugby pitch – he had given his markers the slip and made a run for it.

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Vulnerable man targeted by rogue trader

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A ROGUE trader has been ordered to pay almost £2,000 by a court after carrying out shocking DIY work for a vulnerable Jameston man.

Pembrokeshire Trading Standards prosecuted 20-year-old Douggie James Whitbread who traded as Wales and West Property Solution.

Haverfordwest Magistrates were told on Friday (Oct 23) that a joint investigation with Dyfed-Powys Police discovered that Whitbread of 8 Coldwell Terrace, Pembroke, first approached the 66-year-old victim in the summer of 2019.

After agreeing to cut the man’s grass, Whitbread made regular accompanied visits looking for other jobs and pressurising the pensioner to have them done.

The victim did not know him as Douggie Whitbread as the defendant gave a false name.

Whitbread offered to fit new floor lino in the toilet and small adjoining passageway of the victim’s home, saying he would do a good job. Instead, the court heard, he and a fellow worker spent less than an hour and charged £300.

The standard of the work was shocking and showed Whitbread’s inept ability. Jagged edges and numerous gaps were left where it had not been fitted correctly, exposing the existing floor underneath.

Despite there being enough lino on the two metre by two metre roll, Whitbread told the victim he needed more to finish the job.

A few weeks later the victim was approached by Whitbread at a bus stop near his home. He said he would return the next day to finish the work and that he wanted another £300.

The victim informed a neighbour and Pembrokeshire County Council’s Trading Standards team and when Whitbread returned he was arrested by police.

Whitbread was also questioned about another incident involving hedge-cutting for an elderly lady and admitted taking away the waste as advertised on his business flyer. However, he did not hold a Waste Carrier Licence at the time.

Whitbread admitted four offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. These were: carrying out work not fit for purpose; trading without professional diligence; omitting to give required information for doorstep contracts and advertising and conducting waste removal services when not licensed.

A £200 fine was imposed for each offence together with £1,000 costs plus a £110 victim surcharge. A compensation order for £300 was also awarded to the victim and a restraining order imposed prohibiting Whitbread from approaching the pensioner indefinitely.

“I am appalled by the standard of work and how this vulnerable gentleman has been hounded and taken advantage of” said Sandra McSparron, Lead Trading Standards Officer. She added that the incidents had left the victim anxious and unwell.

The County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Protection, Cris Tomos, said: “This court case sends a clear warning to rogue traders that targeting the elderly and vulnerable for financial gain will not be tolerated. We will pursue and prosecute all those who commit such despicable crimes.”

Councillor Tomos also said the case showed the great community spirit of Jameston residents looking out for one another and was a fine example of successful partnership work between the police and Trading Standards.

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Drug driver arrested in Milford Haven after driving through stop sign and into roadworks

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A DRUG driver who drove through a stretch of roadworks on the wrong side of the road, before hitting a parked car and trying to hide from police has appeared in court.

Christopher John Brown led Dyfed-Powys Police officers on a pursuit through Milford Haven on Friday afternoon (October 23), putting pedestrians and other road users at risk.

Pembrokeshire Roads Policing Unit have thanked people for their help in tracing the 31-year-old, of Meyler Crescent, after the manner of his driving became so dangerous they could no longer follow him.

A Roads Policing Officer had attempted to stop Brown at around 1pm when he was seen driving out of The Mount estate at speed.

However, he failed to stop when requested and sped away in his BMW.

As police followed, Brown drove on the wrong side of the road, overtook a number of cars waiting at roadworks, and drove through a stop sign, forcing an off duty officer to take evasive action as the defendant drove towards him.

Police deemed the danger level too high to continue the pursuit when Brown drove through a coned area of roadworks where there were a number of people working.

At this point, members of the public pointed out to officers which direction he had driven in.

Brown went on to collide with a parked car, before getting out of his vehicle and attempting to hide behind another. He was found by a PC, who arrested him on suspicion of dangerous driving and administered a drug wipe.

A Pembrokeshire RPU spokesman said: “This was a highly dangerous incident, during which Brown put a number of people’s lives at risk.

“Driving through a stop sign and into a coned area of roadworks was simply beyond comprehension, and could have had a tragic outcome.

“As we decided to end the pursuit, we were assisted by a number of people, and the team would like to thank members of the public in Milford Haven for their help in tracing Brown.

“Your support is greatly appreciated.”

Brown was charged with dangerous driving, driving with no insurance, driving while disqualified, failing to stop when requested by police, and possession of cannabis.

His vehicle, which had no insurance, tax or mot, was also seized.

He was remanded to appear in front of the next available court, and admitted all five offences at Swansea Magistrates’ Court on Saturday, October 24. He also pleaded guilty to an additional charge of driving whilst unfit through drugs, which was laid on at court.

He will be sentenced at Swansea Crown Court on November 16.

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Five arrested in connection with large cannabis grow in Whitland

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FIVE people have been arrested in connection with the discovery of a large amount of cannabis in Carmarthenshire.

Dyfed-Powys Police carried out a warrant under the Misuse of Drugs Act at an address in Whitland, on the morning of Friday, October 23.

Officers found a significant number of mature cannabis plants, with a sophisticated hydroponics set-up, numerous bags of cannabis bud, and cannabis resin.

Police seized electronic devices, several thousands of pounds in cash and silver bars, as well as vehicles under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Five people – a 58-year-old woman and four men aged 28, 30, 60 and 61 – were arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the production of cannabis, and possession with intent to supply.

They have been bailed with conditions pending further enquiries.

Detective Inspector Rhys Jones said: “This is an example of excellent collaborative work between a number of different departments in the force, which has taken a significant amount of drugs off the streets.

“As our investigation into this cannabis cultivation continues, we ask anyone with information that could help enquiries to please get in touch.

“We urge anyone with information about suspicious or unusual activity in rural areas report it to us, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously.”

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