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Debt worries led to petrol station theft



Bush Hill Station: Image by Mike Hillen

Bush Hill Station: Image by Mike Hillen

WHEN a member of staff at Bush Hill Service Station in Pembroke arrived to open the business at 6am on a Monday morning, he did not expect to find the door already unlocked, and the alarm system deactivated, a court heard this week (Nov 4). That, according to the prosecutor, led the management of the premises to discover that £3102.21 was missing from the safe, and to the arrest hours later of staff member Stuart Daniel Batley. Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Court heard how a quick review of petrol station’s sixteen camera CCTV system, which had been unplugged, revealed that Batley had turned up at 4.55am; just over an hour before opening time. It became evident that Batley had switched off the cameras but did not manage to erase the part of the video where he entered the premises. Prosecutor Ellie Morgan said: “There are nine members of staff working at the petrol station. Four have keys to the front door. The defendant is one of them. Owner Darren Briggs had explained to the police that he recognised that it was Batley on the CCTV. Police attended Batley’s home address at around 12pm on the same day, but he was not it. Fifteen minutes later he was seen by officers walking towards his house with his child in a pram.”

I’M NoT GUILTY “Batley admitted to officers there and then that he had stolen the money and thrown it into a hedge. He reportedly said to police: ‘I’m not a thief so I don’t know why I did it. To be honest I was not thinking anything, I really wasn’t thinking anything at all.’ Morgan continued: “ The police went to the location and recovered £1935.00 which was still in three money bags. The defendant was then arrested, strip searched and interviewed. Police were mindful that not all the cash had been recovered and asked for an explanation. During questioning Batley said that he had ‘just remembered’ that he had thrown a balaclava and gloves under a construction container in Clare Walk near his home. There police discovered another £650, but there was still a short fall of £517.21, so there will be a claim for compensation in that amount.”

DEBT WORRIES Duty solicitor Matthew Raggett told the bench that Batley was in a large amount of debt with council tax, phone bills and loans: “His total indebtedness was between £60,000 and £70,000. He was now getting demands from bailiffs and was unable to sleep worrying that they would take everything” he said. Mr Raggett added: “Normally Stuart Batley is a right-minded person. He is now at a loss as to his reasoning behind doing this. When he got a call from his wife, to say that the police were at the house, he asked his wife to wait upstairs. He was too ashamed to let his wife know what had happened. He is, your worships, of previously good character. Clearly this is a gross breach of trust. Loans which were taken out in his name by other family members have added to his debts.” After retiring for a lengthy period of deliberation, the bench decided not to send the case to Crown Court, but asked for probation reports to be prepared before passing sentence.

KNEE JERK REACTION Speaking after a brief adjournment, probation officer, Julie Norman said: “Batley’s father took out loans in his name, and this has only come to light in the last few years. It’s all got a bit too much for him – the theft was a knee jerk reaction. He now is expressing extreme remorse and is frightened that he will receive a custodial sentence. He has a wife and two children, and is now taking medication for his emotional wellbeing. I am going to recommend a supervision order today with a high level community order. Batley is also suffering from a medical condition – the discs are crumbling in his spine. Magistrates deliberated and said: “We are not going to send you to prison on this occasion. You have shown remorse. You are of previous clean character. In the circumstances, we do realise that you have problems that you have to deal with.” Batley was given a community order with 12 months supervision. He will have to undertake 80 hours of unpaid work. He was ordered to pay a victim charge of £60 and compensation of £517.21 to cover the missing money at £5 per week starting in a months’ time.

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Pembroke Dock: Two in hospital following Fort Road car accident



EMERGENCY SERVICES dealt with what has been described by a witness as a “horrific car accident” in the Pembroke Dock area on Wednesday night (Jun 12).

A 23-year-old woman, driving a black BMW, travelled down Fort Road at speed, hit a low wall, catapulting the vehicle some considerable distance across a picnic area. The vehicle ended up irreparably damaged on the beach – which was luckily not in use at the time – landing next to the old Cambridge Gun Tower.

No other vehicles seem to have been involved, police said.

The driver has been arrested but remains in hospital, one passenger is in a critical but stable condition, in Cardiff, and a second passenger sustained only minor injuries.

A spokesperson for Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We were called at 10.45pm on Wednesday night (Jun 23), to reports of a road traffic accident near the Fort Road car park in Pembroke Dock.

“We attended the scene with one rapid response vehicle, two emergency ambulances and our Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service.

“Two people were taken to University Hospital Wales, Cardiff for further treatment.”

The police are appealing in the media for information following the crash.

An official statement from the police reads as follows: “We were called to Fort Road, Pembroke Dock, at around 10.45pm on Wednesday night to reports of a single-vehicle collision. Ambulance and fire service also attended.

“A 19-year-old man was taken to the Heath Hospital in Cardiff and remains in a critical but stable condition.

“A second passenger attended hospital for minor injuries but has since been discharged. A 23-year-old woman was arrested, and currently remains in hospital.

“Anyone who witnessed the collision but who has not yet spoken to us should get in touch by emailing, visiting our website, or calling 101.

UPDATE: 24.06.2021, 15:47HRS

On Thursday (Jun 24) said that the female who was arrested was de-arrested because of the need for medical treatment, and is “no longer under arrest at this time.”

The police also added that their investigation was “still active”.

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Pembrokeshire call handler helps deliver Llanelli couple’s new baby



A 999 CALL HANDLER from Pembrokeshire has helped deliver a Llanelli couple’s baby.

Father-of-two Chris Bassett, from Hook, answered the call from the Trust’s Clinical Contact Centre in Carmarthen, and whose instructions on loudspeaker enabled the pair to deliver their 8lb 1oz new arrival safely.

Thanks to Chris, Troy Smith, 34, and partner Abigail Jones, 33, delivered baby Arabella Dilys Smith in the bedroom of their Llanelli home.

Troy said: “I’ve never felt adrenaline like it but I knew I had to focus on the situation for Abigail and the baby’s sake.

“It all happened so quickly, but Chris’ voice on the other end of the phone kept us calm.”

Abigail, a teacher at Ysgol Carreg Hir in Briton Ferry, went into labour at around 10.00pm on Thursday, June 3, and made a trip to hospital, where nurses confirmed she was in the early stages.

The couple returned to their Pwll home, but their soon-to-be daughter had other ideas.

Troy said: “At around 4.30am, Abigail developed a lot of pain and said she had an urge to push.

“I thought, ‘Right, this is happening’ and phoned an ambulance because I knew I’d be delivering the baby right there and then.”

It was Chris, a former RAF Aerospace Systems Operator, who picked up the call in the early hours of Friday, June 4.

The 29-year-old, who has been with the Welsh Ambulance Service for 18 months, said: “As soon as I answered the call, it was obvious that Troy and Abigail were in distress, as anyone would be in that situation.

“The priority was to get Abigail in a comfortable position to deliver the baby safely.

“For me, it was about giving them clear instructions while trying to keep them both calm.”

Troy added: “I just did what came naturally. When you’re in that situation, you just do it.

“As soon as Arabella came, I felt this wave of relief and I just couldn’t believe how gorgeous she was.

“Chris was so professional and handled the situation really well.

“He gave us all the information and kept us calm.”

Ambulance crews arrived soon after, and took Abigail to Carmarthen’s Glangwili General Hospital, where she was treated for shock before being discharged the following day.

Abigail said: “The whole thing was petrifying because I just never expected to be having the baby at home, but we’re so grateful to Chris for helping us to deliver Arabella safely.”

Chris added: “In your role as a 999 call handler, you’re helping people in their darkest hour, but I’m just glad this call had a happy ending.

“This is the third baby I’ve helped to deliver during my time at the ambulance service, but the first one I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.”

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Covid causes partial school closure at Haverfordwest High VC



A PARTIAL school closure is in force today at Haverfordwest High VC school after a pupil in year 9 has tested positive for coronavirus.

All students in year 9 must stay at home , isolate and await further instruction while the school completes all of the necessary Track and Trace processes.

In a statement released by the school, they said: “We have been informed that a Year 9 pupil has tested positive for COVID-19.

“We wish them a speedy recovery.

“As a precautionary measure and to enable us to complete all of the necessary Track and Trace processes, the school will be closed to Year 9 Pupils today.

“The school remains open to all other year groups.

“Until further notice, Year 9 students should stay at home and isolate until further instructions are given. Lessons for all other year groups will continue as usual. Unless your child is in Year 9 they should attend school.”

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