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St Florence land fraud woman jailed

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Swansea Crown Court

Swansea Crown Court

A WOMAN who fraudulently sold land in west Wales to unsuspecting holidaymakers has been jailed for three years this afternoon (Feb 13).

Carolyn Jane Henderson, aged 50, pretended “for years and years” that land at two locations could be used for new homes, log cabins, caravans and tents.

But planning permission had not been granted and Henderson had not even bothered applying for any.

Swansea Crown Court heard how Henderson netted £159,000 before she was arrested. She was now bankrupt and there was no prospect of her paying back any of the money.

Henderson, more recently of Beynons Court, Tavernspite near Whitland, had admitted five offences of fraud by falsely representing between 2010 and 2011 that land for sale at Briar Paddock, St Florence, could be used for caravanning and camping.

The victims were David Harries, Diane Morgan, Paul Stewart, Glyn Coward and John Boswell.

Henderson also admitted possessing an article for use in fraud, a “document of truth” purportedly signed by a C Hastings.

She also admitted between 2005 and 2006 fraudulently obtaining a money order for £15,000 from Roland Evans by claiming that land at Hafod Wen, Llanteg, was suitable for planning permission and that if permission was not granted she would return the money.

Henderson also pleaded guilty to advertising land at Hafod Wen for sale while falsely claiming it was suitable for caravanning and camping.

During an earlier hearing, Henderson’s sister, Amanda Victoria Henderson, aged 42, of Hafod Wen, had denied four charges of fraud relating to land at Hafod Wen. The pleas were accepted and she was discharged after the judge had entered formal verdicts of not guilty.

Huw Rees, prosecuting, said Carolyn Henderson had lived at Hafod Wen with her sister but they had run into difficulties keeping up with mortgage repayments.

Carolyn Henderson began advertising for sale parcels of land at Hafod Wen, where the sisters had five acres of agricultural land, as suitable for caravans and tents. Buyers were duped by an offer by Henderson to buy back the land within three years should there be difficulty with planning issues.

Mr Rees said Henderson went on to carry out similar frauds at Briar Paddock, this time advertising the plots as suitable for houses or log cabins even though she didn’t even own the land.

Mr Rees said Henderson managed to achieve several sales, one alone for £25,000, before getting round to actually buying the land from Anne Marie Wilkinson for £53,000.

He said Henderson made £52,900 out of Hafod Wen and £94,500 from Briar Paddock.

Mr Rees said Henderson, apparently acting on behalf of Hafod Wen Organics, went on to commission a company to drill a water hole on land she owned at Wolves Newton, near Usk. But she refused to pay the £8,500 bill and, in an effort to avoid making payment, forged an invoice from another company in a bid to make it look as if they had carried out the work.

She admitted possessing an article in the use of fraud.

Mr Rees told a packed court room that Henderson’s previous convictions included one for the fraudulent importation of goods and for obtaining property by deception.

Her barrister, Nathanial Wade, said Henderson suffered from complex health issues, both physical and mental, and would find a prison sentence very difficult.

“Many people would like to see her punished, understandably so. She would like to repay them but cannot.

“She is now bankrupt and living in social housing. Hafod Wen has been sold or is about to be sold,” he added.

Judge Huw Davies said Henderson has been “cunning, bold, calculated and persistent” in her offending.

“You knew there was no prospect of getting planning permission because you had already had brushes with the planning authority.”

Judge Davies said many of Henderson’s victims had lost money they would not be able to replace.

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Cyclist killed on A40 was serving police officer, force confirms

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A CYCLIST who died after a crash with a van on the A40 in Carmarthenshire was a serving police officer with Dyfed-Powys Police, the force has confirmed in a statement to Herald.Wales.

The driver of the van involved in the crash, which happened on Thursday (Feb 25) has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, it was confirmed on Friday (Feb 26).

Police are investigating the fatal collision, which caused the road to be closed for 12 hours, and are asking for any witnesses to come forward by calling 101.

37-year-old Lynwen Thomas, who is a former student at Ysgol Bro Myrddin, Croes-y-Ceiliog, Carmarthen, was a sergeant and a very well-respected member of Dyfed-Powys Police.

A spokesperson for the police said in a statement: “Our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues, who have all been offered specialist support. We ask that family members are given the privacy they need at this difficult time.”

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Pembrokeshire residents urged to take a virtual GP consultation when offered

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PEMBROKESHIRE residents are being urged to take up the offer of a virtual consultation, over the phone or video call with their GP, to help Keep Wales Safe during the current lockdown ‘stay at home’ restrictions.

The way we access local NHS services is changing, with more ways in which you can consult your doctor or nurse. Most surgeries now offer telephone as well as electronic advice consultations in the first instance. Following your advice call, a face to face appointment may be organised, but video consultations are also available. You can now speak to a doctor or healthcare professional using the video camera in your smartphone, tablet or computer and a connection to the internet. This is often more convenient and can save you time, as you will not need to travel for a face-to-face appointment. The system used is confidential and secure.

In a recent YouGov survey carried out for the Welsh Government’s Keep Wales Safe campaign only 27% of residents in Mid and West Wales had made use of the GP virtual service over the past 12 months with just 57% having heard of the service. However, 88% believed it was important to have access to a remote GP consultation once they had learnt of its existence.

Jill Paterson, Director of Primary Care, Community and Long Term Care at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “If you are offered a video consultation appointment this is because your Health Care Professional has indicated that is it safe and appropriate to do so. Your video appointment will be confidential and will not be recorded. If you require support please contact your GP surgery using the number provided in the appointment confirmation.”

She continued: “By putting off small problems or regular appointments you could potentially be putting more strain on NHS emergency services so please, help us to help you, do not put anything off. Local GP surgeries are open and are there to offer medical advice and consult patients.”

After being offered a video consultation you will be sent a letter, email or text with details of your appointment. This communication will contain details of the service that has requested to see you by video and have provided a web address link. You can type or copy the web address link into a web browser via an internet enabled device and this will take you to the video clinic waiting area.

  • In order to access your virtual appointment, you will need:
  • Access to a device that will allow you to access the internet. You should use Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge web browser on a desktop or laptop, or on an Android tablet or smartphone or Safari web browser on an Apple iMac, MacBook, iPad, or iPhone.
  • Your device will need a webcam (camera), speakers and microphone.
  • A good internet connection (if you can watch a YouTube video, this is good indication that you have a good connection).
  • An internet usage plan that is sufficient to cover the data consumption of a video call – ideally use a Wi-Fi connection if you have this available.

Sixty two percent of those surveyed by YouGov in Mid and West Wales said they will continue to access NHS services using the new ways that have been introduced as a result of the pandemic. The new methods include making more use of pharmacists; virtual GP consultations and using the NHS 111 online and telephone services.

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‘Cautious optimism’ for county’s tourism sector – but clarity still needed

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‘GIVE us clarity’ is the overriding message from the County’s tourism and hospitality businesses as the sector looks forward with cautious optimism to another busy season.

In a meeting hosted by Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb, thirty key local businesses were able to share their views with Paul Davies MS, Pembrokeshire County Council, the National Park and Visit Pembrokeshire.

The meeting focussed on the need for business support measures so long as uncertainty remains over the timetable for re-opening the economy in Wales.

Stephen Crabb said: “There is a lot of belief around that this summer will see another ‘staycation’ boom so long as the vaccination programme continues to make good progress and infection rates fall. Pembrokeshire has had a lot of national media coverage in recent months and could experience a bumper season but it’s crucial we get the re-opening right. There is a clear need for some kind of timetable to help businesses prepare appropriately and for clear rules to avoid confusion and contradictory messages.”

Paul Davies said: “It was a pleasure to hear from tourism businesses across Pembrokeshire about some of the challenges that they’re currently facing. The message was pretty clear – they want clarity from the Welsh Government and some timescales by which they can start to plan for reopening. I’ll certainly be taking back the concerns highlighted during the meeting and raising them with Welsh Government Ministers at the Senedd.”

Emma Thornton from Visit Pembrokeshire added: “Great to attend the Hospitality and Tourism Round table event today and to have the opportunity to discuss the ongoing challenges our industry faces over the coming months but also to share a collective optimism for what we believe will be a really strong year for tourism in Pembrokeshire when we are able to reopen and welcome our visitors back.

“Visit Pembrokeshire as the new Destination Management (DMO) for Pembrokeshire will be working closely with local stakeholders and businesses to help realise this opportunity in a sustainable and responsible way mindful of protecting what makes our beautiful county so special”

Stephen Crabb: Wants clarity for tourism businesses

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