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Car drifter’s ‘moment of madness’

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‘A moment of madness’: Ben Griffiths

‘A moment of madness’: Ben Griffiths

A VIDEO posted on the Pembrokeshire Herald website and Facebook page showing dangerous driving on a Haverfordwest roundabout last year has led to the driver of the vehicle being banned.

Over 100,000 people viewed Ben Griffiths’ antics in the film which depicted him ‘drifting’ his BMW around a roundabout.

The Milford Haven man appeared before Haverfordwest Magistrates Court on Tuesday (Apr 26) where the 21-year-old pleaded guilty to the offence, which happened last November in Haverfordwest.

Prosecutor Ellie Morgan told the court: “Police got to find out about this incident because of some footage placed by a friend of Mr Griffiths on social media. This led to Officer Dwayne arresting Mr Griffiths for this incident of dangerous driving which happened on November 1 at 12.38am.

“The vehicle in question was found in a lock up managed by the defendant, which was found to match the vehicle in the film.

“The video shows the car heading eastbound on to the Cardigan roundabout at the top end of Haverfordwest. The ground was dry at the time.

“The driver of the car negotiates the roundabout, heading towards Scotchwell. The footage stops, then shows the vehicle coming back.

“The driver, Mr Griffiths, purposely makes the car slide around the roundabout, doing one and a half circuits, continuing his drift manoeuvres.

“Police, who undertook a vehicle examination of the defendant’s BMW found it to be defective, stating that it is ‘unroadworthy’ and in dangerous condition.

“Mr Griffiths presented himself as a potential hazard for road users. The car was also modified, with its 1.9 litre engine being removed and replaced with a 3 litre engine, which wasn’t disclosed in the vehicle’s insurance. Mr Griffiths has no previous convictions.”

In his statement, Ms Morgan said that Griffiths stated: “I only use the car for Pembrey Circuit drift track. When the video was circulated online, I’ll admit it is me. I shouldn’t have done it on a public road. I didn’t put anyone in danger though.”

Mark Layton, representing Griffiths, explained: “Ben Griffiths is a man of clean character. He is hard-working and is currently holding down a job.

“This incident was a moment of madness. He is passionate about drifting, but doesn’t try to minimise his actions that night – he knows it was stupid. He feels as if he has placed everything in jeopardy.

“Mr Griffiths is a valued employee. His boss gave a character reference for the court. It speaks highly of him, also mentioning: ‘

As his job is fixing cars and driving cars, he’s not going to be able to fulfil his employment responsibilities.’”

“The defendant hopes that his career hasn’t been destroyed. It has already been badly damaged by his actions.

“He was alone in the vehicle and says he was completely in control due to his off-roading experience. He says that no one else was endangered by his actions. He felt comfortable in carrying out this skill, but just did it in the wrong place.

“Not being able to drive will add four hours to his commute to and from work.”

Probation Officer Ms Norman told the court: “I have talked to Mr Griffiths. He had been working on his vehicle. He took it up the bypass for a test drive.

“He can’t explain his actions in driving the car. There could’ve been a risk of something happening. It was a stupid action on his part.

“Fixing cars is his life. He’s been working in the garage for four and a half years. He’s recently moved in with his girlfriend and any effect on his employment will affect his girlfriend too.

“This is his first offence. Hopefully he would’ve learned his lesson about driving like this on a public road.”

Mark Layton continued: “Mr Griffiths’ clean character speaks for itself. He hasn’t been to court before and he is unlikely to come to court again.

“Driving is his life – it is a great love of his. He relied on it in his work, and this driving ban will definitely have career implications.

“If the disqualification is not for too long then his employers may keep him on until he can complete the extended driving test in twelve months time.”

Magistrates told Griffiths: “We have reduced the severity of the sentence due to Layton’s mitigation and early guilty plea.”

Magistrates issued Griffiths with a 12 month driving disqualification, with the need to complete an extended retest at the end of the ban.

He was also told he would have 12 weeks custody suspended for 12 months. As part of this, he will have to complete 100 hours of unpaid work. He also had to pay £85 prosecution costs and a £80 victim surcharge.

Magistrates told Griffiths: “Consider yourself a very lucky man. Lucky that you’re walking out of this court and not down to the cells and lucky you didn’t kill or injure anyone.”

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Launch of Haverfordwest Castle Conservation Management Plan

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MEMBERS of the public are being asked to help shape the future of Haverfordwest Castle as a draft Conservation Management Plan (CMP) is launched.

One of Pembrokeshire’s most important historical assets, the Castle is owned by Pembrokeshire County Council, which has produced the CMP.

The plan:

▪ sets out the significance of the castle and describes how the building will be protected with any new use, alteration, repair or management; 

▪ will help with the planning of maintenance, conservation and repair work and adaptation of the site to meet new or changing uses; 

▪ will help promote understanding of the site and look at improving public access and activities for local people and visitors; 

▪ will support proposals to conserve the castle and adaptations of the site in response to climate change; 

▪ and underpin funding applications to support improvements

An engagement exercise has been launched alongside the Plan, giving members of the public with an interest in the historic and/or environmental significance of the castle an opportunity to comment on the document and share their views.

To take part in the engagement exercise, please click on the following link: 

https://haveyoursay.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/regeneration-communities

The deadline for responses is Sunday, March 28, 2021.

 

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Natural Resources Wales approves Ireland-UK interconnector licence

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GREENLINK INTERCONNECTOR LIMITED says it welcomes the decision by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to approve its application for a Marine Licence for the Greenlink electricity interconnector project, which will link the power markets of Great Britain and Ireland.

An important project for Pembrokeshire, and the UK as a whole, NRW’s go-ahead is one of several consents required for the construction of the project and covers installation of the marine cable in UK waters.

The approval is a major milestone for Greenlink and joins the onshore planning consents granted unanimously in July last year by Pembrokeshire County Council and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

Greenlink’s proposed 190km subsea and underground electricity cable will run beneath the Irish Sea to connect National Grid’s Pembroke Power Station in Wales and EirGrid’s Great Island substation in County Wexford, Ireland. It will have a nominal capacity of 500 MW.

The Wales-Ireland link is just one of four interconnectors being installed

Nigel Beresford, CEO for Greenlink Interconnector Limited, said: “We are delighted by Natural Resources Wales’s decision to grant this licence. This marks a significant milestone for Greenlink and another important step towards project construction, which we expect to commence later this year.

“The Greenlink team has worked constructively with Natural Resources Wales and Welsh marine stakeholders to find workable solutions to the many technical and environmental challenges facing a large infrastructure project like this, and this has been reflected in the quality of the final proposal.

“The thorough environmental and technical assessments we have undertaken, supported by the practical and value-adding feedback we have received from key marine stakeholders, have ensured that we move forward confident that we are delivering a well-designed project with the interests of the Welsh marine habitat at its core.”

The subsea section of the cable will be approximately 160km in length and uses high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology. The preferred route and installation methods were chosen following the conclusion of subsea surveys and consultation with key stakeholders.

In Ireland, a Foreshore Licence application was submitted to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Foreshore Unit) in 2019 and the onshore planning application was submitted to An Bord Pleanála in December 2020.

Greenlink is one of Europe’s most important energy infrastructure projects and brings benefits on both sides of the Irish Sea for energy security, regional investment, jobs and the cost-effective integration of low carbon energy. The project will offer important local supply chain opportunities and plans are being drawn up for ‘meet-the-buyer’ events in the local area prior to construction.

Once fully consented, Greenlink is expected to have a three-year construction programme, with commissioning planned by the end of 2023.

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Appeal from Fire and Rescue Service to install working smoke alarms

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AT 01:17am this morning, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, crews from Milford Haven were called to a property fire in the Hakin area of Milford Haven.

The fire was confined to a pan on a stove in the kitchen area and extinguished by firefighters using two breathing apparatus, a hose reel jet and a thermal imaging camera.

Crews also ventilated the property and fitted smoke alarms within the property.

The Fire Service left the incident at 02:00am.

Watch Manager Alun Griffiths, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said “This fire was the result of cooking left unattended. It is so important to remove all pots and pans from a heat source when you are called away from the cooker.

“Thankfully, the occupiers of the property managed to exit the property before our firefighters arrived, but it could have ended very differently as there were no smoke alarms fitted in the property.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of installing working smoke alarms in your homes and testing them regularly. In the dreadful event of a fire, they can alert you to the danger sooner and could mean the difference between life and death.

“As a Fire and Rescue Service, we provide Home Fire Safety advice which is free of charge. We also offer Safe and Well Visits which you can arrange by phoning us on 0800 169 1234 or by visiting the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website.”

For further Home Fire Safety advice or to talk about the possibility of a Safe and Well Visit by Fire and Rescue Service personnel, please phone us on 0800 169 1234.​​​ Alternatively please complete an online Request a Safe and Well Visit​ form on the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website: https://www.mawwfire.gov.uk/eng/your-safety/in-your-home/

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