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Pembroke Dock: One of the longest running benefits fraud cases ever

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A PEMBROKE DOCK man has been jailed today for one of the longest running benefits fraud cases a court had ever heard of.

Andrew Johnstone, aged 66, admitted fiddling £121,874 from Pembrokeshire County Council and the Department for Work and Pensions.
Johnstone, of Front Street, got away with the fraud for 13 years by pretending he was living alone when in fact he was co-habiting with Marylyn Katra.
Laura Shepherd,  prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court that Johnstone’s claims for income support, housing benefit and council tax relief had been fraudulent from the outset.
She said it began in February, 2003, and did not stop until he was found out in August, 2016.
During that period, she added, he had been required to notify both bodies of any changes in his circumstances that might affect his entitlement to benefits.
Not only did he fail to do that but in December, 2011, on reaching the age of 60, Johnstone tried to escalate the fraud by applying for pension credit by again claiming he was living alone and unable to work.
Johnstone admitted four offences of fraud.
His barrister, David Williams, said it was accepted that Johnstone’s claims had been false from day one and that only a prison sentence could follow because of the amount of money involved.
And it was also accepted that he continued the frauds after receiving a suspended prison sentence for the theft of money.
Mr Williams said Johnstone’s health had deteriorated because of stress since an incident when, as the manager of a public house, someone put the barrel of a shotgun into his mouth.
“He has made two serious attempts on his life,” added Mr Williams.
Judge Peter Heywood said the courts always took seriously offending that involved the public purse.
“Public services in this country have been under considerable threat for the last ten years.  Those who are entitled to benefits can find difficulties in receiving them.
“The length of these frauds aggravates the situation,” he added.
Johnstone was jailed for 14 months with an additional six months for breaching the suspended sentence imposed in March, 2016.

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Conservatives hold on to Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire seat

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THE CONSERVATIVES have held on to their Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire seat despite Labour closing the gap.

Sam Kurtz will take over the seat from the outgoing Angela Burns who held a majority of 3,400 at the last election.

This time, the gap was just 936 to Labour’s Hassan Riaz who picked up 10,304 votes.

Plaid Cymru’s Cefin Campbell picked up 6,615 votes.

The turnout in Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire was slightly up to 52.12% from 51.2% in 2016.

However, with a larger electorate thanks to votes for 16/17-year-olds, the number of votes cast went up by almost 3,000.

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Paul Davies re-elected as Conservatives hold Preseli Pembrokeshire

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PAUL DAVIES has been re-elected to represent the Preseli Pembrokeshire constituency.

He won with 12,295 votes, while there were 10,895 votes for Labour’s Jackie Jones.

Plaid Cymru candidate Cris Tomos gained just over 6,000 votes and there were also 1,239 for Reform UK candidate Alan Dennison.

There were over 3000 more votes cast in 2016, down largely in part to the fact that 16 and 17 year olds were able to vote in this election.

Both the Conservatives and Labour received more votes than before while the gap to Labour closed to just 1,400.

After being elected, Paul Davies said he would continue to ‘fight for Pembrokeshire’ and thanked those who had been involved in his campaign.

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Former Cardigan Castle director sentencing delayed

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THE SENTENCING of a former director of Cardigan Castle who has pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and theft totalling over £40,000 has been delayed.

Former director, Jac Davies, pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and theft was due to be sentenced on Wednesday (May 4) at Swansea Crown Court – but has now been delayed.

Davies who held the £40,000 a year post fraudulently obtained £33,098.75 and stole a further £7,932.97 from the award winning restoration project..

Davies held his position at Cardigan Castle from September 2017 to November 2019.

The defendant has pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining £4,143.20 from the castle on December 21, 2017.

Again Davies admitted to fraudulently obtaining £28,955.55 between February 4, 2019 and November 3, 2019.

Two further charges of theft were also admitted – one charge of  theft from the castle of £1,908.18 between May 2, 2018 and May 24, 2019 and a further charge of theft from Cardigan Castle Enterprises to the sum of £6,024.79.

Dyfed-Powys Police conducted a year long investigation after being contacted by the castle board of directors.

Financial discrepancies were identified during financial monitoring.

An internal investigation was launched and Davies left his position within the castle in October 2019 following a disciplinary process.

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