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Former Cardigan Castle director gets suspended sentence for £40,000 fraud

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THE FORMER director of Cardigan Castle has been sentenced to 21 months in prison suspended for two years, after stealing and defrauding the restoration project out of more than £40,000.

Jac Owen Davies, of Dol Dintir in Cardigan, admitted two counts of fraud and two counts of theft from The Cadwgan Building Preservation Trust over two years.

The 34-year-old gained £40,624.02 from the castle between December 2017 and August 2019.

Suspicions were raised by the trust in the summer of 2019, when contact was made with Dyfed-Powys Police to report that £6,024.79 had been stolen from the safe.

Inspector Owen Williams said: “We were told that the money should have been banked in three separate amounts, and should have been banked at the time, but it is believed it was put in the safe.

“The director of the castle, Jac Davies was responsible for the banking of this cash, but did not bring the missing money to the trustees’ attention.

“This report sparked an in depth fraud investigation which spanned 12 months and resulted in the discovery that far more money had gone missing from the trust’s accounts.”

In August 2019 Davies was voluntary interviewed at Cardigan Police Station, during which he denied taking the money. He offered several possible scenarios which could have led to the funds going missing, including an envelope being taken out with the rubbish, or an “opportunist” thief gaining access to his office.

The force’s Economic Crime Team was tasked with investigating accounts linked to the castle – and to look into claims that the suspect had merged the trust’s credit card with his own account.

Officers also searched Davies’s home prior to a second interview, uncovering cheques made out to the castle.

Insp Williams said: “This time, following three months of enquiries, Davies admitted fraudulently gaining funds from the trust.

“He claimed he had ‘fallen on hard times’ and used the trust’s credit card for personal use, making withdrawals and transactions totalling over £28,000 and altering paperwork to cover up his actions.

“However, due to further allegations being made by the trust, officers continued with their investigations to ensure all potential offences had been looked into before any charges were brought.”

Based on evidence acquired by the team, the CPS authorised two charges of fraud and two of theft against Davies in March 2021, which he admitted at court.

He was sentenced to 21 months in prison suspended for two years, and ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and a rehabilitation course at Swansea Crown Court on June 3.

Insp Williams said: “This was a very complex enquiry which saw officers from a number of teams working over the course of a year to bring Jac Davies to justice.

“Offences such as these can often be seen as a victimless crimes, however it is recognised that they cause emotional as well as financial harm to those involved. I can reassure the public that we will take the necessary action to bring offenders to justice.”

The Cadwgan Building Preservation Trust has thanked Dyfed-Powys Police for undertaking a thorough investigation, and looks forward to moving on.

(Image: Wales News Service)

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Port boss: Pembroke Dock development full permission an ‘important step’

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THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE of the Port of Milford Haven has welcomed a decision of “non-intervention” by the Welsh Government over plans to re-vamp Pembroke Dock’s historic port facilities.

The redevelopment scheme, approved by Pembrokeshire County Council’s Planning Committee in May, will see some areas such as a dock covered with sand and “infilled”.

Plans also include the demolishing of some buildings, erection of buildings and ancillary works.
Despite planning being granted at council level, full authorisation to go ahead with the development was not to be issued until the Welsh Government made its decision regards the matter.

More about the planning application can be read here: https://www.herald.wales/west-wales/pembrokeshire/major-marine-project-causes-concern-about-visual-impact-and-heritage-loss/

Now that the Welsh Government has decided not to interfere with Pembrokeshire County Council’s grant of planning permission, the Port’s boss, Andy Jones, expressed his delight, saying: “This marks an important step forward in the development of Wales’ clean energy centre at Pembroke Dock.

“It will provide sustainable opportunities for the many people who rely on the activity along the Milford Haven Waterway for employment.

CEO: Port Authority’s Andy Jones (Pic MHPA)

“Pembroke Dock Marine will unlock new opportunities for young people to enter the maritime, renewable and engineering sectors, build resilience within Pembrokeshire’s business community, and make a positive contribution to our natural environment as we transition to a low carbon energy generation.”

Tim James, head of commercial and energy at the Port of Milford Haven called the project a “once in a generation opportunity to improve Pembrokeshire’s economy for years to come”.

Objectors had complained that the plans were too large and would damage the historic dockyard, as well as having a visual impact on the dock.

The was opposition from local heritage campaigners, with complaints over the size of two huge proposed hangars which the project’s critics said would impact adversely the landscape.

The economic benefits of the £60 million marine energy “far outweigh” any impact on the historic environment, a report earlier this year to council planners said.

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Medical evacuation from LPG tanker off St Ann’s Head

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ANGLE Lifeboat was launched on service at 12:59pm on Thursday afternoon (Jun 10) to assist in a medical evacuation from a LPG tanker 13 miles SSW off St Ann’s Head.

The coastguard helicopter from Newquay in Cornwall was also on route. With the poor visibility due to fog, Angle all-weather lifeboat was to stand by the vessel to provide an alternative route for evacuation if needed.

After a choppy route in the poor visibility the RNLI volunteers arrived on scene at 2:07pm.

At the time of their arrival, the paramedic from the coastguard helicopter was aboard the vessel preparing the casualty to be winched to the helicopter.

In less than ten minutes the casualty was winched up to the helicopter and flown to hospital, at which point the lifeboat and crews were stood down and headed back to the station.

After rehousing shortly after 3:30pm the lifeboat was washed fuelled and made ready for service shortly after.

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Milford Haven child sex offender Colin Sharpe jailed for 10 years

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A MILFORD HAVEN child abuser sat crying in court as details of his four-year long abuse of a schoolgirl were read out.

Colin Sharpe’s teenage victim says she is now “plagued by nightmares” that he will return and abuse her again, Swansea Crown Court heard.

Sharpe, 40, of Howarth Close was told by Judge Paul Thomas QC at Swansea Crown Court that “Your only concern was your own selfish sexual pleasure.”

The court heard that after the matter was reported to police and officers began a search for tSharpe. He was found in his vehicle in a car park at St Ann’s Head.

The court was told that police used their car to block Sharpe’s exist from the car park but he “sped off” across the grass towards the cliff edge before crashing into a fence.

The defendant abandoned his vehicle and made off on foot to the clifftop. A standoff then developed during which police brought in a specialist negotiator to talk him down.

After a lengthy negotiation Sharpe was arrested.

Passing sentence, the judge told Sharpe: “You had no concern for the psychological damage you did.”

He added: “But it is to your credit that you immediately admitted what you had done; this had saved his victim the further ordeal of giving evidence in a trial.

Judge Paul Thomas jailed Sharpe for 10 years and imposed an indefinite order requiring him to sign the sexual offences register on release.

Sharpe will now be subject to an indefinite sexual harm prevention order and an indefinite restraining order when he is released.

As The Herald previously reported, Sharpe, who has been on remand since March, admitted one charge of sexual assault and five of sexual activity with a child, all between July 2017 and March 2021.

Police were informed about the sexual abuse by a third party, who discovered what he had done, and he was arrested and questioned early last year.

Earlier, Ian Wright, counsel for the CPS said that Sharpe used “emotional blackmail to frighten the girl into staying silent”.

He added “Matters seem to have come to a head on March 12 this year after Sharpe had once again sexually abused his victim.”

Dean Pulling, defending, said that when the police interviewed Sharpe he gave ‘guilty pleas and admissions’ at the earliest opportunity.

Excerpts from a personal victim statement highlighting the ongoing ordeal of Sharpe’s teenage victim were also read out in court.

“I am having nightmares,” the statement reads.

“I have nightmares of him coming back from prison and starting to do worse. My life has been greatly affected.”

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