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Crime

Jailed for series of offences including assault and drink driving

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A PEMBROKE DOCK man, already under scrutiny for a violent altercation, has been sentenced to imprisonment after committing a string of serious offences while on bail. Peter Edgar, 37, from Stranraer Road in Pennar, faced the consequences of his actions at Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Court, where he was charged with six offences, culminating in a 16-week prison term.

Edgar’s criminal activities began with an assault on two men at Cardiff Central railway station on December 10, leading to charges of common assault and assault by beating. However, while on bail for these offences, Edgar’s lawlessness escalated dramatically.

On March 15, Edgar illegally took possession of a Peugeot 207 from Brooke Avenue in Milford Haven without the owner’s consent. The vehicle was later found damaged, a testament to Edgar’s reckless disregard for property and public safety. Further exacerbating his spree, Edgar was apprehended driving the stolen car along Old Hakin Road in a state of intoxication, with a breathalyser test revealing a staggering 104 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath—nearly triple the legal limit.

Additionally, Edgar faced charges for driving without a licence or insurance, admitting to the aggravated vehicle taking, vehicle damage, drink driving, and driving without the necessary legal documentation. His guilty plea extended to the initial assault charges.

The magistrates’ court handed down a 16-week imprisonment sentence on March 18. This included four weeks for the assault by beating charge and a concurrent two weeks for common assault. The court also ordered Edgar to compensate one of his assault victims with £50 and cover £85 in costs.

For the aggravated vehicle taking, Edgar received a 12-week sentence, to run consecutively with the assault charges, along with a mandate to pay £150 in compensation to the complainant and a two-year restraining order. Edgar’s sentence for drink driving was set at 12 weeks, to run concurrently, accompanied by a driving ban of 1273 days and additional costs of £85.

Crime

If you have a drink problem, you need to address it’ blasts judge

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A NORTH Pembrokeshire motorist has been banned from driving for three years after admitting his second drink-driving offence in ten years.

Trystan Davies, 34, was stopped by officers as he drove his Vauxhall Corsa on the A476 at Cardigan on the evening of June 1.

When spoken to by officers, Davies admitted drinking half a bottle of red wine prior to driving.  However his breath tests showed he was over twice the prescribed drink-drive limit, with a reading of 76 mcg.  The legal limit is 35.

This week Crown Prosecutor Abigail Jackson informed district judge Mark Layton sitting at Haverfordwest magistrates court that Davies, of Parceithin, Blaenffos, was convicted of a previous drink-driving offence in 2019.

After Davies pleaded guilty to the charge of drink-driving his solicitor, Michael Kelleher, claimed the reading was high as his client had been on a drinking spree the night prior to the offence,

However District Judge Mark Layton questioned whether the alcohol would have remained in his system for this length of time.

“The fact that you’ve done it before makes this offence more serious,” commented Judge Layton when passing sentence.

“You should understand that when you drive after consuming alcohol, you don’t just risk your own life but the lives of everyone else.  If you have a drink problem, you need to address it.”

Davies was disqualified from driving for three years.  He was fined £120 and ordered to pay £85 court costs and a £48 surcharge.

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Crime

Call for boost to policing as over 9,231 car thefts go unsolved across Wales

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A STAGGERING 9,231 car thefts have gone unsolved in England and Wales since the last election, new Liberal Democrat analysis of Home Office statistics has uncovered.

The figures reveal that 65% of motor vehicle theft cases recorded between 2020 and 2023 were closed without a suspect even being identified. Meanwhile, just 7% of cases during this period resulted in a suspect being charged or summoned.

The number of unsolved car thefts has soared during this period, with a 29% rise from 2,100 in 2020 to 2,713 last year.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for Police and Crime Commissioners to be abolished and the savings invested into frontline policing instead – a move that could generate around £170 million over the course of the next Parliament. 

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds stated that more money needs to be directed away from bureaucratic roles and into allowing the police to investigate and solve crime.

South Wales Police recorded the worst outcomes in Wales, with a staggering 7,905 car thefts going unsolved in that time period – accounting for 71% of all cases.

Commenting, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said: “We are seeing a car theft epidemic after years of Conservative chaos and failing Home Secretaries who have decimated frontline policing. 

“People want to know that if their car is stolen, the police will catch the culprit. But instead, the Conservatives have totally failed to get a grip on crime and let criminals get away with it. 

“The Welsh Liberal Democrats would abolish Police and Crime Commissioners and invest the savings in frontline policing instead, giving officers the resources they need to bring criminals to justice.” 

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Crime

Carmarthenshire leads in seizures of dangerous and illegal vapes

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A RECENT study by Vape Superstore has revealed alarming figures about the prevalence of illegal vape products across the UK, with Carmarthenshire emerging as a significant hotspot for illicit cigarette seizures. The investigation, leveraging Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, ranked UK councils by the volume of illegal vapes and cigarettes seized, shedding light on the widespread issue of non-compliant vape products infiltrating the market.

Carmarthenshire County Council stands out as the authority with the highest number of illegal cigarette packets seized, totalling 160,000. This is a stark reminder of the county’s ongoing battle against the distribution of non-compliant tobacco products. While Carmarthenshire did not top the list for illegal vapes, with 7,500 units seized, its role in tackling illegal cigarettes remains critical.

Illegal vapes pose significant health risks, often containing nicotine levels that do not match the labelling and potentially harmful chemicals like lead, nickel, and chromium. The Vape Superstore survey of 1,381 disposable vape users highlighted a concerning gap in consumer knowledge:

  • 50.3% of users were unfamiliar with the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) regulations.
  • 83% were unaware of the health risks associated with illicit vapes.
  • 36.4% believed black-market vapes offered better value for money.
  • 34.1% did not recognise the difference between illicit and regulated devices.

These statistics underscore the need for increased public awareness and stricter enforcement of vaping regulations.

The future of vaping regulation

With the upcoming ban on disposable vapes in 2025, the market for illegal vapes is likely to expand. This necessitates proactive measures from councils and regulatory bodies to prevent a surge in black-market activities. The Vape Superstore’s study calls for heightened awareness and vigilance among consumers to ensure they purchase only compliant and safe vape products.

Ensuring compliance

To avoid the risks associated with illegal vapes, consumers are advised to:

  • Verify the authenticity of vape products.
  • Purchase from well-known brands.
  • Be sceptical of unusually low prices.
  • Request proof of TPD compliance from retailers.
  • Stay updated with the latest regulations and safety guidelines.

David Phillips from Vape Superstore emphasised the importance of informed purchasing decisions, stating, “With raised awareness about the dangers of these products, we believe that consumers will be able to make better-informed purchasing decisions in the future.”

The findings from Vape Superstore’s investigation highlight the urgent need for robust regulatory enforcement and consumer education to combat the illegal vape market. Carmarthenshire’s efforts in seizing a substantial number of illegal cigarettes demonstrate the critical role local authorities play in this ongoing battle. As the UK prepares for stricter vaping regulations, both consumers and retailers must remain vigilant to ensure a safe and compliant market.

For more detailed information on TPD regulations and the dangers of black-market vaping products, visit Vape Superstore’s comprehensive report.

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