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Pair guilty of ‘sordid’ insurance scam



BMW_X5_II_20090913_rearA WOMAN from south Pembrokeshire and a man from Carmarthenshire admitted an attempt to defraud the Tesco Car Insurance Company at Haverfordwest Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
Helen Jane Arthur, 43, of Ridgeway, Saundersfoot, and Paul Biella, 26, of College Square, Llanelli, stood in the dock together as they both entered guilty pleas to fraud by false representation, contrary to the Fraud Act 1996.
CPS Prosecutor Gerald Neave told the court that the co-defendants had “met by chance” at the Cross Roads service station in Kilgetty.
Gerald Neave explained: “Arthur had pulled into the garage in her BMW X5. As she was buying petrol, co-defendant Biella noticed the for sale sign in the car window. He offered Arthur £4,000 for the car, but she felt this was not enough and they could not agree a price.”
He added: “Several weeks later when times were hard, a friend suggested to Arthur that she should accept the offer and she searched through her mobile phone to find his number and then eventually got into contact with him.”
Mr. Neave continued: “However, on contacting the co-defendant rather than offering the £4,000 he said that if Arthur paid him £500 he would arrange for the car to be ‘stolen’ and she could claim for the loss of the car against her Tesco car insurance policy.”
“They agreed on this plan of action, and Biella affixed new number plates to the car and collected it from Saundersfoot” Mr. Neave told the court: “At 4.15pm on June 28, Arthur called the police and reported her vehicle stolen. PC Jones attended and took a report. Although Arthur claimed to be in possession of the spare keys, she could not produce them to the police. Police number plate recognition cameras revealed no trace of the car,” he said.
Mr Neave added: “However police were alerted to another vehicle with a different registration mark leaving Pembrokeshire and heading towards Llanelli. When they checked the details they found that the co-defendant Biella was an insured driver. A search of this Llanelli home revealed documents including a service manual for Arthur’s car. He was then arrested and eventually admitted the offences in interview.”
Arthur also admitted to police that she was part of the scam.
Defending, Michael Kelleher said: “Arthur is a lady of clean character hitherto, she has entered a timely guilty plea. She has never been involved with any dishonesty before, and wonders how she got involved in this sordid scam. She has had several family problems. She had bought the BMW X5 and a horse with inheritance money; she wanted a strong car for a horse box.”
Mr. Kelleher said things went wrong when she had various difficulties with her children, which The Herald cannot report as the court has placed us under reporting restrictions.
“The result of these problems was that she needed to sell this vehicle,” Mr Kelleher said.
He added: “It is still Arthur’s position that she was not the prime mover, however we have to accept that this could not have happened had she not agreed to report the vehicle stolen. So they are both in this together.”
Mr Kelleher told the court that he had three character references for Arthur which showed her to be a hard-working parent holding down a part time job at a supermarket.
“The vehicle was returned and Tesco did not pay out. The only person who lost out here was Arthur for paying half of the £500 which her co-defendant had asked for,” he said.
Before retiring for lunch the chairman of the bench said that he was considering all sentencing options from a community sentence to custody.
Following the adjournment, Probation Service Officer, Mrs Norman explained to the court that Biella wasn’t sure what he was going to do with the car, and hadn’t thought that far ahead.
Mrs Norman told the court: “Biella has been suffering from anxiety and depression but is actively looking for work in order to get his life back on track.”
When asked by the probation officer where he would have got the money from when he originally offered £4,000, he said he would have got the money from his parents.
The court was told by probation that it was money issues had prompted this behaviour from Biella.
On sentencing Biella, magistrates said: ”We seriously considered your situation because you’ve got a criminal record already. It was almost a split decision whether or not we should send you to prison.”
For his part in the plot he was given an 18 month community order and ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work. He was also fined £145.
On sentencing Arthur, magistrates said: “We have decided to sentence you to a community order. We have reduced your sentence from 16 to 12 months, because of your guilty plea.”
Arthur was also ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work and fined £145.
The chairman of the bench said to the pair: “If we see you in court again you are likely to go to prison”.

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Five shouts in five days for Lifeboat crews at Angle



ITS BEEN a really busy week for the crews at Angle with their first tasking to the 39 meter 300 tonne tall ship on Monday evening with engine failure and taking on water.

Crews then paged again in the early hours of Wednesday morning to a 11 meter sailing catamaran becalmed and low on fuel.

The training day Thursday was interrupted just after 12:30 PM with a tasking to a tender with three people on board that had upturned just off St Brides Haven.

Little & Broad Haven Lifeboat was also tasked along with Dale Coastguard.

Little and Broad Haven Lifeboat reached the three casualties and took them to shore where they were passed into the care of Dale Coastguard. Angle Lifeboat was stood down as it was passing through Jack’s Sound.

As the Lifeboat was returning from the shout another tasking request came through. A tanker had spotted an unmanned RIB approximately 10 miles SW of St Ann’s Head. Once on scene, after some investigation the RIB was believed to have come from a mooring and no people were missing. The Lifeboat towed the RIB back to Angle.

The Lifeboat was rehoused shortly after 4:00 PM

The 5th shout for Angle Lifeboat this week.

This was a large multi agency search.

The crew were paged at 09:35 AM to assist Tenby Lifeboats RNLI ALB and inshore Lifeboats to search for a missing person in the water following a report from a fisherman on rocks near Manorbier that he had lost sight of a person that had been rowing a dinghy toward shore and the occupant may be in the water. HM Coastguard Tenby had also been tasked to the search

The dinghy was handed over to Tenby inshore lifeboat crew after being picked up by a Range Safety boat who then brought it into the awaiting police at Manorbier Beach.

Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 187 from St Athan and St Govans Coastguard Rescue Team had now also joined in the search for the missing person.

After several hours searching a man approached police at Manorbier, stating he’d been on the vessel off Manorbier, had got into difficulty and ended up in the water.

With the casualty now safely ashore, all units were stood down at 12:27PM.

Angle Lifeboat then headed to Tenby Harbour to pick up some sustenance, a fizzy drink and a chocolate brownie, before heading back to Angle and rehousing at 2:31PM. The lifeboat was refuelled and given a well earned wash ready for the next tasking.

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A40 closed at Scleddau due to collision between car and motorbike



EMERGENCY SERVICES have shut the A40 at in Scleddau due to a serious road collision.

The accident happened just before 2pm. The Herald understands that the collision involved a motorcycle and car at a junction near The Gate Inn public house.

Police said: “Emergency services are currently on scene and dealing with the incident. Please find an alternative route if possible. Update to follow.”

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Moley’s Ambassador March to support those who have lost a child



ON SATURDAY (Jun 19), Andrew Cole (aka Moley) will set off on a 24 hour walk around Pembrokeshire with the aim of doing as many miles in as little time as possible. 

Moley is proud to have recently been made ambassador of the charity ‘2 Wish UponAa Star’ an organisation dedicated to supporting families that have lost a child under 25 years of age.

He will be setting off at 6am in the morning from Neyland and walking all day and night, finishing at 6am the following morning.

2 wish upon a star was set up by Rhian Mannings, who set up the charity after losing her own son.

By celebrating the lives of those lost, and offering support to families through their grief; Rhian and her team offer an essential service to the community and those families who have suffered the devastation of losing a loved one.

Appealing for support from the people of Pembrokeshire he said: “Please give generously to support the wonderful work of Rhian and her team. Also, if you happen to see me in the day, feel free to give me a beep of encouragement’

“If you would like to donate to Moley, and support the charity, you can visit his JustGiving page.”

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