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Dangerous fake motor racing harnesses uncovered

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Carmarthenshire County Council Lead Trading Standards Officer Aled Thomas and Executive Board Member for Public Protection Cllr Jim Jones, pictured with one of the counterfeit Sparco harnesses that have failed controlled safety tests (pic Jeff Connell)

A PEMBREY man admitted selling fake harnesses to amateur and semi-professional racing car drivers at Swansea Crown Court this week.

Finbar Hannaford, aged 22, sold more than 300 of the enhanced seatbelt systems before Carmarthenshire County Council’s trading standards officers stepped in.

The counterfeit harnesses bearing the Sabelt, Sparco and Takata brand names, were sold on eBay and Facebook, amongst a range of counterfeit car accessories and clothing.

A similar counterfeit harness failed in controlled safety test conditions at a speed of just 50mph.

The harness failed on several points, indicating that in a real life situation – and under normal use – it could cause death or serious injury.

The counterfeit harness under test was branded as Sparco, and at the time, trading standards officers warned that there was a ‘real risk’ that the counterfeit Sabelt and Takata harnesses could also similarly fail.

At least one is thought to have snapped.

Hannaford, of Maes yr Awel, appeared before Judge Keith Thomas at Swansea crown court on Monday (Feb 6) for a plea and trial preparation hearing.

He admitted participating in a fraudulent business between Aug 1, 2014 and July 18, 2015 by selling racing harnesses which were either counterfeit or dangerous.

Lee Reynolds, prosecuting, said the products gave the impression of being Italian made but had in fact been imported directly from China.

Robin Rouch, the barrister representing Hannaford, said he accepted that the harnesses had not been genuine but he had believed them to be of good quality.

The harnesses are fitted to cars used for both rallying and circuit racing.

Judge Thomas said he would sentence Hannaford on March 31 after a hearing to determine the extent of his involvement in the fraud.

Hannaford was granted bail meanwhile but warned by Judge Thomas that a prison sentence could be the eventual outcome.

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‘Knife attacker’ remanded into custody

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A CARMARTHEN man accused of ‘repeatedly’ stabbing another man in Bridge Street on Friday (Dec 8) was remanded into custody until January.

Gareth George Edwards, 44, of Priory Street, indicated two guilty pleas to charges of maliciously wounding Michael Byard with the intent of causing grievous bodily harm and possessing a bladed article in a public place, namely a kitchen knife.

Representing Edwards, David Williams made no submissions at this stage.

No application for bail was made, and Edwards was remanded into custody until he appears at Swansea Crown Court on January 8.

A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson said: “Following an incident in Bridge St, Carmarthen on Friday afternoon, Dec 8, at around 4.30pm, three people have been charged.

“A 44 year old man has been charged with Section 18 Assault and Possession of an Offensive Weapon and is due appear at Llanelli Magistrates court today, Dec 11.

“A 50 year old man has been charged with Common Assault and bailed to appear at Llanelli Magistrates Court on Thursday, Dec 28.

“A 43 year old woman has been charged with Assault and bailed to appear at Llanelli Magistrates Court on Thursday, Dec 28.”

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Snow causes school closures across county

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SEVERAL snows across Carmarthenshire are closed today (Dec 11) as heavy snowfall overnight has caused hazardous conditions.

The current list of schools closed in Carmarthenshire this morning consists of:

  • Beca
  • Brynasaron (Llangeler)
  • Cae’r Felin
  • Carreg Hirfaen
  • Llanllwni
  • Llanybydder
  • Rhys Prichard Llandovery
  • Talley / Talyllychau

All of the closures cite snow as the reason.

The council’s website states for Talley / Talyllychau: “The majority of staff are unable to make it in, plus the taxi service have informed us that they are unable to collect the children from the most rural areas.”

Over the weekend a weather warning was issues for the majority of the UK as snow fell and temperatures dropped.

You can check the status of your child’s school on the Carmarthenshire County Council website: http://www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/home/residents/education-schools/emergency-school-closures#.Wi5Sokpl_IU

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Christmas parcel delivered to Glangwilli Hospital

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BLISS, the UK’s leading premature and sick baby charity, has donated Christmas parcels to every neonatal unit in Wales – including Glangwilli Hospital – to make sure that babies and their parents know that they are not alone this Christmas.

The Christmas gifts will arrive at the neonatal units this week and will be distributed by unit staff and volunteers.

The parcels, which also contain gifts for parents, comprise of: a Bliss teddy bear, dungarees, photo frame, children’s book, snacks and toiletries. The parcel includes additional information about the support parents can receive from Bliss. The majority of these gifts have been donated by Bliss’ corporate partners including Pampers, Mothercare, Barnack Confectionary and Mush.

Caroline Lee-Davey, Chief Executive at Bliss said: “Having a baby on the neonatal unit can be an isolating experience for parents – especially at Christmas. We hope through this small gesture, we can let parents know that they aren’t alone.

“Bliss would like to thank all of our corporate partners who helped to make this project possible. We hope that if the scheme is successful we will be able to roll the Christmas parcels out nationwide in future to reach all parents with a baby in neonatal care at Christmas.”

Head of Nursing for Children’s Services for NHS Wales Eirlys Thomas said: “On behalf of all the parents and babies we would like to thank Bliss for their kind donations. They will certainly cheer up all the parents who will need to spend Christmas in hospital with their babies.”

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