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Man disqualified from driving following petrol pump crash

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A CARDIFF man who crashed his car into a petrol pump on a garage forecourt was disqualified from driving and over the drink-drive limit at the time.

Appearing in Llanelli Magistrates’ Court via videolink on Thursday (Jan 4) Thomas Morgan, 28, pleaded guilty to charges of driving while over the specified alcohol limit, driving without due care and attention, driving while disqualified, and driving without insurance.

The court heard that Morgan, of Longspears Avenue, was currently in prison for leading police on a high-speed chase in Cardiff while twice the legal alcohol limit in July.

Prosecuting, Abul Hussein said that a Vauxhall Astra driven by Morgan had collided with a pump at a fuel station near St Clears as well as striking a member of the public on June 10.

“As a result of the collision, substantial damage was caused to the fuel pump. A number of persons got out of the Vauxhall Astra and stayed at the scene for a few minutes before running off to an unclassified road,” he added, explaining that CCTV footage showed Morgan exiting the drivers’ door of the car.

A police officer located the defendant half a mile away on the unclassified road. He was subsequently arrested but had sustained injuries to his leg and needed medical attention.

At West Wales General Hospital, a blood sample showed 165mcg within 100 ml of blood, over twice the legal limit. “At the time of the offence Mr Morgan was actually disqualified from driving. There are lots of similar convictions recorded and in August of last year, the defendant was disqualified from driving for a total of 24 months with a four month extension,” Mr Hussein added.

The court heard that a compensation claim for £14,883.80 had been made by the garage to cover the ‘substantial damage’ done to the pump.

Representing Morgan, John Wilkins in mitigation said that the defendant had ‘no recollection’ of the events.

He added that Morgan had been in custody since August for offences which post-dated this incident.

“As a result of the accident, my client was hospitalised. It’s more luck than judgement that he wasn’t more seriously injured and there wasn’t more serious damage. Some credit should be awarded for an early guilty plea,” he added.

“I’m glad that you actually realise how foolish you are,” Chair of the Bench, Lynne Davies told Morgan. “You’ve done this once, then again and again. There are a substantial number of previous and similar offences prior to the last custody sentence.”

Morgan was jailed for 16 weeks, to run concurrently with his existing sentence. In addition, he was banned from driving for 36 months and ordered to pay a total of £200 in costs and victim surcharge on release.

However, magistrates decided that there was ‘insufficient evidence’ for compensation to be awarded.

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Recovery efforts underway in aftermath of floods

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A HUGE clean-up operation is underway to deal with the aftermath of the worst flooding Carmarthenshire has seen in decades.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s operational team has now switched its efforts from emergency response to recovery and supporting affected communities and businesses.

Additional resources have been put in place to collect ruined carpets, furniture and other waste, with cages and skips being dispatched to worst hit areas. People are advised to check with their insurers before disposing of any items.

Dehumidifers have been provided to as many homes as possible.

A hardship fund has been established for residents most in need of financial support, and housing officers will be visiting homes and helping people to complete and submit insurance claims.

Business support officers are also making contact with retailers and businesses to support them, and rate relief is also being sought from Welsh Government.

Highways, cleansing and refuse crews continue to sweep and clean debris left by the receding floods, and inspections will take place on all affected road surfaces, verges and bridges.

Specialist teams are being drafted in to support crews, including divers to inspect underwater structures and areas that have experienced land slide.

The council continues to urge people to take extra care and to allow extra time for their journeys as a number of diversions will remain in place.

Carmarthenshire County Council Chief Executive Mark James said: “Our staff have been working hard to respond in extremely difficult conditions. Now that the flood waters have subsided we have shifted our focus from response to recovery and we are doing all we can to support everyone affected.

“A full assessment of the damage is underway, and, as well as working with partner agencies, we are also speaking with Welsh Government to ensure appropriate resources are in place.”

· Follow updates on the council’s Newsroom, Facebook and Twitter

· Anyone in need of assistance should call 01267 234567 or email direct@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

· Apply for support for flooding recovery: https://myaccount.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/en/service/Support_for_flooding_recovery

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Llandysul: Fire service cordoned off gas cylinders

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ON SUNDAY (Oct 14) at 11:45am, firefighters from Llandysul were called to a flood-related incident in Station Road, near the Tyweli River.

On attendance to the incident, firefighters were confronted with a strong smell of gas, where approximately 60 gas cylinders had entered the river and accumulated in a culvert. Western Power were also in attendance to make safe a live electrical wire, from a three-phase electrical pumping station.

The Fire Service evacuated 12 properties from either side of the river and cordoned off Station Road for public safety.

Firefighters retrieved approximately 40 cylinders from the river and monitored the incident until the level of the flood water dropped.

The Police Service were also in attendance.

The cordons have now been lifted and business owners and residents have returned to their properties.

The Fire Service received the stop message at 09:02am this morning (Oct 15).

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Police say ‘stop protecting’ murder suspect Steve Baxter

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JUST over two weeks ago Simon Clark, aged 54, was found dead at Grove Caravan Park in Pendine, Carmarthenshire.

Dyfed-Powys Police is continuing its manhunt for Steve Baxter, who is wanted on suspicion of Simon’s murder.

Baxter also known as Steve Tidy, Steve Rowley, Wayne Tidy or William Tidy, is aged 52, 5’5” (1.65cm) tall and has tattoos on his forearms – the name Chez and entwined circles on his left arm and a serpent on his right arm.

He has connections in the West Wales, South Wales, South West and North England areas of the UK.

Officers and staff are working round the clock to follow all possible lines of enquiry.

The independent charity Crimestoppers is also offering a reward of up to £5,000 for information leading to the arrest of Steve Baxter and he has been added to the Most Wanted section of their website. Information would be taken by the charity anonymously.

Detective Superintendent Huw Davies said: “It’s over two weeks since Simon Clark was murdered at Grove Caravan Park, Pendine.

“The manhunt for Steve Baxter is ongoing and I must stress to the public that officers and staff are working round the clock to investigate all possible lines of enquiry that could lead us to him.

“I urge anyone with information of Baxter’s whereabouts to come forward. If you do not want to speak to police directly, you can speak to the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, which is also offering a reward of up to £5,000 for information leading to his arrest.

“Someone knows where he is or has been in the last two weeks. Please stop protecting him. Simon Clark’s family deserve to see all those involved in his death brought to justice.”

Four people have been charged in connection with the murder: Jeffrey Stephen Ward, aged 40, from Pendine, has been charged with murder; Linda Mary Rowley, aged 52, from Pendine, has been charged with assisting an offender (murder); Kirston Macklin, aged 52, from Newport, Gwent, has been charged with assisting an offender (murder) and Julie Louise Harris, aged 46, from Tonypandy, has been charged with assisting an offender (murder).

If you see Steve Baxter call Dyfed-Powys Police on 999. Do not approach him.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Steve Baxter call Dyfed-Powys Police on 101 immediately.

To pass on information anonymously, contact Crimestoppers 100 per cent anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through the non-traceable anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

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