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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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Food assembly reaches fruition

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MORE and more people in Carmarthen are ditching the supermarket trolley and buying fresh food directly from local producers.

The Carmarthen Food Assembly – an online platform that allows a direct link between customers and producers – continues to grow from strength to strength, helping people have more control about what ends up on their plates whilst supporting local businesses.

This week the assembly celebrated its first anniversary, and now boasts 700 customers and 20 producers, with fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy and baked goods sold and collected weekly.

Customers order their goods through an online platform, giving producers special requests if required, before picking it up on collection day at Carmarthen’s Xcel in Johnstown, or The Warren in Mansel Street.

As well as supporting the local economy the assembly also has health and environmental benefits – customers can find out exactly what has gone into their food, and carbon footprint is also reduced with food travelling an average distance of 28 miles to the pick-up point compared to around 600 miles to a supermarket.

It also reduces waste as nothing gets picked or baked unless it is ordered.

Organiser Carrie Laxton is a retired GP who saw the benefits of a food assembly and decided to set one up in Carmarthen, with the support of Carmarthenshire County Council.

“Local producers are struggling to make a living, and this is an ideal way of supporting them,” she said.

“We have anywhere between 12 and 18 producers most weeks who set up a mini-market at our collection points to meet their customers and hand over the pre-ordered goods. It makes good local food more accessible to local people as well as supporting local producers.”

Cllr Cefin Campbell, Carmarthenshire County Council’s executive board member for rural affairs, said: “This is a fantastic way to support the local economy and local producers. Rural industries continue to struggle but as consumers become more conscious of what they eat we hope that they will return back to the more traditional shopping route which is to buy from local farmers, bakers and butchers.

“The food assembly helps link customers and producers and bringing in the modern element of online orders it is working well for a growing number of people.”

Anyone can register to become a customer of the food assembly, and food producers in around the Carmarthen area are encouraged to find out how they can become involved.

Find information at www.foodassembly.com

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Man arrested on suspicion of murder

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POLICE are continuing with their thorough enquiries in the search for 28-year-old Hollie Kerrell, who is missing from Knighton.

She was last seen at her home address in Knighton on Sunday, April 22, at around 10am. No one has heard from her since.

An incident room has been set up in Llandrindod Wells police station, and enquiries have led to the arrest of a 35-year-old man on suspicion of murder. He is currently in police custody.

Superintendent Jon Cummins said: “Although there has been a significant development in this investigation in respect of an arrest taking place, we still need the help of the public in this enquiry.

“We’re appealing to anyone with any information or sightings of Hollie from 5pm on Saturday, April 21st onwards to contact us as a matter of urgency. She is described as being 5’5”, medium build with dark brown hair and blue eyes. She was wearing a black skirt and long black cardigan when last seen.

“Please, if you have any information contact us by calling 101.”

If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908, quoting Ref: 138 of April 23.

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Police issue security advice to businesses following attempted burglary

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is urging businesses to consider increased security measures following an attempted burglary at a business in Dyffryn Road, Ammanford.

Two people were seen attempting to gain access to a unit at around 7.20pm on April 9.

Following on from the incident, Ammanford police have offered the following advice to business owners in the area.

​PC Elinor Rees said: “We would advise all businesses to look at their current security measures and consider if they are robust enough to prevent crime.

“We recommend investing in CCTV cameras covering all buildings and grounds around your premises, and ensure the relevant staff are aware of how to download footage in the event it is needed.

“If you need further information on protecting your business, please contact your local neighbourhood policing team by calling 101.”

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