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Vulnerable pensioner pressured to withdraw cash

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A VULNERABLE pensioner was subjected to a frightening ordeal after two men supposed to be carrying out work on his house forced him to get into their van, before driving him to three towns in an attempt to withdraw money to pay them for work not yet carried out.

36-year-old Edmund Lee, of Ty Gwyn, Whitland, pleaded guilty to engaging in an aggressive commercial practice when he appeared before magistrates in Haverfordwest this week. He also pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to provide the complainant – a man in his sixties – with notice of his right to cancel their contract.

His cousin Benjamin Lee, 21, of St Clears, pleaded guilty to a charge of contravening the requirements of professional diligence. The offences were all committed between March 31 and April 10 of last year.

Prosecuting on behalf of Pembrokeshire County Council, Jeff Harries explained that complainant lived alone in the Tenby area. He required daily care as a result of ongoing medical issues, and was unable to read or write.

The court heard that the money was ostensibly to pay for power-washing garden paths and guttering and a garden clearance, and the total sum involved was £732.

The complainant’s bank records showed that, in addition to his regular weekly cash withdrawal, he took out sums of money on three occasions – £182 in Tenby on March 31, £450 from the same bank on April 6, and £100 from the Carmarthen branch of HSBC on April 8. Due to his literacy issues, the complainant was only able to withdraw money with help from bank staff.

“He states that he was approached on a number of occasions between March 31 and April 10,” Mr Harries added.

On April 8, he was standing at a bus stop waiting to visit family when the Lees pulled up in a van. He was told to get in and made of trips to banks in the Tenby, Haverfordwest and Carmarthen areas. The first two were closed, and he eventually managed to withdraw £100 from Carmarthen HSBC – the maximum he could take out due to lack of id. He was told to meet the complainants at the former Playhouse with more money, or they would visit him at a later date to collect it.

The police received a complaint from a member of the victim’s family on April 8 after he told them about the money. Police spoke to him on April 9, and he ‘appeared anxious and concerned’ that the men could return.

As a result, when Benjamin Lee knocked on the complainant’s door on April to it was answered by a police officer. Lee then ran away, but returned after answering a phone call from police on the complainant’s phone.

In interview, Edmund Lee said that he had been posting flyers advertising his business in the area on March 31 when he saw the defendant walking near his house. They then agreed a price to do some work.

Benjamin Lee made no comment except to confirm that he had not been present when his cousin agreed the contract with the complainant on March 31.

“There are no mitigating features, only aggravating ones,” Mr Harries commented.

“The complainant would simply obey their orders, jump in the van and go to the nearest bank.

“He would sit in the middle between the two defendants – I can only imagine how intimidating that must have been.”

Representing Edmund Lee, Gavin Rofer said that the defendant had ‘simply been unaware’ that he had to provide written cancellation rights, and added that due to his own inability to read or write, Lee was unaware of many small trader regulations.

Mr Rofer said that Lee had been insistent on checking that the complainant had the money because customers had failed to pay him before. “Perhaps in an abundance of caution he offered to take him to the bank for the money,” he added, stressing that Lee was unaware at the time that this could have appeared aggressive to a person in the complainant’s situation.

Representing Benjamin Lee, Mike Kelleher drew attention to his minor role in events, as someone in effect hired by his cousin to clean the guttering, and pointed out that had he not run a similar business of his own he would not have been liable for prosecution.

Edmund Lee was fined £900, and ordered to pay a total of £1,840 in costs and compensation.

Benjamin Lee was given a £250 fine and ordered to pay £250 compensation and £780 towards costs.

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Brechfa rave: Locals urged not to ‘take matters into their own hands’

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POLICE currently monitoring a large gathering in the Brechfa area have urged local residents to let them deal with the matter.

When Dyfed-Powys Police became aware of the illegal rave in the early hours of Sunday morning, the event was already well under way.

Due to the number of people involved, and the safety concerns of breaking up an event of this size in a remote location, the decision was taken to prioritise disrupting and stopping any further people entering.

A spokesperson for Dyfed Powys Police said: “A police presence is being maintained today and the gathering is being closely monitored continuously, in order to minimise disruption to the local community. Officers are liaising with concerned residents in the area. The National Police Air Service also assisted this morning to gather further intelligence and evidence.

“This type of event causes considerable anxiety and distress to the community. There is little doubt that these types of events are very well planned, organised and that local knowledge is important in drawing down the main group to a particular ‘vulnerable’ field, or area of land.

“We assure local communities that appropriate action is being taken to disrupt and deal with this event, and we will robustly investigate any criminal offences discovered.

“We understand the strength of feelings in respect of this, but we urge locals not to take matters into their own hands, and let the police deal with it. We do not want potential attendees to the gathering to be under any illusions either – do not travel to the area as officers are there and you will be turned away.”

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Brechfa rave: Locals urged not to ‘take matters into their own hands’

Published

on

POLICE currently monitoring a large gathering in the Brechfa area have urged local residents to let them deal with the matter.

When Dyfed-Powys Police became aware of the illegal rave in the early hours of Sunday morning, the event was already well under way.

Due to the number of people involved, and the safety concerns of breaking up an event of this size in a remote location, the decision was taken to prioritise disrupting and stopping any further people entering.

A spokesperson for Dyfed Powys Police said: “A police presence is being maintained today and the gathering is being closely monitored continuously, in order to minimise disruption to the local community. Officers are liaising with concerned residents in the area. The National Police Air Service also assisted this morning to gather further intelligence and evidence.

“This type of event causes considerable anxiety and distress to the community. There is little doubt that these types of events are very well planned, organised and that local knowledge is important in drawing down the main group to a particular ‘vulnerable’ field, or area of land.

“We assure local communities that appropriate action is being taken to disrupt and deal with this event, and we will robustly investigate any criminal offences discovered.

“We understand the strength of feelings in respect of this, but we urge locals not to take matters into their own hands, and let the police deal with it. We do not want potential attendees to the gathering to be under any illusions either – do not travel to the area as officers are there and you will be turned away.”

(Picture – stock photo)

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Police trying to track stolen tanker

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is investigating the theft of a fuel tanker containing approximately 8,500 litres of diesel (4,000 litres of red diesel and 4,500 litres of white diesel).

The vehicle was taken from Tan Y Foel Quarry, Cefn Coch, Welshpool, between 5.30pm on Wednesday, May 23 and 6am on Thursday, May 24.

The police are asking people to see if the tanker is now in this area.

Anyone with information that can help officers with their investigation is asked to report it by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908, quoting Ref: DPP/0006/24/05/2018/01/C.

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