A CARMARTHEN director has been banned for eight years after causing two companies to make almost 221 million unsolicited nuisance PPI phone calls.
Richard Jones, age 31, from Carmarthen, Wales, was the director of Miss-Sold Products UK Limited and Your Money Rights Limited, the two companies at the centre of investigations by the ICO and the Insolvency Service.
This latest case takes the total period of director disqualifications achieved through collaboration between the ICO, the Insolvency Service and other enforcement bodies, past the 100 year mark.
Miss-Sold Products UK Limited was a company Richard Jones used as a vehicle to make unsolicited phone calls contrary to the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations*.
The company came to the attention of the ICO after the regulator received 146 complaints between November 2015 and March 2016 about automated phone calls from telephone numbers used by Miss-Sold Products UK.
Further investigations by the ICO found that in a five-month period, Miss-Sold Products UK made close to 75 million automated marketing calls, primarily containing a recorded message about PPI refunds.
The ICO attempted to engage with Miss-Sold Products UK from May 2017 onwards but were stonewalled before issuing a £350,000 penalty against the company for making unsolicited marketing calls to people without their specific consent and for failing to include a company name and contact details in the recorded message.
Miss-Sold Products UK failed to pay the debt and the company was wound-up through the courts in June 2018.
Richard Jones also used a second company, Your Money Rights Limited, as an additional vehicle to make unsolicited PPI calls.
In a near identical set of events, the ICO investigated Your Money Rights after the regulator received more than 250 complaints between March and July 2016 about automated calls from telephone numbers used by the company.
This time round, the ICO found that in a five month period Richard Jones’ second company made more than 146 million automated marketing calls to people who had not consented to be called, with a recorded message about PPI refunds.
The ICO attempted to engage with Your Money Rights but similar to proceedings with the first company, Miss-Sold Products UK, the regulator was thwarted in their enquiries.
This resulted in a second £350,000 fine being issued against the company for making unsolicited marketing calls to people who had not consented and for failing to include a company name and contact details in the recorded message.
Your Money Rights failed to discharge the debt and the company was also wound up on the petition of the ICO in March 2018.
Following referrals from the ICO, further investigations were conducted by the Insolvency Service to assess Richard Jones’ activities and how he had contributed to cause the two companies to breach the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations.
Investigators concluded that Richard Jones played a central role, which led him to submit a disqualification undertaking to the Secretary of State.
Effective from 1 March 2019, Richard Jones is banned for eight years from directly or indirectly becoming involved, without the permission of the court, in the promotion, formation or management of a company.
David Brooks, Chief Investigator for the Insolvency Service, said:
“There are no justifications Richard Jones could provide that would have excused him from what he had done. Not only did he use two separate companies to make the unsolicited phone calls but we are talking about millions of intrusive calls rather than a small handful.
“Unsolicited phone calls cause misery and harm to unsuspecting people and being banned for eight years will put a significant dent on Richard Jones’ ability to do something similar again.
Andy Curry, ICO Investigations Group Manager, said:
“Richard Jones is one of the worst offenders we have come across in the 15 years since laws around electronic nuisance marketing were introduced. This disqualification which takes him out of action is good news for all those who have been a victim of his cold calling and should be a warning to other operators who use similar marketing techniques.
“The net is tightening and we now have increased powers to make directors and other company officers responsible personally liable for fines of up to £500,000 for nuisance marketing.
Dyfed-Powys Police Prepares for Royal Welsh Show
DYFED-POWYS POLICE is inviting Royal Welsh Show visitors to their stand to find out more about what the force is doing to protect the public over the summer months and beyond.
The stand, located at E340 behind the main grandstand, will be bringing to life key pledges and crime prevention messages from the Chief Constable’s Police and Crime Delivery plan, which sets out how police will tackle crime and keep people safe.
The force will be showcasing their summer campaign, called #EnjoyDPP, which is about helping people who live in, work in and visit the counties of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys respect those areas and prevent crime from occurring.
Rural-trained officers from Dyfed-Powys Police, Gwent Police and North Wales Police will be offering practical advice, at the police stand. They will also be on patrol throughout the showground listening to any concerns from the farming community. They will be accompanied by other officers, staff, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Special Constables and Police Cadets.
Specialist officers will also be speaking to landlords about County Lines drugs, and the signs to look out for that might show a tenant is being exploited by gangs, in a practice known as ‘cuckooing’.
Superintendent of Powys, Ifan Charles, said: “The Royal Welsh Show is the biggest event of the year we police in Dyfed-Powys, and also where we concentrate huge efforts on engaging positively with visitors to the show at our police stand.
“Come and say hello, meet our experienced and knowledgeable officers and staff and find out more about our commitment to keeping all of our communities safe by giving people the advice and confidence to protect themselves effectively.”
Visitors will be able to explore police vehicles, chat to Tarian colleagues about cyber-crime, meet a police dog, dress up as a police officer or Police Community Support Officer and solve a crime using real police techniques. Venture inside, relax on a hay bale and have a chat with experts on issues including rural crime, cyber-crime, issues that affect children and so much more.
Key partners will also be based at the stand including Crimestoppers, Modern Slavery group, Tarian and GoSafe.
There will also be a special children’s corner where young people can have their fingerprints taken, colour a police-themed picture or dress-up as a police officer or PCSO.
The Police and Crime Commissioner has a host of activities planned throughout the week. In addition to engaging with our communities, he is particularly keen to hear from victims of rural crime about their experiences when contacting police.
Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said: “The Royal Welsh Show is a great opportunity for me to engage with the public and gather their views on specific policing matters. This year, my team will be at the showground speaking to members of the public about rural crime and police contact. Please head over to speak to my team so that we can hear your views.”
The force is also offering advice for people heading to the Royal Welsh Show, including home security, personal safety and advice for people towing caravans.
Before you leave the house, take a photograph of your child. You’ll then know what they’re wearing if they become lost.
Write your contact number on a slip of paper and put it on your child’s person.
Before you head inside, double check your vehicle is locked and any valuables are safely out of sight.
. Lock your home, vehicles and outbuildings before you leave.
. Take your keys with you.
. Switch on any CCTV or alarm systems.
. Keep an eye on your neighbours’ properties while they are away.
. Check your driving licence. Do you have the correct category to tow?
. Number plates must be fitted to the rear of the caravan. They must comply with the regulations and not . be hand-written in pen on caravan OR written on a piece of paper or cardboard
. Ensure brakes and external lights are working correctly
. Check wheels, tyres, wheel bearings and suspensions are in good condition. This is particularly important if the caravan has been stationary for some time
.Tyres should be all the same type and size and have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm. Also check the pressure
For more advice visit this website: https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/advice-and-training/advice-for-beginners/
There is more information for visitors on the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show’s website: http://www.rwas.wales/royal-welsh-show/
For updates on our activity follow us on Twitter @DyfedPowys, or like our page on Facebook.
Valleys Taskforce extended to Gwendraeth and Amman Valleys
THE GWENDRAETH and Amman Valleys are being included in the Welsh Government’s Valleys Taskforce, the Deputy Economy Minister and Transport Lee Waters has announced.
“These valleys are culturally very much part of the South Wales coalfield and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to alter the boundaries to bring them into the Valleys Taskforce so that they can benefit from ongoing work to drive investment and opportunities,” said Lee Waters.
“I got into politics to help the kinds of places I grew up in, so I am really pleased to announce we are extending the boundaries of the Valleys Taskforce to include the Gwendraeth and Amman Valleys” the AM for the Llanelli constituency added.
The announcement comes as the Valleys Taskforce announces a programme to bring empty homes back into use. Owners of houses that have been empty for more than a year in the Gwendraeth and Amman Valleys will be able to apply for a grant of up to £20,000 to bring the home back into use.
The £10 Million project is based on a pilot in Rhondda Cynon Taf and is being rolled out across the south Wales valleys.
“Tackling the problem of empty houses helps improve the feel of an area as well as providing homes for families. The Rhondda Cynon Taf scheme has shown us that applicants are choosing local businesses to undertake the refurbishment work, keeping money in the community and improving employment prospects. We want to support and encourage this as we roll the scheme out.” Lee added.
Local member of parliament Nia Griffith said: “I am delighted that the Welsh Government recognises the importance of supporting the local economy in the Gwendraeth and Amman Valleys, and this announcement today is very good news for West Wales.”
Councillor for the Tycroes ward in the Amman valley, Tina Higgins said: “I welcome the announcement that the Amman And Gwendraeth valleys are to be included in the Welsh Government Valleys Task Force area.
“This is extremely good news for the area. I look forward to supporting Lee Waters AM with this initiative and will be representing the views of residents in my ward whenever I can.”
Councillor Dorothy Jones, representing Llannon in the Gwendraeth valley said: “This is an exciting development for my ward and the Gwendraeth valley. I hope that we can use this new status to deliver affordable housing based on local income for residents and improve employment prospects in the area.
“I’m glad our AM Lee Waters has been able to deliver such strong support for the area and I’m looking forward to working with him as the taskforce moves forward.”
First vegan supermarket opens in Llanelli
THE FIRST vegan supermarket has opened its doors in Llanelli thanks to the support of a grant from Carmarthenshire County Council.
Kind Earth served its first customers with organic and locally sourced produce from its Stradey District Centre store in Maes Y Coed on Friday.
The business, owned by local resident Matt Rogerson, was supported with a grant of £4,435 through the council’s business start-up fund which is linked to job creation.
The money was used to purchase equipment including an EPOS system, fridges and freezers, shelving, trollies, baskets and light fittings.
The business is a plastic free zone offering paper bags and paper carriers to customers as packaging.
In addition to selling groceries, the store will run a terracycle scheme and host to a number of events including litter picking days and workshops on a wide range of topics to improve lifestyles.
Kind Earth’s Matt Rogerson said opening the store was a dream come true for him.
He said: “I’ve been so excited to open Kind Earth, and grateful to the council for the start-up grant and belief which helped pursue my dream. I hope that between myself and my stakeholders we can make our local and global community a better place. The shop is not only a vegan supermarket where people can buy fresh good quality locally sourced grocery items but offers customers to get involved in initiatives and workshops to make us a healthier and more sustainable community.”
Mr Rogerson said he hopes to employ in the future.
Carmarthenshire County Council Leader, Cllr Emlyn Dole said: “I am happy that we were able to provide funding to support Kind Earth to develop a new business that will benefit the community and offer people a wider choice of food.
As a council we remain committed to strengthening our local economy and giving the people of Carmarthenshire as much choice as possible.”
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