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Burger van owner ‘cooked books’ over insurance claim

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Swansea Crown Court

Swansea Crown CourtA LLANDEILO MAN has been sentenced after he tried to use fake invoices as part of a £300,000 insurance claim for damage to two catering vans.

The case was passed to detectives in the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department at the City of London Police when investigators for NFU Mutual suspected false invoices had been provided to them.

Richard William Kirkup Lewis, 61, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, at Swansea Crown Court on Friday (Jun 17). Lewis was also ordered to repay £37,464 in costs to NFU Mutual, pay £2,800 in court costs and pay £100 victim surcharge.

In August 2013, Lewis’ neighbour was said to have been carrying out some repair work to a fence on Lewis’ land. The neighbour was using a tractor, when it rolled downhill and crashed into two of Lewis’ catering vans that were parked nearby. As the neighbour attempted to drive the tractor away, the catering vans caught alight, completely destroying both vans.

Lewis, who was away working at the time of the incident, returned home and then claimed against his neighbour’s vehicle insurance for the cost of the two catering vans and also made claims for loss of earnings. In total, Lewis claimed that the two vans and equipment were worth in excess of £167,000 and said his lost earnings were in the region of £150,000.

Due to the high value of the claims, the insurer – NFU Mutual – appointed a claims investigator from the Investigation Services team at Cunningham Lindsey but when he went to check the damaged vehicles, Lewis stated he had already sold them to a local scrap metal dealer. Furthermore, the vehicle identification numbers (VINs) on the vans were completely destroyed by the fire. Lewis had no written record of the VINs that would allow NFU Mutual to estimate the true value of the vans, so he was asked to provide invoices from when he bought the vans.

Lewis then provided NFU Mutual with two documents that he said were invoices for the vans from a local manufacturer. However, when the investigator made further checks, the invoices proved to be fakes and found Lewis hadn’t purchased them from where he claimed.

When confronted, Lewis then changed his story saying that he bought the vans from a traveller, but he was no longer able to get in touch with him to verify this. At this point, the details were passed to IFED detectives to investigate.

Lewis was arrested in March 2015 and after further enquiries, Lewis was charged with fraud by false representation.

Detective Constable Aman Taylor, from the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department said:

“It’s clear that Lewis lied and went to great lengths to try and support his very large compensation claim. Anyone who has supposedly invested over £150,000 in equipment would have surely kept receipts, invoices or had some kind of record to show their true value.

“Yet Lewis was unable to provide any documents or evidence that supported his claims that the two vans were worth as much as he claimed so he decided to provide fake documents instead. His actions were not just dishonest, but they were also illegal and this should serve as a warning to anyone to think twice before making false insurance claims.”

Commenting on the case, Rob Spiegelhalter, Fraud Manager at NFU Mutual said: “As a mutual insurer, being tough on fraud and the causes of fraud helps us to protect our members and reduce the cost of premiums. In this case, with the help of the Investigation Services team at Cunningham Lindsey, we were able to assist the IFED investigation and expose claims fraud against one of our members.

“As this case shows, fraud is not a victimless crime and we believe the court’s decision sends a strong message to those who might be tempted to commit insurance fraud.”

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Police launch public appeal following Carmarthenshire burglary

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is investigating a burglary at a property in Ponthenry.

People broke into a shed at a home in Victoria Road at around 8.30pm on Monday, 31 October, before leaving after spotting a CCTV camera.

They returned at around 10.15pm and again at around 10.55pm.

During their raids they tooka green Wolf motocross helmet with a full face with a peak and line green motocross goggles.

Officers are appealing for help to identify two people they would like to speak to over the incident.

Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Quote reference: DPP/0756/01/11/2022/02/C. Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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Morrisons Foundation supports children’s charity with grant for vital equipment

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The Morrisons Foundation supports registered charities that make a positive difference. They recently awarded national children’s disability charity, Cerebra, based in Carmarthen, a grant of £11,109.

This will fund the creation of writing slopes through the Cerebra Innovation Centre, which is partnered with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and designs wonderful toys and equipment to help children living with a brain condition to learn and play.

The writing slopes are designed to help children who struggle with posture and fine motor skills. They also aid children with writing, drawing and hand control. Ross Head, Product Design Manager at the Cerebra Innovation Centre explains;

‘The slopes include a lovely wipe-clean surface for children to experiment with mark making, their own set of pens and a clever lid-free pen store to remove the challenge of removing lids for some children. We are so lucky to be able to do what we do and funding like this is so important to allow us to push boundaries and provide vital equipment that looks beautiful.’

At the start of 2022, the Cerebra Innovation Centre highlighted that they anticipated the need for an additional 20 writing slopes for children. Cerebra Fundraising Manager, James Hay then worked with the grants team at the Morrisons Foundation, who were delighted to support this project. David Scott, Morrisons Foundation Trustee said:

‘Cerebra is dedicated to helping families who have a child with a brain condition to discover a better life together, that’s why I’m delighted that we’ve been able to provide this support. The specialised writing slopes will make a huge positive impact on children with sensory and mobility issues, providing a great opportunity to develop their skills, which will last a lifetime.’

Grants like this are a vital source of funding for Cerebra so that they are able to continue to support children living with a brain condition and their families who face challenges every day. The Cerebra Innovation Centre is one of the many support services provided by the charity that so many families have come to rely on. James Hay adds;

‘Thank you so much to the Morrisons Foundation for this generous grant! We are over the moon as we know how much this project will change young lives. These are particularly challenging times for charities and so this funding from Morrisons for the creation of 20 writing slopes is warmly welcomed.’

You can find out more about Cerebra and how they help children and families by visiting www.cerebra.org.uk 

Writing Slope
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White Ribbon campaign supported by Carmarthenshire County Council

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CARMARTHENSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL says it is again showing its support for the White Ribbon campaign, which takes place on Friday, November 25 and is followed by 16 Days of Action.

White Ribbon is the UK’s leading charity engaging men and boys to end violence against women and girls.

While domestic abuse affects both sexes, the largest number of violent incidents involve men against women. But ultimately male violence against women is everyone’s issue, not just women’s.

The council was awarded White Ribbon UK accredited status for the first time in 2018 and is continuing to work to tackle such violence.

White Ribbon flags will be flying at County Hall in Carmarthen and town halls in Llanelli and Ammanford on White Ribbon Day (Friday, November 25). County Hall will also be lit up on the evening to show support.

The council is working alongside partners to raise awareness of the campaign across the county – from sports clubs, joint visits with the Police to licensed premises, our leisure centres and libraries to bus stations.

With this year’s White Ribbon Day falling on the same week as the start of the FIFA men’s World Cup, there has never been a better time to come together and start playing as a team to end violence against women and girls.

The council will be raising awareness of the campaign at special events including a Walking Football session at Amman Valley Leisure Centre on November 30 and at “An Evening with Sam Warburton” at the Lyric Theatre in Carmarthen on White Ribbon Day (November 25).

Cabinet Member responsible for Community Safety, Cllr Philip Hughes, said: “It’s vital that we raise more awareness about domestic abuse so that anyone affected can get help and support from one of our local services.”

Support locally can be found at: Threshold (Llanelli) on 01554 752 422 or www.threshold-das.org.uk; Calan DVS (Ammanford) on 01269 597 474 or www.calandvs.org.uk; Carmarthen Domestic Abuse Service on 01267 238 410 or www.carmdas.org and Goleudy on 0300 123 2996 or www.goleudyvictimandwitnessservice.org.uk or call the Live Fear Free Helpline on 0808 80 10 800 or visit https://gov.wales/live-fear-free for free advice and support 24/7

For more information on the White Ribbon campaign visit www.whiteribbon.org.uk

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