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​Sentencing of fake harness fraudster welcomed​

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Failure: The result of a safety test

CARMARTHENSHIRE’S​ Trading Standards team has welcomed the sentencing of a Pembrey man found guilty of selling potentially deadly fake motor racing harnesses.

Carmarthenshire County Council prosecuted 22-year-old Finbar Hannaford after discovering he was selling counterfeit race harnesses bearing the Sabelt, Sparco and Takata brand names through eBay and Facebook, putting his customers at risk of death or serious injury.

He was sentenced at Swansea Crown Court under s.9 of the Fraud Act 2006, where he was handed an 18-month suspended prison sentence, ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work, and told to contribute £1,000 to prosecution costs.

Judge Recorder Christopher Clee QC said Hannaford narrowly avoided an immediate prison sentence, considering the fact that he continued selling after being warned of the safety implications a serious aggravating feature.

The severity of the risk his customers were under came to light when Trading Standards officers arranged for the harnesses to be tested as part of their investigation.

They were so concerned at the catastrophic failure of a counterfeit Sparco harness in controlled test conditions that they released a video showing how spectacularly it had failed.

Footage showed the harness snapping at several points under tests of just 50km per hour, catapulting the crash test dummy out of its seat, snapping back its head and strangling it by the neck – indicating in a real life situation, and under normal use, that it could cause death or serious injury.

The video has been shared and viewed thousands of times on social media and racing websites in several countries including Hungary, Finland and Spain.

During their investigation, the Trading Standards team asked Hannaford for information that would allow his customers to be contacted.

His lack of cooperation means many of his customers may still be using the fake harnesses, unaware of the serious risk they are under.

Trading Standards officers have been working closely with official manufacturers of Sparco, Sabelt and Takata harnesses, as well as UK race officials, to raise awareness of the counterfeits.

Robin Staines, Head of Housing and Public Protection at Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “Our officers have worked incredibly hard to investigate this case and bring it to a successful prosecution. We are still concerned that many of the fake harnesses he sold may still be in use, so we welcome the sentencing as well as the media coverage this case has generated.”

Drivers who have bought Sparco, Sabelt and Takata harnesses from an unofficial or discounted seller are advised to remove them from their vehicles immediately and seek civil advice.

Trading Standards officers stress that there are no known safety issues with genuine Sparco, Sabelt and Takata harnesses bought through authorised stockists.

Anyone with concerns about harnesses, or other motor racing safety products, should contact their local Trading Standards team for advice.

In Carmarthenshire, contact Trading Standards on email tradingstandards@carmarthenshire.gov.uk or call 01267 234567.

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Llandeilo gas works to begin say Wales & West Utilities

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WALES & West Utilities will shortly begin work to upgrade gas pipes in Llandeilo.

Wales & West Utilities has liaised with Carmarthenshire County Council to plan the work and it has been agreed that work will commence after the town has celebrated the Festival of Senses.

The £123,000 investment scheme, which is essential to keep the gas flowing safely to heat and power local homes and businesses, will begin in New Road on 21 November. This section of work will be complete before Christmas and Wales & West Utilities will return to the town next year to undertake further work in the Crescent Road area. Barring any engineering difficulties, work in the town will be complete by the end of February next year.

Wales & West Utilities Adam Smith is managing this gas pipe upgrade work. He said: “Working with the Council, we have planned this work to accommodate the needs of the town.

“While most of the gas network is underground and out of sight, it plays a central role in the daily lives of people across Llandeilo. Whether it’s heating your home, making the family dinner or having a hot bath, we understand how important it is for your gas supply to be safe and reliable and there when you need it.

“We know that working in areas like this is not ideal, but it really is essential to make sure we keep the gas flowing to homes and businesses in the area, and to make sure the gas network is fit for the future. We’ll have a team of gas engineers on site throughout the project to make sure our work is completed as safely and as quickly as possible while keeping disruption to a minimum.

“This work is essential to keep the gas flowing to local homes and businesses today, and to make sure the gas network is ready to transport hydrogen and biomethane, so we can all play our part in a green future.”

Our Customer Service Team is ready to take your call if you have any questions about our work. You can contact them on freephone 0800 912 2999.

Alternatively, you can contact us on Twitter @WWUtilities or Facebook.com/WWUtilities.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If you smell gas, or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, call us on 0800 111 999 straight away, and our engineers will be there to help any time of day or night. Before visiting, we’ll ask you to let us know if you or anyone in your household, is experiencing Coronavirus symptoms or self-isolating. We’ll still come and help you: but our teams will take some additional precautions to keep us all safe.

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Police appeal following theft of items from Home Bargains Crosshands

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OFFICERS from Dyfed Powys Police have confirmed that they are investigating the theft of items, including a Christmas Nutcracker Ornament valued at £129.99, from the Home Bargains store in Crosshands, Carmarthenshire.

The theft occurred at about 12:40pm on Tuesday, 27th September 2022.

Officers have carried out all possible lines of enquiry, and are now appealing for help from the public.

They would like to identify the people in the CCTV image, who may have information that could help the investigation.

Anyone who knows who the people are, or if you believe you are pictured, contact Dyfed-Powys Police.

This can also be done either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk or phoning 101.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Please quote reference DPP/2006/27/09/2022/02/C

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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Witness appeal after car is stolen and burnt out

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is investigating the theft of a car from a property in Lando Road, Burry Port, which was later found burnt out in Pembrey Country Park.

Officers are appealing for witnesses to the theft of the blue Ssangyong Rexton, which took place sometime between 5pm on Friday, 11th November, and 9am on Saturday, 12th November, and would like to speak to anyone who may have information or CCTV or dashcam footage.

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: DP-20221112-109

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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