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New bank scheme alerted police to elderly lady being scammed

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE has prevented over £260,000 of fraud at banks since the start of the Banking Protocol in September 2017, and just last week arrested a man who was trying to scam an elderly lady.

Praising the scheme, a Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson explained: “Thanks to the ground-breaking fraud prevention scheme – the Banking Protocol, branch staff at a bank in Llanelli alerted police last week to concerns they had for an elderly female customer.

“The Banking Protocol, developed as a partnership between the finance industry, Police and Trading Standards, enables bank staff to contact police if they suspect a customer is in the process of being scammed, with a rapid response to the branch.

“Officers attended and established the elderly woman was attempting to withdraw a large sum of money in cash, and this was not the first time recently. Enquiries were commenced, which have led to the arrest of a 56 year old man on suspicion of fraud offences. He has been bailed pending further enquiries.

“The victim is our priority, and she has been referred to agencies that can provide the right support and help her through this process.”

Paul Callard, from the Dyfed-Powys Police Financial Crime Team added: “This is an example of the value of the Banking Protocol in protecting the most vulnerable in our communities. A common method for fraud offences to be carried out is by encouraging victims to attend their local bank to withdraw cash or transfer money out of their account. This clearly demonstrates that the scheme is the first line of defence in identifying and protecting potential fraud victims in these situations. ”

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4.4 magnitude earthquake felt across Wales

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AN earthquake of 4.4 magnitude has been felt across Wales and England this afternoon (Feb 17).

There are numerous reports of the earthquake being felt across west Wales, including Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.

The earthquake originated near Swansea, where it is was felt strongest, at around 2:30pm.

However, the earthquake was felt across Wales, and many parts of England.

The EMSC, an independent monitor of earthquakes, said: “Latest update of the effects of the #earthquake in #Swansea region. Was felt up to 300 km from epicentre.”

Dyfed-Powys Police received many reports about the incident, but said that there was no need for concern, and that they felt it themselves in their control room.

The police force said: “We are receiving an extremely high call volume reporting some sort of earth tremor in the area – we are receiving reports from across the whole of Wales (we felt it in our control room too!). For now – it is unexplained – but there is nothing to worry about.”

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Does Parc Trostre need a railway station?

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A PETITION has been launched to encourage the creation of a railway station at Parc Trostre – something which it is claimed could help everything from match-day congestion to pollution on Sandy Road.

Parc Trostre, home to a large retail park and near the Scarlets’ ground, can at present only be accessed by road. On match days there have been numerous complaints from residents in the surrounding area about fans parking their cars in residential streets and causing traffic chaos.

The petition, which already has almost 200 signatures, says that Wales has a ‘truly enormous’ transport network which has not moved with the times, and changed to suit the rapid demand and increased population growth.

“We feel there should be changes made not only to the rail network, but to the bus, and road systems to ease congestion and enable safer, simpler commutes for passengers,” it adds.

“We propose to come up with different ways and suggestions to change the transport network in Carmarthenshire – be it the bus, road or rail network. We the people use the network, so we the people should have our say. The lack of busses and trains often leaves communities isolated and closed off for those who don’t drive.

“This petition aims to look at creating a Parc Trostre Railway Station, which would assist in solving the already apparent problem with parking and congestion, enabling staff and employees to commute easier and from further afield and encourage growth and stability to a massively popular retail park. Rugby and sport fans can also make use of the railway station, by travelling in from afar for games and matches at the iconic Parc y Scarlets Stadium.

“Llanelli is Carmarthenshire’s Largest town with a rapidly growing population of over 49,000 people! Parc Trostre Retail park is a bustling modern retail park with an already apparent parking and congestion problem. The bus network to the park is poor, and really only serves Llanelli and Swansea directions.

“We feel, a railway station at track level underneath the Piano Bridge on Lower Trostre Road would be a real tangible suggestion to serve the retail park and Morfa areas of Llanelli. It’s a 30 minute walk from Llanelli Train Station to Trostre. Imagine that for employees, walking in the dark, in the winter to catch a train to Kidwelly, Burry Port, Carmarthen etc (busses after about 18:30 are non existent in that direction)… The current rail station does NOT cater for the out of town shopping areas and sports stadium.

“Our Rail timetable is already relatively good, with some of the earliest of trains starting at 04:55 (Carmarthen to Llanelli) and the latest of trains at around 23:35 (Llanelli to Carmarthen) The busses just don’t do this – and don’t operate at these times! This makes employees who don’t drive in Trostre’s life’s impossible – unless there willing to brave the walk from the existing train station to Trostre, or finish around the time of a bus!

“This would be a safer, simpler way of travel for employees, punters and sports fans, who could walk over to piano bridge, down steps, and onto the platform. It doesn’t need to be anything special – just a concrete platform, some shelters and some lights! The line already runs past Trostre, so why not make the most of it!

“We are confident this would somewhat aid congestion on the Sandy Road, as commuters could be encouraged to catch the train too.

“We call on isolated employees, frustrated drivers, sports fans and anyone interested in the economic growth of Llanelli to sign this petition. We are confident this would be a relatively low investment for the rail operating companies with a high return on passenger journeys.”

The petition coincides with increased interest in public transport provision in the area, following the launch of Professor Barry’s proposal for a Swansea Bay Metro last year. A map of these plans shows that Trostre would be considered as a stop on two of the lines.

However, it is worth noting that even if the £1bn plans were approved, it would be at least a decade before work were completed.

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School in shock after death of pupil

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TRAGEDY struck a Llanelli primary school last week when a four-year-old child lost his life to meningitis.

The child was referred to hospital with meningococcal septicaemia on Thursday (Feb 8), but sadly passed away on the same day.

Public health experts have confirmed that there is no risk to other pupils at Bigyn Primary School.

A page has been set up in memory of the youngster, who we are not identifying at this time at the request of the parents, on Facebook.

Head teacher of Bigyn Primary School Marc C. Howells told The Herald that the whole school was ‘absolutely devastated’.

“We are all in shock as it happened so quickly. Doctors from Public Health Wales have spoken to parents to reassure them that their own children are safe. Our thoughts are with the family at this sad time,” he added.

A person connected with the school, who did not wish to be named, said that the child was ‘a lovely little boy’.

“He was just four-years-old and so cheerful,” they explained. “It was a sombre week last week as the school also suffered a robbery which included damage to classrooms and the staff room with part of the ceilings destroyed, lots of electrical items were stolen including tablets.

“This doesn’t make a difference as insurance covers it and items can be replaced. You can’t replace a child though. My heart goes out to the family and he’ll be missed, what a bubbly little lad.”

Public Health Wales consultant Sion Lingard said: “We are aware of the death of a Llanelli child who had meningococcal septicaemia. There is no wider public health risk. We are working with the child’s school and the local health board to provide information and advice to parents.

“Meningococcal septicaemia disease can affect anyone at any time and it is therefore important to be aware of the symptoms of the disease, which include headache, fever, drowsiness, vomiting, neck stiffness and possibly a red rash which doesn’t fade when pressed with a glass tumbler.”
County Councillor for the Bigyn Ward Jeff Edmunds said: “This is such a sad time and for one so young. The community is currently in a state of shock. I know the family and understandably they’re devastated.”

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