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Over half of council cameras out of action

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CARMARTHENSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL could conduct a review of its CCTV cameras after it was announced that Dyfed-Powys Police would be introducing 46 new cameras across the county.

A report noted that due to a lack of ‘proactive maintenance’ around 60% of the council’s 87 cameras were not working.

Live monitoring of CCC’s cameras ceased in 2015, after the Executive Board at the time unanimously voted to save a projected £104,000.

The cameras were still recording, allowing police to view footage, and an ‘informal agreement’ with saw Dyfed-Powys agree to fund the upkeep on the camera equipment on a case-by-case basis. However, a reduction in funding and a ‘change of direction’ since Dafydd Llywelyn was elected as police and crime commissioner in 2016 meant that this had ceased.

A report put before the council’s Executive Board on Monday (Jul 2) explained that the Dyfed Powys Police CCTV Project would see 116 new cameras installed across the force’s operating area, with 46 of these in Carmarthenshire.

19 cameras are to be installed in Llanelli, 17 in Carmarthen and 19 in Ammanford. Almost all of the new cameras will be placed at existing CCTV locations, with one new location in Ammanford, following ‘crime pattern analysis which demonstrates an operational requirement for a camera at that site’. The council was asked to agree to pay around £7,000 for electricity fees and costs for the new system.

However, 42 locations across the county currently covered by CCC’s system would not be covered by the new CCTV system. The report noted that of these 42 cameras, currently only 15 were operational, and at 20-years-old were dated compared to the new police cameras.

Of these cameras, CCC’s Leisure Services expressed an interest in keeping CCTV at Llanelli Leisure Centre and on the Millennium Coastal Path, while Parking Services requested that the cameras in Llanelli Multi-storey car park be retained.

Two options were put before the Executive Board – either to decommission the remaining 42 cameras, and place the responsibility of maintaining and operating CCTV at the site in the hands of the town council or council department which requested it, or to conduct a review of the 42 cameras, which would ascertain the cost of maintaining provision where it was required.

Speaking at Monday’s meeting, Cllr Cefin Campbell said that the preferred option of the Executive Board was to conduct a review which would include consultation with councillors and town councils.

Labour councillor Deryk Cundy said it was ‘hugely important’ to get CCTV cameras back. He asked that groups including Shelter be included in the consultation so they can make sure that ‘if we do have any rough sleepers they can make sure what is going on’.

Cllr Campbell noted that ‘given enough money we would pay for more CCTV cameras.

“We have to show faith in the police, that they have taken this crime pattern analysis, and know where the hotspots are,” he added.

He noted that there would be concerns regarding invasion of privacy, if cameras were used, instead of as a deterrent, for monitoring rough sleepers.

“There may be a debate about using cameras for monitoring rough sleepers – some might argue that crosses that boundary,” he added.

It was unanimously agreed to review the cameras.

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Llanelli ‘Banksy’: Mayor covers graffiti rat in protective plastic

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LLANELLI Mayor David Darkin believes graffiti found on charity shop wall could potentially be a Banksy.

The piece has been covered with protective plastic by the council while they determine the authenticity of the piece.

David Darkin, Mayor of Llanelli told this newspaper: “I was approached by a local artist Roz Moreton, who believes the artwork is a Banksy in an attempt to preserve the piece.

Roz who studied art in Bristol and lived in London has said she has been exposed to numerous Banksy works including his rats on Westminster Bridge, and spotted the ‘rat’ straight away.

Darkin added “She first spotted the graffiti around ten years ago, but she kept her findings to herself so that she could go back and visit the work.

“It was only after the recent news of the incident in Swansea, where part of a suspected piece of Banksy artwork was stolen, that she decided to approach me to ask for help to protect the piece”.

The art dealer who bought Banksy’s ‘Season’s Greetings’ which appeared on a garage in Port Talbot in December, has met with the mayor in Neath to view images of the artwork.

John Bradner, Essex based gallery owner, paid six figures for the Port Talbot addition, is planning on visiting the site to see the piece for himself.

Mr Darkin added “After showing John Bradner the images he is fairly confident that the piece is Banksy’s work, the fact it was spotted ten years ago ties in with ‘Banksy’s rats’ which was his theme at the time when they appeared across industrial towns.

“Mr Bradner called me yesterday and asked if there was anything else I can do to preserve the piece until he comes to view it in a few weeks to check its authenticity.”

Speaking on the piece Councillor John Jenkins said “Fingers crossed it is a Banksy, but worst-case scenario it isn’t and is still a talking point and people still come and see him.”

Speaking to Mr Darkin he said no attempts have been made yet to contact Banksy to confirm the piece as far as he is aware.

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36 charges relating to chemicals and components for making bombs

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A 33-YEAR-OLD male  is facing 36 charges relating to chemicals and components which can be used to make bombs.

He was remanded in custody at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Friday (Feb 15)

The man, from Port Talbot, was arrested in October 2017 in an operation between counter terrorism officers, South Wales Fire and Rescue and The Welsh Ambulance Service.

Detective Superintendent James Hall said no known links to terrorist offences or groups were found. The man will appear in court again at a date to be fixed.

He has also been charged with possessing a taser and manufacturing and possessing class A drugs.

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University makes formal criminal complaint

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A FORMAL criminal complaint has been by made by Swansea University, as part of the ongoing investigation into the issues surrounding the recent suspension of four members of staff.

South Wales Police said: “Dyfed-Powys Police and South Wales Police can confirm that they have received a complaint which is currently subject of consideration by both forces.”

Last November, the university’s Vice-Chancellor Prof Richard B Davies, Dean of the School of Management Prof Marc Clement, as well as two other members of staff, who have not been named, were suspended.

Prof Davies has been suspended for alleged gross negligence whilst Prof Clement was suspended for alleged gross misconduct. Both individuals have denied any wrongdoing. Registrar Andrew Rhodes confirmed at the time that this action was taken after an internal investigation.

In a statement, the university said: “Swansea University has been in regular dialogue with the authorities since November 2018 based on the findings of our initial investigation. A formal criminal complaint has been made and the matter is with South Wales Police and Dyfed Powys Police. We will of course continue to co-operate fully with them. Our processes, which are being carried out by an independent investigating manager, are ongoing.”

The investigation has looked into the academics’ involvement in both the £200m Life Science and Wellbeing Village project in Llanelli, and a £600m plan for a private medical university and hospital in Kuwait.

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