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First Cymru to look at Llanelli improvements

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LOCAL Assembly Member Lee Waters has secured a commitment from First Cymru to look at new and improved bus routes for Llanelli.

The AM, who has campaigned for better public transport for the area, has welcomed a commitment from First Cymru and it’s new Chief Executive, Andrew Sherrington, to look at service improvements following feedback from residents.

The Llanelli AM said: “I’ve been impressed with the willingness First Cymru have shown to look at new routes and service improvements, based on what people in Llanelli have been telling me they would like to see from their bus operator.

“First Cymru have agreed to look at extending Sunday services across the area, based on demand, and examine the possibility of extending the X11 service from Swansea later into the evening. The bus company have also agreed to consider the potential of increasing service frequency on some routes, and exploring the possibility of introducing new routes to better serve customers.”

Mr Waters, now the Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport in the Welsh Government, recently met with the bus company to pass on the views of his constituents and was pleased to hear First Cymru’s commitment to service improvements in Llanelli. The AM has campaigned for better public transport across the Llanelli constituency, as well as championing the development of Swansea Bay Metro since he was elected.

He added: “Ultimately the bus companies are private firms and will only run services if they think there’s a commercial case for them. If they don’t think a route can run at a profit they rely on subsidies to keep it going. Many routes have been withdrawn or scaled back as Councils have suffered cutbacks because of the UK Government’s Austerity project.

“The Welsh Labour Government are considering changing the way we regulate the private industry to make sure we get the best value for the £250 million we invest every year. As the Deputy Minister in the Welsh Government, I’m consulting on plans to improve buses across Wales.

“The Chief Executive of First Cymru and I want the same thing – more people using buses instead of cars. But people can only use buses more often if the services are available. I’m pleased that Andrew Sherrington is looking to see what he can do to extend services locally. It’s now really important that we continue to press the case for better services, and that residents continue to keep me and the bus company informed about what they want.”

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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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