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Dangerous fake motor racing harnesses uncovered

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Carmarthenshire County Council Lead Trading Standards Officer Aled Thomas and Executive Board Member for Public Protection Cllr Jim Jones, pictured with one of the counterfeit Sparco harnesses that have failed controlled safety tests (pic Jeff Connell)

A PEMBREY man admitted selling fake harnesses to amateur and semi-professional racing car drivers at Swansea Crown Court this week.

Finbar Hannaford, aged 22, sold more than 300 of the enhanced seatbelt systems before Carmarthenshire County Council’s trading standards officers stepped in.

The counterfeit harnesses bearing the Sabelt, Sparco and Takata brand names, were sold on eBay and Facebook, amongst a range of counterfeit car accessories and clothing.

A similar counterfeit harness failed in controlled safety test conditions at a speed of just 50mph.

The harness failed on several points, indicating that in a real life situation – and under normal use – it could cause death or serious injury.

The counterfeit harness under test was branded as Sparco, and at the time, trading standards officers warned that there was a ‘real risk’ that the counterfeit Sabelt and Takata harnesses could also similarly fail.

At least one is thought to have snapped.

Hannaford, of Maes yr Awel, appeared before Judge Keith Thomas at Swansea crown court on Monday (Feb 6) for a plea and trial preparation hearing.

He admitted participating in a fraudulent business between Aug 1, 2014 and July 18, 2015 by selling racing harnesses which were either counterfeit or dangerous.

Lee Reynolds, prosecuting, said the products gave the impression of being Italian made but had in fact been imported directly from China.

Robin Rouch, the barrister representing Hannaford, said he accepted that the harnesses had not been genuine but he had believed them to be of good quality.

The harnesses are fitted to cars used for both rallying and circuit racing.

Judge Thomas said he would sentence Hannaford on March 31 after a hearing to determine the extent of his involvement in the fraud.

Hannaford was granted bail meanwhile but warned by Judge Thomas that a prison sentence could be the eventual outcome.

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New ward extension opens at Werndale Hospital

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WERNDALE Hospital opens its £1millon ward extension, featuring a suite of new spacious patient en-suite rooms and additional light and airy ward space for new nurses’ stations, new technology and medical equipment, in pleasant and comfortable spaces. 

Werndale is part of Circle Health Group, the UK’s largest provider of private healthcare. The group is carrying out a £125 million redevelopment programme across its 50 hospitals in the UK.

Werndale has a strong history in the village of Bancyfelin, where is has been serving the local communities of Wales for over 32 years.

James Davies, Wales and Scarlets rugby player, from Bancyfelin, cut the ribbon to mark the official opening on Monday 1st August. His nickname “Cubby”, is reference to his brother’s nickname, “Fox”; this refers to the Fox & Hounds pub their parents ran in Bancyfelin, the village where they grew up. Staff and consultants were given the chance to view the new extension, with a small gathering to mark the occasion and celebrate all the hard work that has gone into this project over the last 12 months.

Jacky Jones, Executive Director of Werndale Hospital said: “The investment programme is an exciting opportunity to expand what we can offer to patients at Werndale. Our staff and consultants are delighted with this expansion which will allow us to meet the private healthcare needs of patients and families in Wales and will decrease waiting times which will positively impact the patient’s experience. Having the new patient rooms here increases our ward capacity by 20%, it is a great investment”.

Gaynor Llewellyn, Director of Clinical Services said: “At Werndale we are committed to continuous improvement of clinical facilities and services. We continually invest in the hospital so that we can offer our patients and consultants reassurance when they visit us for treatments”.

Werndale Hospital is seeing increased demand for its services across all specialities particularly orthopaedic surgery, ophthalmology, and general surgery. Nearly 4,000 patients had surgery at Werndale Hospital, Bancyfelin during 2021 and the new investment will enable ward capacity to be increased by 25 per cent.

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M4 closed westbound following lorry fire near Swansea

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A SECTION of the M4 near Swansea was shut on Monday (Aug 8) due to a vehicle fire.

The westbound section of the motorway, between junction 47 at Penllergaer and junction 48 at Hendy closed.

Emergency services were called to the scene, and there was queuing traffic in the area.

Traffic monitoring service Inrix reported: “M4 Westbound closed, queueing traffic due to vehicle fire between J47 A48 (Penllergaer / Swansea West Services) and J48 A4138 Pontardulais Road”

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Police appeal after Llanelli assault: victim required hospital treatment

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DYFED POWYS POLICE is investigating an assault which occurred on Regalia Terrace, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire at about 12.05am, Sunday 3rd July.

The victim required hospital treatment.

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

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

Anyone who knows who the person is, 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 DP-20220703-011

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

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