Dangerous vehicles travelling through the Vale of Clwyd have been targeted by police and council officers as part of a crackdown.
Over 30 vehicles were stopped at the A525 weighbridge near St Asaph on Wednesday in an operation to mark National Road Safety Week.
One van stopped by officers was immediately banned from the roads because it was in extremely poor condition – part of its steering wheel was missing and its seats were in a dangerous position.
Among the other findings, eight vehicles were found to be overweight, several more had defective tyres and lighting and three were been driven without a valid MOT. Another vehicle was seized because it had no insurance. More operations will be carried out across the county in the coming weeks.
Roads Policing Unit officers carried out the crackdown with help from HM Revenue and Customs and Denbighshire County Council. Sergeant Jason Diamond said: “We carry out these regular checks to make our roads safer and, as demonstrated by the number of offences found, there is a need to continue with them to deal with drivers and vehicles that are potentially dangerous to other road users…it is the drivers’ responsibility to ensure that their vehicle is in a safe and roadworthy condition before going out on the roads.”
After the operation, Councillor David Smith, the cabinet’s Lead Member for Environment said: ”Checks like these are carried out on a regular basis and we will use opportunities like these to educate drivers about the importance of driving safely in vehicles that are roadworthy and within their permitted weights.”
A judge has told a Rhyl man convicted for a string of historic sex offences that his past has caught up with him.
Raymond Jones was jailed for 11 years after being found guilty of abusing against three children in indecent and sexual assaults – some dating back to over 50 years ago. He denied a total of 19 charges, including one of attempted rape on a young girl.
Mold Crown Court heard that Jones (63), from Parc Esmor, had been considered by some as a kind and generous man for 35 years before his victims spoke out.
When he was a teenager, he indecently assaulted a child before grooming two girls and manipulating them into being abused. The court heard the victims had been left traumatised by his actions and are still suffering to this day.
It appeared his character had changed by the mid 1980s into someone who had been held in high regard, without prior knowledge of his crimes. Jones’ defence said there was no suggestion he had carried out any more assaults in that time and that his client did not accept the convictions. During the trial, he had accused the victims of lying.
Miss Recorder Gaynor Lloyd told Jones: ”You have taken no responsibility for your actions”. She added he had shown no remorse and the impact of a jail sentence would affect the defendant and his family, who still supported him. The judge said sentencing was difficult because he had maintained his good character for over 30 years.
There were cries of ”injustice” from the gallery as Jones was led down to begin his sentence. He must also sign the sex offenders’ register for life, never have any unsupervised contact with children, and never approach his victims again.
The Chancellor’s decision to rule out further cuts to the police budget in his Autumn Statement has been welcomed as a victory for common sense by Julian Sandham, the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales.
George Osbourne defied expectations when he told the House of Commons that there would be no further cutbacks in the police budget and promised real terms protection for police funding.
A relieved Julian Sandham said: “We welcome the Chancellor’s decision to rule out further cuts to the police budget, especially in the light of recent events in Paris.
“This is a victory for common sense because the Chancellor has done the right thing and without this our approach to security wouldn’t have been coherent.
“We now need to look at the fine detail of what the Chancellor has said before we receive the grant settlement in December.
North Wales is a special case for a number of reasons. We have a major port in Holyhead which handles over two million passengers a year and over 300,000 lorries and the prospect of a new nuclear power station.
“Clearly, we still need to consider aspects of the terror attacks in Paris – specifically the need to consider carefully the implications in respect of neighbourhood policing.
“The flow of intelligence is important and neighbourhood policing teams gather this intelligence and are best able to do so because they are closer to their communities.”
The Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales is about to embark on a series of consultation meetings across the region and Julian Sandham added: “North Wales Police have coped with £24 million in cuts over the past four years and is now a leaner machine in consequence but it isn’t a less effective or less efficient machine.
“The force has an excellent track record in fighting crime and is the only force in Wales where crime has been reduced.”
“Our focus now moves to a series of meetings where the Commissioner and I will seek the views of local people in communities across north Wales to inform the priorities to be included in the Police and Crime Plan which will be the blueprint for policing the region.
“Their views will also be important and I would encourage people to take part in this process.
“For those who are unable to attend any of the meetings, we have an online survey so they can make sure their opinions are heard. People can also request a hard copy survey from the office or phone the office and give us their views.”
Budget supermarket Aldi has announced plans to build a new store on derelict land in Rhuddlan.
Up to 40 jobs could be created if the chain is given permission to open a supermarket on Marsh Road, near the Premier Inn hotel and the Morfa Rhuddlan restaurant.
The full proposals will go on public display next week, and Aldi insists the store will not interfere with the views from the nearby castle and St Mary’s Church.
A spokesman said: “We believe the proposal represents a great opportunity to create local jobs and generate millions of pounds worth of investment into the local economy…if built the new store will provide a greater shopping choice for residents. The proposal will deliver economic investment to the area and create up to 40 jobs for local people as well additional jobs during construction and supply chain opportunities.”
Earlier this year, Aldi also announced plans to open a branch in Denbigh at the site of the former Kwik Save store in Station Yard, creating a further 50 jobs. Denbighshire County Council has yet to make a decision on planning permission, but the chain is hoping to open by the end of next year.
The plans for the Rhuddlan store will be on display at St Mary’s Church next Wednesday from 3-7pm.
Sixth form students of an Abergele school faced a Dragon’s Den-like interview in their bids to be the school’s first ever head boy and girl.
The winning candidates and their two deputies at Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan admitted the grilling by the selection board was “tough”.
Naomi Winterbottom is now head girl while Harry Hansen is head boy, with Katie Salle and Iwan Coghlan as their deputies.
The school’s head teacher Lee Cummins said he wanted to see the students selected for the new roles to help further improve the school, which has 1,250 pupils.
He said: “It’s about contributing to the school and helping learners of all ages. I want the new head boy and girl, together with their deputies, to act like a bridge between learners and school staff.
“I’m really pleased that in Harry and Naomi we have selected two very able people, and their deputies, Iwan and Katie, are more than able to assist them in their new roles.”
Mr Cummins says the selection process began with students applying in writing for the roles.
He said: “We had some incredible and very thorough applications. We then selected a short list for interview. I conducted the interviews assisted by an assistant head teacher and the school’s Head of Sixth Form.
“I have to say every student we interviewed put up a very good argument as to why they deserved the position. It was a very close decision and one we agonised over for a long time.
“However, I believe we made the right choices in the end and I ‘m delighted for the four students selected for these important new roles.
“In Harry, Naomi, Iwan and Katie we have four very mature young adults whom I’m sure will assist staff and their peers in improving standards right across all areas of school life.”
Naomi, who has ambitions to become a criminal lawyer, says she is really pleased to have been named the school’s first ever head girl.
The 17-year-old from Towyn, who is studying A-level history, English literature and law and criminology, said: “I wrote a letter applying for the position and then went through what was a tough interview. I was amazed to find out I had been successful.
“I believe it’s really important younger students in particular have someone they can approach if there is a problem. I know from experience how daunting it can be approaching a teacher if you have a real problem when you are really young or new at a school.
“I just want to do a good job for my fellow learners and make sure we help the teaching staff too. My parents were delighted I was chosen. My dad was head boy at his school in London so maybe it’s becoming a family tradition!”
Harry Hansen, who lives in Abergele and is studying A-level history, English literature and government and politics, said: “As head boy I see my role as a link between students and staff. I will attend meetings with staff and inform them of the views of students. I will also speak at some assemblies and ensure all learners are up to speed, whatever year they are in, with developments within school.
“I’m delighted to have been chosen as the school’s first ever head boy. I think it comes with a lot of responsibility and I’m determined to ensure it works. I intend ensuring I’m also able to represent pupils at school council meetings.”
Iwan Coghlan, 18, of Llanfair Talhaiarn, who is studying chemistry, maths, PE and sport at A-level and wants to join the RAF as a PT instructor, says he too is delighted to have been chosen for such an important role as deputy head boy.
He said: “I was naturally very disappointed not to have been selected as head boy. However, congratulations to Harry, he knows he has my backing as his deputy. I wish him well in his new role.”
Deputy head girl, Katie Salle, 17, of Towyn, who is studying A-level history, English literature, government and politics, says she applied for the post as she wanted to be involved in the school’s decision making process.
She said: “It is a chance to make a difference to how the school operates and the way we are taught. Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan is a fantastic school and I, as a student, wanted to have some input.”
Denbighshire County Council has issued a statement ahead of the Autumn Financial Statement due to be announced tomorrow (Wednesday).
This announcement will give Welsh Councils their first idea of what funding will be coming from Westminster to Cardiff.
Councillor Julian Thompson-Hill, Cabinet Lead Member for Finance, said:“There are concerns being expressed that here in Wales, local councils will bear the brunt of future cuts with the result of deeper than necessary cuts being forced upon them. Studies of the announcements made in the Summer Budget by the Institute of Fiscal Studies and others suggest that Wales could receive something close to a flat-line budget in cash terms and so it seems unnecessary to have to cut local council budgets by more than this as a consequence.
“As a council, we strongly believe that whatever Wales receives from Westminster, local government should have its fair share pass ported and should not be penalised by policy decisions taken in Cardiff to divert money to other areas of the public sector.
“Local government has already had to make significant cuts to budgets and further, potentially unnecessary cuts, will harm the delivery of vital services which people value. I would call upon Welsh Government to ensure that local councils receive their fair share of the funding given to Wales and not to be penalised for being more efficient than other areas of public service in Wales.”
A Prestatyn man engaging in online sexual chat has been jailed after he was caught by an undercover vigilante posing as a 15 year-old girl.
Police were tipped off about James Brennan when he sent explicit photos of himself to a person he presumed was a female teenager. But the ‘girl’ was infact a member of an internet group which seeks out potential offenders.
Brennan (45) from Victoria Road pleaded guilty to attempting to incite a teenage girl into having sex, while another charge to trying to arrange a child sex offence was dropped.
His defence told Mold Crown Court that he had been struggling with mental health issues and trying to kerb his drug taking, while taking anti-psychotic medication. He was a complex, isolated character with several convictions, including one for dangerous driving after his partner lost their baby. He went onto the website to try and find some kind of social life and in the hope of meeting someone.
Judge Geraint Walters said Brennan could spend his time in custody trying to tackle some of his problems, which he had been carrying without anyone knowing.
Brennan was sentenced to 32 months in prison and told to sign the sex offenders register for life. He must also observe a sexual harm prevention order for ten years.
John Daly spoke to Dr James Davies MP on the Over 50s Fair to promote services which can enhance the lives of older people.
You can listen again to the interview below
A pilot project in Denbighshire to improve the health and well-being of residents through working directly with people in their own communities is hosting more events across the county.
The Community Led Conversations project is all about having meaningful conversations with residents to help them take control of their own lives, working with them to find solutions for their individual needs and connecting with people on issues that matter to them.
As part of this project, sessions called Talking Points are being piloted in two areas (Prestatyn and Corwen), where residents can drop in and speak to a range of people on issues that matter to them.
Sessions will take place at the following locations:
Monday, November 23rd Kings Hall, Prestatyn – 10am-2pm
Tuesday, November 24th – Community Centre, Meliden – 10am -2pm.
Thursday, November 26th –North Wales Bowls Centre – 2pm-4pm
Monday, November 30th – Kings Hall, Prestatyn-10am-2pm
Monday, December 7th and December 14th– Kings Hall, Prestatyn – 10am-2pm
Thursday, November 26th – Llangollen Health Centre – 10am-3pm
Thursday, December 10th – Canolfan Ni, Corwen – 10am-3pm
Thursday, December 17th – Llangollen Health Centre – 10am-3pm
Councillor Bobby Feeley, Denbighshire’s Cabinet Lead Member for Health and Well-being, said: “This project is very different as we are changing the kind of conversation we are having with our residents. Rather than ask what the problem is, we will be asking residents what matters to them. Then we will work with them to provide advice and support on local support that is available to them that will meet their needs.
“We want to empower communities through directing people to solutions right on their doorstep rather than needing to be referred to a professional service. It’s about listening and understanding people’s needs and promoting ways that people can remain independent”.