Guilty of fraud and theft

Bangor Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Eryl Crump

A COUN­CIL­LOR who stole from a food bank has been spared an im­me­di­ate jail term.

Daniel Meredith ap Ei­fion Jones, from Aml­wch, had ini­tially de­nied the charges and was due to stand trial at Caernar­fon Crown Court.

The lack of court time meant the trial was not go­ing to pro­ceed on Wed­nes­day, but his bar­ris­ter Gareth Roberts asked for the charges to be put again and the 39-year-old pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and theft.

Jail­ing him for 13 weeks on each charge, but sus­pend­ing the sen­tence for 12 months, Judge Huw Rees said Jones, who is a mem­ber of Aml­wch Town Coun­cil and a former Welsh As­sem­bly can­di­date, had lost his good name.

“That is a pun­ish­ment in it­self and is a sub­stan­tial fall from grace for you,” he said.

“You have the good sense to plead guilty, al­though you should have done so ear­lier.

“It is your pre­vi­ous good char­ac­ter which has saved you from an im­me­di­ate cus­to­dial sen­tence.”

Jones must also carry out 150 hours of un­paid work dur­ing the next year.

Pros­e­cu­tor Elen Owen said Jones was among a group of peo­ple who set up the An­gle­sey Food Bank in Aml­wch dur­ing 2013.

Jones be­came the man­ager of the food bank, which re­lied en­tirely on vol­un­teers.

“In early 2015, Jones an­nounced a £300,000 grant had been se­cured from the Big Lot­tery Fund, which would al­low the or­gan­i­sa­tion to se­cure per­ma­nent premises,” said Ms Owen. “Two of­fi­cials, Roy Jones and Bron­wen West­lake, made ad­vance pay­ments on the pro­viso they would be paid back when the grant was paid.

“A bank state­ment showed a sub­stan­tial amount had been paid into the group’s bank ac­count.”

But en­quiries by Ms West­lake found the Big Lot­tery Fund had never re­ceived an ap­pli­ca­tion for fund­ing and no deposit had been made at the bank.

Ms Owen said Jones had re­ceived £335 from the of­fi­cials to buy a car­pet, but en­quiries re­vealed the cost was some £175 less. Cash given by the of­fi­cials to pay for a me­ter and for in­surance had not been used for those pur­poses.

The money paid by them – £614 – re­lated to the theft charges.

Ar­rested and in­ter­viewed by of­fi­cers in Fe­bru­ary last year, Jones de­nied the of­fences and claimed he him­self had been the vic­tim of a scam.

Gareth Roberts, de­fend­ing, said Jones was not the type of man who would or­di­nar­ily ap­pear be­fore the courts.

“This has cost him his good name and brought him great shame and em­bar­rass­ment,” he said.

“I ask the court to ac­cept his re­morse is gen­uine and that this will be his one and only time be­fore a court.”

Jones stood as an in­de­pen­dent can­di­date in last year’s As­sem­bly elec­tions in the An­gle­sey con­stituency.

He was also short­listed by the Labour Party as a can­di­date for the 2013 by-elec­tion.

The court heard he be­came a mem­ber of Aml­wch Town Coun­cil last Novem­ber and reg­u­larly at­tends meet­ings.

Daniel Meredith ap Ei­fion Jones

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