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  1. Nicola Hendy

Gwent Police charge 86 people over 'crash for cash'

86 people have been charged by detectives as part of a so called 'crash for cash' investigation into allegations of motor insurance fraud.

Detectives working with specialist insurance fraud experts in Gwent have spent two years working on the inquiry.

It is one of the largest scale investigations of its kind ever seen in Wales.

Alleged insurance fraud scam at Blackwood garage

Gwent Police says 86 people have been charged in relation to an alleged 'crash for cash' scam operating out of a garage in Pengam, Blackwood, in the South Wales Valleys.

They are due to appear at Cwmbran Magistrates Court on 10 October.

A team of officers and detectives have been investigating this sophisticated ‘crash for cash scheme’ alongside the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) for more than two years, and this has led to the arrest and charge of these 86 individuals.

If you suspect anyone of committing insurance fraud, you can contact the police on 101 or report them directly to the free and confidential IFB Cheatline on 0800 422 0421, or online at [www.insurancefraudbureau.org/

report](http://www.insurancefraudbureau.org/report)

– Detective Sergeant Andy Cullen, Gwent Police

Gwent Police established Operation Dino in 2011, to specifically investigate ‘crash for cash’ insurance frauds.

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Military radio contract safeguards Oakdale jobs

The contract for military radios will safeguard jobs at the Oakdale factory.

A new multimillion-pound contract for the maintenance of British troops' battlefield radios will secure 150 jobs at General Dynamics' site in Oakdale, south Wales.

The MoD has awarded a £45m maintenance contract for the armed forces' Bowman radio, a secure digital voice and data system which allows frontline soldiers to communicate with colleagues and commanders on the ground, at sea or in the air, and is said to play a vital role in Afghanistan.

Minister for Defence Equipment Support and Technology Philip Dunne said, "General Dynamics have a proven record of delivering high-quality support services to our armed forces."

Officers welcome unexpected delivery in Blackwood

Police in Blackwood went beyond the call of duty after helping deliver a baby outside their station.

The 38-year-old mother-to-be from Maesycwmmer went into labour on a grass verge at the side of Blackwood Police Station on Thursday afternoon.

PCs Marc Powell and Helen Chapman delivered the baby girl with the assistance of other officers before the ambulance arrived to take mother and baby to hospital.

I was finishing my shift when I heard the commotion on the drive. Marc and Helen led the way and delivered the baby with a few others assisting as we could.

I’ve seen many things during my time as an officer but this was a totally new experience for us all.

We did all we could to make sure the mother was as comfortable as she possibly could be. We are delighted that things turned out well, and all the officers and staff at Blackwood station wish mother and baby the very best. We hope they come back soon and visit.

– Sergeant Tony Watkins, Gwent Police

When I heard about this incident I was very proud of the job the officers did in stepping in to help.

Officers are often called to deal with difficult and challenging situations but bringing new life into the world is not something they will expect to have to do. The officers are rightly delighted with how things turned out and deserve a lot of praise for their actions.

– Temporary Chief Constable Jeff Farrar

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Police seek to question man after Blackwood blaze

Gwent Police want to question Stephen John Powell in connection with a fire at Blackwood. Credit: Gwent Police

Gwent Police is appealing for information on a man they want to speak to in connection with a fire at the Poundstretcher store on Blackwood High Street in May which is being treated as arson.

Stephen John Powell is described as white, 5 ft 10 inches tall and of slim build. He has short/shaved brown hair and blue eyes. The 27-year-old is known locally in Blackwood as "Turkey" say police.

The Poundstretcher store was demolished after the blaze in May. Credit: Viewer's picture / Sarah Evans

Anyone with information relating to Mr Powell's whereabouts is asked to call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 quoting log 21 01/05/13.

Building demolished after Blackwood fire

A demolition team began knocking down the Poundstretcher store in Blackwood.

The Poundstretcher store in Blackwood is being demolished following a blaze in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service say the cause of the fire was bins being set alight.

Fire crews were called out at around 2 o'clock this morning.

Officers say refuse bins were on fire and this had spread to the store room at the back of the shop.

Due to safety concerns the High Street was closed and the electricity supply to a number of shops was cut. Structural engineers were called out to assess the safety of the building.

The building on Blackwood High Street was demolished on safety grounds.

Blackwood retail worker: 'Fire crews did a brilliant job'

Crews will spend the rest of the day dampening down the building

A Blackwood employee who works at the store next to PoundStretcher, which caught fire in the early hours of this morning, said crews did 'a brilliant job' in tackling the blaze.

Nicola Lambert said crews had managed to contain the flames so the fire didn't spread, but her shop had suffered some water damage following the incident.

"We'll work hard to open again," she said.

"It was a bit of a shock - it wasn't what I was expecting when I got up this morning."

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