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Police investigate fraud claim at weekly newspaper

Thomas SinclairPolice are investigating claims of fraud at a recently-launched weekly newspaper after a mix-up over payment for adverts.

The Carmarthenshire Herald has suspended a trainee sales assistant pending an internal investigation, after an advertiser with the newspaper complained to Dyfed-Powys Police.

The alleged incident involved the assistant – described by bosses as “over-enthusiastic” – mixing up her customer’s accounts and charging the wrong customer for the wrong adverts.

The advertiser concerned, who had previously been the victim of large scale fraud, has since been reimbursed by the Herald. The suspended trainee had been working for the paper for just a few weeks.

Dyfed-Powys Police said in a statement: “Dyfed-Powys Police has received a complaint of fraud from the Haverfordwest area. We are in the early stages of evaluating the information and conducting enquiries.”

But Herald editor Thomas Sinclair has described the issue as a “storm in a tea-cup” and insisted that neither the paper nor any staff member has been contacted by the police about any allegations.

Thomas, pictured above left, has now posted a video on the website of its sister title the Pembrokeshire Herald apologising for the error after the police complaint was picked up by rival title the Western Telegraph.

The video, which is almost five minutes long, also features interviews with members of the company’s sales staff explaining their work.

“For the sake of clarity, The Herald wishes to make it clear that it is continuing its internal investigation into this error found in a single customer’s advertising account and a probationary member of staff has been suspended while we investigate the matter further,” said Thomas.

“We process a huge number of transactions every week and it is very rare that we have a query and we deeply regret any concern and difficulty this error may have caused our customer.”

The Herald, owned by MegaGroup, launched in March alongside sister title the Llanelli Herald.

Both were offshoots of the Pembrokeshire Herald which was launched in summer 2013.

In July of that year the title was involved in its own advertising controversy after it published an advert for Enterprise Rent-A-Car which included a sex act in a list of services provided by the company.

The error was blamed on an “unauthorised person” accessing the paper’s computer system to doctor the advert.


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  • October 16, 2015 at 9:44 am

    Seems a bit OTT. If only the plod had been so eager when someone stole 5K of lead off my old newspaper’s roof and left the rain flooding in? We got a letter next week to say they weren’t investigating.

    But I’m sure the police have only the best interests of the fourth estate at heart and this is all thoroughly above board.

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  • October 16, 2015 at 11:49 am

    I know nothing about either of these titles – I couldn’t point to Carmarthenshire on a map – but it makes the Western Telegraph look incredibly petty. Would they have given the same coverage to a claim of this size involving any other business?

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  • October 16, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    “Now, tell me sir, save us all a lot of time, were you desperate for a story? Better to own up now!”

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  • October 16, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    Feel for the staff member involved – an honest mistake leads to suspension… if they are on probation clearly they have not been trained properly. Ridiculous for the advertiser concerned to take this to the police. Ever more ludicrous for a rival newspaper to report on it. As RT says above – how incredibly petty. Meanwhile one inexperienced member of the team is the scapegoat. Really bad from all concerned. They all need to grow up.

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  • October 16, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    A genuine fraud going on across the country is the switching of print ad sales numbers into the digital column to make the digi picture look rosier. Totally pulling the wool over shareholders eyes. This practice is rife.

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