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Operation Cryptic: All twenty one members of organised crime group now sentenced

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TWENTY ONE MEMBERS of an organised crime group have been brought to justice, taking those criminals and their drugs of the streets of Llanelli.

The final phase of sentencing took place this week (March 29) at Swansea Crown Court for Operation Cryptic, which has seen 21 defendants sentenced to over 70 years between them.

The sentencing for this operation has been taking place over a number of months – but today sees the conclusion of that process, police confirmed.

A police spokesperson said :”Cryptic was a protracted investigation by the Dyfed-Powys Police Serious and Organised Crime Team between February and September 2018 that focused on the supply of Class A drugs, namely heroin, in the Llanelli area. The focus was on identifying, arresting and prosecuting those involved in the sourcing, storing, preparation and supply of heroin. The investigation culminated in an enforcement phase which resulted in the arrest of these individuals.

Chief Inspector Richard Hopkin told The Llanelli Herald: “This result marks the successful outcome of Operation Cryptic after these 21 defendants have been sentenced to over 70 years in prison collectively. This means that we have successfully disrupted a series of widespread and far reaching conspiracies to supply and distribute vast amounts of drugs in the Llanelli area.
“Our Serious and Organised Crime Team are to be congratulated on the result of this challenging and demanding prolonged operation, where they used a range of tactics available to them to infiltrate the group’s operation. Drugs misuse creates misery and despair and causes significant harm to our communities. And despite highly successful previous operations, the community of Llanelli continued to tell us of their concerns in respect of visible drug related harm in the town. Intelligence also suggested that heroin continued to be readily accessible in the town, and these factors resulted in this investigation and robust action.
“A number of divisional and specialist resources and departments played a part in making this successful.
“We hope that this sends a clear message to those involved in supplying and distributing drugs – there is nowhere to hide, and we will take robust action. We are determined to continue to ensure the Dyfed-Powys Police area remains a hostile environment for those involved in the misuse of drugs. Drugs will not be tolerated, and anyone concerned in it will be brought to justice for the harm caused to individuals, families and our communities.”

A police spokesman added that pursuing this ‘organised crime group’ was only one element of the operation, and said that Dyfed-Powys Police worked closely with partners in healthcare as well as the local drugs support agency Dyfed Drug and Alcohol Service (DDAS) during the enforcement phase, and they were present throughout to provide support in respect of drug abuse, addiction and rehabilitation.

The police said that if anyone is worried about drugs in their community, call 101. You can also report information anonymously, by calling the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Those sentenced were as follows:

39 year old Kelly ROBERTS from Swansea was today sentenced to 6 months suspended for 18 months.
25 year old Ben CAULFIELD rom Swansea – 10 years
55 year old Bridgette WILLLIAMS from Llanelli – 8 years
35 year old Jade WILLIAMS from Llanelli – 8 years
29 year old George HAWKINS from Llanelli – 40 months
65 year old Janice HAWKINS from Llanelli – 36 months
35 year old Debbie WOOD from Llanelli – 4 years
48 year old James MOCHAN  from Llanelli – 4 years
32 year old Allica EVANS from Llanelli – 24 months suspended for 18 months
31 year old Kelly Marie EVANS from Llanelli – 20 months suspended for 18 months
26 year old Lee JOHN from Llanelli – 40 months
37 year old Christopher Daniel MORRIS from Llanelli – 40 months
35 year old Wayne JENKINS from Llanelli – Suspended sentence
27 year old Stacey CHARLES from Llanelli – 28 months
37 year old Carwyn BIGNELL from Llanelli – 40 months + 2 months concurrent for possession of bladed article
23 year old Emily JONES from Llanelli – 28 months
41 year old Jeremy PEGLER from Llanelli – 40 months
54 year old John Paul BEGAN from Swansea – 6 ½ years
19 year old Zain THOMAS from Birmingham – 60 months
24 year old Eugene BRANNIGAN from Birmingham – 41 months
32 year old Daniel CROFT from Swansea – 9 months

Drugs and cash found during one raid (Pic DPP)

Drugs found in raid (Pic: DPP)

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Health board provides assurance to local residents following Llanelli lockdown restrictions

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Following the introduction of temporary lockdown measures in the Llanelli area the health board is moving to reassure local communities that they can still access hospital and community healthcare services, including urgent care.

The health board is continuing to focus on providing these essential services and patients should access Prince Philip Hospital if they have an urgent care need or a scheduled clinic appointment.

Planned operations continue to be prioritised based on clinical urgency (including patients with cancer and other urgent care needs) and people should attend these if they have a confirmed admission date.

These measures apply to people with appointments at Prince Philip Hospital (regardless of where you live), and for people living in the Llanelli restricted zone. Arrangements are also continuing with access to primary care services – please phone your doctor’s surgery, dentist or optometrist to find out more and follow instructions at your community pharmacist.

All GP practices and a number of community pharmacies are continuing to offer the flu jab by appointment – again please check arrangements with these providers locally and make sure you keep your appointment if you’ve been offered one.  If you do not have an appointment arranged and you are in one of the “at risk” categories, please contact your GP Practice to check on the arrangements for this year.

Visiting continues to be restricted at all Hywel Dda University Health Board hospitals and these must be pre-planned and agreed with the sister/charge nurse. 

The exceptions to this arrangement are:
One parent/guardian at a time to visit their child
For birthing mothers – only one birthing partner
Patients considered to be at the end of life or receiving palliative care. 

We have also introduced local exemptions to this where you can visit if you are supporting someone with a mental health issue such as dementia, a learning disability or autism, where not being present would cause the patient to become distressed. 

In all cases we are urging patients to continue to follow infection prevention and control guidance, as well as use of face coverings and maintaining social distance.  Further information and updates about local lockdowns can be found on the Welsh Government’s website here.

Mandy Rayani, Director of Nursing, Quality and Patient Experience at Hywel Dda, said: “It’s really important that people living in areas affected by the new lockdowns know that they can still access services in the same way as they have been able to for the last few months.

“At the same time, it’s also important that people choose the right healthcare service for their need so that our hospitals can manage the extra demand that we always face at this time of the year.

“We will continue to prioritise urgent and emergency care, including planned operations based on clinical urgency, and I’d also like to remind people that arrangements are in place at a local level for community services such as GPs, pharmacies, optometrists and dentists.

“If you do need to attend a healthcare setting please remember to follow guidance on hand hygiene, face coverings and social distancing and please contact the senior sister or charge nurse if you want to find out about visiting relatives in hospital.

“Remember, COVID-19 is a serious disease which is sadly having real and tragic consequences for many people and families. We will endeavour to do all that we can to keep our communities safe and we’d like to thank the public for their patience and understanding as we continue to work through these new arrangements.”

Remember – if you or any member of your household develop symptoms of COVID-19 it is important that you self-isolate and do NOT attend any appointments or visit our sites.

If you have symptoms (raised temperature, new persistent cough OR loss or change of smell or taste) please book a test as soon as possible. You can do this via the UK Portal here

Any Llanelli residents having problems booking a test can contact us on 0300 333 2222 or via covidenquiries.hdd@wales.nhs.uk
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Police appeal for witnesses after 20-year-old pedestrian tragically killed on A40

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is appealing for witnesses to a fatal road traffic collision on the A40 west of Carmarthen on Saturday (Sept 26) in which a 20-year-old man, a pedestrian, lost his life.

The police have asked The Pembrokeshire Herald to publicise this appeal.

A spokesman for the police told this newspaper: “At around 9.40pm, a white VW Transporter was in collision with a pedestrian on the A40 westbound, near the junction of Llangynog, Carmarthen.

“The pedestrian, a 20-year-old male, died as a result of his injuries.

“It appears the pedestrian had left his vehicle, a black Seat, following a single-vehicle collision further along the westbound carriageway shortly before.

The police have asked that if anyone has any information on either or both collisions, or may have been travelling along the A40 at the relevant time, please contact the serious collision investigation unit, quoting reference DPP-20200926-339.

This can be done by email: contactcentre@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, by phone on 101 or by text: If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

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Llanelli becomes a Covid-19 ‘health protection zone’

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RESIDENTS in a large part of Llanelli are being put under new local restrictions in a ‘health protection zone’ following a rapid increase in Covid-19 cases in the area.

The town is seeing a concentrated spread of cases compared with other parts of Carmarthenshire – in the last seven days, 85 positive cases have been identified in Llanelli (151.6 per 100,000 of the population) compared to 24 cases in the rest of Carmarthenshire (18.1 per 100,000 of the population).*

Public Health Wales officials are expecting numbers to continue rising over the coming week.

Carmarthenshire County Council and Hywel Dda University Health Board have worked with the Welsh Government and Public Health Wales to agree the temporary restrictions at sub-county level to try and halt the spread of the virus.

As of 6pm on Saturday September 26, 2020, residents living in defined parts of Llanelli will not be able to visit anyone else’s home, or accept visitors into their home, unless they have a ‘reasonable excuse’ such as providing care for a vulnerable person.

They should not arrange to meet indoors with anyone who they don’t live with, and travel in and out of the ‘health protection zone’ will also be limited – people should not leave the area or travel into the area unless it is essential. Travelling in and out of the zone for a holiday is not considered a reasonable excuse.

People are being asked to wear face coverings anywhere where they cannot maintain a two-metre distance from other people, including collecting children from school, in addition to the rules which already require them to wear a face covering in indoor spaces like shops and on public transport.

All indoor and outdoor visits to residential care homes have also been suspended.

Students may still travel into and out of the ‘health protection zone’ to go to school or college.

People living in the defined area of Llanelli must work from home, and employers must take all reasonable steps to support staff to do so.

Indoor public spaces such as leisure centres should only be used by people living in the defined area.

Shops will remain open, but people living outside the defined area of Llanelli should avoid travelling to visit them and shop in their own locality wherever possible.

The specific wards covered in the defined area of Llanelli are:

  • Bigyn
  • Bynea
  • Dafen
  • Elli
  • Felinfoel
  • Glanymor
  • Hendy
  • Hengoed
  • Llangennech
  • Lliedi
  • Llwynhendy
  • Tyisha
  • Swiss Valley

Although the pattern of increased positive cases is overwhelmingly concentrated in the Llanelli area where the restrictions have been strengthened, the whole of Carmarthenshire has now been put on alert, with a warning that the tighter restrictions may be extended if cases continue to spread.

Everyone – including those in the defined areas of Llanelli – is being urged to follow the national guidance around social distancing, good hygiene, self-isolation, testing and face coverings.

Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, Cllr Emlyn Dole, said: “It is worrying to see how sharply the number of positive cases has risen in the Llanelli area, and action has had to be taken to help stop the spread and break the chain of infections concentrated in this area to prevent a whole county lockdown.

“We must all do the right thing, follow the advice and protect each other. In parts of Llanelli, we’re asking people and businesses to make even greater sacrifices – we fully appreciate the impact this will have, but there is no other way. We must stop the spread.”

A mobile testing unit has been set up in Llanelli to manage the increased demand by local residents who have any of the Covid-19 symptoms – either a high temperature, a change or loss to taste or smell or a new continuous cough.

Reporting of positive cases in the town is fully expected to rise during the next two weeks with the increase in more targeted testing. But this is a positive indicator that cases are being identified and control measures put in place.

Chair of Hywel Dda University Health Board Maria Battle said: “Our local community has given us such tremendous support during the past few months. To protect the health of our people, including the most vulnerable, and to ensure our NHS resources are available to provide people with the care they need; we need the help of our Llanelli population and wider community now more than ever before. Whilst hospital admissions have not yet increased again for COVID cases, we have seen a sharp rise in positive cases in the community, and in time this is likely to have an impact on hospital admissions. The very best way we can support each other and those we love, is to follow local restrictions, minimise our contacts, practice good hygiene and self-isolate and book a test if we have any COVID-19 symptoms.”

Increased testing capacity for residents in Llanelli is available by appointment at the following locations:

  • Parc y Scarlets Car Park B, accessed via Trostre Retail Park, in Llanelli
  • The Ty’r Nant site (next to KFC), Trostre, Llanelli
  • The Carmarthen showground (signposted in both directions off the A40)

There should be no reason for Llanelli residents to travel excessive distances for a test, as there will be tests available in Llanelli and Carmarthen. Tests should be booked via the UK Portal. Any Llanelli residents experiencing difficulty booking a test locally via the UK portal can instead email covidenquiries.hdd@wales.nhs.uk or by calling 0300 333 2222.

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