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Child victim of Drugs Trafficking Youngest in Wales

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A Birmingham teenager who trafficked a child to Llanelli to sell drugs was sentenced on Friday, May 3 2019, in the first prosecution of its kind by Dyfed-Powys Police.

Harrison James Coe, aged 18, of Sutton Coldfield, will face four-and-a-half-years in prison for his crimes. He will serve half of his sentence in a young offenders institution before going on license.

He pleaded guilty to trafficking a 14-year-old to sell drugs, and six counts of supplying and possessing heroin, crack cocaine and cannabis, in April 2019.

Coe was arrested in March 2019 after officers pulled his car over on the outskirts of Llanelli,
suspecting it had links to organised crime.

A small amount of cannabis was found hidden in his underwear, and he later passed a package containing crack cocaine and heroin, with a street value of around £1900, while in police custody.

He was detained there for 36 hours while police officers searched for a missing boy they suspected was with him. It later transpired Coe had trafficked the child to the Morfa area to sell drugs.

The child, who is not local to Carmarthenshire, was found within 24 hours of Coe’s arrest, and reunited with his family.

The case is the first conviction of County Lines related child trafficking for Dyfed-Powys Police, with the victim also thought to be the youngest in Wales (in a County Lines case).

Chief Inspector for Operations in Carmarthenshire, Richard Hopkin, said: “Harrison Coe is one of a number of people linked to the County Lines drugs supply network who have been prosecuted in Carmarthenshire over the past few months.

“Coe had only been in Llanelli a matter of days when officers, acting swiftly on information, arrested him. Their diligent and expeditious enquires led to him pleading guilty at court, due to the strength of evidence uncovered by the investigation team.

“The speed with which Coe was arrested and finally convicted at court sends out a clear message – Dyfed-Powys Police takes the supply of drugs in our communities seriously, and will endeavour to do everything they can to bring those who supply drugs, be it County Lines or otherwise, to justice as quickly as possible.

“I want to reassure the public across Carmarthenshire that we are working closely with partners to reduce drug misuse within our communities, to make it a less lucrative market for drug suppliers to operate in, and in doing so, make Carmarthenshire a safer place to live.”

What is County Lines?

County Lines is an emerging national issue, where organised crime groups from urban areas such as London, Liverpool and Birmingham put children and vulnerable adults between themselves and the risk of detection by manipulating them into carrying and selling drugs.

‘Runners’ will be sent across county boundaries to areas like Llanelli, Newtown, and Haverfordwest to deliver and/or sell Class A drugs at the other end of the line.

The County Lines groups tend to use a local property, generally belonging to a vulnerable person, sometimes drug users, as a base for their activities. This is known as ‘cuckooing’ and will often happen by force or coercion.

Signs to Look Out For

Here are some signs to look out for, that can suggest someone is being cuckooed:
An increase in people coming and going
An increase in cars or bikes outside
Litter outside
Signs of drugs use
You haven’t seen the person who lives there recently or when you have, they have been
anxious or distracted.

Here are some signs to look out for, that can suggest a child you know might be involved in county lines activity:

Are they always going missing from school or their home?
Are they travelling alone to places far away from home?
Do they suddenly have lots of money/lots of new clothes/new mobile phones?
Are they receiving much more calls or texts than usual?
Are they carrying or selling drugs?
Are they carrying weapons or know people that have access to weapons?
Are they in a relationship with or hanging out with someone/people that are older and
controlling?
Do they have unexplained injuries?
Do they seem very reserved or seem like they have something to hide?
Do they seem scared?
Are they self-harming?

Report suspicious activity or concerns about the selling and taking of drugs in your community by calling 101. To report information anonymously, call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Children and young people can report information anonymously by visiting www.fearless.org.

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Conviction for an illegal waste operator in south west Wales

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Natural Resources Wales (NRW), in partnership with Dyfed-Powys Police, has successfully prosecuted a man for operating an illegal waste site in south west Wales.

CYMRAEG ISOD

James Anthony Gunter, aged 32, from Brynamman, admitted the offences in interview, and was charged with operating an illegal waste facility and disposing of waste at that facility in a manner likely to cause pollution to the environment and human health.

He was sentenced at Llanelli Magistrates’ Courts on Friday 31 July. Gunter received a 12 month community order with 200 hours unpaid work. He must pay costs in full of £6,709 and a victim surcharge of £85.

He’d been operating a household clearance and rubbish removal service  in the Ammanford, Neath, Port Talbot and Llanelli areas.

He was taking money from customers to take away their waste and was bringing it back to a site in Brynamman, Ammanford, to dispose of it illegally.

David Morgan, waste enforcement officer, Natural Resources Wales said:

“Illegal waste activities like this blight the countryside, have a detrimental impact on people’s lives with issues including smoke or noise, and impact on legitimate waste businesses.

“Gunter left more than enough evidence to lead us to him. Amongst the mostly burnt waste we discovered numerous documents with addresses on. We also found a sign from an old local business. Thankfully, we could trace these items back to their place of origin, and the producers of the waste were willing to give witness statements.”

The investigation began in June 2019 when the Waste Regulation Team received a number of reports of the illegal waste operation.

Large volumes of waste were regularly being tipped and burnt at a location, on the border of Brecon Beacons National Park.

NRW’s enforcement officer and an officer from Dyfed-Powys Police who was on secondment to NRW at the time, visited the site. From that visit and follow-up enquiries they found substantial amounts of evidence that led to this successful prosecution.

Chief Inspector Jolene Mann, of Dyfed-Powys Police said:

“We rely on our communities to share information with us to target and tackle crimes of this nature, which have a significant impact on local people and the environment.  We will continue to work with partner agencies to effectively deal with offenders and to keep our communities safe.”

David Morgan added:

 “Thanks to people reporting this iilegal waste operation to us, we were able to investigate and prosecute. But members of the public have another important role to play in preventing illegal waste operations.

“If they arrange for waste to be collected from their business or home, they should check that the business collecting it is registered as a carrier. Search the public register of all waste carriers, brokers and dealers on the NRW website.

“If they’re not registered, don’t let them take the waste away and report them immediately to NRW on our incident line 0300 065 3000.”

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Llwynhendy man sentenced to two years for handling stolen goods

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A man was caught with thousands of pounds worth of items taken from homes and sheds in Llwynhendy after accessing wifi on a stolen laptop.

Josh Palethorpe, of Heol Westfa, hid when Dyfed-Powys Police officers arrived at the house he was staying at, but was found surrounded by stolen goods including TVs, power tools, computer consoles and laptops.

The force had received reports of four shed break-ins and two creeper burglaries in the Llwynhendy area over two nights in March.

An investigation was immediately launched, and enquiries led officers to discover that a wifi spot had been accessed on one of the stolen laptops. The occupants of that address had no connection with the burglaries, and officers began looking at a neighbouring house – where 26-year-old Palethorpe had been staying.

DS Bromfield said: “We received a request to attend the address on a separate matter, and on entering the house officers found a large amount of property which was suspected to be stolen.

“Josh Palethorpe was located hiding in an upstairs bedroom and was arrested on suspicion of burglary. However, it transpired that the suspect had bought the goods – and given the low price he paid for them, he must have been aware that they were stolen.”

Palethorpe was charged with handling stolen goods, and was sentenced to two years in prison when he appeared at Swansea Crown Court.

DS Bromfield added: “What was crucial to this investigation was the ability to trace where the suspect was accessing the wifi from. The laptop he was using was fitted with a tracking device, which led us to the address Palethorpe was staying at, where he was arrested.

“I hope this sentence proves to him that it’s not worth being involved in the stolen goods chain, no matter how little he paid for the items.”

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Police seized spice worth £10,000 from car on drugs run

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Police officers seized £10,000 of the psychoactive substance spice after waiting near a motorway slipway for a car returning from a drugs run.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers arrested Jack Brennan on Saturday, June 28 after stopping a Volkswagen Polo just off the M4 at Hendy.

Officers from the Priority Policing Team were acting on intelligence that the occupants of the Volkswagen Polo – including 22-year-old Brennan – were travelling to and from Cardiff to collect drugs to sell in Carmarthenshire.

On being stopped, Brennan – who has now been jailed – claimed the half kilo supply of spice was for his own personal use.

Detective Inspector Wayne Bevan said: “Information was received that the car would be returning to Llanelli with controlled substances intended to be supplied to people in the area.

“Assistance was requested from Carmarthenshire Roads Policing Unit to stop the car as it left the M4 at Hendy, where it was searched under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

“As the occupants were detained, Brennan told one of the officers there was half a kilo of spice on the back seat, which was all for his own use.

“A package was found in the car, containing an amount of the drug inconsistent with personal use. Brennan was swiftly arrested on suspicion of possessing class B drugs with intent to supply.”

An Iceland carrier bag was found in a back footwell of the car, which was seized and found to contain a black back filled with a green substance.

This was identified as being 570g of class B drug spice. The street value of this quantity is estimated to be around £10,000.

Brennan, of Railway Place in Llanelli, was charged with possessing class B drugs with intent to supply, and admitted the offence at court.

He was remanded to appear at Swansea Crown Court for sentencing on August 7, when he was jailed for 36 weeks.

DI Bevan said: “Spice is an extremely addictive and dangerous substance, and this operation has prevented a significant quantity of the drug from making its way to Llanelli.

“This is an excellent example of partnership working between departments to identify and stop the vehicle, and to prevent this drug from entering the supply chain.

“Our proactive teams will continue to act on all information received about the abuse of illegal substances, and will endeavour to bring those concerned in the supply of drugs to justice.”

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