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Sex plot paedophile imprisoned

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A LLANELLI man received eighteen months’ imprisonment after being caught by a Police sting operation aimed at child molesters.

Mark Richards, of Stafford Street, was picked up at Carmarthen Railway Station by officers from Dyfed-Powys Police on July 10 this year.

Richards had chatted online to what he believed was a 13-year-old girl.

Instead, the girl was an officer working in Operation Harrier, an investigation into online child sexual exploitation.

When searched by Police, the paedophile was found in possession of condoms and lube.

Appearing at Swansea Crown Court last week, Richards entered guilty pleas for offences relating to attempting to ‘groom’ a child under the age of 16 for sexual purposes.

Prosecution barrister Carina Hughes told the Court that Operation Harrier concerned officers posing as children and chatting online with suspected sexual offenders.

After initiating contact in an online chatroom with the undercover officer, Richards moved the conversation on to an increasingly sexualised tone and was not deterred when the ‘girl’ told him she was only thirteen years old.

As the conversations became increasingly explicit, the pair continued to exchange messages via other social media platforms.

Matters came to a head when Richards gave the supposed 13-year-old his 20-year-old daughter’s mobile number and arranged to meet at Carmarthen’s railway station.

Waiting police officers arrested him shortly after he arrived.

In an interview with the Police, Richards declined to answer any questions. However, his daughter told officers of her father’s ‘abnormal sexual behaviour’.

Defending barrister John Hipkin said that ‘nothing could ever excuse’ Richards’ conduct and that the sole mitigation for his client was the guilty plea entered at the first opportunity.

Sentencing Richards, Judge Huw Rees referred to the methodical way that Richards had prepared for what he believed would be sexual activity with a child. He noted that it was a significant aggravating factor that when he believed his potential victim was thirteen, he was even more encouraged to proceed.

A probation report said Richards posed a high risk of serious harm to children aged between 12 and 16.

Handing down a sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment, HHJ Rees gave Richards credit for his early guilty plea.

The paedophile will serve half his sentence in custody while the remainder will be on licence.

Richards also received a sexual harm prevention order to limit internet access and contact with children. He will also spend ten years on the sex offender register.

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Zoe Evans, Llanelli painter and decorator, is British Apprentice of the Year

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Zoe Evans, a 21 year old painter and decorator from Llanelli, has been named the GB Apprentice of the Year and Welsh Apprentice of the Year at the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)
Apprenticeship Awards.


The CITB Apprenticeship Awards celebrate the achievements of apprentices and employers across the UK for their commitment and dedication to construction.


The winners were presented with their awards at a ceremony hosted by broadcaster and property entrepreneur, Sarah Beeny. The ceremony took place at Merchant Taylors’ Hall in London (7 November).


Zoe completed a level 2 apprenticeship in painting and decorating, to go onto achieve her Advanced level 3. With her artistic flair, Zoe enjoys the creative aspects of her trade and plans to take a career route in interior design. Zoe’s amazing commitment to being the best she can, has attributed to her becoming an ambassador for women in construction and being the face of the posters across her college, Coleg Sir Gar.


Zoe said: “I’ve loved every single part of my apprentice journey, from the classroom learning to the practical application and the more creative aspects of the job. I want to thank my mentor, Ken MacKay and my employer Ian Williams Ltd. It’s a really good feeling to know that I’ve been
recognised in this way. I’d definitely recommend an apprenticeship to anyone willing to work hard, have goals and go full out to achieve them.”

Jon Davies, CITB Apprenticeship Officer, said: “When Zoe started her apprenticeship we saw her potential so we fast tracked her from level 1 to level 2. It was important for me to make sure she had the right support to reach the heights she is capable of, and she is doing just that. Zoe makes work a brighter place for everyone around her. Her positive attitude and ability makes her a perfect ambassador for women in construction, and I am really pleased this has been recognised with her award.”

Kevin Mcloughlin, CITB board member and founder and Managing Director of Mcloughlin Decorating, said: “Congratulations to Zoe, a clearly dedicated apprentice – it’s great to recognise her hard work. Apprenticeships provide a fast track route into the construction industry. With so many rewarding careers opportunities in construction there is something out there for everyone. I wish Zoe all the best in her career in construction.”

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Police difuse hostage situation in Cae Glas

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AT APPROXIMATELY 10.10pm on Wednesday (Nov 6) police were requested to attend at a property in Cae Glas, Felinfoel, in respect of threats being made by a man within the property to harm himself and a woman inside with a knife.

Officers were deployed immediately, and to ensure the safety of everyone at the scene firearms officers were also deployed.

Chief Inspector Stuart Bell said: “A specialist negotiator worked with the man for a number of hours, bringing the incident to a close at about 1.45am this morning, when the man surrendered himself and was arrested for an outstanding warrant.

“A woman at the scene was also arrested for obstructing police officers. No injuries have been reported.

“There is no threat or danger to anyone outside of the property in the area, and we can reassure residents that there is no need to be concerned as this was an isolated incident.”

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Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns resigns over rape trial sabotage

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WELSH SECRETARY Alun Cairns has resigned over claims he knew about a former aide’s role in the “sabotage” of a rape trial. He had denied knowing Tory assembly candidate Ross England made claims about the victim’s sexual history in an April 2018 trial.

The Conservative Vale of Glamorgan MP said he only became aware of Mr England’s role in the trial’s collapse when the story broke last week.
BBC Wales discovered Mr Cairns was emailed about it in August 2018, which was four months before Mr England was chosen as Vale of Glamorgan candidate.

Paul Davies AM told The Herald: “I am sorry to see Alun resign today as the Secretary of State for Wales however, under the circumstances this was the right decision for him. Alun has rightly stated that he will cooperate fully with any investigations.

“I would like to thank Alun for his service to Wales as our Secretary of State where he brought an end to the Severn Bridge tolls which will leave a lasting legacy on the Welsh economy.”

Mr Cairns had been a cabinet member since being appointed in 2016. Mr Cairns intends to run as a candidate in the general election, the Herald understands.

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