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Armed man blackmailed hotel owner




16-31A LLANELLI hotel owner was blackmailed by an armed man who threatened to make allegations against him.

Andrew Deakin, aged 32, had a gun tucked into the back of his trousers when he forced Paul Francis to count out £300 inside the Half Way hotel in Llanelli.

His brother George Deakin, 40, was outside the hotel as back up and armed with a baseball bat.

Andrew Deakin, of Corner House, Port Talbot Road, Port Talbot, admitted blackmail and was jailed for two and a half years by a judge at Swansea Crown Court last Friday (May 27).

George Deakin, of Dinas Road, Baglan, admitted possessing an offensive weapon and was jailed for 12 months.

Stephen Rees, prosecuting, said Andrew Deakin had been a pupil at Ffynone House School, Swansea, when Mr Francis had been an assistant teacher there.

Years later their paths crossed again.

By then Mr Francis had taken over the Half Way hotel and the pair decided to extract money from him.

Mr Rees said police were able to trace text messages sent by the brothers.

Andrew Deakin to George Deakin, “I feel sick and on top on top of the moon at the same time. We are going to take him for every penny he’s got. He’s inherited the biggest pub in Llanelli from his parents. This is going to be awesome.”

GD to AD:”I have three guns and a baseball bat.”

AD to GD, “I’ll message him to pick me up.”

Mr Rees said Mr Francis was ordered to drive to a cash point while Andrew Deakin sat in the back holding an imitation firearm. George Deakin followed in a silver Mercedes.

Once there Mr Francis realised he had not taken his debit card and Andrew Deakin told him to drive to the Half Way Hotel “and made various threats during the journey.”

Andrew Deakin told him, “Things could get more sinister if there isn’t money at the hotel.”

Once there Deakin tucked the gun into the back of his trousers and walked Mr Francis into the hotel, where Mr Francis handed over £300.

Meanwhile, said Mr Rees, George Deakin had emerged from the Mercedes holding the baseball bat.

Andrew Deakin seemed to signal to him that there would be no need for violence as he had got some money, but as they left the hotel they warned Mr Francis, “We will be back. Keep your mouth shut.”

The following day, Andrew Deakin sent Mr Francis a message reading, “Are you sorting it out or do we have to come up there?”

Mr Francis contacted the police and the brothers were arrested.

Andrew Deakin said the £300 had been a “pay off” and not the result of blackmailing. He said he armed himself with a gun for self protection.

George Deakin, once a professional jockey and later a chef, said he had followed his brother to the hotel to ensure his safety.

Brian Richardson, the barrister representing Andrew Deakin, said it had always been his case that he had a complaint about Mr Francis dating back to his time at Ffynone House.

James Hartson, for George Deakin, said he had acted as an enforcer “in this very foolish enterprise.”

The judge, Mr Recorder Nicholas Gareth Jones, told the brothers, “This was not a spur of the moment incident. You set him up.”

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Llanelli: Stop notice issued for school planning application




A CONTROVERSIAL planning application for a new 480-spaced school in Llanelli has been issued a stop notice by the Welsh Government.
Carmarthenshire County Council is proposing to build a new £9.1m school on Llanerch Fields in Llanelli and were looking to determine the planning application in the coming weeks. Welsh Government will now decide whether to call in the application or not.
The new school would accommodate 420 primary and 60 nursery pupils, set over two floors with larger classrooms with integrated IT facilities, a multi-purpose hall and specialist provision for pupils with additional learning needs.
Over recent years there has been much debate in the area on the choice of site for the new school with campaigners arguing that they support a new school, but object against Llanerch fields being built upon. Last year an attempt to get the land designated as a village green was turned down.
In 2017, Ysgol Dewi Sant as the first Welsh medium primary school to be provided by a local authority celebrated its 70th birthday.
Councillor Rob James, local member for Lliedi, stated “From day one I have raised concerns that the Council’s site choice and planning process opened the Council up to the possibility of the Welsh Government calling in the planning application. It is clear that these concerns were not misplaced and there is now a really chance that it will be. 

“As a local Councillor, a school governor and a parent, I am passionate about the need for a new school for the pupils of Ysgol Dewi Sant and it is important that local pupils get the benefits of a 21st century school.
“I will now be working with Council Officers to ensure that contingency plans are prepared in case the Welsh Government state that the planning application does not comply with national planning policy.
“I will also work with parents, pupils, residents and interested parties are able to engage with the Welsh Government during this process.”

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Third annual Burry Port Raft Race is eagerly awaited




THE THIRD ANNUAL BURRY PORT RAFT RACE, organised by Burry Port couple, Craig and Isabel Goodman, will be held on Saturday (July 27).

The event which is held in Burry Port Harbour, raises much needed funds for both Burry Port RNLI and a children’s football academy and primary school the couple support in The Gambia.

The day launches at 12pm with stands, food stalls and children’s inflatable games and rides and these will be available until 5pm. You’ll also have a chance to meet the crews, who’ll be busy putting the final touches to their rafts.

Rafts launch at 3pm, followed by a presentation ceremony, including prizes for first raft over the line, first raft to sink and best dressed raft.

Craig said: ” A huge thank you goes to all our sponsors, including overall sponsor Dawsons, along with continued sponsorship from Celtic Couriers, Parker Plant Hire, Burns Pet Nutrition, Burry Port Co-Op, Llanelli Star, LBS Builders Merchants, Burry Port Marina, First Choice Flooring and Pembrey and Burry Port Town Council.

For any further information about the event, please contact 07825 842981.

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Compensation offered after FSCS declares Llanelli firm in default




CONSUMERS could get back money they have lost as a result of their dealings with a failed regulated firm in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire. The firm is Hayden Williams Independent Financial Services Limited formerly Assura Protect, Room 1, 7 Meadows Bridge, Parc Menter, Cross Hands, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales SA14 6RA.

The firm was declared in default in June 2019 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

FSCS is the UK’s statutory compensation scheme that protects customers of authorised financial services firms that carry out certain regulated activities. A declaration of default means FSCS is satisfied a firm is unable to pay claims for compensation made against it. This paves the way for customers of that firm to make a claim for compensation with FSCS.

Alex Kuczynski, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at FSCS, said: “FSCS steps in to protect consumers around the UK when authorised financial services firms go bust. This vital service, which is free to consumers, protects deposits, insurance, investments, home finance and debt management. We want anyone who believes they may be owed money as a result of their dealings with this firm to get in touch, as we may be able to help you.”

Since it began in 2001, FSCS has helped more than 4.5m people, paying out more than £26bn in compensation.

If you wish to make a claim with FSCS against Hayden Williams Independent Financial Services Limited, you may be able to do so using FSCS’s online claims service at Or you can contact its Customer Services Team on 0800 678 1100 or 020 7741 4100

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