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Armed man blackmailed hotel owner

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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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Cllr Kevin Madge elected as new county council Chairman

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THE new chair of Carmarthenshire County Council said he will work tirelessly during his term of office.

Cllr Kevin Madge, member for Garnant, takes the chain of office whilst celebrating 40 years as a councillor.

Taking the chair, Cllr Madge paid tribute to outgoing chairman Cllr Mansel Charles, member for Llanegwad, saying he had fulfilled his duties with passion.

Cllr Madge will chair the council for the next 12 months, with Cllr Ieuan Davies, member for Llanybydder, as his vice chair, and his wife Catrin as his consort.

“I’m very much looking forward to the year ahead, I will do my best for everyone. I will work tirelessly,” he said.

Cllr Madge has chosen the Trussell Trust, which supports a nationwide network of food banks and emergency food provision for people in crisis, as his Chairman’s Charity of the Year.

The Chair is the first citizen of Carmarthenshire County Council, and is elected at the Annual General Meeting.

Duties include chairing full meetings of the council, representing the council at formal and ceremonial occasions, welcoming visitors to the county, and attending and supporting events organised by local people and organisations.

Cllr Madge has been a county councillor since 1996, and a member of Cwmaman Town Council since 1979.

He also serves as chairman of the Royal British Legion Garnant branch, Garnant Family Centre and Cwmaman Meals on Wheels, and is a member of Amman Valley League of Friends.

He represents the county council on the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, and the Mynydd y Betws Wind Farm Community Fund, and is on the governing body of Ysgol Y Bedol.

A former pupil of Amman Valley School, Cllr Madge has worked in the Amman Valley throughout his life, most recently as agent and researcher to Dr Alan Williams MP until 2001.

A keen football supporter, he has served as chair and president of Cwmaman Football Club and spent 25 years as a Welsh League and Neath and District football referee.

He is married with two children and three grandchildren.

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‘UK Government should work with the Welsh Labour Government on Tata’

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LOCAL Assembly Member Lee Waters and Nia Griffith MP have called on the UK Government to work with the Welsh Labour Government to come up with a deal to protect steel making at Trostre, and across Wales and the UK.

Lee Waters AM met with representatives from Tata Steel on Wednesday to discuss the future for steel making at the plant following the reported collapse of the proposed joint venture with Thyssenkrupp.

During the meeting he stressed the need to protect the entire steel supply chain in Wales, including the high quality jobs at Trostre, and those that depend on its presence in Llanelli.

Lee Waters AM said “It’s clear that the support Welsh Government provided during the crisis of 2016 has been critical in getting extra investment into Port Talbot which will secure the works for years to come. However, Tata is a company run from India, and we simply don’t know what the board will decide about its future strategy. They may well be looking for a new joint venture partner, so we’ll have to vigilant about the implications for our local plants.”

“Tata has said it intends to continue with its existing business plan, and honor commitments made to the Trade Unions, so Nia and I will be keeping a close eye to make sure that happens.”

Welsh Government has been in active discussions with Tata steel following the collapse of the merger with Thyssenkrupp. In a written statement and during questions on Wednesday, the Welsh Government committed to invest in Welsh steel to protect its future and is looking at a range of measures to assist on energy costs, business rates and procurement of steel for public sector contracts.

Lee Waters AM said “The Welsh Government have given significant support to the steel industry here but it can’t do everything, and we now need the UK Government to work with them to ensure a future for skilled work in the steel industry in Llanelli and elsewhere in Wales.”

Nia Griffith AM said ““This latest news from Tata means yet more uncertainty for steelworkers. Their announcement about keeping Port Talbot is a start, but now we need real commitment from Tata on Trostre.

“We also need close cooperation from the company with the Trade Unions. Lee Waters AM and I will be urging the UK Government to follow Welsh Government in doing everything possible to secure the future of our steel industry.”

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MP and AM call for Trostre certainty after merger fails

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LOCAL ASSEMBLY MEMBER Lee Waters and Nia Griffith MP have called on the UK Government to work with the Welsh Labour Government to come up with a deal to protect steel making at Trostre, and across Wales and the UK.

Lee Waters AM met with representatives from Tata Steel on Wednesday to discuss the future for steel making at the plant following the reported collapse of the proposed joint venture with Thyssenkrupp.

During the meeting he stressed the need to protect the entire steel supply chain in Wales, including the high quality jobs at Trostre, and those that depend on its presence in Llanelli.

Lee Waters AM said “It’s clear that the support Welsh Government provided during the crisis of 2016 has been critical in getting extra investment into Port Talbot which will secure the works for years to come. However, Tata is a company run from India, and we simply don’t know what the board will decide about its future strategy. They may well be looking for a new joint venture partner, so we’ll have to vigilant about the implications for our local plants.”

“Tata has said it intends to continue with its existing business plan, and honor commitments made to the Trade Unions, so Nia and I will be keeping a close eye to make sure that happens.”

Welsh Government has been in active discussions with Tata steel following the collapse of the merger with Thyssenkrupp. In a written statement and during questions on Wednesday, the Welsh Government committed to invest in Welsh steel to protect its future and is looking at a range of measures to assist on energy costs, business rates and procurement of steel for public sector contracts.

Lee Waters AM said “The Welsh Government have given significant support to the steel industry here but it can’t do everything, and we now need the UK Government to work with them to ensure a future for skilled work in the steel industry in Llanelli and elsewhere in Wales.”

Nia Griffith AM said “This latest news from Tata means yet more uncertainty for steelworkers. Their announcement about keeping Port Talbot is a start, but now we need real commitment from Tata on Trostre.

“We also need close cooperation from the company with the Trade Unions. Lee Waters AM and I will be urging the UK Government to follow Welsh Government in doing everything possible to secure the future of our steel industry.”

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