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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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Outdoor hospitality given go-ahead and rules on mixing outdoors relaxed in Wales

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SIX people will be able to meet outdoors in Wales from Saturday 24 April while outdoor hospitality will be allowed to reopen from Monday 26 April as cases of new COVID-19 infections continue to fall, First Minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed today.

The current rule provides for up to six people (not including children under 11 years of age or carers) from a maximum of two households to meet outdoors.

The new rules from Saturday will allow six people (not including children under 11 years of age or carers) to meet outdoors.

People should observe social distancing from people from outside their household or support bubble when meeting others outside.

The rules for meeting indoors remain unchanged.

The First Minister has also confirmed outdoor hospitality will be allowed to reopen from Monday 26th April 2021.

First Minister, Mark Drakeford said: “The public health context in Wales remains favourable, with cases falling and our vaccination programme continues to go from strength to strength. Because meeting outdoors continues to be lower risk than meeting indoors, we are able to bring forward changes to allow any six people to meet outdoors.

“This will provide more opportunities for people, especially young people, to meet outdoors with their friends. This will undoubtedly have a significant positive impact on people’s wellbeing.

“I’m also pleased to confirm outdoor hospitality will be allowed to reopen from Monday 26th April.

“These changes will help the hospitality sector recover after a difficult twelve months.

“It is thanks to the continuing efforts of people across Wales we are able to introduce this change. Together, we will continue to keep Wales safe.”

On Friday (23rd April 2021), the First Minister will confirm further relaxations to the covid rules that will come into force on Monday 26 April 2021.

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Scientists issue urgent appeal for help on ground-breaking Covid genetic study

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SCIENTISTS involved in a ground-breaking COVID-19 genetic research study are urgently asking people across Wales who caught the virus to donate a small amount of blood to their project.

To help encourage as many people as possible to join the study, volunteers are now able to quickly and easily book an appointment for a nurse to visit their home and donate a sample.

The unique GenOMICC COVID-19 Study, which is being delivered in Wales through Health and Care Research Wales, analyses the genes of people who have had the virus to discover why some experienced mild or no symptoms while others became extremely ill. The study is already contributing to the fight again COVID, with preliminary results helping identify possible new treatments.

study open to anyone who caught COVID but didn’t need hospital treatment

However, for the study to continue to make progress, the scientists urgently need to recruit 2,500 more people from all backgrounds. Along with seeking the help of members of Asian and Black communities, they’re also keen for more men to volunteer.

The home appointment system has already proved popular when the scheme was launched in Scotland and Bradford earlier this year – and with lockdown restrictions beginning to be eased in Wales, organisers are hoping for a similar response from people across the country.

“This study has one key objective – to help us understand why COVID-19 has impacted different groups in different ways,” said Dr Matt Morgan, Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine at the University Hospital of Wales and Specialty Lead for Critical Care at Health and Care Research Wales.

“Across the UK, a disproportionate number of people who ended up in hospital have been male as well as people with Asian and Black heritage – that’s why we need people from these groups in particular to join the study as soon as possible.”

“If you are eligible, please register and join the project. You’ll be making a direct contribution to helping improve our knowledge of the virus and discovering new ways of beating it.”

scientists issue urgent appeal for assistance to help them identify new treatments

Dr Kenneth Baillie, the study’s Chief Investigator, said: “We’re appealing for more volunteers from all walks of life to come forward and register. We need to find people who tested positive for COVID but experienced either mild or no symptoms and didn’t require hospital treatment. To maximise the study’s potential, it’s important these volunteers are similar in age, gender and ethnicity of those people who were severely affected and hospitalised.”

Professor Sir Mark Caulfied, Chief Scientist at Genomics England added: “The quicker this research can be completed, the faster we can solve the COVID-19 puzzle and protect vulnerable people.

Genetic research into COVID-19 is now playing an increasingly important role in our fight against the virus, enabling us to identify new forms of the virus and develop treatments.

“The findings from the GenOMICC COVID-19 Study will improve the treatment, care and outcome for those most at risk and lower the number of deaths.”

Dr Nicola Williams, Director of Support and Delivery at Health and Care Research Wales, said: “It’s vital we learn as much as possible about COVID-19 and to do that we need people to volunteer to take part in research. By introducing an appointment booking system, the GenOMICC COVID-19 Study is giving people the opportunity to contribute to potentially life-saving research from their own homes. These contributions can help provide the evidence we need to give all patients the best possible outcome.”

The research project is open to anyone who tested positive to COVID-19 but experienced mild or no symptoms and didn’t require hospital treatment – volunteers can register online here.

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A Llanelli household is hospitalised following reports of an “unknown substance”

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REPORTS of an “unknown substance” at a Llanelli property led to a multi-agency operation.

Police, ambulance and the fire service descended on a property in a village, just outside of Five Roads, Llanelli,  following reports of members of the household feeling unwell and the presence of an “unknown substance”.

Three members of the household in Five Roads, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire were taken to hospital as a precaution.

Emergency services were alerted to members of the household feeling unwell and the presence of an ‘unknown substance’ on Sunday, April 11 at 7.30am.

The ambulance service were first on the scene with one rapid response vehicle, four emergency ambulances and the Hazardous Area Response Team and were supported by police and the fire service.

A spokesperson for the Welsh Ambulance Service said: “We were called to a residential property in the village of Five Roads, Llanelli at 7.30am on Sunday, April 11 to reports of three people needing medical attention.

“We responded with one rapid response vehicle, four emergency ambulances and our Hazardous Area Response Team.

“Three patients were taken to Glangwili Hospital, Carmarthen, for further treatment.”

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MAWWFRS) assisted the police and ambulance service, deploying a specialist officer and an Environmental Protection Unit to the property.

The service ventilated the property and remained on the scene until 5.29pm.

A MAWWFRS spokesperson said: “At 7:44am, crews from Llanelli were called to assist the ambulance service and police at an incident in a property in Five Roads, Llanelli.

“An unknown substance was found at the property and its occupants reported feeling unwell.

“The occupants were taken to hospital by the ambulance service.”

“The incident was contained to one property and there were no concerns for the wider community of Five Roads.”

A Dyfed-Powys Police Spokesperson confirmed the force assisted in the multi-operation incident.

A spokesperson said:: “Members of one household in the village were feeling unwell, and were taken to hospital for assessment.

“They were found to have no medical concerns.

“Following examination of the scene by a number of agencies, there was no cause for further investigation into the incident.”

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