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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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Station Road: Off-licence refused alcohol licence

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AN OFF-LICENCE on Llanelli’s Station Road has been refused an alcohol licence by Carmarthenshire County Council after councillors decided it could add to the area’s crime and disorder problems.

The Licensing Committee’s decision has been upheld after the applicant, who runs the shop Kubus, appealed to the courts.

The applicant, Aram Mahmood, had asked the council for permission to sell alcohol at his shop between 9am and 9pm Monday to Sunday.

However councillors felt that granting the licence would contravene the authority’s Cumulative Impact Policy, which creates a presumption against the granting of premises licences in the Station Road area, due to anti-social behaviour and alcohol-fuelled crime issues.

A Dyfed Powys Police representative said Station Road is still identified as a crime and disorder hot spot, and a Drinking in Public Places Order (DPPO) is in place.

During April 2017 and March 2018, 164 anti-social behaviour incidents were recorded in Station Road, over a quarter having occurred within licensed premises.

A fifth of all related crime and 13 per cent of all alcohol related anti-social behavior incidents recorded in Llanelli town occurred in Station Road.

Over 40 alcohol related violent crimes were also recorded there during the same period.

Although there are now fewer premises selling alcohol in Station Road, statistics show there is still a high level of alcohol related crime and disorder in the area.

The applicant told the committee that his main customers were families wishing to buy Polish and European foods and products.

He told councillors he had ordered a CCTV system and assured them that the management of alcohol would be well controlled by staff, though believed that his customers would not cause problems.

The licensing committee’s decision was upheld following the applicant’s appeal to Llanelli Magistrates Court.

Justices found that there was no evidence of exceptional reasons to justify departing from the Cumulative Impact Policy and were satisfied with the committee’s decision.

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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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