POLICE OFFICERS have executed search warrants at properties in Carmarthenshire, Swansea, and Kent. Their actions are part of an investigation into allegations of corruption involving the
Wellness Village project at Delta Lakes, Llanelli.
On Thursday, Aug 8, The Herald received a tip-off which identified three properties in Carmarthenshire at which officers from Tarian, the Regional Organised Crime Unit, executed those warrants.
The tip-off was anonymous. As is usual with such tip-offs, we sought to verify it by reference to independent and reliable sources.
As a result of our further enquiries, we can confirm that Police executed a search warrant at the home of controversial former Carmarthenshire County Council CEO Mark James.
The use of a search warrant in such circumstances is not unusual. The use of one is not a sign of any criminality or dishonesty on Mr James’ part. It is possible the warrant was procured routinely to preserve material which might assist an ongoing investigation.
Police executed a further warrant at County Hall, Carmarthen.
Again, the use of a warrant is not a sign of any criminality. Police acted to obtain documentary evidence and computer material, including email trails, to help with their investigation.
It is entirely possible that Police learned a lesson from a separate probe of Pembrokeshire County Council. In that case, officers failed to secure evidence which was subsequently either lost or destroyed.
A separate Council press release states the local authority is ready and willing to help the Police in any way they can and is already offering any assistance it can to investigators.
That statement points out that a review by the WAO and an internal probe by a firm of solicitors found no administrative or compliance issues affecting the tender processes for the Wellness Village.
The Herald has been given a further address at which a search warrant was executed. That third address has not been confirmed by all of our sources and, accordingly, we do not report it here.
As we went to press, Carmarthenshire County Council exclusively confirmed to us that a search warrant was executed at County Hall last week.
Cambrian & Clydach v Llanelli Town.
CAMBRIAN & CLYDACH 1 LLANELLI TOWN 0
DESPITE going down to yet another defeat courtesy of an 88th minute goal, the Reds can take heart from the overall effort shown by the players newly recruited from the Carmarthenshire league who all played their part in a gutsy performance which, with a little more luck, could well have earned them all three points.
Two of the three signings from Seaside were named in the starting line-up, Callum Thomas and Jack Watkins, while the other, Jamie Jenkins, along with Rob Owens from Calsonic and Lenny Evans from Dafen were on the bench, although all three featured in the latter stages of the game.
Also making welcome returns after lengthy injury lay-offs, were Jordan Davies and Ross Jones, who brought some much needed stability in midfield and showed they had lost little of their previous skills.
A dismal afternoon in the Rhondda with frequent rain showers and an artificial surface which has seen better days, perhaps was not the ideal introduction for the visitors` new faces, but they all coped well, and given a few more matches to adapt to their new environment, they all look useful additions to the squad.
The hosts, in the early stages, appeared to be given too much leeway going forward, with Liam Edwards twice going close to opening their account, and their opponents were being forced on to the back foot.
However, they survived this initial threat and began to exert some pressure themselves on the home goal, with Liam Samuel having hit shot on the turn safely dealt with by goalkeeper Cameron Clarke.
The Reds goal then survived a close call when a ball hoisted long downfield found the head of Sam Jones, whose finish was marginally off target with Kai Rees off his line.
Rees was called into action to gather a free kick driven low into the goalmouth by Leon Jacks, before the visitors had a golden opportunity of taking the lead with the award of a penalty on 27 minutes following a foul on Nathan Logan in the box by Kyle Jones.
Samuel stepped up to take the kick, but it was a poor effort, lacking both pace and direction, and was kept out with some ease by Clarke.
Heads might have dropped following this disappointment, but to their credit the Reds continued to search for a breakthrough, and went agonisingly close to doing so when a shot by Logan beat Clarke before rebounding off the inside of the far post and into the grateful hands of the keeper.
When he hosts countered, Corey Shepherd blasted over the top from the edge of the box, while Callum Thomas brought off a saving block to deny Cameron Keetch after a surging run from his own half had afforded him the chance.
Still scoreless at the break, the visitors again came close to opening their account early in the second half when a run by Samuel culminated with a delivery into the goalmouth which was met by Kyle Copp, but somehow, from point blank range, Clarke managed to keep it out, more by luck than judgement.
At the other end, Rees was called into action to turn around a near post effort by Keetch, while a Reds attack saw Logan have his finish diverted for a corner, which when taken fell to Davies, but he lofted his shot high over the goal.
The visitors` goal then survived a close call when a slick move involving Jacks and Andre Griffiths led to the latter delivering a ball low across the face of the net, and Liam Reed was fractionally away from making contact.
The Reds then made a couple of changes, with Evans and Owens replacing the tiring Davies and Chris Thomas respectively on 73 minutes, with Jenkins coming on for Logan five minutes later.
With time running out, it appeared as if the game would end scoreless, before a situation arose which went against the visitors and ultimately cost them the dearly.
When a ball was hoisted high into their box, both Rees and Lee Bevan rose to deal with it, colliding heavily and ending up on the ground and needing treatment, but when the game was restarted, possession of the ball was given to the home side with Bevan still waiting to come back on to the field, and they took full advantage by sending a diagonal pass into the path of Keetch who rifled his finish into the bottom corner with just two minutes of normal time remaining.
This was a bitter pill to swallow for the Reds who had certainly played well enough to have earned at least a share of the points, but at the moment they are not having the rub of the green, and will be hoping that they can turn matters around with the visit of STM Sports to Stebonheath which supporters are asked to note will be on Friday evening, kick off 7.30 p.m. and not Saturday, as previously announced.
CAMBRIAN & CLYDACH; Clarke; Griffiths; Keetch; Coles; K. Jones; Strinati (Davies, 79); Reed (Thomas, 65); Shepherd ©; S. Jones; Edwards (Bradley, 80); Jacks;
Subs. not used; Owen; Grahame.
LLANELLI TOWN; Rees; Callum Thomas; Brown; Watkins; Chris Thomas (Owens, 73); Bevan ©; Copp; Jones; J. Davies (Evans, 73); Samuel; Logan (Jenkins, 78);
Sub. not used; G. Davies.
SCORER; Cambrian & Clydach; Keetch, 88.
YELLOW CARDS; Cambrian & Clydach; K. Jones; Edwards; Strinati.
Llanelli Town; Brown; Bevan; Chris Thomas; J. Davies; Watkins; Copp;
REFEREE; Gavin Townsend.
RSPCA looks for Compassionate Class
DO YOU have a class full of animal lovers who want to make a difference in the animal welfare world?
The RSPCA has launched its Compassionate Class competition for 2020 – which is an innovative programme that encourages children to develop compassion and empathy through the lens of animal welfare.
This year’s entrants will follow in the footsteps of the Year 3 class at Ysgol Gymraeg Coed y Gof who were recognised as 2019’s ‘Most Compassionate Class’ across England and Wales.
Last year around 700 schools took part with the Cardiff school impressing judges with their Welsh-language animation, which incorporated into a short production several key animal welfare messages.
Compassionate Class takes an interactive, discussion-based approach to develop emotional literacy and consider the welfare needs of animals. These PSHE Association-accredited resources are designed to provide an exciting learning experience as well as supporting schools in the delivery of spiritual, moral, social and cultural education (SMSC) for 7 – 11-year-olds.
Through a series of enquiry-led activities, children will consider what it means to be compassionate, understand the needs of different types of animals, and work collaboratively to develop empathy skills for their school lives and beyond.
The programme – which is now open and closes on March 23 – finishes with the chance to enter the Most Compassionate Class awards.
Dave Allen, Head of Prevention and Education at the RSPCA said: “We are very much looking forward to this year’s Compassionate Class which is about developing compassion and empathy through the lens of animal welfare and the programme encourages children to think about the needs of animals and help them to realise that animals have feelings and are sentient.
“The activities teach children about the five animal welfare needs, while the resources get them talking and debating about the importance of animals and creates an awareness of how we should respect them and each other. In turn, we hope this will help to create a kinder society in the future.
“We were just blown away with Ysgol Gymraeg Coed y Gof last year and we can’t wait to see what participating schools come up with this year.”
Ysgol Gymraeg Coed y Gof’s animated video featured the rules people need to follow to keep animals safe and healthy in a whole series of environments.
Year 3 teacher Nia Norman at Ysgol Gymraeg Coed y Gof, said: “We felt taking part in Compassionate Class would be a great opportunity for the children to build compassion towards animals and hopefully each other as a result. The children loved learning about animals, their habitats and their needs. They were all very passionate about protecting animals’ environments and what we as individuals can do to help preserve them.
“I’m super proud of the children, they worked so hard. We were thrilled to hear that we had won. We didn’t really enter the competition to win but to be able to complete the project with the children so that they would have an end product for which they would be really proud.
“The children were so excited when they found out we’d won. We hope that they will always remember that they are national winners although, of course, they’re winners for us every day!”
For more information, or to sign-up your school, visit www.rspca.org.uk/compassionateclass
Old Gold snatch vital draw
JD Cymru Premier League
Penybont 1 – Carmarthen Town 1
AFTER an impressive performance to defeat Penybont at Richmond Park on Boxing Day, expectations among the Town supporters who travelled along the M4 for this Cymru Premier League return fixture. Glad tidings of great joy were, however, in short supply this time around.
An uneventful opening period saw play confined to the pitch’s middle third, neither side threatening much in the way of attacking threat.
In the 11th minute, Penybont carved open the Old Gold defence in clinical fashion.
Nathan Wood fired a dangerous cross towards the far post where Daniel Griffiths rose high above Alaric Jones to head the ball back into the goalmouth. Kostya Georgievsky reacted quicker than any defender and planted his close-range header past ‘keeper Lee Idzi and into the net.
As Town appeared laboured and uncertain, on 31 minutes Penybont went close to stretching their lead when Wood released a fierce long-range drive that Idzi, with a flying full-length dive, turned narrowly wide of the post.
Carmarthen’s only significant goal threat during the entire first-half came in the 36th minute when a rasping effort from Luke Bowen was well-parried by home keeper Rhys Wilson.
The second half’s opening was no better than the quality of play in much of the first period. Both sides gave the ball away too easily, with careless misplaced passes a constant feature of their exchanges.
Midway through the second-half, Town gradually began to exert notable pressure on the Penybont defence.
On 77 minutes Declan Carroll fired a free-kick into the crowded penalty area where Jay Woodford, from 15 yards, curled a delightful shot over several defenders but saw Wilson produce a smart save to claim the ball.
Penybont defended deep in their own half while the Old Gold turned on the afterburners in search of an equaliser. Several powerful attempts on the Penybont goal were saved by the impressive Wilson. Against the run of play, Penybont squandered a late opportunity to make the game safe.
Having survived that scare, the Old Gold resumed their sustained assault on the Penybont goal – and they were duly rewarded.
Three minutes into added time Carroll sent a searching corner-kick into the packed goalmouth where Bowen saw his close-range header blocked on the goal-line by Wilson – but the experienced striker reacted immediately and positively by driving the loose ball past the ‘keeper and into the back of the net.
Once the Carmarthen players’ delirious celebrations had subsided the game restarted and then very soon afterwards the referee blew the final whistle, probably much to the relief of Town’s supporters!
Town’s next fixture, against Airbus UK at Richmond Park on Saturday, January 11 (k/o 2.30 pm) will be an important fixture if the Old Gold are to retain their Premier League status
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