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Sex plot paedophile imprisoned

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A LLANELLI man received eighteen months’ imprisonment after being caught by a Police sting operation aimed at child molesters.

Mark Richards, of Stafford Street, was picked up at Carmarthen Railway Station by officers from Dyfed-Powys Police on July 10 this year.

Richards had chatted online to what he believed was a 13-year-old girl.

Instead, the girl was an officer working in Operation Harrier, an investigation into online child sexual exploitation.

When searched by Police, the paedophile was found in possession of condoms and lube.

Appearing at Swansea Crown Court last week, Richards entered guilty pleas for offences relating to attempting to ‘groom’ a child under the age of 16 for sexual purposes.

Prosecution barrister Carina Hughes told the Court that Operation Harrier concerned officers posing as children and chatting online with suspected sexual offenders.

After initiating contact in an online chatroom with the undercover officer, Richards moved the conversation on to an increasingly sexualised tone and was not deterred when the ‘girl’ told him she was only thirteen years old.

As the conversations became increasingly explicit, the pair continued to exchange messages via other social media platforms.

Matters came to a head when Richards gave the supposed 13-year-old his 20-year-old daughter’s mobile number and arranged to meet at Carmarthen’s railway station.

Waiting police officers arrested him shortly after he arrived.

In an interview with the Police, Richards declined to answer any questions. However, his daughter told officers of her father’s ‘abnormal sexual behaviour’.

Defending barrister John Hipkin said that ‘nothing could ever excuse’ Richards’ conduct and that the sole mitigation for his client was the guilty plea entered at the first opportunity.

Sentencing Richards, Judge Huw Rees referred to the methodical way that Richards had prepared for what he believed would be sexual activity with a child. He noted that it was a significant aggravating factor that when he believed his potential victim was thirteen, he was even more encouraged to proceed.

A probation report said Richards posed a high risk of serious harm to children aged between 12 and 16.

Handing down a sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment, HHJ Rees gave Richards credit for his early guilty plea.

The paedophile will serve half his sentence in custody while the remainder will be on licence.

Richards also received a sexual harm prevention order to limit internet access and contact with children. He will also spend ten years on the sex offender register.

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New ward extension opens at Werndale Hospital

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WERNDALE Hospital opens its £1millon ward extension, featuring a suite of new spacious patient en-suite rooms and additional light and airy ward space for new nurses’ stations, new technology and medical equipment, in pleasant and comfortable spaces. 

Werndale is part of Circle Health Group, the UK’s largest provider of private healthcare. The group is carrying out a £125 million redevelopment programme across its 50 hospitals in the UK.

Werndale has a strong history in the village of Bancyfelin, where is has been serving the local communities of Wales for over 32 years.

James Davies, Wales and Scarlets rugby player, from Bancyfelin, cut the ribbon to mark the official opening on Monday 1st August. His nickname “Cubby”, is reference to his brother’s nickname, “Fox”; this refers to the Fox & Hounds pub their parents ran in Bancyfelin, the village where they grew up. Staff and consultants were given the chance to view the new extension, with a small gathering to mark the occasion and celebrate all the hard work that has gone into this project over the last 12 months.

Jacky Jones, Executive Director of Werndale Hospital said: “The investment programme is an exciting opportunity to expand what we can offer to patients at Werndale. Our staff and consultants are delighted with this expansion which will allow us to meet the private healthcare needs of patients and families in Wales and will decrease waiting times which will positively impact the patient’s experience. Having the new patient rooms here increases our ward capacity by 20%, it is a great investment”.

Gaynor Llewellyn, Director of Clinical Services said: “At Werndale we are committed to continuous improvement of clinical facilities and services. We continually invest in the hospital so that we can offer our patients and consultants reassurance when they visit us for treatments”.

Werndale Hospital is seeing increased demand for its services across all specialities particularly orthopaedic surgery, ophthalmology, and general surgery. Nearly 4,000 patients had surgery at Werndale Hospital, Bancyfelin during 2021 and the new investment will enable ward capacity to be increased by 25 per cent.

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M4 closed westbound following lorry fire near Swansea

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A SECTION of the M4 near Swansea was shut on Monday (Aug 8) due to a vehicle fire.

The westbound section of the motorway, between junction 47 at Penllergaer and junction 48 at Hendy closed.

Emergency services were called to the scene, and there was queuing traffic in the area.

Traffic monitoring service Inrix reported: “M4 Westbound closed, queueing traffic due to vehicle fire between J47 A48 (Penllergaer / Swansea West Services) and J48 A4138 Pontardulais Road”

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Police appeal after Llanelli assault: victim required hospital treatment

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DYFED POWYS POLICE is investigating an assault which occurred on Regalia Terrace, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire at about 12.05am, Sunday 3rd July.

The victim required hospital treatment.

Officers have carried out all possible lines of enquiry, and are now appealing for help from the public.

They would like to identify the person in the CCTV image, who may have information that could help the investigation.

Anyone who knows who the person is, or if you believe you are pictured, contact Dyfed-Powys Police.

This can also be done either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk or phoning 101.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Please quote reference DP-20220703-011

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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