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Sex plot paedophile imprisoned

Darren Harries

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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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£100,000 of cannabis plants seized in west Wales police raid

Thomas Sinclair

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POLICE seized cannabis plants worth an estimated £100,000 during a warrant near Ammanford.

Dyfed-Powys Police searched a home in Garnant on Wednesday, July 21, where 100 plants were discovered to be growing in the front room and two bedrooms.

Given the number and maturity of some of the plants, officers estimate the quantity of cannabis growing to be worth around £100,000.

Sergeant Gemma Davies said: “This was a significant seizure of cannabis plants, which were growing in a sophisticated set-up across three rooms.

“Our investigation is ongoing into who is responsible, as there was nobody present at the time of the warrant, and we are carrying out all possible lines of enquiry to identify a suspect.

“I would like to thank all officers involved for showing great teamwork during the warrant and subsequent enquiries.”

Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101.

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

Quote reference: DPP/2891/21/07/2021/02/C.

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

(Picture above: File Image)

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Four charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs

Carli Newell

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FOUR people have been arrested and charged as part of an investigation into an organised crime gang supplying class A drugs from London to Aberystwyth, Llanelli and Swansea.

Dyfed-Powys Police, with support from The Met Police, carried out warrants at four addresses on July 21, resulting in four arrests.

Mohammed Osman, aged 23, Yonis Mohammed, aged 20, Salman Mohamoud, aged 23 – all from Islington – and Amy Simmons, aged 21, from Dulwich were charged with a total of 12 offences:

  • Mohammed Osman: Two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine,
  • Yonis Mohammed: Two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine.
  • Salman Mohamoud: Conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine
  • Amy Simmons: Conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine.

All four appeared at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Friday, July 23, where they were remanded in custody. They are due to appear at Swansea Crown Court for their next hearing on August 20.

The investigation is being carried out by the Ceredigion Serious and Organised Crime Team, Aberystwyth CID and the Operation Orochi command of the Met Police.

Detective Sergeant Steve Jones said: “These four arrests and charges are the result of a coordinated approach to target an organised crime gang we believe is running a county lines operation into the Dyfed-Powys Police force area.

“We will continue to work diligently to disrupt gangs of this kind, to prevent the supply of illegal substances into our community.

“I would like to thank all officers involved, as well as the Met Police for their part in the operation.”

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New children’s play area in Bryn as part of new council housing development

Carli Newell

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A NEW children’s play area has opened in time for the summer holidays in Bryn, Llanelli as part of a new £5.9million council housing development.

Carmarthenshire County Council is building 32 new homes on land close to the Dylan housing estate in Bryn.

The scheme will be made up of 22 two-bedroom homes, four two-bedroom bungalows and six four-bedroom homes and is part of the council’s ongoing drive to deliver more affordable homes across the county. It has been part funded through the Welsh Government’s Affordable Housing Grant.

The development also includes a new children’s play area, funded by the council in partnership with Llanelli Rural Council, which will take over the running and maintenance of the play area on completion.

Executive Board Member for Housing Cllr Linda Evans said: “I am delighted the park has been completed in time for the summer holidays for the local children to enjoy.

“We are committed to delivering more affordable housing across Carmarthenshire and this development will benefit dozens of families in Llanelli, as well as proving much needed facilities for the local community.

“I would like to thank the rural council for collaborating with this us on this and I hope the children are thrilled with it.”

Before designing the play area, the rural council liaised with local schoolchildren to find out what play equipment they wanted at their new park.

Llanelli Rural Council Chairman Cllr Tegwen Devichand said: “The council is delighted to be working in partnership with Carmarthenshire County Council to provide this wonderful new play area for the community.

“The opening of the play area couldn’t have been better timed to coincide with the school holidays. I hope the local children will enjoy the range of challenging play equipment on offer and that they have lots of fun using it over the summer.”

The housing development is due to be completed by the beginning of 2022.

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