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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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Public Services Board seeks views to improve local well-being

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CARMARTHENSHIRE’S Public Services Board (PSB) is seeking residents’ views to find out what matters to them and their local communities.

The PSB has developed its Well-being Objectives and draft actions to deliver them, based on feedback received on its Well-being Assessment. The results of a survey at that time gathered views and helped shape the PSB’s understanding of the economic, social, environmental, and cultural factors that impact the well-being of individuals and communities within Carmarthenshire.

Once again, residents are being asked to contribute to help public service partners develop Carmarthenshire’s Local Well-being Plan for 2023-28.

To help shape the future of well-being please visit: Current Consultations (gov.wales)

The survey closes on 25 January 2023.

Cllr Darren Price, Chair of the Carmarthenshire PSB and Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “To deliver what is important to our communities, we need to their feedback and input. This survey is an opportunity for our residents to tell us if we, as public services, are on the right track to help create a better future for our children’s generation, and the generations to follow, as we strive to reach this goal.” 

Andrew Cornish, Vice-Chair of the PSB andChief Executive Officer / Principal of Coleg Sir Gar and Coleg Ceredigion said: “Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our work so far. Our Well-being Assessment gives us a strong foundation on which to build our Well-being Plan and I would like to encourage everyone to take part in our involvement work for the preparation of the Plan.”

Carmarthenshire’s Public Services Board is a partnership of public and third sector organisations working together to improve well-being across the county and includes Carmarthenshire County Council, Hywel Dda University Health Board, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Natural Resources Wales and other organisations.

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Llanelli prepares for Sunday’s Remembrance Day parade

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LATER TODAY (Sunday, November 13) the town will honour those who have fallen in service over the decades.

A number of roads will be closed on the day, including Murray Street, Church Street and Vauxhall Road from its junction with the mini roundabout.

These will be shut for the parade between 8.30am and noon, however, pedestrian access for those wishing to reach individual properties in those streets will be maintained where possible throughout the duration of the closure.

Traffic will be diverted to Robinson Street, Arthur Street, Columbia Row, Anne Street, Bigyn Road, Stepney Place, Water Street, Thomas Street and Gelli Onn.

At 10am, police, organisations and others not marching in the parade will take up their respective positions in front of the cenotaph in the town hall grounds, while the civic party will assemble inside Llanelli Town Hall.

At 10.15am the parade leaves Drill Hall for the town hall with the mayor Cllr Philip Warlow proceeding to the Boer War Memorial where he will lay a wreath.

When the parade arrives at the town hall, the civic party will proceed to the cenotaph where the Lord Lieutenant of Dyfed Sara Edwards, will lay a wreath.

This will be followed by the chair of Carmarthenshire Council Cllr Rob Evans, laying a wreath on the Royal Welch War Memorial and then on the town’s cenotaph.

More wreaths will be laid by dignitaries and politicians and ex-servicemen and women A two-minute silence will then be observed at 11am.

Any service groups or individuals who wish to lay a wreath on Remembrance Sunday can contact Paul Wickers via email at llanlva2009@aol.com.

While community organisations are to contact Llanelli Town Council at enquiries@llanellitowncouncil.gov.uk.

Contact should be made by Monday, October 31 at the very latest to confirm arrangements as no additional wreaths will be able to be accommodated on the day.

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Llanelli choir launches fundraising naked calendar

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MEMBERS of a Llanelli female choir have bared all to raise money for the town’s Ty Bryngwyn Hospice.  

Côr Curiad has created a cheeky fundraising calendar for 2023 – the second one they have done.

With around 50 members, photos were taken across Llanelli with strategically placed items to spare their blushes – all in the name of a good cause.

Llanelli photographer Graham Harries was behind the lens for the project.

The choir’s musical director Alex Esney, who is Miss December in the calendar said: “Local businesses sponsored the calendar and so many of the photos were taken at their premises.

“So for example we went to LTC Mobility Ltd and had scooters carefully positioned in front of us, it was a lot of fun.

“I also want to thank Ffwrnes Theatre for opening up especially for me to go and have my photo taken with the piano there.”

Alex said the aim is to raise as much as possible for the hospice, adding: “We did a calendar a few years ago but we now have more members so we thought it was time to do it all again.

“The ladies decided to ‘bare all’ to raise money for the hospice which provides such great care and support for families in their time of need, including two of our own.

“I think we pulled out all the stops this year, getting their clothes off at local businesses in and around Llanelli.”

One of the calendar photos (Images: Graham Harries Photography)
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