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£1.4m to help transform Llandeilo Market Hall into a high-quality development

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Llandeilo’s Market Hall will be transformed into an innovative business hub for the town centre and wider community thanks to £1.4m from the Welsh Government and EU, Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government, Hannah Blythyn has announced.

The investment will return the Grade II listed building into use and provide new employment space, conference facilities, café and a venue for Llandeilo’s growing and successful events calendar.

Constructed in the 1830s, the market has been a key part of Llandeilo’s history up until 2002 when it became disused. Currently in a poor state of repair, the market is on the ‘buildings at risk register’ having been classified as vulnerable in 2007.

The modern multi-use community space will provide suitable accommodation for SMEs wanting to re-locate to the town centre.

The investment is being made as part of the Welsh Government’s ‘Transforming Towns’ programme – which was launched last week.

Transforming Towns refocuses the Welsh Government’s efforts on revitalising town centres, transforming them to be to be fit for the 21st Century.

Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister Hannah Blythyn said:

“This beautiful architecturally important building which has served the community for so long is getting a new lease of life, and I look forward to seeing it flourish and grow.

“The Welsh Government has ambitious plans to transform towns like Llandeilo to make them fit for the 21st century. This £1.4m investment from the Welsh Government and the EU will help transform an empty property into a hub for new job opportunities. This will help attract more people into the town, which will increase footfall in Llandeilo’s wonderful array of shops and businesses – providing local businesses with a much needed boost.”

Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council and Executive Board Member for Regeneration said its location and scale make it an ideal venue for businesses and community groups.

“We look forward to getting started on work to bring this historic listed building back in to use,” he said.

“Our economic development team has worked tirelessly to secure external funding to deliver the project, and a much-needed economic boost in one of our key rural towns. This space will mean more businesses can grow and thrive with modern, bespoke, facilities to work and collaborate.”

The investment is being made through the European Regional Development Fund and the Welsh Government.

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Cash and drugs seized after ‘Interceptors inspired’ police pursuit

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SEVERAL thousands of pounds in cash and drugs suspected to be cocaine have been seized following a pursuit in Carmarthen.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers arrested a 33-year-old following the pursuit, during which the driver purposely collided with two police cars as he attempted to evade arrest.

Nigel Dale Lewis pleaded guilty to six offences when he appeared at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, October 21, and now awaits sentencing.

Roads policing units were dispatched at around 10.40pm on Monday, October 19 after the force control centre received a report that a driver had failed to stop for officers at Pencader.

The car was sighted on the A485 at Dolgwili, before turning onto the A40 towards Carmarthen.

Inspector Andy Williams said: “Officers intercepted the car and used a manoeuvre to bring it to a safe stop at the side of the carriageway.

“However the driver took it upon himself to avoid being stopped and attempted to reverse away, but officers blocked his path.

“He then tried to drive forward down the nearside barrier, and rammed into the front wheel of one of our cars. Officers were forced to disable his vehicle to ensure he didn’t get away.

“Two of our vehicles were damaged in the incident, but thankfully nobody involved suffered any injuries.”

A large quantity of cash was found on the front seat of the car, and a drug swipe carried out at the roadside provided a positive result.

During a search, Lewis, from Caerphilly, was also found to be in possession of a substance believed to be cocaine.

On arrest, he claimed he believed officers “wanted a chase” as he had “seen one on Interceptors”.

Insp Williams said: “Following excellent teamwork throughout the day by Carmarthenshire Roads Policing Unit officers, sufficient evidence was gathered to charge the individual with six offences.

“This is an excellent example of teamwork, with the focus of keeping our roads safe.”

Lewis was charged with dangerous driving, possession of a class A drug, failing to stop for police, criminal damage to police vehicles, driving otherwise in accordance with a licence, and driving with no insurance, and appeared at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, October 21.
He has admitted the charges, and is due to be sentenced at Swansea Crown Court on Friday, November 6.

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Police officer punched and spat at minutes after aggressive man held knife to his own throat

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A POLICE officer was punched in the face and spat at as he responded to a report of a violent man with a knife.

The Dyfed-Powys Police PC was left with swelling and bruising following the incident in Carmarthen on Saturday, October 17.

He also attended A&E for his eye to be cleaned after being spat at by Michael Ivan Priestly, who has since been charged and sentenced for assaulting an officer.

The force received a report of a disturbance at a house in Glanffynnon at around 9.40am, where it was said the 43-year-old was in possession of a knife.

Sergeant Darren Morgan said: “We positioned ourselves outside the property, and the defendant came out in a raging state, shouting, swearing and throwing his arms about.

“His behaviour was so alarming that we feared for our safety until he went back inside.”

Further units attended to provide support, but once inside the house, the defendant’s behaviour became more concerning.

“Through the back window we could clearly see him in possession of a knife, which he pointed at us several times in a threatening manner,” Sgt Morgan said.

“He then put the knife to his throat. We weren’t sure if he was threatening to harm himself or us.

“We attempted to engage with him, but he came outside again, shouting aggressively and swearing.”

Priestly removed a six inch knife from the waistband of his trousers, and dropped in on the ground when instructed.

Efforts were made to calm him down, but he became more uncooperative until the point he lashed out and punched a PC, before spitting at him.

Priestly was arrested and taken to custody, where he continued his tirade against officers.

He was charged with assaulting an emergency worker, and appeared at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Monday, October 19.

He was sentenced to a community order, a rehabilitation activity requirement, 100 hours of unpaid work, and must pay a total of £280 in compensation and costs.

Sgt Morgan said: “I would like to commend all officers involved in the incident for their actions in preventing Priestly from potentially harming himself or others.”

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Killer Andrew Jones must spend at least 30 years in jail

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A KILLER from Carmarthen will spend at least 30 years in jail.

Andrew Jones, 53, from Bronwydd Road, denied murdering his long-time friend Michael O’Leary but was convicted by a jury.

Mrs Justice Jefford set a minimum term of 30 years which he must serve before he can be considered for parole. She described the killing as ” a planned ambush”.

She told the killer: “Michael O’Leary did something wrong but he did not deserve to pay for that with his life. All accounts of him is of a man who lit up the room and played a central role in the lives of his family.

“Your family stands by you. You are more than fortunate in that. The impact of your actions in their lives has also been devastating. They feel ostracised from the community from where they live.

“Your wife still talks about you as the love of her life and your children talk about you in glowing terms.”

The judge made an order for the forfeiture and destruction of a rifle but not of the other guns in Jones’ possession.

She added: “This was a remarkable investigation by Dyfed-Powys Police.

“The officers and operatives involved are too numerous to mention but they are all to be commended for their efforts.”

Mr Jones’ barrister Karim Khalil QC is now addressing the court.

He said: “The defendant himself is not a highly educated man. He made the best of the talents he had.

“He worked all hours, not in any sense workshy. He built a family life which is now destroyed.

“He is remorseful for what happened. He is not cold-blooded.

“He acknowledges the pain he has caused.”

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