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Digital examinations proved driver was dealing cocaine

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A MAN has been jailed for possessing cocaine with intent to supply thanks to digital investigations and expert police knowledge.

Liam Foster-Richards, of Dryslwyn in Carmarthenshire, was sentenced to three-and-a-half-years after being found with cocaine worth more than £6,000 in November 2019.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers had stop searched the 26-year-old after the BMW he was driving was seen travelling to the South Wales Police area with a quick turnaround back to Carmarthenshire.

Inspector Kerry Scoberg said: “The suspect’s car was located in Carmarthen town, and when stopped he made a significant comment that officers would find drugs on his person.

“A search led to 55.93g of what was discovered to be high purity cocaine – a class A substance – being recovered, and the driver was arrested.”

Foster-Richards was interviewed and admitted possession of class A drugs, but denied that he was involved in supplying illegal substances.

As part of the investigation, a mobile phone that had been found in his car was examined by a digital forensic investigator. A number of deleted text messages were found spanning the four months leading up to Foster-Richards’ arrest, containing incriminating details.

“These messages suggested Foster-Richards was actively involved in the supply of controlled drugs,” Insp Scoberg said.

“There were a number of conversations about the cost and quantity of substances, as well as arrangements for bank transfers to be made.

“This was added to the file of evidence compiled to prove this was an offence of possession with intent to supply, not simply possession of cocaine.”

Following forensic examination, the cocaine was established to have a street value in the region of £6,170. Expert advice was submitted by the Serious and Organised Crime Team, who evidenced that this quantity was significantly more than could be argued was for personal use.

Foster-Richards was charged with possession with intent to supply class A drugs, which he admitted at Swansea Crown Court. He was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison on Monday, April 26.

Suspended sentences were also activated for previous offences of affray and taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent, to be served concurrently.

Insp Scoberg said: “This was an excellent investigation with contributions from a number of departments leading to a significant sentence for an active drug dealer.

“Thanks to diligent work in examining the defendant’s mobile phone in detail, and expert knowledge from our CID team, we were able to prove the quantity of cocaine was not for personal use, and have disrupted the supply of illegal substances in the Carmarthenshire and wider areas.”

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New international travel rules for Wales confirmed by First Minister

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International travel will restart for people in Wales from Monday 17 May, the Welsh Government has confirmed today.

As part of changes to Wales’ coronavirus regulations, people living in Wales will be able to travel to some overseas destinations without the need to quarantine on their return.

But additional safeguards will be put in place to help prevent new cases of coronavirus being imported into Wales.

A traffic lights system, aligned with England and Scotland, will be introduced. Countries will be classified as green, amber and red, depending on their rates of coronavirus.

Mandatory quarantine is in place for all people returning to the UK from countries on the amber and red lists. All people returning from overseas travel must have a PCR test.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

 “Wales, like other parts of the UK, will be restarting international travel. But protecting people’s health continues to be our top priority and we want to do everything we can to prevent coronavirus from being re-imported into Wales.

 “This will not be like travel in the past. Everyone travelling abroad will have to have a test when they come home and for many people, they will need to quarantine when they get home. There are significant fines in place for those who do not follow the legal requirements.

“Some countries are not yet opening up travel to people from the UK. It’s my strong advice that this is the year to stay at home and enjoy all that Wales has to offer.”

Under the international travel rules:

• People arriving from green-list countries are not required to quarantine on their return to Wales, but they must book and pay for a mandatory PCR test on or before day two of their return. All travellers and members of their household will also be reminded about the availability of additional lateral flow tests to continue to monitor their health.

• People arriving from amber-list countries are required to quarantine for 10 days at home on their return. This is a legal requirement. They are also required to book and pay for mandatory PCR tests on day two and on day eight. Unlike in England, Wales does not operate a test-to-release scheme where an additional test can be taken on day five to reduce the period of quarantine. This is because some 30% of people who develop Covid-19 do so after day five.

• People arriving from countries on the red list are required to quarantine for a full 10 days on arrival in the UK at a designated UK port in a government-managed facility – a ‘covid hotel’ – at their own cost, starting from £1,750 per person. All UK entry points for arrivals from red-list countries are in England and Scotland, which means Welsh residents returning from those countries will need to quarantine outside Wales. Travellers are also required to book and pay for mandatory PCR tests on day two and day eight.

All those who do not follow the rules for red-list countries face fixed notice penalties of £10,000.

Welsh residents must also consult the requirements for visitors for any country they plan to travel to. Restrictions may be in place, including proof of vaccination, tests, quarantine and reasons for entry.

Vaccination status certificates will be available for people in Wales who have had two doses of their vaccination and need to urgently travel to a country that requires covid vaccination proof from Monday 24 May.

The First Minister added:

“We call on people to think about whether they need to travel overseas at this time. We should be cautious about going abroad in light of the ongoing risk of coronavirus and the presence of variants of concern in many countries.

“My clear message to everyone is make Wales your destination of choice this year.”

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Exciting new project hopes to help close the loop on waste in Carmarthenshire

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CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council and CWM Environmental Ltd have unveiled exciting plans for a new ‘re-use village’ in Nantycaws which will close the loop on waste within the county by repairing, reusing and refurbishing items.

The re-use village will provide a sustainable shopping experience by giving a new lease of life to various household items including furniture, bicycles, electricals, gardening equipment, paint and much more.

An education centre, café and toilets are planned for the site.

This exciting new project will encourage visitors to donate instead of disposing of items and purchase previously used items rather than buying new whenever possible.

Future circular economy projects will include a re-use shop in Llanelli town centre as well as other locations in the county as part of the council’s aim to create a circular economy for Carmarthenshire.

The council and CWM Environmental are working together to identify various ways in which the circular economy can be developed across the county.

This has been made possible through the Green Recovery Circular Economy funding by Welsh Government.

Cllr Hazel Evans, Executive Board Member for Environment: “The re-use village is an exciting step in Carmarthenshire’s journey towards a circular economy. The project looks to close the loop on waste and encourages the reuse and repurposing of items, instead of needlessly disposing of them. The re-use village will provide an alternative shopping experience where quality items can be purchased at a reasonable cost.

“Donation stations will be made available at the county’s household waste recycling centres where residents can donate items of a reasonable quality that they no longer have a use for. This could be anything from an outgrown bike, a chest of drawers in need of upcycling or a games console that is no longer used.”

The re-use village and future re-use projects will help to achieve Carmarthenshire’s ambition of delivering a circular economy throughout the county as well as becoming a leader in recycling and re-use within Wales.

A circular economy focuses on eliminating waste by cutting down on throw away consumption and turning materials that would have previously been thrown away into a valuable resource. 

This project has been funded through Welsh Government’s Circular Economy fund to help accelerate Wales’ shift towards a circular economy.

This means waste is avoided and resources are kept in use for as long as possible.

This is a key part of climate change action and also brings considerable economic opportunities as a part of the move to a low carbon economy.

For further information visit www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales

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Have your say in Sandy Road traffic flow consultation

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A PUBLIC consultation is being held to allow feedback on options for improving traffic flow along Llanelli’s Sandy Road.

Carmarthenshire County Council, working with transport engineers at Atkins, is opening a three-week consultation allowing anyone with an interest in the traffic along the A484 to have their say.

The consultation follows several investigations and topographical surveys which has led to some proposals being developed.

Residents in the immediate vicinity of proposed schemes have been invited to a presentation allowing them to speak to the project team before the public consultation opens online on Tuesday May 18.

The consultation seeks to find out how people travel through Sandy Road and how people feel about the improvement proposals.

Feedback will be reported to the council’s Executive Board before any decisions are made.

Cllr Hazel Evans, the council’s Executive Board Member for Environment, said: “We have been looking at options for traffic improvement in this area and I’m pleased we are bringing forward this consultation which will allow us to gather people’s views on the proposals put forward by our transport engineers. I’d encourage anyone who lives in the area or who uses the road to have their say.”

For further information, and to provide feedback, visit www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/consultations from Tuesday May 18.

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