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Judge praises detectives after cocaine gang jailed for 169 years

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cocaineTHREE Dyfed-Powys detectives have been commended today (Sept 30) for their roles in bringing down the biggest cocaine smuggling gang ever seen in west and south Wales.

Judge Paul Thomas’ comments came as he passed down sentences on the final seven members of the gang and took the final tally of jail terms to 169 years.

Operation Phobos and Operation Pigeon smashed gangs in Liverpool, Manchester, south Wales and Milford Haven and led to sentencing hearings at Swansea crown court that lasted all week.

In total, 19 people were jailed. Liverpool-based ring leader Ian Edwards received a 14 year sentence.

The main supply route was Liverpool to Clydach and later Llanelli, but Brian Bergamo, aged 31, of Vera Road, Clydach, spread the network to Milford Haven and recruited Leigh Salter. Salter had his own network of dealers and users.

Today, Bergamo was jailed for eight years. Salter was jailed in June for five years and three months.

By the time the police moved in the gang had shipped more than £18m worth of high purity cocaine into south and west Wales.

After the last of the suppliers had been jailed, Judge Thomas formally commended Det Sgt Rhys Jones, Det Con Sarah Totterdale and Det Con Steven Jones.  He also commended civilian analyst Nathan John.

It had been, he said, a quite exceptional, detailed and complicated police investigation that had brought to book a very large conspiracy.

The methods deployed, and the analysis of a colossal amount of data, had been of the highest order.

The public owed all four a great deal of thanks, he added.

Details of the sheer size of the operation, and of the money being made, emerged during this week’s hearings.

When detectives arrested Edwards they found he had a photograph on his mobile telephone of an estimated £100,000 in used notes stuffed into a kitchen cupboard.

Andrew Price, aged 38, of Pentre Nicklaus Village, Llanelli, helped to arrange safe houses for the gang. He drove around in an £80,000 Mercedes and bought a £250,000 boat using his bank debit card. Today, he was jailed for 12 years.

The hearings also revealed the tragedies involved. Matthew Roberts, aged 32, of Maes Conwy, Llanelli, was jailed for 12 years—but he also helped his sister to receive a five and a half year sentence after he persuaded her to store his drugs at her home.

The west Wales gang members included Dane Bush, aged 29, of High Street, St Clears. He was jailed for eleven and a half years.

All the defendants had admitted, or been convicted of, conspiring to supply cocaine between November 2014 and November 2015.

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Five shouts in five days for Lifeboat crews at Angle

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ITS BEEN a really busy week for the crews at Angle with their first tasking to the 39 meter 300 tonne tall ship on Monday evening with engine failure and taking on water.

Crews then paged again in the early hours of Wednesday morning to a 11 meter sailing catamaran becalmed and low on fuel.

The training day Thursday was interrupted just after 12:30 PM with a tasking to a tender with three people on board that had upturned just off St Brides Haven.

Little & Broad Haven Lifeboat was also tasked along with Dale Coastguard.

Little and Broad Haven Lifeboat reached the three casualties and took them to shore where they were passed into the care of Dale Coastguard. Angle Lifeboat was stood down as it was passing through Jack’s Sound.

As the Lifeboat was returning from the shout another tasking request came through. A tanker had spotted an unmanned RIB approximately 10 miles SW of St Ann’s Head. Once on scene, after some investigation the RIB was believed to have come from a mooring and no people were missing. The Lifeboat towed the RIB back to Angle.

The Lifeboat was rehoused shortly after 4:00 PM

The 5th shout for Angle Lifeboat this week.

This was a large multi agency search.

The crew were paged at 09:35 AM to assist Tenby Lifeboats RNLI ALB and inshore Lifeboats to search for a missing person in the water following a report from a fisherman on rocks near Manorbier that he had lost sight of a person that had been rowing a dinghy toward shore and the occupant may be in the water. HM Coastguard Tenby had also been tasked to the search

The dinghy was handed over to Tenby inshore lifeboat crew after being picked up by a Range Safety boat who then brought it into the awaiting police at Manorbier Beach.

Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 187 from St Athan and St Govans Coastguard Rescue Team had now also joined in the search for the missing person.

After several hours searching a man approached police at Manorbier, stating he’d been on the vessel off Manorbier, had got into difficulty and ended up in the water.

With the casualty now safely ashore, all units were stood down at 12:27PM.

Angle Lifeboat then headed to Tenby Harbour to pick up some sustenance, a fizzy drink and a chocolate brownie, before heading back to Angle and rehousing at 2:31PM. The lifeboat was refuelled and given a well earned wash ready for the next tasking.

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A40 closed at Scleddau due to collision between car and motorbike

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EMERGENCY SERVICES have shut the A40 at in Scleddau due to a serious road collision.

The accident happened just before 2pm. The Herald understands that the collision involved a motorcycle and car at a junction near The Gate Inn public house.

Police said: “Emergency services are currently on scene and dealing with the incident. Please find an alternative route if possible. Update to follow.”

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Moley’s Ambassador March to support those who have lost a child

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ON SATURDAY (Jun 19), Andrew Cole (aka Moley) will set off on a 24 hour walk around Pembrokeshire with the aim of doing as many miles in as little time as possible. 

Moley is proud to have recently been made ambassador of the charity ‘2 Wish UponAa Star’ an organisation dedicated to supporting families that have lost a child under 25 years of age.

He will be setting off at 6am in the morning from Neyland and walking all day and night, finishing at 6am the following morning.

2 wish upon a star was set up by Rhian Mannings, who set up the charity after losing her own son.

By celebrating the lives of those lost, and offering support to families through their grief; Rhian and her team offer an essential service to the community and those families who have suffered the devastation of losing a loved one.

Appealing for support from the people of Pembrokeshire he said: “Please give generously to support the wonderful work of Rhian and her team. Also, if you happen to see me in the day, feel free to give me a beep of encouragement’

“If you would like to donate to Moley, and support the charity, you can visit his JustGiving page.”

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/moleycole

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