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Six jailed for trafficking cocaine and cannabis to Pembrokeshire



SIX people have been jailed for their parts in an organised crime gang (OCG) which trafficked large quantities of cocaine and cannabis into Pembrokeshire.

The OCG were caught under Op Rookley, a covert investigation by Dyfed-Powys Police’s Serious and Organised Crime Team, which dismantled the gang that was transporting both the Class A and Class B drugs between Dorset, Merseyside and Pembrokeshire over an 11-month period.

On Friday (Dec 2) at Swansea Crown Court, Leigh Smith, aged 44, of Owls Road, was sentenced to 3 years and 9 months; Shaun Lucas, aged 48, of Ty Cornel, Park Street, Fishguard, was sentenced to 9 years and 8 months; and Terence Harrison, aged 43, of Kings Road West, Swanage, was sentenced to 8 years 4 months.

All three had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs at an earlier hearing.
Earlier this month Ozan Kilicaslan, aged 30, of Ashley Road, Poole, was sentenced to 41 weeks in prison having pleaded guilty to money laundering and conspiracy to supply class B drugs.
Charlotte Doe, aged 32, of Halves Cottages, Corfe Castle, was sentenced to 13 months and Ryan Ager, aged 34, of Pilch Bank Road, Liverpool, was sentenced to 19 months, both having pleaded guilty to money laundering.

Leone James, aged 33, of Precelly Crescent, Stop and Call, Goodwick, will be sentenced on Friday, 16 December, having pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class B drugs.
An eighth person, Steven John Kerr, aged 35, of Tracks Lane, Billinge, near Wigan, was found not guilty of money laundering following trial.

Senior investigating officer DI Richard Lewis said: “This was a lengthy operation involving a number of departments across the force, who investigated intelligence, coordinated a series of warrants, interviewed the defendants and carried out detailed enquiries into their activity.
“Today’s sentencing culminates more than a year of police work, which saw the disruption of a major supply chain into Pembrokeshire and the dismantling of an organised crime gang, which was no doubt linked to illegal activity on a wider scale.”

The Goodwick-based gang was headed by Lucas, who sourced the drugs from Dorset-based Liverpudlian Harrison. Lucas was then responsible for the onward supply of the cocaine and cannabis in the Fishguard, wider Pembrokeshire areas.

Lucas utilised his partner James’ home address in Stop & Call, Goodwick, as a base to orchestrate the supply network and serve his numerous customers.
He also utilised this address to meet with couriers Kilicaslan and Smith who were responsible for the delivery of drugs, as well as those responsible for collecting the cash generated from the sale of the cocaine and cannabis.

As part of the disruption, police seized 244g of cocaine as it was being transported from Dorset to Pembrokeshire in October 2021. Despite this enforcement action, they continued their illicit activities and in December 2021 Kilicaslan was arrested on his return journey from Lucas’ home address.

His vehicle smelt strongly of cannabis and he tested positive for the presence of cocaine during a roadside drug swipe. Within his vehicle officers located £15,000 linked to Lucas.

Following this further disruption, the gang continued to traffic cocaine and cannabis into the Pembrokeshire area for the onward supply by Lucas and less than three weeks later, Smith delivered a large quantity of cocaine to Lucas at his home address.

In January 2022, Doe was arrested on her return journey to Dorset from Lucas’ home address. Officers located more than £26,700 in her vehicle in two bundles, which were later forensically linked to both Lucas and Harrison. The following day the gang continued their endeavour and Lucas travelled to Dorset to meet with Harrison.

In March 2022 a two-week arrest phase saw eight people arrested in the Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Dorset and Pembrokeshire areas.

Ryan Ager, who refused to engage with officers at the time, later handed himself in at a Merseyside police station. Eight of those people, including Ager, were charged with being involved in a conspiracy to supply cocaine. Harrison, Lucas and Smith were also later charged with being involved in a conspiracy to supply cannabis. All three admitted both offences.

Kilicaslan later admitted his part in the conspiracy to supply cannabis and his involvement in money laundering offences.

Doe and Ager admitted to their involvement in money laundering offences and James later admitted to her involvement in the supply of cannabis.

Pembrokeshire Commander Superintendent Anthony Evans: “As a force we are making it a priority to target the people who bring and sell drugs in our area, so we’re pleased to have secured this result.
“Further work will now be carried out in relation to a Proceeds of Crime Act investigation which is aimed at confiscating criminal assets gained through illegal activities.
“Operation Rookley has resulted in the disruption of the supply of drugs into Pembrokeshire and shows Dyfed-Powys is intent on preventing travelling criminals from entering the area.”

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County Hall to offer space for community banking



A CALL for Pembrokeshire County Council to potentially change its banking arrangement with Barclays, after it closed its Haverfordwest branch has been turned down, but County Hall is to offer space for community banking.

Barclays Bank, on the town’s High Street, is to close on May 10.

The council has had a banking services contract with Barclays since 2013.

Councillor Huw Murphy, in a notice of motion heard by Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet meeting of April 22, asked the council to review its banking arrangements with Barclays following the announced closure.

e said the loss of a branch “not only impacts upon town centres and businesses but also disproportionately impacts the elderly who are less likely to embrace on-line banking options”.

A report for Cabinet members said, in terms of the impact on Pembrokeshire residents, Barclays has said that it is “not leaving Haverfordwest and [will] continue to provide face-to-face support for those who need it” via community locations.

Two options were presented to Cabinet: to retender the banking services contract, and, the favoured, to work with Barclays to ensure a community location is set up in Haverfordwest.

Members heard the costs associated with moving to a new banking service provider could be in excess of £50,000.

For the second, favoured option, members heard Barclays was in discussions with the council about a location for potential community banking.

Cabinet Member for Corporate Finance Cllr Alec Cormack, after outlining the risks in the report for members, and moving the notice be not adopted, said he had “considerable sympathy” with Cllr Murphy’s notice.

He told councillors there was a glimmer of light for banking arrangements in the county, with an agreement now signed for two ground floor rooms at County Hall, Haverfordwest, to be used for community banking.

From April 25, the rooms will be available on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, members heard.

Cabinet Member for Planning & Housing Delivery Cllr Jon Harvey also said he had “a lot of sympathy” for the motion, adding: “It’s excellent news a deal has been struck to occupy the ground floor rooms three days a week; hopefully this will mitigate, to a certain amount, the closure.

“If we can work with the respective banks to get a community-type approach let’s move forward.”

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Haverfordwest interchange: Next stage of £19m project backed



The second stage of building Haverfordwest’s near-£19m transport interchange has been backed, with senior councillors hearing it could cost the council more to not support it.

The transport interchange, which includes an integrated bus station and construction of a new multi-storey car park, is part of a wider series of regeneration projects in the county town.

The total cost of the scheme in the approved budget is £18.881m, £1.987m from Pembrokeshire County Council; the remainder, £16.894m, from an already-awarded Welsh Government grant.

To date, £3.425m has been spent on advanced works, including the demolition of the old multi-storey car park and a temporary bus station.

Members of Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet, meeting on April 22, were recommended to approve the award of the Stage 2 construction contract for the Haverfordwest Transport Interchange.

The report for members listed two simple options for Cabinet, to authorise the award of a contract, recommended, or to not.

For the latter it warned: “It is envisaged Welsh Government will withdraw the funding awarded and the council would need to repay grants received to date; £10.322m has been received to date of which £3.376m has been offset against expenditure.”

It added: “Cost to cease this project could cost PCC more in terms of grant repayment and any capital work required to make good. PCC match contribution for the project is forecast as £1.987m of the £18.881m.”

Planning permission for the interchange was granted in 2022, with a temporary bus station constructed that year and the old multi-storey building demolished in 2023.

That year, members of the county council’s Cabinet agreed a temporary car park will be sited on the demolished remains of the old multi-storey car park until the Haverfordwest Public Transport Interchange – delayed as no compliant tender had been found at the time – is built.

Speaking at the meeting, Deputy Leader Cllr Paul Miller said: “The interchange is an important part of the regeneration of Haverfordwest, it will not regenerate Haverfordwest on its own, it is part of a wider process. The alternative to us being engaged is we simply allow it to decline and fail.”

He said the interchange was about “making it easier to visit Haverfordwest,” making parking provision “really straightforward, making it easy and convenient as possible”.

Cllr Miller said not progressing with the scheme would risk the grants already obtained, meaning the council could potentially foot the bill for costs to date, at a greater level than progressing.

He said the cost options were a near-£2m subsidised council involvement for the whole scheme or the £3m-plus spent to date if the scheme was ended, which would leave the car park as it is now.

“It’s pretty reasonable that if they give us the money and we don’t build a transport interchange they’ll be looking for that money back,” Cllr Miller said.

He said previous figures from parking revenue – back in 2019 – amounted to £100,000 a year; and could be expected to at least double on a “like-for-like” basis following the increase in parking charges.

Members, after a private and confidential session over the actual contract details, agreed to proceed with the scheme, awarding the contract to Kier Construction Western and Wales.

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RNLI prepare for summer with medical training exercise in Pembrokeshire



RNLI lifeguards from the north Pembrokeshire team, volunteers from St Davids RNLI and St Davids Coastguard Rescue Team came together at Whitesands beach on Thursday (18 April), for a multi-agency medical training exercise. Pembrokeshire RNLI lifeguards and St Davids volunteer lifeboat crew took part in a multi-agency medical training exercise alongside St Davids Coastguard Rescue Team in preparation for the upcoming summer season.

The Coastal Medicine programme was set up six years ago at the suggestion of clinicians from Hywel Dda University Health Board. The aim of the programme is train lifeguards, lifeboat crews and HM Coastguard teams in working collaboratively when responding to medical incidents on the coast.

Clinicians from Hywel Dda work with RNLI staff to design exercises simulating mass-casualty incidents on land and afloat. The exercises allow lifeguards, lifeboat crews and Coastguard teams to practise and test their rescue response and casualty care.

The simulated incident at Whitesands involved a medical incident at sea leading to a boat going out of control and ploughing through a group of swimmers causing multiple injuries. RNLI lifeguards responded to casualties on the beach while St Davids inshore and all-weather lifeboat crews dealt with the situation at sea. St Davids Coastguard Rescue supported RNLI colleagues as they would in a real-life scenario.

In total there were six casualties to treat, all of whom were given the immediate medical care by the teams on scene. As in a real-life scenario, they were then prepared to be handed over to the care of the Ambulance Service.

Roger Smith, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager said: ‘The scenario was based on a real-life incident, it’s so important that we train in dealing with challenging situations.

‘The RNLI lifeguards, lifeboat crew, and the Coastguard rescue team worked really well together collaborating together to achieve the best possible result.

‘The feedback from all the participants was really positive, and our medical colleagues were very complimentary about the competence shown and the inter-agency co-operation.

‘This scenario training gives confidence to our lifeguards and lifeboat crews, and ensures the teamwork and communication is already in place ready for real-life incidents.’

Martin Charlton, an RNLI lifeguard in north Pembrokeshire said:

‘Last night’s exercise was a great opportunity for me and my colleagues on the lifeguard team to upskill ahead of the summer season.

‘We regularly attend incidents in the season that require a multi-agency response. These scenarios are a brilliant opportunity to prepare for the the most challenging situations.

‘The team and I thoroughly enjoyed the exercise and feel better prepared for the season as a result.

‘It’s always a pleasure working alongside the Coastguard rescue team and the lifeboat as one crew.’

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