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Crime

20 months for woman who kept drugs hidden in a hedge

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A NORTH Pembrokeshire woman would make trips to get drugs hidden in a hedge adjoining her property, and from a blue Jewson’s bag in her front garden, as part of a UK-wide drug running operation, Swansea Crown Court heard.

Leonie James, 33, admitted being involved in conspiracy to supply cannabis as part of the Pembrokeshire- Dorset drugs ring busted earlier this year during Operation Rookley.

The court heard on Friday (Dec 16) that James’ home in Precelly Crescent, Goodwick was put under police surveillance between July last year and January 2022.

Officers witnessed drugs being delivered by couriers to the home that James shared with ringleader Shaun Lucas. The court heard that James was present at the home ‘on many occasions when such supplies were taking place’.

The drugs were then stashed outside the house, in the front garden and in a hedge adjoining a neighbouring property.

James was seen making frequent trips from the house to these stashes with these trips coinciding with visitors coming to the house to buy drugs.

The court was then given details of occasions in September last year when James had either gone to the hedge of the Jewson’s bag within minutes of a visitor arriving at the house.

“The defendant was taking drugs from the stash and being concerned in the supply to other persons,” said Jim Davies, prosecuting, saying that she had acted as Lucas’ ‘assistant’.

James had also travelled to Merseyside with Lucas in February of this year on what was described as a ‘drugs related trip’.

Mr Davies stated that the known amount of cannabis involved was in the region of 40 kilogrammes.

Police had also seized £26,000 and £15,000 from two separate couriers involved in the operation.

James was arrested on March 14 this year and gave a no comment interview before pleading not guilty to conspiracy to supply both cannabis and cocaine.

On November 24 this year James changed her plea on the cannabis charge to guilty. The crown then offered no evidence on the cocaine charge and a formal not guilty verdict was recorded.

In James’ defence it was said that she had already spent nearly five months in custody and two months with an electronic curfew.

A probation report said that there was a significant prospect of rehabilitation and a low prospect of reoffending. She had one previous conviction for driving while under the influence of cannabis and an unrelated caution going back to 2012.

“She has her own difficulties and health problems that she is battling with,” said her barrister, adding that she was a mum of four young children.

He maintained that she had a ‘lesser role and a relatively limited function under the direction of those running the operation’ and that there was a ‘degree of naivety on her part’.

“It wouldn’t be right to say that there was no influence from those above in the chain, she was in a relationship with one of them,” he said.

Judge Her Honour Catherine Richards KC said that she would not send James back to prison as ‘it would be unjust on you and those who depend on you’.

“You supported your partner in his enterprise,” she told James. “There is no evidence of an operational or controlling role. You helped supply customers and allowed drugs to be stored on your premises and handled cash when needed.

“You have spent a considerable time in prison already and time on curfew.”

Judge Richards handed down a 20-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months with a 25 day rehabilitation requirement.

Crime

Welsh Snooker star Michael White jailed for assaulting partner

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A WELSH snooker star has been jailed after assaulting his then-partner. Michael White, 33, of Penshannel, Neath Abbey, assaulted the woman, causing actual bodily harm, on two separate occasions. The first incident occurred on February 12, 2022, and the second on December 10, 2022.

White pleaded guilty to the charges. A further charge of intentional strangulation on December 10 was directed to lie on file. White, whose snooker world ranking peaked at 15 in 2016, was sentenced at Swansea Crown Court on Thursday, July 11, 2024.

He received a total jail term of 36 months – 19 months for the first incident and a consecutive 17 months for the second. The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association has announced that White has been removed from the world ranking list and the World Snooker Tour with immediate effect.

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Crime

Man admits to threatening woman with deactivated firearms

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A WHITLAND man has admitted to threatening a woman with deactivated copies of an AK-47 and an M16 assault rifle.

Craig Woodworth, 39, appeared at Swansea Crown Court charged with two offences. It was alleged that Woodworth, previously of St David’s Avenue, threatened a woman with a deactivated copy of a Kalashnikov AK-47 semi-automatic assault rifle and a deactivated M16-A1 semi-automatic assault rifle in Carmarthen on February 18 last year.

The prosecution alleged that Woodworth’s behaviour caused the woman to believe unlawful violence would be used against her.

He was also charged with sending communications conveying a threatening message, relating to a video, on that same date. Woodworth, now of Tarvin Road in Chester, pleaded guilty to using the firearms to make the threats but denied sending a threatening message.

Prosecutor Dean Pulling said these pleas were acceptable, as the threatening message “was the mechanism of the threat” in the charge Woodworth had admitted.

“The defendant is realistic about his position,” said defence counsel David Singh.

Judge Geraint Walters ordered a pre-sentence report to be prepared. “This case plainly passes the custody threshold,” Judge Walters said.

The defendant was granted bail and will return to court on August 7.

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Crime

Crime Commissioner Llywelyn launches of public consultation

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Dafydd Llywelyn has formally announced the launch of a public consultation for his updated Police and Crime Plan for 2025-2029. This consultation seeks to engage the community in shaping the future of local policing, reaffirming his commitment to creating safer communities and enhancing public trust in the police and criminal justice system across Mid and West Wales. 

One of the key roles of a Police and Crime Commissioner is to produce a Police and Crime Plan which sets out the direction for policing for the next four years. This is a legal document that the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) must produce under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011. The Police and Crime Plan is a blueprint for local policing, developed through extensive public consultation, research, and assessments of local needs and resources. 

“Our communities’ safety and trust in our policing are paramount,” commented PCC Llywelyn. “This consultation is a crucial step in developing our updated Police and Crime Plan. By listening to the voices of our community through surveys and focus groups, we ensure that our strategy aligns with their needs and concerns. 

“My overarching vision for the next four years is to improve public trust and confidence in the policing service, making Dyfed-Powys a safe place to live, learn, work, and travel. To achieve this, I would like to focus on three key areas: supporting safer communities and preventing harm, supporting victims, and preventing victimisation, and delivering justice. 

“Every action taken by the police and justice services is geared towards providing the best support for victims. Preventing harm and addressing issues at their root is crucial. Through effective collaboration with public sector partners and leveraging specialised knowledge from our commissioned services, we aim to deliver a justice system that truly serves and protects the public. 

“Victims’ needs must be central to all our efforts and Your feedback is vital in shaping our policing priorities. By participating in the Police and Crime Plan Consultation, you have the opportunity to influence critical policing decisions, ensuring that Dyfed-Powys Police can continue to safeguard its communities with the highest standard of service available. 

“I am honoured to continue serving as your Police and Crime Commissioner. Together, we will build a safer, more resilient Dyfed-Powys.” 

The survey and its results will guide the PCC in identifying priority areas and proposing actions to address them in his Police and Crime Plan. To complete the survey, visit:

https://forms.office.com/e/JdTZThwawF?origin=lprLink
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