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Crime

Four figure fine for illegal Pembrokeshire vape trader

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A COURT has heard how a Pembrokeshire vape trader ‘has lost trust in his suppliers’ after receiving a batch of e-cigarettes that contained nearly three times the legal nicotine limit.

A council trading standard officer visited Vapes Allsorts in Pembroke, on the morning of June 14, 2023, following reports that the business had been selling non-compliant vapes.

He requested an Elux Firerose Ex4500 vape and was served by Terence Miller who was responsible for running and managing the store which is situated in Main Street. But upon leaving the store, the officer discovered the vape fell foul of the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations, 2016.

The vape was found to contain:

  • Nearly three times the legal nicotine concentration;
  • Over three times the legal e-liquid permitted in such a vape and
  • Over 3.5 times the legal tank capacity.

This week solicitor Jill Davies, prosecuting on behalf of Pembrokeshire County Council, informed Haverfordwest magistrates that immediately after the test purchase, two more local authority officers visited Vapes Allsorts.

“They informed Terence Miller that the purchase had taken place, and he initially denied selling it, claiming it hadn’t come from there.”

Ms Davies went on to say that 39 identical vapes were subsequently removed from his shop by local authority officers and were found to carry the exact illegal quantities of e-liquid, nicotine and tank capacities.

“The defendant now accepts that he made an error of judgement and has told us that he informed his supplier the following day that his invoice was incorrect, however copies of this aren’t available,” she said.

Miller, of Main Street, Pembroke, pleaded guilty to producing or supplying an electronic cigarette that did not comply with product requirements; producing or supplying an electronic cigarette that failed to include contact details of the producer; producing or supplying an electronic cigarette that failed to include a leaflet with information concerning its nicotine content and of engaging in unfair commercial practice.

Choosing to represent himself before magistrates, Miller told the court that his decision to stock the Elux vape was the result of his successful 12-year career in the vape industry.

“Elux is a quality product,” he said.

“I requested 20 units of five different flavours and they arrived factory sealed in plastic. The box was unpacked and the stock was either shelved for sale or stored for a later date. I chose three flavours for my personal use, and I’m 100 percent positive that those had no nicotine in them as the white space at the bottom read ‘zero nicotine’.

“I replenished the stock on Monday morning, which included the remaining 50 vapes. But unbeknown to me, they were illicit.

“I pride myself on selling quality vaping products and I put a lot of trust in my suppliers. But in this instance, it’s tarnished what was a good, professional relationship.

“I’ve worked too hard for too many years to throw it all away by selling products that are outside the regulations. It’s just not in me to do that, but all I can do is apologise profusely. This has been a hard and bitter pill to swallow.”

After considering his mitigation, magistrates ordered Terence MIller to pay £1,000 costs to Pembrokeshire County Council. He was fined £918 and ordered to pay a £367.20 court surcharge. A forfeiture and destruction order was imposed on the 40 illegal vapes which were removed from Vapes Allsorts by Pembrokeshire County Council during their investigation.

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Crime

Dock newsagent worker ‘had sexual images of children as young as four’

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A FORMER employee of a local newsagent in Pembroke Dock has been brought before the court, facing severe allegations involving the possession of indecent images of children and engaging in inappropriate conversations with a minor. Daniel Byrne-Crowley, 28, vehemently denies the accusations levelled against him, which include three counts of making indecent images of children and one count of sexual communication with a child.

Prosecutors allege that Byrne-Crowley possessed images depicting children as young as four being sexually abused. Among the evidence presented, one image was categorised as Category A, the most severe, alongside 11 Category B images and 10 Category C images. The disturbing content is said to have been accumulated between August 2012 and September 2020, with the defendant also accused of engaging in sexually explicit conversations with a 10-year-old during a period stretching from June 2019 to September 2020.

The court heard from Prosecutor Helen Randall that a raid on Byrne-Crowley’s residence on Bush Street in Pembroke Dock on 28 October 2020 led to the seizure of two mobile phones, a MacBook computer, and an iPad. Examination of these devices revealed 23 child abuse images, one of which was inaccessible. Disturbingly, the images included scenes of a boy aged between four and six being sexually abused by an adult, and a video of three naked boys, aged between 10 and 14, in sexually explicit acts.

Further investigations uncovered conversations that Byrne-Crowley had with other adults discussing indecent images, masturbation, and oral sex. Randall highlighted one particularly alarming admission by Byrne-Crowley where he recounted working at a children’s summer camp in America, observing children naked and teaching them to masturbate.

During police interviews, Byrne-Crowley claimed ignorance of how the images appeared on his devices but admitted to conversing with the child, seeing no wrongdoing in his actions. The prosecution argues that Byrne-Crowley deliberately sought out these images, with Randall stating, “The prosecution say it could only be him and it is obvious from his conversations with others that it was him.” The trial continues.

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Crime

‘High risk’ offender discovered by police in Pembrokeshire

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A ‘HIGH RISK’ offender who failed to attend probation appointments in Cardiff following his release from prison has been discovered by police officers in Pembrokeshire.

Curtis Card was released from custody earlier this month following a 37-week custodial sentence imposed by the courts in August 2023 after he was convicted of spitting into a paramedic’s face in Cwmbran.

“He was being supervised by my colleagues in Cathays, Cardiff, but he hasn’t been keeping his appointments,” probation officer Julie Norman informed Haverfordwest magistrates this week.

“His whereabouts were unknown, so an arrest warrant was issued.

“The defendant is high risk but he’s been based here in Pembrokeshire.”

Card pleaded guilty to a charge of breaching his post sentence supervision order.  He was legally represented in court by Mr Liam Francis.

“He’s being extremely realistic about today’s hearing,” he said.

“He had attended his appointments when he was first released but there were issues with his accommodation, the lay-out of the address and the people who were living with him in the shared accommodation.

“He has had previous issues with drugs, and he didn’t feel it was appropriate for him to be living there as it was having a toll on his mental health.

“This is why he’s been in the Pembrokeshire area, but he knows that he has to comply with probation.”

Card was sentenced to seven days in custody.

“He hopes to use those seven days to reset himself, which will result in a different outcome when he is released,” added Mr Francis.

Card was ordered to pay £60 court costs.

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Crime

Ironman outing leads to ‘moment of madness’, court hears

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A TENBY Ironman outing had dire consequences for a Llanteg resident after he threw a full can of alcohol at his ex-partner’s back.

Kevin Lewis, 44, experienced what his solicitor this week described as ‘a moment of madness’ when his ex-partner stated she was going to spend the evening with her new partner.

“My client accepts that his actions were totally unacceptable,” solicitor Liam Francis told Haverfordwest magistrates this week.

“It was a moment of madness with the realisation that their relationship had truly come to an end.  He’d drunk too much alcohol and things got out of control.”

 The incident took place on Sunday, September 3, when Lewis and his ex-partner Samanatha Smith took their seven-year old child to the Ironman event in Tenby in an effort to retain what the probation service described as ‘a civil relationship’ for their child.

“They’d a room booked at thePremier Inn but their plans changed,” outlined Crown Prosecutor, Abigail Jackson.

“The complainant called her new partner and then walked up to the defendant and told him that she was going to stay with him [the new partner].

“She turned around and then she felt a can of alcohol hit her in the back.”

“My back was soaking,” stated Samantha Smith in a victim impact statement read out to the court.

“He then called me a s*** mum, a bitch and a c***.  I tried to persuade our daughter to come with me but he pushed me into the road.

“This has made me feel like a piece of s***.  It downgraded me and embarrassed me and this is not a good role model for our daughter to witness.”

Meanwhile the probation report stated that Lewis had consumed between nine and ten cans of alcohol during the day.

“He felt frustrated at the sudden change of plans, when his ex-partner said she was going to stay with her new partner,” commented the probation officer.  “He felt this was rubbing his nose in things, and making a mockery of it.

“He’s remorseful of his actions and is aware of the distress it’s caused his ex-partner and his daughter.”

This was endorsed by Lewis’ solicitor, Liam Francis.

“He drank too much alcohol and things got out of control but he now wants to put this incident behind him.”

Lewis, of Brookview, Llanteg, pleaded guilty to a charge of assault by beating.

He was sentenced to a 12-month community order during which he must carry out 20 rehabilitation requirement days.  He was also ordered to pay a total of £545.

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