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Crime

Pembroke councillor meets chief constable to discuss policing strategies

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A Pembroke councillor who had previously raised concerns about crime and antisocial behaviour in the town has recently met with the chief constable to discuss policing.

Concerns at the level of policing in Pembroke were raised by local county councillor, and town councillor, Jonathan Grimes at the February meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council’s licensing sub-committee.

During that meeting to discuss a licensing application, and hearing there had been no objections by statutory consultees like the police, Cllr Grimes said: “To be honest I’m not surprised, the police presence is woefully inadequate, antisocial behaviour is on the rise, drug-taking is on the rise, and the police response is woefully inadequate at the moment; it’s unusual to see police patrols after 10pm because most of the police patrols are carried out by PCSOs and PCSOs normally finish at 10pm.”

Cllr Grimes had raised memories of a “mass brawl” at the town’s annual fair last year, the police presence at which he has previously described as “underwhelming”.

“We had an incident last October at the Michaelmas Fair where there were no police available to deal with an antisocial incident, a fight.

“Policing is woefully inadequate in Pembroke at the moment.”

Since then, Cllr Grimes had arranged a meeting with Dyfed-Powys Police Chief Constable Dr Richard Lewis.

Cllr Grimes said: “I had invited the chief constable to visit Monkton in particular, as a result of previous meetings held with Monkton Priory School, Pembrokeshire County Council Housing Services and members of the local community with concerns over safety in our community.

“The level of anti-social behaviour, crime and drug abuse in our town is getting worse and I wanted Richard, as head of Dyfed-Powys Police, to meet with people living and working in our community to listen to them and to see how policing can be improved.

“We had the opportunity to meet with the headmaster of the school, Dylan Lawrence, who told the chief constable of the pressures children were facing as a result of anti-social behaviour in the community.

“We also met with Danny Nash from PCC who explained the problems being faced by the housing department as a result antisocial behaviour and how it impacted on tenants.

“Finally, we were joined by Lyn and James from Pembroke Street Pastors who were able to give the chief constable their unique perspective on the problems facing our community and young people in particular.

“I would like to thank the chief constable for taking the time to visit Pembroke, listening to our concerns and for promising to go away to discuss the issues covered with his officers.

“We will continue to work with the Pembroke Dock and Pembroke Police to find a more effective way of policing our community – to make it a safer and more pleasant place to live.”

Responding to Cllr Grimes’ previous concerns, Dyfed-Powys Police Divisional Commander for Pembrokeshire Craig Templeton said: “Whilst I do not agree with Cllr Grimes’ comments regarding policing within Pembroke, or the lack of officers to attend a previous incident last October, I am always ready to listen to concerns raised from within our communities about any policing issue.

“Pembrokeshire is one of the safest places to live, work and visit in the UK and there are many hardworking officers and staff ensuring that this is the case.”

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Crime

Fraudster ordered to repay just £16,700 after victims lost £620,000

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A MAN described by a judge as the most “fundamentally dishonest” individual he had ever encountered has been ordered to repay only £16,700 after defrauding his victims of more than £620,000.

Darryl Evans, aged 62, was sentenced to eight years in prison in January after being convicted of 26 charges of fraud and one charge of theft. The convictions followed an almost three-week trial in December, during which the jury deliberated for less than three hours before returning guilty verdicts on all 27 charges.

Evans, of Green Court Crescent in Tenby, deceived his victims into handing over large sums of money between 2013 and 2020. Described by one victim as operating a “Ponzi scheme,” Evans persuaded friends and acquaintances to invest substantial amounts, claiming he would place their funds in lucrative schemes. In reality, Evans was unemployed and using the money to finance his own lifestyle.

The theft charge stemmed from Evans appointing himself as the executor of a will and transferring money into his personal account, where it swiftly vanished.

Sentencing Evans, Judge Paul Thomas KC remarked: “In over 40 years in these criminal courts, I do not remember ever dealing with someone as fundamentally dishonest as you. Over several years, you cynically, ruthlessly, and dishonestly took in excess of half a million pounds. Many of these people considered you to be their friend. You knew many of them could not afford to lose the money you were taking from them.”

Evans recently returned to Swansea Crown Court for a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing, where prosecutor Robin Rouch revealed that Evans had benefitted to the sum of £629,926.17 from his offences. However, only £16,736.11 of Evans’ assets could be seized to repay his victims.

Mr Rouch explained that the available money had been deposited in a Co-op bank account set up by Evans and could be directly traced to the estate of the person for whom he had acted as an executor. Unfortunately, none of the other victims’ money could be traced to this account.

Judge Thomas inquired if Evans owned any property that could be sold to compensate the other victims. Mr Rouch responded that extensive enquiries had been made, but nothing of value was found.

Judge Thomas ruled that the available funds would be split between the two beneficiaries of the estate. He emphasised, “The money will be paid. There’s nothing you can do to either facilitate it or thwart it. The money will be taken from your account. It will be done without your involvement.” He added, “It’s unfortunate for other investors who have lost rather more.”

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Crime

Dock woman sentenced for jumping on police officer

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A COURT has heard how a serving police officer was jumped on by a 50-year-old Dock woman, resulting in what medics believe was concussion.

PC Taran Brace was escorting Karen Rees into a police van following a street altercation in Pembroke Dock on July 27, 2023.

“The defendant was placed in handcuffs and as the officers were trying to put her in the van, she jumped backwards, into the left side of his face,” Crown Prosecutor Abigail Jackson told Haverfordwest magistrates this week.

“As a result, the officer was taken to Withybush suffering from a bad headache.  His face was very red and swollen around the eye and doctors believed he’d suffered a concussion.”

Video footage of the altercation was shown to the court, during which Rees sat  in the dock with her head bowed.

Rees, of Kavanah Court, Pembroke Dock, pleaded guilty to assaulting PC Brace causing him actual bodily harm.  She was legally represented by Tom Lloyd.

“She’d been drinking that day, she went out for a walk but youths in the street started shouting at her,” he said.  “That upset her, so she too, started shouting.”

Mr Lloyd said that Rees was unable to remember what happened inside the police van.

“But her head went back and made contact with the police officer,” he said.

Rees was sentenced to a 12-month Community Order, during which she must carry out 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days.  She was fined £120 and ordered to pay a £114 surcharge and £85 costs.  She was also ordered to pay £200 compensation to PC Brace.

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Crime

Drink-driver ‘crying out for support’, court hears

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A WOMAN described by her solicitor as having ‘reached rock bottom’ has appeared before magistrates after driving through Haverfordwest when she was more than three times over the drink-drive limit.

“This is a lady who’s crying out for support,” said Donna Owen’s solicitor, Mr David James, when she appeared before Haverfordwest magistrates this week.

“My client has had an alcohol problem over a lengthy period of time and is harming herself by her excessive drinking.”

Owen, 39, of Portfield Avenue, Haverfordwest was stopped by officers as she drove her Vauxhall Corsa along the A406 at Johnston just before midnight on May 15.

“Police were aware that she was acting suspiciously as she’d applied her brakes harshly when she realised there was a police car behind her,” explained Crown Prosecutor Abigail Jackson. 

 “When the officers spoke to her, she appeared to be upset and admitted that she’d been drinking earlier that day.”

Subsequent breathalyser tests revealed that Donna Owen had 124 mcg of alcohol in her system.  The legal threshold limit is 35.

Her solicitor, David James, said his client drinks up to two bottles of strong wine, each with an alcohol content of between 14% and 14.5%, on a daily basis.  Mr James explained that her drinking stems from a series of abusive relationships as well as being prevented from seeing her young children by her former partner.

“This is causing her to drink every day, and in so many ways, my client has reached rock bottom,” he said.  “She is crying out for support.”

Mr James’ mitigation was endorsed by probation officer Julie Norman who had been asked to comment on the case as a result of Donna Owen’s high alcohol reading.

Magistrates were told that Owen was disqualified from driving in 2016 for a previous drink-driving charge; as a result, her sentencing this week crossed the custody threshold.

“She seriously needs support with her alcohol and her emotional welfare issues,” said Ms Norman.  “I’m confident that the probation service can assist her and there are some realistic prospects of her rehabilitation.”

Owen was sentenced to a 12 month community order during which she must carry out 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days.  These will include working with the Dyfed Drugs and Alcohol Service and any other agency identified by the probation service.  She was disqualified from driving for three years.

She was fined £120 and must also pay a £114 court surcharge and £85 costs.

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