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Crime

Criminal offered money for someone to set fire to a car and house for him

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A WEST Wales man who offered hundreds of pounds for arson to be committed on his behalf has been jailed for 11 years, and handed a 20-year restraining order to protect the victim.

Michael Arundel, of Tycroes, Carmarthenshire, was found to have used the Telegram app to send messages to an audience of over 1,000 people asking for a car and house to be set on fire in February and April of this year.

When he was arrested by Dyfed-Powys Police, he was in possession of cocaine worth up to £62,500.

The 34-year-old of Mynyddbach was brought to police attention following a car fire on his street on February 28, 2024.

Witnesses reported seeing a man throw something at the black Audi before it ‘immediately exploded’ and the suspect ran away. When the owner of the car followed him, he recognised the suspect as being linked to Arundel.

It was later discovered that Arundel had sent messages inciting arson using the Telegram app. On examining his phone, police found the following messages from February 28:

  • 7.07pm: ‘Anyone looking to make money? Car set on fire in Ammanford. Don’t waste my time I want it asap.’
  • 7.09pm: ‘1st person come set the Audi outside on fire I’ll personally come give you £200 cash.’
  • 7.10pm: ‘If you’re not available tonight don’t stress. I’ll pay you £200 tomorrow night to do the house windows. I don’t f*** about and I don’t do things by half.’

He then threatened that if someone accepted the offer but didn’t commit the crime, he would ‘focus his attention’ on their house, before increasing his payment to £300.

As a result of this incident, police began to monitor the Telegram app, with their attention drawn to similar messages posted on April 26.

  • 7.02pm: ‘Need a house set on fire. Cash ready … Tycroes area. Nice amount of cash for this job.’
  • 7.03pm: photos of money bags
  • 8.16pm: ‘Cash was paid … that last job is sorted. Watch what happens tonight (two laughing emojis)
  • 8.17pm a series of emojis depicting three houses, three fires, three cars and three fires

Due to the high risk of the threats, Dyfed-Powys Police deployed two double crewed vehicles to the area.

A further message was sent in response to the police presence:

  • 8.23pm: Feds all over the place (two laughing emojis). Those police vans won’t stay there all night … soon as they’re gone it will happen mark my words! If they do wait all night … it will happen tomorrow. You can’t delay the inevitable!! It’s happening 100%

Despite Arundel’s confidence, the attack was prevented by a prompt police response and the heightened presence of officers in the area.

Three days later, police on patrol in Llanelli spotted Arundel and knowing he was wanted for questioning, pulled up next to him in their car. Realising they were officers, Arundel made off down Marble Hall Road, refusing to stop when requested.

As he was running, he tried to take a plastic bag out of his pocket with the intention of discarding it, and subsequently fell over. The officers caught up with Arundel and managed to restrain him.

They retrieved the plastic bag which contained a white rock, later established to be a half kilo block of cocaine with a street value of up to £62,500, and also found a digital weighing scale in Arundel’s pocket.

He was arrested on suspicion of possessing a class A drug with intent to supply and conspiracy to commit arson.

It was discovered Arundel had booked into a hotel in Llanelli, where a phone was seized. Officers searched his home, seizing two phones, as well as his business address where they seized a phone, laptop, police issue fleece and hi-vis vest, weighing scales and a clear bag with traces of white powder. Herbal cannabis and an air rifle were also confiscated from a garage.

Further enquiries into the Telegram account being used by Arundel found evidence of cocaine, cannabis, ketamine and MDMA being offered for supply between August 2023 and April 2024.

He was ultimately charged with five counts of supplying class A drugs, and two counts of encouraging the commission of arson in the Ammanford area, pleading guilty to all charges thanks to the strength of police evidence against him.

On Friday, July 5 Arundel appeared at Swansea Crown Court, where he was sentenced to a total of 11 years in prison. He was also handed a 20-year restraining order to protect the arson victim.

Detective Chief Inspector Rich Lewis said: “We are really pleased with the sentence handed to Arundel today. This has been an in-depth investigation with unusual circumstances in that the defendant was encouraging others to commit crimes on his behalf.

“The strength of evidence gathered was so strong that Arundel admitted all seven crimes, when clearly he had thought he could get away with offending if someone else committed the arson attack.

“These incidents could have had serious consequences, and it is very fortunate nobody was hurt by Arundel’s reckless behaviour.”

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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