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Police and Crime

Newly trained dogs heading for prison wings to sniff out illegal drugs

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The new pack adds to the 630 dogs already in place across the estate which have proven to be crucial in the battle to keep illegal drugs, phones and tobacco out of our prisons.

In the past year alone more than 2,000 illegal items, including over 100 kilograms of drugs such as heroin, cannabis and spice, have been stopped from getting onto the wings by drug dogs currently in post. The new dogs are expected to aid this work even further.

Over 50 prisons, including Swansea and Cardiff are set to receive their new additions by March next year – with Bedford, Lewes, Norwich, Rochester and The Mount among the first in line. Each dog will be paired with their own dedicated handler, specially trained in detecting contraband items and further boosting the frontline.

– 176 new drug-dogs trained to stop illegal items entering the most challenging prisons

– 1000s of items, including sim cards and spice, diverted by dogs each year

– part of the government’s £100 million package to bolster security in prisons

Prisons and Probation Minister, Lucy Frazer, said: “The smuggling of contraband into prisons puts hardworking staff at risk and undermines attempts to rehabilitate offenders.

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“These dogs and their handlers will make prisons safer, more secure and ultimately better environments for rehabilitation.”

Training for the latest cohort is currently underway, with the dogs having to complete multiple courses and assessments before being posted to the frontline. Their handlers, who are trained prison officers, will also have vigorous training and be re-assessed with the dogs yearly.

Prison sniffer dogs and handlers (Picture: G4S)

Drug dog handler, Nick Hayes who is based at The Mount, said: “Drugs dogs are a great proactive tactic to address the conveyance of illicit items into our prisons.

“They are a force for good and such a powerful tool which can be used to keep all of us who live and work across the estate safe.”

The dogs and handlers are being funded by the government’s £2.75 billion commitment to transform the prison estate. This includes:

  • £100 million to bolster prison security, clamping down on contraband such as drugs, weapons, and mobile phones that fuel violence, self-harm and crime behind bars
  • £2.5 billion to provide 10,000 additional prison places and create modern, efficient jails that rehabilitate offenders, reduce reoffending and keep the public safe
  • £156 million to tackle the most pressing maintenance issues to create safe and decent conditions for offender rehabilitation.

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Port Talbot

Police launch appeal to find missing disabled woman

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South Wales Police have launched an appeal to find missing Waunarlwydd woman, Kelly Randell.

45 year-old Kelly was last seen in Port Talbot on Tuesday 3 May.

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A wheelchair user with one leg, Kelly is described as being around 5ft of medium build with brown hair which is tied up – possibly in a bun.

She was last seen wearing black jeans and a black coat.

She has links to both Swansea and Port Talbot.

South Wales Police are appealing for anyone who may have seen Kelly, or who has information which will help them to find her, to contact them online or by calling 101 quoting occurrence number 2200149152.

(Lead image: Family photo / South Wales Police)

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Ammanford

Man who filmed rape on Ammanford victim’s phone changes plea mid trial

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A man who filmed himself raping an Ammanford woman on his victim’s phone has changed his plea to guilty midway through his trial.

Cameron Hassan, aged 31, of no fixed abode, attacked the woman, raping her as she slept on 21 August 2021.

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Hassan had been on trial at Swansea Crown Court after denying any wrongdoing. However, after the jury was shown the video of the attack and hearing the victim was going to give evidence yesterday (Tuesday, 10 May), Hassan changed his plea to guilty.

Investigating Officer DC Sophie Lambert from Dyfed Powys Police said the victim had shown great strength and determination throughout the investigation.

“I must commend her tremendous courage in coming forward and the tenacity shown throughout the investigation,” she said.

“We hope this case demonstrates that Dyfed-Powys Police acts on serious allegations such as rape and sexual assault with officers working tirelessly to secure justice for victims.

“If you are suffering because of similar abuse, please contact the police, or if you would rather speak to someone in confidence, New Pathways are an independent charity that will support you through every step of the investigation.”

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New Pathways can be contacted at 01685 379 310 or email enquiries@newpathways.org.uk

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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Dyfed Powys Police

Man banned from driving for 12 months for fishing offence

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A man from Merthyr Tydfil who travelled to the River Loughor, near Llanelli to fish using a barbaric and illegal method, has been banned from driving for 12 months as part of his sentence.

Vu Quang Tien pleaded guilty to an illegal fishing charge and also to a charge of obstruction of a Natural Resources Wales (NRW) Fisheries Enforcement Officer on 26 April at Swansea Magistrates Court.

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Mr Tien and two other anglers were witnessed by NRW Fisheries Enforcement Officers deliberately using the illegal foul hooking method of fishing – also known as snatching – at the river Loughor on 15 August 2021. NRW officers attended the site after several reports of illegal fishing were made to NRW’s 24/7 incident call centre by concerned members of the community.

When approached and questioned by NRW officers, Mr Tien and his accomplices showed significant hostility and reluctance to share identification documents which eventually had to be extracted by use of reasonable force.

All of Mr Tien’s fishing tackle and fish, along with his associates’ fishing tackle was seized by NRW Officers at the time of the incident. The district judge on the day at Swansea Magistrates Court gave permission to NRW to confiscate these items permanently from each of them.

The District Judge disqualified Mr Tien from driving for 12 months due to seriousness of the incident, and the premeditated and deliberate action of travelling such a distance to commit the offence.

He was also ordered to pay a total of £2,334 in fines, NRW costs and a victim surcharge.

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Mark Thomas, Fisheries Enforcement Officer for NRW, said: “We would like to again thank Dyfed Powys Police, the local communities and also the law-abiding anglers in the area for their continued support in reporting these illegal fishing activities.

“Foul hooking is a truly barbaric form of fishing carried out by a small minority of anglers in Wales, who have no regard for fish welfare.

“NRW and the Police take these incidents seriously as do the courts.

“Hopefully, the small minority of anglers who may in future, think of using any illegal fishing methods will take heed of the heavy fines and driving ban in this case issued by the courts.”

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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