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Carmarthenshire

Llanelli woman wins ‘best new gardener’ in national competition

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Dobbies, the UK’s leading garden centre retailer, has announced the winners of its first-ever ‘Not Your Average Gardener’ awards.

Judged by gardener, journalist and Dobbies’ podcast host Louise Midgley, and Dobbies’ Horticultural Director, Marcus Eyles, the duo has found a gardening star in Llanelli who will receive a £250 Giftcard to spend on gardening plants and tools in the Swansea store as well as a consultation with one of the judges.

With the aim to find the best and most dedicated gardeners from Wales and beyond, the awards showcase those with creativity, commitment and passion for gardening.

Kylie Walker (45) who lives in Llanelli has scooped Dobbies Best New Gardener 2021 Award, as she demonstrated excellence and commitment as an amateur gardener, going to great lengths to develop her skills.

Commenting on her garden in her first home, which she designed, landscaped and planted herself, Kylie, said: “I am thrilled to have been selected as this year’s winner of Dobbies Best New Gardener Award. I’d never really given gardening a thought until I had my first home and a space to create something of my own to enjoy. I wanted to create a space that was an extension of my home, an oasis of life and colour, and I had no idea it would bring me so much enjoyment.

“With no previous gardening experience and a minimal budget, I’m delighted with how the project turned out. I’m really looking forward to a trip to the Dobbies Swansea store to use my Giftcard to get some new plants for this space.”

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Judge Louise Midgley said: “Kylie’s beautiful garden just blew us away. With no previous experience she’s taken on the whole task and the result is simply breath-taking.

“I love the contrast of the white stones against the black edging logs, which gives the garden the definition it needs, providing great foil for the bright colour palette of plants. It’s clear that Kylie has thought about everything here, and she truly deserves the win.”

Marcus Eyles, Horticulture Director at Dobbies, said: “We’re delighted to see so many passionate gardeners get involved and enter our first-ever ‘Not Your Average Gardener’ awards. With so many entries it is safe to say that judging was no easy task. It has been heart-warming to see families and friends nominate one another, showing a true sense of community spirit.

“It is my pleasure to congratulate Kylie from Llanelli in taking home the Best New Gardener 2021 Award. Her hard work and passion for gardening certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed and I hope she enjoys spending her prize at the Swansea store, to help her green space flourish even more.

“A huge thank you to everyone who entered and made our ‘Not Your Average Gardener’ awards so special.”

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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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Carmarthenshire

Women’s Tour of Britain returns to Carmarthenshire

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The countdown is on before the world’s top women riders will race through Carmarthenshire as part of the Women’s Tour of Britain.

Some 108 cyclists will race through the County to the finishing line on top of the Black Mountain between Llangadog and Brynamman as part of the stage five event on Friday, June 10.

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The route will be starting from Pembrey Country Park at 10.45am and riders competing for the title will go through Pinged, Carway, Pontyberem, Horeb, Llansawel, and Llangadog.

A rolling road closure will take place along the 65-mile route which will come into action at 10.45am until 1.50pm.

Roads will be re-opened once the cyclists have passed through. A full road closure will be in place over the Black Mountain from 5am-5pm.

The event will be broadcast on ITV4 and across Europe with a helicopter camera crew following the race.

The Women’s Tour departs on Monday, June 6, and coincides with the final day of a four-day Bank Holiday weekend in the UK to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. The race will culminate with a prestigious finale six days later on Saturday, June 11.

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Pembrey Country Park previously hosted the Grand Départ of the men’s Tour of Britain as well as the overall finish of the Women’s Tour in 2019.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Chief Executive, Wendy Walters said: “We are thrilled that we have again been chosen to host this top cycling event. Previous years have brought an immediate economic boost to the tourism sector as well as providing a great deal of positive media coverage.”

(Lead image: Carmarthenshire Council)

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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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