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Wales’ first Physical Disability Rugby League trials held in Port Talbot

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The first ever Physical Disability Rugby League (PDRL) trials in Wales took place last Saturday in Port Talbot as Wales prepare for this autumn’s Physical Disability World Cup.

PDRL is an adapted version of rugby league aimed at facilitating those with physical disabilities the opportunity to play. It’s a nine-a-side game of rugby league which, like Masters (over 35s) rugby league, is a combination of full contact and touch, based on colour of shorts.

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Wales Rugby League CEO Gareth Kear opened the first historic session with an introduction and welcomed all the players to the WRL family.

He said: “We have been working on a PDRL World Cup since 2020 and have committed financial budget and resource to this new pathway. It is a fitting recognition of the work by our WRL board Director Neil Lynch who initiated this form of Disability Rugby League. It is great that these players will now have an opportunity to represent their national team and help us build the community PDRL game.”

Wales’ head coach Craig Fisher said: “We had 12 players show for the session, but since then had many expressions of interest. The standard was exceptionally high with some very good core skills on show.

“It was a physically demanding session where we tested the physical endurance of the players through some tough fitness tests from my strength and conditioning coach Jarad Hinnem and then placed in skill-based activity by my assistant coach Matt Drinkwater. The calibre of player was such that every play that attended has formally offered a place in the squad. Special mentions need to be made to Ben Lewis and Morgan Jones who will be our captain and vice-captain respectively.

“We will be holding another session on March 26th at a venue to be confirmed, where we can piece together the remainder of the squad and then plan for the tournament in October. But from seeing the players we have, the attitude, commitment and ability of the group, I feel we will make a huge noise in the World Cup.”

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The inaugural PDRL World Cup contains six nations – with Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland Ireland also competing – and will take place in Warrington alongside the men’s, women’s and wheelchair World Cups that run from October 15 until November 19.

Do you want to play for Wales in the Physical Disability World Cup? You must either be Welsh born, have a Welsh parent or grandparent or must have lived in Wales for at least five years.

For further details about PDRL, where to play in Wales, or to get involved with the Welsh national side, please contact Wales PDL team manager at neil.lynch@walesrugbyleague.co.uk.

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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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Port Talbot

Port Talbot scaffolder jailed for heading-up drug gang

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A Port Talbot scaffolder has been jailed for 12 years for heading up a drugs gang.

Three men, who were part of the organised crime group which sold illegal drugs, were jailed for a total of 23 years after an 18-month long Police investigation.

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Operation Formby is an investigation conducted by South Wales Police Force Intelligence & Organised Crime Unit into the drug trafficking activities of Daniel Baker and his gang.

Daniel Baker, aged 30 from Sandfields, Port Talbot, was the head of the organised crime group involved in trafficking Class A Cocaine and Class B Ketamine throughout the South Wales region, and in the Oxfordshire area of England.

His connections with Oxfordshire were through his legitimate scaffolding employment.

He was arrested at his home address on August 18, 2021, where he was found in possession of a significant quantity of Class B Ketamine, a firearm and in excess of £44,000 cash.

The investigation uncovered that Baker had been supplying Cocaine since at least 2016 and had been using various individuals to collect debts on his behalf, collect and courier the drugs for him, and other individuals to supply both Cocaine and Ketamine on his behalf.

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Baker and his gang were proven to have supplied 1kg of Cocaine between 2015 and 2018 and a further 9kg between May 2021 and August 2021. The 10 kilograms of Cocaine would have had an estimated street value of between £1.1 million and £1.4 million.

The co-defendants convicted in the conspiracy to supply Cocaine with Daniel Baker were Steven Hughes, age 46, from Abercynon and Mark Lapper, age 41, from East Hanney, Oxfordshire.

The three appeared at Swansea Crown Court today (Monday 9 May 2022).

Daniel Baker pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Supply Class A Cocaine, Possession with intent to supply Class B Ketamine and Possession of a s.5 Firearm. Baker was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Steven Hughes pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Supply Class A Cocaine and Possession of Class B Cannabis. Hughes was sentenced to 8 years in prison.

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Mark Lapper pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Supply Class A Cocaine. Lapper was sentenced to 3 years in prison.

Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) proceedings are now ongoing in relation to these individuals to recover assets realised as a result of their drug trafficking activities.

Detective Inspector Russ Jenkins from the Force Intelligence & Organised Crime Unit said: “Organised Crime Groups such as these have continued to operate within our local communities and have been brazen in their activities and believed they are beyond the reach of law.

“Our investigators have worked tirelessly, and continue to utilise all opportunities available, to investigate these offences and successfully prosecute those involved.

“The continued success of these operations provides reassurance and confidence to the communities of South Wales.”

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(Lead image: South Wales Police)

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Morriston

Port Talbot man named as victim in fatal Cwmrhydyceirw motorcycle crash

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The rider of a motorcycle who died in a road traffic collision close to Morriston Hospital in Cwmrhydyceirw has been named as Syed Asim Ali Shah, 26, from Port Talbot.

The accident took place at around 7.25pm on Tuesday 3 May and involving a white Kawasaki ZX900 and a black Audi A3.

Mr Shah, who was known to family and friends as “Asim” died at the scene of the accident when he was riding his motorcycle.

His friends and family paid tribute to him, describing him as a “truly unique character” and a “gentle giant” who was strong willed and determined.

“He was always happy and cheerful regardless of any situation” his family said in a tribute released by South Wales Police.

“He was an infectious individual, and you’d never forget him after meeting him.

“Asim was the kindest most loving individual anyone would meet, he was caring, funny and the life of the party. He would have a way with people to always make them laugh and smile.

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“He leaves behind his darling partner Ocean and their one-year-old daughter Iyla. Asim loved both so dearly.

“He leaves behind his loving parents Nigar and Qadim Shah and his auntie, Parveen. His amazing brothers Munawar, Afaq, Aamir and Azan, his sister-in-law Fareah and lifelong friend Kawsar Hussain.

“He will be sorely missed by not only his family but his huge loving friendship group and the whole community of Port Talbot Mosque. He will be truly missed, and we pray for strength to get through this horrific time.”

South Wales Police is continuing to appeal appeal for witnesses to the Heol Maes Eglwys collision.

The road was closed for several hours whilst investigation work was carried out.

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Officers want to speak to any witnesses to the collision, anyone who may have dash camera footage of the incident or who witnessed the manner of driving of any of the vehicles prior to the collision.

(Lead image: Family photo / South Wales Police)

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