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Dyfed Powys Police

Police make 17 arrests of Stradey Park Hotel protestors since demonstrations began – the majority in the past week

Dyfed Powys Police say they have made 17 arrests at Stradey Park Hotel since demonstrations began in Llanelli – with the majority since protests escalated in the past week.

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Aerial view of Stradey Park Hotel in Llanelli

Protests began outside Llanelli’s Stradey Park Hotel after Essex-based owners Sterling Woodrow announced they were making close to 100 staff redundant and turning the four star hotel into accommodation for up to 241 asylum seekers instead.

Carmarthenshire council lost a High Court bid in July to prevent the hotel being used for asylum seekers, with the leader of the council , Darren Price describing the hotel as “wholly unsuitable” for housing asylum seekers.

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Protesters have since built an encampment on contested land at the entrance to the hotel to conduct a 24 hour vigil on the site.

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Some residents have expressed concern over “far right” groups from outside the area joining the hotel protest, which has also seen visits by controversial public figures such as Katie Hopkins and Ann Marie Waters.

Police have called for calm and co-operation following what it describes as “a concerning escalation of behaviour by some protestors” at the hotel.

An online meeting on Tuesday (22 August) was attended by representatives from Carmarthenshire Council, Police, hotel owners and Home Office contractors Clearsprings Ready Homes who plan to operate the asylum seeker housing.

At the meeting, Superintendent Ross Evans, Dyfed Powys Police’s Commander for Carmarthenshire, said: “My officers and I are proud to serve the Furnace community and we come to work every day to keep the area safe for all who live, work and visit the area. We are also part of the community and it is acknowledged that the past few weeks have been a real challenge for everyone connected with the area.

“As a force, we fully recognise the concerns of residents and protestors. We are listening and responding to these concerns. We will continue to facilitate peaceful protest, however at times over the past week the behaviour of some individuals has gone beyond this.

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“We will not allow unlawful behaviour to take place at these events. Where an offence is committed, we will take all reasonable and proportionate steps to bring offenders to justice, and enforcement action taken over the past seven days has clearly demonstrated this. The people of Carmarthenshire expect their local police to keep them safe and that is what we will continue to do.

“Public safety remains our priority and we will continue to listen to and work with all parties. In particular, is our intention to work with any protest groups in advance of any events so that we can facilitate peaceful demonstration.”

Since the beginning of July, Dyfed Powys Police say a total of 21 arrests of 17 individuals have been made in connection to the protest at the Stradey Park Hotel in Furnace, Llanelli. The majority of those arrested have bail conditions which prevent them either entering the area surrounding the hotel, Llanelli or Wales.

The police say an investigation into the disorderly behaviour of some protestors last week, which resulted in extensive damage to the hotel is ongoing, with officers anticipating further arrests.

On 18 August, Emmanuel Agius, 37, of Llys Y Morwr, Llanelli, was found guilty of possession of three offensive weapons (knives) and a class b drug (cannabis) in connection to those events, and given a 16-week suspended sentence and a curfew requirement.

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Police say a dedicated investigation team has been set up in response, and among other enquiries they are reviewing an extensive amount of video material.

Other arrests at the hotel have included 32-year-old Scott Samuel of Bryn Siriol in Llanelli in early July, who was charged with a public order offence and drug possession, which he later pleaded guilty to at court.

In early July, Jade Elizabeth Morris, aged 36, of Cwmbach Road, Llanelli, and Scott Joshua Morris, aged 31, of Bres Road, Llanelli, were both charged with obstructing police. They are due to appear at Llanelli Magistrates Court on 24 August.

Helen Tracey Thomas, 52, of Pentrepoeth Road, was charged with a public order offence in July, for which she was given court bail. She appeared at Llanelli Magistrates Court on 19 August following a breach of those conditions, for which she was given further bail conditions that prevent her engaging in protest activity. She is due to appear at court on 28 September. 

On 18 August, Emmanuel Agius, 37, of Llys Y Morwr, Llanelli, was found guilty of possession of three offensive weapons (knives) and a class b drug (cannabis) and given a 16-week suspended sentence and a curfew requirement.

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A 32-year-old man was arrested on 17 July on suspicion of assault. He has been released on police bail with conditions that prevent him entering the area surrounding the Stradey Park Hotel.

Nine people in total have been arrested in connection to the events that led to the significant damage to the hotel, between August 14 and 16. They have been released on police bail.

Two people have been arrested on suspicion of malicious communication. One has been bailed with conditions that prevent them entering Wales, the other with conditions that prevent them entering Furnace.

Two men were arrested on suspicion of drunk and disorderly behaviour on 9 July 2023. They remain on police bail.

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