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Drug dealer escapes jail ‘by a whisker’

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Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 14.22.58MAGISTRATES told a former part-time scaffolder that ‘drug dealing is a very serious crime‘, and that he was ‘a whisker‘ from going to prison, at Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday (Aug 3).

Jorden Patrick Davis Allen, 18, of London House in Borth, pleaded guilty to three offences of threatening and abusive behaviour on July 5 at Borth, with intent to cause unlawful violence.

He also pleaded guilty to both possessing, with intent to supply, 22.5 g of controlled cannabis and possessing 0.08g of psilocin, a controlled Class A drug, on December 5 , 2015. Due to the psilocin being a small amount, Magistrates withdrew the offence.

Prosecutor Ellie Morgan told the court that the defendant used cannabis for several years as self-medication, but with no intent to sell.

With regards to the drug offences, at 0.30am, officers were on patrol around the Aberystwyth Castle grounds and saw a group of people hanging around. The officers said they could smell a strong scent of cannabis and when they opened up a rucksack, they discovered 13g of herbal cannabis. When the officers asked who it belonged to, Allen admitted that it was his. As a result, his phone was also ceased as they conducted a search.

Ms Morgan added that the herbal cannabis was sent for forensic investigation and officers discovered a further 9.91g in plastic wraps, which was later confirmed that the street value was approximately £91.90 for the for the smaller amount and £133.10 for the larger amount.

Allen’s text messages were also analysed and officers found 52 contacts on his phone, with written confirmation in the text messages that needed no explanation.

PC Rogers, one of the officers who regularly analyses text messages, stated that it the messages suggest that the defendant clearly had built up a trust with his contacts. The messages would involve a reply in the defendant saying if he had any drugs for sale, and that he takes pride in what he sells by charging £10 for 1g and £20 for 2g.

PC Roger’s also added that it is impossible to say how much money the defendant has made to date on the selling of drugs.

With regards to the threatening behaviour offence s on July 5, Allen got into an argument which was provoked by the complainant kicking Allen’s flat door.

She said that an officer and his wife were walking along the High Street in Borth at 1.15pm where they heard a male voice and a female screaming, which was getting louder, and called the police.

A vehicle pulled over on the kerb outside and the defendant was spotted appearing from his property three or four times wearing blue boxer shorts and getting agitated.

While the complainant was trying to calm the defendant down, the officer’s wife heard the female continue to scream at the defendant, saw the complainant try to enter the property with full force and saw the defendant come back out again from the property.

Ms Morgan added that in a statement, the complainant said that he had parked his car at Borth for about 20 minutes while he went to visit his mother when he heard the female scream. As he recognised the voice, he went to the property and the defendant shouted threats at him.

Concerned with the doors being locked, the complainant kicked the door twice and headed up two flights of stairs when he saw the female lying on the ground. The defendant made further threats towards the complainant when he thought it was wise to leave and proceeded to call the police from outside the building.

As he heard the complainant talking to the police on the phone, the defendant raced out of his property with an aerosol in his hand and the female saw him squirt at the complainant while he tried to calm him down. As a third party tried to calm them both down, the defendant sprayed the aerosol at the other person.

The complainant told the police that the defendant was trying to get him to fight and when he told them the defendant had a gun, the defendant dropped his shorts to prove he had no gun and the complainant made his disgust clear.

Ms Morgan added that the there was no physical confrontation, but that it was concerning for the complainant. The complainant only got involved as he thought the female was in danger and that the police found no gun, which the complainant believed to be true at the time.

Defending, Iestyn Davies told the court that the incident was something like a ‘schoolyard fight‘.

With regards to the drug offences, Mr Davies said that there is no way of telling that the 52 contacts are separate people as it is common for people to change their numbers or have two phones. The defendant has previously said that his current medication for his ADHD does not agree with him and that, due to his age, peer pressure and immaturity has played a part in selling drugs. He is also very sorry and upset to be attending court.

Mr Davies added that it is street dealing at the basic level, with Allen admitting that he does not remember what he said when he made the threats but did remember being in the flat. The police searched the property twice with dogs and found no gun or spray.

Probation Officer Julian Davies told the court as part of a character report that Allen was able to fund the cannabis by selling it to others and even though he knew it was illegal, he did not think he would get caught with a little amount.

Even though there was history with the complainant, he knew onlookers would see and feels ashamed of the incident.

Mr Davies added that Allen has eight convictions from nine previous offences, a referral order from 2013, a possession of cannabis offence from 2013 and 2014, and is considered to be a medium risk of harm. Even though he tends to smoke cannabis to help him sleep, Allen has accepted that he cannot use cannabis for this reason for the rest of his life.

Following recommendation, Magistrates imposed a 12 month community order on Allen, which include 24 rehabilitation activity days, 20 thinking skills sessions, and 120 hours of unpaid work.

Allen was also recommended to see his GP regarding better medication and was ordered to pay £205 in court costs.

Magistrates also issued an order for the destruction of the drugs.

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Theatre companies show COVID resilience

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Over four decades ago, rural west Wales was at the centre of the greatest drugs bust in history. The police investigation, Operation Julie, resulted in dozens of arrests and the discovery of LSD worth £100 million. A brand-new musical play from Theatr na nÓg and Aberystwyth Arts Centre explores the story from both sides of the drugs divide – the police, and the hippies who settled in Ceredigion hoping to spread their ideals in a changing world.

This summer, Theatr na nÓg and Aberystwyth Arts Centre were due to launch an ambitious co-production for audiences in Aberystwyth. Operation Julie was to be a stage play packed with music, drama and comedy, telling the extraordinary story of what happened in and around west Wales in the mid-1970s when hippies settled in the area seeking a new way of living fuelled by acid and an alternative attitude. When a chance clue is discovered following a car accident, the local constabulary works with detectives from across Britain to uncover what turns out to be the biggest stash of acid ever found, taking out up to 60% of the world’s LSD market at that time.

When the coronavirus pandemic struck it became clear it would be impossible to open Operation Julie to live audiences at Aberystwyth Arts Centre in August and na nÓg and the arts centre made the decision to postpone its premiere until next spring.

Although a huge disappointment for both companies, they quickly decided to make the best of a bad situation, as Aberystwyth Arts Centre’s director Dafydd Rhys explains: “Though we’d prefer to be going into production now, that is no longer an option due to Covid – but it does allow the wonderful cast and team of creatives to get together to do some invaluable research and development work on the script, the characters and the music.”

Due to the continuing lockdown restrictions, writer-director Geinor Styles explains how they went about the R&D activity whilst being unable to physically rehearse together.

“I’m not a director that sits and pours over the script,” Styles says. “I like to get people up on their feet and moving. I believe I can solve things editorially whilst directing. This is probably the most frustrating thing and a real challenge for me because that is not possible over zoom. However there are advantages, the creatives, designers, sound, AV and lighting have been able to drop into rehearsal or listen in without having to physically be in the room. A real treat for us and them. It feels truly collaborative. Having them exclusively while still developing the script is very rare but such a real bonus.”

Geinor Styles, who has been developing the production since 2014 and believes that, due to COVID that the story has become even more relevant: “I feel as we move through this pandemic, that the story behind Kemp’s acid production and 8000 word micro doctrine, becomes more and more relevant to a planet that is being destroyed by consumerism and capitalism.”

She also feels the Operation Julie story is too important to be delayed. “I was astonished how relevant this story was to us living in a time where the climate was changing at an alarming rate,” she says. “That as a species, we needed to change our ways like the hippies of the ’60s and ’70s – their philosophy of wanting to ‘get back to the garden’. This philosophy was emphasised by our protagonist Richard Kemp, a talented scientist, who moved to Tregaron in the early 70s and created the purest form of LSD. He is the source of the whole story – without Kemp, you do not have Operation Julie.”

Theatr na nÓg and Aberystwyth Arts Centre’s version of events tells the story from both sides of the law, with Geinor Styles meeting and interviewing a variety of people from the area and of that time, one of the main acid dealers – Alston ‘Smiles’ Hughes, who was a key part of the LSD chain from his modest home in Llanddewi Brefi – and Lydia Jones, the daughter of the late Detective Sergeant Richie Parry, in the Zoom meetings with cast and crew.

Operation Julie is a musical play, a format favoured by the resilient and forward thinking theatre company, Greg Palmer is Operation Julie’s composer and musical director, working with actor-musicians over video call to create the score: “I’ve never rehearsed a show in this way before. My usual method is to be in the thick of things in the rehearsal room working with the actor-musicians in an organic way. This makes the cast feel part of the creative process. That immediacy is impossible to replicate via Zoom so the whole process becomes slower and more laboured.” This alterantive approach, though, has allowed Palmer to discuss LSD dealer Smiles’ psychedelic musical tastes and the records that influenced him during the period of the play. “I grew up as a teenager in the ’70s and listened to a lot of the music that Smiles et al would have been listening to. Smiles has

referenced a number of bands from that era – Caravan, Bob Dylan, Steely Dan. I’ve been very keen from the beginning of the process to have the sound world of the play reflect those musical trends.”

Theatr na nÓg and Aberystwyth Arts Centre are confident that this extended development time, will result in a truly memorable production when Operation Julie finally reaches the stage next year.

“Operation Julie will be a popular and important theatre production,” says Dafydd Rhys. “We remain totally committed to this uniquely Welsh tale that had an impact throughout the world. It also has the added bonus that the music will be fantastic! We know the audience will be in for a treat – a really good night of quality, thought provoking and popular theatre.”

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Annual Canvass to go ahead despite the coronavirus pandemic

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The 2020 annual canvass is required by law and will continue despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Ceredigion’s Electoral Services are continuing their service, however staff will be working differently due to the coronavirus.

Electoral Registration Officer, Eifion Evans said: “This year’s canvass, which we have to carry out by law, is taking place during a challenging public health situation. We are working to ensure that we take account of public health guidelines, including the continued importance of social distancing.”

If we have sent you a letter that asks you to respond or complete a form, you can help us by replying to it quickly and, online, rather than posting it back to us if possible. This will save Council resources and reduce the number of letters that have to be handled by Council and Royal Mail staff.”

The link to respond is on the first page of the A4 letter you will receive with part 1 and part 2 security codes.

Residents who have any questions can contact Ceredigion’s Electoral Services on 01545 572032.

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CCTV cameras to be installed in Newcastle Emlyn

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Three new cameras are being installed in Newcastle Emlyn as part of the Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner’s key pledge to reinvest in a public CCTV system.

The work on the installation programme in the town will begin on Monday, August 10.

Cameras will be cameras installed in Sycamore Street, Emlyn Square and Heol y Bont. The camera locations have been decided following a review of a crime pattern analysis and in consultation with partner agencies.

The work is being carried out by contractors Baydale Control Systems Ltd. The hi-tech cameras are being supplied by Hikvision UK & Ireland.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said: “Brecon is the next town in Powys to benefit from my key election pledge to re-install public space CCTV. This is a busy town, and I am confident the cameras will prove to be a valuable asset in keeping the town safe and assisting with the detection of crime.

“The CCTV project is continuing across the force, with three cameras also installed in Newcastle Emlyn last week. The number of towns we have now included in the CCTV project is 23.

“I am confident the cameras will prove to be a valuable asset in keeping these towns safe and assisting with the detection of crime.”

Ceredigion Commander, Superintendent Robyn Mason, said: “This is a positive move for Newcastle Emlyn. Having the cameras in place while we experience an increase in visitors to the area during the holiday period will help us to keep everyone as safe as possible and assist us in carrying out quality investigations when required.”

The CCTV project is bringing over 120 state of the art CCTV cameras to towns throughout the police force area of Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Powys.

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