Jail time, community order handed to cannabis pair

Michael Samual  / © South Wales Police

Michael Samual / © South Wales Police

A man has been jailed for possession with the intent to supply cannabis – some of which was hidden in his underwear.

Michael Samuel, 28, of Newport Road in Caldicot – who was also in possession of cocaine – was sentenced to four years and eight months by Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke at Cardiff Crown Court. 

He was pulled over by police on Cardiff Road in Barry last July after he was seen to be not wearing a seatbelt.

Officers detected a strong smell of cannabis and searched him and his passenger, co-defendant Antonia Barker. 

Whilst nothing was found on either person, officers found a satchel under the driver’s seat containing £665 in cash, three bags of cocaine, empty “deal bags”, digital weighing scales and other items – he said “it isn’t mine” and that the cash was savings.

Travelling to Bridgend Police Station, officers could still smell a strong scent of cannabis coming from Samuel. He told them it was “in his pants”, before he was strip-searched and was found to be carrying cannabis and six bags of cocaine.

The court heard how he was a plumber’s mate, helps his brother on the weekend and also helps his sister deliver fast food.

His defence barrister, Gareth Morley, said: “The amounts involved are not huge, and he’s kept out of trouble.”

Before passing her sentence on Samuel, the judge said: “The high purity of the cocaine was an aggravating factor.”

Barker, 25, of Warwick Way in Barry was later arrested, telling officers: “I knew you were coming.” Her phone – which was registered to Samuel – was seized and was found to contain messages related to drug dealing. She denied knowledge of the messages and being involved.

Her defence barrister, Christopher Rees, said her involvement “does not cross custody threshold” as she had a “lesser role”.

She was handed a 24-month community order, with 15 days of rehabilitation activity, and ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work, after eventually admitting she was concerned in the supply of a Class B drug.

In total, the cannabis was valued around £40 and the cocaine – which has a purity of around 83% - was valued around £900.

The judge ordered the drugs and associated items to be destroyed.

Moorland Primary School continues Rights Respecting journey

Primary school pupils in Cardiff are being educated about their human rights as part of an ongoing UN initiative.

© Jess Daly

© Jess Daly

Moorland Primary School in Splott is one of the schools taking part.

Head teacher, Jane Jenkins, said: “I think it’s really powerful for our children to know that in some parts of the world children are actually valuing their education and their right to education so much they’re walking several miles each way to get to school every day - I think that does very much bring it to life for them.”

The Rights Respecting Schools Award launched in 2004 and encourages schools to educate children about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child - the convention contains over 50 separate rights, reaching from social and cultural to economic and political.

To reach the Bronze level schools must show how they intend on committing to teach their children about the rights of children, reaching the Silver level requires an assessment which measures the school’s ability to train, model and develop teacher and pupil knowledge, and Gold assesses and certifies that children's rights are included in all aspects of school life.

Mrs Jenkins believes they will have secured Silver by the end of the academic year, with Gold following a couple of years later – they completed the Bronze level within the first six months.

She said: “We’re now taking a couple of the rights each month and exploring them through assemblies, personal and social sessions, and circle time sessions – it’s really enhancing what we were already doing.” 

Mrs Jenkins has also used links with schools in Zambia and Bangladesh to engage her pupils further.

She said: “We are thinking about what those rights are actually saying, what it means for the children in this school and what it means for children in other schools around the world.”

Other schools in the area taking part in the Rights Respecting Award project include Whitchurch Primary, Christ the King Primary in Llanishen and Stacey Primary School in Roath.

What! Stores developing abandoned St Mellons Kwik Save site

An abandoned building in St Mellons is being given a new lease of life thanks to the retailer What! Stores.

Building work has begun on the former Kwik Save and Hypervalue site, which has been left abandoned since 2007.

In recent weeks the building has been secured and cleared, with fencing and scaffolding also put in place.

Earlier this year one local resident said that the lack of work on the site - which is shared with Indian restaurant Shamrat, Boots and Willowbrook Surgery - was “an absolute disgrace”.

Speaking to me this week, a spokesperson from What! Stores said: “The site is owned by What! Stores and we are planning on opening one of our stores in the St Mellons location.

“The Newport Road store is closing down and in effect relocating to the old Kwik Save location.”

During the 11 years the Kwik Save site has been abandoned it has attracted fly-tipping, graffiti and other forms of anti-social behaviour. South Wales Fire & Rescue also attended twice within the space of a week in 2016, after fires were deliberately started inside the building.

Councillor Michael Michael, said: “I, and the other Trowbridge and St Mellons councillors welcome the work being done on the former Kwik Save store as it’s long been an eyesore.

“We also welcome the development of a new What! store in St Mellons and the possibility of jobs.”

Local residents campaigned hard for progress to be made, causing Cardiff Council to re-think their original plans for more housing back in 2014 - at a meeting that same year the site’s owner said that his consultants were looking at retail opportunities for development.

What! Stores have not given a timeframe for the store to be complete, only suggesting that their Newport Road branch will close in the “near future”.

If you live in the local area feel free to get in touch with your thoughts.

nextbike UK to double bikes in Cardiff next year

nextbike UK has announced plans to double the number of bicycles in the Welsh capital by summer 2019.

The nextbike Cardiff scheme launched in March with 5 docking stations and 50 bikes, and as of September there have been 500 bikes. A further 65 docking stations will go live next year, doubling the number of bikes.

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Last month Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Transport at Cardiff Council, Councillor Caro Wild, revealed that in October there were over 50,000 rentals in Cardiff, and nearly 150,000 since launching.

Speaking about the schemes success, he said: “We’ve broken records in terms of the most popular scheme across the UK so we’ve just been delighted, but also delighted how it’s brought lots of different people to maybe take a bike for the first time that otherwise wouldn’t have done. 

“There’s bike hire places not just in the city centre – we’re out in some of our suburbs which have also been popular.” 

“People are sick of congestion. A lot of people don't want to use their cars but they haven’t had alternatives in the past.”

nextbike have teamed up with Cardiff Bay-based charity Pedal Power to maintain the bikes – they will grow their team to keep up with the demand.

One student from the city, Ella Walsh, said that hiring the bikes is “really easy” and that pricing was “reasonable”.

Dave Leemas is a regular nextbike user, he believes that the scheme is “great” for commutes, and believes it is “faster and more under your own control than public transport”.

In weeks to come the company will be asking their social media followers for input on where the new docking stations should be. 65 locations will be picked before the roll-out begins in 2019.