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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.

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.

Prison, driving ban for 21-year-old cannabis seller

Cardiff Crown Court  / © Jordan Howell

Cardiff Crown Court / © Jordan Howell

A man has been jailed for 13 months after pleading guilty to possession with the intent to supply cannabis.

Billy Wait, 21, of Prince Street in Pontypool was sentenced by judge Mr Recorder David Harris at Cardiff Crown Court.

He was also given a driving ban of 18 months and ordered to pay £140 in costs.

Wait was stopped by police in the early hours of April 15th after they became aware that he was driving without insurance. He was followed to the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport where his car was searched.

Thirteen wraps of cannabis were found under the driver’s seat, with a street value of £130 - they also found £400.

Prosecuting barrister James Evans said: “It’s clear that he has been selling cannabis.”

Defending, Stephen Thomas, asked the judge to give credit for his guilty plea on the day, adding that there were “no aggravating factors, weapons, or targeting of vulnerable people” in the case and that the supply was “quite clearly to associates and friends”.

The sentencing comes after at least three other convictions for intending to supply cannabis, one resulting in a suspended sentence and another a 20-week period in a Young Offenders Institution.

Women Connect First prepare for World Café launch

A group of refugees living in Cardiff have unveiled plans to launch a World Café.

© Niamh Colclough

© Niamh Colclough

Supported by Riverside-based charity Women Connect First, the group cook every week for locals, offering a selection of food from the Middle East. They are now seeking to officially register their space with Cardiff Council so they can set it up as a business.

Up until March 2018 the women raised £5,000 through donations to the café – a proportion of this has been spent on purchasing new equipment.

Overseeing the project is Amal Beyrouty, who has been with the women since it began. She said: “They are still in the process of learning skills, they’ve done starting a business course, but they still need the skills to run a business.”

Women Connect First has helped the women seek advice, socialise with other women and learn new skills including English and IT. The charity’s Operational Director, Maria Mesa, said: “Amal and the women were the brains behind the idea. They came up with the idea. They had a brainwave about what they wanted.

“It was quite an accident that it became such a big thing. Initially, it was just to share food and to raise a little bit of money for activities, but it’s big now. 

“Women Connect First has invested quite a lot of money, and of course the staff have invested lots of time.

“I think it’s been amazing, it’s been very successful.” 

If the World Café is a success, the women are hoping to cater for events and meetings by various organisations. They would also be looking to launch a weekly takeaway lunch service.

"Reclusive" brothers sentenced for growing cannabis

Two “reclusive” brothers have been handed a 12-month community order and ordered to stay inside their house with a curfew for growing cannabis plants.

Thomas Wilkins, 32, and Michael Wilkins, 27, were sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court.

In April a police officer entered their property in Helen Place, Adamsdown, after smelling the class B drug whilst patrolling the area.

On entering the property, the pair admitted that they were growing the plants and led the officer to a first-floor bedroom which contained 10 mature plants. An airing cupboard nearby house 17 smaller plants. They were fed by an irrigation system. Lighting and heat reflectors were also used.

The brothers said that the cannabis was grown for personal use to save money – no evidence was found showing an intent to supply.

Michael Wilkins’ defence barrister, Steven Donoghue, described the pair as being “reclusive in nature”. He said: “They can’t be separated, they live together, they do everything together.”

Before Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke sentenced the pair, she acknowledged that Thomas Wilkins had “managed to get to court, albeit with difficulty” and that he “will need support” carrying out the community order.

As the both men had admitted possessing the plants from the outset, the judge granted them a guilty plea discount of one month.

In addition to the community order, the brothers will have to complete 15 days of rehabilitation activities and have an electronically monitored curfew. They were also ordered to pay £300 between them in court costs.