Llanelli Star - - FRONT PAGE - Ian Lewis @IanLewis80 [email protected]­line.co.uk 07790 591150

A PUB­LIC meet­ing aimed at tack­ling drugs on the streets of a Llanelli com­mu­nity saw more than 100 res­i­dents dis­cuss the cri­sis they are fac­ing.

Res­i­dents of Sea­side and Glany­mor gath­ered on Mon­day night in an ef­fort to stamp out the is­sue of deal­ing on their doorsteps. Lead­ers agree the com­mu­nity has seen an in­crease in drug deal­ing and an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour – lead­ing some to live in fear.

Llanelli has be­come a thriv­ing mar­ket for Class A drugs af­ter be­ing tar­geted by English gangs, Swansea Crown Court was told dur­ing a case in Fe­bru­ary.

The town has seen a surge in so-called County Lines drugs trad­ing, with or­gan­ised groups send­ing deal­ers to the town.

How­ever, fol­low­ing the meet­ing, Car­marthen­shire county coun­cil­lor John Prosser said there is “no quick fix” and the com­mu­nity, po­lice and other agen­cies must all work to­gether.

“I couldn’t at­tend the meet­ing but I have been speak­ing to agen­cies and the com­mu­nity on this and was out with po­lice re­cently as part of the Cuckoo scheme, which urges peo­ple to contact po­lice or my­self and fel­low county coun­cil­lor Lo­vain Roberts about any sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity in the area.

“Sea­side and Glany­mor is a lovely area to live and we want to rid the area of the prob­lems it is fac­ing – but that can­not be done overnight. It’s not about sim­ply evict­ing peo­ple or po­lit­i­cal point scor­ing, we all have to work to­gether as whole on this.”

Llanelli town coun­cil­lor Sean Rees, who at­tended the meet­ing held at the Sea­side Sports and So­cial Club, did point the fin­ger at the rapid rise in the num­ber of homes of mul­ti­ple oc­cu­pancy (HMOs) within the ward.

He said land­lords and hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tions needed to be accountabl­e and take steps over who was mov­ing into the area.

He said: ”These hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tions and some pri­vate land­lords need to take re­spon­si­bil­ity, not only for the up­keep of some of their prop­er­ties, but also for the peo­ple that they are mov­ing in.

“The lack of mon­i­tor­ing is con­cern­ing. In my years on the plan­ning com­mit­tee of Llanelli Town Coun­cil, I don’t think there has been a monthly meet­ing where a HMO hasn’t been pro­posed for ei­ther Sea­side, New Dock or the Morfa ar­eas.

“We, at the town coun­cil, have and will con­tinue to ob­ject to such HMOs be­cause we want to re­gen­er­ate our area for the bet­ter. Surely, what these prop­er­ties should ac­tu­ally be used for is hous­ing for fam­i­lies.”

Speak­ing about the wider prob­lems fac­ing the area, Mr Rees added: “I com­pletely share the com­mu­nity’s con­cerns and frustratio­ns. Peo­ple should not have to feel like they are liv­ing in fear of what is about to hap­pen next.

“All of us see it every sin­gle day, in our streets, our back lanes, parks and play­grounds and other com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties.”

Mr Rees ar­gued that a com­mu­nity pro­gramme like the one in Tyshia ward needs to be rolled out within Glany­mor and Sea­side so res­i­dents, po­lice, hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tions and coun­cil­lors can meet and dis­cuss is­sues reg­u­larly.

Su­per­in­ten­dent Gary Mills, Car­marthen­shire com­man­der at DyfedPowys Po­lice said: “It is a sad fact that con­trolled drugs are avail­able and be­ing used at all lev­els in so­ci­ety; there is no ev­i­dence to in­di­cate, how­ever, that these sub­stances are be­ing sup­plied and used more in Llanelli than any other sim­i­lar ar­eas in the coun­try.

“Dyfed-Powys Po­lice is com­mit­ted to tack­ling the sup­ply and mis­use of drugs in our com­mu­ni­ties.

“As part of our on­go­ing ef­forts to re­duce the threat and harm caused by Class A drugs, the force set up Op­er­a­tion Cryp­tic which fo­cussed on the sup­ply of Class A drugs, namely heroin, in the Llanelli area.”

Car­marthen­shie Coun­cil’s ex­ec­u­tive board mem­ber for hous­ing, coun­cil­lor Linda DaviesE­vans said: “Care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion is given to the po­ten­tial im­pact of HMOs on the lo­cal com­mu­nity and we mon­i­tor and reg­u­late the man­age­ment stan­dards of the es­tab­lished HMOs in that area on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. We work closely with Rent Smart.”

Gang jailed for 70 years over roles in town drug sup­ply – page 12

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