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Six arrested following fires at asylum seekers hotel in Llanelli

Six individuals have been taken into custody following the occurrence of two fires during protests at a hotel designated for asylum seekers.

Substantial crowds assembled outside the Stradey Park Hotel in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, during the weekend, breaching security fences to gain access.

Dyfed-Powys Police characterised these events as “another concerning escalation in behavior.” Authorities have indicated that additional arrests are anticipated.

According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS), the Home Office intends to utilize the hotel for accommodating up to 240 asylum seekers.

Superintendent Ross Evans emphasised that law enforcement consistently endeavours to strike a balance between safeguarding individuals’ right to engage in peaceful protests and ensuring the rights of others while preventing instances of criminal activity and disorder.

“However, the behaviour of some individuals has gone far beyond this over the past few days,” he said.

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Police reported that on the late evening of Saturday, September 30th, officers extinguished a vehicle fire within the grounds. Following this incident, a 48-year-old man from Caerphilly, as well as two women aged 53 and 52 from Cleveland and Peterborough, were apprehended on suspicion of arson and other related offenses.

The statement further noted that a planned “drive-by” event on Sunday, October 1st, near the hotel resulted in several motorcyclists forcibly entering through the main entrance, despite officers attempting to stop them. A significant number of protesters then proceeded to topple security fences and gain unauthorized access to the hotel grounds, where some individuals inflicted damage to the hotel by smashing windows.

On Sunday evening, an incident involving a fire in a stairwell at the hotel was reported. Concurrently, the police noted that officers were targeted with fireworks and other projectiles, while attempts were made to obstruct access for the Mid and West Wales Fire Service. Fortunately, the fire was successfully extinguished.

In connection with these events, a 40-year-old man and a 44-year-old woman, both hailing from the Carmarthen area, were detained on suspicion of arson. Additionally, a 66-year-old man from Llanelli was arrested on suspicion of obstructing emergency services.

Supt Evans said: “These latest arrests come following another concerning escalation in behaviour of some protesters, which has once again resulted in significant damage to the hotel property.

“Dyfed-Powys Police will not tolerate unlawful behaviour – a protest does not provide an excuse to commit criminal offences. Where an offence is committed, we will take all reasonable and proportionate steps to bring offenders to justice.”

He added: “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank those who have demonstrated peacefully over the past few weeks, and appeal for calm to resume. 

“I would also like to thank the team who have dealt with the disorder at the hotel site over the past few days – they have done so in very difficult circumstances.”

The fire service reported that it responded to the hotel late on Sunday following the police’s intervention to extinguish the stairwell fire.

Video clips circulating on social media depicted numerous protesters present within the hotel premises on Sunday, some of whom were located outside the reception area.