One crime family terrorised a sleepy rural village, slashing tyres and dealing drugs from an ice cream van.
The head of the family crime gang, the mum, is now on the run from police. Lynne Leyson was described as the “dominant force” of a drug dealing operation run from a farm near Carmarthen. The family-based crime organisation supplied large quantities of drugs across the south west of Wales.
Lynne Leyson has been sentenced in absence after she skipped bail and went on the run from the law. Just a few months earlier, Lynne Leyson’s husband, Steven, and son, Samson, were both jailed for their roles in the gang as Leyson didn’t turn up for the hearing. She’s been at large in the community ever since.
The defendant was sentenced in her absence on Friday after a judge at Swansea Crown Court said it appeared she was deliberately trying to evade justice by not attending. The family terrorised locals, leading to some selling their homes to escape them.
The Mail reported that the Leysons used a grit box at the end of the road as a drop-off point for deals. The couple would reportedly charm their neighbours to hide the criminal behaviour going on inside their home.
Alongside that, neighbours suggested that the family’s ice cream van was used for selling more than just ice cream, and if anyone dared to call the police, they would wake up the next morning with their car tyres slashed. Two other people were caught in the investigation, Ritchie Coleman, 33, and Emma Calver-Roberts, 32. They both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs.
The Leysons ran a criminal network from a compound in Capel Dewi, near Carmarthen, and pushed out significant quantities of cocaine and cannabis across Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Swansea. When police raided the property in October 2021 they uncovered more than half a kilo of cocaine with a street value of up to £60,200 and 1.4kg of cannabis with a street value of approximately £15,600, along with more than £17,000 in cash.
Police also found a semi-automatic pistol – an Italian model “Kimar 85 Auto” 9mm self-loading weapon – which belonged to Stephen Leyson. The pistol is thought to be the first handgun of its kind located and seized in the Dyfed-Powys Police area. The police investigation – codenamed Operation Hilston – then led officers to two dealers living in Pembrokeshire who had been selling drugs for the family, including one who goes by the nickname Mr Pickles.
Stephen Paul Leyson, aged 55, Lynne Leyson, aged 51, and their 22-year-old son Samson Leyson – all of Pibwr Farm, Capel Dewi, Carmarthen – were convicted of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and conspiracy to supply Class B drugs following a two-week trial.
Stephen Leyson was also convicted of possession of a firearm. In July Stephen Leyson was sentenced to 11 years in prison and Samson Leyson to six years, but Lynne Leyson failed to attend the sentencing hearing and a warrant was issued for her arrest. Despite investigations by police over the last three months her whereabouts are unknown and she remains unlawfully at large.
Judge Catherine Richards said Friday’s hearing was the third time Lynne Leyson had failed to attend court for her sentencing and it appeared she was deliberately trying to evade justice. She said she was satisfied that the defendant had had “ample opportunities” to attend court and should now be sentenced in her absence.
The judge said that based on all the evidence she had heard at trial she was satisfied the defendant had played a leading role in the enterprise and was the “dominant force” in the conspiracy. She said Leyson had been controlling a number of other people and “directing events from the farm”.