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First criminal caught on Caldey Island 'in over 40 years'

Caldey Island in Pembrokeshire has caught its first criminal in living memory, after years of being crime free.

The historic holy island has a monastery for 18 monks and a handful of farmers working the land. Credit: PA

Police were called to an assault on the island, which has a population of 40 and is home to an order of monks who follow a vow of silence.

It is so remote that police had to be carried by RNLI lifeboat two miles to the island off the Pembrokeshire coast to make the arrest.

The Caldey criminal was a holidaymaker on a day-trip from Dudley, who has appeared in court on the mainland to admit assault.

The historic holy island has a monastery for 18 monks and a handful of farmers working the land - but with no criminal convicted in living memory.

More than 3,000 visitors make the boat ride to Caldey Island from April to October, which is famous for its home-made chocolate, perfume and shortbread made by the strict Cistercian monks.

The arrested man was visiting the island monastery when he manhandled his "misbehaving" seven-year-old son during a visit to the chocolate factory at St Illtyd's church.

This is the first crime I can recall and I've been here more than 40 years. I'm glad to say I didn't witness it but I'm sorry to say I was told about it. It is very sad. We are happy to say we live here very peacefully. This person was a visitor and is a sign of the modern world, I expect.

– John Cattini, Caldey Island Commercial Manager
The island has been a religious retreat since the first monastery was set up there 1,500 years ago.

The island is a mile and a half long - and has been a religious retreat since the first monastery was set up there 1,500 years ago.

The monks take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and observe a rule of silence between the hours of 7pm to 7am.

Official crime statistics have recorded a zero for Caldey Island for anti-social behaviour, theft, burglary, arson, drugs, public order, vehicle crime, robbery and possession of offensive weapons.

Traffic offences are also at zero because the island only has 300 yards of roadway.

"We acknowledge that the crime rate on Caldey Island is very low, but we take all reports of crime seriously and as such investigate them thoroughly."

– Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson

The father was released on bail until next month.