Local News

Bus Operator Announces New Lower Bus Fares

Bus Operator Announces New Lower Bus Fares

Sittingbourne-based Chalkwell have announced that fares for bus travellers of all ages within Swale are to be slashed by up to a third.

At the same time, the local operator will be launching two additional buses which have been refurbished at a total cost of over £50k.

The new lower fares, which will be introduced from Saturday 1st April, will see the price of Youth Travel (for 11-19 year olds) down to just £2.50 a day or £10 for seven days and a Chalkwell Adult Saver will be just £4 a day, or £15 for seven days and these tickets can be used on an unlimited number of times per day or week and can be bought on the bus directly from the driver.

Young people wishing to travel to the Medway Towns from Swale on the 326/327 service will benefit from lower fares of £3.50 a day or £14 for seven days for Youth 11-19, with Adult Saver fares at £5.50 per day or £20 for seven days.

Chalkwell also announced the introduction of a new family ticket costing £11 a day which can be used for groups of up to four people comprising two adults and two children, or one adult and three children.

Chalkwell's Commercial Director, Roland Eglinton, told SFM News: "In terms of a percentage cut, it is up to a third. And with these exciting new lower fares there is even more incentive for people to use Chalkwell bus services. The lower fares and services cover Sittingbourne, Sheppey and the surroundings areas. Our school services are very popular and convenient and with these lower fares we expect even more people to switch to travelling with us rather than using the car or other forms of public transport."

Further information on the new lower fares can be found on their website: www.chalkwell.co.uk.

'Suspicious' Fire At Sittingbourne Boxing Club

'Suspicious' Fire At Sittingbourne Boxing Club

Kent Police officers are investigating a fire at an industrial unit in Sittingbourne overnight and are appealing for witnesses to come forward.

Kent Police received a report at 12.24am this morning (Thursday 16th March) that a car had been in collision with an industrial unit in Castle Road, Sittingbourne. The unit is currently used as the Rumble Boxing Academy.

Officers attended the scene where a car was found to be alight and crashed in to the unoccupied premises.

The fire is currently being treated as suspicious. Enquiries are ongoing to establish the circumstances of the incident.

Anyone who may have witnessed anything suspicious in the area at the time is asked to contact Kent Police on 01795 419119 quoting 16-018, or alternatively they can contact Kent Crimestoppers, free (from any landline) and anonymously on 0800 555 111.

 

 

Heartless Thieves Steal School Minibus' Wheels

Heartless Thieves Steal School Minibus' Wheels

Overnight on Monday (13th March) thieves stole the back twin-wheels of Rodmersham School's Ford minibus parked adjacent to the playground.

It is etimated that the repair bill will be in the region of £1,200. Mrs Presdee-Colley, the school's Finance Secretary, told SFM News that: "the children were very upset when they learnt of the discovery on Tuesday morning. We have now had to make alternative arrangements as the minibus was going to be used for several trips over the next two weeks. This is going to be very expensive to cover for a small school like ours".

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Kent Police on 101 quoting reference: XY/011448/17 or they can call Kent Crimestoppers, free (from any landline) and anonimously, on 0800 555 111.

This Year's Carnival Court Is Selected

This Year's Carnival Court Is Selected

Sittingbourne's new Carnival Court for 2017 was selected on Saturday (11th March) evening at the Woodcoombe Sports and Social Club in Murston.

The evening started with private interviews of the four applicants with the judges, followed by the contestants then speaking publically on stage to the audience, which consisted of their families, friends and visiting carnival courts from around Kent.

After the 2016 Court said their goodbyes the new court was announced:- 

Miss Sittingbourne 2017 - Rebecca Port (aged 18)
Deputy Queen - Gemma Stokes (former Miss Sittingbourne 2016)
Joint Sittingbourne Princesses - Alexandra Wastell (aged 18) and Kendle Hunter (aged 19)

The judges this year were Mrs Georgina Wadey, Chairman of the Carnival Court of Kent, Miss Laura Petch (former Miss Sittingbourne 2012) and Mr Terry West, President of the Teynham Carnival Association. The Adjudicator was Mrs. Marion Pearce, Chairman of the Miss Ramsgate Organisation.

Musical entertainment on the night was provided by 106.9 SFM's very own "Thursday Night Vibe" presenter Ollie Field.

Driver Sentenced For Teynham Fatal Collision

Driver Sentenced For Teynham Fatal Collision

A lorry driver who caused the death of an elderly cyclist in Teynham has been imprisoned for three years.

59-year-old William Magee, of Readers Court in Chelmsford, Essex, failed to properly check his surroundings before pulling out across London Road, shortly before 10.15am on Saturday 13th February 2016 and his articulated lorry collided with a bicycle being ridden by 73-year-old Barbara Phipps from Lynsted (pictured), who died instantly.

Mr Magee pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving prior to his sentencing at Maidstone Crown Court on Friday (3rd March), where he was also disqualified from driving for five and a half years.

The court heard how he had completed a delivery at a supermarket on London Road, near the junction with Lynsted Lane, shortly before the collision happened. Magee's lorry was parked on the wrong side of the road facing oncoming traffic, meaning he would need to pull diagonally across the carriageway in order to reach the Sittingbourne-bound lane.

CCTV footage of the incident showed that Magee started moving before he began to indicate, and that Mrs Phipps was cycling alongside the lorry at the time. He continued his journey following the collision but was arrested at the M2 Medway services when his employers called to tell him an incident had happened and that he needed to pull over for the police.

Officers from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit later carried out a reconstruction of what had happened and ruled that Magee should have been able to see Mrs Phipps if he had properly checked his mirrors. His lorry was also fitted with a CCTV camera to help him check his blind spot, which he admitted he did not use.

Sergeant Hannah Brown, from Kent Police's Serious Collision Investigation Unit, told SFM News: "all drivers have a duty of care to other road-users to drive carefully at all times, with large vehicles though, the sheer size and weight of their vehicles means that one wrong move can lead to tragedy. William Magee had already broken the Highway Code by parking in the direction of oncoming traffic, but had he been more careful, and used the safety devices fitted to the vehicle before pulling out then this fatal collision simply would not have happened. He will have this on his conscience for the rest of his life. I hope the sentencing result is of some small comfort to Mrs Phipps' family, who have suffered a great deal. Our thoughts remain with them as they continue to grieve for her."

Sittingbourne Distraction Burglar Jailed

Sittingbourne Distraction Burglar Jailed

Yesterday (Tuesday 28th February) 37-year-old George Bignall, of Middletune Avenue in Sittingbourne, was sentenced to a total of two years and eight months for a distraction burglary, theft and affray.

Maidstone Crown Court heard that during the evening of Thursday 24th September 2016, Mr Bignall called at an address in Sittingbourne offering to sell toys and clothes. The woman occupant told him she had no money and so he asked for a glass of water as his mouth was dry. The householder went to get him a glass only to find him inside her house on her return. He then asked to use her bathroom, which she kindly agreed to and, having spent some time out of her sight, he returned and started to rummage through her possessions in front of her.

She asked him to leave and, when he asked for some money, the woman was so scared that she handed him twenty pounds. The victim later found that her purse had been stolen.

The following day, the victim was returning to her house with her sister when she saw Bignall outside her house again. He accused her of stealing his bracelet and when she denied this he demanded money threatening to burn down her house. During this altercation Bignall fell over a push-chair and it later transpired that a mobile phone had been stolen from it.

Police officers arrested Bignall later that day. He denied being present at the victim's address earlier but, when confronted with CCTV footage, changed his account and said he was walking past when the two women accused him of stealing things. He also denied being at the house the previous day stating he would not ask for a glass of water when he had access to an address nearby.

Bignall's fingerprints and DNA were later found on the glass used for the drinking water and he pleaded guilty at court.

Detective Constable Aaron Chapman, investigating officer for Kent Police, told SFM News: "Bignall is a devious bully who conned his way into the address of a vulnerable young woman and took advantage of her kindness to steal her property. When challenged he reverted to threats and violent behaviour and he should be thoroughly ashamed off his conduct towards this family."

Sittingbourne Builder Fined After Flytipping

Sittingbourne Builder Fined After Flytipping

A Sittingbourne builder is £735 out of pocket after passing on trade waste to an unknown third party who fly-tipped the waste in Tonge.

Paul Dadswell, aged 52, of Langley Road in Sittingbourne, was prosecuted by Swale Borough Council for failing to comply with his duty of care for waste created through his work as a builder.

The council began investigating the case when a large quantity of building waste including plasterboard, construction materials and sanitary ware was found dumped at Lower Road, Tonge in November 2015.

When interviewed by council officers, Dadswell admitted giving the waste to an unknown couple without checking they were registered to take the waste away. He also failed to obtain a waste transfer note to cover this transfer of waste, and admitted that he never retained any duty of care notes, despite posing as a professional tradesperson.

Due to the severity of the offences, Swale Borough Council decided to prosecute the case, which was heard at Maidstone Magistrates Court on Thursday (23rd February). Dadswell pleaded guilty to two charges under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, and was fined £250 for each charge, and ordered to pay £205 costs and a victim surcharge of £30.

Cllr Alan Horton cabinet member for safer families and communities at the council, told SFM News: "We spend tens of thousands of pounds of council taxpayers money every year clearing up fly-tipping. Anyone producing waste has a duty to ensure they know who is taking their waste away, and that it will be disposed of appropriately. Failure to do so could result in a hefty fine. By failing to make sure the waste was taken by a licenced carrier he caused a significant amount of waste being fly-tipped in the local countryside. Anyone offering the service must be registered to carry waste, or it could end up dumped, and you could be prosecuted for failing to take reasonable steps in preventing a fly tipping incident."

To check whether someone is licenced to carry waste visit the Environment Agency website or call 03708 506506.

 

Fire Crews Tackled Kemsley Derelict Building Fire

Fire Crews Tackled Kemsley Derelict Building Fire

Local Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) crews have been tackling a large fire on Grovehurst Road, Kemsley this evening (Friday 24th February) involving two portable buildings.

On arrival crews found the two buildings, used for storage, well alight.

At the high of the incident three fire engines were at the scene with firefighters using main jets to tackle the fire.

It is believed that the buildings were previously used as a pet food supplies store.

 

Met Police 'Gun Plot' Chase On M2 Motorway

Met Police 'Gun Plot' Chase On M2 Motorway

Metropolitan Police have confirmed that two men have been charged with firearm offences after an armed police chase on the M2 motorway which ended near Junction 5 on Sunday (19th February) evening.

A number of police cars, including armed officers from the Metropolitan Police's Trident Gang Crime Command, a specialist team tackling gang violence, pursued two vehicles along the motorway London-bound between Faversham and Sittingbourne.

36-year-old Spencer Tapper, from Dagenham and 37-year-old Mahesh Chaitoo, from Southend, have both been charged with conspiracy to possess a firearm with ammunition with intent to endanger life.

Tapper and Chaitoo both appeared before Medway Magistrates' on Monday (20th February). Two women arrested at the scene were bailed, pending further enquiries, until mid-April.

 

Two New Stores Confirm Their Opening Days

Two New Stores Confirm Their Opening Days

Both the new stores coming to the Sittingbourne Retail Park have announced their opening days this week.

The first will be the new M&S Food Hall opening on Wednesday 8th March at 10.00am. Along with the M&S food range there will also be a 48-seat Café offering hot and cold drinks, cakes, snacks and light meals.

The second will be a new Maplin electronics store opening on Saturday 13th May at 9.00am.

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