Local News

Lorry Driver Admits Causing Death Of Teynham Cyclist

Lorry Driver Admits Causing Death Of Teynham Cyclist

A Co-op lorry driver pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving on Thursday (16th February) at Maidstone Crown Court, following a fatal accident on the A2 London Road in Teynham last year.

73-year-old cyclist Barbara Phipps died in the accident near the Co-op store in Teynham on the 13th February 2016. 59-year old lorry driver, William Magee, originally denied charge of dangerous driving and was due to stand trial later this month but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of causing death by careless driving, which was accepted by the prosecution.

Judge Martin Joy adjourned sentencing for reports until Friday 3rd March. Mr Magee's bail was continued and he was given an interim driving ban.


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 Simply Food 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.

Man Hospitalised After Living Room Blaze

Man Hospitalised After Living Room Blaze

Firefighters responded to a 999 call in Shortlands Road at 11.24pm last night (Thursday 10th February).

Two fire engines were sent to the house and arrived within minutes of receiving the emergency call. A breathing apparatus team extinguished the fire in the lounge of the property, with a hose reel. A thermal imaging camera was used to check for fire spread and flooring was cut away with small tools.

Crews then used a special fan to clear smoke from the house.

A man was taken to hospital suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation.

Two Charged Over Removal Of Shipwreck Artefacts

Two Charged Over Removal Of Shipwreck Artefacts

Two men have been charged in connection with the alleged removal of items from a sunken Royal Navy warship in the English Channel.

HMS Hermes was a protected cruiser built in the late 19th century and converted into an aircraft ferry and depot ship ready for the outbreak of the First World War.

It was sunk by a German submarine in the Dover Strait in October 1914 with the loss of 44 lives.

Officers from Kent Police's Rural Task Force launched an investigation in August 2015 after being informed that a number of historical artefacts had been reported missing from the wreck.

John Blight, 57, of Old River Way in Winchelsea, East Sussex, has now been charged with three counts of dishonestly failing to disclose items of wreck to the Receiver of Wreck with intent to make a gain.

Nigel Ingram, 56, of London Road, Teynham, has been charged with the same three counts in addition to being in possession of £16,000 worth of criminal property.

Both men have been bailed to appear before Margate Magistrates on Thursday 2nd March.

The investigation into the alleged offences was carried out in partnership with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the Marine Management Organisation, the Receiver of Wreck, Sussex Police, Historic England and the French authorities.

Licensed Taxi In Town Centre Collision

Licensed Taxi In Town Centre Collision

A licensed taxi, believed to have been carrying a fare-paying passenger at the time, has been involved in an accident on The Avenue Of Remembrance.

The incident happened shortly after 11.30am this morning (Wednesday 25th January) between the junctions of Central Avenue and Albany Road, near the side entrance of Sittingbourne Police Station.

The taxi is believed to have collided with another vehicle resulting in it hitting a tree on the side of the carriageway.

It's believed that there were no serious injuries and that a police investigation was underway.

Car Hits House On North Street, Milton Regis

Car Hits House On North Street, Milton Regis

North Street, in Milton Regis, was closed earlier today (Tuesday 24th January) in both directions at the junction with Milton High Street and Vicarage Road, following an incident where a car hit a house on Hawkins Close.

A spokeswoman for Kent Police told SFM News "[we] called at around 9.00am this morning after it was reported that a car had been involved in a collision with a house. Police officers and Kent Fire and Rescue Service were dispatched to the scene in North Street, Milton Regis."

There were no reported injuries and it is believed that a structural engineer has been called in to assess the damage.

Men Jailed Over £7.7m Cannabis Find

Men Jailed Over £7.7m Cannabis Find

Two members of an organised drugs group have been jailed following the discovery of £7.7 million worth of cannabis here in Sittingbourne.

Kent Police officers discovered just over a tonne of the class B substance when they executed a search warrant at an industrial unit on Castle Road, at about 9.20am on Friday 23rd September last year (2016).

Thomas Cullen, 57, of St John's Road in Huyton, Liverpool, and Joseph Graham, 48, of no fixed address but with links to the Merseyside area, were also inside the property and arrested as a result.

Both pleaded guilty to conspiring to supply cannabis and class C Zopiclone tablets when they appeared at Maidstone Crown Court on Wednesday 21st December 2016.

Cullen was jailed for eight years and Graham for six years when they returned for sentencing earlier today (Friday 20th January).

The court heard how after gaining access to the premises, officers discovered 10 wooden crates of which three were open and empty. To the sides of these were multiple vacuum-packed containers with herbal cannabis inside in addition to a number of block-sized packages that had been tightly bound with brown tape.

It was later established there was a total of 1.02 tonnes of cannabis stored inside the unit, with a potential street value of up to £7.7 million.

More than 4,000 boxes of Zopiclone tablets were also seized from the premises, which had a potential street value of up to £396,000.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Mark Froome, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, told SFM News: "Thomas Cullen and Joseph Graham are members of an organised crime group and played an important role in what was clearly a very large drugs operation. We work relentlessly to dismantle such groups and to ensure illegal substances are kept off the streets of Kent and away from those members of the public who are most at risk. The lengthy sentences imposed on these two men demonstrates how seriously we and the courts take the issue of organised crime, and I hope it highlights to others that if you commit offences then your actions will catch up with you in the end.'

• A 38-year-old man from Sittingbourne has also been arrested in connection with the case and is currently on bail until Thursday 16th March.


M2 Jct 4 - Jct 5 Closed Both Ways This Weekend

M2 Jct 4 - Jct 5 Closed Both Ways This Weekend

Local motorists are being warned that the M2 will be closed both ways between Junction 5 (Sittingbourne) and Junction 6 (Faversham) junctions during this weekend.

The motorway will closed for carriageway strengthening between 8pm and 6am on Saturday (14th January), Sunday (15th January) and Monday (16th January).

For more information please see: roads.highways.gov.uk/.

Local Flood Alert Issued

Local Flood Alert Issued

The North Kent Coast from Kemsley to Seasalter, including Sheerness, Minster, Queenborough, Leysdown, Sittingbourne, and Faversham are on flood risk.

An Environment Agency spokesman told SFM News that: "From Wednesday (11th January) evening through to Saturday, spring tides combined with positive surges and strong wind conditions are raising the risk of some coastal flood impacts. This flood alert is therefore likely to remain in force until Saturday".

For the latest information please see:- flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/target-area/064WAC1ShepSwale.


A Number Of Thefts From Cars In Kemsley

A Number Of Thefts From Cars In Kemsley

Kent Police are reminding motorists to lock their cars and remove valuables after receiving several reports of theft from vehicles in Kemsley.

Between 5.30am and 6am on Tuesday (3rd January) Kent Police received reports of theft of property including clothing and tools from five cars in Beauvoir Drive.

Police would like to speak to a man who was reported to have been trying car door handles in the road at the time before running off. He is described as white, aged between 15 and 25 years old, 5ft 8in, of medium build and wearing a blue bomber jacket, and dark trousers.

Over the same night cars it was reported that items including a satellite navigation device were stolen from cars in Meteor Close, Pastime Close and Merleburgh Drive.

At present no arrests have been made however enquiries into these reports are on-going.

Inspector Gavin Wade, from Kent Police, told SFM News: "There are a number of steps which can be taken to help prevent items being stolen from motor vehicles. Please ensure vehicles are locked securely. Remote locking with a car key should be double-checked to ensure it has worked. Remove all valuables from vehicles, including tools, satellite navigation devices, mobile phones and any other items which may be attractive to thieves. Have valuables security marked so it makes them harder to sell on if they are stolen.'

Further details are available by following this link on the Kent police website: www.kent.police.uk/advice/theft/car-and-large-vehicle-theft/

Anyone with any information about thefts in their area can report them by calling Kent Police on 01795 419119 quoting reference number XY/439/17 or, alternatively, they can contact Kent Crimestoppers, free and anonymously, on 0800 555 111.


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