Local News

Robber Jailed After Announcing His Name To Victim

Robber Jailed After Announcing His Name To Victim

A robbery victim has seen the man responsible jailed after his attacker revealed his name whilst making threats.

In the early morning of Saturday 16th December 2023, a man in his 60s was walking in Sittingbourne High Street when he was approached by a person he did not know, Max Martin,

Martin started to talk to him then demanded he withdraw some cash from an ATM. When the victim said he did not have any money, Martin put his hand in his pocket and said he had a knife. He was subjected to further threats and after Martin became increasingly aggressive, handed over the change in his pocket. The victim was warned not to call the police and in an attempt to put him in fear of further violence his attacker said; ‘I’m Max Martin.’

Following the incident, the robbery was reported to Kent Police and Martin, of The Meadows, was swiftly arrested by neighbourhood officers. He was later charged with robbery and pleaded guilty at Maidstone Crown Court. On Friday 1 March 2024, the 40-year-old was jailed for three years and two months. The sentence included two months' imprisonment for breaching a suspended sentence.

Detective Constable Stuart Drakeley, of North Division CID, told SFM News: "This criminal put his victim through an appalling ordeal that left him in fear of serious violence. Martin’s arrogance led him to reveal his own name thinking this would ensure the victim’s silence. Unfortunately for him, this merely made his arrest and eventual imprisonment an easy task for our officers. I would like to thank the victim and witnesses whose assistance has ensured this man, who was already on a suspended sentence, has been brought to justice."

Witnesses Sought After Woman Assaulted In Car

Witnesses Sought After Woman Assaulted In Car

Kent Police are appealing for witnesses and dashcam footage after a woman reported she was assaulted by a man in Leysdown-on-Sea on the isle Of Sheppey.

The incident happened inside a car on Leysdown Road, at around 9pm on Sunday 4th February.

The victim, who is in her 40s, was a front seat passenger in a white Peugeot 308, when it is alleged the man driving the vehicle, stopped and punched her multiple times. He then drove for a short distance before the car collided with a bollard and a fence.

The suspect left the scene before the arrival of patrols and the victim later went to hospital for medical attention to serious facial injuries. On Monday 5 February, a 54-year-old local man was arrested in connection with the incident. He was later released on bail pending further investigation.

PC Lydia Edwards, of Kent Police’s Vulnerability Investigation Team, told SFM Mews: "It is understood there were a number of people in Leysdown Road as well as others standing outside a public house, who may have witnessed the incident. We are appealing to anyone with information that may assist the investigation to contact our appeal line. Drivers with dashcam and residents with private CCTV are also asked to check for relevant footage."

Anyone with any information is asked to call 01795 419119, quoting reference 46/19595/24. Alternatively they can also contact Crimestoppers FREE and anonymously on 0800 555 111, or by using the online form on their website. 

Burglar Jailed For Co-op Teynham Break-In

Burglar Jailed For Co-op Teynham Break-In

A burglar, whose group caused thousands of pounds’ worth of damage during four hours of thefts and break-ins, has been jailed.

Liam Scott and two others stole a Land Rover from an address in Faversham shortly before 2am on Saturday 30th December 2023.

Around half an hour later, the same vehicle was driven into the clubhouse of a caravan park in Seasalter, Whitstable.

The group attempted to drag a cash machine from the building, but a strop they had attached to the towbar snapped. Instead, they stole alcohol and a cigarette machine from the premises before driving off.

Shortly after 5am that morning, the Land Rover was then used to damage the doors of a supermarket in Teynham. Tills containing a large amount of cash were stolen and the building was left with considerable damage.

Detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate investigated and linked the vehicle to the theft of fuel at a petrol station on the A299 in Thanet on the same night.

Examination of the CCTV footage from the petrol station led to Liam Scott being identified as a man seen filling up the vehicle with fuel.

He was arrested at his home in Faversham on Friday 5th January and later charged with two counts of burglary, theft of a motor vehicle and making off without payment.

The 24-year-old, of Lower Road, admitted those charges at Canterbury Crown Court last Monday (5th February) and was jailed for 31 months at the same court on Friday (9th February).

Detective Constable Aaron Chapman, Kent Police's investigating officer, told SFM News: "Scott's reckless behaviour on the night of these offences caused huge damage and loss to the vehicle owner and the businesses involved. I am pleased our swift investigation has seen him identified as a suspect, arrested, charged and now jailed less than six weeks after the offences took place. I hope the case sends out a message to anyone considering such criminal activity: We will track you down and hold you accountable for your action".

Fly-Tipping Week Of Action

Fly-Tipping Week Of Action

Waste carriers were targeted last week (Tuesday 30th January) as part of a regular crackdown on fly-tipping acropss the borough. 

Swale Borough Council teamed up with Kent Police’s Rural Task Force to crack down on suspected fly-tipping, collect evidence, and take enforcement action for waste related crimes. 

Outcomes of the day were: 

  • 7 vehicles stopped and searched
  • 2 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) issued

Each offender received a fixed penalty notice of £300 for failing to produce a permit to carry waste, or the necessary documents. 

Cllr Rich Lehmann, chair of the Environment Committee at the council, told SFM News: “We take a tough stance against fly-tipping, and have put a number of measures into place to tackle this blight on our countryside and the environment. These measures include working with the police to stop suspected illegal waste carriers and check that they have the correct documentation, serving fixed penalty notices to those that don’t. While this operation acts as a deterrent for people who mismanage waste, we still need resident's help in the borough to bring a stop to fly-tipping. You need to make sure you are disposing of your waste responsibly and checking any waste carriers you use have the correct documentation. Be wary of cheap waste removal services, because if fly-tipped waste is tracked back to you, you could also be facing a fixed penalty notice.  

Cllr Lehmann went on to add: "People often suggest that metal will not be fly-tipped because of its value. The metal may make it to the correct recycling point, but where is the rest of the load ending up? That is why we do these checks. It is our responsibility to make sure the waste goes where it is meant to be, and not on the side of the road or on a country lane. When we receive reports of fly-tipping within our area, we instruct our contractors to remove it, but this increases our costs and the burden on tax-payers. People have even less of an excuse to fly-tip now, as new legislation has led KCC to make changes to what can be disposed of for free at household waste recycling centres, including some DIY waste like bricks and concrete. Help us keep Swale clean, and dispose of your waste responsibly.”  

Swale Borough Council regularly carries out these days of action with Kent Police. The council’s enforcement team gathers intelligence in advance to help target the right areas to carry out their duties. 

To dispose of your waste responsibly check whether someone is licenced to carry waste by visiting the Environment Agency website, or calling 03708 506506. 

It also helps if you receive a written receipt or transfer note, including contact details, description of waste removed and details of where the waste is being taken to. 

Check what can now be disposed of for free here: Charges at HWRCs - Kent County Council 

Police Appeal Following Fatal Iwade Collision

Police Appeal Following Fatal Iwade Collision

Kent Police are seeking witnesses following a fatal collision in Iwade in the early hours.

At 1.44am this morning (Saturday 3rf February) the driver of a white BMW 116d travelling towards Sheerness on Sheppey Way, was involved in a collision with a pedestrian.

Officers attended along with South East Coast Ambulance Service and the pedestrian, a man in his 30s, was confirmed deceased at the scene. The driver was treated at a local hospital for minor injuries. 

Anyone who witnessed the incident, or who has any other information or dashcam footage of the car or pedestrian prior to the collision, is urged to call Kent Police's Serious Collision Investigation Unit on 01622 798538 or, alternatively, they can email sciu.td@kent.police.uk, quoting reference MM/FM/011/24.

Footage can also be submitted through the online portal: https://kep.uk.evidence.com/axon/community-request/public/mmfm01124

SBC Tennis Courts Reopen After Refurbishment

SBC Tennis Courts Reopen After Refurbishment

Two of Swale Borough Council’s tennis courts have been refurbished thanks to a partnership between the council and the LTA (Lawn Tennis Association). 

The park tennis courts at Milton Recreation Ground and King George V Playing Fields in Sittingbourne are now open to the public after going through extensive improvement works delivered by the LTA through its Park Tennis Project, alongside Swale Borough Council. 

Work to improve the seven courts across the two parks has included resurfacing, new fencing, nets and the installation of gate access technology to make it easier for players to find, book and get on court. 

A full repainting of the courts is scheduled to take place in the spring when the weather allows. Temporary lines have been installed in the meantime so the community can enjoy the new courts, get out, active and socialise.  

The refurbishments are thanks to a £124,578.54 investment by the UK government and LTA Tennis Foundation, and an additional injection of £32,413 from the council.   

The investment forms part of the LTA’s Park Tennis Project, through which thousands of tennis courts across Great Britain are being transformed for the benefit of local communities, as part of a £30million investment by the UK Government and LTA Tennis Foundation. 

The LTA and Swale Borough Council will work together to offer free tennis sessions providing regular opportunities for anyone to pick up a racket and play. 

This includes weekly free tennis sessions, organised by volunteers, every Saturday and Sunday from 10am, with equipment provided. Local Tennis Leagues will also be setup to give people the opportunity to get involved in friendly and social local competitions.    

Frequent players can purchase season tickets allowing daily access to the courts for £40 per year. Casual users can book a court for £6 per hour. Funds raised will ensure that the courts are maintained at their new high standard for years to come. You can book a session online on the LTA website: https://www.lta.org.uk/book   

Cllr Richard Palmer, the Chair of the community committee at Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: "We are excited to announce that these newly refurbished courts have reopened after being given a much needed new lease on life.  An active community is a healthier and happier one, and the more opportunities we can provide, for people of all ages, the better. That is why it is important that we offer the free sessions on the weekend, so everyone can have access to these wonderful courts, get active and socialise without the need for any equipment. While the new fees will allow the courts to be maintained to this new high standard making sure they are available to the community for years to come. We can’t wait to see the courts full and busy once again, it is amazing to see unplayable local facilities transformed into something we can all be proud of.”   

Julie Porter, Chief Operating Officer at the LTA, told SFM News; "After months of hard work, we’re delighted to see park tennis courts across Swale officially back open to the public, and in better shape than ever. Public tennis courts are such vital facilities for getting active and we want as many people as possible, of all ages and abilities, to pick up a racket and enjoy playing tennis. Thanks to this investment the sport will be opened up to more players, for years to come.” 

CCTV Appeal After Bag Theft And Fraud

CCTV Appeal After Bag Theft And Fraud

Investigators have issued a CCTV image after a pensioner’s bag was reported stolen in Sittingbourne yesterday (Monday 29th January) morning.

The incident happened in Harold Road at around 11.15am when the victim, a woman in her 80s, was approached by a man who is alleged to have grabbed the bag before running from the scene. The bag was recovered having been discarded nearby with the purse still missing.

It is reported bank cards from the purse were used to complete fraudulent transactions at local shops later the same day. Officers from the Swale Victim Based Crime Team are now able to issue an image of a person who may be able to assist with their enquiries. Anybody who recognises him is urged to contact the appeal line.

Anyone with any information is asked to call 01795 419119, quoting reference 46/15756/24. Alternatively they can call Crimestoppers FREE and anonymously on 0800 555 111 or complete the online form on their website:- https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/forms/pre-form.

Violent Assault - Instant Justice For Prolific Thief

Violent Assault - Instant Justice For Prolific Thief

A prolific shop thief has been jailed just two days after he violently assaulted a member of staff in Sittingbourne earlier this week.

Jack Wiley attacked an employee at the Co-op covenience store in Murston after he was caught stealing alcohol and food.

Wiley, 28, entered the Church Road premises at around 3pm on Monday (22nd January) before walking out with bottles of lager and wine, as well as a sandwich. He was followed outside by a member of staff and Wiley responded by challenging him to try and retrieve the stolen items. When the victim successfully snatched back the wine, Wiley started punching him repeatedly in the head. 

The assault continued, even after a member of public intervened to help try and restrain Wiley. He chased the victim back into the shop and after dragging him to the floor punched and kicked him before fleeing on foot. Officers attended and Wiley, of Whiting Crescent, Faversham was quickly located and arrested following a search of the nearby area.

He was charged with assault by beating and two counts of theft. The charges included a previous shoplifting offence on Friday 15th December 2023, when he stole cleaning products from a Poundland, in Faversham.

Earlier today (Wednesday 24th January), Wiley was remanded to appear before Medway Magistrates’ Court where he pleaded guilty. He was immediately sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, with an additional seven days added for breaching a previous suspended sentence. Wiley was ordered to pay £200 in compensation as well as £85 costs.

Inspector Barry Carr, of the Swale Victim Based Crime Team,told SFM News: "Prolific criminals like Wiley relentlessly target retailers with the sole intention of stealing high value items to either consume or sell. Shoplifting is never a victimless crime and it can have a drastic effect on businesses, and there will be no let-up in our efforts to swiftly arrest and prosecute those who see stealing as part of a criminal lifestyle."

Blaze Sweeps Through The Former Kemsley Arms

Blaze Sweeps Through The Former Kemsley Arms

Last night (Sunday 21st January) Kent Fire and Rescue Service were called to reports of a fire at a derelict pub.

Five fire engines and a height vehicle responded, and crews tackled a fire on the first floor of the former Kemsley Arms Public House on Ridham Avenue.

There were no reported injuries, and the cause is not yet known.

Kent Police also attended and have confirmed to SFM News that “the fire is being treated as suspicious.”

Anyone with any information, which may help with the investigation, is asked to call 01795 419 119, quoting crime reference 46/11464/24 or, alternatively, they can call kent Crimestoppers FREE and anonimously on 0800 555 111 or by completing an online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/forms/pre-form.

Prolific Thief Sent Back To Prison

Prolific Thief Sent Back To Prison

A prolific local shoplifter has been returned to jail after pleading guilty to several thefts.

Lisa Willet was serving a suspended prison sentence when she chose to commit further shoplifting offences in Sittingbourne.

On Monday 1st January 2024, she stole laundry products from a store in Gadby Road. Willet returned to the same business a fortnight later where she left without paying for a can of drink. She stole further laundry items from Morrisons in Milton High Street on Sunday 7 January. Two days later Willet took a large quantity of steaks and meat joints from Aldi in East Street without attempting to pay.

Officers were called to Lidl in West Street on Wednesday 17th January, where she had been detained by staff after attempting to steal a number of joints of beef. Willet, of Frederick Street, Sittingbourne was arrested and later charged by investigators from the Swale Victim Based Crime Team with five thefts.

The 44-year-old appeared before Medway Magistrates’ Court on Friday (19th January) and pleaded guilty. She was immediately sentenced to 260 days' imprisonment which included the activation of her suspended sentence.

Inspector Vanessa Foster, of the Swale Community Safety Unit, told SFM News: "Our investigators have ensured another thief who targets our local shops has been charged and sent to prison. We will also be applying to the court for a strict criminal behaviour order banning her from entering a number of businesses when she is released."


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