Local News

Police Ask Residents "To Remember The COVID Rules"

Police Ask Residents "To Remember The COVID Rules"

Kent Police are urging people to remember the Covid-19 rules over the festive period and not arrange or attend parties that risk further infection.


With the county currently in Tier 3 and facing the highest level of coronavirus restrictions, officers are keen to ensure everyone continues to do the right thing to help control the virus and ultimately save lives.


Seven people, all from Canterbury, have been issued with £10,000 fines to date for hosting parties attended by far in excess of 30 people, and a number of other residents across Kent have also been fined for arranging smaller gatherings in breach of the existing legislation.


While Kent remains in Tier 3, no household mixing is allowed either indoors or outside, pubs and restaurants must remain closed except for deliveries and takeaways, and people are advised against travelling into other regions.


Exceptions will be allowed between 23rd and 27th December when everyone will be allowed to form one Christmas bubble of up to three households.


Assistant Chief Constable Claire Nix told SFM News: "If 2020 were a normal year then many people’s diaries for December would be full of parties, Christmas drinks and other opportunities to meet up with family, friends and colleagues. Unfortunately it has been far from normal, and the threat of Covid-19 has not gone away. It therefore remains essential that we all continue to follow the rules to ensure we do not put ourselves or others at further risk of contracting a disease that has killed more than a million people worldwide. There will come a time when we will all be able to attend parties like we did before the pandemic struck, but that time is not now and Kent Police officers will not hesitate to take action against those who flagrantly break the rules and put other people’s lives at risk. We will continue to police in a sensible, proportionate and fair manner, and ask that everyone continues to take personal responsibility for controlling the spread of the virus and protecting themselves and others from harm."

Rotary And Swale Foodbank Christmas Appeal

Rotary And Swale Foodbank Christmas Appeal

The Rotary Club of Sitttingbourne Invicta are working with the Swale Foodbank to produce Christmas Gift Boxes for children in age groups from 3 – 11 in the Sittingbourne area who would otherwise have very little or nothing on Christmas Day.

Members and friends of Sittingbourne Invicta will be working hard to produce many Gift Boxes, but need help from the local community here in Sittingbourne.

If you would like to help by making a Christmas Gift Box, using a simple shoe box filled with a selection of inexpensive gifts, you can get all the details from Chris Bunting, by calling 07976 568 125 or tune in to 106.9 SFM for the latest information.


Charges Brought Following Sittingbourne Assault

Charges Brought Following Sittingbourne Assault

Officers investigating a serious assault in Sittingbourne last week, have charged two people.

Kent Police were called to Woodstock Road at 10.53pm on Thursday (26th November) after a woman reported that two people had seriously assaulted her partner and caused damage to her vehicle. The victim was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Officers from Swale’s Community Policing Team responded to the incident and stopped a vehicle in Borden Lane at around 11.00pm where two people were arrested on suspicion of assault.

Tommy Robinson, 21, of Playstool Road, Newington, has been charged with grievous bodily harm, criminal damage and dangerous driving and a 17-year-old boy has also been charged with grievous bodily harm and criminal damage.

The teenage boy and Mr Robinson both appeared before Medway Magistrates’ Court on Saturday (28th November) where they were bailed to attend Maidstone Crown Court on Monday 4th January 2021.

Ink Cartridges Stolen From Faversham Supermarket

Ink Cartridges Stolen From Faversham Supermarket

Kent Police have confirmed that theft charges have been authorised against a man who is alleged to have stolen ink cartridges worth around £1,500 from a supermarket in Faversham.

Albert Ramsden is accused of targeting the business, in Bysing Wood Road, on three occasions between Monday 16th and Wednesday 18th November.

On each occasion, a quantity of printer cartridges is said to have been taken.

The 19-year-old, of Crown Quay Lane in Sittingbourne, was arrested on suspicion of the offences by officers from the Kent Special Constabulary on Friday (20th November).

He was later charged with three counts of theft and appeared at Medway Magistrates’ Court on Saturday (21st November). He was subsequently released on bail and will next appear at Maidstone Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 5th January 2021.

COVID-19 - Swale Remains Second Highest In England

COVID-19 - Swale Remains Second Highest In England

An emergency meeting to place this afternoon (Monday 23rd November) to help tackle the number of cases of coronavirus in Swale.

The meeting was called by Swale Borough Council in response to the recent rise in the number of cases in the borough with the latest government figures showing 645.6 cases per 100,000 people in the week up to Wednesday 18th November - just behind Hull, which was the country's worst-affected place last week.

The meeting included representatives from partner agencies such as Kent County Council, Kent Police, HM Prison Service and Public Health England.

Cllr Roger Truelove, Leader of Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: “This was a valuable meeting where we were able to bring together a wide range of interested parties to discuss where we are and how we are going to improve the situation. We received the very latest figures from our public health colleagues, and these showed that whilst we do seem to be starting to see a fall in cases locally, they are clearly still too high. There are also worrying signs that the infection is growing among the over-60’s who are more vulnerable to this virus, and we are sadly starting to see the number of deaths increase. We also heard that Swale has the second highest level of testing in the county, which shows that the work we’ve been doing to encourage people with symptoms to get tested is getting through, and it will ultimately make a difference.

Cllr Truelove went on to add: “We also had confirmation that only 12 per cent of cases in the last couple of weeks are related to care homes and prison settings, and that this isn’t a problem that is just on the Isle of Sheppey, but elsewhere across the borough. The overwhelming majority of cases are through community transmission. It’s spreading in residential settings, and through social activity and it only takes a small number of people to create the clusters of cases that are driving up our figures. This is why we needed to call the meeting, so we could be sure where we need to concentrate our resources to get the cases under control again. We will be getting in touch with local supermarkets to ask for them to be as vigilant as possible, and we will be carrying out work to make sure everyone involved understands the reasons why people might not feel able to follow the rules.

He continued by saying:  “Parents seen with in supermarkets with children who should be isolating may not have any other childcare and can’t afford the minimum spend for a home delivery. People may be unwilling to get a test as they can’t afford to have time off work. These are issues we need to be able to identify so the relevant agencies can step in with the right support. Everyone is committed to making sure people understand the seriousness of the situation to people, and if we don’t follow the rules in place, we face a winter of further restrictions.”

The meeting was attended by officers from Kent County Council, Public Health England, Kent Police, HM Prison Service, the NHS, The Federation of Small Businesses, The Department for Work and Pensions, Optivo and Swale CVS and at the meeting it was revealed that only 12% of the borough's total cases come from it's two maximum security prions and local care homes.

Sittingbourne Chimney Fire Prompts Warning

Sittingbourne Chimney Fire Prompts Warning

The Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) were called to Burley Road at around 9.00am yesterday (Sunday 22nd November) morning.

Crews used chimney kit, buckets, hose reel jets as well as the height vehicle to access and put out the fire. 
There were no injuries as a result of this fire. 
With the weather turning colder the KFRS are urging people to make sure they have had their chimney and flue inspected and swept before use. 
Further information about chimney and open fire safety can be found at: kent.fire-uk.org/your-safety/home-safety/a-z-of-safety-what-are-the-risks/chimneys-and-open-fires/

Swale Has Second Worst Infection Rate In The Country

Swale Has Second Worst Infection Rate In The Country

The Borough of Swale officially has the second highest Covid-19 infection rate in the country.

Swale recorded 928 cases of coronavirus, while Thanet (Kent's previous highest authority area) recorded only 725 positive cases between Sunday 8th November and Saturday 14th November.

This latest fugure takes the borough's infection rate from 296.5 per 100,000 to 637.7 per 100,000.

Tony Weaver will be talking to local MP for Sittingbourne & Sheppey, Gordon Henderson, on tomorrow's 'In The Bourne' from 11am. Earlier this week Mr Henderson told BBC Radio Kent that: "the worst hit parts of county for the virus were those that are deeply deprived areas".

If you have a question for Gordon Henderson MP please text: 078 600 2 03 03 (from 6:00am tomorrow* Fri 20/11/20).

Earlier this week Cllr Roger Truelove, Leader of Swale Council, warned 106.9 SFM listeners and local residents that: “Unless we can level off the rate of growth in COVID-19 infections we risk a longer period of high-level restrictions beyond 2nd December. If we don’t do something to contain it, we risk spending Christmas in lockdown."

For more information on COVID-19 infection rates locally please visit: kent.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/health/coronavirus/cases-in-kent.

Swale Borough Council have further information at: swale.gov.uk/news-and-your-council/coronavirus.

Government Grants Available For Local Businesses

Government Grants Available For Local Businesses

Businesses that have been forced to close or have been severely affected by the new restrictions can apply for one of the following business grants from Swale Borough Council:

  • Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) or
  • Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG)

Businesses in rated commercial premises that have been forced to close can get grants of between £1,334 and £3,000 to cover the 28-day period from 5 November through the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed).

Businesses that are affected by the new restrictions, but haven’t been forced to close, could receive one-off payments of between £1,334 and £3,000, through the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG).

Cllr Monique Bonney, cabinet member for economy and property at the council, told SFM News: “We’re pleased that the Government is providing some financial support to help businesses which are significantly impacted by the restrictions put in place to control the spread of Covid-19. As before, the government guidelines on who can qualify for business support are strict, but we’ll be working hard to ensure that those that do qualify receive help. Businesses can apply now until 2nd January, so I urge anyone needing help to visit our website for more information and to apply. Local businesses are at the heart of Swale’s economy and I’m glad the government is providing additional support this time around.”

Cllr Roger Truelove, leader Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: “While we do what we can to support local businesses, it’s important for local people to do their bit and act responsibly and stop the spread of the virus. The number of cases in Swale is still rising at an alarming rate and we all have to do our bit to ensure we don’t end up in a higher tier when these new restrictions end. If we don’t lower the rate of cases, local lockdown for Swale could continue if we’re placed in a higher tier than we had before. Please stay home unless going for essential shopping, work or medical appointments and remember to wash your hands, cover your face and allow space for social distancing. We can get on top of this if we all work together. It’s down to all of us.”

To qualify for a grant a business must meet certain criteria, and there’s more information, including how to apply for either grant, at www.swale.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Other support is available from the Government, and businesses can find what is available to them at www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder.

CCTV Image Released In Shoplifting Appeal

CCTV Image Released In Shoplifting Appeal

A CCTV image of a man has been issued by officers investigating a series of reported shopliftings in Sittingbourne.

Several incidents have taken place at the Shell garage on London Road since Sunday 4th October, in which alcohol has been stolen and members of staff threatened.

Sergeant Chris Skilton, from Kent Police, tikd SFM News: "We believe the man in the CCTV image may be able to assist us with our enquiries and urge anyone who may know who he is to get in touch. While we appreciate that only a small part of the man’s head and face can be seen, we are hopeful someone may recognise him from his haircut or the hooded top he is wearing.’

Anyone with any information is urged to call the appeal line on 01795 419119 quoting reference 46/178345/20. Alternatively they can call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or complete the online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

M2 Closed In Both Directions Due To Lorry Fire

M2 Closed In Both Directions Due To Lorry Fire

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) were called to a lorry alight on the London-bound carriageway of the M2, in-between Faversham and Sittingbourne earlier today. 
The KFRS received the call shortly after 04:10am this morning and three fire engines and a bulk water carrier were sent to the scene, as well as a crew from the KFRS Technical Rescue Unit. 
The motorway was closed in both directions whilst crews worked to extinguish the fire. 
Officers from Kent Police Roads Policing Unit were also in attendance.

Drivers are advised to use the 'solid square' signed diversion route.

The coastbound carriageway of the motorway (between Jct 5 Sittingbourne and Jct 6 Faversham) re-opened at around 4:30pm but the Londonbound carriagewy is set to remain closed until the early hours of tomorrow morning, for resurfacing work and the replacement of barriers in the central reservation - please tune in to 106.9 SFM for the latest information.


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