Local News

'Prolific' Thief Handed Two-Year Banning Order

'Prolific' Thief Handed Two-Year Banning Order

A prolific thief has been banned from entering multiple stores in Sittingbourne for two years.

Lisa Willett, 45 and of Grecian Street in Maidstone, was handed a two-year Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) on Thursday 11th July 2024.

The CBO prohibits her from entering named stores in the town which include numerous smaller businesses and several supermarkets including Poundland, Aldi and Morrisons. She must also not enter any store she has been previously banned from and must not remain in any premises if she is told to leave by the owner or occupier.

Officers applied for the CBO following a series of thefts here in Sittingbourne between Monday 1st and Monday 15th January 2024.

She was sentenced to 260 days in prison and released on licence having served half. She then reoffended in June and is currently back in prison to serve her full sentence.

PC Jamie Spencer told SFM News: "Willett has caused misery in the town since 2023 and is one of the worst repeat offenders in the area so her criminality was causing a detrimental impact on businesses within the town centre of Sittingbourne, as well as local communities. Kent Police is determined to tackle this type of crime and I am pleased that Willett has been handed a CBO which will prevent her having the opportunity to re-offend upon her release. If she breaches any of the conditions she will be immediately brought back before the court to answer for her actions."

CCTV Issued In Shoplifting Investigation

CCTV Issued In Shoplifting Investigation

Officers investigating reports of shoplifting in the Swale and Canterbury districts have issued images of two people they would like to identify.

Kent Police is looking into five reports of theft where a large quantity of medication was stolen from stores. Two shops in Sittingbourne reported thefts during the afternoon Saturday 22nd June 2024, in Gadby Road and Eurolink Way.

A further three thefts were reported to have taken place on Tuesday 25th June; from two stores - one in Herne Bay and another in Whitstable.

Officers have released images of a man and a woman they would like to speak to, as they may have information which could assist the investigation.

Anyone who can identify the two pictured, or has information regarding any of the five thefts, should contact Kent Police on 01843 222289 quoting 46/107288/24.

Alternatively ou can also call Crimestoppers FREE and anonymously on 0800 555 111 or complete their online form: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/forms/pre-form 

Brickies Director Dies Following Short Illness

Brickies Director Dies Following Short Illness

Sittingbourne FC fans, staff and players have been left "devastated" this morning (Tuesday 16th July) following the sad news that long term Director Peter Pitts has died following a short illness.

SFM listeners will know Peter as "the voice of The Brickies" since we begun our full time transmissions in July 2012 and has been laterly joined by Mike Green in the role.

Peter joined Sittingbourne Football Club way back in the late 90's along with his twin brother, John, to assist the then Chairman, Andy Spice, to help rescue the club after it went into administration.

Peter was the instigator of many grants to help the club get back on its feet and devised a web site (one of the first in non League football) to promote the football club and has worked tirelessly behind the scenes.

Sadly Peter lost his wife of 48 years, Jackie, in April.

A statement issued by the club this morning said: “Sittingbourne Football Club have heartbreaking news to bring to you all in that Peter Pitts, club director, sadly passed away yesterday morning after a short illness. Peter dedicated a huge part of his life to the club and without him the club would not be where it is today.  Whilst we are still processing this sad and shocking news ourselves, we send our heartfelt condolences to Helen and Graham (Peter’s children), John, Sandra (sister-in-law) and the rest of the family. There will be a minute’s applause prior to kick-off for our game against Folkestone this evening.”

Sittingbourne FC Chairman, Maurice Dunk, paid tribute to Peter's legacy at the club on today's In The Bourne with Tony Weaver. He said "I don't think we would be here today without Peter. He made sure everything was done that needed to be done. I'm sure the Football Foundation and the Football Association will miss him. Through our ups and downs Peter has been there and the club has recently turned a corner, getting to the recent play-offs, thanks to all his hard work behind the scenes".

Free Tennis Day At Milton Rec Hailed A Success

Free Tennis Day At Milton Rec Hailed A Success

Pictured: The Mayor of Swale Cllr Ben Martin - pic courtesty of Ian Morris

Locals were giving tennis a try, ahead of the Wimbledon finals on Saturday (13th July), at the newly refurbished tennis courts in Milton Recreation Ground at a free launch event.

The courts have been fully refurbished thanks to a partnership between Swale Borough Council and the LTA (Lawn Tennis Association) which included the installation of new nets and a full resurfacing and repainting of the courts.  Fences and gate access technology has also been installed to make it easier for players to find, book and get on the courts, whilst helping maintain their new high standards for future generations.

These refurbishments were thanks to a £124,578.54 investment by the UK government and the LTA Tennis Foundation, and an additional injection of £32,413 from the council. The park tennis courts at King George V Playing Fields in Sittingbourne also went through extensive improvement works. 

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 £30 million 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 will include weekly free tennis sessions, organised by volunteers, with equipment being 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 now book a session for either location online on the LTA’s website: https://www.lta.org.uk/book

Cllr Richard Palmer, the chair of the Community and Leisure Committee at Swale Borough Council, told SFM News:  “With Wimbledon putting a spotlight on tennis, this event was a fantastic opportunity for families to try out the sport for free, get active and socialise. We, alongside the LTA, have put a lot of effort and resources into refurbishing these tennis courts so they can once again become valued community assets. With this investment we have been able to transform completely unplayable public spaces into something we can all be proud of and use to their fullest.  Keeping active is not only great for your physical health, but also your mental wellbeing, so having places like these tennis courts available for people to get active is important to us. The new fees will help us maintain these courts for years to come, but we are still committed to providing access to the sport to as many people as we can. That is why we will be organising free sessions on the weekend, so everyone can have access to these wonderful courts, get active and socialise without the need for any equipment.” 

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.”  

The A249 Stockbury Flyover Tentatively Opens

The A249 Stockbury Flyover Tentatively Opens

Today (Thursday 11th July)  saw the tentative opening of the new £92m A249 Stockbury flyover between Sittingbourne, Sheppey and Maidstone helping to improve journey times and safety at this busy junction.

National Highways Project Manager, Dan Rollinson, told SFM News earlier: “Having started on site more than 1,000 days ago, we’re delighted to be opening the flyover ahead of this year’s summer holidays, helping traffic to flow smoothly around the area. And as the scheme has been delivered working closely with the local community, we wanted the first person on the flyover to reflect this.”

40-year-old local farm worker Matt Barnes, who lives in Borden and has been an avid backer of the scheme, was the first to drive his cultivation tractor on the new section of road as during the project Matt has been posting updates on a social media group which has 13,500 members.

He told SFM News: "National Highways and John Graham Construction have been extremely professional in both keeping traffic flowing, providing me with information to share with my thousands of followers interested in the work but most importantly looking out for the welfare of their staff, to get these works completed promptly but safely. It’s a real privilege to be the first over the new flyover – which, once fully open, will help ease the congestion at this junction.”

Project Manager, Dan Rollinson, went on to add: "There are some overnight closures on the A249 this week to allow us to paint new road markings. A lane is now open on the flyover for southbound traffic, and for northbound traffic from tomorrow (Friday 12th July) morning. We’ll be opening the other lanes in the coming weeks. Safety remains our top priority, so please drive carefully as you navigate the new layout. There’s still more work to do but we will continue to keep everyone updated. Thank you to everyone for your on-going patience while our team have carried out these improvements."

Tune in to 106.9 SFM's Breakfast and Drivetime Shows to keep up-to-date with the latest Traffic & Travel.

Missing Irish Man May Be In Sittingbourne

Missing Irish Man May Be In Sittingbourne

Information is sought to help find a missing man from Ireland who might be in the Sittingbourne area.

Martin Lambert is believed to have arrived in England on Friday 14th June and may have travelled to Sittingbourne on Tuesday 25th June.

He is described as white, five feet six inches tall, with short red hair and is balding on top. He is missing one of his front teeth, and has a tattoo on one arm saying ‘Mum’. On his other arm he has a tattoo of an English bulldog holding a snooker cue.

He is believed to be on foot and maybe using public transport to travel around. He may also have travelled to the North of England.

Officers are increasingly concerned for his welfare.

Anyone with any information should call Kent Police on 999 quoting reference 03-0439.


Detectives Urgently Seek Victim Of Assault

Detectives Urgently Seek Victim Of Assault

Officers investigating an incident in Sittingbourne, where a teenage boy was struck by a car, are appealing for the victim to contact them urgently.

Patrols were called to Bristol Close in Milton Regis following reports of the collision at around 9pm on last night (Friday 5th July). It is alleged the driver then got out of his vehicle and assaulted the victim who fled the scene. Constables arrested a 46-year-old local man on suspicion of assault and he was taken into custody. The suspect was later bailed to return to the police station, pending further investigation.

Detective Sergeant John-Paul Foley, of Kent Police's North Division CID, told SFM News: "The child who was struck by the car got up and ran away accompanied by another boy. Officers have been making enquiries to identify and locate him without success at this stage. He did not appear to be seriously injured but we would be keen to hear from him or his parents to confirm that is the case. We are also urging any witnesses who have not spoken to the police to contact us. 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 419 119, quoting crime reference 46/111658/24. Or, alternatively, if you would prefer to remain anonymous you can call Crimestoppers FREE and anonymously on 0800 555 111, or by using their online form: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/forms/pre-form 


Labour Win Sittingbourne & Sheppey

Labour Win Sittingbourne & Sheppey

The votes cast in the Parliamentary election for the Sittingbourne and Sheppey constituency on Thursday 4th July 2024 were as follows:

  • Mike Baldock - Swale Independents - Putting local people first - 3,238
  • Sam Banks - Green Party - 1,692
  • Matt Brown - Independent - 529
  • Aisha Cuthbert - The Conservative Party Candidate - 11,564
  • William Fotheringham-Bray - Reform UK - 10,512
  • Frances Catherine Kneller - Liberal Democrats - 1,321
  • Kevin McKenna - Labour Party - 11,919
  • Mad Mike Young - The Official Monster Raving Loony Party – 223

Kevin McKenna has been elected as the Member of Parliament for the Sittingbourne and Sheppey constituency.

Tories Retain Faversham & Mid Kent

Tories Retain Faversham & Mid Kent

The votes cast in the Parliamentary election for the Faversham & Mid Kent constituency on Thursday 4th July 2024 were as follows:

  • Helen Whately – Conservative - 14,816
  • Mel Dawkins – Labour - 13,347
  • Maxwell Harrison – Reform UK - 9,884
  • Hannah Temple – Green Party - 4,218
  • Hannah Perkin – Liberal Democrat - 4,158
  • Lawrence Rustem – British Democratic Party - 171

Helen Whateley has been elected as the Member of Parliament for the Faversham and Mid Kent constituency.

This constituency now covers a large area of what was previously Sittingbourne & Sheppey:-

New Boundary

KCC Issues Statement On Recent Traffic Delays

KCC Issues Statement On Recent Traffic Delays

Kent County Council (KCC) has today (Thursday 4th July) issued a Statement regarding the recent traffic problems in Sittingbourne and the Isle Of Sheppey following the closure of the Kingsferry Bridge and the continuing work at the Grovehurst/Iwade junction of the A249.

A KCC spokesperson told SFM News: “We understand how frustrated people living and working in the area feel about the severe traffic delays they have experienced this week while work continues on three major road schemes near Sittingbourne and the Isle of Sheppey.

“Our teams have been working closely with Network Rail since they announced their plans to carry out urgent work to replace the steel ropes that lift the Kingsferry Bridge and we have put in measures to reduce the impact on traffic. These have included making sure that there are no other planned roadworks permitted in the area and part funding with Network Rail an additional bus.

“Our priority is to keep road users safe and it is not possible to remove the traffic management from the A249 or the Sheppey-bound A249 entry slip at Grovehurst Road because works are currently under construction and it is not safe to open them up to road users.

“However, to alleviate some of the disruption, we have extended the area of free recovery for broken down vehicles on the A249 – which exacerbated the traffic delays in the area this week - and we are placing recovery vehicles along the route.

“We are also declining all further requests for non-emergency roadworks in the area for the duration of the closures of the Kingsferry Bridge. Our highways inspectors are closely monitoring local roads to ensure any emergency works required by utility companies are known and completed with as quickly as possible.

“Partners from the Kent and Medway Resilience Forum, including KCC and Network Rail, are taking this matter extremely seriously and meeting regularly to ensure risks of disruption are identified and managed as best as possible.

“We understand people may be anxious or frustrated about journey times taking longer and our advice remains to check travel times before you set off while these essential works are taking place.”


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