Local News

County Line Drug Dealer From Sittingbourne Jailed

County Line Drug Dealer From Sittingbourne Jailed

A drug dealer who supplied class A substances in Chatham has been jailed for three years and nine months.

Christopher Tregunno supplied heroin and crack cocaine on behalf of a county line named ‘Trigger’ and was twice arrested by Kent Police officers in 2020. 

The 30-year-old, of Tonge Road in Sittingbourne, admitted four drug supply offences and was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court on Tuesday (9th March).

Tregunno first came to Kent Police’s attention on Monday 16th March 2020, when officers, on a routine patrol of Manor Road, observed him selling drugs to a known user.

The constables approached Tregunno and requested he open his clenched fist. He refused to do so and instead moved his hand behind his back, dropping two plastic cases in the process.

He then opened his hand to reveal two wraps of a class A substance, with the plastic cases later found to contain further wraps of heroin and crack cocaine.

Due to the need to carry out additional enquiries, including a forensic analysis of the substances seized, Tregunno was initially released under investigation. Despite being under investigation, he continued to offend and was arrested for a second time on Wednesday 16th September 2020, after officers carried out a warrant at his home.

A mobile phone was seized and the handset’s data revealed it was being used to coordinate the supply of drugs for a county line called ‘Trigger,’ which was active between July and September. Numerous communications which discussed drug supply were sent during this time period.

Tregunno was charged with possessing heroin and crack cocaine with intent to supply and being concerned in the supply of both drugs.  He has been held on remand since the arrest.  

Detective Constable Stuart Clayton, from Kent Police’s County Line and Gang Team, told SFM News: "Tregunno first came to our attention thanks to the vigilance of our patrols, who are continually attending areas known for drug supply, gathering intelligence and acting upon it. His determination to make money from supplying illicit substances is shown by his willingness to continue supplying drugs despite knowing he was already under investigation. I am pleased that a custodial sentence has now been imposed."

Council’s Waste And Street Cleansing Survey Underway

Council’s Waste And Street Cleansing Survey Underway

Swale Borough Council are currently undertaking a waste and street cleansing survey in which they are asking local people to participate.

The survey gives residents the opportunity to tell the council how the waste and street cleansing service can be improved before the current 10-year contract ends in October 2023, and will help guide the council’s future contracts.

The service is responsible for how residents’ bins are collected, how often the streets are cleaned, and how littering and fly-tipping offences are tackled. The survey asks whether people prefer mixed or separated recycling, if the streets are being cleaned often enough, and if vehicles that reduce the impact on the climate are important to them.

Cllr Julian Saunders, cabinet member for environment at Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: “We want to know what we can do to improve the waste and street cleansing service we offer to residents. We want to know if residents are happy with their bin collection, if the roads are being cleaned enough, and if we’re tough enough on fly-tipping and littering offences. One of the questions we’re asking is if residents could pick one thing that is the most important for us to improve on - what would that be? With the contract coming up for renewal in the next few years, this is the perfect time for us to look at what’s going well and what we can improve on".

Cllr Saunders went on to add: “Possible improvements were discussed at the latest area committee meetings, so now it’s important that we hear from residents and understand their priorities as we put together the new service contract. Ultimately our goal is to offer a green and energy efficient service that helps us meet our climate and ecological emergency obligations, while delivering a consistent and reliable service for residents in the most affordable and cost-effective way possible.”

The waste and street cleansing survey is open until Monday 19th April and can be found here: www.swale.gov.uk/waste-and-cleansing-survey.

Charity Partnership Boosts Child Bereavement Service

Charity Partnership Boosts Child Bereavement Service

A £20,000 project, to support bereaved children and set up by two Kent charities with the aim of providing bereaved children the help they need, has started locally.

Demelza Hospice Care for Children, based here in Sittingbourne, has brought Rochester-based Holding On Letting Go (HOLG) on-board to provide pre and post bereavement care to their families.

Whilst Demelza will continue to provide the specialist care and emotional support for families of children with terminal or serious conditions with their medical and wellbeing needs, HOLG will work with staff to offer them guidance and training specific to bereavement care, plus support children ahead of a death, after the death or both.

By drawing upon HOLG's vast and specialist knowledge, the collaboration will help to implement the new Demelza Bereavement Model, to support their current bereavement offering to families and also to increase the skills and knowledge of the volunteer Bereavement Team within Demelza.

HOLG currently supports many families across Kent with individual, currently remote support due to the pandemic, but has also been allowed to continue with their flagship bereavement support weekends where children are invited to come and talk about their loved one who died, learn how to express their emotions, and find out it's OK to feel the way they do.

A big part of the weekend for the children is making memory boxes and items for it, which they take home and can continue to add to. While the children are with the HOLG staff, their parents can meet each other at a support group too. Demelza is one of the venues HOLG hosts the weekend events from and their families will be offered similar support.

The 12-month project will include working alongside families across Kent and providing training for Demelza staff at their three locations in Kent, South East London and East Sussex. The two charities share a 22-year history since they were both founded in 1998 and it's this special link that has brought them together for this collaboration. 

HOLG will partner with Demelza to offer:

  • Bereavement training for Demelza's staff and volunteers who support families at the hospice
  • One-to-one bereavement care for Demelza's families, offered alongside all of their other services
  • Bereaved children and parent support programme
  • The development of online and face-to-face parent/carer support groups.
  • Resource packs full of useful bereavement information
  • Creative memory-making packs for families to create and add to memory boxes - a huge part of bereavement care

The collaboration will be led at HOLG by Debbie McSwiney, who until three years ago worked at Demelza and had been a trustee of HOLG for many years alongside her role; so she knows both organisations well. Debbie told SFM News: "Both Demelza and HOLG have a focus on children, plus our long history together makes this a wonderful partnership. I'm really looking forward to working together with Demelza to support their bereaved families because I have seen what a difference the right support makes to so many of the families we have supported over the years and continue to keep in touch with. It's an amazing opportunity for two such knowledgeable organisations to pool their skills and resources to help build resilience within those families requiring our specialist help and support."

Jo Burton, Demelza's Therapeutic and Bereavement Lead, told SFM News: "The opportunity to collaborate with HOLG could not have come at a better time and I am looking forward to developing the partnership between our organisations, building on our strengths and sharing experiences. With the new Demelza Bereavement Model in place, and the volunteer team on board and currently engaged in training, HOLG has been able to share its invaluable knowledge and expertise in running groups, supporting families in pre and post bereavement work as well as offering us training in specific areas of specialist support for families. This is enabling us to open our new services confidently, knowing that good practice, based on years of experience, is being offered to Demelza families, ensuring a smooth transition and a positive step to the future."

Police Specials Tackle Road Safety In Sittingbourne

Police Specials Tackle Road Safety In Sittingbourne

Volunteers from Kent Police's Special Constabulary have taken part in a road safety initiative to help keep motorists safe here in Sittingbourne.

Last Saturday (27th February) a total of three Special Inspectors, three Special Sergeants and seven Special Constables dealt with issues including drivers not wearing seatbelts, speeding and lack of insurance in a targeted operation in the Mill Way area.

A total of 22 people were stopped and reported for not wearing a seatbelt, one for using a mobile phone at the wheel and one for not having any car insurance, which resulted in the vehicle being seized. Another person was given a traffic offence report for driving a vehicle in an unsafe condition.

Officers were joined by representatives from Swale Borough Council’s Environmental Enforcement Team, who dealt with environmental offences including fly-tipping, where one person was fined £400 for depositing controlled waste on the Isle of Sheppey.

Special Chief Inspector Alan Watson told SFM News: "Operations like this play an important part in targeting motorists who choose to ignore the law and put lives at risk. Using a mobile phone whilst driving is simply reckless because it only takes a second to be distracted and cause a potentially fatal accident. Such a mistake could change your life forever. Although the vast majority of people in Kent do drive responsibly there is still a small minority who don’t. This is unacceptable and we will continue to carry out enforcement activity within our communities to keep our roads as safe as possible. Special Constables are unpaid volunteers, many of whom have full time jobs and give up some of their spare time to assist with important and varied work such as this. I would encourage anyone thinking about joining to get in touch with us".

www.kent.police.uk has more information about becoming a Special.

Vehicle Linked To Flytipping Impounded In Iwade

Vehicle Linked To Flytipping Impounded In Iwade

Officers from the Environment Agency’s Environmental Crime Team, along with Kent Police officers, seized a vehicle from a farm near Iwade on Thursday (25th February).

The seized vehicle is an 8-wheeled tipper truck and is believed to be have been used to fly tip waste in the Rainham area.

Alan Cansdale, Area Environment Manager for Kent at the Environment Agency, told SFM News: "This sends out a strong message that we will use all our powers possible to stop waste crime which harms the environment, wildlife and the community, as well as undermining the work of companies that operate legitimately. To help avoid your waste ending up at an illegal waste site, we encourage you to ask for your waste collector’s waste carrier’s registration number and ask to see their waste transfer note, they must have these".

The owners of the vehicles now have until Thursday 18th March to claim to have the vehicles returned to them by the Environment Agency and if no legitimate claim is made, the vehicles will be sold or crushed.

Members of the public can report illegal waste activity anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via the online form.

You can check your waste collector’s by clicking here: waste carriers registration or you can call 03708 506 506.

The Environment Agency can seize and impound a vehicle, trailer or mobile plant without a warrant if it suspects:

  • waste is being carried without a valid waste carriers licence
  • the vehicle has been or is about to be used in an alleged waste crime offence
  • the waste duty of care is being or has been breached

When a vehicle is seized, the police and the registered keeper are notified in writing and to claim the vehicle they need to register their claim within 15 working days of the date of the notice. The Environment Agency may need to keep the seized vehicle and any contents for the duration of an investigation or criminal proceedings and if the vehicle isn’t claimed, or nobody is entitled to it, they can then sell, destroy or dispose of the vehicle and all of its contents.

Earlier this year the Environment Agency and partners launched the Joint Unit for Waste Crime, aiming to stop serious and organised crime in the UK.

Appeal Following Fatal Collision On The M2

Appeal Following Fatal Collision On The M2

Investigators are appealing for information following a fatal collision on the M2 near Faversham earlier today (Sunday 28th February).

The collision took place on the coastbound carriageway, between junctions 5 and 6, at around 12.25am in the early hours of this morning.

It involved a silver Mercedes CLS 220 and a Mercedes Actros, a lorry which has a blue cabin and white trailer. The driver of the silver car, a man in his 40s from the Medway area, was declared deceased at the scene.

Kent Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit are investigating the circumstances and would like to hear from anyone who witnessed the incident, or who may have dashcam footage of the vehicles travelling in the moments leading up to the collision. 

Anyone with any information is asked to call 01622 798 538 quoting SM/SW/015/21 or, alternatively, they can email: sciu.td@kent.pnn.police.uk.

The motorway was CLOSED for several hours through the morning, with drivers being asked to follow the 'Solid Circle Symbol' through Sittingbourne to Faversham and to rejoin the M2 at J6 (Faversham).

Swale Council’s Budget Agreed For 2021/22

Swale Council’s Budget Agreed For 2021/22

Band D households in Swale will be asked to pay  £3.54 per week for Swale Borough Council services in the coming financial year.

The proposals for Swale’s share of the council tax were agreed at a full council meeting on Wednesday (24th February) evening.

The rise will see band D households paying £184.32 a year for Swale Borough Council services, a rise of £4.95.

Cllr Roger Truelove, Leader of Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: “The budget for the coming financial year is under severe pressure. We’ve managed to resist these pressures with regular support from Government through Covid related grants and with good internal financial management, but we still have a long road ahead as the local economy starts to recover. With the budget set for 2021-22, we can manage the challenges for the next year through the same combination of Government grants and sound control of expenditure we’ve demonstrated this year".

He went on to add: “We will only be asking for a council tax increase of 9p a week for band D properties, though I am aware that people’s overall charge will be affected by a larger Kent County Council precept which accounts for almost three-quarters of the total council tax bill for residents. The budget for the coming year outlines how we will carefully manage internal spending as well as drawing on our reserves to ensure we are delivering our core services and making improvements to the borough. We will be setting up the Rainbow Housing Company to provide more affordable housing, a project which is financially stable and allocating funds from our reserves to encourage growth and recovery in the borough. We’ll make it our priority to stimulate the local economy, our visitor economy, our heritage, our environment and public realm and our local community groups.”

Charges for Swale Borough Council services are only one element of the final council tax bill residents receive. Householders’ council tax bills also include charges for Kent County Council, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, Kent & Medway Fire and Rescue Service, and parish or town councils where these exist. These are set by the respective organisations and are collected on their behalf by Swale.

The council tax bill for a band D household for 2021/22 will be made up of:

  • £1,418.79 - Kent County Council
  • £218.15 – Kent Police
  • £184.32 – Swale Borough Council
  • £80.82 – Kent & Medway Fire and Rescue Authority

* along with any town or parish council precepts in areas where these exist.

The full report from the full council meeting can be found here.

Man Charged With Sittingbourne Burglary

Man Charged With Sittingbourne Burglary

Four charges have been authorised against a man following a report a business was burgled in Sittingbourne.

A computer and printer are said to have been stolen from a business in Conqueror Court on the night of Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th January.

Following enquiries carried out by the Chief Constable’s Crime Squad, Simon Owen was arrested on suspicion of the offence on Tuesday (16th February).

He has since been charged with the offence, and three additional shoplifting offences which are all said to have taken place at a supermarket in Avenue of Remembrance, Sittingbourne, last Monday (8th February). Various bottles of alcohol, worth a combined total of around £250, are reported to have been stolen.

The 47-year-old, of Porcelain Close in Sittingbourne, was remanded in custody to appear at Medway Magistrates’ Court yesterday  (Wednesday 17th February) where he was released on bail and will next appear before Maidstone Crown Court on Wednesday 17th March.

More Action Taken Against Fly-Tippers In Swale

More Action Taken Against Fly-Tippers In Swale
Waste carriers were targeted last Friday (12th February) as part of a day of action to crackdown on fly tipping.
Swale Borough Council teamed up with Kent Police’s Rural Task Force to carry out enquiries, arrest people suspected of fly tipping, seize vehicles and collate evidence with a view to prosecuting offenders for waste related crimes.

Outcomes of the day were:

• 6 vehicles stopped and searched
• 2 Fixed Penalty Notices issued
• 1 vehicle seized.

Cllr Julian Saunders, cabinet member for environment at Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: “We’ve been cracking down on fly-tipping across the borough. These crackdown days give us the opportunity to work with the Police Rural Task Force to prosecute offenders for waste related crimes. We also spoke to drivers who had failed to keep a record of where they had collected their waste from and explained how important it is for waste carriers to not only be licensed properly, but to retain a log of their collections and delivery waste transfer notes. Failing to do so can result in an on the spot fine of £400".

Cllr Saunders went on to say: “We also issued two fixed penalty notices to drivers. One who failed to have a waste carrier license and one for not having waste transfer notes for the waste on the vehicle. One vehicle was seized by the police for traffic offenses, including not having current tax, insurance or MOT for the vehicle. More and more of these action days are taking place across the County and a tremendous amount of preparation takes place ahead of these days, including the gathering of vital intelligence to support the Council’s Enforcement team with their duties".

What can you do to dispose of your waste responsibly?

Fly tippers often target households via social media or local advertising, luring customers in with cheap rates to dispose of unwanted furniture, building rubble or garden waste. However, these unlicensed waste carriers often simply dump the waste where ever they can get away with it, including in Kent’s country lanes. Householders or small businesses found to be using criminals to dispose of their waste can and are being prosecuted by local authorities in Kent with fixed penalty notices that go up to £400 per offence. Failure to pay such an FPN may result in court action where fines can be significantly larger.

To prevent this, householders should check whether someone is licenced to carry waste by visiting the Environment Agency website: https://environment.data.gov.uk/public-register/view/search-waste-carrie..., or alternatively you can call 03708 506 506. It also helps if householders receive a written receipt or transfer note, including contact details, description of waste removed and details of where the waste is being taken to.

The 13 Kent councils, along with Kent Police, are working in partnership to Keep Kent Clean. To keep updated with the councils’ efforts to tackle fly tipping and littering, follow #KeepKentClean.

Police Appeal Following Fatal M2 Collision

Police Appeal Following Fatal M2 Collision

Information is being sought following a fatal collision on the coastbound M2 near Blue Bell Hill yesterday (Tuesday 16th February) morning.

At  approximately 11.28am Kent Police were called to the collision, involving a blue Vauxhall Corsa and a white Kia Picanto between Junctions 3 and 4.

A 79-year-old man was confirmed deceased at the scene. A woman suffered injuries and was taken to hospital and a third vehicle, an articulated lorry, sustained damage from the debris shortly after the collision.

Officers from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit (SCIU) are investigating the incident and would like to hear from anyone who witnessed the collision, or saw either vehicle beforehand, or has dash cam footage which could assist enquiries.

Witnesses are asked to call the SCIU appeal line on 01622 798 538 or email sciu.td@kent.pnn.police.uk quoting Ref: AH/KA/012/21.

The road was closed, in both directions, for most of the afternoon whilst investigation work was undertaken by the Kent Police SCIU.



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