Local News

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."

Local Stonegate Pubs That Could Be 'At Risk'

Local Stonegate Pubs That Could Be 'At Risk'

The GMB Union has raised fears over the parent company of Stonegate Pubs, who owns a number of local "watering holes" and their current refinancing bid.

Almost 200 Stonegate pubs across Kent could be “at risk” of closure after private equity parent company TDR capital seeks to refinance £2.5 billion of debt the union warns.

Some local pubs that could be affected include The Beauty Of Bath, Bunters, The Red Lion  and The Vineyard in Sittingbourne along with The Sun Inn in Bredgar and The Fruiterers Arms in Rodmersham.

The Three Hats in Milton Regis, The Old Wine Vault and The Phoenix pubs in Faversham and The Flying Dutchman in Queenborough are also owned by the group.

Stonegate is one of the largest pub operators in the UK with more than 4,500 pubs across the country,

The GMB say that they are worried refinancing could lead to “crippling payments”, resulting in cuts in hours for staff, health and safety and a “rise in a toxic culture of bullying and harassment”.

Gary Lindsay, boss of TDR Capital, which also owns Asda supermarket, was before The Business and Trade Select Committee on Tuesday (9th January) and told them that he was ‘confident’ that the £2.6billion of debts in the Stonegate Pub Company could be refinanced this year.

The union is claiming that huge interest payments on TDR Capital’s debts have already resulted in cost pressures at Asda, resulting in “cuts in hours for staff, cutting corners on health and safety and a rise in a toxic culture of bullying and harassment”. This has led to a vote for strike action at Asda's Gosport store in Hampshire.

Local Flood Alert Issued

Local Flood Alert Issued

A Flood Alert has been issued by The Environment Agency (EA) due to the high tide forecast at 2:45pm today (Sunday 14th January).

Tides are expected to be higher than usual due to the forecast weather conditions during spring tides with areas most at risk including low lying land, promenades and coastal footpaths between 12:45pm and 4:45pm.

No property flooding is expected and EA have confirmed that they "are expecting higher than normal tides over the next few days" and as a result they will continue to monitor the forecast and update on  alerts for future tides if necessary.

They are asking for people to "please be careful along beaches, promenades, coastal footpaths and roads as large waves and sea spray could be dangerous".

The total peak water level at Sheerness is forecasted to be 3.46m AOD.

Flood alert area: coastal areas of the Isle of Sheppey and along the North Kent Coast from Kemsley to Seasalter, including Sheerness, Minster, Queenborough, Leysdown on Sea, Sittingbourne and Faversham.

Flat Fire In Sittingbourne

Flat Fire In Sittingbourne

Kent Fire and Rescue Service were called, at around 5:00pm, to reports of a fire at a flat yesterday (Thursday 11th January) evening.

Two fire engines attended and crews, wearing breathing apparatus, extinguished the flames at the residential property on Caithorpe Close on the Regent Quay development.

Firefighters also used a high-pressured fan to clear the property of smoke. 

The cause is not yet known. 

Charges Made In Shop Burglaries Investigation

Charges Made In Shop Burglaries Investigation

Detectives investigating burglaries at two businesses in Kent have charged a suspect.

Liam Scott, aged 24 and of Lower Road in Faversham, has been charged with two counts of burglary, making off without payment, theft of a motor vehicle and driving without insurance.

As part of the investigation a warrant was carried out at a property in Faversham on the Friday (5th January) morning where Mr Scott was arrested.

He was previously arrested by officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, after a vehicle was stolen from an address in Flood Lane, Faversham, in the early hours of Saturday 30th December 2023.

After this incident the stolen vehicle was used in a burglary at a business premises in Faversham Road, Seasalter, where alcohol and a cigarette dispensing machine were reported stolen.

After this the same vehicle was seen at a petrol station on A299 Thanet Way, where the driver put fuel into the vehicle before driving off without paying.

The same vehicle was then used in a burglary at the Co-op convenience store on London Road in Teynham, where tills were reported stolen.

Mr Scott is due to appear before Folkestone Magistrates’ Court tomorrow (Saturday 6th January).

Anyone with any information about any of the incidents, or who has relevant CCTV or dashcam footage which they are yet to make police aware of, is urged to call 01795 419119 quoting 46/228353/23.

Alternatively they can contact Crimestoppers, FREE and anonymously, by calling 0800 555 111 or by using their online form at:- https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/forms/pre-form .


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