Local News

Robber Jailed After Victim Foils His Escape

Robber Jailed After Victim Foils His Escape

A robber who stole cash at a Sittingbourne store was foiled by the victim as he tried to flee the scene.

On Monday 23rd May Christopher Bygrave and Jimmy Brazil went to a shop in Milton Regis. The latter entered the premises where he saw a woman waiting to deposit a quantity of cash.

He left the building and spoke to Bygrave who went in and stood next to the woman at the counter. His presence made her nervous and, as she tried to phone her husband who was waiting outside, Bygrave snatched the money from her hand and ran towards the exit.

The victim pursued him and partially shut the door preventing his escape. Bygrave managed to pass some of the cash to Brazil and, in the struggle, cut himself. Brazil left the scene with some of the money and was chased into an alleyway by the victim’s husband. Brazil assaulted his pursuer but was detained by attending officers.

Bygrave had run from the shop before the arrival of patrols and investigators recovered CCTV that showed both men at the scene. Bygrave was arrested on Wednesday 25th May and forensic examination of blood on the door and a newspaper inside the shop, recovered his DNA.

Detectives later charged Bygrave, of Fern Walk, Sittingbourne with robbery. Brazil, of Barrow Grove, Sittingbourne was charged with counts of assault and receiving stolen property.

Both men pleaded guilty at Maidstone Crown Court and on Monday (5th September), 42-year-old Bygrave was jailed for two years and eight months.

Brazil, aged 30, was previously sentenced on Thursday 26th May to a 12-month community order and will have to complete 150 hours of unpaid work.

Kent Police’s officer in the case, PC Nathan Green, told SFM News: "Bygrave is a violent man who forcibly stole a woman’s cash thinking his victim would not resist. He underestimated her and in the ensuing struggle left traces of blood at the scene. Investigators were quick to identify him as responsible for the crime and he is now serving a well-deserved prison sentence. I would like to commend the victim, her husband and other witnesses who have assisted us to bring Bygrave and his accomplice to justice".


Enhanced Action To Target Wanted Suspects

Enhanced Action To Target Wanted Suspects

Targeted action to locate wanted suspects in Swale has led to a series of arrests for offences including a violent assault and fraud.

The arrests follow proactive work by teams across the district to reduce the number of outstanding suspects also linked to offences such as shoplifting and criminal damage.

Over recent days this increased focus has led eight named potential offenders being successfully located. These include a 23-year-old woman who was arrested in connection with allegations of a serious assault with a glass at a premises in Sittingbourne High Street. A man, aged 40, was also successfully detained and later charged in relation to causing criminal damage to properties in Crown Quay Lane, Sittingbourne.

Whilst a significant number of arrests made by Kent Police will often be the result of reactive responses to crimes in action, officers dedicate considerable time and resources to ensuring other suspects do not slip through net. This can include checking through evidence such as CCTV to identify thieves who target businesses, such as supermarkets and small retailers.

On Saturday 30th July, several items were stolen from a Co-op in Faversham and a suspect was actively sought having previously ran from police. The 40-year-old has now been located and interviewed under caution as part of an ongoing investigation.

Officers are also determined that suspects linked to non-recent crimes are also brought to justice. On Wednesday (24th August) a 36-year-old man from Faversham was arrested in connection with allegations he used an employer’s bank card to make multiple fraudulent purchases between January and May 2022, totalling more than £2,000.

Divisional Commander for North Kent, Superintendent Keith Roberts, told SFM: "ensuring an increased focus in identifying and locating outstanding suspects is just one way of providing a robust response to all manner of offences, no matter how small or minor they may seem. A lot of proactive work our officers do remains unseen, however their diligence and determination are crucial in keeping our communities and streets safe."

Council To Run Youth Climate Competition

Council To Run Youth Climate Competition

Young people in Swale, with a project idea that improves the environment, or encourages others to help the environment, are being offered £500 as part of Swale’s Great Big Green Week activities, funded by the Climate Coalition.

The youth climate competition gives young people aged 11-16 years old the opportunity to get together in small groups to develop a project that benefits the environment and local community.

Cllr Julian Saunders, chair of the environment committee at Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: “We want to hear from young people about what they think we can do to improve our local environment, so we’re offering them the opportunity to turn their idea into a reality. In groups of four to six people, anyone aged 11-16 years old can take part in the competition, with the winning team being awarded £500 to carry out their plan.”

Cllr Tim Valentine, vice chair of the environment committee at the council, told SFM News: “We’ll be looking for how the project improves the environment, what benefits there’ll be for the local community, and how they plan to deliver the project, including where the materials and resources come from and how they’ll market it. We encourage applicants to be as creative as possible, using presentation slides, word documents, videos and photos to outline their ideas. You have until Thursday, 15 September to enter your idea, with the top entrants going on to present their project to a panel of judges two weeks later on Thursday, 29 September.”

Applicants must submit their ideas by Thursday, 15th September, and be available to present their project on Thursday 29th September at Swale House in Sittingbourne.

For more information about the competition, including how to apply, visit https://cee.swale.gov.uk/community/gbgw/competition.

Man Charged With Sittingbourne Stabbing

Man Charged With Sittingbourne Stabbing

A suspect has been charged and remanded in custody following a knife assault in Sittingbourne.

Kent Police were called at 9.55pm on last Thursday (18th August), to a report a man had suffered an injury consistent with a stab wound. The victim, aged in his 50s, is alleged to have been assaulted by someone known to him during a disturbance inside a residential address in Romney Court. He was taken to a London hospital and has now been discharged.

On Friday (19th August) officers arrested Stephen Curry, aged 28, of Knightsfield Road, Quinton. He was charged with wounding with intent and with possessing a knife in a public place. Mr Curry appeared before Medway Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Monday 22nd August) and was remanded in custody. His next hearing will be on Monday 19th September at Maidstone Crown Court.

Anyone with any information they feel might assist the investigation, including CCTV footage and dashcam, should contact Kent Police on 01795 419 119 quoting reference 46/161565/22. Alternatively they can contact Kent Crimestoppers, free and anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or complete the online form on their website: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/forms/give-information-ano....

M2 Slip Road Closure Announced

M2 Slip Road Closure Announced

National Highways South East have announced that soon they will be starting work on the new slip roads, and to do this safely they will be closing the eastbound (coastbound) entry and exit slips between the M2 and A249 from Monday 12th September 2022 until Friday 13rd January 2023

This means that there will be no access to the Stockbury roundabout from the M2 eastbound or the ability to join the M2 eastbound from the Stockbury roundabout at junction 5 during the closure.

They go on to add "we know there’s never a good time to complete this kind of work at a busy junction like this, and understand these closures will cause disruption to journeys, for which we apologise".

They say that they have "been working closely with the local authorities and emergency services to plan how we do this work, and we’ll be avoiding the main summer holiday peak. Closing the slip roads is the safest approach and causes least disruption, as it reduces the amount of time traffic management will be in place to complete this work".

In January 2023, both slip roads will re-open and access from the M2 eastbound to the A249 northbound (towards Sittingbourne) will temporarily be via the Stockbury roundabout, until the dedicated slip opens in spring 2023. 

For more information stay tuned to 106.9 SFM for the latest or visit the dedicated website link at: https://nationalhighways.co.uk/our-roads/south-east/m2-junction-5-improv....

Man Arrested After Serious Assault In Sittingbourne

Man Arrested After Serious Assault In Sittingbourne

Officers investigating a serious assault in Sittingbourne have arrested a man and are appealing for witnesses.

Kent Police were called at around 9.55pm on Thursday (18th August) evening to a report that a man had suffered an injury consistent with a stab wound.

The victim, who is in his 50s, is reported to have been assaulted by someone known to him during a disturbance inside a residential address in Romney Court.

Following the incident he returned to his home in the Milton Regis area before an ambulance was called. He was later airlifted to a London hospital where he remains in a serious condition.

Officers carried out enquiries to locate the suspect and at around 8.20am this morning (Friday 19th August) arrested a 28-year-old man who remains in custody.

Detective Inspector Peter Smith told SFM News: ‘We are keen to hear from anyone who may have seen or heard anything in relation to this incident or has any CCTV, dashcam or doorbell camera footage that may assist the investigation. Please call the appeal line on 01795 419119 quoting reference 46/161565/22. Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers free and anonymously on 0800 555 111 or complete their online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org."

KCC Blue Badge Enforcement Day Held

KCC Blue Badge Enforcement Day Held

A day of enforcement action to combat the incorrect and fraudulent use of Blue Badges has been carried out in Swale.

Kent County Council’s Counter Fraud team joined Swale Borough Council’s Parking team as they visited several streets and car parks last Thursday (4th August) to check that the badges were being used by the authorised person and in the correct way.

Throughout the day civil enforcement officers were trained on how to inspect blue badges and taught about the importance of establishing if badges were being used in accordance with the scheme. The inspections took place in Sittingbourne, Faversham and Isle of Sheppey.

Blue badge holders spoken to throughout the day, welcome the news and gave positive feedback about the need for badges to be inspected on the Borough.

In total 209 people had badges inspected and most people spoken to were using the badge in accordance with the scheme. The civil enforcement officers ceased 13 badges that had expired and spoke to an additional 13 people regarding blue badges and answered any queries that arose regarding the scheme.

The eligibility criteria change has increased the number of badges used in Kent and KCC feel that "it is paramount that available spaces are used for legitimate purposes".

Clair Bell, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, told SFM News: "The Blue Badge scheme is there to support vulnerable people in maintaining independence and access to services. Abusing the scheme by using badges not belonging to you, deceased people’s badges and stolen badges for personal gain is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. The Blue Badge Scheme is an important service for people with disabilities or health conditions that enables badge holders to park close to where they need to go. While most blue badge holders respect the rules of their use, KCC along with Swale Borough Council will not tolerate the abuse of the system by the minority who take advantage of the scheme.”

Cllr Elliott Jayes, vice-chair of the community committee at Swale Council, told SFM News: “We were pleased to be teaming up with KCC to tackle the fraudulent use of blue badges. The majority were used correctly and those who were found to be abusing the scheme were dealt with appropriately. We will be cracking down on the misuse of blue badges in Swale, and this joint enforcement day is just the beginning.”

Anyone suspecting misuse of a blue badge can report it directly online at: www.kent.gov.uk/reportfraud.

Cocaine And Heroin Seized During Search Warrant

Cocaine And Heroin Seized During Search Warrant

A suspected Sittingbourne drug dealer has appeared at court following the seizure of heroin and cocaine.

Last Thursday (4th August) Kent Police executed a search warrant issued under the Misuse of Drugs Act at an address in Kemsley.

During the search of the premises, 48 deals of cocaine, 19 wraps of heroin, a quantity of herbal cannabis, three sets of electronic scales and three mobile phones were seized.

The constables also seized four knives and a man was arrested and taken into custody.

Tommy Saunders, of Phillippa Court, Sittingbourne was later charged with possessing cocaine with intent to supply, possessing heroin with intent to supply and possessing a class B drug.

The 18-year-old appeared before Medway Magistrates’ Court on Friday (5th August) where he was bailed to a hearing at Maidstone Crown Court on a date to be confirmed.


Councillors Approve Electric Vehicle Strategy

Councillors Approve Electric Vehicle Strategy

A plan for futureproofed, accessible, and affordable electric vehicle charging has been agreed by Swale Borough Council.

Councillors have approved the council’s electric vehicle strategy, which outlines how they plan to meet the future demand for electric vehicles in Swale by creating a network of charge points that meet the needs of residents, businesses and visitors by 2030.

The EV strategy was approved at the council’s environment committee meeting last month (Thursday 30th June), the first since it moved to a committee system earlier this year.

Cllr Julian Saunders, chair of the environment committee at the council, told SFM News: “The electric vehicle strategy has been in the works for a while, and I’m pleased to say that we have a futureproofed plan that aims to provide the infrastructure we need to support the move to electric vehicles ahead of our target of net-zero across the borough by 2030. Of course, we have limitations that we must work around, but what we’ve got now is a plan we can start on as we continue to have conversations with Kent County Council and other key stakeholders. We don’t manage the local road network, so when finding solutions for on-street charging such as chargers on lampposts like you see in cities, we need to work with KCC to find and implement solutions. In the meantime, we’re installing council owned charge points in our car parks, which helps us keep charging prices lower for residents.”

Cllr Tim Valentine, vice chair of the environment committee at Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: “We’re delighted to have a strategy that outlines how we create the infrastructure needed as people make the move over to more sustainable vehicles. We’ll be focussing on areas with high levels of on-street parking demand, air quality management areas and solutions for rural areas. As part of the strategy we also agreed on how we move forward installing 18 new charging bays with funding we received from the Government’s Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) in car parks near areas without driveways for charging.

He went on to add: “We received more than £100,000 from the OZEV and contributed £42,000 from our improvement and resilience fund, and plan to install new Pod Point charge points at Albany Road in Sittingbourne, Queens Hall in Faversham, and additional charge points at Rose Street in Sheerness. To meet the funding criteria, we’re installing 7kw chargers - which are suitable for a slow overnight charging - in our car parks by the end of the year.”

You can view Swale Borough Council's strategy at:- www.cee.swale.gov.uk/what-were-doing/planning.

Iwade Man Fined £22k After Depositing Illegal Waste

Iwade Man Fined £22k After Depositing Illegal Waste

The Environment Agency has successfully prosecuted an Iwade man, who was fined £4,500 and ordered to pay £6,779 costs, a £190 victims’ surcharge and £11,086 in compensation to Iron Mountain (UK) PLC, at Sevenoaks Magistrates Court. The total came to £22,555, with the magistrate took into account his guilty plea during sentencing.

Michael Shilling, aged 61 and of Raspberry Hill Park Farm in Iwade, pleaded guilty to controlling, or being in a position to control the use of, a Scania skip loader. He also pleaded guilty to knowingly causing waste to be unlawfully deposited at Gills Terrace, Otterham Quay Lane in Rainham, a site owned by Iron Mountain (UK), on Monday 14th December 2020. CCTV captured Shilling's truck entering the site 3 times.

Matt Higginson, Environment Manager for the Environment Agency, told SFM News: "This prosecution and the seizure and crushing of the vehicle shows that we will search out and prosecute anyone found to be dumping waste illegally. Illegally depositing waste without regard for the environment and the law has the potential to harm our natural resources. It is also a blight on communities and undermine the legitimate businesses that follow the rules. You won’t get away with it. We encourage everyone to check that their waste collector is registered as a waste carrier".

The waste found on site was shredded material comprising plastics, paper, mattress fabric and fibre and an employee of Iron Mountain (UK) made a statement saying the waste was smouldering when he arrived at work at the site on Tuesday 15th December 2020. On Thursday 25th February 2021, an Environment Agency officer, accompanied by Kent Police, visited Raspberry Hill Park, near Iwade and they located the lorry used on 14th December to deposit the waste. The Environment Agency and Kent Police seized and crushed the vehicle for alleged waste offences.


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