Local News

Police Appeal Following Serious Faversham Assault

Police Appeal Following A Serious Assault In Faversham

Detectives are appealing for witnesses to a serious assault in Faversham yesterday (Wednesday 25th January) evening.

Between 5pm and 5.20pm a silver BMW, driving along Lower Road, is reported to have been driven at a man standing on the pavement.

It is alleged some men got out of the vehicle and chased the victim into St Paul’s Avenue where he suffered an injury consistent with a stab wound.

The 19-year-old was taken to a London hospital where he remains in a stable condition. It is thought the victim and the suspects were known to each other.

Earlier today (Thursday 26th Janauary) a 40-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assault and taken into custody.

Detective Inspector Pete Smith told SFM News: ‘An investigation is underway into the circumstances including house-to-house enquiries in the area. We are urging witnesses or anybody with information to call our appeal line. Motorists 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 reference 46/15282/23 or, alternatively, they can contact Crimestoppers free and anonymously on 0800 555 111, or by using the online form on their website.

Local Man Charged With Money Laundering Offences

Local Man Charged With Money Laundering Offences

A Sittingbourne man is set to appear in court accused of receiving more than £300,000 in illegally-earned funds.

Luke Barling, aged 49 and of Blenheim Road, has been charged with three counts of money laundering, following an investigation by detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate.

The money is believed to be linked to alleged fraud offences committed by unknown suspects against 16 victims, most of them elderly, between February and July 2020.

Mr Barling has received a summons to appear at Medway Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 2nd March.

£20M For Sheerness Revival Announced

£20M For Sheerness Revival Announced

Swale Borough Council has been awarded £20 million to improve health, education, leisure, and employment opportunities in Sheerness on the Isle Of Sheppey.

The Sheerness Revival project has been awarded the money from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund.

The scheme will expand the existing health centre to provide more and better services from the Healthy Living Centre for local people.

Sheppey College will offer new courses to give young people aged 14-18 on the Island easier access to more training and education opportunities. The conversion of the Master’s House studios to creative workspace will help create and support local jobs.

There will also be new leisure activities such as soft play, adventure golf, TAG active, new café and outdoor gym at Beachfields will give local people and visitors a greater choice of things to do in the town.

The funding will also deliver public realm improvements from the train station and around the leisure complex. Improvements will be made to better connect the high street, train station and seafront to encourage visitors to explore and enjoy more of the town.

Cllr Mike Baldock, Leader of Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: “This is fantastic news for Sheerness, and the whole Island, and I’m immensely proud that all the hard work that has been put in by the local community and our officers has paid off. When the criteria for the Levelling Up funding were announced we knew we had to try to get some much-needed investment in Sheerness, and Gordon Henderson has given us nothing but his full support throughout the process, for which we are immensely grateful." 

He went on to add: “We spent a considerable amount of time and effort listening to the local community to put together the best bid possible for the budget allowed – without that support, I don’t think we would be where we are now. This is the largest amount of funding we have ever received, and I am confident it will make a real and lasting difference to local people’s lives and opportunities .It's a major step towards the revival of Sheerness, with benefits that spread across the whole Island.”

Gordon Henderson, member of parliament for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, told SFM News: “I’m delighted to have supported this bid by Swale Council, which will make a great difference to people in and around Sheerness. I have been lobbying the Government hard since the bid was submitted, emphasising how much my constituency needs this added investment, so I am pleased, and grateful, ministers have listened to my pleas. This scheme shows that by working together, we can improve the health, education, and employment prospects for local people, in a meaningful way.I look forward to continuing to work together with Swale Council to make this scheme a success, and to find ways we can build up on this to keep improving the Island for everyone.”

For more information on the bid, visit www.swale.gov.uk/levelling-up.


Another Delay To M2 Slip Road Reopening

Another Delay To M2 Slip Road Reopening

National Highways have today (Tuesday 17th January) given an update on the M2 junction 5 improvement scheme and the eastbound slip roads.

They say that they have "made good progress on the slips, however due to the cold weather predicted this week, we’re unable to complete the last stages of the work – putting down the final layer of surfacing, and line painting. The temperatures being forecast are too low for us to carry out this work. To ensure the final surface is safe and will last, surfacing needs to be done when the temperatures are consistently a few degrees above zero. If we carry out the work when it’s too cold, the surface quickly freezes, becomes brittle and could crack, meaning we’d need to return and resurface the slips again, causing further disruption".

National Highways confimred that they are now planning to re-open the eastbound slip roads by Monday 30th January, subject to weather conditions.

You can find out more on the project webpage.

Swale BC Agree New Waste Contractor

Swale BC Agree New Waste Contractor

Swale, along with two other Kent councils, have signed a new waste and recycling contract with SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK Ltd.

Ashford, Maidstone and Swale councils – who work together as the Mid Kent Waste Partnership - have awarded the eight-year contract to Suez after a joint tender process.

The new £19 million a year contract begins in March 2024 and will bring improvements to all the existing service and make use of the latest technology.

Fortnightly collections of waste and recycling will continue across the three boroughs, with one wheeled bin for dry recycling, alongside the regular weekly food waste collections.

The new contract aims to increase recycling rates across the three boroughs and improve route efficiency. Lower emission vehicles will be used along with better technology to keep residents up to date.

The new vehicles are being funded directly by the councils to help save costs and will be more modern vehicles that use electric bin lifts, reducing the consumption of diesel dramatically and helping lower the services’ carbon footprint.

Ashford and Swale will also see their street cleansing service delivered by Suez, whilst Maidstone’s will remain in-house. The new contract includes proposed improvements to the level of cleansing in rural and residential areas, as well as quicker response times for the removal of fly-tipping.

Cllr Julian Saunders, chair of Swale’s Environment Committee told SFM News: “Council officers have worked effectively with their colleagues in Ashford and Maidstone over the last couple of years to get this new contract in place. We’ve listened to resident’s views throughout the process which is why we wanted to keep dry recycling collections in one bin and improve street cleansing. Working in a partnership to deliver what is our biggest contract, gives us a number of operational advantages and Suez provided a strong bid, showing enthusiasm to deliver the service and bringing their considerable industry experience to Mid Kent. The proposal has a number of strengths – maintaining the most valued elements of the current service, making other service improvements, reducing our carbon emissions and promoting recycling”.

The current service will continue to be delivered by the Mid Kent Waste Partnership along with Biffa Municipal Ltd until the start of the new contract. Staff working on the existing contract will be transferred to the new contractor.

In a Press Release Swale Borough Council added: "the partnership wish to express their thanks to Biffa for the last 10 years of service delivery".


Hiyacar Scheme Set To Launch In Sittingbourne

Hiyacar Scheme Set To Launch In Sittingbourne

Councillors have agreed the rollout of a low cost, low emission car club to Sittingbourne.

Swale Borough Council will be launching the next local car club to help people access cleaner vehicles, without the expense and hassle of ownership.

Swale BC say "the scheme will be building on the successful trial of the first club set up in Faversham last year. This has been estimated to have saved local drivers almost £24,000, and reduced CO2 emissions by 6.39 tonnes, in the first three months".

For as little as £3 an hour, Hiyacar will provide low emission vehicles on a pay as you go system with online booking where users can sign up for free.

Members will be able to access the vehicles using Hiyacar’s keyless QuickStart technology, via the Hiyacar app. The rental price includes car cleaning, maintenance and management information and are all covered by Hiyacar’s bespoke insurance.

Cllr Julian Saunders, Chair of the council’s Environment Committee, told SFM News: "Car clubs offer people an affordable alternative to owning a car and help improve air quality and health by encouraging members to walk and cycle more often, rather than jumping in the car. The trial in Faversham has been a great success, so we are keen to roll it out elsewhere so even more people can benefit. A feasibility study identified Sittingbourne as the best place to roll out the next car club, but we are still keen to roll them out to other parts of the borough in future.”

Cllr Tim Valentine, Deputy Chair of the Environment Committee, added: “Running a car is expensive – buying it, insuring, maintaining and fuel are significant costs. People who drive less than 6- 8,000 miles annually could save up to £3,500 a year by using the car club. The trial starts next month, and at the end of the three years, we intend for the car club to be self-financing and to continue as part of our plans for more active travel options."

Graeme Risby, CEO and Co-Founder of Hiyacar told SFM News: “We [Hiyacar] are proud to have played a part in the success of the initial car club trial in Faversham and are thrilled to be further improving sustainable transport access for residents of Swale, with the launch of this trial in Sittingbourne. Providing residents with affordable access to low emissions vehicles, will help drivers in the community get where they need to go, more sustainably. We’re excited to see how this car club trial progresses.”

The council will fund the set up costs of the car club of £29,262, plus the additional cost of a dedicated charge point, from money from local developments.

The council have confirmed that the contract to run the scheme will run until February 2025 – in line with the Faversham car club – after which the scheme is expected to be self-financing.


Police Investigate Unlawful Owl Killing In Upchurch

Police Investigate Unlawful Owl Killing In Upchurch

Kent Police’s Rural Task Force are investigating the suspected killing of a tawny owl in Upchurch.

The incident is believed to have happened in October 2022 and officers have recently come into possession of images of two men they would like to speak to.

Police Sergeant Darren Walshaw told SFM News: ‘we suspect an owl was killed using catapults and are now issuing photographs of two people who may be able to assist with our enquiries. Anybody who recognises one or both of them is urged to contact our appeal line."

Anyone with any information is asked to call 01634 792209, quoting Rural Task Force reference 95-22. Alternatively they can call Kent Crimestoppers free and anonymously on 0800 555 111 or complete the online form on the website.

27 Pregnant Sheep Killed After Dog Attack

27 Pregnant Sheep Killed After Dog Attack

Kent Police are seeking witnesses after 27 sheep were found dead following a dog attack in a field near Sittingbourne.

The ewes, who were all believed to be pregnant, were attacked between Christmas Eve and 1pm on Boxing Day. It happened at a location near Deerton Street, Teynham. It has been reported that barking was heard in the area between 4pm and 5pm on Christmas Day.

PC Marc Pennicott, of Kent Police’s Rural Task Force told SFM News: "This is a distressing incident which is possibly the worst livestock attack we have ever had. The sheep would have been petrified and had no way of escaping. We believe they may have been attacked by one dog but cannot rule out that more dogs may have also been responsible. The farmer has not only suffered a financial loss due to this incident but animals have needlessly lost their lives. These dogs would have been covered in mud and returned home exhausted and we are committed to identifying their owners. Sheep targeted were pregnant with twins or triplets and the remaining livestock have also been left vulnerable to a further attack, so it is extremely important that we find who is responsible for these dogs as quickly as possible."

Anyone with any information about the incident is asked to call Kent Police on 01795 419119, quoting reference 26-0510. Alternatively they can call Kent Crimestoppers free and anonymously on 0800 555 111 or complete the online form on their website.

Man Charged With Murder In Sittingbourne

Man Charged With Murder In Sittingbourne

A suspect has been charged with murder following the death of a man in Sittingbourne.

Kent Police were called at 1.36am on Wednesday (21st December) after a man had sustained injuries consistent with stab wounds at a property off College Road. Officers and ambulance crews attended and David Perry, aged 40, was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Rohan Daniels, aged 18, was arrested and an investigation is being led by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate.

Yesterday (Thursday 22nd December), the Crown Prosecution Service authorised a charge of murder against Mr Daniels and he was remanded in custody.

He will appear before Medway Magistrates’ Court later today (Friday 23rd December).

Please check this webiste for further updates on this breaking story.

Domestic Garage Fire In Iwade

Domestic Garage Fire In Sittingbourne

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) were sent to the scene of a garage fire on Helen Thompson Close in Iwade, Sittingbourne in the early hours of this morning (Saturday 17th December).

Four fire engines were sent to the scene after the KFRS were called shortly after 4.20am and crews arrived to a fire spreading from a garage to the roof of an adjoining property.

Crews wearing breathing apparatus used main jets, hose reel jets and water from a local hydrant to extinguish the blaze.

No casualties were reported, and the cause has not been confirmed.


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