Local News

CCTV Image Released Following Assault

CCTV Image Released Following Assault

A CCTV image has been released by police as part of an investigation into an assault in Sittingbourne earlier this month.

Officers would like to talk to the man in the image, or anyone who recognises him, in connection with the assault which was reported to have happened on Saturday 2nd July at around 11:00pm inside a pub in West Street.

The victim, a man in his 20s, was inside The Vineyard Pub when he was reported to have been punched in the face by a man not known to him, causing him facial injuries.

Anyone with information is asked to call Kent Police on 01795 419119 quoting reference 46/127711/22 or, 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/give-information-ano....

Mecca Bingo Hall Set To Close Next Month

Mecca, Bingo Hall, Set To Close, Sittingbourne, August

The Rank Group have announced that the Mecca Bingo branch, at the bottom of Sittingbourne High Street, is to close next month on Sunday 17th August.

In a statement, the company said: "We’re very sad to confirm that Mecca Sittingbourne will be closing, and we want to say a huge thank you to every single one of our incredible customers for their loyalty and support for the last 48 years. We’ll keep you updated on Facebook on what our plans are for the coming weeks and when we have a confirmed closing date in August."

Rank operates 76 bingo clubs across the UK and opened in Sittingbourne in 1974 sharing the location with, what was then, the Odeon Cinema latterly The New Century Cinema.

Mecca Bingo, like all local businesses, was heavily impacted by the pandemic and had to shut its doors until July 2020, when it re-opened with cleaning rotas and safety measures having to be put in place under strict Government guidelines regarding hospitality venues.

Sheppey Crossing Closure Overnight Tonight

Sheppey Crossing Closure Overnight Tonight

As water supply returns to the Isle of Sheppey, Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) have confirmed that they "will begin to withdraw resources from the island throughout the day".

Between 1-3pm today (Friday 15th July) KFRS will clear hose line from the Ridham Dock area, during which time traffic will be managed with the assistance of Kent Police.

Overnight tonight crews will remove the high volume pump hose on the Sheppey Crossing bridge, resulting in the closure of the carriageway that allows traffic onto the island (northbound), between midnight and 4am. They say that "this hose has been essential for firefighting water and providing water for livestock that would otherwise have used public drinking water supplies".

During the closure, access for traffic will be via the Kingsferry Bridge.

Man Charged With Shop Jewellery Theft

Man Charged With Shop Jewellery Theft

Local officers, from Swale’s Community Policing Team, acted swiftly to arrest a man after a £4,000 chain was reported stolen from a jewellery shop at the weekend.

The theft happened after a man entered the shop in Sittingbourne High Street on Saturday (25th June) morning at around 10:00am.

While inside the suspect is alleged to have tried on a gold chain before he ran from the store while still wearing the jewellery.

Following the incident Kent Police were called and a man was later arrested in the town at 7.50pm.

William Brazil, aged 30 and of Barrow Grove, has since been charged with theft.

Mr Brazil has been bailed to appear before Medway Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 28th July.

Power Workers Rallied For Scout Campsite Makeover

Power Workers Rallied For Scout Campsite Makeover

A dedicated Scout leader has pulled together a team of electricity workers for a makeover at a Sittingbourne Scout campsite.

UK Power Networks’ engineer, Paul Austin, led improvements to Bexon Lane Scout Campsite with a team of power workers, after raising £800 from a sponsored walk with colleagues to buy equipment for the challenge.

His ‘DIY-SOS'-style makeover team of electricity linesmen, substation fitters and project managers repaired a climbing wall roof damaged during winter storms, painted containers housing activity equipment, installed shed lighting, built a new base for a flagpole and painted gates and fences.

Paul has spent 20 years supporting the Scout movement in Kent during his free time, helping young people experience outdoor adventures, right on their local doorstep. He currently serves as a water sports adventure leader in the county.

Paul told SFM News: “As the former district commissioner for this campsite I feel passionate about keeping this site in good condition, maintaining access to adventurous outdoors activities for young people right across the county. We rely on dedicated volunteers who do a brilliant job keeping the campsite in good condition for thousands of young visitors, and our volunteers needed our help. My colleagues have a broad variety of practical skills which I knew would make a big difference. I’m so grateful for their hard work which will help many young people in Kent who enjoy using this special site. I’m proud of my colleagues who worked extremely hard. We achieved our goal to complete some major projects which will benefit Scouts visiting us from across the county.”

The 12-acre site offers outdoor activities for youngsters aged between four and 18, from traditional campfires and archery, to climbing, go-karting, and other activities.

The volunteers from UK Power Networks gave their free time through Donate a Day, a company initiative giving all staff two paid days per year to work on projects in their local community.

Angela Palmer, district commissioner for Sittingbourne, Milton and District Scouts, told SFM News: “We are extremely grateful for the work UK Power Networks has carried out. Without their help, we were unsure when we would be able to reopen the area to young people. The young people are now able to experience activities they would not be able to do if it was not for their help. We want to say a big thank you to the team.”

Appeal Following Assault In Oak Road

Appeal Following Assault In Oak Road

Witnesses are being sought following an assault in Sittingbourne yesterday afternoon (Friday 17th June).

At around 4.05pm Kent Police were called to a report that a man had been assaulted in Oak Road.

Officers attended along with South East Coast Ambulance Service and the man was taken to a London hospital with a serious injury consistent with a stab wound.

A 20-year-old man from the Sittingbourne area was arrested later that evening on suspicion of assault and possession of class A drugs with intent to supply.

The suspect and the victim are understood to be known to each other.

A knife and suspected class A drugs have been seized as part of an ongoing investigation.

Anyone who maybe witnessed the incident, or who has CCTV or dashcam footage of a green Ford Fiesta in that area around that time, is asked to call Kent Police on 01795 419119, quoting reference 46/116720/22 or, alternatively, they can contact Kent Crimestoppers FREE and anonymously by calling 0800 55 5111, or using the online form on their website at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

Wellbeing And Trauma Support Dog Assists Police

Wellbeing And Trauma Support Dog Assists Police

Police stations across the county have been welcoming a special new recruit to help support the mental wellbeing of officers and staff.

Honey is Kent Police’s first wellbeing and trauma support dog and will provide a calming presence following potentially traumatic events. She is not a police dog, but belongs to a community policing volunteer and has been provided through the national Oscar Kilo 9 network which aims to introduce wellbeing dogs throughout the country.

A springer spaniel, Honey can be arranged for specific teams or individuals, including front line officers dealing with traumatic events and 999 call handlers who may take distressing or upsetting calls. Her role will be to provide a few minutes of relief to those in need across the workplace and along with her handler she has so far visited police stations in Canterbury, Ashford and Maidstone.

PC Martyn Tulk, who leads the Community Policing Volunteer Canine team, told SFM News: "Policing is a challenging and demanding job which can frequently lead to stressful, upsetting and sometimes disturbing situations. A growing number of police forces are recognising the value of dogs in helping officers and staff cope with the daily stresses of work and in supporting their overall wellbeing. When a dog is introduced to the workplace, the interactions can provide much needed light relief. We hope Honey’s presence will help our officers and staff to find it easier to engage and speak about issues and events that have been causing them upset or may have been affecting their mental health and wellbeing."

The OK9 network currently has more than 100 accredited wellbeing and trauma support dogs and as well as a number of police forces, has representation within several fire and rescue services. Their handlers are also mental health first aiders and are trained to talk about their own experiences. They are ideally placed to listen, enable difficult conversations and provide signposting to support if required.

As well as the dedicated wellbeing trauma and support dog, Kent Police uses other volunteer therapy dogs to help tackle a range of issues including around mental health and supporting vulnerable people and child centred policing.

Broadstairs Disturbance - Local Teenagers Arrested

Broadstairs Disturbance - Local Teenagers Arrested

Three teenage boys from Sittingbourne have been arrested following a disturbance in Broadstairs last week.

The incident happened at the seafront end of the town's High Street at 5.07pm on Friday (10th June). It is alleged four or five people assaulted a second group and then left the scene.

Officers attended and a bladed weapon was located and seized. No injuries were reported at the scene but subsequent enquiries suggest one person may have suffered a minor injury.

An investigation was commenced and three boys, two aged 16 and one aged 15, were later arrested on suspicion of a public order offence.

Two of the three teenagers, who are all from the Sittingbourne area, were later bailed to return to a police station on Monday 4th July. A third remains in custody.

Detective Inspector Vanessa Law, of Margate CID, told SFM News: "We are continuing to appeal for witnesses and would also like to hear from anybody with mobile phone footage of the incident. Motorists with dashcam and businesses or residents with private CCTV are also asked to check for footage that may assist our enquiries."

Anyone with any information is asked to call Kent Police on 01843 222289, quoting reference 46/111715/22 or, alternatively, they can call Crimestoppers free and anonymously on 0800 555 111 or using the online form on their website at www.crimestoppers-uk.org


Council-Owned Housing Company Ready To Go

Council-Owned Housing Company Ready To Go

Rainbow Homes is preparing its first project to deliver new affordable homes in Swale.

The new council-owned housing company is planning to deliver more than 170 new properties at three sites in Sittingbourne and has appointed Counties & Capital Consulting Ltd (C&CC) to oversee the project.

The new homes are planned for Cockleshell Walk, East Street and Fountain Street and will be the first built by Rainbow Homes.

C&CC will manage and advise on all stages of works, from concept designs, to securing planning permissions, sourcing all project professionals and overseeing the build process through to the successful letting of the new high-quality homes

Emma Wiggins, director at Rainbow Homes told SFM News “Rainbow Homes is a wholly council-owned venture that has been set up to deliver new, affordable homes in Swale. We will be working with our partners to provide local people with a home of their own, built to a good standard and offering a mix of affordable tenures. Our focus will be on creating sustainable communities which make a real difference to the lives of those who live there. Our plans for these three sites are still being finalised, and we’re getting ready to submit planning applications in the next few months. This is the first project we’re hoping to deliver, and we’re already considering plans for other locations around the borough to give as many local people as possible the chance of moving into an affordable home of their own.”

The managing director of C&CC, Neill Tickle, has previously worked with Swale Council and within the borough for more than 15 years as the development director for local housing association, Optivo. During this time he was responsible for successfully delivering many property developments including the Regis Gate Extra Care scheme and the Wild Ash Croft regeneration project.

Neill told SFM News: “We’re over the moon to have been selected from the many companies who entered into the procurement process. We’re most excited to assist Rainbow Homes in delivering these transformational regeneration projects that will continue to improve Sittingbourne town centre and benefit local people and the community. It’s refreshing to see that despite the wide range of political parties and views represented withing Swale, the one factor that everyone agrees with is that they must do their part to help with the housing crisis in delivering more affordable housing for the local community and the people who need it the most – we are delighted to be able to help them achieve this, every step of the way!”

Mohammed Parekh, the development and investment consultant at C&CC who is taking the lead role in delivering these projects told SFM News: “Due to our exceptional commercial awareness and management of internal stakeholders – we have the right balance in managing client’s requirements whilst also understanding the key issues that are so often faced during the stages of a development. We also possess good knowledge and experience of modern methods of construction which is an important consideration for all development clients these days.”

Bedroom Fire In Sittingbourne

Bedroom Fire In Sittingbourne

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) were called to reports of a bedroom fire at a home in Sittingbourne earlier this afternoon (Saturday 28th May). 

The KFRS were contaccted at 14:08 hrs and three fire engines attended the house in Jade Close.

Crews wore breathing apparatus while using hose reel jets to extinguish the flames. 

The residents were alerted to the incident by their working smoke alarms and no casualties were reported. 

It's believed the fire started accidentally due to an electrical fault. 


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