Local News

Sittingbourne Man Charged With Attempted Murder

Sittingbourne Man Charged With Attempted Murder

Kent Police have confirmed that an attempted murder charge has been authorised against a man from Sittingbourne.

Mathew Breaker, aged 46 and of Swanstree Avenue, appeared before Medway Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Monday 12th December).

He has been charged with attempted murder, possessing an offensive weapon in a public place and two counts of possessing a bladed object in a public place.

He was charged after a woman was seriously hurt in Sittingbourne at around 1.30am on Sunday (11th December) morning.

The victim required hospital treatment but has since been discharged.

Mr Breaker has been remanded in custody and is due to appear before Maidstone Crown Court on Monday 9th January 2023.


Barclays Bank Branch Set To Close

Barclays Bank Branch Set To Close

Banking giant Barclays have announced that their Sittingbourne branch is set to close in the New Year.

The branch, at 81 High Street Sittingbourne, will close its counters for the last time at 12 noon on Wednesday 8th March 2023.

A spokesperson for Barclays told SFM News "visits to the branch have declined as people are increasingly making use of other means of managing their money, such as telephone banking or online apps. Before deciding whether to close this branch, we looked carefully at how it’s been used and how customers are banking in other ways. We found that 91% of people who used our branch in 2021 had also used the app, online or by phone. Only 13 customers said that they regularly use the branch as their only way to do their banking."

Customers can withdraw money from their Barclays account at any Post Office branch using their debit card, and pay cheques into their account. Barclays said that affected customers can call 03457 345452 for more information.

The closure follows Barclays shuting both it's Sheerness and Faversham branches in the summer. Nat West and Lloyds also shut their Faversham branches this year leaving Nationwide as the only bank in the town.

Police Closure Order On Sittingbourne Flat

Police Closure Order On Sittingbourne Flat

Sittingbourne officers have secured an extension of a closure order which prohibits entry to a property associated with persistent anti-social behaviour.

The extension was granted at Maidstone’ Magistrates Court on Thursday (24th November) and concerns a flat in Oak Road, Murston linked to repeated threats and harassment to neighbours. The closure order makes it an offence for anyone to enter the property and had originally lasted from Friday 26th August until Friday 25th November 2022.

The extension means the order will now remain in place until Saturday 25th February 2023. Penalties for breaching the order include a fine and up to 51 weeks in prison. Local officers have ensured the housing association-owned property remains secured against any unauthorised entry and a sign on the door warns it is an offence to enter.

PC Jamie Spencer, of the Swale Community Safety Unit, told SFM News: "Tackling anti-social behaviour remains an absolute priority for us, as these types of issues can make people’s lives a misery and have a profound negative impact on the local community. An extension of this closure order is therefore an important step to help us prevent any recurrence of the persistent intimidation, threats and verbal abuse that residents living nearby had to previously endure."

Witnesses Sought To Fatal M2 Collision

Witnesses Sought To Fatal M2 Collision

Kent Police officers, investigating a fatal collision on the M2 earlier today (Sunday 27th November), are appealing for witnesses to come forward.

At around 6.14am a red Nissan Qashqai was involved in a collision with a red Mercedes-Benz C 200 AMG between junction six and five on the London-bound carriageway.

Kent Police and South East Coast Ambulance Service attended the scene and the driver of the Nissan Qashqai, a woman in her 50s, was pronounced deceased at the scene.

A 40-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and drink driving.

Officers are keen to talk to the driver of a light-coloured van who may have seen the Mercedes pass them prior to the collision. They believe the motorist may have important information which can assist their investigation.

The carriageway was closed following the collision and was reopened at around 4pm this afternoon. The woman’s next of kin were informed about the incident.

Officers from Kent Police's Serious Collision Investigation Unit (SCIU) would like to hear from anyone who saw what happened, or who has relevant dashcam or CCTV footage.

Drivers can call the SCIU appeal line at Kent Police Headquarters on 01622 798 538, or can email sciu.td@kent.pnn.police.uk, quoting reference AH/SC/131/22.

Drivers with any dashcam footage which may assist the investigation can submit it here.

CCTV Released After Rail Staff Spat At

CCTV Released After Rail Staff Spat At

British Transport Police (BTP) officers, investigating an incident during which a man spat at a member of rail staff, have released an image in connection with the incident.

At 3.30pm on Friday 30th September, a man climbed over a fence at Sittingbourne railway station onto its platform to avoid the ticket barriers.

Rail staff approached the man and escorted him out of the station. As he passed through the booking hall he turned and spat at one of the staff members before leaving.

Officers believe the man in the CCTV image may have information which could help their investigation.

If you recognise him, or have any information, please contact BTP by texting 61016 or calling 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference 355 of 30th September.

Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers, free and anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Councillors Asked To Approve Budget Consultation

Councillors Asked To Approve Budget Consultation

Councillors are being asked to approve consulting on Swale Borough Council’s draft budget next week.

The policy and resources committee will be discussing a report on the draft budget for 2023/24 on Wednesday (30th November).

The report sets out how the council proposes to tackle significant inflation, increased pressure on key services and delays to the government’s local government funding review.

The draft budget outlines £2.8m of proposed savings, efficiencies and increased income for 2023/24, leaving a budget gap of £2m, which would be funded from reserves.

The draft budget consultation would ask for feedback on issues such as:

  • restructuring council services to save £516,000, including £100,000 from senior management
  • no inflationary pay award for council staff, except those on the Real Living Wage, with salaries frozen and working hours reduced
  • increasing council tax by 2.99%, or more if the Government increase the previous cash limit
  • increasing income from fees and charges by £581,000
  • reducing grants paid by £227,000.

Cllr Mike Baldock, the Leader of Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: “Like all households, we’re facing significant increases in our costs, and we are being forced to take some tough decisions. Inflation is really biting as our costs increase, but we’re also dealing with more and more people approaching us for support with things like housing, which is a significant cost for us. At the same time, funding from the revenue support grant from central government has fallen from £4.1 million in 2014/15 to £120,000 this year, and we’re still waiting for a funding review to put local government on a more solid footing. Our share of the final council tax bill that residents receive is only around 10 per cent of the total, but we know our services make a real difference to local people. This is why - if the committee agree to consult - it’s vital we get as many responses as possible.”

If the Policy and Resources Committee agree, a consultation will be launched shortly afterwards. The results would then be reported to the policy and resources committee on Wedesday 8th February 2023 before full council is asked to approve the final budget on Wednesday 22nd February.

Local Man Arrested In Canterbury Drug Search

Local Man Arrested In Canterbury Drug Search

Illegal drugs with an estimated street value of more than £1,600 have been found after officers pulled a vehicle over in Canterbury.

At around 4.30pm on Wednesday (9th November), officers from Kent Police’s Proactive Targeting Team were on patrol in the Longport area of the city when they received a report from another patrol of a Toyota being driven in a suspicious manner nearby. They saw and stopped the car. It was searched, resulting in a large amount of cannabis found hidden in cavities within the body of the vehicle. Phones and a quantity of cash were also seized.

A 38-year-old man from Sittingbourne was arrested on suspicion of possessing drugs, with intent to supply, and taken into custody while enquiries continue.

More Support For Swale’s Vulnerable Residents

More Support For Swale’s Vulnerable Residents

People struggling to feed their families and pay their bills could be eligible for more support this winter.

Swale Borough Council has received more than £250,000 from Kent County Council’s (KCC) Household Support Fund to help households access food boxes, get vouchers to pay their electric, gas and water bills, and purchase the items needed to keep warm.

The money has been allocated to organisations within the local community who have been on the ground helping people navigate the cost of living crisis.

Swale Food Bank and Children and Families will be delivering emergency food parcels, West Faversham Community Association will be providing meals to the young people visiting their youth hub and Age UK will be delivering hot meals and shopping to pensioners.

The council’s fuel and water home advisor and Citizens Advice Swale will be providing Fuel Bank Foundation fuel vouchers to people with pre-paid meters, and Children and Families will be providing Mastercard vouchers for people with billed utility accounts.

People can also request help with items that will help keep them warm this winter such as water bottles, blankets, and draft excluders from the council’s fuel and water housing advisor.

Cllr Richard Palmer, chair of the community committee at Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: “We’ve received more than £250,000 from KCC’s household support fund this time around. We received money from the first round this summer, and used it support almost 8,000 households around Swale. Unfortunately, we haven’t received as much money as we did in the first round, but the criteria for who we can help has been relaxed this time, so we hope to be able to reach the households that weren’t eligible last time.”

Cllr Elliott Jayes, vice chair of the community committee at the council, told SFM News: “Alongside helping with energy bills, we can also help residents with the cost of hot water bottles, blankets, and draft excluders. The funding is available until March, so anyone struggling to feed their family or keep their home warm this winter can contact us for support.”

To find the right support for you visit the Swale Borough Council website via this link: www.swale.gov.uk/hsf.


New Pay Machines For All Council Run Car Parks

New Pay Machines For All Council Run Car Parks

Parking in one of Swale’s pay and display car parks should soon be easier with new pay units being rolled out by the council from next month.

Swale Borough Council are installing 38 new pay units that accept debit or credit cards and contactless payments, as well as the existing cash or RingGo App options.

The new pay units are being installed in the council’s 24 pay and display car parks around the borough from November.

Cllr Richard Palmer, chair of the community committee at the council, told SFM News: “We have invested £146,000 from the civil enforcement reserve into these new pay units, which will keep Swale up to date with current technology. Lots of popular car parks now give users the option to pay with cash, card, phone, contactless or parking app, and now we can too. The new technology will allow people to pay by debit or with credit card, and to use the contactless method of their choice to pay for their parking – card, phone, smartwatch, Fitbit, ring or pay fob. Alongside these new additions, people can also still use RingGo to pay by phone call, text message, or app, which allows drivers the option to extend their parking session while away from their vehicle.”

Cllr Elliott Jayes, vice chair of the community committee at the council, told SFM News: “Some of our old pay units have started to be out of service more regularly and we know this frustrates residents. It’s important that visitors have varied and current ways to pay for their parking. If you prefer to use cash, you can. If you prefer to manage your money on your phone or watch to make quick and easy contactless payments, you can. If you forgot your cash and prefer not to use contactless options, you’re still covered.”

Police Make Arrest Following Machete Threats

Police Make Arrest Following Machete Threats

A suspect has been remanded in custody following reports he made threats with a weapon towards two men in separate Swale incidents.

At around 8.45pm on Monday (31st October) evening, it is alleged a victim was threatened by a man with a machete on a platform at Sheerness train station.

Later the same evening, it is reported the same suspect threatened a second victim whilst holding a machete at Sittingbourne train station. The threats continued as the victim left the station and ran into Mill Way. It is understood neither victim suffered any injury and within a few hours of the second incident, a man was arrested in Kemsley.

Joe Tubb, of Gillingham Road, Gillingham was later charged with two counts of affray and two counts of possessing a bladed article. The 21-year-old appeared before Medway Magistrates’ Court where he was remanded to a hearing at Maidstone Crown Court on a date yet to be confirmed.



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