Local News

Police Warning Following Spate Of Delivery Van Thefts

Police Warning Following Spate Of Delivery Van Thefts

Delivery drivers working around the county in the run-up to Christmas are being warned about a spike in van thefts and assaults and are being given safety advice by Kent Police.

Since the beginning of November there have been nine reports concerning either delivery drivers who have been assaulted or vans stolen in Ashford, Dartford, Sevenoaks, Rochester, Sittingbourne and Gillingham.

Here in Sittingbourne on Thursday 19th November a van was stolen from Albany Road at around 4:00pm. The driver heard the van starting up and tried to stop the suspect. He was injured as the suspect drove away. The van had around 50 parcels inside (Crime Ref: 46/207029/20).

Kent Police are investigating all the reports across the county and it is unknown, at this stage, whether the offences are linked. Businesses, partner agencies and hauliers are being warned about the issue and offered safety advice to pass on to their drivers to ensure they remain as protected as possible and stay vigilant to the offending.

The advice includes:

  • If you spot a suspicious vehicle following you, do not get out of your car or van, keep the doors locked, keep moving and call 999.
  • Agree a delivery plan with your employer or family member and keep in touch regularly.
  • Consider alternative routes to avoid always travelling on the same roads.
  • Ensure your mobile phone is fully charged.
  • If something does not feel right, don’t make the delivery and call your employer.
  • Avoid areas that are not well lit, use a torch and always lock your vehicle – it only takes a minute for a thief to get into your van and take goods.
  • Consider tinted windows to ensure passers-by can’t see what is inside your vehicle.
  • Consider installing a tracker to assist in recovering your vehicle if it does get stolen.

Superintendent Pete Steenhuis, from Kent Police, told SFM News: ‘We have officers paying particular attention to this type of offending and are working with businesses to warn as many drivers as we can and offer advice to help keep them safe. It is clear that criminals are willing to be violent in order to get their hands on vans and parcels and we would ask everyone to be vigilant as Christmas approaches, when deliveries are busier than usual. Whilst officers around the county investigate these separate incidents, it is important drivers take all the necessary steps available to secure their vehicles and report anything suspicious to us straight away."

Police are urging people to be mindful of such incidents, stay alert and if you are expecting a delivery and see something suspicious to report the details to them immediately. Any information, no matter how seemingly insignificant, could be of great help in order to identify the offenders.

Anyone who witnessed any of these incidents or has information that could assist in any of the investigations is urged to call 01795 419119 quoting the reference shown above.

Man Charged With Sittingbourne Distraction Burglary

Man Charged With Sittingbourne Distraction Burglary

A Sheppey man has been charged following a report of a distraction burglary here in Sittingbourne.

On Sunday (6th December) a man, who was known to the victim, knocked on his door in Chilton Avenue offering him spare parts for his car.

The victim engaged in conversation with the man before he returned to his property. The man then knocked on the door again and asked if he could rinse out a baby bottle before also asking for a glass of water.

The victim agreed and invited the man into his home and spoke to him while in the kitchen, however as he was leaving the property the victim noticed his wallet, which contained bank cards and a significant quantity of money, was missing.

Bradley Dobson, aged 47 and of Noreen Avenue, Minster-on-Sea, has been charged with burglary and will appear before Medway Magistrates Court later this week.

Delays To Swale's Waste And Recycling Collections

Delays To Swale's Waste And Recycling Collections

Swale Borough Council have confirmed that there may be delays to waste and recycling collections as more members of staff are having to self-isolate to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

A spokesperson told SFM News that the council "have proactive plans in place for this type of occasion" and that additional staff were being brought in to help, but that there may still be an impact on collections and street cleansing over the next few weeks.

Cllr Tim Valentine, cabinet member for environment at the council, told SFM listeners: “Our contractors have clear processes in place to keep their staff safe, and if a crew member tests positive, those who work closely with them have to self-isolate to make sure there is no risk of further infection. With the high number of cases across the borough, we all need to make sure we are doing all we can to stop the spread of the virus. In this case, that may unfortunately mean some disruption to our collections, for which we apologise. If your waste or recycling is not collected on the day you expected, please leave it out and we will get to it as soon as we can including where needed on weekends.”

For information on the council’s work during the pandemic, visit www.swale.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Police Ask Residents "To Remember The COVID Rules"

Police Ask Residents "To Remember The COVID Rules"

Kent Police are urging people to remember the Covid-19 rules over the festive period and not arrange or attend parties that risk further infection.


With the county currently in Tier 3 and facing the highest level of coronavirus restrictions, officers are keen to ensure everyone continues to do the right thing to help control the virus and ultimately save lives.


Seven people, all from Canterbury, have been issued with £10,000 fines to date for hosting parties attended by far in excess of 30 people, and a number of other residents across Kent have also been fined for arranging smaller gatherings in breach of the existing legislation.


While Kent remains in Tier 3, no household mixing is allowed either indoors or outside, pubs and restaurants must remain closed except for deliveries and takeaways, and people are advised against travelling into other regions.


Exceptions will be allowed between 23rd and 27th December when everyone will be allowed to form one Christmas bubble of up to three households.


Assistant Chief Constable Claire Nix told SFM News: "If 2020 were a normal year then many people’s diaries for December would be full of parties, Christmas drinks and other opportunities to meet up with family, friends and colleagues. Unfortunately it has been far from normal, and the threat of Covid-19 has not gone away. It therefore remains essential that we all continue to follow the rules to ensure we do not put ourselves or others at further risk of contracting a disease that has killed more than a million people worldwide. There will come a time when we will all be able to attend parties like we did before the pandemic struck, but that time is not now and Kent Police officers will not hesitate to take action against those who flagrantly break the rules and put other people’s lives at risk. We will continue to police in a sensible, proportionate and fair manner, and ask that everyone continues to take personal responsibility for controlling the spread of the virus and protecting themselves and others from harm."

Rotary And Swale Foodbank Christmas Appeal

Rotary And Swale Foodbank Christmas Appeal

The Rotary Club of Sitttingbourne Invicta are working with the Swale Foodbank to produce Christmas Gift Boxes for children in age groups from 3 – 11 in the Sittingbourne area who would otherwise have very little or nothing on Christmas Day.

Members and friends of Sittingbourne Invicta will be working hard to produce many Gift Boxes, but need help from the local community here in Sittingbourne.

If you would like to help by making a Christmas Gift Box, using a simple shoe box filled with a selection of inexpensive gifts, you can get all the details from Chris Bunting, by calling 07976 568 125 or tune in to 106.9 SFM for the latest information.


Charges Brought Following Sittingbourne Assault

Charges Brought Following Sittingbourne Assault

Officers investigating a serious assault in Sittingbourne last week, have charged two people.

Kent Police were called to Woodstock Road at 10.53pm on Thursday (26th November) after a woman reported that two people had seriously assaulted her partner and caused damage to her vehicle. The victim was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Officers from Swale’s Community Policing Team responded to the incident and stopped a vehicle in Borden Lane at around 11.00pm where two people were arrested on suspicion of assault.

Tommy Robinson, 21, of Playstool Road, Newington, has been charged with grievous bodily harm, criminal damage and dangerous driving and a 17-year-old boy has also been charged with grievous bodily harm and criminal damage.

The teenage boy and Mr Robinson both appeared before Medway Magistrates’ Court on Saturday (28th November) where they were bailed to attend Maidstone Crown Court on Monday 4th January 2021.

Ink Cartridges Stolen From Faversham Supermarket

Ink Cartridges Stolen From Faversham Supermarket

Kent Police have confirmed that theft charges have been authorised against a man who is alleged to have stolen ink cartridges worth around £1,500 from a supermarket in Faversham.

Albert Ramsden is accused of targeting the business, in Bysing Wood Road, on three occasions between Monday 16th and Wednesday 18th November.

On each occasion, a quantity of printer cartridges is said to have been taken.

The 19-year-old, of Crown Quay Lane in Sittingbourne, was arrested on suspicion of the offences by officers from the Kent Special Constabulary on Friday (20th November).

He was later charged with three counts of theft and appeared at Medway Magistrates’ Court on Saturday (21st November). He was subsequently released on bail and will next appear at Maidstone Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 5th January 2021.

COVID-19 - Swale Remains Second Highest In England

COVID-19 - Swale Remains Second Highest In England

An emergency meeting to place this afternoon (Monday 23rd November) to help tackle the number of cases of coronavirus in Swale.

The meeting was called by Swale Borough Council in response to the recent rise in the number of cases in the borough with the latest government figures showing 645.6 cases per 100,000 people in the week up to Wednesday 18th November - just behind Hull, which was the country's worst-affected place last week.

The meeting included representatives from partner agencies such as Kent County Council, Kent Police, HM Prison Service and Public Health England.

Cllr Roger Truelove, Leader of Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: “This was a valuable meeting where we were able to bring together a wide range of interested parties to discuss where we are and how we are going to improve the situation. We received the very latest figures from our public health colleagues, and these showed that whilst we do seem to be starting to see a fall in cases locally, they are clearly still too high. There are also worrying signs that the infection is growing among the over-60’s who are more vulnerable to this virus, and we are sadly starting to see the number of deaths increase. We also heard that Swale has the second highest level of testing in the county, which shows that the work we’ve been doing to encourage people with symptoms to get tested is getting through, and it will ultimately make a difference.

Cllr Truelove went on to add: “We also had confirmation that only 12 per cent of cases in the last couple of weeks are related to care homes and prison settings, and that this isn’t a problem that is just on the Isle of Sheppey, but elsewhere across the borough. The overwhelming majority of cases are through community transmission. It’s spreading in residential settings, and through social activity and it only takes a small number of people to create the clusters of cases that are driving up our figures. This is why we needed to call the meeting, so we could be sure where we need to concentrate our resources to get the cases under control again. We will be getting in touch with local supermarkets to ask for them to be as vigilant as possible, and we will be carrying out work to make sure everyone involved understands the reasons why people might not feel able to follow the rules.

He continued by saying:  “Parents seen with in supermarkets with children who should be isolating may not have any other childcare and can’t afford the minimum spend for a home delivery. People may be unwilling to get a test as they can’t afford to have time off work. These are issues we need to be able to identify so the relevant agencies can step in with the right support. Everyone is committed to making sure people understand the seriousness of the situation to people, and if we don’t follow the rules in place, we face a winter of further restrictions.”

The meeting was attended by officers from Kent County Council, Public Health England, Kent Police, HM Prison Service, the NHS, The Federation of Small Businesses, The Department for Work and Pensions, Optivo and Swale CVS and at the meeting it was revealed that only 12% of the borough's total cases come from it's two maximum security prions and local care homes.

Sittingbourne Chimney Fire Prompts Warning

Sittingbourne Chimney Fire Prompts Warning

The Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) were called to Burley Road at around 9.00am yesterday (Sunday 22nd November) morning.

Crews used chimney kit, buckets, hose reel jets as well as the height vehicle to access and put out the fire. 
There were no injuries as a result of this fire. 
With the weather turning colder the KFRS are urging people to make sure they have had their chimney and flue inspected and swept before use. 
Further information about chimney and open fire safety can be found at: kent.fire-uk.org/your-safety/home-safety/a-z-of-safety-what-are-the-risks/chimneys-and-open-fires/

Swale Has Second Worst Infection Rate In The Country

Swale Has Second Worst Infection Rate In The Country

The Borough of Swale officially has the second highest Covid-19 infection rate in the country.

Swale recorded 928 cases of coronavirus, while Thanet (Kent's previous highest authority area) recorded only 725 positive cases between Sunday 8th November and Saturday 14th November.

This latest fugure takes the borough's infection rate from 296.5 per 100,000 to 637.7 per 100,000.

Tony Weaver will be talking to local MP for Sittingbourne & Sheppey, Gordon Henderson, on tomorrow's 'In The Bourne' from 11am. Earlier this week Mr Henderson told BBC Radio Kent that: "the worst hit parts of county for the virus were those that are deeply deprived areas".

If you have a question for Gordon Henderson MP please text: 078 600 2 03 03 (from 6:00am tomorrow* Fri 20/11/20).

Earlier this week Cllr Roger Truelove, Leader of Swale Council, warned 106.9 SFM listeners and local residents that: “Unless we can level off the rate of growth in COVID-19 infections we risk a longer period of high-level restrictions beyond 2nd December. If we don’t do something to contain it, we risk spending Christmas in lockdown."

For more information on COVID-19 infection rates locally please visit: kent.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/health/coronavirus/cases-in-kent.

Swale Borough Council have further information at: swale.gov.uk/news-and-your-council/coronavirus.


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