Local News

Council Joins Police On Flytipping Crackdown

Council Joins Police On Flytipping Crackdown

Waste Carriers were targeted on Friday (21st October) as part of a day of action to crackdown on fly tipping in Swale.

Swale Borough Council teamed up with Kent Police’s Rural Task Force to carry out enquiries, arrest people suspected of fly tipping, seize vehicles and collate evidence with a view to prosecuting offenders for waste related crimes.

The outcomes from the day were:

  • 2 vehicles stopped and searched
  • 2 Fixed Penalty Notices issued
  • 1 vehicle seized by Police.

Cllr Julian Saunders, chair of the environment committee at Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: “People who dump their waste in our countryside and in our streets, are thoughtless and irresponsible. We spend almost £1.3 million a year keeping our streets clean of litter and flytipped waste, and we’ll continue to clamp down on the criminals that illegally carry and dump their waste.”

Cllr Tim Valentine, vice chair of the environment committee at the council, went on to add: “We issued two fixed penalty notices (FPN) totalling £600 to a driver with a van load of end of life tyres with no paperwork, and one vehicle was seized by the Police for not having a driving license or any insurance. Thanks to this joint effort this is one load that won’t end up in our countryside. Remember, if using a waste carrier, it’s your responsibility to make sure they’re licensed. If any illegally carried or dumped waste leads back to you, you could receive a £400 FPN. Always ask to see a waste carriers license before using them.”

More and more of these action days are taking place across Kent with a large amount of preparation beforehand, including the gathering of vital intelligence to support the Council’s Enforcement team with their duties.

What can you do to dispose of your waste responsibly?

 Fly tippers often target households via social media or local advertising, luring customers in with cheap rates to dispose of unwanted furniture, building rubble or garden waste. However, these unlicensed waste carriers often simply dump the waste where ever they can get away with it, including in Kent’s country lanes. Householders or small businesses found to be using criminals to dispose of their waste can and are being prosecuted by local authorities in Kent with fixed penalty notices that go up to £400 per offence. Failure to pay such an FPN may result in court action where fines can be significantly larger.

To prevent this, householders should check whether someone is licenced to carry waste by visiting the Environment Agency website below, or alternatively call 03708 506506. It also helps if householders receive a written receipt or transfer note, including contact details, description of waste removed and details of where the waste is being taken to.


The 13 Kent councils, along with Kent Police, are working in partnership to Keep Kent Clean. To keep updated with the councils’ efforts to tackle fly tipping and littering, follow #KeepKentClean.

Last-Ditch Attempt To Save Bus Services Fails

Last-Ditch Attempt To Save Bus Services Fails

Kent County Council's (KCC) proposed cuts to bus subsidies were debated, for the final time, at a Full Council Meeting on Thursday (20th October) afternoon.

The public consultation prompted 2,562 responses from residents, plus 55 individual letters and 4 responses from local MPs across the county but at the meeting the Conservative-led Council decided to go ahead with the plans.

KCC Leader, Roger Gough, told the meeting that: "it was necessary to balance KCC's budget for this year but we will still spending £3.8m on buses that would otherwise not run".

The cuts come as a blow to campaigners who wanted to retain services to outlying areas of Sittingobourne with Newnham, Rodmersham, Bredgar, Tunstall, Doddington, Conyer and Lynsted now being left without any regular bus services and Teynham and Bapchild seeing fewer services.

Cllr Mike Baldock (Swale Independents) addressed the council leader directly, saying: "It's really time you started to listen to people and stopped thinking you were above the concerns of mere mortals. In the consultation, 1,050 people said they would have no alternative means of travel to one of the withdrawn services. This is going to impact on the most vulnerable: - the elderly, the young and those in rural areas."

Cllr Baldock also argued that there would be other costs to pay in the long run - in terms of more congestion more pollution and higher road maintenance bills.

The 38 scheduled services across the county will cease at the end of October. To see if your route will be affected please click here.

Appeal Following Fatal Collision Involving Cyclist

Appeal Following Fatal Collision Involving Cyclist

Witnesses are being sought by Kent Police following a fatal collision near Sittingbourne last evening (Tuesday 18th October).

At around 5pm a yellow Renault Scenic was involved in a collision with a bicycle along The Street in Wormshill. The cyclist, a 71-year-old man, sustained fatal injuries and was confirmed deceased at the scene.

Two men from Sittingbourne, aged 35 and 55, were later arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and taken into custody.

Officers from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit (SCIU) are appealing for anyone who has CCTV or dashcam footage, taken in the Wormshill area and surrounding villages, which might show the movements of the car or bicycle around the time of the collision.

Anyone with any footage is asked to upload it via the Kent Police online portal at: https://kep.uk.evidence.com/axon/citizen/public/opjapan

Witnesses can also call the Serious Collision Investigation Unit (SCIU) appeal line on 01622 798538, quoting reference AH/DH/116/22.

Arriva Bus Drivers Call More Strike Dates

Arriva Bus Drivers Call More Strike Dates

Arriva Kent bus drivers have announced another 13 days of walk-outs which will affect services across the county later this month and in to next month.

Drivers have already walked out on two days in September and on Thursday (6th October) and Friday (7th October) last week and Monday (10th October) and Tuesday (11th October) this week. 600 members of the Unite Union, based at Arriva Kent depots in Northfleet, Gillingham (our local depot), Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells, voted by a 96.5% margin to take further industrial action.

The dates of the latest strikes will be three days from Wednesday 19th until Friday 21st October, followed by five consecutive days from Monday 24th until Friday 28th October and a further five consecutive days from Monday 7th until Friday 11th November and will affect routes in Sittingbourne.

Sharon Graham, the Unite union's General Secretary told SFM News: "Arriva could avoid the disruption by meeting workers' demands" saying the company, which is ultimately owned by the German state-run company Deutsche Bahn, "could afford it".

An Arriva spokesman told SFM News: "We have put forward a significant pay offer for our employees, which recognises the great work that they do and reflects the unprecedented cost-of-living challenge facing the region. We recognise that the strikes will mean upheaval for our customers and communities through this ongoing industrial action in the region and we urge the union to ballot on our pay offer as soon as possible."

Costal Flood Alert Issued For Tomorrow

Costal Flood Alert Issued For Tomorrow

The Environment Agency have issued a Flood Alert for the Isle of Sheppey and the coastal areas from Kemsley to Seasalter for tomorrow (Tuesday 11th October).

A high spring tide and positive tidal surge is expected to affect the coast overnight tonight and in the early hours of tomorrow. Tides will be at their highest between midnight and 04:00 BST on Tuesday morning.

Flooding is expected to affect low lying land, roads and coastal footpaths. Flooding of properties is not expected. Coastal conditions are forecast to ease for the subsequent high tide at 14:15 BST on Tuesday afternoon.

The Environment Agency are closely monitoring the situation and their incident response staff are operating their tidal defences and structures. Please stay aware of local coastal conditions and stay tuned to 106.9 SFM the the latest information. 

Marine Officers Assist Sinking Boat Off Sheppey

Marine Officers Assist Sinking Boat Off Sheppey

A sinking boat was spared from going under thanks to the expertise of officers from Kent Police’s Search and Marine Unit.

Two members of the public were on board the 40-foot motor cruiser when a faulty pump caused it to start flooding near Queenborough Harbour, Sheppey, at around 4pm on Wednesday (27th September) afternoon.

Officers from the Search and Marine Unit were patrolling the River Medway on the Kent Police vessel Invicta when they were made aware of the problem by HM Coastguard, and arrived at the location shortly afterwards.

They carried out a check of the electronic pumping system and quickly identified what was wrong before helping to slow the flood and get the broken pump working again. They were then joined by volunteers from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) who used a petrol salvage pump to remove the excess water and ensure those on board could reach dry land safely.

Acting Sergeant Sam Milton of the Search and Marine Unit told SFM News: "During our inspection of the vessel’s essential equipment we found it to have one defective electronic pump and no manual pump. The fact it started to sink because of this should serve as a reminder to all boat-owners to ensure their vessels are in a seaworthy condition before being taken onto the water. Fortunately on this occasion we were able to work with our partners at HM Coastguard and the RNLI to ensure those on board were safe and that their boat was not consigned to the riverbed."

Injured Man Jailed For Spitting At 999 Crew

Injured Man Jailed For Spitting At 999 Crew

An injured man who repeatedly spat at ambulance staff who were trying to help him has been jailed for six months.

William Gregory, 36, had been drinking alcohol when he was found collapsed on a grass verge next to a row of houses in Newbridge Avenue, Sittingbourne, on Monday 5th September. He also appeared to have removed a plaster cast from his foot.

Members of the public were concerned for his welfare and dialled 999, resulting in Kent Police officers and South East Coast Ambulance Service clinicians attending the scene.

As they tried to help him, Gregory turned violent and threatened to fight the officers before spitting at the ambulance crew.

He was arrested but continued to lash out and spit after being placed on a stretcher so they could examine his injured foot. A spit guard was then placed over Gregory’s head but he continued to try to spit and bite those present through the material.

Gregory, of Marine Parade, Sheerness, pleaded guilty to two counts of assaulting an emergency worker when he appeared before Medway magistrates on Friday 23 September. He also admitted stealing £54 worth of goods from B&M Bargains, Queenborough, whilst on bail.

The six-month sentence also includes the activation of an eight-week suspended sentence for an unrelated offence.

Investigating officer PC Lauren Yates told SFM News: ‘Spitting at anyone is an abhorrent thing to do but to target someone who is trying to help you is completely unacceptable. Our colleagues at South East Coast Ambulance Service save lives every day and deserve our utmost respect and thanks. The fact they continued attempting to examine William Gregory even whilst he was spitting at them shows how dedicated they are to their jobs and how dreadful his actions were. I hope this outcome sends a strong message to anyone else who might consider assaulting an emergency worker in the future that they risk being put behind bars."

SECAmb Security Manager Dave Monk added: "‘This individual’s actions were disgusting. We welcome the jail sentence and promise to continue to work with our police colleagues to hold individuals to account for their actions. Our staff deserve to come to work without the fear of being assaulted and abused. We will never allow our staff to feel that this kind of behaviour is acceptable and part of the job."

Police Chase After Sheerness Shop Break-In

Police Chase After Sheerness Shop Break-In

A suspected burglar has been charged after a newsagents was targeted in Trafalgar Parade, Sheerness.

Kent Police were alerted to the burglary at around midnight on Wednesday (21st September). Two men were seen attempting to break into a cash machine next to the shop, before the shop was then targeted. The front door was damaged and a quantity of cigarettes were among the items which have been reported stolen.

Officers attended the area and located a vehicle, which reportedly failed to stop and was pursued along the A249 Sheppey Way towards Iwade. It eventually came to a stop in Ledger Close, Sittingbourne where a man was arrested. The van was identified as a stolen vehicle and officers found a quantity of suspected stolen cigarettes inside.

Mark Steed-Shadbolt, aged 31 and of Latona Road in Peckham, South East London, has been charged with burglary, aggravated vehicle taking and dangerous driving. He has been remanded in custody and is due to appear at Medway Magistrates’ Court today (Friday 23rd September).

Enquiries remain ongoing to locate a second suspect. He is described as a white male who was wearing a black Adidas hooded top. Anyone who has information is asked to call Kent Police on 01795 419119 quoting reference 46/184590/22. You can also call Crimestoppers FREE and anonymously on 0800 555 111, or you can complete an online form on their website: www.crimestoppers-uk.org


Labrador Puppies Abandoned In A249 Layby

Labrador Puppies Abandoned In A249 Layby

Seven Fox Red Labrador pups, all suffering from mange, were discovered yesterday (Monday 12th September) by Swale Borough Council's Stray Dog Service.

They have all nowl been microchipped and given vaccinations at Bobbing Hill Veterinary Surgery who have reported that one of the Labrador puppies weighs less than half of what she is meant to.

Swale Borough Council's Stray Dog Service tld SFM News: "We're so proud of our babies for being big and brave whilst at the vets today. Our little miss was the smallest weighing in at just 4kg, but don't be fooled, her teeth are just as sharp has her brothers! All pups have also been treated for fleas and worms and they're off now for a good wash before coming home for some tea and a big nap."

SBC's Dog Warden then went on to thank Leanne at Paw Prints Groomers, for volunteering to groom the 10-week-old pups free of charge.

The warden added: "As always, your support is greatly appreciated and your kind comments have been lovely. If anyone would like to donate towards the pups ongoing vet costs, please contact Bobbing Hill Vets. However, please be aware that through no fault of their own, they’re unable to accept anything under £20. Donations aren't mandatory and there is absolutely no obligation, we just get asked this question frequently."

Swale Borough Council have confirmed: "This is animal cruelty and outright neglect. These pups didn't ask to be born and they certainly didn't deserve to be dumped like rubbish. Sadly with the current pet crisis, we feel this is just the tip of the iceberg."

Anyone with any information on the possible owner, or who dumped the pups, is asked to call Swale Borough Council on 01795 417850.

Anyone who wishes to donate to their veterinary care should contact KareBear Kennels Day Care and Doggy Holidays in Gillingham on 01634 233 624.

Statement From The Mayor Of Swale

Statement From The Mayor Of Swale

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Cllr Simon Clark, Mayor of the Borough of Swale, told SFM News:

“It is with enormous sadness that we learned of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, and I would like to express our sincere condolences on behalf of Swale Borough Council and the people of the Borough of Swale to the entire Royal Family.

“The Queen was known across the world for her strong sense of duty and commitment to serving the country and the Commonwealth.

“Her Platinum Jubilee showed the respect and admiration we had for her tireless work, and as we mourn her passing we must reflect on how fortunate we have been to live through her reign.”

As a mark of respect, flags are being flown at half-mast across all council buildings.

Books of Condolence are being opened at Swale House, Faversham Town Council Offices and Sheppey Gateway to allow local people to pay their respects from 10am to 4pm weekdays and 10am to 12 midday on Saturdays.

Floral tributes will be laid at the war memorials in Sittingbourne, Sheerness and Faversham.

Also, as a mark of respect, Civic and council events and meeting have been cancelled until after the funeral.



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