Local News

Man Jailed For Making Threats With Machete

Man Jailed For Making Threats With Machete

A dispute over taxi money led to an offender threatening a man with a machete outside a Sittingbourne pub.

James Hilden, also known as Jimmy, produced the weapon after the victim refused to give him money for a lift home in October 2018. He later visited the victim's house and intentionally drove into five vehicles parked on their drive.

The 54-year-old, of no fixed address, pleaded not guilty to threatening a person with a bladed article, affray and criminal damage. He was found guilty of each offence and sentenced to 18 months imprisonment by Maidstone Crown Court last Friday (24th May).

The court heard that on the evening of Friday 26th October Hilden entered a pub in Chalkwell Road and bragged about threatening a man with a machete earlier that evening.

He then approached a customer, who he said he knew through mutual acquaintances.

Later that evening Hilden asked the customer, a man in his 20s, for £20 to cover the cost of a taxi. The man refused to provide the money and, in response, Hilden led him to a nearby pick-up truck and began to reach into his pocket.

The victim, who remembered Hilden had been bragging about using a machete earlier that evening, ran away because he feared the weapon would be used against him.

A friend of the victim then intervened and was swung at several times by Hilden, who was by this point holding a machete. No injuries were sustained from the altercation.

Later that night Hilden drove to the victim's home and demanded to speak with one of their family members.

When they refused to come out, he pulled out his machete and slammed it on the bonnet of his own vehicle.

He then got into his vehicle and used it to drive into five parked cars before leaving the scene.

The incident was captured on privately held CCTV and Hilden was arrested the following evening. He was charged with possessing a bladed article, affray and criminal damage and his been remanded in custody since.

Detective Constable Dan Mead, the investigating officer for this case, told SFM News: "The nature of Hilden's offending, and his willingness to threaten people with a machete, shows he presents a very real threat to the public. There can be no tolerance for people who are willing to carry or use bladed weapons. Carrying a knife increases your chances of becoming a victim or, as this case shows, makes you more likely to commit a criminal offence and be imprisoned".

New Swale BC Administration Unveiled

New Swale BC Administration Unveiled

Cllr Roger Truelove has been elected as leader of a new coalition administration at Swale Borough Council.

The Leader was elected by fellow councillors at the Annual Council meeting last night (Wednesdat 22nd May) following elections earlier this month.

The meeting also saw a new cabinet and deputies appointed to make decisions on resources and priorities to deliver and implement the budget and policies decided by the council.

The new cabinet is made up of:

• Cllr Roger Truelove - Leader of the Council and Lead Member for Finance
• Cllr Mike Baldock - Deputy Leader and Planning
• Cllr Richard Palmer - Community
• Cllr Monique Bonney - Economy and Property
• Cllr Tim Valentine - Environment
• Cllr Angela Harrison - Health and Wellbeing
• Cllr Ben J Martin - Housing

The new deputy cabinet members are:

• Cllr Derek Carnell - Finance
• Cllr Alastair Gould - Planning
• Cllr Julian Saunders - Community
• Cllr Sarah Stephen - Economy and Property
• Cllr Eddie Thomas - Environment
• Cllr Hannah Perkin - Health and Wellbeing
• Cllr Ghlin Whelan - Housing

The meeting also agreed new chairs for council committees and appointments to outside bodies.

For more information, including more details about what the cabinet portfolios cover, you can read the reports on Swale Borough Council's meeting agenda page by clicking here.

Heartless Thieves Steal Kart Champion's Equipment

Heartless Thieves Steal Kart Champion's Equipment

Sittingbourne based Ambition Motorsport had their team van containing team equipment, kids karts/engines and kids equipment stolen from Northwood Road in the early hours of yesterday (Thursday 16th May) morning at around 3.40am.

The van was loaded up and ready to go off to what should be a fun weekend for the team at the British Kart Championships in the Cotswolds for the 13 and Under drivers. One of the drivers, who had two karts stolen, is currently leading the British Championships. The equipment stolen won't be worth anything to the thieves who stole them, but to the children and Paul Janes (Team Principal - far left at the back of the picture) it's everything.

Things have been made worse by finding out that because of some issue on the paperwork the contents of near £30,000 will not be covered.

If you are able to help please check out their Just Giving Page: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ambitionmotorsport

Following an appeal on 106.9 SFM earlier today one person has donated £5,000 and another unnamed person has donated £1,000 but the guys have got a long way to go.

Anyone who may have seen anything is asked to contact Kent Police on 101 (quoting ref: 16/0145) or they can call Kent Crimestoppers, free and anonimously, on 0800 555 111.

More Than 700 Cannabis Plants Seized In Sheerness

More Than 700 Cannabis Plants Seized In Sheerness

More than 700 cannabis plants have been seized from a property in Sheerness.

Officers from the Swale Community Policing Team attended the house, in New Road, yesterday afternoon (Thursday 16th May) after receiving concerns the address was being used to grow the substance.

Inside officers uncovered a large cultivation spread across numerous rooms, along with evidence to suggest electricity was being illegally abstracted to help grow the plants.

A 23-year-old man from Sheerness and an 17-year-old boy of no fixed address were arrested on suspicion of cultivating cannabis and abstracting electricity.

They remain in custody as enquiries continue.

Election Will See Big Changes At Swale Council

Election Will See Big Changes At Swale Council

The Conservatives have lost control of Swale Borough Council after this year's Local Elections.

In a shock result from Boughton And Courtenay Council Leader Andrew Bowles lost his seat.

The full results (by party) were as follows:-

  • Conservative - 16 seats
  • Labour - 11 seats
  • Swale Independents - 10 seats
  • Liberal Democrats - 5 seats
  • Independent - 2 seats
  • Green Party - 2 seats
  • UKIP - 1 seat


Woman Charged With 10 Shoplifting Offences

Woman Charged With 10 Shoplifting Offences

Ten charges relating to the theft of fragrances, cleaning products and groceries from various shops in Sittingbourne have been made against one woman.

Michelle Bull is alleged to have targeted stores in the High Street, Eurolink Way, Northwood Drive, Quartz Way and Sheppey Way in Bobbing, on ten occasions between Friday 8th February and Friday 26th April.

The combined value of items stolen is reported to be worth over £1,400.

The 30-year-old, of no fixed address, has been remanded in custody to appear at Medway Magistrates' Court today (Friday 3rd May).


Fire Crews Tackle Upchurch Co-op Blaze

Fire Crews Tackle Upchurch Co-op Blaze

Kent Fire and Rescue Service were called to The Street in Upchurch shortly after 10.00pm last n ight (Monday 29th April), to reports of a fire in the Co-op supermarket.

Four fire engines attended and crews wearing breathing apparatus used two hose reel jets and water from a hydrant to extinguish the fire on the ground floor.

People living in accommodation above the shop had to be evacuated the building.

There were no reported injuries and the cause is being investigated.

Police Cadets Help On 'Speedwatch' Duties

Police Cadets Help On 'Speedwatch' Duties

More than 400 vehicles were speed checked by Kent Volunteer Police Cadets on Saturday (27th April).

The cadets, based with the force's Sittingbourne troop, attended four locations across Sittingbourne and Sheppey for a day of road safety checks.

Each used speed guns to record a vehicle's speed and provided words of advice to drivers who had been stopped due to their speeding.

The roads checked were Woodstock Road in Sittingbourne, Chestnut Street in Danaway and both Scocles Road and Minster Roads, in Minster-On-Sea.

The highest speed registered was 43mph in a 30mph zone.

Police Constable Mat Booth, who accompanied the cadets for the speed checks, told SFM News: "The cadets did a fantastic job and learned a lot about road safety, and interacting with the public, in the process. Their efforts led to numerous motorists being challenged for their manner of driving. Throughout the course of the year we will continue to get the cadets involved in community initiatives to help develop their knowledge of policing.'

The Kent Volunteer Police Cadets scheme opened in September 2016 and is a uniformed organisation supported by Kent Police for young people aged 13 to 17-years-old.

Cadets meet once a week for two to three hours during term time and in addition volunteer three hours each month to help with a community based project.

For more information, visit: www.kent.police.uk/kcsn-archive/kent-volunteer-police-cadets.

Appeal Following Local Man's Death In Borough Green

Appeal Following Local Man's Death In Borough Green

Kent Police are appealing for witnesses following the death of a pedestrian in Borough Green.

At around 3.15pm on Thursday (18th April) officers were made aware of concerns for the welfare of a person near a roundabout on the A25, Borough Green Road. Patrols and the South East Coast Ambulance Service attended and a man, aged in his 30s and from the Sittingbourne area, was pronounced deceased at the scene. His next of kin have been informed.

It is reported that a vehicle may have been involved in a collision with the man and an investigation is ongoing to establish the full circumstances of the incident. Officers would now like to hear from anyone who may have seen him or has any other information may assist their enquiries. They are particularly keen to obtain dash cam and mobile phone footage from anyone travelling in the area at the time.

If you have any information please call 01622 654767 quoting reference 18-1008 or, alternatively, you can call Kent Crimestoppers (free and anonimously) on 0800 555 111.



Councillors Tour Water Main Replacement Site

Councillors Tour Water Main Replacement Site

Pic: L-R Cllr Hampshire and Cllr Baldock speaking to Jeremy Dufour, Engineering Project Manager

Swale Borough Council members were treated to a tour of South East Water's water main replacement site in Borden last week.

Borden and Grove Park ward councillors Nicholas Hampshire and Mike Baldock met engineers replacing more than a mile of burst-prone water mains in the village. The old cast iron pipes in Pond Farm Road and Wises Lane, laid in the 1950s, are being replaced with flexible plastic pipes with a lifespan of more than 70 years. To date, water workers have replaced almost 85 per cent of the pipework with just 300 metres of pipe laying remaining in Wises Lane.

Pond Farm Road and Wises Lane have been closed in sections during the work, which began in January and work is due to finish by the end of June although residents will be able to access the road for local elections on 2 May and the Sittingbourne 10k running race on 19 May.

Jeremy Dufour, Project Manager at South East Water, told SFM News: "I would like to thank Councillor Hampshire and Councillor Baldock for taking the time to visit the site of our £520,000 water main replacement project in Borden. The team on site have made excellent progress, with more than 1.5 kilometres of water main laid and already in use, supplying villagers with top quality crystal-clear tap water. As we reach the final stages of our project, I would encourage residents to visit our website corporate.southeastwater.co.uk/Borden for further information and regular progress updates."

Councillor Mike Baldock, member of Borden Parish Council and Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: "Many of my constituents were understandably concerned about this project after various other utility companies have carried out work in the village in the past. I am really pleased to say that this project has been handled well, with excellent communications and a ready response to any queries that arose."

This work forms part of a £424 million investment by South East Water between 2015 and 2020.


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