Local News

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.

Government Grants Available For Local Businesses

Government Grants Available For Local Businesses

Businesses that have been forced to close or have been severely affected by the new restrictions can apply for one of the following business grants from Swale Borough Council:

  • Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) or
  • Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG)

Businesses in rated commercial premises that have been forced to close can get grants of between £1,334 and £3,000 to cover the 28-day period from 5 November through the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed).

Businesses that are affected by the new restrictions, but haven’t been forced to close, could receive one-off payments of between £1,334 and £3,000, through the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG).

Cllr Monique Bonney, cabinet member for economy and property at the council, told SFM News: “We’re pleased that the Government is providing some financial support to help businesses which are significantly impacted by the restrictions put in place to control the spread of Covid-19. As before, the government guidelines on who can qualify for business support are strict, but we’ll be working hard to ensure that those that do qualify receive help. Businesses can apply now until 2nd January, so I urge anyone needing help to visit our website for more information and to apply. Local businesses are at the heart of Swale’s economy and I’m glad the government is providing additional support this time around.”

Cllr Roger Truelove, leader Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: “While we do what we can to support local businesses, it’s important for local people to do their bit and act responsibly and stop the spread of the virus. The number of cases in Swale is still rising at an alarming rate and we all have to do our bit to ensure we don’t end up in a higher tier when these new restrictions end. If we don’t lower the rate of cases, local lockdown for Swale could continue if we’re placed in a higher tier than we had before. Please stay home unless going for essential shopping, work or medical appointments and remember to wash your hands, cover your face and allow space for social distancing. We can get on top of this if we all work together. It’s down to all of us.”

To qualify for a grant a business must meet certain criteria, and there’s more information, including how to apply for either grant, at www.swale.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Other support is available from the Government, and businesses can find what is available to them at www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder.

CCTV Image Released In Shoplifting Appeal

CCTV Image Released In Shoplifting Appeal

A CCTV image of a man has been issued by officers investigating a series of reported shopliftings in Sittingbourne.

Several incidents have taken place at the Shell garage on London Road since Sunday 4th October, in which alcohol has been stolen and members of staff threatened.

Sergeant Chris Skilton, from Kent Police, tikd SFM News: "We believe the man in the CCTV image may be able to assist us with our enquiries and urge anyone who may know who he is to get in touch. While we appreciate that only a small part of the man’s head and face can be seen, we are hopeful someone may recognise him from his haircut or the hooded top he is wearing.’

Anyone with any information is urged to call the appeal line on 01795 419119 quoting reference 46/178345/20. Alternatively they can call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or complete the online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

M2 Closed In Both Directions Due To Lorry Fire

M2 Closed In Both Directions Due To Lorry Fire

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) were called to a lorry alight on the London-bound carriageway of the M2, in-between Faversham and Sittingbourne earlier today. 
 
The KFRS received the call shortly after 04:10am this morning and three fire engines and a bulk water carrier were sent to the scene, as well as a crew from the KFRS Technical Rescue Unit. 
 
The motorway was closed in both directions whilst crews worked to extinguish the fire. 
 
Officers from Kent Police Roads Policing Unit were also in attendance.

Drivers are advised to use the 'solid square' signed diversion route.

The coastbound carriageway of the motorway (between Jct 5 Sittingbourne and Jct 6 Faversham) re-opened at around 4:30pm but the Londonbound carriagewy is set to remain closed until the early hours of tomorrow morning, for resurfacing work and the replacement of barriers in the central reservation - please tune in to 106.9 SFM for the latest information.

Council Carries Out 500 COVID-19 Compliance Checks

Council Carries Out 500 COVID-19 Compliance Checks

Anyone worried about businesses not following the Government’s coronavirus regulations can report their concerns to Swale Borough Council.

With new restrictions in force, the council is increasing the number of spot checks on local businesses to make sure they are complying with the regulations in place.

The council has the power to issue fines to firms of up to £10,000 if they are found to be breaching the regulations, and the police can issue fixed penalty notices of up to £6,400 to individuals.

Cllr Roger Truelove, Leader of Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: “We are doing our bit to ensure local businesses are complying with the new restrictions. Our compliance team carried out more than 500 checks last weekend, on top of the 116 businesses visited before lockdown began. As expected, lots of businesses were closed, with mostly food establishments offering a takeaway service remaining open. Most of the businesses we visited were complying with the guidelines and we haven’t had to issue any fines yet".

He went on to say: "We want to remind anybody visiting a takeaway establishment to adhere to social distancing while waiting outside for their order, and to wear a face covering when inside ordering or collecting their food. We also visited essential retail businesses to make sure they were compliant. We carried out checks all over the borough, especially in retail areas and in places where we have received any complaints".

He added: "We encourage anybody who has any concerns about businesses operating outside of government guidelines to report their concerns to us so that we can carry out the required checks. It’s important for us all to follow the government guidance to reduce the risk of infections, because if we can’t level off the rise in infections in Swale, we will be facing a long period of restrictions. Any businesses that are unsure of how to implement the guidance and need advice can reach out to us for help and support.

Businesses wanting advice can contact the council on ehadmin@swale.gov.uk.

To report concerns about a local business in Swale not complying with the coronavirus restrictions, you can use the form at  www.swale.gov.uk/stay-safe-concerns.

To report an issue of people not complying with the instructions, such as large gatherings of people from different households, you can use the form at

www.kent.police.uk/tua/tell-us-about/c19/tell-us-about-possible-breach-coronavirus-measures.

The latest advice and guidance for businesses is available at www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

Witnesses Sought To Fatal Sittingbourne Collision

Witnesses Sought To Fatal Sittingbourne Collision

Kent Police collision investigators are appealing for information following the death of a pedestrian in Sittingbourne.

The victim, a 16-year-old girl, died on Wednesday (4th November) following the collision which happened last Sunday 1st November on the A2 Canterbury Road at the junction with Murston Road.

The teenager was crossing Canterbury Road from the direction of Rectory Road when she was involved in a collision with a silver Vauxhall Zafira at around 6.25pm in the evening.

The victim was taken to a London hospital with serious injuries where she later died.

Officers from Kent Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit would like to talk to anyone who witnessed the incident, or who has dash cam or CCTV footage who have not yet spoken to police.

Anyone with information is asked to call the appeal line on 01622 798538, quoting reference AH/CF/96/20, or they can email sciu.td@kent.pnn.police.uk

Council Takes Action To Support Local People

Council Takes Action To Support Local People

With new national restrictions now in place, Swale Borough Council is taking action to help support local people and stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The council will be working with partners to monitor compliance with the new restrictions and has the power to issue fines of up to £10,000 to businesses who are breaking the rules.

People who are clinically extremely vulnerable are being advised to stay at home as much as possible, except to go outdoors for exercise or to attend essential health appointments. If people don’t already have a priority supermarket delivery slot, the council can help set one up, or work with them to find alternatives.

The Government is providing funding for business grants of up to £3,000 a month to support firms who are forced to close by the new restrictions, which the council will be running. The council is also overseeing a £3 million fund to provide further support for local businesses affected by the pandemic.

Cllr Roger Truelove, leader of the council, told SFM News: “No-one wanted to be in this position, but we are, and now we must do all we can to get through this. We will continue to do all we can to help people and I am confident that if everyone works together and follows the rules, we will. But everyone needs to make sure they are doing all they can to stop the spread of this virus. The Government has indicated that these new restrictions will be followed by a return to the local alert level system. Before the national measures were announced, there was the real risk that the borough could have been put into a higher level, as cases were rising. So, if we want to keep people safe, and avoid further harm to the local economy, we simply must get the number of cases under control. That way, when the restrictions end, we will be able to return to less restrictions, and crucially, less risk of the virus causing further harm to local people and businesses.”

To find out more about how the council is working during the coronavirus pandemic visit: www.swale.gov.uk/coronavirus.

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