Local News

Sittingbourne Robber Jailed For Snatching Handbag

Sittingbourne Robber Jailed For Snatching Handbag

A robber, who stole a handbag from an elderly woman while she walked to a Sittingbourne shop, has been jailed.

Craig Creasey initially engaged in conversation with the victim, who is in her 80s, before snatching her bag with such force she fell to the ground.

The 39-year-old, from Sittingbourne, admitted robbery and was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court yesterday (Wednesday 13th May) to 16 months imprisonment.

The offence took place outside a shop in St John's Avenue at around 9:00am on Tuesday 14th April and was clearly captured on a security camera with the footage showing Creasey driving to the scene in a car before speaking to the woman outside the shop. The footage showed a short conversation taking place before the offender snatched her bag and ran towards his vehicle while she was left laying on the floor, having sustained bruising to her arm and soreness to her shoulder.

Creasey then drove away from the scene but, shortly after the offence took place, the CCTV footage was uploaded to social media and within minutes Creasey's name had been reported several times to Kent Police. Patrols acted promptly and arrested Creasey later that day and he has remanded in custody ever since. Officers were also able to reunite the victim with her bag, which contained several photographs that are of sentimental value.

The investigating officer, Detective Constable Nicola Lincoln, told SFM News: "This crime was carried out during lockdown, when most people are looking out for their vulnerable friends, family members and neighbours. Creasey saw his victim outside the shop and took advantage of the situation, pulling her to the ground, injuring her and stealing her bag. Though shaken and physically hurt, she has shown great bravery in assisting us with our case and should be commended. Though this was an awful experience for her, it brought out the best in the community, who rallied round and were keen to wish her well, send cards and flowers and even donate money to the NHS as per her wishes. A true reflection of the largely good, kind people in the community as opposed to the abhorrent actions of one person".

Latest COVID-19 Figures Released

Latest COVID-19 Figures Released

The latest Office Of National Statistic (ONS) figures for Kent have been released and show that the county has suffered at least 4,254 coronavirus cases, with a further 706 cases recorded in the Medway unitary authority area.

Locally here in Swale the rate of coronavirus cases per 100,000 people is 198.0 compared to the worse rate in the county in Ashford which was recorded as 492.7.

The week ending 1st May was the first, since coronavirus arrived in Britain,in which London did not register the highest number of Covid-19 deaths. The South East had the highest weekly count, with 967 death certificates mentioning a confirmed or suspected case of the disease.

Here in Sittingbourne a mobile testing centre (by appointment only, via a secure system) has been set up, with the NHS and the Army, in the Swale House Car Park. 

Speedway Mascot Naming Competition Result

Speedway Mascot Naming Competition Result

It's a tail in the jungle for sure how Kent Speedway fans have been rallying together to pick a name for their new mascot: not just the TouchTec King of the Jungle but a master of all he surveys at Central Park and there by right Royal Appointment!

The competition, backed by SpecSavers, saw a terrific response with a pride of great names including Lennie (a nod there surely to Kings' promoter Len Silver), Luke (ditto to much-loved former skipper 'Bowen 747'!), Kenny, Kingsley and Kingston!

It was certainly looking like it might be a headache for the judging panel to pick (and unfortunately in the jungle there are no headache tablets as the parrots eat them all...) - until a name came roaring into view with six picks and so taking the title.

Yes, the name is ROARY.

Commercial Manager Graham Darling told SFM News what happened next: "There were six people who went for Roary - which is a great name combining the Lion theme with the roar of the Speedway bikes - a sound loved by all in the sport. Six picked the winning name but there can only be one winner. We therefore arranged for Si Kellow of Iwade Garage, who has been on the judging panel, to do a video draw where he numbered the names and did a random draw. That draw selected No.5 which was George Hodgson who has won the top prize of VIP tickets and a replica Kings/Royals 2020 shirt."

Kent TouchTec Kings hope to get up and running on their NEW Wednesday evenings at Central Park Stadium as soon as possible and we will keep you updated with developments.

Local Flood Alert In Force Now

Local Flood Alert In Force Now

A Flood Alert has been issued due to the high tide forecast for this afternoon (Sunday 10th May).

The Environment Agency has confirmed that the highest tide level is expected to be at 3:30pm this afternoon. Flooding is possible two hours either side of this time.

They say they are monitoring the situation, though flooding to properties is not expected. The main areas of concern include Faversham and Conyer and response staff are checking flood defences and structures and are prepared to respond if required.

They are advising people to be careful along beaches, promenades, coastal footpaths and roads as large waves and sea spray could be dangerous.

The Environment Agency say they are expecting higher than normal tides over the next 3 days and may be issuing further messages during this time.

For those who need it, the forecast total water height at Sheerness for the 3:30pm Sunday afternoon tide is 3.57m AOD.

McDonalds Set To Re-Open Sittingbourne Branch

McDonalds Set To Re-Open Sittingbourne Branch

McDonalds UK have today announced the 15 stores that are due to re-open next Wednesday (13th May) and they include the Sittingbourne Retail Park branch.

McDonald's Chief Executive, Paul Pomroy, told SFM News that the Sittingbourne branch, which closed in March following the government's implementation of lockdown, will be staffed by a smaller team than usual.

He said: "We will providing all employees with updated training on restaurant cleanliness and sanitisation and the restaurant will be deep cleaned before re-opening".

Perspex screens, floor markings, face masks and thermometer checks will be in place and no members of the public will be allowed into the branch.  ALL orders will have to be ordered through and delivered by Uber Eats or Just Eat and social distancing for delivery drivers will also be implemented.

There will be limited operating hours and menu - with burgers, chicken nuggets, Fillet-o-Fish, fries and the hot drinks range on offer but NO breakfasts initially.

 

Swale COVID-19 Death Figures Announced

Swale COVID-19 Death Figures Announced

New figures, released by The Office Of National Statistics (ONS) have revealed the number of people who have died from COVID-19 in Kent. 

The report reveals that 205 people had died of coronavirus in the county on or before Friday 10th April – 181 in hospital (88.3%), 16 in care homes (7.8%), 7 at home (3.4%) and 1 in a hospice.

Out of those figures locally here in Swale 18 people have died - 16 in hospital, 1 in a care home and 1 at home. The statistics also show that twice as many people from Medway borough have died compared to anywhere else in the Kent and one in nine deaths occurred outside of hospitals.

Whilst confirmed hospital deaths in the county from the ONS numbers are lower compared to NHS England figures, overall deaths provided by the ONS for England and Wales are far higher than previously reported by the NHS daily figures.

The ONS also says "suspected COVID-19" cases mentioned on a death certificate are included although it may not have been the main cause of death but a contributory factor.

Two Arrested Following 'Mass Gathering'

Two Arrested Following 'Mass Gathering'

Two people have been arrested and enquiries are ongoing following a 'mass gathering' in Sittingbourne.

Approximately 150 people attended a funeral at the Garden of England Crematorium on Sheppey Way in Bobbing on Thursday (16th April) resulting in concerns about social distancing during the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Kent Police say that they "received notification of the funeral the evening before it was due to take place" and was therefore unable to speak to those attending to encourage them to adhere to social distancing measures.

As a contingency tey say that "officers maintained a visible presence during the day and looked to strike a balance between allowing those who attended the opportunity to grieve, while protecting the wider community from any potential health concerns".

Chief Inspector Neil Loudon told SFM News: ‘Kent Police was afforded very little notice about this large gathering and as such a decision was made to allow the funeral to go ahead during what was no doubt a difficult time for those who had lost a loved one.

Our offficers' priority was to maintain a presence while offering protection to the wider community around any health concerns they may have had. Those who have been identified as attending the ceremony and not adhering to the public health advice will be contacted in due course and reminded of their personal responsibilities during these unprecedented times.'

During the gathering, which involved large numbers of motorcyclists, some disruptive and anti-social riding was reported and two men aged 24 and 32 were both arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving and driving without a licence.

A 17-year-old boy, who was a pedestrian attending the funeral, was also seriously injured when he was involved in a collision with a motorbike in Tonge Road at around 10.40am. Kent Police's Serious Collision Investigation Unit has started conducting enquiries in to the circumstances.

Ch Insp Loudon added: "Some serious incidents took place during this gathering which have had an impact not only on those who were involved, but also the wider community.

As a result, there will be an increased presence of police officers in and around Sittingbourne in the coming days and weeks whilst enquiries take place and to provide some local reassurance.

Our investigation continues and where there are clear acts of anti-social behaviour, crime, and persistent breaches of coronavirus legislation then we will seek to identify and prosecute these."

 

Man Arrested Following 'Mass Gathering' Collision

Man Arrested Following 'Mass Gathering' Collision

Kent Police arrested a man in his 20's on suspicion of dangerous driving after several people were injured at a 'mass gathering' earlier today (Thursday 16th April).

It's been reported that 'more than 100 people were seen in the street' in Tonge Road, Murston for a funeral despite the current Coronavirus 'lockdown', which has been extended by the Government for a least another three weeks.

It is thought about 40 motorbikes were also in the road and an eye-witness, who wanted to remain anonymous, told SFM News: "it looked like someone had been hit by a motorbike near the junction with Portland Avenue.

The South East Coast Ambulance service confirmed that one person was flown to a Central London hospital and several others taken by road ambulance to the Medway Martime Hospital in Gillingham.

Kent Police's Serious Investigation Unit closed the road for several hours but the road re-opened earlier this afternoon.

 

Council Distributes £8.9M In Local Business Grants

Council Distributes £8.9M In Local Business Grants

The first 776 local businesses that have applied for business rate relief grants from Swale Borough Council will be receiving payments worth £8.9 million between them later this week.

The council wrote to 2,600 eligible businesses in the borough with details on how to apply for the grants, which are part of the government's measures to support small businesses and businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors through the period of disruption caused by coronavirus (COVID-19).

The council are hoping to make the payments to all eligible businesses by 1 May and is urging those businesses that haven't yet applied to do so as soon as possible.

The grants of up to £25,000 per business are available through one of two schemes:

• The small business grant
• The cash grant for retail, hospitality and leisure

Anyone who runs a business that may be eligible for the grants, but can't access their business premises to receive their post at the moment, can email edu@swale.gov.uk.

You'll need to include:

• your business rates account number, shown on your business rates statement
• the name and address registered on your business rates account

If you have any queries about whether you are eligible for the grant or not, please email: edu@swale.gov.uk with a telephone number that we can contact you on to discuss the criteria.

For more information, and to apply if you haven't already, visit www.swale.gov.uk/support-scheme-registration.

 

Attempted Shop Burglary In Sittingbourne

Attempted Shop Burglary In Sittingbourne

Kent Police have released CCTV images following an attempted shop burglary by two men on Sittingbourne High Street.

Officers are investigating after the two men were seen attempting to gain access to a phone shop 10.30pm last Wednesday (25th March).

The men attempted to enter the shop by damaging a rear door, however they were unable to gain access before leaving the area in what officers believe was a silver Mercedes van.

Investigators have reviewed available CCTV footage and are now releasing images of two men who may be able to help with their enquiries.

Can you help?

Anyone who recognises the men in these images is asked to call Kent Police on 01634 792209 quoting reference 46/54245/20, or, alternatively, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers free and anonymously by calling 0800 555 111, or by using the anonymous online form at Crimestoppers-uk.org.

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