Local News

Appeal Following Fatal Collision On The M2

Appeal Following Fatal Collision On The M2

Investigators are appealing for information following a fatal collision on the M2 near Faversham earlier today (Sunday 28th February).

The collision took place on the coastbound carriageway, between junctions 5 and 6, at around 12.25am in the early hours of this morning.

It involved a silver Mercedes CLS 220 and a Mercedes Actros, a lorry which has a blue cabin and white trailer. The driver of the silver car, a man in his 40s from the Medway area, was declared deceased at the scene.

Kent Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit are investigating the circumstances and would like to hear from anyone who witnessed the incident, or who may have dashcam footage of the vehicles travelling in the moments leading up to the collision. 

Anyone with any information is asked to call 01622 798 538 quoting SM/SW/015/21 or, alternatively, they can email: sciu.td@kent.pnn.police.uk.

The motorway was CLOSED for several hours through the morning, with drivers being asked to follow the 'Solid Circle Symbol' through Sittingbourne to Faversham and to rejoin the M2 at J6 (Faversham).

Swale Council’s Budget Agreed For 2021/22

Swale Council’s Budget Agreed For 2021/22

Band D households in Swale will be asked to pay  £3.54 per week for Swale Borough Council services in the coming financial year.

The proposals for Swale’s share of the council tax were agreed at a full council meeting on Wednesday (24th February) evening.

The rise will see band D households paying £184.32 a year for Swale Borough Council services, a rise of £4.95.

Cllr Roger Truelove, Leader of Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: “The budget for the coming financial year is under severe pressure. We’ve managed to resist these pressures with regular support from Government through Covid related grants and with good internal financial management, but we still have a long road ahead as the local economy starts to recover. With the budget set for 2021-22, we can manage the challenges for the next year through the same combination of Government grants and sound control of expenditure we’ve demonstrated this year".

He went on to add: “We will only be asking for a council tax increase of 9p a week for band D properties, though I am aware that people’s overall charge will be affected by a larger Kent County Council precept which accounts for almost three-quarters of the total council tax bill for residents. The budget for the coming year outlines how we will carefully manage internal spending as well as drawing on our reserves to ensure we are delivering our core services and making improvements to the borough. We will be setting up the Rainbow Housing Company to provide more affordable housing, a project which is financially stable and allocating funds from our reserves to encourage growth and recovery in the borough. We’ll make it our priority to stimulate the local economy, our visitor economy, our heritage, our environment and public realm and our local community groups.”

Charges for Swale Borough Council services are only one element of the final council tax bill residents receive. Householders’ council tax bills also include charges for Kent County Council, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, Kent & Medway Fire and Rescue Service, and parish or town councils where these exist. These are set by the respective organisations and are collected on their behalf by Swale.

The council tax bill for a band D household for 2021/22 will be made up of:

  • £1,418.79 - Kent County Council
  • £218.15 – Kent Police
  • £184.32 – Swale Borough Council
  • £80.82 – Kent & Medway Fire and Rescue Authority

* along with any town or parish council precepts in areas where these exist.

The full report from the full council meeting can be found here.

Man Charged With Sittingbourne Burglary

Man Charged With Sittingbourne Burglary

Four charges have been authorised against a man following a report a business was burgled in Sittingbourne.

A computer and printer are said to have been stolen from a business in Conqueror Court on the night of Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th January.

Following enquiries carried out by the Chief Constable’s Crime Squad, Simon Owen was arrested on suspicion of the offence on Tuesday (16th February).

He has since been charged with the offence, and three additional shoplifting offences which are all said to have taken place at a supermarket in Avenue of Remembrance, Sittingbourne, last Monday (8th February). Various bottles of alcohol, worth a combined total of around £250, are reported to have been stolen.

The 47-year-old, of Porcelain Close in Sittingbourne, was remanded in custody to appear at Medway Magistrates’ Court yesterday  (Wednesday 17th February) where he was released on bail and will next appear before Maidstone Crown Court on Wednesday 17th March.

More Action Taken Against Fly-Tippers In Swale

More Action Taken Against Fly-Tippers In Swale
Waste carriers were targeted last Friday (12th February) as part of a day of action to crackdown on fly tipping.
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.

Outcomes of the day were:

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

Cllr Julian Saunders, cabinet member for environment at Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: “We’ve been cracking down on fly-tipping across the borough. These crackdown days give us the opportunity to work with the Police Rural Task Force to prosecute offenders for waste related crimes. We also spoke to drivers who had failed to keep a record of where they had collected their waste from and explained how important it is for waste carriers to not only be licensed properly, but to retain a log of their collections and delivery waste transfer notes. Failing to do so can result in an on the spot fine of £400".

Cllr Saunders went on to say: “We also issued two fixed penalty notices to drivers. One who failed to have a waste carrier license and one for not having waste transfer notes for the waste on the vehicle. One vehicle was seized by the police for traffic offenses, including not having current tax, insurance or MOT for the vehicle. More and more of these action days are taking place across the County and a tremendous amount of preparation takes place ahead of these days, 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: https://environment.data.gov.uk/public-register/view/search-waste-carrie..., or alternatively you can call 03708 506 506. 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.

Police Appeal Following Fatal M2 Collision

Police Appeal Following Fatal M2 Collision

Information is being sought following a fatal collision on the coastbound M2 near Blue Bell Hill yesterday (Tuesday 16th February) morning.

At  approximately 11.28am Kent Police were called to the collision, involving a blue Vauxhall Corsa and a white Kia Picanto between Junctions 3 and 4.

A 79-year-old man was confirmed deceased at the scene. A woman suffered injuries and was taken to hospital and a third vehicle, an articulated lorry, sustained damage from the debris shortly after the collision.

Officers from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit (SCIU) are investigating the incident and would like to hear from anyone who witnessed the collision, or saw either vehicle beforehand, or has dash cam footage which could assist enquiries.

Witnesses are asked to call the SCIU appeal line on 01622 798 538 or email sciu.td@kent.pnn.police.uk quoting Ref: AH/KA/012/21.

The road was closed, in both directions, for most of the afternoon whilst investigation work was undertaken by the Kent Police SCIU.


Witnesses Sought To Serious A2 Faversham Collision

Witnesses Sought To Serious A2 Faversham Collision

Witnesses are being sought by Kent Police after a man suffered serious injuries in a collision near Faversham yesterday (Monday 15th February).

At around 3.45pm yesterday afternoon a white Vauxhall Astra van was travelling along the A2 London Road from Faversham towards the Brenley Corner roundabout when it was involved in a collision with a pedestrian.

The pedestrian sustained serious injuries and was flown by the Kent Air Ambulance to a London hospital, where he remains in a critical condition. The van driver was not injured.

Officers from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit are appealing for dashcam footage and any witnesses, who have not yet spoken to the police, to come forward.

Witnesses are asked to contact the SCIU appeal line on 01622 798538 or they can email: sciu.td@kent.pnn.police.uk quoting Ref: HW/CF/011/21.


Appeal Following Robbery At Sittingbourne Shop

Appeal Following Robbery At Sittingbourne Shop

Local detectives have issued an appeal for information following a report of a robbery in Sittingbourne.

At around 7:00pm on Saturday 16th January, three men entered a shop in St John’s Avenue where two shop assistants were working.

It is alleged one of the men, who was holding a bladed weapon, threatened a staff member while the other two suspects stole a quantity of tobacco. The second shop assistant is reported to have been assaulted and the men then stole cash and some bottles of alcohol before leaving the premises.

One of the suspects is described as wearing a black coat, white or grey gloves, black tracksuit bottoms with a white stripe down the legs and black trainers. He was carrying a green holdall and had a black face mask. The second had a blue coat with a grey hooded top underneath, blue or grey gloves, a black hat, grey jogging bottoms and black trainers. He was wearing a blue surgical face mask. The third suspect is described as wearing a dark coat, grey jogging bottoms, dark trainers, a dark woollen hat and a blue surgical face mask. He had black and orange gloves.

Investigating officer, PC Harry Groves, of the Chief Constable’s Crime Squad, told SFM News: ‘While investigators are completing enquiries in the area, including the examination of CCTV footage, we are appealing for witnesses who may have seen the incident or saw somebody acting suspiciously, to contact us.'

Anyone with any information, that may assist the investigation, is urged to call the Kent Police Appeal Line on 01795 419119, quoting crime reference 46/8283/21, or alternatively they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers FREE and anonymously by calling 0800 555 111 or by using their anonymous online form at: crimestoppers-uk.org.

Cannabis Cultivation Uncovered In Faversham

Cannabis Cultivation Uncovered In Faversham

A cannabis cultivation has been uncovered by police officers at an industrial unit in Faversham.

Kent Police were called on Friday (5th February) to a report of suspicious activity at the unit in Newnham Lane, Faversham.

Officers from the local policing team attended and seized more than 100 cannabis plants in varying stages of maturity.

Two men aged 22 and from the Sittingbourne area have been arrested in connection with the investigation and have since been released under investigation.

Anyone with any information is asked to call Kent Police on 01795 419119 quoting reference 46/19577/21.


Peter Morgan Made Freeman Of The Borough

Peter Morgan Made Freeman Of The Borough

A popular former councillor from Sittingbourne has been made a Freeman of the Borough of Swale.

Peter Morgan, was given the honour at a special meeting of the council last night (Wednesday 3rd February), having been nominated by the council leader, Cllr Roger Truelove.

Cllr Truelove told SFM News: “In my long time associated with this council, I cannot think of anyone who has represented the sense of service with greater distinction than Peter Morgan. Honouring him sets a high benchmark for us now serving on this council. Peter schooled many community groups into existence and very frequently stayed with people’s projects, usually as chairman. A few years ago, when Peter fell in his cellar at home, he had to go into the Memorial Hospital. After visiting him there, I put a short message on a Facebook page to let people know he was progressing well and the public response was overwhelming".

Cllr Truelove went on to say: “In wishing Peter well, a multitude of people recalled their lifelong thanks to him, for all he had been to them as a councillor, but also in the wider community and strikingly as a teacher. Peter is a Welshman, with a gift for public speaking, and came to Sittingbourne in 1948 and made it his lifelong home. He was first a teacher at the Milton Butts and then at Westlands School. He was elected to the Sittingbourne and Milton District Council in 1962 and campaigned for years for council recognition of the Citizens Advice Bureau. He became the first Liberal Mayor of Swale in 1987 and Chair of Kent County Council in 1996.

Cllr Truelove concluded: “Among his many community roles he has been a lay preacher, chair of the Swale Footpaths Group, founder member of the Twinning Association between Sittingbourne and Ypres, chair of the Dolphin Barge Museum, founder of the Sittingbourne Heritage Museum, governor of Schools in Sittingbourne and Queenborough, co-founder of the Sittingbourne Music Society, founder of Crossroads Care, founder and Chair of Home Start, chair of Sittingbourne and District Volunteer Bureau. Many words are abused these days and one of them is legend. But even so, Peter Morgan’s service to the community is legendary. Peter put service first and politics second. His career is an example and inspiration to us all and I am pleased members unanimously supported the call to honour him as a Freeman of the Borough of Swale.”

Peter joins other Freemen of the borough such as Bob Geldof KBE and Paralympian and TV presenter Steve Brown.

Sittingbourne's Victorian Station Bridge Demolished

Sittingbourne's Victorian Station Bridge Demolished

One of Kent's oldest rail bridges, at Sittingbourne railway station, has been demolished.

Network Rail engineers used a crane to demolish the original iron pedestrian bridge at the station, in St Michael’s Road, overnight (Saturday 30th January).

The Victorian foot bridge was one of the oldest in the county and was lifted out of the way and taken away for scrap.

A Network Rail spokesperson told SFM News: "it had come to the end of it's life and it was not safe to continue to use".

*Pic courtesy of 106.9 SFM's Matthew Judd.


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