Local News

Sittingbourne FC Showcase 2015 At The Forum

Picture by Ken Medwyn.

Sittingbourne Footbal Club (SFC) had a stand at the Forum Shopping Centre's "New Year's Resolutions Day" on Saturday (10th January).

The idea behind the day was that Sittingbourne residents should consider new things to do in 2015 and there were numerous stalls in the centre showcasing local clubs, associations and charities. 

The SFC stand featured power point presentations accompanied by the club song, club merchandise, sweets, copies of the club's publicity booklet, BOGOF tickets for future matches, sample club match day programmes, a fixture list and an invitation to join the club's lottery.

The stall was staffed by fans, the Manager Nick Davis, Chairman Maurice Dunk, Vice Chairman Ken Medwyn, committee member and 106.9 SFM Sports Reporter Peter Pitts and Clive Phillips from the club shop.

If you would like to know how you can support your local Ryman League Division 1 South team visit: www.sittingbournefc.co.uk.

Witnesses Sought Following Fatal Collision In Sheerness

Witnesses Sought Following Fatal Collision In Sheerness

Kent Police are appealing for witnesses following a fatal collision in Sheerness earlier today (Wednesday 7th January).

A blue Mazda 323F is reported to have collided with two unoccupied parked vehicles and a wall in Queensway at around 8.00am this morning.

The driver of the Mazda, a man in his 50s and from the Sittingbourne area, was pronounced dead at the scene. There were no passengers in the vehicle.

The road was closed until around 12.30pm while officers from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit carried out investigations at the scene.

Witnesses to the collision, or anyone who saw the vehicle prior to the collision, is asked to contact DC Claire Davey at the Kent Police Serious Collision Investigation Unit by calling 01622 798538 or alternatively they can email: sciu.td@kent.pnn.police.uk.

Police Appeal Following Hotel Altercation

Police Appeal Following Hotel Altercation

Kent Police are appealing for information after a man reportedly threatened bar staff at a Sittingbourne hotel with a knife.

The incident occurred at Hempstead House, on London Road in Bapchild, at about 5.15pm on New Year's Eve (Wednesday 31st December 2014).

The man attempted to buy a drink using what was believed to be a counterfeit £50 note and, when challenged by bar staff, reportedly threatened them with a knife before running away.

Officers have released a CCTV image of a man they would like to speak to in connection with the incident.

Anyone who recognises him is urged to contact PC Dave Hanslow on 01634 792350 quoting crime reference XY/46019/14 or, alternatively, they call Kent Crimestoppers free (from any landline) and anonimously on 0800 555 111.

 

RSPCA Appeal After Dead Emaciated Spaniel Found

RSPCA Appeal After Dead Emaciated Spaniel Found

The RSPCA is appealing for information after the body of an emaciated springer spaniel was found by the side of a road in Sittingbourne.

The dead dog was discovered wrapped in a blue horse rug inside a blue and grey plastic kennel on School Lane in Iwade on Friday 27th December.

The male tan and white spaniel was found by a passing dog walker tucked behind a pipe by the side of the road. It is not known how long the body had been there, but it is thought he had probably died within the last week. It is thought he was a young adult - five years old or younger.

The incident follows a similar report about a dead border collie found dumped in bushes in the area a couple of months before, again in a very emaciated state.

RSPCA Animal Welfare Officer, Kelly Thatcher, told SFM News: "It wasn't much of a Happy Christmas for this poor dog - who had clearly suffered leading up to his death. I was shocked at how thin he was - completely skin and bones. At first I had hoped he had died a natural death and then been dumped, but seeing how thin he was, and young, I doubt it. It was also such a callous way to dump the poor dog. Over the fence and lying among all manner of rubbish. We urge anyone with any information about this incident to let us know on 0300 123 8018."

 

Sittingbourne Dealer Handed A Three Year Sentence

Sittingbourne Dealer Handed A Three Year Sentence

A man who set up a cannabis factory in his Sittingbourne home has been sent to prison.

Mark Kennett, aged 53 and previously of Harold Road in Sittingbourne, pleaded guilty to producing cannabis and possessing LSD with intent to supply after being arrested for the offences in November.

Police carried out a search of his house on Thursday 6th November after receiving information of drugs in the area. They found eight plants growing in the loft, with a street value of around £600. In addition, they found nine smaller plants growing in a cupboard under the stairs and a pot filled with herbal cannabis thought to have a street value of up to £580. Officers also located 690 tabs of LSD, with a street value of around £3,450.

Kennett appeared at Medway Magistrates' Court the next day and was remanded in custody. He was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court on Friday (12th December) to 44 months in prison.

Detective Constable Aaron Chapman, the investigating officer at Kent Police, told SFM News: "Drugs are dangerous and so I am pleased we have prevented hundreds of pounds worth of cannabis and LSD from reaching the streets. Kennett was arrested while he was on licence after being convicted of drugs offences in 2009. He is now back behind bars and unable to supply illegal substances in our communities. We take drugs cultivation and supply very seriously and will continue to disrupt offenders and put them before the courts."

Paper Mill Hosts Fire Crew "Training Exercise"

Paper Mill Hosts Fire Crew "Training Exercise"

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) took part in an exercise on Thursday (11th December) to test firefighters and the mill staff's response to a chemical incident at Kemsley Paper Mill - owned by DS Smith - the second biggest recycled fibre-based operation in Europe.

The staged exercise involved a reversing heavy goods vehicle hitting a member of staff, trapping him beneath the articulated trailer. The drama intensified after a chemical chlorine container dislodged during the collision, allowing the chemicals to leak.

Four fire engines from Sittingbourne, Sheppey, Faversham and Medway, along with KFRS's Incident Support Unit and around 20 firefighters were sent to the plant in Kemsley, Sittingbourne at 10.45am. The decontamination team wore chemical protection suits and used specialist chemical detection equipment to rehearse how they would make the scene safe by decontaminating the area and safely disposing of the spilt chemicals.

The exercise lasted for two hours and saw fire crews using air bags to release the casualty from beneath the trailer. Five other 'mock' casualties were lead or carried to safety suffering from nausea and breathing difficulties.

KFRS Station Manager, Stuart Beadle, who was responsible for the exercise told SFM News: "To make it as realistic as possible, crews and staff were unaware of what they would face, as the exact nature of the incident was only revealed on the day. This meant they had to react as they would to a real-life situation allowing us to test our operational plans and Kemsley Paper Mill to test their emergency and incident control procedures, which included a full site evacuation."

Mr Jonathan Hunt, Site Facilities Engineer at Kemsley Paper Mill, told SFM News: "We have an active firefighting and emergency response team on site and our priorities are to ensure the safety of our staff, contractors and the general public. Our team are well practised in their strategic management of incidents but it's a massive benefit for us to work closely with KFRS sharing knowledge and putting our well-rehearsed emergency procedures into place."

Stuart concluded by saying that the: "KFRS is called to a wide range of incidents - not just house fires and car crashes - and this exercise has given us the opportunity to prepare for a more unusual scenario. Working in partnership with the mill ensures we are able to set effective communication channels to resolve incidents quickly and smoothly should the worst ever happen. We're grateful to Kemsley Paper Mill for facilitating this training event."

Crackdown On Swale Shoplifters

Crackdown On Swale Shoplifters

Shoplifters in Swale have been arrested as part of a crackdown in the run up to Christmas.

Officers have been focusing their foot patrols in Sittingbourne town centre to locate and deter offenders and as well as targeting shoplifters, the foot patrols are also being carried out to help deter people from committing offences of criminal damage, violence and theft from vehicles.

Chief Inspector Tony Henley, District Commander for Swale, told SFM's Roger Wrapson: "Since mid-November local policing officers have been targeting their patrols in town centres, which are often busier in the run up to Christmas. The foot patrols allow police to provide additional support to those working in the town centres and reassurance to people out enjoying the festive season. The targeted work has already seen a number of shoplifters being arrested. One offender was sent to prison for stealing razors - a warning to opportunist thieves of the consequences of breaking the law. This time of year often sees more people making the most of pubs, bars and clubs in the town centres. Alcohol reduces inhibitions and makes people more likely to do things out of the ordinary. The targeted work is also being carried out to help deter people from getting into violent situations and committing a crime".

Chief Inspector Henley added: "we want people to have fun, but also to get home safely. Avoid spending a night in a cell, or even at hospital, and drink responsibly."

Results so far:

• A man from Sittingbourne has been given a suspended prison sentenced after stealing a bottle of alcohol. Glenn David Butler, aged 44, of Woodberry Drive, Murston, was charged with shoplifting and obstructing/resisting an officer in the execution of their duty after a bottle of vodka worth £13.99 was stolen from a supermarket in Sittingbourne on Monday 1st December. Butler appeared at Medway Magistrates' Court on Tuesday 2nd December where he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 days in prison, suspended for 12 months.
• A woman is due to appear at court following shoplifting offences in Sittingbourne. Danielle Goskie, aged 33, of Vicarage Road in Milton Regis, has been charged with four counts of shoplifting and one count of attempted shoplifting. She is due to appear at Maidstone Magistrates' Court on Tuesday (16th December).
• On 22 November Danhi Smith, aged 20, previously of Murston Road, was charged with shoplifting after an incident in Sittingbourne on Thursday 20th November. He appeared at Medway Magistrates' Court on Saturday 22nd November where he was remanded to appear at court at a later date.
• On 25 November, a 20-year-old man from Sittingbourne was cautioned after stealing headphones from a supermarket on Bridge Road in Sheerness, on Wednesday 19th November. 

If you own a business you can get advice on how you can help protect your business from criminals by visiting www.kent.police.uk and select ‘Advice and licences' and then ‘Businesses'.

Swale Safe is a business crime reduction partnership which links town centre businesses, Swale Borough Council and Kent Police via radio, allowing them to share information on criminal activity. For more information please visit www.swalesafe.co.uk.

 

Organised Crime Gang Jailed For Digger Thefts

Organised Crime Gang Jailed For Digger Thefts

Members of an organised local crime gang, who stole diggers and trailers worth a total of more than £185,000, have been jailed.

Matthew Butler, 36, of South Street Road, in Stockbury; Nigel Black, 52, of Warden Road in Eastchurch and Ashley Austin, 24, of Essex Road in Maidstone, were all involved in the thefts from a storage compound in Bircholt Road, Maidstone, in December 2012.

Butler pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to steal but was convicted following a trial last month. He was jailed for four years when he appeared at Maidstone Crown Court for sentencing on Friday (7th November).

Black pleaded guilty to theft and was jailed for three years, while Austin admitted the same charge and received a custodial sentence of two years and seven months.

A fourth man - Grant Hodgson, 34, of Warden Road in Eastchurch - has also pleaded guilty to theft and will be sentenced later this month.

The court heard how 12 Cat mini-diggers worth about £14,000 each and 12 trailers worth £1,600 each were discovered stolen by staff who arrived at the storage compound on Monday 10th December 2012. The chains locking the front gates had also been cut and four vehicle registration plates stolen. In the early hours of Wednesday 12 December, electronic trackers installed on the machines led Kent Police to a lorry in Lodge Road, Staplehurst, which contained the diggers.

Black, who was standing next to the vehicle, and Austin, who was lying beneath it, were both arrested at the scene. Hodgson was also present but attempted to run away from officers before jumping off a 10ft-high wall - breaking his back as a result. Despite his injuries Hodgson attempted to escape on a train from Staplehurst railway station but was arrested on board and taken to hospital.

The lorry, on which the diggers were found, was traced back to Butler - a known associate of the three co-defendants - who had purchased the vehicle a month before from a dealership in Suffolk but had registered it in somebody else's name.

Investigating Officer, Detective Constable Becky Saunders, told SFM News: "This was a complex case that took two years to piece together so I am very pleased that those responsible are now behind bars. These four men are repeat offenders specialising in vehicle crime so it will come as a relief to law-abiding members of the public that they are now off our streets."

 

Sittingbourne Commemorates World War I Hero

Sittingbourne Commemorates World War I Hero

Pictured: Susan Bavin, David Bavin and the Commemoratibe VC Stone

Following on from today's Remembrance Sunday Service, at the War Memorial on Central Avenue in Sittingbourne, a special service was held to mark a VC stone dedicated to local war hero Lt Donald Dean VC.

The service was broadcast on 106.9 SFM and included readings from Rev'd Jean Burrows and Pat Tatchell and a personal reflection from David Bavin, Donald Dean's grandson. The service was also attended by Mr Dean's daughter, Susan Bavin, along with other dignitaries including the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Richard Oldfield, the Mayor Of Swale, Cllr George Bobbin and Cllr Andrew Bowles, Leader of Swale Borough Council.

Donald Dean was awarded the Victoria Cross, aged just 21, in September 1918 for his bravery during one of the final battles of the harsh conflict. Although born in 1897 in Surrey Mr Dean had strong links with the Sittingbourne area and his relatives were part of the successful local brick-making business Smeed Dean. When war broke out he was living with his parents in Tunstall.  

An inscribed paving stone (pictured above) in memory of him, was unveiled at 2.50pm as part of the service.

 

Police Appeal After Weekend M2 Collision

Police Appeal After Weekend M2 Collision

Kent Police are appealing for witnesses following a single vehicle collision on the M2, near Sittingbourne, in which six people were reportedly injured.

A silver Nissan Estate, carrying eight people including the driver, overturned on the London-bound carriageway of the M2, between junction 5 and the Medway Services, at 9.45pm on Saturday 11th October. The carriageway was closed while emergency services dealt with the incident and debris was cleared from the road. Lane 2 was reopened at 11.25pm and the carriageway was fully reopened at around midnight.

Six people were taken to hospital, with one of them thought to have suffered a serious injury.

Witnesses to the incident, or anyone who saw the vehicle prior to the incident, are asked to contact PC Chris Godden at Kent Police by calling 01622 798571 and quoting reference: 1011-1625.

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