Local News

Sittingbourne Drug Dealer Jailed

Sittingbourne Drug Dealer Jailed

A drug dealer has been jailed after cannabis, cocaine and cutting agents were seized by police following a search of his Sittingbourne home.

Richard Dawkins, aged 25, was clutching drug filled containers when he was stopped trying to flee his property in Burnham Close last year.

A search warrant was executed at the address on Friday 9th January, 2015, by officers connected to Kent Police's Operation Jupiter team. As the front door was being forced, Dawkins attempted to push past an officer waiting outside a back entrance.

He dropped two tubs he was carrying as he was being arrested. These were found to contain cannabis and a cricket sized ball of white powder. A further search of the property revealed deal bags, scales and what appeared to be a drugs cutting tool. In total, more than 80 grams of cannabis was seized, along with 10 grams of cocaine.

Large quantities of other (uncontrolled) substances including benzocaine and creatine were also recovered, along with cash in excess of £1000. Text messages on Dawkins' mobile phone provided further evidence of his drug dealing.

Appearing at Maidstone Crown Court Dawkins pleaded guilty to counts of possessing cannabis and cocaine with intent to supply. On Monday 23rd May he was sentenced to 3 years and 7 months imprisonment.

Jessica Luckhurst, aged 26, also of Burnham Close in Sittingbourne was convicted of being concerned in the supply of cannabis and cocaine. Luckhurst was given a suspended prison sentence of 12 months.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Iain Joyce, of Kent Police, told SFM News: "Dawkins was caught red-handed carrying drugs and almost 200 grams of benzocaine and creatine, substances he clearly intended to use as cutting agents for Class A drugs. It was clear that Dawkins was set up to supply significant quantities of cocaine, which would have ended up on the streets of Sittingbourne and beyond. This is another success for our Operation Jupiter team, but once again I would remind residents that their role in helping us keep communities safe remains vital, so please continue to report any suspicious behaviour."

Operation Jupiter is part of local strategy designed to tackle emerging criminal gangs, whose members often travel into the county from other areas.

The strategy includes taking robust action to deter criminals in areas including Medway, Swale, Gravesham and Dartford, often in connection with the sale and distribution of drugs.

Witness Appeal After Two Separate A249 Collisions

Witness Appeal After Two Separate A249 Collisions

Kent Police officers are appealing for witnesses following two separate collisions on the A249 earlier today (Thursday 19th May).

The first collision occurred at 4.01am this morning on the Maidstone-bound carriageway next to the Key Street roundabout and involved a Renault Modus car and a HGV lorry.

At 5.01am a second collision was reported a short distance away on the same carriageway. The incident was close to the junction for Bobbing and was reported to have involved a Citroen Berlingo van and a lorry which was queuing as a result of the initial collision.

Two men, one from each collision, were taken to hospital with serious injuries.

Collision investigators are now appealing for anyone who saw either collision, or the vehicles in the lead up to either collision, to get in contact.

Witnesses are asked to call the Serious Collision Investigation Unit at Maidstone Headquarters on 01622 798538.


Firefighters Tackle Bredgar Barn Fire

Firefighters Tackle Bredgar Barn Fire

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) were called to Wrens Road in Bredgar earlier today (Wednesday 18th May) to reports of an open sided barn, containing baled hay that was well alight.

Crews used compressed air foam (CAFs) to tackle the blaze, that uses less water than traditional firefighting methods and is more environmentally sensitive providing rapid fire knockdown.

This was also sprayed on neighbouring properties to form a protective layer and prevent the fire spreading. Four fire engines and a bulk water carrier initially responded to the incident but it was reduced to two pumps at 4.00am this morning.

KFRS confirmed that one crew remained on the scene to keep a watching brief.


Missing Sittingbourne Man Located After Six Years

Missing Sittingbourne Man Located After Six Years

A man who was reported missing from his family home in Rock Road in May 2010 has been found.

Matthew Green, a roofer by trade at the time, was 26 years-old when he was reported missing six years ago.

Kent Police issued a statement today saying that "European authorities have confirmed that he has been located in Europe. Matthew's family have been informed and we have closed our missing person inquiry as of today (16th May)".

Matthew's parents, Jim and Pauline Green, have made numerous appeals over the years to locate him, the most recent being just before Christmas after Jim underwent heart surgery.


Arrests Made In Sheppey Police Operation

Arrests Made In Sheppey Police Operation

Eight men have been arrested, in connection with the supply of heroin and cocaine, on the Isle of Sheppey and bailed pending further enquiries.

Officers from Kent Police's Operation Jupiter team executed search warrants in both New Street and Queensway in Sheerness last Wednesday (4th May). The warrants were linked to an investigation into an organised crime network with links to Liverpool.

The suspects were all arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. The men, aged between 22 and 36, have now all been bailed until Tuesday 30th August.

Detective Inspector Kevin Downard told SFM News: "The arrests and search warrants are a direct result of months of intelligence led policing, alongside the Operation Jupiter team. Our efforts to combat drugs throughout north Kent continue and I am confident these actions send strong message to criminals. Those responsible for the misery and destruction of lives connected to the supply of class A drugs will be arrested, charged and put before the courts."


Female Robbed By Motorcycling Teenagers In Milton

Female Robbed By Motorcycling Teenagers In Milton

Police were called shortly after 9:00pm on Friday (6th May) after reports that a young woman, whilst attempting to walk home from Kemsley Railway Station through Foxgrove in Milton Regis, was robbed of her bag by three young males who were using a motorcycle.

Anyone with any information, that could help investigators, is asked to contact Kent Police on 101 or they can call Kent Crimestoppers free (from any landline) and anonimously on 0800 555 111 - please quote Crime Number XY/017155/16.


Man Sentenced After Admitting Manslaughter

Man Sentenced After Admitting Manslaughter

A man has been detained in hospital indefinitely after admitting the manslaughter of his own grandmother while visiting her in Sittingbourne.

Stuart Lay, aged 44, of Homewood Avenue, had been charged with the murder of 85-year-old Jean Robertson, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter when he appeared at Maidstone Crown Court yesterday (Monday 25th April). His plea was accepted and he was sentenced the same day. He has been detained indefinitely under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act. This means he will now be kept in a secure hospital.

On Thursday 19 November 2015 Lay visited his grandmother, who he referred to as ‘nan', at her home in Rectory Road to ask if he could store some of his belongings in her shed. However, when he entered the property his behaviour immediately changed and he became aggressive. He grabbed hold of a fold-up stool and struck his victim several times, causing her to fall to the ground.

Lay was interrupted when someone knocked at the front door; they had become concerned after hearing loud noises coming from the property. Lay answered the door and went back to his victim, who was lying helplessly on the floor. He continued to assault her before he called the ambulance service.

Lay stayed at the scene until the police arrived and he was arrested. In interview he admitted that he started to attack his nan after she had opened the door and turned to walk back into the house. She died en route to hospital having suffered multiple injuries.

Detective Inspector Ivan Beasley, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, told SFM News: "This was an unprovoked incident where a 44-year-old man overpowered his 85-year-old victim, causing fatal injuries. What may have started as a routine visit to his grandmother, ended in her death when Lay's behaviour changed. This is a tragic loss for a family and Lay is now in a secure unit where the public can be protected and he can receive the medical treatment he needs."


'Stub It Out' Warning After Local Flat Fire

'Stub It Out' Warning After Local Flat Fire

Sittingbourne fire crews have issued a safety warning following a flat fire this morning (Friday 15th April) believed to have been started by a cigarette.

Firefighters from Sittingbourne and Faversham were called to the blaze at a first floor flat in Hawthorn Road, just after 9am. Crews were alerted to the fire after a neighbour heard the alarms sounding, saw smoke and dialled 999. The first crew arrived at the property within two and a half minutes of receiving the emergency call to find all but one of the nine flats in the building had been evacuated.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus (BA) went into the building, while other crew members pitched a 10m ladder to the second floor flat and Sittingbourne Watch Manager, Neil Ryder, climbed up to speak to a woman trapped in her home due to the heavy smoked-logging in the communal stairway.

Neil told SFM News: "I asked her to stay away from the front door, to close the door of the room she was in and put something along the bottom of it to stop smoke getting in such as clothes, cushions or bedding. Also to open and stay by the window to allow fresh air in and that as soon as the fire was dealt with we would come and get her."

Meanwhile, the BA team extinguished the fire using a high pressure hose reel, then cleared smoke and fumes from the property with a positive pressure ventilation fan. The woman, thought to be in her 30's was then brought to safety.

The fire is believed to have been caused after the occupant of the first floor flat fell asleep while smoking. The fire caused damage to a sofa and surrounding items as well as severe smoke damage.

Neil added: "Fortunately the man woke when he did as the smoke alarm in his flat wasn't working. The alarms in the rest of the property all sounded giving other occupants the early warning needed. However, this fire highlights the serious consequences of not extinguishing cigarettes properly. People need to be aware of the risks of smoking in the home and how easily this leads to fires. If you choose to smoke indoors, please make sure cigarettes are stubbed out properly and that you have a working smoke alarm."

Fire crews will be visiting neighbouring properties today to provide free home safety advice but if you or someone you know would benefit from free fire safety advice or a home safety visit from Kent Fire and Rescue Service, email: enquiries@kent.fire-uk.org or you can call 01622 692 121.


Sheppey Man Charged Following Laser Pen Incidents

Sheppey Man Charged Following Laser Pen Incidents

Local officers, investigating allegations of a laser light being shone at commercial aircraft flying over the Isle of Sheppey, have charged a man.

Adrian John Carpenter, aged 45, of Halfway Road in Minster-on-Sea, was charged with four counts of endangering an aircraft. The charges are in connection with incidents reported to have happened earlier this year on Saturday 30th January.

Mr Carpenter was bailed to attend Maidstone Magistrates' Court on Friday 20th May.



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