Local News

Investigations Continue After Maidstone Overnight Fires

Investigations Continue After Maidstone Overnight Fires

Picture: Courtesy of Kent Fire & Rescue Service (KFRS)

Kent Police VHave confirmed to SFM News that they have arrested a person following a series of fires in Maidstone overnight.

A 22-year-old local man was taken into custody following fires that caused significant damage to town centre businesses and also to cars parked in residential roads.

Police were was called at 1.16am this morning (Monday 8th June) to reports that five cars had been set alight in the Buckland Road and Somerfield Road area of the town. Then at 2.11am it was reported that The Works bookstore in Week Street, Maidstone, was on fire and that it had spread to adjoining properties.

Following the arrest officers are continuing to appeal to members of the public for information. Chief Superintendent Steve Corbishley told SFM News: "We are continuing to work closely with investigators from Kent Fire and Rescue Service to determine the exact cause of these incidents. We are also reviewing CCTV throughout parts of the town as part of our enquiries. The fires were all started within an hour of each other and whilst we have a person in custody it is important that anyone with any information comes forward. If you have seen anyone acting suspiciously don't hesitate to get in touch. Arson endangers people's lives, whether it's the owners of the property or staff. These incidents have had a tremendous impact on both residents and to traders, who have had property destroyed or have been unable to open businesses because of the on-going efforts by fire crews to tackle the fire in Week Street. We are working with other partners such as the local council to make sure that any businesses affected get the support they need. In the meantime parts of the town centre will remain closed so we can ensure everyone's safety. We are grateful for everyone's patience whilst the investigation continues."

Anyone with any information is asked to call Kent Police on 01732 379285, or alternatively they can call Kent Crimestoppers free (from any landline) and anonimously on 0800 555 111.

More Than £160k Of Grants Available To Local Groups

More Than £160k Of Grants Available To Local Groups

Swale Borough Council is making £162,800 available for local groups to support projects that benefit the community over the next year.

The funding pot was announced at the council's Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 20th May when Cabinet Member for Localism, Cllr Mike Whiting, tabled a letter confirming the grants.

Cllr Whiting told SFM's "In The Bourne" listeners: "We are lucky to have such a wealth of local groups that are doing a tremendous amount to improve lives across the Borough, and these grants are part of our commitment to supporting them in their work. Councillors have more than £110,000 available between them to support schemes in their areas - be it extra bins, supporting events, or helping local good causes. Even small amounts of money really can make a big difference, so I am looking forward to seeing all the applications for support over the next year."

There are currently five grant schemes available to the community to support a range of projects within the Borough and to improve the local cultural and leisure offer.

The grants available are:

• £112,800 Members' Localism Grants - £2,400 per councillor
• £10,000 Heritage Grants - up to £1,000 per project
• £5,000 Culture Grants - up to £1,000 per project
• £20,000 Sport and Physical Activity Grants - between £200 and £1,000
• £15,000 WW1 Centenary Grants - up to £750

To find out more about the grants on offer, and get information on how to apply, visit www.swale.gov.uk/localism-grants.

Woman's Body Found In Sheerness Canal

Woman's Body Found In Sheerness Canal

Kent Police recovered a body from the Canal in Halfway Road, Sheerness earlier today.

Officers attended at 9.30am this morning, following a call from a member of the public.

Police Forensic and Marine Unit teams were called to the scene, with a white tent being erected on the canal bank to assist in the investgation.

*** UPDATE*** Police have, this afternoon, confirmed that a formal identification of the body is now being undertaken and that their enquiries are ongoing.



MP Welcomes News Of Post Office Re-Opening

MP Welcomes News Of Post Office Re-Opening

Gordon Henderson, Member of Parliament for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, has welcomed the news that post office services are finally being restored in Bredgar.

The village Post Office was closed in February following a burglary and had been set to re-open on Saturday (23rd May) but encountered some broadband connection problems. These have now been resolved and the Post Office will be re-opening from 9.15am tomorrow (Wednesday 27th May).

Mr Henderson told SFM News "I am very pleased this much-needed service is re-opening. The damage caused by the raid was extensive and I congratulate everyone involved in getting the work done so quickly. Village Post Offices lie at the heart of their communities and we have seen too many of them close over the years. Having the Post Office open again in Bredgar is great news for the village and I would encourage villagers and visitors to use it. I wish postmaster Teresa Hudson well when she re-opens tomorrow."


Woman Rescued From M2 Accident

Woman Rescued From M2 Accident

The Kent Fire And Rescue Service (KFRS) were called to an accident between junctions 5 (A249 Sittingbourne) and 6 (A251 Ashford/Faversham) of the M2 shortly after 12 noon today.

Crews used hydraulic cutting equipment to remove the roof of the car in order to release a woman who was trapped by her injuries inside.

Two lanes were closed with delays of up a 30 minutes whilst Police and ambulance crews attended the scene as well.

The motorway was fully re-opened by 2.30pm.

KSP Tenants Flock To Give Blood

KSP Tenants Flock To Give Blood

Tenants on the Kent Science Park in Milstead have been giving blood when the mobile lorries visited the Park last week. Over 80 units of blood were donated with eight new donors turning out to give blood.

Each year, Kent Science Park holds three donation sessions that are promoted to the 1600 employees based on the Park, ensuring the donation mobile is always fully booked with appointments. This time round, the grid was fully booked leaving the National Blood Service working a full capacity across both days.

Selina Charles, Senior Marketing Coordinator at NHS Blood and Transplant told SFM News: "We are very grateful to all those who donated. Every blood donation can save or transform up to three lives. Many people know that blood is often used in accident and emergency situations, but more than 60 percent of blood is used for non-surgical treatment, which includes treating cancers and other blood disorders. With around 6,100 donations needed by hospitals in England and North Wales every day, I would encourage both new and returning donors to make a date to roll up their sleeve and donate. Giving blood should take around an hour from the time of your appointment to completing your donation. So make the time to give blood, you never know whose life you could save".

Kent Science Park tenants have donated over 3,000 units of blood to the National Blood Service over the past 15 years.

The blood donation mobile will return to Kent Science Park and Tuesday 22nd and Wednesday 23rd May for KSP workers and there will be a general Blood Donation Session at the UKP Club on the Avenue Of Remembrance between 9.30am - 1.30pm On Sunday 31st May.

Record Number Take Part In 10K Road Race

Record Number Take Part In 10K Road Race

There were a record number of participants and spectators at this year's Rotary Club Of Sittingbourne Invicta's 10K Road Race yesterday (Sunday 17th May).

The 106.9 SFM Roadshow were entertaining the crowds and broadcasting Live On Air between 10am - 1pm.

A full list of the running results can be found by clicking this link.

Congratulations to everyone who took part and also those spectators who came along to support the event.

Boy Admits To Two Sittingbourne Robberies

Boy Admits To Two Sittingbourne Robberies

A 17-year-old, who assaulted two teenage boys and stole their mobile phones in the space of five minutes, has pleaded guilty to robbery.

At about 8.15am on Thursday 7th May, a 13-year-old boy was walking to school along St John's Avenue in Sittingbourne when he was approached by two older boys. They asked him the time and after taking out his iPhone 5 to help them out, the victim was held in a headlock and his mobile phone taken.

Just five minutes later, a second victim - a 16-year-old boy - was attacked while walking along Canterbury Road. As he took his phone out of his pocket to look at it, someone ran past and snatched it out of his hand. Just as he turned to see what happened, he was punched in the face. The victim suffered a cut lip, which required hospital treatment and 10 stitches.

Officers investigating the reports made an arrest later that evening.

The following day, a 17-year-old boy from Sittingbourne, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was charged with two counts of robbery. He appeared at Maidstone Magistrates' Court on Tuesday 12th May and pleaded guilty to both offences. He will now be sentenced at the same court on Monday 15th June.

Investigating officer, PC Grant Broad of Kent Police, told SFM News: "Two innocent young boys on their way to school were attacked for the sole purpose of stealing their mobile phones. While these two incidents happened one after the other and very quickly, so was the police response. We quickly located an offender and arrested him later that day. Thanks to the wealth of evidence against him, within five days of the offence happening, the teenager was charged and pleaded guilty to both robberies. While these incidents have understandably caused some concern, I hope the community will rest assured police have investigated thoroughly and dealt quickly and robustly with the offender. He will remain in custody and off the streets where he can pose no threat to the public until he is sentenced next month."

  • *** UPDATE ***  A second person, a 15-year-old boy from Sittingbourne, was also arrested on suspicion of robbery and has been bailed until Monday 8th June pending further enquiries.


Search Underway For Missing Sittingbourne Man

Search Underway For Missing Sittingbourne Man

Kent Police are appealing for information on the whereabouts of a Sittingbourne man who has been reported as missing.

59-year-old Alan Bailey (pictured above) was last seen in the shopping precinct in Rainham on Tuesday afternoon (5th May) when he was wearing a black beanie hat, a jumper and light brown shoes.

He is described as white with grey hair and a full beard. Mr Bailey is a smoker and may have been smoking roll-up cigarettes.

Anybody with any information is asked to call Kent Police on 101, quoting the incident reference number: 05-1482 or alternatively they can call Kent Crimestoppers free (from any landline) and anonimously on 0800 555 111.

Woman Cut Free After Crash On The A249 At Iwade

Woman Cut Free After Crash On The A249 At Iwade

Stock Picture

Fire crews from Sittingbourne Fire Station had to use hydraulic cutting gear earlier this afternoon (Thursday 30th April) to take the roof off of a car and help free a woman who was trapped following a crash on the A249 at Iwade.

The KFRS (Kent Fire & Rescue Service) were called just before 15:00hrs following the collision. The woman, said to be in her 30s, suffered minor injuries along with back tenderness and was assessed at the scene before being taken, via road ambulance, to Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham.


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