Local News

Thomas Cook Last-Ditch Rescue Talks Fail

Thomas Cook Last-Ditch Rescue Talks Fail

The Forum branch of Thomas Cook Closed

Following the collapse of Thomas Cook, after last-minute negotiations aimed at saving the 178-year-old holiday firm failed, the branch here in Sittingbourne has closed with immediate effect.

It's believed that 6 people are employed locally in the branch located in The Forum Shopping Cemtre and that staff were led to believe that the company would be able to "turn around" afer it's recent difficulties.

The collapse of the firm has triggered the biggest ever peacetime repatriation, aimed at bringing more than 150,000 British holidaymakers home.


Harry Potter Star Set For Sittingbourne Xmas Panto

Harry Potter Star Set For Sittingbourne Xmas Panto

It may only be September but the stars of this year's Swallow's Leisure Centre pantomime "The Wizard of Oz" have been in town and On Air to officially launch the show! 

Headlining this year's Pantomime is Harry Potter star Chris Rankin, best known for his role as Percy Weasley in the hit movies and returning Eastender's star Melissa Suffield, best known for her role as Lucy Beale for a number of years.

The fun-filled family musical has been turned into a pantomime for all. Following a hugely successful summer season run throughout 2013 in Blackpool and four nationwide tours in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018, Trio Entertainment's production of "The Wizard of Oz" will be at Swallows Leisure Centre in Sittingbourne from 15th December to 24th December 2019 and is brought to you in association with 106.9 SFM for the seventh year!

Join Dorothy, the Scarecrow, The Tin-man and The Cowardly Lion on their adventure to see The Wizard of Oz for their dreams to be fulfilled. Chris will be playing the part of the Wizard of Oz alongside Melissa as Dorothy.

Melissa told SFM's 'In The Bourne': "This is my third time playing Dorothy having played the part in 2014 and 2018 for Trio Entertainment and I can't wait to be back, Its extra special to have Chris as the Wizard as we both appeared on Celebrity Total Wipeout together a few years ago and did pantomime together in Bradford last year."

Producer Kevin Brown said " The Wizard of Oz promises magic, music and laughter by the bucket load. We've got a fantastic family pantomime for all the family and we cant wait for Christmas time in Sittingbourne. We have been producing the Sittingbourne pantomime since 2012 and each year the show gets bigger and better."

Joining Chris and Melissa will be star of X Factor Soheila Clifford, as The Evil Witch Of The West and back by popular demand from last year's pantomime  Tom Balmont returns as the Loveable Scarecrow. Ryan Byrne joins the cast as The Tin-Man, Kassie Malam as the magical Glinda The Good Fairy and"Jay Wallace Langan as the Cowardly Lion. The Show also features dancers from the Kent School of Dance again this year.

The Wizard of Oz runs from Sunday 15th December to Tuesday 24th December at The Swallows Leisure Centre in Sittingbourne. For further information and to book tickets visit www.sittingbournepanto.co.uk, or you can book in person or by calling the box office on 01795 420 420 - tickets strart from only £9.00 per person.

KCC Trading Standards Warn Of New Scam

KCC Trading Standards Warn Of New Scam

KCC Trading Standards say that they have received a number of reports concenring a scam targeting residents throughout Kent, with offers of security checks and security alarms.

How the scam works:

• The criminal cold calls by telephone
• They may say they are calling to let you know about a crime awareness campaign running in your area
• They offer a security check of your home and to fit a security alarm
• They claim to be working for the Council security team
• In one incident when the resident said another adult lived at the property the criminal hung up

How to protect yourself:

• Do not respond to cold callers
• Never agree to work from cold a caller
• Follow the Kent Police 3 Step Protect advice to keep your home safe
• If you require home security use reputable traders who are members of the KCC Trading Standards approved trader scheme, run in partnership with Checkatrade
• Get a minimum of 3 quotes in writing


Man Arrested After Two Stabbed In West Street

Man Arrested After Two Stabbed In West Street

Kent Police have confirmed that a man was arrested after two people were stabbed in Sittingbourne last night (Monday 26th August).

Police say they were called to a disturbance in West Street at around 9.14pm.

Both victims were taken to a local hospital with injuries which are not believed to be life-threatening and a man was arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm with intent.


Five Charges After Stabbing In Sittingbourne

Five Charges After Stabbing In Sittingbourne

Five charges have been made against a man accused of a stabbing in Sittingbourne.

Shane Andrews is alleged to have assaulted the victim, who is in his 20s, in Quartz Way on the afternoon of Tuesday 13th August. The injured person is expected to make a full recovery.

Mr Andrews, 22, of Ledger Close, Sittingbourne, was arrested on suspicion of assault in Greenwich the next day. After being arrested, he is alleged to have been found in possession of three knives.

He was later charged with grievous bodily harm and four counts of possessing a knife in a public place and appeared at Medway Magistrates' Court today (Friday 16th August).

At the hearing, Mr Andrews was remanded in custody and will next appear at Maidstone Crown Court on Friday 13th September.

Field Fire Extinguished In Wormshill

Field Fire Extinguished In Wormshill

Stock Picture

Kent Fire and Rescue Service were called to reports of a field fire in Wormshill early today (Thursday 25th July).

The call was received at 4.10pm and four fire engines were sent to the scene.

Crews arrived to approximately four hectares of field alight and a large smoke plume coming from the area.

Firefighters used a hose reel jet, fog spikes and beaters to tackle the blaze.

The cause is not yet known.

Scouts Receive A Donation From Kent Police Fund

Scouts Receive A Donation From Kent Police Fund

A scout group from Sittingbourne has received a donation from the Kent Police Property Fund.

The 10th Sittingbourne Scout Group, which is attached to Grove Park School, was presented with a £500 cheque from Kent Police recently. The group offers young people the opportunity to develop character, employability and practical skills such as cooking and first aid in a safe and supportive environment.

The money was made available by the force's Property Fund, which distributes money from the sale of unclaimed lost property or items seized during police operations. Money raised from the fund is given to local groups which provide a service to communities in Kent throughout the year. Inspector Tom Mepstead, from Kent Police, presented the money to Group Scout Leader Elaine Nappey and scout Henry Hearn (as pictured above).

Mrs Nappey tld SFM News: "Fundraising is a big part of what we do and we are very grateful for the money donated by the Kent Police Property Fund. This money will help towards the purchase of new equipment and enable us to continue delivering a varied programme providing young people with opportunities to develop their skills and work towards earning their badges."

Weekend Hole Appears At Newington Station

Weekend Hole Appears At Newington Station

Pic: Courtesy of Cllr Richard Palmer

Safety concerns were raised over the weekend the collapse of part of the Sittingbourne-bound platform collapsed at Newington Railway Station on Sunday (21st July) afternoon.

Southeastern spokesman Paul Prentice told SFM News: "We became aware of damage to part of one of the platforms at Newington station at 1:30pm on Sunday afternoon and immediately sent an extra member of staff to the damaged section of platform to ensure the safety of all of our passengers. From 8:00pm onwards, rail replacement buses for trains running towards Sittingbourne were put in place on that section of line until the end of service, so that Network Rail could repair the platform. Work was completed in time for normal service to begin on Monday (22nd July) morning."

Hospital Arsonist Jailed For Life

Hospital Arsonist Jailed For Life

An arsonist who started two fires close to oxygen tanks and MRI scanners at Medway Maritime Hospital has been jailed for life.

Luke French entered the hospital grounds in September 2018 and started the fires less than a metre away from lorries containing the scanners.

The 29-year-old, of Peregrine Drive, Sittingbourne, admitted arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered and was jailed at Maidstone Crown Court on Friday (5th July).

The court heard that at around 10pm on Wednesday 5th September Luke French walked onto the hospital grounds and set rubbish being stored in an outdoor cage alight. A nearby wheelie bin was also set on fire.

The bins were less than a metre away from two mobile MRI scanners that were being stored in articulated lorries and close to oxygen tanks.

A member of hospital staff was quick to the scene and extinguished the fire before it caused significant damage to the bins or medical equipment.

Security officers then chased French away from the vicinity and, following an area search, Kent Police officers detained him at around midnight.

CCTV evidence clearly captured French committing the offence and he was charged the following day. He has been remanded in custody since his arrest and must serve a minimum of five years in prison.

Police Constable Dennigan Tyson, Kent Police's investigating officer for the case, told SFM News: "although no injuries were caused from this offence, French's reckless actions needlessly endangered a huge amount of lives and the consequences could have been much more severe were it not for the quick actions of hospital staff. In addition to the immediate danger of the fire, lifesaving medical equipment worth over £1,000,000 could easily have been damaged and this would have caused a huge amount of disruption for medical staff and people needing the equipment. French's actions prove, beyond any reasonable doubt, that he presents a very real threat to public safety and the strong sentence imposed by the courts means he is no longer a danger."

Burglary Arrests After Stolen Items Recovered

Burglary Arrests After Stolen Items Recovered

Two suspected burglars were arrested shortly after a break-in was reported here in Sittingbourne.

At around 1.30am yesterday morning (Tuesday 18th June) Kent Police were called to reports of intruders being disturbed at a property in Cedar Close. Officers attended and carried out a search of the local area. A number of items believed to be stolen, including bank cards and car keys, were recovered nearby.

At around 2.30am a 42-year-old man and a 15-year-old boy, both from the Sittingbourne area, were stopped and arrested. Both were later released pending further investigation.


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