Local News

Man Charged After Sittingbourne Burglary

Man Charged After Sittingbourne Burglary

A suspected burglar has been charged following a break-in at a Sittingbourne address.

Jewellery and a quantity of money was reported to have been stolen from a property in Place Lane, Hartlip between 8am and 8.15pm on Friday 13th November 2019.

Charlie Knight, 22, of Goudhurst Road, Gillingham was arrested and charged with one count of burglary on Friday (6th March).

He appeared at Medway Magistrates' Court on Saturday 7th March and will next appear at Maidstone Crown Court at a date to be determined.

Jail For Sheerness Dangerous Driver

Jail for Sheerness Dangerous Driver

A motorist from Sheerness, who fled from police in a stolen car at speeds exceeding 100 mph, has been jailed.

Harrison Bennett, of Marina Drive in Minster-on-Sea, hurled glass bottles from an Audi and drove on the wrong side of the road during a police pursuit last year. Officers were forced to abandon the pursuit due to safety fears but then located Bennett at a property nearby where he tried to get rid of evidence by flushing the car key down a toilet. The 29-year-old pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, handling stolen goods and driving without a licence or insurance at Maidstone Crown Court.

At around 7pm on Friday 13th December 2019 patrols spotted Bennett driving an Audi with cloned number plates in Sheerness High Street. Attempts were made to stop the car but Bennett increased his speed, driving at over 100mph in a 40mph speed limit, throwing glass bottles from the car and driving towards oncoming traffic on the wrong side of the road. Due to the poor driving and risk to the public, officers decided to stop pursuing the vehicle and instead carried out a search of the area. The car was found parked outside an address in Berridge Road. Bennett was discovered inside the property and the key to the Audi was found and recovered from a toilet within the house. He was arrested and charged the next day. Bennett was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment and banned from driving for 30 months at Maidstone Crown Court earlier today (Thursday 5th March).

Officer in charge of the case, Detective Constable Kara Sweetland from North Kent CID, told SFM News: "Bennett drove so dangerously that evening that it was lucky no one was injured. He behaved with complete disregard for the safety of himself, the passenger in his car, officers and other drivers. Even though we had to abort the pursuit, prompt action by our officers meant we were still able to track and locate Audi and bring Bennett to justice. Thankfully this result means he has now been taken off the roads of Swale and is unable to pose a threat to other drivers or members of the public."

Refund Scam Alert from Kent Trading Standards

Refund Scam Alert from Kent Trading Standards

Kent Coiunty Council's Trading Standards Team are warning local residents to be vigilant after several people in the Sittingbourne area have been sent fraudulent cheques drawn on companies like SKY, HMRC etc.

The details are as follows:-

• Resident receives a cheque which is said to be a refund for an overpayment.
• They are contacted by the criminals within a day or two informing them that the amount refunded was too much.
• They are given account details and asked to transfer the excess by bank transfer.
• After the transfer is complete the cheque bounces as it is a "counterfeit cheque" and the resident loses their money.

Here's what to do:-

• Be suspicious if you receive a refund cheque (whether expected or not) and confirm with the actual company that the cheque is legitimate.

• Contact your bank for help and advice if you have deposited a refund cheque or paid out funds against it.

• If you have already been a victim of this type of crime call Kent Police on 101 to report.

Man Charged With Five Burglary Offences

Man Charged With Five Burglary Offences

Five charges have been made against a man who is suspected to have burgled five business premises across Folkestone, Sittingbourne and Rochester.

Tony Jackson was arrested by Kent Police officers on Tuesday (25th February) after he was identified as a suspect for offences committed at business parks between Friday 6th December 2019 and Friday 21st February 2020.

The combined total of damage caused, and cash stolen, is estimated to be in excess of £12,000.

The 58-year-old, of Redbridge Close in Chatham, has since been charged with burgling businesses in Bingham Road and Caesars Way, both in Folkestone, on 6th and 28th December respectively. He has also been charged with burgling two businesses in Bingham Road, Sittingbourne, on Saturday 15th February and targeting another business in Maidstone Road, Rochester, on Friday 21st February.

Jackson was remanded in custody to appear at Medway Magistrates' Court today (Wednesdayth 26 February) and at the hearing he was further remanded in custody again and will appear at Canterbury Crown Court on Monday 30th March.

Another Lorry Collision In The New Road Layout

Another Lorry Collision In The New Road Layout

Yet another collision has happened involving a lorry and a car on the new section of Dover Street/St Michael's Road near the new Bourne Place development.

This is the second collision in as many weeks and happened at around 7:00pm this evening (Tuesday 25th February).A witness told SFM News that the car had lost it,s bumper in the collision and the lorry appeared to be on the wrong side of the road after following the corner around towards the Lidl store.

Concerns about the safety of the new road layout have been made to Kent Highways and Swale Borough Council.


Two People Rescued From Flood Water In Iwade

Two People Rescued From Flood Water In Iwade

Kent Fire and Rescue Service were called to reports of a vehicle containing two people stranded in flood water on Raspberry Hill Lane in Iwade earlier today.

Two fire engines and a water safety unit were sent to the scene at approximately 13:30hrs and, when crews arrived, one occupant had climbed onto the roof of the vehicle. Firefighters in dry suits entered the water to rescue the two people and lead them to safety, before passing them into the care of South East Coast Ambulance (SECAmb) paramedics. The public are currently being advised to avoid the road due to flooding.

Following the incident, crews are reminding the public to take extra care during the current weather conditions and follow a few simple steps:

• Avoid driving or walking through flood water - it's often deeper than it looks
• Never ignore signs about road closures due to flooding
• Consider your safety at all times and don't take unnecessary risks on the roads

Storm Ciara Causes Problems Locally

Storm Ciara Causes Problems Locally

Storm Ciara has caused problems in the Sittingbourne area this morning (Sunday 9th February).

Train services on South Eastern were suspended between Sittingbourne and Faversham earlier due to a tree blocking the line near Teynham (pictured). A seperate incident, with a points failure at Newington, also added to train travellers woes with all London-bound services calling at Newington to allow affected passengers to get off at the station. South Eastern advised people on Twitter: ""we strongly advise you do not travel today."

The Swallows Leisure Centre had to close at lunchtime due to 'unforeseen circumstances'. It is believed that part of the new roof, fitted as part of the multi million pund make-over, has been damaged in the gale force winds sweeping across Kent.

On the roads the Sheppey Crossing was closed at around 10:50am following strong winds being recorded across the Swale and a number of local country routes were blocked with trees being blown down in the strong gusts.

The Met Office have confirmed that the Amber Warning for wind remains in place until 21:00hrs.

Police Dog Lenny Assists With Sittingbourne Arrests

Police Dog Lenny Assists With Sittingbourne Arrests

A Kent Police dog launched into action to detain a man who attempted to make off from officers.

Police Dog Lenny was on patrol with his handler at around 2.35am last Friday (24th January) when the pair spotted a suspicious vehicle on the A2 in Faversham. The officer signalled for the vehicle to stop but it made off before coming to a halt in Murston, Sittingbourne.

The occupants took off on foot but Police Dog Lenny brought one of them to a stop in Church Road. The police helicopter was scrambled leading to officers detaining two males hiding in a farm off of Blacketts Road, Sittingbourne.

• A 24 year old man was arrested on suspicion of theft, dangerous driving and failing to stop for police.
• A 31 year old man was arrested on suspicion of going equipped for theft and possession of cannabis.
• A 15 year old boy was arrested on suspicion of theft and going equipped for theft.

The three have been released from police custody under investigation.

Council Opens New Foodbank Grant Scheme

Council Opens New Foodbank Grant Scheme

Local organisations are being encouraged to apply for funding from Swale Borough Council's brand-new Foodbank Grant.

The council are offering a total of £15,000 to support community projects and organisations supporting people in severe need, who are promoting healthier eating or are tackling the causes of foodbank usage by working with others to offer specialist support and advice.

The applications process is open for four weeks and closes on Monday 17th February and each organisation can apply for a maximum of £6,000.

Cllr Julian Saunders, Deputy Cabinet Member For Community at the council, told SFM News: "Foodbanks provide a vital service in the community and it's imperative that we support them in any way we can. Too many people have had to use foodbanks to feed their families, and without them many wouldn't have known where their next meal was coming from. The grants will not only support the great work of the foodbanks but also those services that tackle the problems that force residents to use foodbanks in the first place. The foodbank grant is open for four weeks and we encourage any service that works with foodbanks to get in touch and make an application."

For more information about the grant, including an application form and guidance on how to apply, visit: swale.gov.uk/grants.

New Mill Skatepark Opening Delayed Again

New Mill Skatepark Opening Delayed Again

The opening of Sittingbourne's new Mill Skatepark, originally penned for October 2019, has been delayed yet again.

The 570-square metre site, at a cost of £240,000, still needs some landscaping and street furniture around the peripherals and SFM News believes that there is also currently a 'dispute' over a strip of land adjacent to the Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway lines.

The running of the site will be under the auspices of Brogdale CIC when it opens later this year.



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