Local News

Housing Officers Feature On BBC1 Daytime Show

Housing Officers Feature On BBC1 Daytime Show

Picture: © Camilla Greenwell

BBC One daytime programme 'The Housing Enforcers', featuring Matt Allwright, the champion of consumer rights, heads to Sittingbourne and Sheerness next week.

The programme sees Matt join a number of Council teams across the UK including Swale Borough Council as a trainee housing officer, separating hovels from homes in a number locations across the Borough. In this new series due to be screened all of next week (Mon 4th May - Fri 8th May), Matt confronts all kinds of people associated with housing issues. From landlords to tenants, and even nightmare neighbours, Matt comes to the rescue of anyone in need.

Sue Davis, one of Swale Borough Council's Housing Options Officers who accompanied Matt for several housing visits said she really enjoyed the whole process. Sue told SFM News "When it was first mooted, I was naturally quite nervous about the occasion....after all I don't normally have a camera crew following me around as part of my day job! However, as the programme gathered momentum, it became a really enjoyable experience. Matt himself was extremely professional and was a pleasure to work with. Clearly there is an important purpose to this type of TV programme showing the important work we in Swale do on a day to day basis. Our team work extremely hard to do everything in our power to prevent homelessness and provide sound advice to our residents".

Hannah Holdstock, one of Swale's Housing Support Officers is also featured in the programme and she told SFM News: "I was involved in one or two of the episodes and like Sue, I very much enjoyed working with Matt and his production crew and also thought by drawing attention to these issues, it was a really good idea for us to be involved".

Tune into the series from Monday 4th May at 9.00am on BBC One. Tuesday - Thursday's programmes will start at 9.15am and on Friday it will switch to BBC Two.

Police E-Fit Released In Approach Investigation

Police E-Fit Released In Approach Investigation

Police officers, investigating a reported approach of a woman in a Sittingbourne car park, have today released an e-fit of a man they would like to speak to in connection with the incident.

In the early hours of Sunday 22nd March, a 23-year-old woman was walking home through a car park on Dover Street when she noticed a man was following her a few steps behind. As she continued, the man got closer and then put his arm around her waist. The victim pushed him away but he came back several times and placed his hands on her waist and tried to usher her to the side of the car park. The woman resisted and when they reached the main road, she told him to leave her alone and he agreed, walking back in the direction of the town centre.

Investigating officer, PC James Harris of Kent Police, told SFM News "we are treating this as an isolated incident and have been carrying out a number of enquiries. I would encourage anybody walking home late at night to stick to well-lit, busy areas and to avoid shortcuts through isolated areas where possible. It is also important to be alert to what is around you and is therefore not advisable to be listening to music."

The man is described as black, between 20 and 25-years-old, about 5ft 3ins tall, with black hair and was wearing a white and grey hooded top, black jacket, black jeans and dark shoes.

If anyone has any information, please call PC Harris on 01795 419387 quoting reference XY/10096/15 or, alternatively you can call Kent Crimestoppers free (from any landline) and anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Series Of Local Burglary Arrests Made By Police

Series Of Local Burglary Arrests Made By Police

Officers investigating burglaries and shopliftings in the Sittingbourne area have made a series of arrests over the last few days.

Police executed warrants and carried out proactive searches yesterday (Tuesday 7th April) following a number of reports of thefts from shops across the borough. The shopliftings relate to three reports at Co-op in Murston, one at Tesco in Canterbury Road, Sittingbourne and one at the Wilkinson store on the High Street in Sittingbourne.

Kent Police were called at 6.36pm on Sunday (6th April) to reports of a burglary in progress at a property in Castle Road, Sittingbourne. Officers attended the scene and arrested a 17-year-old boy from Sittingbourne in connection with the incident. The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was interviewed by detectives and later charged with burglary other than dwelling, robbery, theft from motor vehicle and five counts of shoplifting.

Detectives investigating the same report of robbery, in which a victim was assaulted and had a mobile phone taken in Tonge Road, Sittingbourne, on Saturday 4th April, have arrested a second man in connection with the incident. The 26-year-old man from Sittingbourne was also arrested in connection with a burglary other than dwelling in Church Road on 6th April, possession of drugs and two counts of shoplifting at the Co-op in Murston. He currently remains in police custody.

Detectives are urging residents to take some simple measures to protect their sheds and outbuildings to ensure they are not victims of crime:-
• Always put tools and equipment away - items left outside could be stolen or used to help a thief break in.
• Disable lawn mowers and other large machinery when not in use and chain items together to a solid anchor point. 
• Record details of your property (make, model, serial number and identifying marks) and take photographs of items for easy identification. 
• Use close shackle padlocks to secure sheds and install shed alarms and security lights. 
• Register your valuables on the National Property Database www.immobilise.com.

Appeal Following A249 Collision With Pedestrian

Appeal Following A249 Collision With Pedestrian

Kent Police are appealing for information after a man was left with serious injuries following a road traffic collision on the A249.

At around 10.20pm last night (Friday 3rd April) a black Chevrolet Lacetti and a green Volkswagon Bora came into collision with a pedestrian in the Londonbound carriageway of the A249 at the slip road for the B2005.

The pedestrian, in his 20s, was taken to a London hospital where he remains in critical condition.

Anybody who witnessed the collision and has not yet spoken to police, or anyone who may have seen the man on the A249 prior to the collision, is asked to call the Kent Police Serious Collision Investigation Unit on 01622 798538 or, alternatively, you can call Kent Crimestoppers free (from any landline) and anonimously on 0800 555 111.

Equine Crime Prevention Meeting Held In Teynham

Equine Crime Prevention Meeting Held In Teynham

Free UV marker pens and shed alarms were on offer during an equine crime prevention meeting at the Teynham Community Hall on Monday (30th March) evening.

Attendees were also given Smart Water to mark equipment, the UV pens, alarms and timer switches.

Rural crime officers from Kent Police were also on hand to offer crime prevention advice, while Kent Horse Watch carried out a number of saddle security markings and issued high visibility trailer stickers. The stickers are part of a security measure and are designed to be used on both the trailer and corresponding vehicle. Failure to do so could result in the vehicle being stopped by police.

The event was hosted by Kent Police and Swale Borough Council as part of the Swale Community Safety Partnership.

Tina Grafton, who co-ordinated the event on behalf of the partnership, told SFM News: ‘We had a good number of horse owners attend the event and during the course of the evening, we issued 14 Smart Water kits and the shed alarms also proved popular. The evening shows there is a genuine partnership approach to tackling equine crime and I hope it has encouraged those who attended to report any suspicious activity to the police, knowing it will be taken seriously and investigated robustly."

E-Fit Issued Following Sittingbourne Sexual Assault

E-Fit Issued Following Sittingbourne Sexual Assault

Detectives investigating a reported sexual assault in Sittingbourne have issued an e-fit image of a man they would like to speak to in connection with the incident.

Police received reports that at about 2.15pm on Monday 16th March that a woman was putting her rubbish out in Onyx Drive was approached by a man. The victim had walked along a footpath to a nearby bin store. When she had finished in the store, she turned to leave when she was met by a man standing in the doorway.

It is reported he grabbed her by the throat before sexually assaulting the woman. The victim managed to fight him off and he ran in the direction of a nearby train track.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Charlotte Underwood of Kent Police, told SFM News: "This was an isolated incident, but one we are taking seriously and we are carrying out a number of enquiries as part of our investigation. I would urge anyone who has any information, to contact me as soon as possible."

The man is described as white, about 5ft 10ins tall, with a chubby face and brown hair. He was wearing dark jeans, a dark hooded top with white strings and white Reebok trainers.

If you have any information that may help officers, please contact DC Underwood on 01227 868163, quoting reference XY/9933/15 or alternatively you can call Kent Crimestoppers free (from any landline) and anonymously on 0800 555 111.


New Carnival Court For 2015 Selected

New Carnival Court For 2015 Selected

The selection of the new Sittingbourne Carnival Court for 2015 took place on Saturday (21st March) evening at the Woodcoombe Sports and Social Club on Church Road in Murston.

The Deputy Mayor of Swale, Cllr. Anita Walker and members from 11 other carnival associations from around Kent made up the audience of around 150 people.  

The judges were Cllr Mike Whiting, Claire Fosbeary (Asda's Community Life Champion and former Miss Sittingbourne 1990) and Leanne Martin (Miss Sittingbourne 2008, Miss Kent 2011). The  adjudicator was Cllr Sue Gent.

The retiring Court of 2014 (Georgia Lane and Ashleigh Taylor) made their retiring speeches and performed their final curstey to the Deputy Mayor of Swale (Cllr Anita Walker), Carnival Chairperson Pam Griggs, their chaperone Audrey Travis and the audience before handing back their sashes and crowns.

Georgia Lane (17) was crowned as Deputy Miss Sittingbourne 2015, Jessica Turner (aged 17) was crowned as Miss Sittingbourne 2015, Abbie Stokes (17) and Rebecca Port (16) were crowned as the Joint princesses for 2015.

The first event for the new court will be this coming weekend on Saturday (28th March) evening at the selection of the new Teynham Court and on Sunday at the selection of the new Dover Town Court.


Girl Guides Activity Centre Re-opens for 2015

Girl Guides Activity Centre Re-opens for 2015

Hornhill Activity Centre, Girlguiding Sittingbourne Division's two acre site just outside Milstead village, has re-opened following a Spring clean.

17 volunteers got together over the weekend to open up the site for the 2015 season. The indoor accommodation was scrubbed from top to bottom and not cupboard or light fixture was left untouched. Outside the woodpile was sorted, grass mowed and the leaves and cobwebs brushed away, so that the site could be ready for Sittingbourne's 431 Rainbows (5-7 years), Brownies (7-10 years), Guides (10-14 years) and Senior Sections (14-25 years) to enjoy.

The volunteers were reward with the satisfaction of knowing they had done a good job and as a thank you were treated to a fish and chip lunch!

The Activity Centre and Campsite has been giving Sittingbourne girls their own space to nurture their confidence, raise their aspirations and feel an afinity with nature for many years.

Could you help? The Girl Guides are looking for volunteers to help with the general maintenance and up keep of the site. They are also looking for sewing or carpentary skills, as the centre needs new curtains and on the campsite they would love a wood store? For further information please see the website: girlguidingsittingbourne.co.uk.

Faulty Electrics Blamed For Two Sittingbourne Fires

Faulty Electrics Blamed For Two Sittingbourne Fires

Two families had to flee their homes within twelve hours of each other after fires in Rainham and Sittingbourne.

In the first incident, a bathroom extractor fan caught alight, quickly spreading to the roof area in Sandown Drive, Rainham. The resident was alerted just after 9.30pm last night (Wednesday 4th March) after hearing a loud bang. She went to investigate and discovered the fan had fallen from the ceiling into the bath below. She alerted her husband who initially tried to tackle the blaze using water from the shower with little success.

The couple and their young child got out of their home and called Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS). Three fire engines were sent to the semi-detached house, the first crew arrived within six minutes of receiving the 999 call.

Medway Watch Manager, Paul Nash, told SFM News: "Many of us use the loft for storage and this family had a number of cardboard boxes and other items stored there which fuelled the fire. Fortunately, we were able to stop it spreading to the neighbouring property and limited the damage to the roof area, so it was a good outcome."

Crews in breathing apparatus used a hose reel and specialist cold-cutting firefighting system, which is able to cut its own access point to the fire using high pressure water and abrasive grit. Firefighters then removed the contents of the loft.

Faulty electrics on a cooker are thought to have sparked the second incident in Gore Court Road, Sittingbourne this morning. A woman heard a loud noise from the oven at around 8.20am, and then the cooker lights and timer went out. She tried to reset the switch on her fuse box and when she returned to her kitchen, she spotted smoke from under the plinth. She got out of the house with her daughter and teenage grandson and called KFRS.

Fire crews wearing breathing apparatus used a hose reel to extinguish the blaze, a thermal imaging camera to check for fire spread and a special fan to clear the smoke and fumes from the property.

Sittingbourne Watch Manager, Neil Ryder, told SFM News: "Two fridges, a double oven, worktop and cupboards were destroyed by the fire. The remainder of the kitchen, the utility room and conservatory had heavy smoke damage. The rest of the property had light smoke damage. Electrical fires are one of the biggest causes of accidental fires in people's homes - it can happen to anyone so it's really important that you make sure your electrics are in good working order, that you look out for warning signs and that electrical appliances are turned off when you are not using them - especially overnight. Working smoke alarms are a vital piece of life-saving equipment. Make sure you fit them on every floor and test them regularly. They will give you the early warning needed to fire in your home."

More Morning Rush Hour Chaos For Sheppey

More Morning Rush Hour Chaos For Sheppey

Emergency services tended to four casualties this morning, following an incident on the Isle Of Sheppey at The Kingsferry Bridge approach road, after the earlier closure of the Sheppey Crossing due to a vehicle fire.

The collision involved an Arriva bus and a black Vauxhall Corsa. Fire crews helped to release two men who were trapped and two women were removed by ambulance crews.

An air ambulance transported one of the men to hospital and the other casualites were taken to hospital by land ambulance.

The Kingsferry Bridge was closed in both directions until 10.30am and the Sheppey Crossing was closed south-bound whilst emergency services dealt with the incident there.


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