Local News

Investment Made In New Buses For Swale Routes

New Buses For Routes In Swale

Pictured left to right: Kevin Hawkins (Regional Commercial Director, Arriva Southern Counties), Councillor John Wright (Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Swale Borough Council) and Tom Pierpoint (Public Transport Team Leader, Kent County Council).

Local bus operator Arriva has invested almost half a million pounds in four brand-new buses for its services in the Sittingbourne and Faversham areas.

Three of the buses are for use on the route that links Oare, Faversham, Teynham and Sittingbourne with Maidstone. whilst the fourth is a smaller midibus that is now bringing new standards of comfort on the local service between Sittingbourne town centre, Murston and Great Easthall.

Built in Yorkshire by the Optare company, one of the UK's leading bus builders, all are of the easy-access design with a low-level entrance and no steps in the front half inside. Arriva's Regional Managing Director, Heath Williams, told SFM News that he was "delighted that we have been able to invest in new, fully-accessible and environmentally-friendly buses for our services in the Swale area. We are members of the Swale Quality Bus Partnership which aims to improve the quality of bus travel in the area and the new buses will give a more comfortable ride to our customers on Services 333 and 349 while helping to bring about improved air quality across the Borough. In spite of the economic climate we have so far this year invested nearly £8million in forty-seven new buses for our services in Kent and across the Thames Estuary in South Essex, this being a testament to our confidence in the future of public transport in the area."

Speaking on behalf of Swale Borough Council, Cllr John Wright, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and member of the Quality Bus Partnership, told SFM News "I and, most importantly, the travelling public welcome the investment by Arriva in their four new buses. New buses will help to encourage more people to use these services as an eco-friendly and cost effective way of travelling. I welcome this commitment by Arriva and look forward to continuing to work with them to improve services and infrastructure for buses throughout the borough for the benefit of Swale residents."

Full details of the times of Arriva's buses serving Swale can be found online at www.arrivabus.co.uk/south-east or by calling 0844 800 4411.

Timetable leaflets are available from local outlet,s such as libraries, council offices etc, or by calling the above number.

Two SCC Pupils Hospitalised After Snipeshill Accident

Two SCC Pupils Taken To Hospital After Snipeshill Accident

Two Sittingbourne Community College (SCC) Year 11 pupils, a boy and a girl of Latvian origin, were involved in a road collision earlier this afternoon (Thursday 16th May) on the A2 Canterbury Road at Snipeshill.

The boy had to be airlifted to King's College Hospital in London, after being hit by a car near the Flame Grill takeaway at around 3.30pm. The girl was treated at the scene before being taken to hospital by road ambulance. The road was closed, with traffic being diverted along Rectory Road and Murston Road, for several hours whilst Crash Investigation work was undertaken by Kent Police.

Sittingbourne Community College's Head of School, Neil Golding, told SFM News that the male pupil had been "transferred to the trauma unit for treatment and [that] two staff members went to the hospital with him". He went on to add "I will be communicating with my colleagues at the hospital and we will communicate with the school community tomorrow, letting them now about the accident and also the dangers of crossing the road. Our thoughts are very much with the pupils and their families and we hope they will soon recover".


Bird Keepers Uged To Be Vigilant After Two Thefts

Bird Keepers Uged To Be Vigilant After Two Thefts

Kent Police are warning bird keepers to remain vigilant after thefts from aviaries on Sheppey and Newington during the past week.

Officers were called to Well Road in Rushenden last Thursday (9th May) after it was reported that 19 birds were missing from an aviary at the rear of the property. The alleged theft of 14 mixed colour canaries, 4 red and gold rosella parakeets and a white cockatiel is believed to have taken place between 8pm on 8th May and 4.45am the following day.

Local officers are also investigating the theft of 34 birds from an aviary on High Street in Newington. During that incident 7 canaries, 13 finches, 6 cockatiels and 8 budgies were reported missing to police on 9th May, although the theft is believed to have been on Friday 12th April.

Investigating officer, PC Preston Frost, told SFM News "bird owners should be mindful of security measures available to them and to be vigilant at all times. You should invest in additional security measures such as sensor lighting or CCTV, which may deter these offenders, who are predominantly acting in the hours of darkness. I would also appeal for information about any of the crimes which have taken place, as where animals are concerned, it can be very distressing for their owners to lose them".

Anyone with any information can call PC Frost on 101, quoting reference XY/14125/13 for the Rushenden incident and XY/14427/13 for Newington. Alternatively they can contact Kent Crimestoppers free (from any landline) and anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Swale Teen Jailed For Stealing Copper

Swale Teen Jailed For Stealing Copper

A Sheppey teen has been jailed for 13 months for eight burglaries of Sittingbourne properties.

Bill Willett, 19, of Queensway, Sheerness, admitted eight counts of burglary for stealing copper from a number of flats on Attlee Way in Sittingbourne.

Willett, who was 18 when he committed the offences between 15th-18th May 2012, ripped copper water tanks and piping out of the walls of the properties, which were unoccupied at the time of burglaries, in Wyllie Court.

He was jailed for the offences at Maidstone Crown Court on 12th April.

Kent Police officers attending the scene found forensic evidence that included a footprint they later traced to one of Willett's trainers after viewing CCTV taken from a scrap metal dealer showed him unloading copper tanks and handing them over to be sold.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Iain Joyce of Kent Police, told SFM News "burglary of properties other than dwellings is sometimes thought of as a victimless crime - but they cost owners a lot of money and worry. We [Kent Police] will not tolerate offenders thinking they have the right to take anything that doesn't belong to them and we will continue to crack down on thefts of metal.
Willett was linked to this crime by evidence he left behind at the scene and hopefully now he'll have the chance to reflect on his actions behind bars".

Trio Jailed For Attempted Shop Burglary

Trio Jailed For Attempted Shop Burglary

Three men have been jailed for their part in an attempted burglary at a shop in Sittingbourne in the early hours of last Thursday (18th April) morning.

Kent Police were called at 2.40am to reports of a burglary in progress at the rear of the CEX store in The Forum Shopping Centre. The offenders were tracked on CCTV and police arrested three men in the High Street.

Jason Bowers, 41, of Pear Tree Walk in Newington and John Crittenden, 35, of Laburnum Place in Sittingbourne, were detained by officers, while Sean Reed, 40, also of Laburnum Place, was found hiding in a bin at the rear of a shop in the town.

All three men were arrested and charged with attempted burglary with intent to steal.

No items were stolen from the shop but damage was caused to a door at the back of the store.

Bowers, Crittenden and Reed all pleaded guilty at Maidstone Crown Court on Friday (19th April) and were each sentenced to 120 days in prison.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Kathryn Lumsden-Earle, told SFM News "thanks to a joint effort between CCTV and response officers, we were able to locate and detain the offenders within minutes of the offence being reported. Your local Kent Police will continue to take a robust approach in order to protect property and businesses and will do everything in our power to arrest offenders and put them before the courts".

Norfolk Man Charged With Sittingbourne Robbery

Norfolk Man Charged With Sittingbourne Robbery

A 28-year-old man is set to face magistrates next month after having been charged for a robbery that was reported nearly three years ago.

Kent Police were called on Sunday 4th July 2010 to reports of a robbery on Park Road in Sittingbourne. The victim was believed to have been threatened with an extendable baton unless he handed over his wallet.

Matthew Coward of Berners Street in Norwich was arrested on 12th November last year and has been charged with robbery.

He is due to appear at Maidstone Magistrates' Court on Tuesday 29th May.

New Tesco Extra Store Plans Scrapped

New Tesco Extra Store Plans Scrapped

After its recent announcement that its full-year pre-tax profit had more than halved - the worst performance in the company's history following £2.4bn of writedowns following its decision to exit the US and its UK-driven profit warning last year - Tesco has confirmed that it is to cancel its proposed 100 store expansion across the UK including the new Tesco Extra development for Milton Creek here in Sittingbourne.

Tesco confirmed that it had taken the UK charge as a direct result of its decision to "move away from building big stores" and that the company will "now concentrate on [its] online and convenience shop businesses". This resulted in the company identifying more than 100 sites - the majority bought between the last 5 to 10 years - that it would no longer develop.

The decision has had a mixed reaction locally but Tesco's withdrawal from the proposed regeneration on land north of the railway line means that the following plans will no longer be going ahead:-

  • 11 new retail stores and a cafe - that we seen as being key to attract a wide range of new shops to the town.
  • A new state-of-the-art and energy-efficient Tesco Extra.
  • A new parking area with 1,188 spaces - serving both the Tesco store and the town centre generally.
  • The opportunity for new homes to be built on the site in the future.

Tony Weaver will be discussing how this may or may not have an effect on Sittingbourne's Regeneration Plans on "In The Bourne" all this week - Mon-Fri 11am-3pm on 106.9 SFM.


Gareth Southgate Visits Minterne Footballers

Gareth Southgate Visits Minterne Footballers

The recently crowned regional npower Kids Cup Champions, Minterne Community Junior School from here in Sittingbourne (and supported by Gillingham FC), got the opportunity of a lifetime on Thursday (18th April) when they were put through their paces by former England defender Gareth Southgate.

During the campaign the school have seen off competition from clubs including Bristol Rovers, Plymouth and Wycombe to book their place in the National Finals of the Kids Cup, taking place at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 18th May before the League Two Play-Off Final.

Gareth was joined by representatives from the Football League sponsors npower, and took the opportunity to meet the entire school in assembly where he answered numerous questions about his playing and managerial career.

He then passed on some valuable tips and techniques during a training session with the team; the session included footwork, movement and passing drills and finished with a game which Gareth himself took part in.

After the training session Gareth posed for photos and signed shirts and boots for all the team and their parents/guardians.

106.9 SFM wish the team the very best of luck at Wembley where they will face the school representing Morecambe FC.


Teenager Charged After Laser Shone At Helicopter

Teenager Charged After Laser Shone At Helicopter

A teenager has been charged after a laser was shone at the police helicopter in Sittingbourne.

At about 10.30pm on Wednesday (17th April) the helicopter was assisting officers searching on the ground for two men seen acting suspiciously in Gas Road, Milton Regis, when a laser was shone at the aircraft.

19-year-old William Henry Rye, of Tonge Road in Sittingbourne, has been charged with recklessly/negligently acting in manner likely to endanger an aircraft/person in an aircraft.

He has been bailed to appear at Maidstone Magistrates' Court on Monday 3rd June.

Sittingbourne Man Arrested For Kemsley Burglary

A 20-year-old man has been arrested following a burglary at a property in Sittingbourne.

Kent Police was called after 4pm on Tuesday 2nd April after reports of a break-in at an address in Adisham Green, Kemsley.

A number of jewellery items, including a gold engagement ring, gold wedding band and Armani watch were reported missing, as well as £3,500 worth of camera equipment and a mobile phone.

A 20-year-old man from Sittingbourne was arrested on suspicion of burglary and criminal damage and has been bailed until Wednesday 5th June pending further enquiries.


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