Local News

Man Appears In Court For Leysdown Armed Robbery

Man Appears In Court For Leysdown Armed Robbery

A man has appeared in court after being charged by detectives investigating an armed robbery at the weekend on the Isle Of Sheppey.

25-year-old Gary Donald Grannells, of Notting Hill in London, appeared at Maidstone Magistrates' Court, on Thursday 4th July, accused of robbery at Mr G's Amusement Arcade on The Promenade, Leysdown at 12.15pm on Saturday (29th June) .

Grannells was charged with robbery and two counts of assaulting a police officer and was remanded in custody until Friday 19th July.

Investigations by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate into the robbery continue. It is believed that around £3,000 was stolen in the raid.

Anybody with any information, or who may of witnessed the incident, is asked to call 01634 792492, quoting crime reference XY/19866/13. Alternatively, they can call free (from any landline), and anonymously, Kent Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Consultation On Children's Centre Closure

KCC Consultation On Children's Centre Closure

Kent County Council (KCC) are planning to change the way they deliver Children's Centre services throughout the county and have begun a consultation on the possible closure of the Woodgrove Children's Centre on Johnson Road here in Sittingbourne

A Press Release from the KCC states that "in the current economic climate efficiency savings must be made, so it is vital that the council sets out a new model for its Children's Centres which is sustainable for the long-term future". 

The Council says that it has identified 16 lead centres which are bigger buildings in communities where more families need early support services. They are proposing that "in future these will become 'Children's Centre Plus' and will co-ordinate services across smaller, linked centres in the area. This will mean that they will work more closely with local GPs, schools, health visitors, child minders, nurseries, social services, health specialists, Job Centre Plus and the voluntary sector to offer better access to vital services".

The Council believe at this new model will allow for them "to focus spending on services to children, while reducing costs for buildings, management, and other overheads. It will deliver savings of at least £1.5m while maintaining wide coverage across the county and continued access to a nearby service for those who need it most".

KCC has launched a 12-week consultation from today (Thursday 3rd July) to get the views of local parents and carers and the wider community who use the centres now or will use them in the future.

Jenny Whittle, KCC cabinet member for specialist children's services, told SFM News that "KCC is committed to continuing to provide the services we currently offer through our Children's Centres and continuing to make a difference to the futures of families we help through those centres. We need to make efficiency savings and will seek to do this by minimising property and management costs. We are committed to seeking the views of those families for whom Children's Centres provide important services. We will be conducting a full public consultation over the summer to gather views on our proposals. We recognise how important these services are to many families and we are looking at new and different ways to deliver them to the people who need them most. This includes working together with clinical commissioning groups to host services for families and working with the expanded Kent health visitor workforce to support first time families and vulnerable parents and children in our communities."

Children's Centres provide early childhood services such as nursery provision, social services, health services, training and employment services for parents and prospective parents and information and advice. The Council believes that "parents will still be able to use services at another Children's Centre or community venue, such as a library or GP surgery. If the proposal is implemented in full, accessibility to a Children's Centre will remain the same for more than 99% of families. Services which improve health, education and social care outcomes for children and families will be protected and focussed on the needs of the local population. Earlier support will also be targeted towards the families that need it".

To find out more about the proposals and take part in the consultation, visit www.kent.gov.uk/childrenscentres. The consultation runs from 4th July - 4th October 2013.


Appeal For Absconded Sheppey Prisoner

Appeal For Absconded Sheppey Prisoner

Kent Police are appealing for help from members of the public to help locate a man who absconded from prison on the Isle of Sheppey.

Last year thirty-six-year-old Martin Jones absconded from HMP Standford Hill - a category D open prison for prisoners including those at the end of their sentence. Following his disappearance on Monday 9th  July 2012 Jones, who was serving a sentence for burglary, remains unlawfully at large. He is described as 5ft 6ins tall, of medium build and has blue eyes. He has dark brown hair which is receding and possibly shaven.

He has connections with the Dover area and is also known to frequent the Leysdown, Iwade and Sittingbourne areas of Swale.

Members of the public are advised not to approach him.

If you have information on his whereabouts you are asked to call DS Chris Dovey on 01634 792227, or alternatively you can call Kent Crimestoppers free (from any landline) and anonymously on 0800 555 111.

UKP Music Festival Rocks The Bourne

UKP Music Festival Rocks The Bourne

This year's UKP Leisure Music Festival, sponsored by 106.9 SFM, was the biggest and best ever with a fantastic day of weather and live bands.

106.9 SFM's Kevin Field was LIVE from Midday at the event, soaking up the ocassion with interviews backstage and with the events organisers. Headlining this year were Jam Sandwich, Skadecat and Ben Mill's band Benzego along with Bye George (Matt Endesby).

Cllr Sue Gent, the Mayor of Swale, officially opened the show at 15:00hrs live on 106.9 SFM.

This year saw the biggest attendence in the six years of the event - so a BIG thank you to everyone that came along and enjoyed the day from all of us at the Towers!

Appeal After Suspicious Fire In Sheerness

Appeal After Suspicious Fire In Sheerness

Officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate have launched an appeal for information following a suspicious fire which has left two people with life threatening injuries.

Police were called to the blaze at a block of flats in Richmond Street, Sheerness at 3.25pm on Monday (24th June). It had been reported that two people had jumped from the top of the storey of the building. Three other people escaped the fire and a man was rescued by firefighters using a ladder. At the back of the building members of the public saved a woman and two children with a ladder.
Three people, two men and a woman were taken by air ambulance to hospital. A man and woman have sustained life threatening injuries. The third man was treated for smoke inhalation and has been discharged.

The incident is being investigated by Detective Inspector Lee Whitehead who told SFM News "we remain in consultation with Kent Fire and Rescue Service and other specialists. At this stage we believe this fire may have been stated deliberately. I am keen to hear from anyone who may have seen anything suspicious, such as someone outside the front of the property, before the fire broke out. I would also ask anyone living nearby who has experienced a fire recently that they may not have reported to come forward. Currently we are treating this as arson and a man and a woman remain in a life-threatening condition in hospital. Their injuries are severe and I would welcome information from the public that will help us uncover exactly what has happened. Regardless of how insignificant people may feel their information would be I urge them to get in contact with police as soon as possible."

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Kent Police on 101 or they can alternatively contact Kent CrimeStoppers free (from any landline) and anonimously on 0800 555111.

E-Fit Released Following Sexual Assault

E-Fit Released Following Sexual Assalt

Police have released a computerised image of a man they are keen to speak with in relation to a sexual assault in the Sittingbourne area.

The incident occurred in Meeres Court Lane on the Great East Hall Estate at around 6.15pm on Friday 14th June, when a 42-year-old woman was walking her dog and noticed a man walking past her. It is then reported that as she walked a little furthershe was pushed to the ground and sexually assaulted.

The suspect is described as being white, 45 to 55-years-old and around 6ft tall. He was of medium build, had ‘a big belly' and mousey brown hair which was receding. He had a musty odour and a black thumb nail. He wore a white short sleeved T-shirt, blue tracksuit bottoms with a stripe.

Detective Sergeant Darryll Paulson, who is investigating the incident, told SFM News "we are keen to hear from anyone who may be able to identify the man in the image, as we would like to interview him in connection with this incident. I would appeal to local people in the area to use their social media accounts to retweet and share the Kent Police appeal which is on our website and has appeared on the forces social networking sites as well".

If you can help police identify the man in the e-fit, or have any information about this crime, you can contact Kent Police directly on 01634 792210. Alternatively you can also contact Kent Crimstoppers, free (from any landline) and anonimously on 0800 555 111.

Sittingbourne Celebrates Carnival In Style

Sittingbourne Celebrates Carnival In Style

Despite strong winds, and a forecast of rain that didn't materialise, a great time was had by all at this year's Sittingbourne Carnival on Saturday (22nd June).

The 106.9 SFM Roadshow (in association with Green Cabs) was on hand to entertain the crowds in the High Street from 10am and live acts appearing included local bands Motto, Standing Ovation, Complicated, Stage 3 and the Inca band along with performances from flautist Jenny Cazelly and Sammies Dance.

The event was a culmination of several local groups all working together, The Sittingbourne Carnival Court, The Sittingbourne Retail Association and 106.9 SFM (Sittingbourne Community Radio). The whole event was live on 106.9 SFM from 10am until 5pm, with presenters Kevin Field, Joshua Coupe and Roy Lambert all doing their programmes live from the High Street in the Roadshow van (pictured).

Pam Griggs, Chairperson of the Sittingbourne Carnival Court told SFM News that the total collected on the day was £431, which was up on last year and roughly matched 2011's figure, however larger amounts had been raised in years previous to 2011. She went on to add "the feedback we've had is very positive and lots of regular visiting court members have said that they thought that there were significantly more people out supporting the event this year".

There were 32 entries this year up 50% on last year's total of 23.

Pictured is the circus entertainer from the Forum Shopping Centre, who entertained the crowds in the centre and on the high street entrance throughout the day. Francesca Donovan, Centre Manager at The Forum Shopping Centre, told SFM News that "there was a great atmosphere at the centre on Saturday and we were really pleased to be able to support the community and local events. This was a great way to be part of the Sittingbourne Carnival and bring it to The Forum and I hope all of our shoppers enjoyed the day's activities."

For more pictures of the day please visit:- http://www.facebook.com/SittingbourneRetailAssociation or http://www.facebook.com/106.9SFM.


CCTV Released After Dunelm Mill "Bulk" Theft

Police have released a CCTV image of a woman they would like to speak to in connection with a bulk theft from the Dunelm Mill store on the Sittingbourne Retail Park.

The images were taken at around midday on Monday 17th June when over £500 of bedding was stolen from the store. Officers are not ruling out the possibility the theft is connected to a similar incident at around 10.30am the same day, when over £500 worth of bedding was stolen from the Dunelm store on London Road in Maidstone.

The suspect is described as being a woman, aged between 20 and 25-years-old of heavy build with red hair in a ponytail. She wore a black tracksuit and flip flops.

If you can help police with this investigation, please contact the Sittingbourne neighbourhood team on 01795 419116. An answerphone is in operation outside office hours. Alternatively you can contact Kent CrimeStoppers free (from any landline) and anonimously on 0800 555111, quoting reference XY/018688/13.

E-Fit Released Following Street Attack

E-Fit Released Following Street Attack

Detectives investigating a reported robbery in Sittingbourne have released an e-fit of a man they would like to speak to in connection with the incident.

The robbery is alleged to have taken place near the Iron Mountain building on Mill Way between 1.15am and 1.25am on Saturday 1st June. The victim, a 27-year-old local man, was walking home from Sittingbourne railway station when the suspect came up to him and demanded his money. When the victim tried to hand over the cash he had on him, the man swore at him, demanded his phone and pushed him to the ground, causing the victim to sustain grazes to his elbow and a cut to his lip. When the victim got back to his feet, the suspect again demanded his phone, threatening him with a knife. The victim handed over his phone and the offender ran away in the direction of a petrol station.

The suspect is described as a white male in his early 20s, of medium build and around 5'10" in height. He is thought to be left handed and was clean-shaven, wearing a plain red baseball cap, black jeans and a black puffa jacket.

Kent Police has now released an image of a man officers believe may have information that would help them with their enquiries.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Phil Pead, told SFM News "this was a particularly nasty incident that left the victim feeling extremely shaken up and in real fear for his safety. We will relentlessly pursue anyone who commits offences involving knives. We are working to identify and locate this male and bring him to justice".

Anybody who recognises the man in the e-fit, or who has information regarding the incident, is asked to call Kent Police on 101, quoting XY/16591/13, or they can contact Kent Crimestoppers free (from any landline) and anonymously on 0800 555111.

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.


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