Local News

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.

Chancellor Defends Benefit Changes In Sittingbourne

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, made a high profile visit to the Morrison's Distribution Centre in Kemsley earlier today (Tuesday 2nd April).

During the visit, followed by all major UK news organisations, he defended the benefits and tax changes that came in to effect yesterday, accusing critics of peddling "headline-seeking nonsense". The chancellor claimed that nine out of ten working households would actually be better off. Yesterday's shake-up included cuts to housing benefit, for some social housing tenants with a spare room, and alterations to council tax.

Mr Osborne argued that the government had had to "take difficult decisions to cut the deficit" as the current benefits system was "fundamentally broken".

Changes, introduced from the 1st April include:

  • The introduction of a  new £26,000 cap on the amount of benefits any one household can receive
  • A cut to housing benefit for working-age social housing tenants whose property is deemed to be larger than they need
  • Disability living allowance replaced by personal independence payment
  • Working-age benefits and tax credits to rise by 1% - a below-inflation cap

The Chancellor told workers "for too long, we've had a system where people who did the right thing - who get up in the morning and work hard - felt penalised for it, while people who did the wrong thing got rewarded for it. That's wrong. So this month we [The Coalition Government] are going to put things right. This month we will make work pay."

Listeners to 106.9 SFM will be able to discuss the Chancellor's visit, and his comments, with local MP Gordon Henderson on his LIVE On Air Surgery on Friday 12th April, on Tony Weaver's "In The Bourne" Programme between 1 and 2pm.


Distraction Theft In Sittingbourne

Distraction Theft In Sittingbourne

Kent Police are appealing for witnesses after an elderly woman had her purse stolen during a distraction theft in Sittingbourne.

The 85-year-old victim visited a bank in the High Street on Wednesday (27th March) at approximately 2.30pm and withdrew £50 from a cashpoint. She then returned to her car, parked by a supermarket on the Avenue of Remembrance, when a man came up to her and asked for directions to France.

The victim, who is local to the area, put her handbag in the passenger seat of her car and began writing down directions on a piece on paper handed to her by the man. As she did so, she became aware the man had moved to her side. He took the paper off her and left, at which point she noticed another man standing nearby and grinning.

The woman later noticed her purse had been taken from her handbag. It contained the £50 she had withdrawn and several bank cards - two of which were then used to withdraw £250 each.

The men are described as white, with one in his 30s with dark brown hair. He was well dressed in navy trousers and jacket. The other was around 60 years old, with a heavy build and a khaki overcoat.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Karen Caulfield, told SFM's Roger Wrapson "this was an underhanded theft of a vulnerable victim. I'm eager to hear from anybody who may have noticed either of these men. I'd like to remind people to take extra care when withdrawing money at public cashpoints - you never know who could be watching you enter your PIN. Often thieves will try to distract you while they or an accomplice steal your belongings. If you are in any way suspicious of somebody, call Kent Police immediately".

Anybody with any information is asked to call Kent Police's non-emergency number 101, quoting crime reference XY/9419/13, or they can contact Kent Crimestoppers free (from any landline) and anonymously on 0800 555111.




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