Local News

Police Appeal After Great East Hall Arson

Police Appeal After Great East Hall Arson

Kent Police are appealing for witnesses following a reported arson in Mulberry Way on the Great East Hall Estate here in Sittingbourne.

It is believed a fire was deliberately set outside the address between 2pm and 3pm on Sunday (23rd February).

Investigating officer, Detective Seargeant Lee Neiles of Kent Police, told SFM News: "The fire damage caused to the property appears to have originated from one of the wheelie bins positioned against the property.  Although nobody was injured, this could've resulted in serious injury to the occupants had it not been for the quick response from the local residents and fire brigade. I am appealing for anyone with any information about this incident to contact me directly on 01634 792556, quoting crime report XY/6844/14, or alternatively they can contact Kent Crimestoppers, free (from any landline) and anonymously on 0800 555 111."

Appeal For Witnesses To M2 Collision

Appeal For Witnesses To M2 Collision

Kent Police have confirmed that they were called to a road traffic collision, between junctions 3 and 4 on the coast-bound carriageway of the M2, at 1.40pm this afternoon (Sunday 16th February).

In the accident, which involved four cars altogether, one car landed on its roof in the middle of the carriageway.

A woman, from Camberwell in South East London, who was a passenger in the over-turned vehicle, suffered severe injuries and was taken to a London hospital by the Kent Air Ambulance. Kent Fire and Rescue Service were also in attendance due to fuel leaking from the vehicle.

Both carriageways' traffic was stopped for the air ambulance. The London-bound carriageway was re-opened at 3.30pm and the coast-bound at 4.15pm.

The injured woman is believed to have possible life-changing injuries. The driver of the vehicle was not injured.

The Serious Collision Unit, at Maidstone Police HQ, are appealling for witnesses to contact them on 01622 653430.

M2 Still Remains Closed Due To "Sink Hole"

M2 Still Remains Closed Due To "Sink Hole"

The 15 metre deep sink hole, that has shut the M2 between junctions 5 (Sittingbourne) and 6 (Faversham/Ashford) for the last 24 hours, is still causing traffic chaos this afternoon.

The Highways Agency has advised that they are hoping to have one lane either side open for tomorrow but there are no guarantees as urgent safety investigations continue.

Drivers heading to and from Dover are still advised to use the M20 instead.

The hole, between junctions 5 and 6, measures approximately 5 metres by 2 metres and 15 metres deep. 

A clearly signed diversion is still in place via the A249, the M20, the A20, the A252, and the A251 - using the solid black circle route coast-bound and the solid black square route London-bound.

Met Office Amber Weather Warnings

Met Office Amber Weather Warnings

The Met Office has confirmed that a vigorous area of low pressure is expected to move northeastwards across the UK today (Wednesday 12th February) clearing eastwards by the early hours of tomorrow morning. That have also confirmed that "this is likely to be accompanied by a swathe of southwesterly gales across many areas which may be severe in places. Winds will veer more westerly later in the day".

A first peak in the winds is likely over southern and England around the midday with the main swathe of even stronger and potentially damaging winds crossing parts of Wales then northern England later in the day. They state that "the public should be prepared for the the risk of disruption to transport and possibly also power supplies. In addition, large waves are likely to affect coastal areas. 

According to the Met Office, around 50mm of rain could fall locally through until Friday afternoon, which is roughly the amount normally expected in all of February. Winds of up to 60mph are also being predicted for Kent on Friday and the start of the weekend.

Stay tuned to 106.9 SFM for further information.


Joyrider Jailed After Sittingbourne Burglaries

Joyrider Jailed After Sittingbourne Burglaries

A teenage burglar has been jailed for two years after stealing a car and crashing it into someone's house in Sittingbourne.

18-year-old Jimmy Avery, of Woodbury Avenue in Murston, was sentenced on Friday 31st January, at Maidstone Crown Court, to 29 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary, one of theft, taking a vehicle without authority and aggravated vehicle taking. He was also banned from driving for 12 months.

Avery was responsible for a number of break-ins into houses in Sittingbourne in which he stole car keys before taking the vehicle itself. He admitted breaking into a property in Allenby Walk on Tuesday 22nd October, gaining entry through a window and stealing the victim's handbag and car keys. He stole her Audi, joyriding it through Murston before abandoning it. A fingerprint left at the scene was later confirmed to belong to him.

On Tuesday 5th November, Avery broke into another property in Canterbury Road, Sittingbourne, stealing the car keys to a Vauxhall Astra. Again, he left a fingerprint behind. The stolen car was nominated for Automatic Number Plate Recognition, through which it was spotted in the early hours of 7 November near East Grinstead. A Kent Police patrol nearby pursued the vehicle when Avery refused to stop. Avery lost control of the car and crashed into a house.

In interview, Avery admitted all the offences, showing no remorse and agreeing he 'put his foot down' when he was pursued.

Investigating officer, DC Richard Allingham of Kent Police, told SFM News: "In my career to date, I've rarely come across a criminal who showed as little remorse for his actions or as little regard for his victims as Avery. He was completely unperturbed when I challenged him about his crimes. He offered little explanation aside from the fact he saw an open window here or noticed all the lights were off in a property there and thought he'd get away with it. Unfortunately for him, he didn't. I welcome the news he'll be behind bars for the next several months and can only hope it will give him an opportunity to think about the consequences of his selfish, shameful behaviour."


Archbishop Accepts Demelza Vice President Role

Archbishop Accepts Demelza Vice President Role

Demelza Hospice Care for Children has announced today that the Archbishop of Canterbury has become a Vice President of the charity.

Justin Welby was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in 2013, after more than 20 years of ministry experience. He is no stranger to personal tragedy, feeling the call for ordination six years after his seven month old daughter died in a car crash in France.

Archbishop Justin joins high profile figures such as Jayne Torvill, Robin Cousins, Dave Berry, Lady Kingsdown and former chairman Des Crampton who are also Vice Presidents of the children's charity. The Archbishop also follows former Archbishop Rowan Williams who was a Vice President of the charity and who visited Demelza South East London in 2010.

Demelza celebrated its 15th birthday last year (2013) and provides care and support for hundreds of children across the South East who are not expected to reach adulthood through respite, symptom control, end of life care, counselling and support for their family.

Archbishop Justin said: "I'm honoured to be asked to be a Vice President of Demelza. The work of hospices is often misunderstood but places like Demelza are vital, helping to care for some of the most vulnerable in our society and enabling them to make the most of the time they have left, whether it is six weeks or six years."

Steve Hoy, Chief Executive of Demelza told SFM News: "We are delighted to welcome the Archbishop of Canterbury as a Vice President of Demelza. We rely on the support of the local community and the generosity of organisations such as churches so to have the patronage of such an important figure in the Church of England is wonderful news for Demelza. We hope his support will help us raise awareness of hospice care and the vital work we do across Kent, South East London and East Sussex."


Council Committee Refers Case To Secretary Of State

Council Committee Refers Case To Secretary Of State

The case of two "missing" Councillors on Swale Borough Council, who moved to Spalding in Lincolnshire but refused to resign their seats, is to be referred to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles.

Alan and Jean Willicombe left their Woodstock ward in the autumn but have refused to resign, claiming they can still effectively represent their residents from 150 miles away from their Ward.

Swale Borough Council's General Purposes Committee met on Monday (3rd February) and the issue was raised by Labour Leader, Mike Haywood, on the grounds that whilst there is a residential qualification to stand, there is no residential requirement to serve the term of office locally.

At the meeting Cllr Haywood said: "It can't be right to qualify for election by living locally but conceivably to move away the day after the election count.  This is not specifically about the Willicombes but about an anomaly which is wrong in principle".

The Panel agreed unanimously to refer this concern to the Secretary of State, the panel consisting of a Tory majority and being Chaired by Council Leader, Andrew Bowles.


CCTV Released After Six Upchurch Shoplifting Incidents

CCTV Released Following Six Upchurch Shoplifting Incidents

Kent Police have released the image of a man they are keen to speak with in connection with multiple shoplifting offences at shop in Upchurch.

On numerous occasions throughout December a man entered the shop on The Street in Upchurch and reportedly stole groceries.

Police would like to speak with the man in connection with six incidents of shoplifting from the store, the first of which was reported on 7th December 2013 when various items from the shop totalling around £120 were taken.

The suspect is described as being a white male, aged between 20 and 30-years-old of slim build and around 5'7 tall. He has short dark brown hair.

If you can help Kent Police with this investigation you are asked to contact them on 01795 433015, quoting reference XY/040317/13, or alternatively you can contact Kent CrimeStoppers free (from any landline) and anonimously on 0800 555 111.

Tributes Paid To Motorcyclist Killed In Sheppey Collision

Tribute Paid To Motorcyclist Killed In Sheppey Collision

The family of a man, who was killed in a road traffic collision in Queenborough on Sheppey, have described him as a 'proud father and family man'.

Harry Richard Higgins, of Hillside Road in Queenborough, died after he was involved in a road traffic collision in Main Road on Saturday (25th January) .

The 31-year-old was riding a purple Honda NES, at about 10.40am, when his bike was involved in a head on collision with a blue Honda CR-V travelling in the direction of Queenborough. He was later pronounced dead at the scene.

Harry's family have released the following tribute to the local media: 'Harry was a much loved father, son, uncle, nephew, brother and friend to many who will be sorely missed by all those that knew him. He died tragically doing something he loved - riding his motorbike - and his family are devastated at the news. He was a real family man and a proud father and it's hoped he will be remembered for the joy he gave to those closest to him. Harry's heart was always in the right place and he would do anything for anyone. Harry, you will be truly missed - behave yourself up there, all our love is sent to you and you will always be in our thoughts.'

The road was closed at 11.00am from the junction onto the A249 and was fully reopened again by 3.25pm.

Specialist investigators from Kent Police continue to appeal for witnesses to the collision. Anyone with any information, or who might have witnessed the collision, is asked to call the dedicated Serious Collision Investigation Unit Appeal Line on 01622 798538.

Fourth Man Arrested In Cock-Fghting Investigation

Fourth Man Arrested In Cock-Fghting Investigation

A fourth man has been arrested by detectives investigating suspected illegal cock-fighting and animal cruelty at a farm in Iwade.

Officers from Kent Police discovered up to 170 birds in a converted barn in Raspberry Hill after executing a warrant on last Monday (13th January). A number of dead cockerels were also found at the farm, as was a suspected fighting ring - known as a cockpit - and paraphernalia associated with the training of birds for fighting.

Further searches uncovered about 100 wraps of a suspected Class A drug, a substantial quantity of cash, suspected stolen vehicles and a number of dogs were also seized on suspicion of welfare offences in breach of the Animal Welfare Act.

This Monday (20th January), officers raided a business premises at Detling Aerodrome and unearthed three lorry-loads of illicit alcohol, worth an estimated £75,000 in evaded tax. A substantial quantity of cash was also seized by officers.

A 52-year-old man from Iwade was arrested on suspicion of a variety of theft offences, possession with intent to supply a controlled drug, animal cruelty and proceeds of crime.
He joins a 47-year-old man from Teynham and a 20-year-old man from Swanley who were arrested on 13th January in connection with the same offences, while a 21-year-old man from Upchurch was also arrested on the same day on suspicion of supplying a controlled drug.

All four men have been bailed to appear at Sittingbourne Police Station on Wednesday 9th April, pending further enquiries.


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