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News » Crime

Doorstep alarm salesman warning

Contributed by editor on Feb 25, 2007 - 12:15 AM

Kent Trading Standards have advised that a doorstep alarm seller is operating in the Folkestone area.

 He is described as a white male around 38-40 years old, wearing dark or black coloured clothing. 

He offers to fit alarm systems to properties and is possibly travelling by foot and carrying a bag. 

Trading Standards advise consumers to be wary of doorstep callers.  

Do not agree to have work done immediately. There are very few circumstances where work on a property has to be carried out at once. 

Ask friends and neighbours to recommend reliable tradesman and try to get at least 2 written quotations or estimates before making a choice. 

Please report similar incidents to Trading Standards via Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06

School caretaker charged over letter bombs

Contributed by editor on Feb 24, 2007 - 12:25 AM

A primary school caretaker has appeared in court charged over a series of letter bombings, including one in Folkestone.

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Miles Cooper, 27, is accused of 12 offences under the Explosive Substances Act and the Offences Against the Person Act.

Cooper, who appeared at Banbury magistrates court in Oxfordshire, was arrested at his home on the outskirts of Cambridge at around 3am on Monday following a surveillance operation.

One charge relates to an alleged letter bomb that was sent to a house in Folkestone at the start of this month.

It alleges that on February 3, he "maliciously caused by gunpowder or other explosive substance" an explosion likely to endanger life contrary to Section 2 Explosive Substances Act 1883.

Seven of the 12 charges relate to seven letter bombs, three of which were posted to forensic science laboratories, one to a residential address and another three to companies with links to traffic enforcement.

The other five charges against Cooper, under Offences Against the Person Act, relate to the people who actually opened the alleged letter bombs.

One alleges that at Folkestone on February 3, he "unlawfully and maliciously" caused grievous bodily harm to Michael Winfield with intent to do to another grievous bodily harm.

Cooper was remanded in custody and will next appear at Oxford Crown Court on March 2.

£30,000 reward to catch Hawkinge cash machine thieves

Contributed by editor on Feb 22, 2007 - 06:48 PM

A £30,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the charge and conviction of thieves responsible for recent cash machine thefts in the county including the that of an ATM at the Tesco store in Hawkinge.

Kent Police, the banking industry and cash machine distributors are offering the money to encourage people to come forward with information.

And a special hotline number has been established by Kent Police for people to call: 01622 654321

A dedicated team of officers are busy following lines of inquiry to establish any similarities between the thefts and investigate if there are any links.

Many of the detectives already have experience of dealing with this type of crime following a series of similar thefts two years ago. That investigation led to seven people being convicted of stealing cash machines – receiving jail terms that between them totalled 33 years.

So far this year, there have been nine incidents across the county. Two have been attempted thefts where the criminals failed to take any money.

The last was at the Nat West bank in The Parade, Staplehurst, at around 2.20am on Thursday 15 February.

The offenders used plant machinery to remove the cash machine from the wall before driving away in a silver 4x4 vehicle.

Part of the cash machine was abandoned at the scene of the incident and the Nat West building was badly damaged during the incident.

Assistant Chief Constable Allyn Thomas: ‘The joint reward being put on offer by the banking industry, cash machine operators and ourselves is a substantial sum of money.

‘I urge anyone with information to call the hotline number we’ve set up – we will treat calls in strictest confidence.’

Mr Thomas added: ‘The theft of cash machines is a national problem, not just one in Kent. Police have been working for some time with the banking industry to encourage companies to install security measures to make thieves’ efforts to steal cash machines difficult.

‘This includes the use of red dye which spoils all of the money and visibly stains the thieves in the event a cash machine is tampered with. Also, many freestanding machines are now bolted securely to the floor.’

Police have also talked to building firms about ways in which they can ensure plant machinery is secured. Officers continue to urge the users of diggers and other large machinery to make sure they are secure to help reduce the opportunity for thieves to use them in an attempt to steal cash machines.

Mr Thomas continued: ‘The public can also help the police too by calling 999 if they see the unusual movement of diggers and similar plant machinery at night or people acting suspiciously near banks and shops with cash machines.’

People with information about the cash machine thefts can call the hotline number 01622 654321 at any time.

Drivers face £1000 fine and ban for using handheld mobile phones

Contributed by editor on Feb 21, 2007 - 08:32 PM

Kent Police have said they will not tolerate motorists who continue to flout the law by using their mobiles phones whilst driving.

They warn that drivers caught using handheld mobile phones could be banned under the tough new rules being introduced next week.

Research has shown people using a mobile phone while driving are more dangerous than drink drivers, and are four times more likely to have a crash. The new penalties come into force on Tuesday 27 February 2007.

Kent Police figures suggest that up to five percent of road traffic collisions involving serious injuries or fatalities in the county are as a result of drivers using a handheld mobile phone immediately before or at the time of the accident.

People caught driving while using a handheld mobile to receive or make calls, texts and pictures or to access the internet while driving, stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic will receive a £60 fine and three penalty points instead of the current £30 fine.

The increase in penalties is part of an ongoing government and police road safety campaign to reduce the number of road traffic collisions involving drivers using handheld mobile phones. 

In 2006 (January-December) Kent Police issued 4,680 fixed penalty notices to drivers caught using a handheld mobile phone. Four fixed penalty notices were handed out to those using a handheld mobile phone while supervising a learner driver.

Chief Inspector John Frayne, the head of road policing in Kent, said: ‘Driving while using a handheld mobile phone is dangerous and puts the driver’s life and the lives of other road users at risk.

‘Kent Police will not tolerate motorists who continue to flout the law and drivers can now additionally expect three points on their licence and a £60 fine if caught. Not only that, people who are caught could find their car insurance premiums rising too.

‘As police officers we see first hand the devastation caused by vehicle owners who have been distracted when using their mobile phone, and making the roads of Kent a safer place is our priority. We hope these tougher penalties will make drivers think twice before they text or make or answer a call behind the wheel.’ 

For cases that reach court, the penalties for using a handheld phone can result in a large fine of up to a maximum of £1,000, which rises to £2,500 for drivers of vans, lorries, buses and coaches, as well as possible disqualification from driving.

Kent Police will immediately enforce the new penalties and will also be working in partnership with neighbouring police forces to monitor the motorways and major routes in and out of the county.

Police appeal for witnesses to hit-and-run

Contributed by editor on Feb 20, 2007 - 11:07 AM

Police investigating a hit-and-run which left an 84-year-old woman with serious injuries have made a fresh appeal for witnesses.

Cicely Hearn suffered a broken skull, collar bone, pelvis and legs when she was struck by a light or white Peugeot 205 in Deal on 22 December, last year. Officers are still trying to trace the driver of the vehicle. However, they also want to speak to the driver of a dark-coloured 4x4, which was travelling directly behind the car.

Mrs Hearn is still being treated in hospital for her injuries.

She had been to the hairdresser when she was hit in London Road just before 5.00pm. Police have said the Peugeot 205 car would have been damaged at the front with broken headlights. They have urged anyone who saw it being driven recklessly, or any mechanics who may have repaired it, to contact them.

If you have information about this incident, please call 0800 066 99 07

Watch meeting timed for March

Contributed by editor on Feb 20, 2007 - 10:58 AM

The Shepway Association of Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) Schemes is holding its Annual General Meeting on Thursday 15 March 2007 at 7.00pm in Hythe Town Hall.

Guest Speaker will be Chief Superintendent Steve Harris, Area Commander, South Kent.

The Chair and Committee will be pleased to welcome all members of NHW to this meeting.

Nominations for Officer posts or apologies should be sent to the Chair on 07738 660019 or by email to


Sally Coleman, Parish & NHW Liaison Officer 07870 999892 

PC Trevor Moody  07980 770583

Village Warden Tanya Clark 07811 271303

Police appeal for help with ram-raid investigation

Contributed by editor on Feb 13, 2007 - 09:17 PM

Police investigating the theft of a cash machine from outside the Tesco Express shop in Canterbury Road, Hawkinge are asking for help from the public.

The theft which took place just after 0230hrs yesterday morning, Monday 12 February used a mechanical digger to break the cash machine away from the wall.

Police believe three or four men were involved in the theft. They drove away in two vehicles along Canterbury Road, towards Folkestone.

A white Mitsubishi pick up truck and a dark coloured vehicle similar to a Landrover were found burning in the Tilmanstone area at 0730hrs yesterday morning, and police believe these may have been the vehicles used by the offenders.

A number of lines of enquiry into the cash machine thefts across the county are being investigated. At this stage it cannot be said if these crimes are linked.

If you heard anything during the night which would help police with the investigation please contact Det Sgt Kevin Gurr on 01303 850055 or call Kent CrimeStoppers free and in confidence on 0800 555111.