Crime is down in Hawkinge

Contributed by editor on May 08, 2006 - 10:49 AM



Hawkinge has seen a dramatic drop in crime over the past month and PC Trevor Moody confirmed that the figures showed a considerable drop over the same period last year.

Last week there were just two incidents which both happened over the weekend.

There was a theft from a garden in Aerodrome Road of two bags of bark chippings and a plant in a pot was stolen from a property in Plover Road, Hawkinge.

PC Trevor Moody can be contacted on 07980 770583.

To report a crime which has already occurred please ring the Central Crime Reporting Unit 01622 690690.

Governors resigned to fate of school

Contributed by editor on May 08, 2006 - 08:17 AM


Dear Ed,

Re:Tears at school gates after closure plans announced

After reading the letter from Selsted School Governors, it looks to me that they are already resigned  to the fate of the school.

Who's interests are they supposed to be looking after?

Why o­nly 5 days for a parent's consultation?

Angry parent
(Name and address supplied)

Tears at school gates after closure plans announced

Contributed by editor on May 07, 2006 - 08:14 PM



Selsted school pupils and parents were stunned last week to hear that the school could face closure.

In a letter from the Board of Governers and an attached letter from Kent County Council (see bottom of article), the grim news was spelt out.

The Gazette had warned parents on April 25 of the plans (/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=2957), but it was not until Friday ( 5 May) that parents were officially told.

Secretary of the Friends of Selsted School (FSS) Sarah Redmond has contacted the Hawkinge Gazette.

She said that parents she had spoken to were fiercely against the closing of the school.

"I am devastated," she said: "Lots of us were in tears after the news broke . We are worried about what is going to happen to our children.

"They are happy at the school and moving them will be unsettling and their education will suffer as a result. Our children could find it hard to make new friends in much bigger schools.

"I would say that around 90% of children in the Densole Way and Canterbury Road area of Densole attend Selsted school. Parents chose to send their children to the village school because they want them to be taught in a smaller school.

"The FSS are going to fight to keep the school open, we have a good community spirit.

"We have nothing to lose and we are not prepared to roll over and die".

Denise and Keith Foord, who have a 6 year-old child at the school and a four year-old due to start in September are ready to fight the closure.

Denise said: "The first we knew about the closure plans was when our child brought home a letter on Friday. I am disgusted at the plans; they have only just had the roof rebuilt and a brand new sports hall was opened in 2004.

"We chose Selsted because we had heard good reports about the school and felt it would give our children a better start".

Keith said he thought it was "financial madness". 

"If they shut the school, they will sell it off and it will be gone forever.

"I will be fighting the closure plans and hope the Parish Council will give their backing".

Swingfield Parish Council Chairman Colin Tearle said that the Selsted school closure item is on the agenda of the next parish council meeting on Tuesday 30 May 2006. The meeting starting at 7.30pm  at Swingfield village hall will formulate the council's view prior to the public meeting on 14 June.

The parish council would welcome the views of parents and residents.





Don't kill the goose which laid the golden egg

Contributed by editor on May 06, 2006 - 11:23 PM



Dear Ed,

I heard on the radio this week that many charity shops have become far more sophisticated in the sorting and subsequent pricing of garments.

Partly to look for a shirt and partly to check this out, I stepped  into the British Heart Foundation shop in Folkestone's Sandgate Road.

Expecting the prices to be a little more expensive than when I last looked in one of these shops over a year ago, I was a little shocked when I saw the prices of the shirts.

As a rough guide in a charity shop, a basic shirt will set you back about three quid, but if it has a label with 'Gap', 'Next', M&S or Levis, you could be stung for between double and three times that basic shirt price, and it didn't seem to matter about the condition of some of these branded clothes.

Now you may think seven or eight quid is no big deal for a second-hand shirt, but when I later went  into the Edinburgh Woollen Mill shop in the town, I was able to buy a quality brand new shirt for just a couple of pounds more than the charity shop.

Although charity shop shoppers do help many deserving causes, for many of them part of the fun is snapping up a bargain.

If they can't do this anymore because the shops have become too savvy, I can't see shoppers continuing to shop there and the charities will inevitably lose out.

I know some people use them purely to help the charity, but I am sure the vast majority have other motives.

When charity shops first hit the high streets, local businesses complained that they were paying less for their high street presence with lower rates and were putting established stores out of business. If they continue on this current path, the established businesses will soon be able to turn the tables and start to undercut the charity shops.

J Cullen

Hundreds join animal protest at Dover docks

Contributed by editor on May 06, 2006 - 05:54 PM



Carla Lane

Hundreds of people protested in the pouring rain against live calf exports, three days after a decade-long ban on exporting British beef was lifted.

Waving placards, blowing whistles and beating drums, the demonstrators, who fear the return of sales to Europe will expose animals to unnecessary suffering, marched through Dover to the Eastern Docks from where the first shipment of live calves left in the early hours of Friday aboard the cargo ship, MV Toucan.

Marchers included members of Bristol vegetarian group Viva! the RSPCA and Compassion in World Farming (CIWF). 

They were joined by screenwriter Carla Lane, who runs an animal sanctuary. 

Former MEP Stanley Johnson, Boris Johnson's father, who is a long-standing member of CIWF, addressed the crowd. 

The beef ban was brought in to stop the spread of mad cow disease in 1996 but EU vets agreed to lift it earlier this year due to the plummeting number of cases of BSE in Britain.

The industry says renewed live cattle exports will help it claw back trade previously worth some £650 million a year.

The lifting of the beef ban means live cattle born on or after August 1, 1996 may be exported, along with beef from cattle slaughtered on or after June 15, 2005. Restrictions remain in place for beef containing vertebral material and for beef sold on the bone.

The use of veal crates is already banned in Britain and is set to be stopped across the EU from January 1 2007.

'Real Jackal' mystery solved

Contributed by editor on May 06, 2006 - 05:19 PM


The mystery of  a man arrested in January of last year as he tried to enter Dover from Calais, with a passport of a dead person has been solved.

He served nine months in a Kent prison over the false passport incident but after completing the sentence has remained in jail because he refuses to reveal his true identity.

The mystery detainee who allegedly created a bogus identity as an English nobleman by assuming the name of a dead baby is actually an American who went missing from Florida more than 20 years ago, relatives of the man say.

He goes by the title of the Earl of Buckingham, but he is really an Orlando native named Charles Stopford, his father Charles and sister Rebecca Davis say in a documentary that will be broadcast o­n Sky o­ne television o­n Sunday.

Police in Kent declined to comment o­n the case.

The relatives said they saw photos of the fake lord o­n the Internet along with a story this week in The Times and concluded he is Stopford.

British media have dubbed the man The Real Jackal — an allusion to Frederick Forsythe's novel "The Day of the Jackal," which made famous the trick of using information from a baby's tombstone to create an identity.

He has two English children by a woman from whom he is now divorced, and all three are described as stupefied by news that he is not the man they thought he was.

The Times said police in Kent have sent fingerprint and DNA samples to the United States to try to determine the man's identity.

Cruise ship in major Channel fire alert

Contributed by editor on May 06, 2006 - 11:19 AM



 Calypso cruise ship

Firefighters were scrambled to a ship in the English Channel last night after a Mayday was received saying it was on fire.

The blaze broke out around 4.00am (6 May) on board the Calypso cruise ship which had 708 people on board.

Firefighters flew out to the ship, reported to be about 20 miles from Beachy Head and managed to put out the fire shortly after 6.00am. 

There were no casualties and it was not necessary to evacuate the ship.

The fire on the ship which is carrying 462 passengers was tackled by members of the ship's 246 crew before firefighters arrived on four lifeboats and in a rescue helicopter. 

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service firefighters tackled the blaze, and a service spokeswoman later said 18 firefighters had stayed on board to cool the blaze area. 

Dover Coastguard is to send a maritime surveyor out to see if it will need to be towed.

Dover Coastguard Rescue Co-ordination Centre manager Spike Hughes reported to the BBC it was likely the Calypso would be towed to Southampton, Hampshire. 

A six-strong fire team from the Maritime Incident Response Group (MIRG) has been taken to the vessel by helicopter, to investigate and make a decision on whether to evacuate the ship. 

The MIRG is the UK's first specialised fire and rescue service for incidents at sea and is one of the first of its kind in the world - this incident is its first live job.

Vomit Comet!

Contributed by editor on May 05, 2006 - 03:04 PM


Dear Ed,

Re: New fast ferry is a perfect fit

I bet it won't be a "perfect" fit.

Such craft are o­nly fit for those who like extreme dieting methods!

Yours as ever,


Howard's Way 4 May 2006

Contributed by editor on May 05, 2006 - 01:21 AM


HOWARD'S WAY.... a weekly column from Michael Howard MP

May 2006<IMG height=195 hspace=10 src="images/michaelhoward3.jpg" width=130 align=right vspace=10 border=0>

When should a Government Minister resign?

A bewildering number of different answers have been given to that question over the last few days. But Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, gave the right answer himself when he was interviewed by Jon Snow on Channel 4 the day the storm over foreign prisoners broke. He would resign, he said, ‘if he was shown to be personally culpable for the failure to consider the recommendation of the courts that over 1,000 dangerous criminals should be deported at the end of their sentence.

Within hours he confirmed to Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight that he was personally culpable. He said that what had happened was the result of a “shocking failure� on his part and that of others. So the fact that he has failed to accept the logic of his own test is astonishing.

Almost every day since then has brought a fresh and damaging revelation. Mr Clarke said that the number of prisoners released since he knew about the problem was very, very few�. It soon became clear that the number was 288.

What is more Mr Clarke subsequently admitted that he knew that number when he gave his misleading answer.

Then we were told that it had taken Mr Clarke three weeks to report on the problem to the Prime Minister and, more importantly, to the police.

Last week, we were told, the police were knocking on doors to try to find those who should have been deported. Why weren’t they asked to do this three weeks earlier or indeed ten months ago when Mr Clarke was first warned there was a problem?

These are not abstract questions. We know that at least 5 of those who should have been deported have committed further serious offences. People have suffered injury, or possibly worse, as a direct result of Mr Clarke’s negligence.

He has repeatedly said that he takes full responsibility for what has happened. But what does that mean? I am afraid that if it means anything at all, it means that Mr Clarke must go. That is the true meaning of ministerial responsibility.

Deadly tick fears after dog dies from bite

Contributed by editor on May 04, 2006 - 11:22 PM


A tick which can kill dogs has spread to the British mainland scientists believe.

The disease was diagnosed by a scientist at the University of Bristol following a dog which is walked near to railway lines used by Eurostar trains, died after being bitten by the insect.

The pet, whose owner lives in Ashford, died from the blood-born disease babesia, caused by a tick not previously known to be in the UK.