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Drivers on hard shoulder in ban

DRIVERS illegally using the mo- torway hard shoulder to dodge traffic jams are being targeted by police.

Officers patrolling Kent’s motor-

ways – including the M20 andM2– have slapped court action on some motorists this summer. They could now face up to £2,500

in fines and three penalty points on their licence or even a ban. Drivers on the M2 trying to skip

past a lorry fire on Friday, July 22, are among those hit with action. Police had closed the carriage-

ways to protect emergency services and other road users but some mo- torists used the hard shoulder, al- most blocking an approaching fire engine. The following week, emergency services dealing with a crash on the M2 were obstructed by cars using the hard shoulder to avoid queues. One car delayed the arrival of a

recovery vehicle, further delaying other drivers in the queue. Those drivers stopped by police

while using the hard shoulderwere reported for summons. A number of car registration numbers were also noted for fol- low-up enquiries and prosecutions where appropriate. Superintendent Mat Newton

said: “Driving on the hard shoulder is illegal and could easily lead to collisions with vehicles that have stopped in an emergency situation or who have broken down. “It also puts lives at significant

risk. “Drivers who commit these of-

fences will be reported for sum- mons and could receive a driving disqualification. “In addition to enforcement,

Kent Police alsoworks closely with partner agencies to encourage good driving behaviour.” Driving on the hard shoulder carries a minimum of three penalty points and a £100 fine, but drivers face a discretionary disqualification and a maximum fine of £2,500 by magistrates.

For more local news

Police at the scene of the murder of Roy Blackman, inset

Murder suspects freed

FOUR men suspected of involvement in the murder of widower Roy Blackman have been released without charge. It means only Mark Love (38), of Frittenden Road, Staplehurst,

will now face trial at Maidstone Crown Court on September 5. The four others, who had been arrested as part of the police in-

vestigation andwere due back on bail on July 28, are now free. A 52-year-old man arrested on suspicion of handling stolen

goods and assisting an offender had previously been released without charge. The body of 73-year-old retired mechanic Mr Blackman, of Bid- denden,was discovered at his bungalow in March. Eight men were arrested during the police investigation. One

was shot dead by officers while on bail. Love denies the charge of murdering Roy Blackman and of a separate offence of aggravated burglary in Rye. Kent Police confirmed the four men released without charge in- cluded a 41-year-old and a 49-year-old, both of whom had ad- dresses in Maidstone.

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