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Drugs found in home raid

ADRUG dealer has been sentenced to prison after 15 wraps of heroin were seized from his home in Maid- stone.

James Bird (36)

was arrested in September 2015 after Kent Police searched

home in Lesley Place.

Heroin was

found on Bird and drugswere also hidden in a number of locations inside the property, in- cluding a freezer where officers also found amphetamine.Aboxwas also discovered containing a powder which could be used as a cutting agent. Messages on a mobile phone belonging to Bird provided evidence of deals.However, during police in- terview he denied any involvement in the supply of heroin. At Maidstone Crown Court, Bird

denied possessing heroin with intent to supply, but hewas convicted by a jury following a trial. He had previ- ously pleaded guilty to a separate charge of possessing amphetamine and was sentenced to two-and-a- half-years in prison. Detective Constable Michelle Mar-

shall said: “Please remember to re- port any suspicious behaviour.”


Barracks closure ends town’s military links

MAIDSTONE’s Invicta Park Bar- racks is to close, ending more than two centuries of military history in the county town. The base, off Royal Engineers

Road, will close in 2017, it was an- nounced in parliament. Army barracks have been in the county town since 1797, with the present base home to the Royal En- gineers 36 Engineer Regiment. It includes two Gurkha squadrons, resulting in a Nepalese community of more than 1,000 in the town. There are currently no plans for the relocation of the soldiers. The 41-hectare site, currently army accommodation and military build- ings, has been the regiment’s head- quarters since 1959. The decision was announced in

the House of Commons by Defence Secretary and Sevenoaks MP Sir Michael Fallon, in his Better Defence Statement. He told MPs that 56 Ministry of Defence sites would close by 2040, saying: “Our estate is vital but it’s also vast, making up almost 2% of the UK’s land mass.

Maidstone- based Gurkha soldiers on a a tour of duty in Kabul

“Yet while the size and structure of

the military has changed to meet dif- ferent threats, our estate has failed to adapt.” The decision is expected to be widely criticised, amid fears about the stress and uncertainty for mili- tary families and the effect on Maid- stone’s economy. Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone

and theWeald, said it was a worry- ing announcement for the 800 sol- diers, their families and dependents, many from the highly respected Nepalese community. She is also concerned it could af-

fect the wider population and econ- omy of Maidstone generally. The borough council listed the site,

off Royal Engineers Road, in its draft Local Plan for potential develop- ment of up to 1,300 homes, saying it expected the army to leave by 2031. But two years ago, the MoD de-

nied any such plans, saying it was categorised as “retained”. However, it later suggested to Maidstone Council that the base could be deemed surplus to require- ments in the long term, leaving it free for housebuilding or alternative uses.

Fes estive fun for everyone

Father Christmas is coming to Maidstone!

Kids, join Father Christmas at our Children’s Christmas Party* Sunday 11th December 1pm – 4pm

Fancy Dress Fun Run

ancy Dress Fun Run Sunday 11th December

The Chris Registration from 8.30am, run starts 10am

Mote Park, Maids tr

tarts 10am The Chhe Christmas ark, Maidstone, ME15 7RN he Christmas

Corpus Christi Hall at

Earl Street, Maidstone Meet Santa and his

Elves and Mother Christmas •Christmas music •Children’s buffet •Craft Corner

Only £7.50 per ticket *Children 5-8 years old

Run, jog or walk through “snow storms” on this 5k c ourse around the beautiful Mote Park whilst r aising money for Heart of Kent Hospice.

e P Register Now!

Visit: Tel: 01622 790195

Email: .uk Heart of Kent Hospice

@Heartofkenthosp RCN No. 298164

Book your tickets on 01622 670011 or email Limited numbers, book today

Corpus Christi Hall, a magical venue in the heart of Maidstone available for weddings, parties and corporate functions

8 Maidstone December 2016


for best fancy re s

Priz o

fa dres an e

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Photos withtos w Christmasstmas characters


ho Chr

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