Drink driver’s fine and ban

A DRUNK driver from Maidstone has been given a three-year ban and £3,000 fine. Raymond Masseywas sentenced

on July 4, 2017, at Medway Magis- trates’ Court where he pleaded guilty to drink driving. On April 29, 2017, the 65-year-

old, of Perryfield Street, Maidstone, drove a Ford Focus in Palace Av- enue, Maidstone, and gave a breath test of 48mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mg. Magistrates banned Massey from driving for 36 months. He must also pay a £3,000 fine, £85 costs and a £170 victim surcharge. Disqualification can be reduced

by 273 days if he completes a course approved by the secretary of state, the cost of which will not ex- ceed £250.

Teen ‘pusher’

POLICE have arrested a 17-year- old boy in Maidstone on suspicion of possessing drugs with intent to supply. Officers stopped him in Buckland

Road, Maidstone and found he had drugs, believed to be heroin. The teenager, from Thamesmead,

has been bailed to return to Maid- stone police station on August 29, pending further enquiries.

Brothel boss jailed for role in sex trafficking

A MAN who trafficked women into theUKto work as prostitutes at a brothel in Maidstone has been jailed. Maidstone Crown Court heard

how 35-year-old Romas Drulia (pictured) was investigated by Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate after it became clear he ran brothels


Rochester, Gillingham, Chatham and Maidstone be- tween April 2013 and October 2015. The court heard that Drulia worked in an organised gang, ad- vertising jobs online as a ploy to force victims into the sex trade. He helped traffic two Lithuanian women into the UK but forced them to work as prostitutes or risk being harmed. Their passports were seized and

were forced to pay rent on the brothel they were living in.

Palaceweddings are here to stay

WORRIED brides looking to book theirwedding at a “fairytale” venue in Maidstone have been assured the historic building will remain available. There had been fears that when

the county council’s lease on the Archbishop’s Palace, owned by Maidstone Borough Council. Council, ended in 2020, civilwed-

dings would be relocated, along with the coroner’s service. While inquests will shift to Can-

tium House at the long-awaited Maidstone East regeneration site, KCChas confirmed that the register office will stay. Shirley Sheridan, service manager

for KCC Registration, said: “The plans for the coroner’s service to va- cate Archbishop’s Palace have no impact on the use of the building as the County Register Office, so all these services including weddings and citizenships will continue. It is an impressive building at the heart of Maidstone, parts of which date back to the 14th century, and is one of our most popular venues for mar- riage ceremonies.” It does, however, suggest further delay for the Maidstone East regen-


eration project by KCC, Maidstone Council and Network Rail, if tenants are to move back in to more vacant buildings on the site and comes weeks after a temporary car park was created on the Sandling Road improvement site. It is understood that four property firms are in the running to submit tenders for the proposed regeneration project by September. KCC says it will be asked to produce a viable master- plan that reflects future trends for re- tail, housing and commercial premises on challenging town cen- tre sites as this. Network Rail also plans to demolish the derelict pub in St Faiths Street,knownas TheVic, to extend its ticket office, alongside other improvements.

Maidstone East September 2017 Drulia, of no fixed address, took

a substantial cut of their earnings and feld the UK before he could be arrested but was picked up trying to cross the border between Poland and Germany in February 2017. He was sentenced to four and a

half years at Maidstone Crown Court on July 31 after admitting two counts of human trafficking for sexual exploitation, six counts of controlling prostitution for gain and four counts of managing a brothel for prostitution. Detective Sergeant Jason Booth

said Drulia was involved in a net- work that “cruelly and unscrupu- lously exploited women”. He added: “The victims were of-

fered hope of a new life with better prospects but instead they were forced to illegally work as prosti- tutes.

“Outside of their home coun-

tries, there was no one around to support these women and thatwas a vulnerability that Drulia ex- ploited for financial gain.” The victims have now returned to their families.

Maidstone house’s

prostitution use ABROTHEL at a house in Stagshaw Close, Maidstone, has been closed down by police. Officers raided the property on Thursday, July 27, following com- plaints from neighbours that it was being used for prostitution. Twowomenwere arrested on sus-

picion of involvement in running a brothel. Police also arrested five more womenat an address in Lower Box- ley Road on the same day. A closure order under the Sexual

Offences Act 2003 has been issued for the first time in Kent. Officers served a closure notice

and the case was considered at Maidstone Magistrates’ Court the following day, when it was agreed that a closure order would be granted. All those arrested have now been

released fromcustody, pending fur- ther investigation.

Jack playing the fool

A ONE-MAN playwhich portrays the rise to stardom of comedian Norman Wisdom after a tough and lonely childhood comes to the Hazlitt Theatre, Maidstone, onWednesday, September 27. Starring Jack Lane, Wisdom of a Fool tells how the slapstick comic

perfected the routine which shot him to stardom in the 1950s, with film success and the hit song “Don’t Laugh At Me” sealing his fame.

Norman’s daughter Jaqueline Wisdom said: “Wearing the gump suit brought Dad back to life. It was incredibly emotional and I know Dad would be flattered that Jack’s performances earned him standing ovations.” Call the box office on 01622 758611.

Cyclist injured in fall from bike AMANwas seriously injured after falling from his bike near Maid- stone. The incident happened in Smiths Hill, West Farleigh, at about 6.10pm onAugust 14 and the manwas flown to a London hos- pital by air ambulance. A police spokesman said: "The 72-year-old, who was riding a

black racing bike, fell onto the road and suffered severe injuries. Hewas taken to hospital where he remains in a serious condition."

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