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News


Witness appeal after woman


knocked down POLICE are appealing for wit- nesses after a woman in her 90s was knocked over by a cyclist – who then swore at her and rode off. The incident occurred between


7amand 7.30amonMonday,Octo- ber 23 on GabrielsHill in the town. Theman was riding his bike in the direction of Lower Stone Street when he was involved in the colli- sionwith thewoman. She was knocked to the ground,


suffering cuts and bruising to her elbow. When she spoke to the cy- clist about the manner of his cy- cling, it is reported verbally abused her before rifding off. Anyone who saw the incident or


has any information is asked to contact Kent Police on 01622 604100, quoting reference 23-1084, or Kent Crimestoppers anony- mously on 0800 555 111.


Boys failed to


follow order TWO teenagers have been charged following a disturbance in Maid- stone. Kent Police were called to Cum-


berland Avenue in Shepway at around 8.20pmonOctober 31 and a number of people were instructed by officers to leave the area in ac- cordance with the terms of a dis- persal order. Subsequently, Blessed Banda


(18), of Pickering Street, was ar- rested and charged with two counts of obstructing a constable and failing to comply with the di- rection to leave the area. He was bailed to appear before Maidstone Magistrates Court on December 1. A 16-year-old boy from Maid-


stone was also arrested and charged with failing to comply with the direction to leave the area. He was bailed to appear before MedwayMagistrates Court, sitting as a youth court, on November 14.


Tractor’s theft


is investigated THREE men were arrested in con- nection with the alleged theft of a tractor from a farm outbuilding near Sutton Valence. Kent Police were called to Head-


corn Road at around 9pm on Sun- day, October 29, after a report that the vehicle had been taken. A police statement said: “After a


search, the three men from Maid- stone, aged 18, 19 and 23 years, were stopped in East Sutton Road and arrested on suspicion of bur- glary. The missing tractor was found in a field nearby.” The men were subsequently re- leased pending investigation.


30


downsmail.co.uk


Call for tougher stance on town centre crime


A GREATER police presence and tougher sentences forweapon car- rying is the only way to curb the apparent rise in violent crime in the county town. Ukip councillor Eddie Powell


(pictured) – who has two grandsons in their mid-teens – is worried that gang culture and weapon-carrying is be- coming normalised. A spate of violence


and a feared escalation of open drug dealing on the streets of the county town


by London


teenagers – some juve- niles – is also causing himconcern.WhileKent Police de- nies there is any issue with gangs or gang culture in Maidstone, the Kent Police and Crime Commis- sionerMatthewScott disagrees and confirmed there are concerns. Maidstone was stunned when


Wayne Chesterwas allegedlymur- dered by a 16-year-old boy in an in- cident atMcDonald’s restaurant on September 30. Cllr Powell was speaking after


four men suffered facial injuries – caused by a knife or bladed weapon – at the hands of two men in Hart Street in Maidstone in the early hours of October 21. On October 10, a man was al-


legedly assaulted by strangers in the town centre in an apparently


unprovoked attack. Cllr Powell, pictured, the borough councillor for Shepway, added: “The level of crime in the area appears to getting worse. There have been some very unpleasant instances of violent crime, possibly gang-re- lated, inMaidstone. “It is becoming in-


creasingly common for yound people to carry weapons for self-de- fence. That only leads, in my view, to trouble. “The sort of thing we


have seen recently is what you might expect to see in London but is beginning to be seen as


almost fashionable. “We need a visible police pres-


ence at all times so that the streets feel a bit safer. There is no real de- terrent until we increase the num- ber of police on the streets and bring in harsher sentences for those who commit acts of violence.” There are growing fears – al-


though fewpeople are prepared to speak out publicly – aboutworsen- ing violent crime, especially those linked to teenage gangs. One retailer said: “Most of us are


savvy enough to know the differ- ence between the organised drug gangs plying their trade on the streets ofMaidstone and a bunch of youths with baseball caps on the wrong way round. The young lads


Armed robber is jailed


A WOMAN off-licence worker in Coxheath was left terrified by a knife-wielding, cocaine-addicted armed robber, a court heard. S t e p h e n


Lee (33) stole alcohol and £245 in cash during a raid at a store in Heath Road on July 2. He was jailed for three years. He entered shop


the


under the in- fluence of classA drugs at around 8pm, chose some beer but sud- denly produced a knife and handed an empty carrier bag to the cashier. Lee ordered her to fill it with


money, as he waved the six-inch blade between the till and the bag. He then fled the scene. Police recognised Lee from


CCTV footage and within an hour he was captured outside his home


Maidstone Weald December 2017


address in Gresham Road, Cox- heath. After being arrested Lee quickly


confessed. He told officers: “I’ve just done an armed robbery. I’m going to admit it.” During police interview, Lee ad-


mitted he intended to cause fear to the cashier in order to get her to comply with his demands. He added he was addicted to cocaine and had been using the Class A drug prior to entering the store. Appearing before Maidstone


CrownCourt, Lee pleaded guilty to robbery and possessing a knife in a public place.OnOctober 24, hewas sentenced to three years in prison. DetectiveConstableWesMarston


said: “Lee subjected the cashier to a terrifying ordeal. She was left fear- ing for her life after he brandished a large kitchen knife and forced her to empty the till. “The courts have now passed a


significant sentence and I hope at the very least it will provide the victim with the reassurance that justice has been served.”


are starting to carry weapons be- cause they think they need themfor their own protection.” Superintendent Amanda Tillot-


son said: “Maidstone does not have a gang culture and the town re- mains a safe place to live andwork. “However, we are not compla-


cent and are taking a robust stance against violent crime to ensure it stays thatway. “We will not tolerate this type of


offence on our streets and will bring those responsible to justice. “We also aim to prevent young


people being drawn into crime, and work closelywith partners, schools and youth groups to educate them about the considerable risk they may be putting themselves in.” Kent Police and Crime Commis-


sioner Matthew Scott feels that there is not a gang problem in the town per se, but there are concerns about gangmembers. He said: “There are postcode-


style gangs operating inMaidstone and we do have gang members fromLondon visiting the town. “We are putting resources into


fighting this. “I wouldn’t say there is a gang


problem inMaidstone, but there is a problem with gang members in the town.” Are you concerned about a child


becoming involved with gangs? Advice


can be


Knives seized in drugs raid


on property POLICE have seized knives and what is thought to be heroin and cocaine from a property in Maidstone. Three men were arrested on


suspicion of supplying a con- trolled drug following the raid on the house in College Road shortly after 12.15pm on Tues- day, October 31. A 19-year-old man, from Il-


ford, in Essex, and a 37-year-old, of no fixed address, were ar- rested at the house. A 51-year- old,


from Maidstone, was


subsequently arrested in an out- building near the property. Officers removed a quantity of


drugs, seven knives, a baseball bat and a pipe wrench from the premises. Themen remain in police cus-


tody while investigations con- tinue.


found at www.kent.police.uk/advice/gangs.


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