News Crime squad

in 60 charges A SPECIAL team of police officers chalked up 60 charges and two dozen arrests in December. The Chief Constable’s Crime

Squad issued 67 charges to crimi- nal suspects for alleged robbery, fraud, theft and burglary. A number of criminals were also

jailed, including a woman in her 20s who stole jewellery and mobile phones worth more than £100,000. Detective Inspector Darren Reynolds said: “A theme we have seen from the results achieved last month is the use of distraction techniques, which is highlighted in our successful prosecution of a woman who stole jewellery and mobile phones from unsuspecting shop staff across the county. “She would build up the victim’s

trust before making subtle move- ments to steal property as soon as an opportunity presented itself.” She was jailed for 4.5 years. A Maidstone man was re- manded in custody following a re- port he tried to rob a person in the county town at knifepoint. He will appear at Maidstone Crown Court in early January.

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Concerns for river as egg farm proposed

PLANS for a free range egg farm near Hunton have been submit- ted to the council . The proposal by Fridays Ltd

would see three 250-metre sheds, each housing 64,000 birds, at Reed Court Farm, Chainhurst. Opponents are concerned about pollutions, smells and traffic. Fridays claims it will plant 36,000

native trees to create 20 hectares of woodland at “Wealden Woods”. One main concern voiced by

WeLoveChainhurst is possible damage to the River Beult caused by contaminants in chicken waste . However, the applicant claims

waste will be taken off site without damaging the environment. Opponents say there are many

areas of concern “that need to be reassure our com- munity that our beautiful environ- ment will not be lost or damaged ... reducing the future values of our properties or impacting on daily life”.

Graham Fuller, production man-

ager at Fridays, said: “Our plans for Wealden Woods would lessen dependence [on imported eggs] by supplying some 60m eggs for the UK market from a facility that will comply with or exceed the RSPCA Assured standard. “This farm would operate to the highest environmental and welfare standards, improve food security, create jobs and be part of our in- vestment in Kent’s rural economy.” Anthony Drewe, who lives in the

village and has a degree in ecology and zoology, said: “It could be eco-

An artist’s impression of the proposed chicken sheds at Reeds Court Farm, Chainhurst

logically disastrous to locate a free- range poultry farm so close to the River Beult. “Chicken manure has a very

high phosphate level, which trig- gers water eutrophication ... trig- gering algae blooms that can remove oxygen in the river.” A statement from the firm claims: “Environmental initiatives include removing manure from the houses for treatment in a nearby anaerobic digestion plant to pro- duce biogas for export to the grid and an odour-less agricultural fer- tiliser.”


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