News | Crime special

Woman ‘hit’ after refusal to Week St cash demand

A YOUNG woman says she was punched in the head in Week Street on June 7 by a stranger demanding money.

How police are ‘keeping

town safe’ DISTRICT commander for Maidstone, Chief Inspector Gary Woodward, said: “Maid- stone has a dedicated team of constables and police commu- nity support officers who work to keep residents, employees and visitors to the town safe. “Our officers are regularly on

foot in the retail areas, parks and public spaces, meeting the pub- lic and responding swiftly to crime and antisocial behaviour when they encounter it. “We often carry out proactive operations to enhance public safety and deter offenders from coming to the town. This in- cludes working with British Transport Police in the use of knife arches and searches at rail- way stations.

“Officers liaise closely with partner agencies and security staff at shops, bars and night- clubs to identify potential disor- der and intervene. “We will not hesitate to im- pose dispersal orders in the town where there is a need, and this requires those who do not behave appropriately to leave the area or risk arrest.

“Brenchley Gardens is regu- larly patrolled at all times of the day and is part of the town cen- tre that falls under a Public Spaces Protection Order. The conditions of the order allow our officers to confiscate alcohol from anybody drinking in the park. “We carry out regular checks with the park manager for hid- den or discarded knives and other weapons, and are working with the local council to identify other opportunities to prevent and deter crime.”

The alleged incident happened inside the Tesco Express at 2pm, when the victim went into the store to buy a bottle of water.

The woman, aged 21 and from Greenhithe, was confronted in the street by a woman with orange hair asking for money.

When the victim said she had no

cash, the alleged assailant followed her into Tesco asking her to buy medication. Again she refused. A few moments later, the woman reappeared with boxes de- manding the victim pay for them, which she again declined to do. She was then hit on the back of the head.

The victim, who says she suf-

fered concussion, was in the county town to pick up a laptop from Kent County Council HQ. She said the episode lasted be-

tween five and 10 minutes, but had affected her badly. She tried to return to work in adult social care that Wednesday but had to leave after an hour. Kent Police said: “It is alleged a woman in her 20s was approached by another woman she did not know, who assaulted her.” The victim says the woman was

wearing cream tracksuit bottoms, a dark green, crochet top and had dyed orange hair. A Tesco spokesman said: “We are aware of an incident that took

place at our Week Street, Maid- stone, Express store involving two customers. We are assisting police with their enquiries." Conservative borough Cllr Tom Cannon, member for nearby Bridge ward, said: “All crime and assault is bad. But there is some- thing particularly shocking about an assault in broad daylight. “In light of a few brazen assaults in the town during the daytime, I have written to Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Scott, to request more town centre patrols. I have also asked for more patrols of the riverside and our parks at dusk – an issue raised with me during the recent election.”

Four held after ‘mass brawl’ in town

FOUR men were arrested and de- tained following an alleged mass brawl in Maidstone. The incident happened in Week

Street, near the junction with Brewer Street, at around 2.45am on Friday, June 11. Police officers and paramedics

went to the scene and four men were treated for injuries and taken to hospital. They were later arrested on suspi-

cion of affray and taken into cus- tody. Two forensic officers were at the scene the next morning taking swab samples from bins and putting them in evidence tubes.

Readers have their say Assault report

THIS what Downs Mail readers said on our Facebook page about the crime situation in Maidstone: Lynn Boulding wrote: “No won-

der I don't like going into Maid- stone anymore. Pull your finger out, Maidstone police.” Shax Hussain said: “What is Maidstone coming to? Honestly, I do not even feel safe anywhere.” Pauline Walton posted: “What is the world coming to?” Ben John Steel wrote: “Makes me

laugh, got a town with more cam- eras than the Big Brother house that would catch you flicking a fag butt on the floor and fine you £60 but can’t find a no-doubt toothless crackhead on CCTV.” Sophie J Cook

said: “Always problems in Week Street and police


nowhere to be seen.”

Reporting team: Jade Schopman and Simon Finlay 8

A WOMAN and a man were re- portedly assaulted in broad daylight in Fremlin Walk shopping centre. The incident happened at 4pm

on Sunday, May 30. A Kent Police spokesman said:

“It is alleged a man approached the pair and, following a short conver- sation, he assaulted them both. “The victims were punched and

suffered bruising. The suspect then walked to a nearby coffee shop, where he sat down outside for a few minutes before leaving the area." Police are appealing for help.

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