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Summary

  1. Updates on Monday 30 January

Live Reporting

By Claire Cottingham and Bob Dale

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Goodnight from us

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

That's it from us for today, thanks for joining us.

We'll be back tomorrow from 06:00 GMT, keeping you up to date with all the latest news, sport, travel and weather, right through to 22:00 GMT.

You can get in touch on Twitter, on Facebook or by sending us an email.  

Hospital trust experiencing 'unprecedented demand'

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

Bosses at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust say there's unprecedented demand on its emergency departments.

They're appealing for people with minor illnesses to go to their GPs or a pharmacist, or to a minor injuries unit.

The Trust operates the William Harvey hospital in Ashford, the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother hospital in Margate and the Kent and Canterbury hospital.

The winter pressures that we're experiencing at the moment is a national picture, I think it's reflected throughout trusts throughout England. At this time of year we often experience winter pressures, there is extra demand, and that's why we're experiencing these challenges at the moment.

Steve JamesEast Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust

Road to remain closed for several hours

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

Long delays are continuing on the A229 at Bluebell Hill after a two-vehicle collision just after 16:30 GMT.

Bluebell Hill closed because of an accident
BBC

'This is going to be amazing'

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

Meet the 11-year-old girl from Maidstone who's voiced an advert for national TV.

Delays on A229 will continue into the night

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

Traffic delayed on Bluebell Hill
Jessica Brewer
Photo by Jessica Brewer

Three ambulances and two fire engines have been called to a crash on the A229 at Bluebell Hill near Maidstone.

The road's expected to be closed between junction three of the M2 and junction six of the M20 after a collision involving two vehicles.

It happened on the Maidstone-bound carriageway, at 16:37 GMT, and long queues have already formed with the road not expected to reopen for several hours.

Distraction burglars posing as police officers

Detectives are currently investigating eight reports of men who said they were police officers before entering the homes of elderly residents and searching their properties for valuables.

The most recent incident was reported at a property in Blackman Close, Hoo, Rochester, between 19:00 GMT and 19:30 GMT on Tuesday, 24 January.

The victim said two men identified themselves as police officers who were carrying out an investigation following reported burglaries in the area.

One of the men spoke to the victim while the other searched the property for items to ensure they were stored in safe locations. After leaving the property the victim reported a quantity of cash and jewellery had been taken.

Anyone with information about any of these incidents can call Kent Police on 01634 792209 quoting reference number XY/3742/17.

Two charged over removal of shipwreck artefacts

Two men have been charged in connection with the alleged removal of items from a sunken Royal Navy warship in the English Channel.

John Blight, 57, and 56-year old Nigel Ingram were charged with three counts of dishonestly failing to disclose items of wreck to the Receiver of Wreck with intent to make a gain. 

It was after officers from Kent Police's Rural Task Force launched an investigation in August 2015 after being informed that a number of historical artefacts had been reported missing from the wreck. 

HMS Hermes was a protected cruiser that was converted into an aircraft ferry and depot ship at the start of the First World War.

Both men have been bailed to appear before Margate magistrates on Thursday 2 March, 2017.

Serious accident closes road near Chatham

Stuart Maisner

BBC Live reporter

A serious accident has closed the A229 Bluebell Hill southbound near Chatham.  

There are queues of around two and a half hours. 

The road is expected to remain closed for some time.  

Severe disruption: M2 Kent westbound

BBC Travel

M2 Kent westbound severe disruption, between J3 for A229 Chatham and J2 for A228 Strood.

M2 Kent - Queuing traffic and one lane closed on M2 London-bound between J3, A229 (Chatham) and J2, A228 (Strood), because of a broken down vehicle.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Dozens of arrests after campaign against gangs

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

A week-long crackdown on gang-related crime in Kent has led to 55 arrests.

Two knives and a large amount of drugs were seized by officers on public transport and the county's roads.

Several properties were also searched which led to the discovery of more drugs and what's thought to be a Taser device.

We are working relentlessly to identity and tackle individuals associated with gangs, who are often from the London area. Our use of both uniformed and plain clothes officers is already making it very hard for gangs to gain a foothold anywhere in Kent and there will be no let-up in our determination to keep these people of our streets.

Detective Chief Superintendent Rob FordhamKent Police
Deadman's Island off the coast of Kent
An island used as a burial ground for convicts two centuries ago is slowly revealing its grisly past.

Bad day at the office for Town U23s

Ben Parker

BBC Suffolk sport

Ipswich Town's under-23s have had a bad afternoon away at Charlton. 

They lost 4-0, with a hat-trick from Mikhail Kennedy for the hosts. 

The one positive though came from midfielder Teddy Bishop, as he played 90 minutes. 

The 20-year-old has been suffering with an ankle ligament injury.

View more on twitter

Severe accident: A229 Kent southbound

BBC Travel

A229 Kent southbound severe accident, between Buckmore Park and M20 J6.

A229 Kent - A229 in Blue Bell Hill closed and very slow traffic southbound between Lord Lees Roundabout and Chatham, because of an accident.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Another bail extension after 'gang rape'

Lizzie Massey

BBC Live reporter

Six men arrested after a woman was reportedly gang raped at Bluewater shopping centre have had their bail extended again.

On Mother's Day last year, a woman in her 20s was waiting for a bus home when she was reportedly thrown into the back of a van and attacked.

Ten men were originally arrested but four have been released without charge and the rest have been repeatedly re-bailed.

The remaining six Kent men - three 18-year-olds, two 20-year-olds and a boy of 16 - have now had their bail extended to March 4, 2017.

It marks almost a year since the reported attack on the evening of March 6, 2016.

Meeting McGann

Sara Smith

Reporter, BBC South East

He's been Withnail's best friend, The Monocled Mutineer and Doctor Who. Now Paul McGann is bringing a new play to the South East soon - Gabriel, based in Nazi occupied Guernsey.  

Watch my interview with him on South East Today at 18:30 GMT on BBC One. 

View more on twitter
Dead Man's Island

As coastal erosion exposes the remains of dozens of prisoners buried on an island in Kent more than 200 years ago, we answer some of your questions.

Read more

Deadman's Island gives up its grisly secrets

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

Tales about supernatural devil dogs, and bodies buried without skulls on an island off the north coast of Kent have been handed down from generation to generation.

Deadman's Island was a burial ground for convicts who died on prison hulks.

Now rising sea levels and coastal erosion are washing away their final resting place.

You can see the full video on Inside Out, on BBC One South East and London on Monday 30 January at 19:30 BST, and later on the BBC iPlayer.

Folkestone man charged with drugs offence

A man from Folkestone has been charged with producing cannabis and abstracting electricity.

Jeremy Clinton Izod, 40, of Bradstone Avenue, was charged on 26 January. He was initially arrested following the execution of a warrant on 7 December.

He is due before Folkestone Magistrates Court on 8 March 2017.  

Cloudy start to the new week

Kate Kinsella

BBC weather

It's much milder than last week, but the clouds are set to stay this afternoon. 

Here's my lunch-time forecast.

Have you seen this woman?

Police are appealing for help in locating a woman who was reported missing on Saturday, 28 January.

Penelope Champ, 60, was reported missing from her home in Margate at 10:30 GMT.

She is thought to have got on a bus and has not been seen since.

Penelope Champ
Kent Police

Term-time holiday fines are under review in some areas

People lying on a beach
Getty Images

A BBC investigation has found that 35 councils in England have changed their policy on fining parents for term-time holidays.

It follows a successful high court appeal by a father last year against a £120 fine levied by the Isle of Wight.

The case will reach the Supreme Court this week where judges will consider what constitutes regular attendance.

Ministers argue missing days at school has an impact on pupils' GCSEs. Read the full story here.

Two charged over removal of shipwreck artefacts

Two men have been charged in connection with the alleged removal of items from a sunken Royal Navy warship in the English Channel.

HMS Hermes was a protected cruiser built in the late 19th century and converted into an aircraft ferry and depot ship ready for the outbreak of the First World War.

It was sunk by a German submarine in the Dover Strait in October 1914 with the loss of 44 lives.

Officers from Kent Police’s Rural Task Force launched an investigation in August 2015 after being informed that a number of historical artefacts had been reported missing from the wreck.

John Blight, 57, of Old River Way in Winchelsea, East Sussex, has now been charged with three counts of dishonestly failing to disclose items of wreck to the Receiver of Wreck with intent to make a gain.

Nigel Ingram, 56, of London Road, Teynham, has been charged with the same three counts in addition to being in possession of £16,000 worth of criminal property.

Both men have been bailed to appear before Margate magistrates on Thursday 2 March.

The investigation into the alleged offences was carried out in partnership with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the Marine Management Organisation, the Receiver of Wreck, Sussex Police, Historic England and the French authorities.

Rise in paramedics off with stress

Claire Cottingham

BBC Live reporter

There's been a 60% rise in the number of frontline paramedics going off sick with stress in the South East in just two years.

An investigation by BBC South East has found that 172 ambulance staff took at least one day off because of stress last year. That's over 60 more staff than in 2014.

The South East Coast Ambulance Service says paramedics are working hard to meet additional demand for services and are urging people to only call 999 in an emergency.

We got the views of a former paramedic. 

Charlton celebrate

Charlton Athletic come from behind with 10 men to deliver a blow to Bolton Wanderers' League One promotion hopes.

Read more

This morning's top headlines

Pile of newspapers
Thinkstock

Kent Online: Shock at sudden death of Herne Bay builder

Kent News: Motorhome crashes onto its side with two people trapped inside near Canterbury

Kent Live: M2 latest after a 'massive pothole' left up to 30 drivers stranded last night

Dickson stars as Kent win in Antigua

Claire Cottingham

BBC Live reporter

Kent picked up their first win in the West Indies regional Super 50 competition by beating reigning champions Trinidad and Tobago Red Force by five wickets. 

Red Force could only muster 193 all out off 48.3 overs.

Seamer Ivan Thomas was the pick of the bowers with 4-51. Kent were never threatened in reply as opener Sean Dickson struck 56 off 67. 

BML2: Second Brighton Mainline 'going to happen'

Ben Weisz

Political reporter, BBC Sussex

MPs are meeting the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling later today to discuss plans to build a second London to Brighton rail line, via Lewes, Uckfield and Tunbridge Wells. 

Lewes MP Maria Caulfield told BBC Sussex Breakfast she hoped the scheme would benefit her constituents.

MPs meeting Chris Grayling today to discuss feasibility of BML2. @mariacaulfield wants to stop Newhaven + Seaford being the "poor relations"

While Brighton Kemptown MP and Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Simon Kirby, struck a very confident tone indeed. 

"It's gonna happen, we should all be excited, confident and positive" - Simon Kirby MP strikes optimistic tone about BML2

What do you think? We'd love to hear your views. 

You can get in touch on Twitter, on Facebook or by sending us an email.  

Minor roadworks: A26 Kent both ways

BBC Travel

A26 Kent both ways minor roadworks, between Vauxhall Lane and Birchwood Avenue.

A26 Kent - Temporary traffic lights, emergency repairs and a collapsed manhole on A26 London Road in Southborough between the Vauxhall Lane junction and the Birchwood Avenue junction.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

ICYMI: Gillingham bring in former QPR and Red Star Belgrade forward

Claire Cottingham

BBC Live reporter

Gillingham have signed forward Josh Parker on a deal until the end of the season following a spell on trial.

The 26-year-old, who came through the youth ranks at QPR, had loan spells at AFC Wimbledon, Northampton and Wycombe before joining Oldham in 2011.

Josh Parker
Getty Images

The Gills announced the signing after their one-all drawat home to Shrewsbury Town. 

Could direct trains to Brighton be restored?

Helen Catt

Political editor, BBC South East

A £6bn plan which would reinstate a direct train line from West Kent to Brighton will be pitched to the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling today.

The "Brighton Mainline 2" proposals would include restoring an old line and building 20km of new track around Lewes. 

It would also provide a direct rail link to Tunbridge Wells.

Police officer injured in crash

A police officer has been seriously injured in a collision in Gravesend. 

A police vehicle and a silver BMW were involved in the incident in Old Road West just after 16:00 GMT yesterday.

The occupant of the car suffered minor injuries. A 26-year-old man from Northfleet has been arrested on suspicion of drink-driving.

Severe congestion: M25 Kent clockwise

BBC Travel

M25 Kent clockwise severe congestion, between J4 for A21 and J5 for M26.

M25 Kent - Queuing traffic on M25 clockwise between J4, A21 (Orpington) and J5, M26 (Sevenoaks).

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Gravesend shop staff threatened by man with axe

Hamish Mureddu-Reid

BBC News Online, South East

A man is being sought after he was filmed with an axe threatening staff and attempting to rob a shop.

The incident at Milton Express on East Milton Road in Gravesend happened at about 19:30 GMT on Friday.

The man, described as white, 5ft 7in tall, of thin build and with blond hair, was wearing a cap, balaclava, gloves and black clothing.

Deadman's Island gives up its grisly secrets

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

Tales of supernatural devil dogs, and bodies buried without skulls on an island off the north coast of Kent have been handed down from generation to generation.

Deadman's Island was a burial ground for convicts who died on prison hulks.

Now rising sea levels and coastal erosion are washing away their final resting place.

You can see the full video on Inside Out, on BBC One South East and London on Monday 30 January at 19:30 GMT, and later on the BBC iPlayer.

It's a grey and damp start to the week

Kate Kinsella

BBC Weather

It's noticeably milder out there, but it'll be cloudy and damp.

Here's my morning forecast.

Rise in paramedics taking time off with stress

Alex Bish

Investigative journalist, BBC South East

There has been a 60% rise in frontline paramedics off sick with stress and anxiety in the South East in two years.

An investigation by BBC South East has found that 172 ambulance staff took at least one day off because of stress last year. That's up from 108 in 2014.

The South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secamb) says its staff are working hard to meet additional demand for their services and is urging people to only call 999 for life threatening and serious conditions.

A South East Coast Ambulance
Secamb

The BBC Radio Kent Breakfast Show with John and Maggie will be hearing from Rob Shaw, a former frontline technician who says he suffered stress from the growing workload and left the trust after he was assaulted by a patient.

You can hear his story just after 07:00 GMT by listening here.

Happy Monday

Claire Cottingham

BBC Live reporter

Hope you had a great weekend. We'll be here until 22:00 GMT with all of Kent's news, sport, travel and weather.  

Sharon Marie was testing out her new camera over the weekend and sent us this stunning picture of East Cliff in Ramsgate - it's our Kent #photooftheday

East Cliff in Ramsgate
Sharon Marie

Is there something you'd like to tell us about? We'd love to hear from you.

You can get in touch on Twitter, on Facebook or by sending us an email.