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Today's local news website headlines

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The Argus: Brighton Met student completes exam while in labour

Kent Online: Boy attacked after gang demand wallet

Get Surrey: Guildford pupil will have to travel to 10th closest secondary school

Chichester Observer: Pub in Westbourne 'in danger of closing' after 'traffic chaos' reigns over village

Eastbourne Herald: Eastbourne boy, 16, pleads guilty to intent to supply cocaine

Crawley and Horley Observer: Tiny Sussex kitten is one of nature’s rarest finds

Worthing Herald: Tributes paid to ‘exceptionally kind and caring’ Worthing man who died at music festival

Mid Sussex Times: Zoe Ball is new patron at Haywards Heath Princess Royal Hospital radio

Brighton and Hove News: Brighton expert’s research may support case for giving HPV jab to boys

Hastings Observer: Hastings MP Amber Rudd gives her support to keeping Jack in the Green on the May bank holiday

Brighton and Hove Independent: Brighton Royal Pavilion Gardens second report of attempted rape

Council leader to step down from councils network

Ciaran Duggan

Local Democracy Reporter

Paul Carter will "refocus his mind" as Kent County Council leader after pledging to step down as chairman of the County Councils Network (CCN).

The body was established in 1997 and is made up of 36 county local authorities. It has been described as the ‘voice’ of UK’s counties.

Mr Carter, who will leave his post in September, said he was "proud" to lead the cross-party organisation in its efforts to lobby the Government for extra funding and support.

The Maidstone councillor, who became chairman in 2015, said: “It was a particularly demanding job being leader of a large county council.

“Fitting that in with this role has been a challenge but I thoroughly enjoyed my four years as chair and I wish all the best to my successor.”

Paul Carter
Kent County Council

Victim hands over £3,000 in fake police scam

A victim of a scam handed over £3,000 cash to a fraudster after a bogus telephone call from a man posing as a police officer.

Kent Police said it was one of eight similar reports on Thursday from people living in Faversham.

In each call, the man claimed to be from the police and said he had someone in custody who had cloned their bank card or told the caller that they had a substantial amount of money taken from their account.

They were then told to withdraw money from their account and meet a courier who would collect the money.

Det Sgt Rachel Howson from the Volume Fraud Team said: “Unfortunately those who are targeted are often the most vulnerable, such as elderly people or victims with learning difficulties.”

She added that police officers will never ask a member of the public for their bank details or money over the phone.

Woman assaulted getting off bus

Man wanted over bus assault
Kent Police

Police have released a CCTV image of a man they want to speak to following an assault on a bus in Tunbridge Wells.

A woman was travelling on the number seven bus in the St John's Road area at about 21:15 BST on 2 May.

She was approached by a man who tried to sit next to her and speak to her.

When she walked past the man to try and get off the bus she was assaulted, a Kent Police spokesman said.

Dermatology waiting times criticised by councillors

Natalie Eacersall

BBC live reporter

County councillors criticised north Kent’s dermatology provider for long waiting times and unanswered phonecalls.

Their complaint was aimed at DMC Healthcare, a private company which took over the running of skin care clinics from Medway Maritime Hospital in April.

Patients with severe skin conditions have complained about not being able to get through to anyone from DMC for an appointment.

Almost 70 patients have waited more than a year to be seen by a specialist.

The dermatology services changed hands after the trust, which runs Medway Maritime Hospital, handed the contract back for patients in Medway, Swale, Dartford, Swanley and Gravesham.

A report by Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (MCG), which was presented to the committee, outlined the actions taken by DMC to cut the waiting times down for patients.

It read: “DMC has received significantly higher than anticipated volumes of calls (46,000 in April 2019) as a result of the transfer of services which has resulted in patients experiencing delays and difficulties contacting DMC.

"To address the backlog DMC will continue to hold a significantly higher number of clinics to ensure patients are treated as quickly as possible and to prevent the backlog negatively impacting on the new service. Based on the current trajectory the backlog is anticipated to be cleared by June 2019.”

Following these revelations, Kent County Council is calling for those involved to defend their record to the committee before Christmas.

Multi-million pound renovation for shopping centre

Stuart Maisner

BBC Live reporter

An investment of £11m is to be used to renovate a Kent shopping centre.

Work is set to begin at Royal Victoria Place in Tunbridge Wells in the autumn.

The renovation will involve upgrading to new modern flooring throughout the centre, fitting new high quality seating areas, installing bespoke rooflight features and housing a new piece of artwork.

More than 70 jobs are expected to be created by the work which is due to be completed in summer 2020.

Royal Victoria Place proposed renovations, Tunbridge Wells
British Land

Men arrested 'while printing fake money'

Caitlin Webb

Local Democracy Reporter

Kent Police has uncovered an alleged money laundering ring worth a “staggering” £5.2m in £20 notes.

When the in investigation was launched the Bank of England knew of at least £152,000 of counterfeit cash in circulation.

Chief constable Alan Pughsley told a meeting on Wednesday: “An operation commenced in January with regard to intelligence from the organised crime group counterfeiting currencies.

“Lots of work then commenced over a period including covert and overt work building an intelligence picture until May, where we believed we had identified the premises and believed there was a print run live at that time.

“We went to the address and found two individuals there at the time literally hands on in the middle of counterfeiting a number of £20 notes.”

At least five people have been arrested as part of the alleged conspiracy to print fake notes at a business premises in Beckenham.

Mr Pughsley added: “This is, according to the Bank of England, the biggest ever seizure of £20 notes.

“It would have had significant damage to the UK economy."

Three hurt in Tunbridge Wells fire

Two people suffered burns while a third suffered from the effects of smoke in a fire at a Tunbridge Wells property.

At its height, six fire engines were battling the blaze in Lansdowne Road.

The fire is now out and the cause is being investigated, Kent Fire and Rescue said.

Bodycam captures knife attack on police officer
Stab vest stops three knife blows as officer's hand cut in struggle.

Child cut by glass as bus window shatters

Lizzie Massey

BBC Live reporter

A child has reportedly been injured after a window in a rail-replacement bus shattered with passengers on board.

Ed Davey tweeted Southeastern after the service from High Brooms near Tunbridge Wells, Kent, at around 10:00 BST was swapped for a bus.

He said the bus hit a bump in the road and the window broke, leaving a boy with minor cuts and others with bags and sandwiches full of broken glass.

Southeastern has been approached for a comment.

Kent Premium Bond holder wins jackpot

Lizzie Massey

BBC Live reporter

A Premium Bond holder in Kent is celebrating after bagging the £1m jackpot.

The winner has £4,210 invested in Premium Bonds, and the winning bond was bought in 2000.

Jill Waters, NS&I retail director, said: "We hope that news of this win will bring them happiness and financial security for many years.”

In 62 years Premium Bonds have paid out 442 million prizes worth £19.5bn.

In Kent, there are 40,623 unclaimed prizes, collectively worth just over £1.5m.

One person has a £50,000 prize from November 2007 which is still waiting to be claimed.

Today's local news website headlines

Newspaper printing press
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The Argus: Botched bunion surgery leaves woman housebound

Kent Online: Tributes to girl set to 'rule the world' before unexplained death

Get Surrey: Former Epsom Hospital children's doctor suspended

Chichester Observer: Selsey sexual assault: Man hands himself in

Eastbourne Herald: Injury left working mum relying on foodbanks

Crawley and Horley Observer: Runaway lorry rolls downhill with unconscious driver

Worthing Herald: Graffiti by Worthing's Banksy should be removed, council officers say

Mid Sussex Times: Burgess Hill Academy celebrates ‘good’ Ofsted rating

Brighton and Hove News: Most Brighton A&E patients satisfied despite having to wait longer than average

Hastings Observer: Firefighters battling another blaze at derelict Hastings care home

Brighton and Hove Independent: Brighton shortlisted for Best Walking Neighbourhood Award