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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.

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.

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."

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

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
Getty Images

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

BreakingSouth East results

View more on twitter

Brexit Party: 915,686

Lib Dems: 653,743

Green: 343,249

Conservatives: 260,277

Labour: 184,678

Change UK: 105,832

UKIP: 56,487

Folkestone and Hythe results

The Brexit Party polled the most votes, with 15,674, while the Lib Dems were second with 5,045, the district council tweeted.

The Green Party was in third place locally with 4,994, and the Conservative Party finished fourth with 2,589. Labour were fifth with 1,933.

Turnout was 38.62%.

South East turnout

Turnout in the South East was 39.36% - up from 35.4% in 2014.

The South East region is made up of the Isle of Wight, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire, Kent, Surrey, Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

Move to exempt under-25s from council tax

Caitlin Webb

Local Democracy Reporter

Care leavers under the age of 25 are one step closer to being exempt from paying council tax.

Members of Kent County Council have agreed to pursue proposals brought forward by the authority’s young people’s council, made up of young people who have been in social care.

Young adults who are leaving the care system are more likely to become homeless than their counterparts.

To address this imbalance, members of the young people’s council has called for care leavers living in Kent to be exempt from council tax until their 25th birthday.

Council leader Paul Carter said: “It won’t cost massive amounts of money and this is something, I think, we all would like to happen. We intend to get there as fast as possible.”

The council will approach the 12 district and borough authorities after discussing the plans at the full council meeting on Thursday.

Young care leavers in Wales and Scotland are exempt from paying council tax up to the age of 25.

Manchester, Southwark and Nottingham councils have also put a similar waiver in place.

The biscuits bridging generation divides

These biscuits help to bridge the generational divide
A community project in Kent is bringing young and old together with the help of biscuits and dancing. 
The "Love Grows" projects aims to encourage friendships between generations and challenge the perceptions of what it is like to be young or old.

Stroke centres closure approved

Caitlin Webb

Local Democracy Reporter

Patients will be “desperately let down” by a transformation of the way stroke sufferers are treated in Kent, according to a county councillor, after his colleagues gave the go ahead for the NHS to close three hospital units.

Stroke centres in Tunbridge Wells, Margate and Medway, will be closed following the decision by members of the Kent County Council health overview and scrutiny committee.

Councillors narrowly passed a motion to build three specialist hyper-acute stroke units in Maidstone Hospital, Darent Valley Hospital, in Dartford, and William Harvey Hospital, in Ashford, to treat patients across the county.

However the committee outlined concerns that closing the stroke units in Tunbridge Wells, Margate and Medway could impact travel times, staffing levels over the long-term and increase inequalities.

Six councillors voted against the plans to accept the reconfiguration, including former Swale Borough Council leader Andrew Bowles.

He said: “There has been a continual drift towards downgrading services to the east end of the county.

“I cannot be convinced of this even though I would like to do what is right for the majority of my residents.”