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Today's South East news website headlines

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The Argus: East Grinstead pervert used phone to spy on women in toilet

Kent Online: Driver arrested after vehicle driven the wrong way on the A2

Get Surrey: Nurse traumatised after rocks thrown at car twice while driving on M3

Chichester Observer: Man wanted in connection with serious assault could be in Selsey

Eastbourne Herald: Long-awaited Eastbourne community centre is opening soon

Crawley and Horley Observer: Wasp warning for Sussex with huge numbers of the insects active in late summer

Worthing Herald: Georgina Gharsallah: police treat Worthing mother's disappearance as homicide

Mid Sussex Times: Deliveroo set to launch in Haywards Heath

Brighton and Hove News: Ambulance services comes out of special measures

Hastings Observer: Hastings hero is honoured with blue plaque unveiling

Brighton and Hove Independent: Call for road safety measures on busy Brighton road

Unemployment at 2.9%

Unemployment in the South East was 2.9% in the three months ending June 2019.

The UK’s unemployment rate edged up slightly to 3.9%. Employment was estimated at 76.1%, the joint highest since comparative records began in 1971.

Wage growth also picked up to 3.9%, the highest rate for 11 years, however figures released last week showed the economy shrank 0.2% in the second quarter, the first fall since 2012.

Read more:

South east unemployment rate

Appeal to trace man who breached restraining order

A police head shot of Robert William Mansfield
Sussex Police

A man from Hastings wanted in connection with two domestic abuse incidents is being sought by police.

Robert William Mansfield, 28, of Milward Road, has also breached a restraining order, Sussex Police said.

He is described as white, of medium build, around six foot tall with short dark hair.

He has tattoos on both sides of his neck, one of three feathers and the word "mum".

Weather warnings in place for rain and wind across the South East

Met Office warnings are in place for rain and wind for the next couple of days in the South East of England.

A yellow warning for rain is in force all day today.

The band of heavy rain followed by heavy showers or thunderstorms has the potential to bring disruption.

A yellow warning for strong winds is in force from 15:00 BST today and will continue all day on Saturday, with gusts up to 60mph.

Some disruption is expected, including delays to road, rail, air and ferry transport with fallen trees possible.

Gareth Fuller/PA Media

Today's local news website headlines

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The Argus: Met Office warns winds could hit 60mph in parts of Sussex

Kent Online: Kingsdown Toilets cleaned up by volunteers

Get Surrey: 'I found him hanging': Surrey Police's response to someone who said cannabis was not harmful

Chichester Observer: Man arrested on suspicion of attempted rape in Bognor

Eastbourne Herald: Eastbourne dealers jailed for ‘one stop’ drug shop in seafront hotel

Crawley and Horley Observer: Crawley nightclub Moka could be demolished and replaced with flat

Worthing Herald: Shoreham residents demand to be heard over beach café plans

Mid Sussex Times: Haywards Heath church housed charity fundraiser to help eradicate baby infection

Brighton and Hove News: Brighton supermarket branch to double in size

Hastings Observer: Man had offensive weapon in Hastings at Queens Road

Brighton and Hove Independent: Police eliminate man from enquiries over sudden death in Hove

Two arrested over stabbing released

Guy Bell

Eddie Mitchell

Two people arrested in connection with a stabbing in Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex, on Tuesday have been released by police pending further inquiries.

A 30-year-old man, from Ilfracombe, Devon, and a 17-year-old boy from Hassocks, were both arrested on suspicion of committing grievous bodily harm with intent after a 30-year-old man was stabbed in the stomach, back and arm.

They have been released on conditional bail until 3 September, pending further inquiries.

Man punched by teenager near Eastbourne Pier

A man was left with a cut lip after he was punched in the face by a teenager near Eastbourne Pier.

Police are appealing for witnesses to the attack, which happened on Wednesday 24 July at about 18.40 BST.

The 20-year-old victim was on the lower promenade on the west side of the pier when he was approached by four youths aged between 14 and 17.

They got into an altercation with him and one of them assaulted him, before running off.

The first suspect is described as about 5ft 5 with tanned skin, black curly hair and a goatee board.

He was wearing a red T-shirt, khaki coloured trousers and a Nike bag.

The second suspect had short brown hair, and a third one had short blond hair and was wearing a white T-shirt.

PC Ian Williams said: "There were lots of people around at the time of the incident and we are sure someone may have seen this happen."

Tory councilor quits party to stand as Brexit MP

Karen Dunn

Local Democracy Reporter

Viral Parikh
West Sussex County Council

A West Sussex councillor has quit the Conservative Party and announced he hopes to become an MP more than 300 miles away, standing for the Brexit Party in Sunderland.

Viral Parikh, who represents a ward in Chichester and was elected in 2017, said: “I am leaving Conservative Party because of national politics and our MPs refusing to accept democratic mandate from people.

“Politics needs to be changed and will of the people should be and must be respected."

When asked if he plans to continue as a county councillor until the general election is called, he said: “Absolutely. Nothing has changed. I will be working for my residents from the opposition.”

Village pub plans criticised by campaigners

Karen Dunn

Local Democracy Reporter

A planning application to refurbish a village pub and build an extension to house nine flats has been criticised by campaigners.

The Royal Oak in Crawley Down closed down in 2015 despite the efforts of campaigners.

Now an application has been submitted to Mid Sussex District Council to demolish the pub’s single-storey extensions and an outbuilding, and to replace them with three-storey side and rear extensions.

One flat will be used by the landlord, while the others will be made up of two one-bedroom and six two-bedroom homes.

There will be parking spaces for nine cars.

A spokesman from campaign group Save The Pub said: “It is not possible to say whether the pub will work with a smaller footprint, no beer garden, no parking and surrounded by eight flats whose residents may not appreciate live bands, quizzes and beer festivals, all of which help make a pub viable.”

A decision is expected by 9 September.

The exterior of the Royal Oak pub
The pub, which closed in 2015, would be refurbished under the plans

Today's local news website headlines

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The Argus: Rogue ice cream vans invade Brighton

Kent Online: Call for NHS to support pulse test for newborn babies

Get Surrey: Epsom couple win £250k on scratchcard moments after joking that they 'never win'

Chichester Observer: Reductions to grass cutting of West Sussex’s verges

Eastbourne Herald: Eastbourne woman narrowly escapes prison for attacking man in McDonalds and having knife in public

Crawley and Horley Observer: Valuable violin stolen on train near Haywards Heath

Worthing Herald: Tesco jobs at risk in Worthing area as supermarket to cut 4,500 staff

Mid Sussex Times: Life-saving equipment installed in Burgess Hill

Brighton and Hove News: Brighton and Hove disability campaigners set up event to help people reach the beach

Hastings Observer: St Leonards homes without water due to burst main

Brighton and Hove Independent: A23 police pursuit ends in crash and drugs arrests

Witness appeal after unexplained death

Police investigating the unexplained death of a man in Hove have issued a photo of another man who they believe may have vital information.

Emergency services were called to a block of flats in Cambridge Road at 03:45 BST on Sunday, where a 39-year-old man from Haywards Heath had been found with injuries in the communal hallway.

He was treated by paramedics but died at the scene.

His death is being treated as unexplained, though not suspicious.

The CCTV image shows a man leaving the AmPM store in London Road, Brighton, just after 01:05 BST on that Sunday morning.

The man who died had been with him in the store.

Det Sgt Gavin Arnold said: "We emphasise that the man in the photo is sought solely as a witness at this time."

CCTV image of a man in a white, blue and red Nike t-shirt
Sussex Police

11,600 government-funded trees planted in Mid Sussex in eight years

There have been 11,600 government-funded trees planted in Mid Sussex between 2010 and 2018, Forestry Commission data shows.

This works out at 78 trees per 1,000 people.

Between 2010 and 2018 the government funded about 15 million trees in England. Figures for trees planted with private funds or by local councils are not included and the data only covers new trees, not replacements for any that were cut down.

Overall tree planting rates across the UK would need to more than double to combat rising temperatures and climate change, according to official figures.

Last year 13,400 hectares of new trees were planted across the UK, most of them in Scotland, but the Committee on Climate Change says this should rise to at least 30,000 hectares a year.

Campaign group The Woodland Trust said more trees were needed to provide summer shade, reduce air pollution, improve water quality and manage flooding.

The government said it had made it "much easier" to apply for planting grants.

Find out about tree planting across the UK here.

This story has been generated using Forestry Commission data, BBC analysis and some automation.

Police release 94-year-old man arrested after cyclist's death

Guy Bell

Police at crash
Eddie Mitchell

A 94-year-old man arrested after a cyclist died in a crash in West Sussex yesterday morning has been released under investigation.

The man was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and failing to stop following a crash on the A259 at Wick, Littlehampton.

He has been released while inquiries continue.

The 48-year-old cyclist died during the crash which happened at about 06:30 BST.

The coroner for West Sussex has been informed and a post mortem examination is due to be carried out next week.

Pothole compensation exceeds £30,000

Karen Dunn

Local Democracy Reporter

Cat hits pothole
PA Media

Compensation payments to drivers whose cars were damaged by potholes in 2018 have cost West Sussex County Council more than £30,000 so far, with another £11,000 likely to follow.

The figures were published in a report detailing the complaints and compliments received by the council that year, which was discussed by members of the standards committee last Friday.

So far, the council has received 1,186 claims for the year and has closed or settled 740 of them, paying 81 people a total of £30,678.94.

Offers totalling £11,777.49 have been made to another 34 claimants.

The report said that in 2017 there had been 494 claims, 478 of which were closed or settled, with payments of £47,351.24 made to 110 people.

The pothole complaints were not included in the general list of complaints made to the council, which rose by more than 20% between 2017 and 2018 – from 659 to 812. One-third of them were upheld.

Three-quarters of all complaints related to adult social care, children’s social care and highways.

With the number of complaints about children’s services increasing "significantly" from 166 to 208, the Conservative councillor for Worthing East, Roger Oakley, asked if there was any link with the current "failings" in the service.

He was told that it was "difficult to say" but officers would "not be surprised" if that was the case.

On the plus side, the total number of compliments rose from 4,065 in 2017 to 5,211 in 2018.

Councillors 'overstepped the mark' in school absence dispute

Karen Dunn

Local Democracy Reporter

West Sussex County Council

West Sussex councillors have been told they overstepped the mark when they refused to accept an ombudsman’s findings in the case of a teenager who wouldn’t go to school.

The Local Government Ombudsman launched an investigation after the child’s mother complained about the lack of support or alternative education offered while her daughter – who had "high levels of anxiety" – was off school.

The ombudsman said the council should apologise, carry out a review of its procedures and pay the family £400.

But members of the standards committee were unhappy with the findings.

At a meeting in March, they said the ombudsman had "not listened to one shred of evidence from our officers" and predicted that "if we were to agree to this recommendation, it would open the floodgates for a lot of people who don’t want to go to school".

They refused to accept the recommendations.

At their latest meeting, Tony Kershaw, the county council’s director of law and assurance, told members: “The Local Government Ombudsman’s findings are final. They are matters that you have to accept as their findings.”

His advice to the committee was to pay the £400, apologise to the family and review the council’s procedures.

Man stabbed and shot with catapult at boxing match

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

A man was stabbed and hit with a ball bearing fired from a catapult, after a fight among spectators at a boxing match.

It happened during an event at Warriors Gym in Imberhorne Way, East Grinstead, on 30 July.

Imberhorne Way, East Grinstead
The man was stabbed and shot with a ball bearing in this street

An altercation between two men spilled out onto the road, when a third man was stabbed in the back and hit on the arm by the ball bearing.

The 46-year-old victim was not badly injured, but still needed hospital treatment.

The man who fired the catapult was topless and wearing black jogging bottoms.

He's described as mixed race, around 20 years old, five feet nine, with short black hair and an Irish accent.