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The gangs exploiting children to bring drugs into Kent
Children as young as 11 are being used as drug mules,
selling drugs, or hiding drugs for major drug
Accused of breaking legal limits by stockpiling
a mountain of mattresses - a Kent businessman tells a court
We're live at Canterbury Crown Court.
M25 road rage killer Kenneth Noye launches a legal challenge to be
The worrying rise in sheep-worrying - farmers say the south east
suffered more attacks than the whole of scotland last year.
It's been the set for Call The Midwife, and scores of movies.
Now, Chatham's historic dockyard will benefit
A national plan is needed urgently to crack down on the criminal gangs
exploiting inner-city children as young as 11 to sell
That's the view of councillors from 19 local authorities
who've written a joint letter to the Home Secretary, claiming
the issue "has the potential to be the next grooming scandal".
They say vulnerable children are being coerced into selling drugs
in market towns and seaside resorts, but the justice system
views them as criminals, rather than victims,
It's been called a poison that is spreading out from the capital and
seeping deeper and deeper into the south-east. At last count, more than
181 urban gangs sending upward of 800 people in two counties like
Kent, Surrey and Sussex. Children as young as 11 acting as careers. Many
are groomed into the role. From London, it's very easy to travelling
to Essex, into Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Thames Valley.
They are not travelling any further than that because we are the closest
counties. Francis is a former gang member who now runs a charity
helping to educate young people. They are exploiting young children
to sell drugs. The impact on that young child is huge. They are
grooming children to become drug dealers or to sell drugs for major
drug dealers from London. So it's a safeguarding matter. We can't just
turn a blind eye to it. We need to address it. Today in what was called
an unprecedented move, 19 London boroughs have written to the Home
Secretary calling for action. They say gang leaders are using serious
violence, kidnap and weapons and ruthless debt control to manipulate
young people. They say they believe it has the potential to be the next
grooming scandal. We've known for some time that there have been
London gangs coming down to Kent, particularly in Thanet, where it is
often reported London gangs are responsible for a lot of the drugs
trade. But the thought young vulnerable children in Centre this
trade is very worrying. Nick is the former head of Kent Police's drug
squad. They are using vulnerable people, people who they know have
probably got no want to report to, come back to, their parents, it's
probably a dysfunctional family, and they use that vulnerability to their
own advantage and don't give a dam for the welfare of anyone else. With
the threat of the drug gangs seemingly diving deeper into the
south-east, a call today to bring in new measures to battle a trait that
is now using Child exploitation to maximise profits.
Piers what has the Home Office had to say tonight?
Just be clear, those 19 London borough is called for this. They
called for a clear national strategy and action plan from the Home
Office. We put that to the Home Office and this is what they told us
tonight. They said, this was an issue that was being addressed by
the government. They were looking at this exporting of drug trafficking
from London. The Minister for safeguarding, Sarah Newton, said
that we are working with local law enforcement agencies and local
charities to tackle this and have formed a new agency to tackle gang
problems. How effective that has been in areas like the south-east
will be judged in the coming months and years.
A businessman accused of blighting a Kent village with a mountain
of discarded mattresses has told a court his personal life
was "an absolute living hell" at the time he was trying
Lewis Bertram - who ran a recycling business
in Smarden near Ashford - is accused of having more
than double the amount of waste he was allowed on site.
But he told Canterbury Crown Court today that that figure
was "impossible", as Simon Jones reports.
Piled high, a potential fire risk and environmental
Lewis Bertram's business took on mattresses and recycled
The jury was told he had a strict limit of possessing 1000 tonnes
The Environment Agency believes the total weight
Lewis Bertram, though, described that as an impossible estimation.
Physically, he said, it's impossible to carry that sort
He told the court there was 500-800 tonnes maximum.
He said he didn't store mattresses outside.
He admitted he'd been going through a difficult time personally.
"My home life, my personal life, was an absolute living hell.
It affected my functionality in my everyday life completely.
He said he had been surviving on two hours sleep per night.
Mr Bertram admitted the site was never going to look
He said he'd paid for a shredder to help clear it,
He insisted he had been trying his level best to appease
He described himself as passionate about his business.
Lewis Bertram denies knowingly permitting the deposit of waste
on land without an environmental permit and failing to comply
Simon Jones reporting - and he joins us outside
What happened during Mr Bertram's cross-examination?
prosecution asked him to look at a number of photos which it said
showed that he was clearly storing mattresses outside, which he wasn't
allowed to do. But he said that those photos may have been taken on
days when new mattresses had just been delivered before being taken
inside. The judge then asked him to look at three different photo was
taken over a period of six months and asked him if they showed the
same waste in those pictures. He said no. This afternoon the defence
finished their case and the jury is expected to be sent out tomorrow.
Anger from the RMT, as the union members say
they'll strike on Monday after being shut out from talks
The notorious road rage killer Kenneth Noye -
who stabbed a man to death on a Kent motorway - has launched a High Court
appeal for the right to be moved to open prison conditions.
The 69-year-old was given a life sentence for the murder of
Our reporter Charlie Rose has been following the story
Charlie, in 2015 the Parole Board recommended transferring
Noye to an open prison, but that was rejected
by the Justice Secretary at the time, Michael Gove.
In the year 2000, gangland criminal Kenneth Noye was jailed for life
with a minimum term of 16 years for stabbing Stephen Cameron to death.
In 2015 he may have believed he was on the road to release but the door
was slammed shut by then Justice Secretary Michael Gove over public
safety fears. Stephen Cameron's parents were relieved by that
decision and this is how they reacted at the time.
We are so relieved that finally, we've got justice again for Stephen.
It's nice that he's kept in there and can't harm anyone else.
Kenneth Noye is never very far from my thoughts.
I hope he comes out of that prison in a wooden box.
Now Kenneth Noye is in a High Court battle in an attempt to be moved to
open prison conditions. They judge in London is being asked to rule on
whether the decision to reject the parole board's recommendations were
unlawful and irrational with Kenneth Noye's lawyer arguing the Justice
Secretary at the time didn't give the recommendations enough weight.
But the current Justice Secretary Liz Truss says there was nothing
irrational in the decision and the hearing continues.
Council tax in West Sussex is set to rise by almost 4%,
under proposals put forward by county councillors today.
The authority is facing a budget shortfall of more than ?41 million,
and says the council tax increase would raise more than 15 million.
A teenager's been arrested following a stabbing in Brighton.
An 18 year old boy was taken to hospital after the attack at
19-year-old Elson Brito, from Brighton, has been charged
Southern Rail managers have urged the RMT Union to call off a 24-hour
It follows the suspension of three days of strikes that the Aslef Union
Aslef and Southern have spent a second day in talks aimed
at ending their industrial dispute over the safety of driver-only
operation, but the RMT are angry that they've been excluded.
It's absolutely ridiculous that our members have been out,
They are not even allowed to come to the table
If there's going to be any resolution for either of these
disputes, either the drivers or the guards, then the RMT need
Our reporter Sara Smith joins us live from Westminster.
Sara, has there been any news from the talks
going on between Southern and Aslef today?
They adjourned for the day about an hour ago. Those chairing them, the
TUC, said they had made further progress today, and would be
reconvening tomorrow. The good news, after two full days they are talking
and will carry on talking. As far as the RMT's comments, a spokesperson
from the TUC today said that Aslef had come to them asking them to
intervene. That's what they were focusing on. It was a separate
dispute, but they would be willing to help the RMT in any way they
could. Thank you. The issue of dog attacks on sheep
in the South East is now so urgent farmers have used a meeting
with the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner
to call for tougher action. It follows several serious
incidents recently, including one just two weeks ago,
when 10 sheep were The National Farmers Union says
the cost of sheep-worrying claims here rose by 80% last year -
the sharpest rise in the country - with claims there were more
dog attacks in Sussex Sheep have been grazing
here for centuries. Frank Langrish has been farming
here his whole life. But dog attacks have increased
so much, he's had, on occasion, If we find a dog actually attacking
sheep, and once a dog gets the blood lust,
it's very difficult to stop them. And so the only way of doing
it is actually to shoot that dog. Which is very upsetting for,
not only the dog owner, For Frank, hardly a month goes
by without incident, Two weeks ago, several ewes
were killed in Lewes, and last March, 116 were killed
in what's been described as the worst sheep-worrying attack
in memory. Farmers say the police
aren't doing enough. Last year there were 18,000 cases
of livestock who were either killed Everybody should be
worried about it. That's a huge number,
and nobody wants to see animals And in the south-east in particular,
we have a lot of population, and a lot of livestock alongside
each other, so we need to take steps And it's not just being attacked
by dogs that's a problem, At this time of year,
many of the sheep are pregnant. And if they are chased
and knocked into ditches like this one next to me, then
many of them get very frightened The Farmers Union has now appealed
directly to the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner
for tougher action. I totally understand
the strength of feeling. We have a lot of farms,
we have a lot of sheep. And these incidents
are particularly distressing. And the farmers are saying,
are you taking it seriously, And my message to them
is, yes they are. But my plea to the public is,
whenever you see it, please do report it,
because intelligence is vital. Sheep worrying costs the industry
more than ?1 million, and farmers want persistent
offenders prosecuted. Claudia Sermbezis, BBC
South East Today, Winchelsea. This is our top story tonight -
Nineteen local authorities have written to the Home Secretary
calling for urgent action to crack down on criminal gangs exploiting
children to sell drugs They say it "has the potential to be
the next grooming scandal". Also in tonight's programme -
the rebirth of the church they call We take a close-up look around
St Peter's, as the first phase And after another crisp winter's
day, warnings from the Met office about very cold weather lasting
until Tuesday. I will have the details and forecast later in the
programme. The Historic Dockyard in Chatham
is to receive almost ?5 million of Heritage Lottery money to restore
one of its most important buildings. The Fitted Rigging House
dates from 1793, The lottery funding will
enable its conversion, to become the dockyard's archive
and volunteer centre. Peter Whittlesea is
live at the Dockyard. Peter, it's a building well known
to millions of TV viewers, isn't it? That's right, for the last decade or
so, the historic dockyard has been a firm favourite with the British
movie industry. But now the building that always features in the BBC
series Call The Midwife will get its own face-lift.
Transformed by the magic of television into a street scene from
the east End of London in the 1950s, but inside the brick buildings made
famous by Call The Midwife, is an empty shell. Unused since the
dockyard closed in 1984, but now it's going to get its own dramatic
new lease of life thanks to a lottery grant. The Heritage lottery
fund that has been announced today is absolutely essential in bringing
these buildings back to life. It will help with initial restoration
and repair. But in turn, it will make sure that commercial
opportunities can come in here, businesses can come in and they have
something to use. Built just after Victor Hugo wrote Les Miserables, it
was a fitting tribute the Hollywood movie was filmed here. But these
buildings will no longer be a backdrop to blockbusters only. It's
about creating offices, maximising return and also being a charitable
trust that is about education. We want to develop the museum, the
Reading room and library and archive and make that much more publicly
accessible and create a public centre of excellence. If all 7000
people in the dockyard are dismissed, Chatham's unemployment
rate would shoot up from 14.3% to around 25%. And when that happened
the rigging house was redundant. Finally finding a new role for the
listing building 31 years on is symbolic. The building was used as a
storehouse right until the Navy board left in 84. This is how we
found it. Nothing has happened to it subsequently. This was put up in
1795-98. It was the largest brick built building at its time that the
Navy had put together. Its sheer size has hindered its restoration,
but now thanks to millions of pounds of funding its future has been
secured. It's hoped the visitor centre will
be finished and businesses will move in by the end of next year.
Completing this building's transformation from the supply store
to the ships that made Britannia rule the waves to now a business hub
fit for the 21st century. Peter, thank you.
The latest school league tables have been published today,
with 10 secondary schools in Kent and East Sussex classed
as underperforming - including six in disadvantaged
Many headteachers say they're experiencing a recruitment crisis,
as they struggle to attract high flyers to vacant teaching posts.
But one organisation that helps graduates go into teaching says it's
seeing rising numbers of young people from disadvantaged
backgrounds applying to teach at their own former schools.
Our Education Correspondent Bryony Mackenzie has the details.
They were kids from the Kent coast, and they are now teachers back in
their classrooms. Hannah is a Margate girl. It's a dance move, the
dab, where you do that. As well as knowing how to do the dab, she is
also a high-flying graduate, so why come back here to teach? It's an
area that I recognise from before, so why would I go anywhere else? I
come from Thanet, so if I can do it, you can do it. I need to remind them
of that, that they are capable of more than they perhaps realise.
Jason is from Sheppey. He now works alongside some of his former
teachers at his old school. I just wanted to give back, in a way. I
have been away at university for four years and it's been a while,
but coming back, like home and it still feels like I need to give back
a lot to the area for what it's given to me. So there are a lot of
pupils who maybe haven't had the same experience of school that I
had, I could show them that there's no reason for them not to achieve,
just because they are from the Isle of Sheppey. Both have gone through
teach first, a unique programme that gets top graduate teaching in
disadvantaged areas. 60% of their teachers stay in the profession.
Teach first, attracting these very very committed and determined and in
many ways very tough young graduates, that's definitely one
road. Especially as we are targeting in the very areas where recruitment
is hard. But that's where we work, and that's where we will aim our
resources. Today's new set of results showed disadvantaged pupils
still make less progress than their peers. Put leading by example be the
solution? -- could leading by example be the solution?
Eastbourne's Johanna Konta has set up a third round clash
at the Australian Open with the former world number
Konta - who's the current world number nine - eased
through her second round match against Naomi Osaka
She'll take on Wozniacki on Saturday, as Ian Palmer reports.
COMMENTATOR: The performance is pretty hunky dory, too.
The 25-year-old from Eastbourne is fast becoming
The named Johanna Konta is on the lips of every tennis fan
in Australia as a true contender for this grand slam tournament,
Playing Naomi Osaka from Japan, Konta never looked in trouble.
In control for most of the match, Britain's number one
eased into the third round and into the last 32.
Tougher tests will come, but for now, Konta's pleased
But I'm looking forward to the challenge, I'm
I'm looking forward to being out on court competing and ultimately
and just trying to make my stay here in Melbourne
Konta's next opponent is Caroline Wozniacki,
a former number one with plenty of court experience.
But, like Konta, Wozniacki has never won a grand slam.
The Dane, who lives in Monaco, says she's confident
But I'm ready, I'm playing well, and I'm excited for the challenge.
She's obviously won last week in Sydney.
She had a good last year, but I'm here to fight and do my best
Konta will have to find another gear to reach the fourth round.
But no one in Melbourne wants to see the Eastbourne player leave
It's known locally as "Brighton Cathedral",
and the tower of St Peter's Church is a much-loved city landmark
But now the first phase of a huge ?1.7 million restoration
project has been completed, which has seen the top section
of the tower repaired, and the roof replaced.
And now the church authorities are preparing for the next phase
of the project - cleaning and repairing the tower's stonework.
Robin Gibson is live at St Peter's Church.
You're on top of the tower tonight, how's it looking from up there?
It's a pretty amazing view, as you can imagine. Looking out here, you
can see city life going on beneath us. We are about 130 feet in EF.
Looking back here, this is what's important today. The pinnacles you
can see lit up, emerging from the scaffolding for the first time. --
130 feet in the air. The wind chill up here is about -5 tonight. So I
have an idea of what the building has had to endure through the years.
The pinnacles of St Peter's, almost shining as they start
to emerge at last into the light of the winter sunshine.
It's been a long journey to get here, like the walk to work
the engineers and craftsmen have taken each day over
Up on top, the problems are plain to see.
The wear and tear since the church was built in the 1820s,
and previous repairs that didn't work out.
In the 1970s they didn't realise that putting cement on here was a
bad thing to do. And in this very exposed position, it's amazing how
much damage gets done. It's fascinating to see life going on as
normal way down below. Whereas a PR on top of the Cathedral of Brighton,
even though it's a lovely day, you get a feeling for the elements that
have so ravaged the stonework. It looks and sounds like a car wash in
the sky. The craftsman steam clean the Lucent and damaged masonry
before restoration can start, a painstaking and slow job. But the
vicar has no doubt about whether a building like this is worth the
effort. I think it sends a message out. It either looks like God is
dead and the church is irrelevant if it is crumbling and broken and
closed. But if you can begin to fix it up a bit, it sends out the
opposite message, that God is alive and the church has something to
offer. Not many years ago, St Peter's was on the verge of being
made officially redundant. But today, the Cathedral of Brighton
looks to be rediscovering itself. The phrase is often used that a
church is about people, not just about buildings. Down below us, this
city centre Church, who work with the homeless and disadvantaged, so
it's about people as well as stone. On both fronts, they've got their
work cut out. They certainly have, get yourself inside and get warm,
Robin. -5 wind-chill! It looks beautiful though.
It does look beautiful and of course it's bitterly cold. Temperatures in
rural spots could drop as low as -6 tonight. Warnings from the Met
office about this spell of very cold weather. High pressure over us
dragging in cold air from the near continent, so easterly winds will
stay with us. But what a beautiful day it has been. Frosty to start the
day. Temperatures dropping as low as -6 last night. Clear blue skies in
the afternoon and temperatures just about reaching highs of 5 degrees.
As we go through tonight, clearer skies, and temperatures are
plummeting. It's feeling bitterly cold. Dropping as low as -1 in towns
and cities, but several degrees down on that in more rural spots. Once
again a frosty start to the day on Friday. An area of high pressure
staying with us in the south-east corner, lots of sunshine around. By
the afternoon, temperatures perhaps creeping up to five or 6 degrees,
again feeling bitterly cold. A similar story to today. A gentle
easterly breeze, not much above 5-10 mph. Spot the difference over the
next couple of days. Friday into Saturday, once again seeing a frosty
picture, temperatures in more rural spots at -5, minus six. Perhaps
dropping as low as -2 in towns and cities. Starting the weekend once
again with widespread and hard frost. Lots of sunshine around.
Highs of -5 and minus -- highs of five and six. Take care and make
sure you keep the heating on. Wrap up warm.
That's it for us for now. We'll be back at 8pm. But joiners again
tomorrow. When unlocking the secrets of
your past... ..you never know what
the future holds. It's such a rush of history and
walking back in time. How incredible,
to have something like this? I feel he was the kind of guy
I could have got on with. I can't tell you how much
he looks like my dad. Seeing how these things all
fit together. Secure your place at
the 500 Words Final,