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Environment agency issues flood alert for River Blackwater

A Flood Alert has been issued by the Environment Agency for the River Blackwater and The Cove Brook. Flooding is possible for the River Blackwater including Badshot Lea, Aldershot, Farnborough, Camberley, Sandhurst, Eversley, Bramshill and Swallowfield, and the Cove Brook at Farnborough and Cove Flooding is possible this afternoon. Low lying land and roads will be affected first.

The River and Flooding forecast is as follows: levels on the River Blackwater at Swallowfield have been rising steadily throughout the morning in response to recent rainfall. Levels are expected to continue to rise in Swallowfield area slowly throughout today and flooding of isolated areas of low lying land and roads is possible. However, property flooding is not expected.The weather prospects are for isolated and scattered showers, some heavy at times throughout the day and into this evening.

- Be prepared to protect yourself, family, pets and property.

- Call Floodline on 0845 988 1188 for up-to-date flooding information.

- Keep an eye on local water levels and weather conditions. Visit the Environment Agency website for river level and flooding information.

- Tune into weather, news and travel bulletins on local television (ITV News Meridian).

- Avoid walking, cycling or driving through flood water.


Man has sentence increased to 19 years for violent homophobic attack

Margate man’s sentence increased to 19 years for homophobic hammer attack on flatmate.

The Court of Appeal has increased Joseph Williams’ 14 year sentence to 19 years for trying to murder his gay flatmate Connor Huntley in a hammer attack while he slept.

Connor Huntley, who was 18 at the time of the attack, was hit on the head with the hammer, suffered severe injuries and will never again be able to live totally independently.

Connor Huntley was hit on the head by a hammer in a homophobic attack Credit: Kent Police
Connor Huntley was hit on the head by a hammer in a homophobic attack Credit: Kent Police

He was found on an inflatable bed with a duvet covering most of his body. A claw hammer was embedded in his skull and there was blood on the pillow, the floor and up the door. The hammer caused a depressed skull fracture and a traumatic brain injury. He suffered a brain clot and underwent surgery to remove bone fragments embedded within his brain. Doctors had to remove part of his skull during the operation.

In September this year, Joseph Williams of Margate, Kent was convicted of attempted murder after his trial at the Old Bailey and sentenced to 14 years imprisonment combined with a hospital direction under s.45A of the Mental Health Act 1983 and with restrictions for an unlimited period of time under s41 of the Mental Health Act 1983.

I am pleased with the Court of Appeal’s decision to increase the sentence handed to Joseph Williams. His victim suffered horrific life changing injuries in a vicious hammer attack. I felt that the original 14 year sentence was unduly lenient as it did not reflect the aggravating factors in this case, that the offence was motivated by hostility towards the victim’s sexual orientation and that he was particularly vulnerable at the time because he was asleep and I hope the increased sentence of 19 years sends out a clear message that attacks motivated by homophobia will be dealt with by long prison sentences.

– Solicitor General Robert Buckland QC MP

Mammoth sale sees skeleton sell for 189K

Mammoth sale Credit: ITV Meridian

The skeleton of an 18ft-long woolly mammoth which roamed Earth up to 50,000 years ago has fetched £189,000 under the hammer at auction.

A private collector sold the extremely rare Ice Age piece of natural history through Summers Place Auctions in Billingshurst, West Sussex.

It was sold to a UK based private collector in a telephone bid which with the buyer's premium amounted to £189,000.

At 11.6ft tall, the near-complete skeleton, which comes complete with impressive-looking curved tusks, was the highlight of a sale which attracted international attention.

Experts believe that with its impressive size and weight of up to six tonnes, the extinct mammal would have been male, leading to it being nicknamed Monty.

The creature is believed to be made up of more than 150 bones and during its prime would have been covered in fur to make it well-adapted for the Ice Age conditions.

The specimen, which had a guide price of between £150,000 and £250,000, is 90% complete with only a few small bones missing, which have been replaced with replicas


78 year-old reunited with war medals stolen from his home

A 78-year-old burglary victim has been reunited with a set of medals that were stolen from his Pennington home.The medals, some of which were war medals awarded to his father and grandfathers, were stolen during a burglary at an address on North Street, Pennington on September 21.

Officers investigating the burglary received information about the likely whereabouts of the stolen property and located the medals on November 20.

The medals have now been returned to their rightful owner.

Warning over E Coli outbreak after ten cases confirmed

Bacteria seen in petri dish in experiment Credit: Press Association

Public Health England (PHE) is investigating a number of cases of illness in Dorset caused by the E. coli bacteria.

PHE is leading on the investigation of this cluster of illnesses caused by a rare strain of the bacteria called Verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli 055 (VTEC 055).

Since July, ten people have been diagnosed with this infection which can cause bloody diarrhoea and seven of those affected have developed kidney problems – called haemolytic uraemic syndrome - a serious complication of an E. coli infection. There have been no deaths.

PHE and local authorities routinely investigate all cases of E. coli infection, aiming to identify the source and take any necessary actions to protect the public’s health. This is a rare strain of the infection and all those affected and their close contacts are being followed up and further investigations are taking place to determine the likely source.

As some cases have occurred in people associated with a children's nursery, letters have been sent to parents whose children attend the nursery and staff, informing them about E. Coli O55 and the ongoing investigation. As part of routine screening, stool samples are being taken from children and staff as a precautionary measure.

Letters have also been sent to hospital doctors and local GPs, alerting them to the possibility of infection and asking they report any further cases of bloody diarrhoea.

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