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No such thing as a free hot lunch? School children to go without

Hundreds of schools are getting ready for the new rules Credit: ITV Meridian

Primary school children may not get a hot meal when they return back to their studies in September, despite a new law requiring all schools to provide them a free lunch.

The law applied to all children in reception and children in Year 1 and 2 and is being introduced across the country.

But some schools say they do not have the kitchens or dining halls in order to facilitate the new rules and so will have to rely on other schools to provide them meals.

Several schools say they are planning on giving children sandwiches to eat in their classrooms.

In Kent, the Government provided £2.7 million to fund the scheme but councils say this will not be enough to cover the costs. Our reporter Abigail Bracken visited one school in Benenden, south Kent, to find out more.

Do you think primary schools should have to provide free meals to school children? Let us know your thoughts by tweeting us @itvmeridian.

Boy, 3, takes car for spin & escapes with just a bump

A three-year-old boy who took his family's car for a spin has ended up with nothing but a bump on the head.

The child started the automatic Subaru Impreza car and drove it down a long driveway at his family home in Henley, near Midhurst in Sussex. He then drove down two embankments and ended up in the garden of a pub nearby - the 16th Century Duke of Cumberland Arms.

A woman at the pub declined to comment, but said that the pub's owners were away.

"The boy unlocked the Subaru Impreza vehicle, which is an automatic, started it and drove it down the driveway, down two embankments and ended up in the garden of the Duke of Cumberland Arms pub.

"He suffered a slight bump to the head after hitting it on the steering wheel. An ambulance was called and he was taken to hospital to be checked out. No one else was hurt, although the car was damaged."

– Sussex Police spokesperson


Crunchy new apples to be grown in Kent

by Tom Savvides

Now, do you like golden delicious or do you prefer a cox or a pink lady? Well the next apple to hit the shop shelves could come from the south east.

Researchers in Kent are working on a new project to develop a new variety of apple that lasts longer and suits our changing tastes.

Tom Savvides talks to Richard Harrison and Professor Peter Gregory from East Malling Research and Tony Harding from Worldwide Fruit.

Viewers' pictures as temperatures stay in the 80s

Temperatures are sizzling in the South - hotter than in Portugal or Spain, with a high expected today of 86F.

Swanage in Dorset
Here's how it's looking in Swanage today Credit: Robin Boultwood

Yesterday, the South was the hottest place in the country - 29.9C (85F) - in the Solent, in Hampshire. Will it last?

Send your summer pictures, in our region, to our website

Victim in hospital after attack in daylight

A man has been injured in an attack in Swindon. The incident took place in the Town Gardens, Quarry Road, Old Town, at 12.55pm today.

Police appeal
Attack in a Swindon street Credit: ITV News

The victim has been taken to the Great Western Hospital in Swindon with serious injuries. These are not thought to be life threatening.

Part of the gardens have now been cordoned off by officers. A police presence is likely to remain in the area for the rest of the day.

Wiltshire Police are urging witnesses to come forward - to call police on 101 immediately or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Information on this number can be left anonymously.



Man jailed for carrying stun gun disguised as iPhone

A 21-year-old man who was caught by police with a stun gun disguised as an iPhone has been jailed.

Police were called to Chapel Close, Blackthorne, Bicester, Oxfordshire, amid reports of a man in possession of a stun gun.

The stun gun, left, compared to an Apple iPhone 4.
The stun gun, left, compared to an Apple iPhone 4. Credit: Thames Valley Police

Officers who attended the scene at around 8pm on January 6 found Marcel Cross with the device, which had been made to look like an iPhone 4.

Cross, of Chapel Close, was jailed at Oxford Crown Court on Monday for three years for possession of a Section 5 firearm, Thames Valley Police said.

Marcel Cross was jailed for three years.
Marcel Cross was jailed for three years. Credit: Thames Valley Police

Ofgem storm probe: 'Companies could have done more'

Ofgem has said "companies could have done more" to help customers during last year's winter storms, when power cuts affected nearly a million homes.

Read: Compensation boost for weather-related power losses

Chertsey in Surrey was one of the areas hit by floods last Christmas.
Chertsey in Surrey was one of the areas hit by floods last Christmas. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Ofgem's Maxine Frerk said:

A power cut at Christmas time is the last thing anyone needs.

While we recognise the hard work of the companies and their staff who were out working to reconnect customers during the severe weather, the companies could have done more to plan for the weather and keep customers informed.

– Maxine Frerk, Ofgem's senior partner for distribution

The energy regulator is to more than double the minimum compensation payment for households that suffer power losses due to severe weather.

Ofgem said the planned changes should "strengthen the incentives for companies to act quickly" and reconnect customers as soon as possible.

Read: Companies pay £3.3m extra in storm compensation

Nine arrested over £3m fuel fraud

Seven men and two women from the South have been arrested for their involvement in a suspected £3 million fuel fraud.

Almost 170 officers, assisted by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) and Sussex and Hampshire Police, searched 12 homes, 5 business premises and 2 petrol stations in East and West Sussex, Kent, Essex, Hampshire and Somerset yesterday.

The ongoing investigation is focused on the suspected illegal purchase and sale of rebated kerosene and biofuel to motorists as duty-paid road diesel.

It is believed the fraud is worth an estimated £3 million in unpaid excise duty and VAT.

Motorists need to be aware that using illicit fuel can damage and destroy vehicle engines, has a detrimental effect on legitimate fuel traders and deprives the government of money used to fund public services."

– David Margree, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC

Those arrested include:

  • 1 woman aged 48 from Pulborough, West Sussex.
  • · 1 woman aged 63 from Hastings, East Sussex.
  • · 3 men aged 45, 46 and 67 from Hastings, East Sussex.
  • · 1 man aged 43 from Romford, Essex.
  • · 2 men aged 43 and 46, from Belvedere, Greater London.
  • · 1 man aged 46, from Hayling Island, Hampshire.
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