ITV Meridian news in brief

All the news as it breaks across the south, south east and Thames Valley

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Police appeal after sex attack in Portsmouth

Police in Portsmouth are appealing for witnesses following a report of a sexual assault on a 38-year-old woman on Tuesday. The woman was walking south along Hellyer Road at around 9.30pm when a man approached her to ask her the time.

He then pushed her against a wall, punched her and sexually assaulted her. The suspect is described as black, in his 20s, 5ft 4ins to 5ft 8ins, slim and at the time of the incident he was wearing a dark hoody, with the hood up, dark bottoms and white trainers.

We are appealing to anyone who may have witnessed this incident or anyone who recognises the suspect from the description.

“The victim has been left shocked and upset by this assault. Thankfully this is a rare occurrence, however increased police patrols have been put in place to help to reassure the community."

– PC Nick Jackson

Witnesses or anyone with information are asked to contact CID at Fratton police station by phoning 101 or anonymously by phoning Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Hastings enjoys 'bicycle ballet'

Bicycle ballet at the Stade Credit: Hastings Borough Council

A 'bicycle ballet' has been performed in Hastings at the Stade open space.

The performance was the result of workshops with local cyclists and highlighted dance, circus and physical theatre routines.

The Stade Saturday programme culminates this Saturday with a performance by She Adores - a pop duo from London.


Police renew appeal after Wareham hit-and-run

Police in Wareham are renewing their appeal for witnesses after a collision near the town.

The crash between a cyclist and a vehicle occurred on the A352 in East Stoke, near the Stokeford Inn, at 6.10am on Thursday, September 27th.

The cyclist, a local man in his 30s, was travelling in the direction of Wareham when the unknown vehicle hit him from behind.

The driver then left the scene without stopping, leaving the cyclist lying unconscious in the road. He sustained a concussion and was taken to Poole Hospital.

The road, which runs between Wool and Wareham, was surprisingly busy for this time of morning and I believe that other motorists would have seen the cyclist and possibly witnessed the collision.

“I am appealing for anyone who has witnessed the incident, has any information about the collision or saw the pedal cyclist prior to it to call police.

“I would encourage anyone with the slightest information, which may identify the driver or the vehicle, to contact Dorset Police on 101.

“I also urge the driver in question to do the right thing and speak with the police."

– PC Gatfield, of Dorset Police

Windfarm base set for Newhaven

Energy company E.ON has named Newhaven Port as the operations and maintenance base for its proposed Rampion wind farm, to be built off the Brighton coastline.

MP Norman Baker, for Lewes, said: “This is fantastic news for Newhaven, and something I have lobbied hard for. It will not only create close to a hundred jobs but also establish Newhaven as the port of choice for offshore renewable energy development in the future.

This is a real boost for the economy of the town. The tide has turned for Newhaven in general and the port in particular.”

New 'mini festival' for Brighton

John Coop[er Clarke Credit: Joel Ryan/PA

A new "mini festival" is set to take place in Brighton at the end of the month, featuring legendary punk poet John Cooper Clarke.

Wordsmith hopes to "celebrate the inspiring architects of text and spoken word" and will also feature American songwriter Diane Cluck and "a pocket sized Henry V".

Emerging in the late 1970s as "the poet laureate of punk", Cooper Clarke’s sharp edged verse earned him opening slots for the The Sex Pistols and the Buzzcocks.

The festival will run from Sunday, October 28th, to November 4th.


Police appeal after fatal crash

Kent Police are appealing for information following a fatal collision in Canterbury.

Officers were called at 6.10pm yesterday to Littlebourne Road to a report that a red BMW Mini had hit a tree.

A 54-year-old woman from the Canterbury area was pronounced dead at the scene.

The road was closed until around 10pm while officers from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit carried out an investigation.

Officers are keen to speak to anyone who saw the red BMW Mini travelling towards Canterbury. Anyone with information is asked to call 01622 798538.

Builder jailed for £800k VAT fraud

Wayne Harrison Credit: HMRC

A Canterbury builder has been jailed for VAT offences of over £800,000.

Wayne Harrison, 52, admitted submitting fraudulent VAT repayment claims for two building firms he directed – David Charles Homes and Weybridge Homes.

Revenue and customs officers, searching his former home in Broadstairs, found evidence of money transfers to Russia, golf club membership, designer jewellery and a large newly-built kitchen and conservatory.

Yet Canterbury Crown Court heard that between 2006 and 2009 he fraudulently claimed VAT refunds totalling £812,250.

Upon sentencing, Mr Recorder Alex Milne QC, said: “Your offending strikes at the heart of the taxation system.”

Harrison, of Pilgrims Mead, Harbledown, Canterbury, pleaded guilty to two counts of cheating the public revenue of VAT.

He was jailed for two and a half years and suspended as a company director for five years. Confiscation proceedings are also in place to reclaim the proceeds of the crimes.

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