ITV Meridian news in brief

All the news across the south, south east and Thames Valley.

Boat on fire off Beachy Head

Boat fire
The boat on fire of Beachy Head Credit: RNLI

Both Eastbourne lifeboats were launched this morning when distress flares were spotted two miles south of Beachy Head.

Several vessels in the area, including the Newhaven pilot boat Pelorus, reported the sighting to Dover Coastguard who requested the immediate launch of Eastbourne lifeboats.

The vessel was considered to be a hazard to navigation . The owner was treated for possible smoke inhalation.

Cyclist dies after Southampton collision

A 48-year-old Dorset cyclist has died in a collision involving a number of vehicles in Southampton.

The man from Wimborne was riding along the Mountbatten Way flyover when the collision took place around 08:45. He died at the scene.

Two Hampshire men were arrested at the scene on suspicion of causing death by careless driving. A 37-year-old from West End and a 56-year-old from Fordingbridge remain in police custody.

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Child's shorts left at scene of burglary

Police are appealing for information after a pair of shorts were left at the scene of a burglary in Bedhampton. The incident occurred at a house in Park Lane between 6.15pm and 9.25pm on Friday, December 7th.

An iPad, Toshiba laptop and Kindle were all stolen in the raid, along with cash withdrawn for Christmas presents.

PC Samantha Hockley said: “A pair of green and grey boy’s shorts were left at the scene. The shorts were for a 14-year-old and may have been taken from someone’s washing line.

“I would like to hear from anyone who recognises the shorts and who may have lost a similar item missing. I’d also like to hear from anyone who may have been offered any of the stolen property for sale.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Havant police station or Crimestoppers.

Police investigate assault on teenage girl - statement

Do you recognise this man? Credit: Kent Police

Detectives investigating a report of an assault in Larkfield, Kent, have released this computer generated image of a man they would like to speak to.

The incident occurred on December 13th at around 6.40pm, in an alleyway off Heron Road.

A 14 year-old girl reported that a man grabbed her as she was walking home. The girl shouted and the suspect let go and ran off in the direction of Lunsford Lane.

The girl was not physically hurt.

The suspect is described as around 55 years old with white hair and a white beard, and wearing a black woolly hat, with a white fringe sticking out from under it.

Ch Insp Jon Kirby said: "The victim was left shaken but has been able to provide us with a good description of the suspect and helped us produce a computer generated image. We have assigned additional officers to the area, both in uniform and in plain clothes to try and identify him.

"If anyone has any information, or recognises the man, I would urge them to call us.”

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Kent Police by calling 101, quoting crime reference YY/23106/12. Alternatively, contact Kent Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

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Warning after mother and child rescued from fire

“Don’t rely on others to alert you to a fire,” is the message from fire crews who needed to force entry to a Dartford flat that didn’t have any smoke alarms to rescue a mother and child.

Crews were called to the shop fire in The Brent at 11.40pm last night and discovered smoke from the blaze had spread to the flat above and the neighbouring premises.

Neighbours told us they thought there maybe people inside, so we quickly entered the first floor flat and rescued a woman and child, who were asleep at the time.

“I really can’t emphasise enough the importance of having working smoke alarms fitted on each floor of your home. Don’t rely on others to alert you to a fire.

"Just three breaths of fire smoke can render you unconscious and as this incident highlights, if you are asleep already, and without a smoke alarm to wake you, your chances of escaping are significantly reduced.”

– Watch Manager Lee Abel

The pair were taken to hospital by ambulance suffering from the effects of breathing in smoke. Two dogs were also rescued from the flat unharmed.

The cause of the fire is being investigated but is not thought to be suspicious.

Two questioned over car kidnap robbery

Rookes Lane, Lymington Credit: ITV Meridian

Two men have been arrested in connection with a robbery in which a woman was kidnapped at gunpoint from outside her home in Hampshire and driven around in her own car before being released.

At about 9.30am on December 14, a man approached a man and a woman outside their home in Rookes Lane, Lymington, and threatened them with a gun.

The man, in his 70s, suffered a minor head injury as he confronted the robber.

The woman, in her 60s, was then forced to go with the robber when he stole the couple's car, a silver/grey Peugeot 207 convertible.

The suspect drove around the Lymington area, making more demands for money.

He returned to the house in Rookes Lane around 15 minutes later with the woman, who was released unharmed, before he drove off again in the car which he then abandoned. A total of £100 in cash was stolen.

A 48-year-old man from Lymington was arrested on suspicion of robbery and aggravated burglary and then released on bail until January 11.

A 44-year-old man from New Milton was arrested on suspicion of robbery and remains in police custody.

New Forest district commander Chief Inspector Tony Rowlinson said: "I would like to thank members of the public for their response to our appeals. Information received over the weekend gave detectives new leads which had to be followed sensitively as well as swiftly."

Family tribute after quad bike accident

The family of a man who died when his quad bike collided with a tree have released a tribute to him.

Michael Stickells was travelling along Finn Farm Road in Kingsnorth, Ashford, when his red Honda quad bike hit a tree.The 22-year-old sustained head injuries and died last Monday.

Our son was a wonderful young man.

"He would help anyone who needed it. He was honest and reliable. A son, brother, uncle, grandson, boyfriend and so much more – we’re so proud of him.

"He took pride in himself and lived life to the full. He has achieved so much for one so young. He will be sadly missed by everyone who knew him."Our lives will never be the same, losing him is so painful, the love we shared can never be replaced."

– Joint family statement

Anyone with information about the collision who is yet to speak to police is asked to contact the Serious Collision Investigation Unit on 01622 798538.

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