Police have raided dozens of brothels across Kent and Sussex as part of a national crackdown on the criminal gangs trafficking young women into the sex trade. Four eastern European girls are being offered the help of welfare services after the raid in Ashford. In many cases victims are forced into prostitution, in what police describe as a form of modern-day slavery.
Detective Chief Superintendent Rob Fordham from Kent Police issued an appeal for the public to report any suspicious activity.Position12reorder
‘Operation Perceptional has been coordinated by the National Crime Agency and although this is very much business as usual for the force, we are keen to play our part and raise awareness.
‘Kent is the gateway to Europe and does provide criminals the opportunity to traffic individuals through the region. However, this is a national problem which we are working hard with our partners to target.
‘Prostitution is a hidden crime, it is rare that victims come forward and as a consequence of that it is important that people come forward with information if they have concerns about a suspected brothel operating in their neighbourhood.
‘It is often the case a house, flat or bungalow is rented for a short period of time and has two or more women residing in it. There will be a steady stream of male visitors who stay for a short time and periodically the occupants of the property will change.
‘The woman working within the brothels are often brought into the country under the false pretence of working in the beauty or child care industry, they are intimidated and have their passports taken away before being forced into prostitution. They are some of the vulnerable people that we come across and I would ask anyone who has information that may help us safeguard the future wellbeing of these individuals, to come forward.’
The Mayor of Calais says the migrant crisis at the city's port is the responsibility of the French government. Natacha Bouchart has visited Ashford, promoting cross-channel tourism and trade. Her trip comes ahead of another blockade at the port of Calais on Monday, this time by local residents demonstrating about the migrant camp. Tom Savvides talks to Mrs Bouchart and to councillorr Mark Dance.
One lane is closed and there is queueing traffic after an accident involving a lorry and two cars on the M20 London bound at J10 A20 (Ashford South). The closed lane is lane three (of three).
He masqueraded as a Christian teacher and charity worker, but abused some of the most vulnerable children in the world.
Richard Huckle, who's 30 and from Ashford in Kent, is facing multiple life sentences for his appalling crimes.
Huckle targeted children from the poorest communities in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, in Southeast Asia.
The former grammar school pupil assaulted up to 200 boys and girls, some as young as 6 months old.
Malcolm Shaw heard from James Traynor of the National Crime Agency.
A 64-year-old man told he would lose a foot to type 2 diabetes has turned his life around with help from his documentary-making sons.Read the full story ›
A badger had a lucky escape when it was nearly hit by a flying object during the weekend's storm.
As Storm Imogen started to take hold on Saturday night, the badger had a close shave in Ashford in Kent.
Wildlife enthusiast Angie Davidson's night vision camera filmed the badger eating peanuts in her garden.
It narrowly misses getting hit by the top of a large vegetable planter after it blew loose in the wind and toppled over.
The poor badger was startled and ran off. However, it did return later to finish its snack.
A28 Ashford Road both ways blocked due to accident between Bethersden Road and Manor Road.
It's being described as a 'game-changer' for wine production in the South East. A leading French champagne house is making a massive investment in Kent, where it's confident it can produce a world-class sparkling wine bearing its famous name.
Tattinger will create a 70-hectare vineyard at Chilham between Canterbury and Ashford - eventually producing 300,000 bottles a year.
Industry experts say the move, made possible by climate change, could establish Kent and Sussex as one of the world's premier wine producing regions.
A major upgrade of signalling equipment at Ashford International Station will go ahead following news that the European Commission will co-fund half of the £4 million project.
The investment will secure the town's place on the international rail map and create thousands of jobs for local people.