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Driver fined for pretending a thief had crashed his car

A driver from Sussex who crashed his car and then lied that it had been stolen was caught when his DNA was found on the airbag.

27-year-old Ciaran Fitzgerald, of Ruskin Road, Hove, crashed into two cars on Norton Road, before he fled the scene. Later that day he called the police to report that his car had been stolen.

When his DNA was found to be on the airbag, he admitted he had lied and accepted a police caution for perverting the course of justice.

He was also charged with driving without due care and attention, failing to stop after an accident and failing to report an accident.

He pleaded guilty to all the charges when he appeared at Brighton Magistrates' Court on 12 March and was given eight points on his licence, fined £183 and ordered to pay a £20 victim surcharge and £85 costs.

"Fitzgerald thought he could get away with crashing his car by claiming his vehicle had been stolen but good work by our CSIs meant we could prove he was behind the wheel when the impact happened. "Leaving the scene of an accident is a serious offence in itself. If you are involved in a crash, stay put and call us so that we can investigate."

– Police Constable Dan Patterson

New scheme helps vulnerable people use public transport

New scheme gives vulnerable adults confidence to use public transport

For people with learning difficulties public transport is often a lifeline - giving them the freedom to work, shop and socialise when otherwise they could be trapped at home. Yet many say they lack confidence and fear getting lost or even abused. Now a new programme is being launched to help them.

AK-47 assault rifle found on the beach

An AK-47 assault rifle was found washed up on the beach Credit: Sussex Police

An AK-47 assault rifle was found on the beach in Brighton has been "secured" by police.

The Kalashnikov was found on Peacehaven beach by a member of the public.

A police spokesman said: "After being handed in, the Section One firearm was secured pending further enquiries. It is illegal to own such a weapon in the UK."

"It appears it was washed up on the tide and here was no ammunition with it.

"It will now be subject to a full examination as we try to establish its provenance.

"However, at this stage it is not believed to be linked to any crimes."

– Ch Insp Dave Padwick,

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Homeless numbers double in Brighton and Hove over last 5 years

Homeless shelters see rise in need for help Credit: ITV news

A Housing Trust is calling for politicians to bring an end to homelessness after rough sleeping figures in Brighton and Hove almost doubled over 5 years. The city council currently has 21 thousand families on its waiting list for a home.

In response Brighton and Hove Council say "We have built 15 new homes for rent at Balchin Court, Brighton. We also currently have 225 council homes for Affordable Rent under the council's New Homes for Neighbourhoods programme which are approved to go ahead.

Driver blocks ambulance on its way to treat poorly baby

A driver has apologised after he refused to move his van to allow an ambulance through to treat a baby who was suffering a fit.

The driver swore at the ambulance crew who told him to move his van. Credit: PA Wire

The ambulance crew were blocked in by a Mercedes Sprinter van that was "double parked" on Buckingham Road, Brighton as they tried to reach the poorly baby early on Friday 13 February.

The ambulance driver sounded the horn and sirens in a bid to alert the nearby driver.

But when the 37-year-old man returned to his vehicle he refused to move it - instead telling paramedics to go another way.

After paramedics reasoned with the driver, he eventually moved his van slowly while swearing at the crew.

The driver, from Littlehampton in West Sussex, later admitted obstructing the emergency vehicle and was ordered to donate £100 to the Trevor Mann Baby Unit at Royal Sussex County Hospital.

He also wrote a letter apologising for what police called his "unacceptable" behaviour.

The baby is believed to have made a full recovery, a Sussex Police spokesperson told ITV News.

Brighton & Hove councillors fail to agree on budget

Members of Brighton and Hove City Council have failed to set a budget after six hours of negotiations, and will now reconvene on Tuesday 3 March.

At just after 10.30pm the council chief executive Penny Thompson said it was unlikely they were going to be unable to reach an agreement this evening.

They were trying to decide whether tax payers in the city will face the biggest increase in their bills in the country.

The Greens want a rise of almost 6%, which would equate to more than £70 a year for an average household.

They say without a big rise they will have to make drastic cuts in public services. Both Labour and the Conservatives feel this is too high.

The opposition Labour group leader Warren Morgan tonight argued for a 2% rise in council tax.

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