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Six hundred jobs in Kent and Calais are at risk tonight after an appeal to save a cross-channel ferry service was rejected. Competition watchdogs have ruled that MyFerryLink - which is owned by Eurotunnel - breaks monopolies rules and could force competitors out of the market. The Dover-Calais service will now be put up for sale. Without a buyer, it must close within six months. Eurotunnel says the decision is "illogical" and "contrary to the interests of free trade". Andrea Thomas reports. She spoke to Carsten Jensen, Senior Vice-President of DFDS Seaways, Dover MP Charlie Elphicke, and business analyst Justin Urquhart-Stewart.
Following today's tribunal ruling, the Port of Dover said its priority was to ensure an effective ferry operation for customers.
Tim Waggott, Chief Executive of the Port of Dover said: "Our immediate thoughts are with those who are directly affected by this decision.
"The ruling comes at a time when Europe’s busiest ferry port has just achieved record freight volumes and so our priority is to ensure that our customers continue to be provided with a great level of service and choice.
"We will also work tirelessly on delivering our ongoing major investment plans to provide extra capacity and significant new job opportunities for local people.
"We will continue to consult regularly with all of our major ferry customers, and community groups, in the days and weeks ahead as we plan our way forward to future success.“
MyFerryLink said in a statement following today's ruling that it would continue to run cross-Channel services from Dover.
It said the company would renew its appeal before the Court of Appeal in the coming days.
In the meantime, services will continue to operate services between Dover and Calais.
An appeal against closure by MyFerryLink, the cross-channel ferry service operated by Eurotunnel, has been rejected by the Competition Appeal Tribunal.
It was originally ordered to stop running in a ruling on June 6th, 2013.
MyFerryLink stemmed out of SeaFrance which went into liquidation in January 2012. Three of their ships were bought by Eurotunnel who set up MyFerryLink and a battle with the existing ferry operators ensued.
Those companies claimed it gave Eurotunnel dominance in the market but Eurotunnel insists MyFerryLink is a free-standing company that's totally separate from them.
The competition commission's now agreed with the traditional ferry operators so the MyFerryLink service will have to shut down.
Detectives are continuing to search for two men pictured on CCTV close to where an incident was reported on Christmas Day.
A woman reported she was the subject of a serious sexual assault in Pencester Court, Dover, at around 4am on 25th December. On 2nd January, Kent Police issued CCTV showing two men it wished to identify and speak to in relation to the incident.
One of them was pictured on CCTV wearing a Santa hat shortly after the incident occurred.
"Since our appeal was issued, we have spoken to a number of people who claim to know who these men are. I’d like to thank the public for coming forward with that information which has enabled us to potentially identify them. We still wish to speak to the pair and are working to locate them as we believe they have information which will assist our investigation. If anyone has information about where they may be, we would ask that they contact us. It is thought they may have left the country. At this stage we are not looking for anyone else in connection with our investigation. I would like to reassure the public that Kent remains a safe place to live and work. Violent crime is rare but where incidents are reported to us Kent Police is committed to bringing offenders to justice."
Detectives investigating an assault on a woman in Kent have issued cctv images of two men they believe may have information about the incident.
A woman reported that she had been sexually assaulted in Pencester Court in Dover at about 4am on 25th December 2014. Two men, aged 21 and 26 were arrested at 5am on the same day in connection with the assault and have been released on bail while police continue with their enquiries.
‘This is a very serious offence and I ask that anyone recognising the men in these images makes contact with us immediately.
‘Both men are pictured on CCTV walking along Worthington Street before the incident. One is taller than the other. The men are seen again in the area shortly after the incident is reported, by which time the shorter man is also wearing a Santa hat.’
Anyone with information can contact Kent Police by telephoning 01303 289600 and quoting the crime reference reference number ZY/41908/14. Or you can call CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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There are delays of up to 40 minutes on P and O Ferries between Dover and Calais due to adverse weather conditions.
Passengers are being asked to check in as normal.
More than 100 mature cannabis plants have been seized by Kent Police, following a raid at a residential address in Dover.
Officers from the Community Policing Team attended a property in Tower Court, Tower Hamlets, on Friday 12 December and seized a significant quantity of growing and dried cannabis under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.