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Delay in handover of new hospital

The handover of the new Buckland Hospital in Dover has been put back by a month.

The delay is being blamed on last winter's exceptionally wet weather.

Artists impression of the new Buckland Hospital Credit: East Kent Hospitals Trust

Although the contractor had been confident that they would catch up the time lost due to the exceptionally wet winter last year, this has not proved to be the case.

– Keith Bourn, Assistant Director of Strategic Estates

We want to ensure that the services we provide for patients are to the highest standard and felt we had no alternative but to delay the opening of the new hospital to achieve this. Once the builders have completed their work, there is still a great deal of work to be done to make the hospital ready for patients. We need to undertake a deep clean of the building before moving the medical equipment in and setting up the IT, ready for the first patients to be seen in the new purpose built facilities in May.

– Liz Shutler, Director of Strategic Development and Capital Planning

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Missing trawler search called off

The search for a missing Belgian-flagged trawler which vanished in the English Channel have been called off.

The 130ft-long vessel disappeared with its four-strong crew on board amid rough seas in the Dover Strait on Wednesday.

A major Anglo-French air-sea operation was launched involving RNLI lifeboats, an RAF helicopter and a French fixed-wing aircraft. Their efforts led to the discovery on Thursday of two bodies on the French side of the Channel, north-west of Boulogne.

Their two crew-mates remain unaccounted for. None of the four people on board the boat were British.

"The French have responsibility for the search and rescue but they are not carrying out any search, and it's unlikely they will do so unless any evidence comes to light. Dover Coastguard continues to make their usual broadcasts to ships asking them to look out for any wreckage or pollution."

– A spokeswoman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA)

Port of Dover: 'Customers remain our priority'

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.“

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Ferry closure appeal dismissed

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.

Ferry firm has been ordered to stop operating Credit: ITV Meridian

Search for men in connection with reported sexual assault

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.

These CCTV images have been released in connection with a reported sexual assault Credit: Kent Police
These CCTV images have been released in connection with a reported sexual assault Credit: Kent Police
These CCTV images have been released in connection with a reported sexual assault Credit: Kent Police

"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."

– Detective Inspector Lee Whitehead

Anyone with any information can contact Kent Police by calling 01303 289600, quoting the crime reference number ZY/41908/14. Alternatively call CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Police issue CCTV images after Christmas Day assault

CCTV image of a man Kent Police would like to speak to Credit: Kent Police

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.

CCTV image of two men police would like to talk to about an alleged assault in Dover Credit: Kent Police

‘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.’

– Detective Inspector Lee Whitehead, from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate

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.

Do you recognise this man? Kent Police would like to talk to him. Credit: Kent Police
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