A major Kent Police operation ended today, with members of an East Kent criminal network being jailed for a total of 16 years. Marcus Vella (below), aged 39, was appearing at Canterbury Crown Court to be sentenced for his role in a setting up a cannabis factory and for handling stolen metal.
Vella, also known as Marcus Davies, from Burlington Drive, Herne Bay, had admitted, at an earlier hearing, a cannabis production conspiracy charge and was sentenced to six years and three months in prison and is to serve a further year for the stolen metal offences.
Also admitting the conspiracy charge was Margate builder Barry Smith (below), aged 49, of King Street, who was sentenced to four years in prison, and Curtis Woolley, aged 36 of Cheney Road, Minster, who had admitted a cannabis production charge and was jailed for 32 months.
The sentencing brings to a close a lengthy police investigation and three court processes that have resulted in seven members of a criminal network facing a total of 16 years behind bars.
DCI Fotheringham said: 'We welcome the sentences which bring to an end this investigation. It is by no means the end for Marcus Vella. He faces a lengthy prison sentence and Kent Police will pursue the seizure of his assets to ensure that he does not profit from the crime."
Traders and shopkeepers in East Kent say new car parking charges are killing their town centre, at what should be the busiest time of the year. They say Shepway Council's decision will drive shoppers from Folkestone. John Ryall reports.
Kent's first female brewer has joined a campaign urging the region's beer producers to use home grown hops over cheaper foreign imports. Karen Goody is one of a growing number of brewers promoting a new way of using hops as Tom Savvides explains.
The NHS in East Kent has launched a consultation to improve care for older people with dementia and other mental health problems. The aim is to support more people with dementia to live well in their homes for longer.
There are plans to invest £600,000 in improving home treatment services and provide a round the clock dementia crisis service. It's hoped that hospital wards in Canterbury, Ashford and Margate will be remodelled too.
Roadshows are to take place at the following venues where you can find out more:
17 April: St Mary Bredin Church, Nunnery Fields, Canterbury. 10am - 12:30pm
17 May: The Landmark Centre, 129 High Street, Deal. 10:30am - 12:30pm
14 June: Norman House Event Centre, Beaver Industrial Estate, Beaver Road, Ashford. 2:30pm - 4:30pm
The East Kent Access Road has opened. The 87 million pound project carries traffic along the A256 between Sandwich and Thanet. The dual cariageway will improve traffic flow between the Kent ports of Dover and Ramsgate, and take lorries away from Richborough and Cliffsend.
During the building of the road many archaeological discoveries were made, including two three thousand year old golden bracelets.