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Scuba-diving santa joins sharks in Hastings tank

He's used to flying high in the skies, but this year Santa's gone underwater to deliver some Christmas joy to people in Sussex.

Father Christmas donned his scuba gear and immersed himself in Hastings's Aquarium's tropical ocean display - sharing his swim with sharks, rays and hundreds of bright ray fish.

Santa spreading some Christmas spirit at Hastings Blue Reef Aquarium Credit: Hastings Blue Reef Aquarium

Several metres underwater may not be the first place you’d expect to come face to face with Father Christmas.

It just goes to show there really isn’t anywhere Santa can’t deliver presents – and it’s certainly a lot warmer than the North Pole.

Santa’s unexpected dive was a particularly welcome treat for a youngster who was enjoying a birthday party at the aquarium.

Father Christmas and his elf surprised the birthday party by first going in to the café to say hello and then invited all the children to go and watch them dive – they loved it!"

– Leanna Lawson, Blue Reef Aquarium worker
Fearless Father Christmas surprised visitors to the Hastings attraction Credit: Hastings Blue Reef Aquarium

Owner of untidy front garden fined

Homeowners fed up with the sight of builders rubbish piling up on their street say they felt like they were living next door to the neighbour from hell. Their complaint against Michael Smith was taken up by the council. They used new rules to take him to court and fine him. But Mr Smith said originally the council told him he was doing nothing wrong by storing the rubbish there and that he had every intention of clearing up in due course. John Ryall talks to Michael Smith and Hastings councillor Peter Chowney.


Seagull proof sacks help litter problems in Hastings

Rubbish collection from seagull proof sacks in Hastings Old Town Credit: Hastings Borough Council

The council has supplied many residents in Hastings’ Old Town with seagull proof sacks to store their rubbish.

Cllr Peter Chowney, Hastings Borough Council’s lead member for Regeneration and Waste explained:

“Seagulls are a pest on waste collection day as they tear open sacks of rubbish to gorge themselves on the pickings inside. The new peck and rip proof sacks are helping to alleviate the problems of rubbish on the pavements and highway, making the streets cleaner and reducing the risks of other pests.”

If you would like to take advantage of this service contact the council’s waste and recycling team on 01424 451077 or email

Vulnerable teen viciously assaulted in Sussex

An 18-year-old man with learning difficulties was punched and spat on in an unprovoked attack in Sussex.

The victim was approached by a teenager outside the Sussex Coast College in Hastings at 5pm on Thursday 20th November.

The attacker was white, aged 16 or 17 and was slim with brown hair. He was also wearing a black jumper with writing on the front.

The victim was left with a swollen lip but did not need hospital treatment.

Police say it was an especially busy time of day and are appealing for any witnesses to contact them on 101.

Mother calls for CCTV cameras at cemetery after theft from daughter's grave

Katie Anne Cook's mother has launched a campaign for CCTV cameras to be installed at a cemetery

A woman whose daughter died six years ago is calling for CCTV cameras to be installed at a cemetery to stop tokens and mementos left on graves, being stolen.

Diane Cook from Hastings, says her daughter Katie's grave has been targeted more than once. She is now demanding the Borough Council take action. Hannah Costigan reports.


RSPCA appeal after cat shot in paw

Credit: RSPCA

The RSPCA is appealing for information after a cat was shot in the paw in Hastings.

Loki, a young male tabby, not even a year old, was found bleeding at his home in Mare Bay Close, St Leonards on Sea.

X-rays revealed he had been shot in the leg by an air rifle. It is believed he was wandering in the woods near his house when he was attacked. Despite initial fears that he may not survive the attack, Loki is now on the road to recovery.

Anyone with any information should call the RSPCA in confidence on 0300 123 8018.

“What really scares us though is letting him out again, knowing that there is someone out there who shot him and might do this again.”

– Callum Mair, Loki's owner

“We urge anyone with any information about this callous act to come forward and let us know - it was such a pointlessly cruel thing to do.

Every year the RSPCA is bombarded with calls reporting animals being deliberately shot by an air gun. The injuries caused by such attacks are horrific and often fatal."

– Ali Edwards, RSPCA Inspector

Plans for A21 dual carriageway to go on show

Road users, business owners and local residents are being invited to find out more about a multi-million pound upgrade for the A21 in Kent.

A 2.5 mile section of A21 is to be widened

Under Highways Agency plans, a 2.5 mile section of the A21 between Tonbridge and Pembury will be upgraded from single to dual carriageway, adding a lane in each direction.

A public exhibition is being held where members of the project team will be available to explain what's happening and answer questions about the scheme.

Upgrading this missing link in the A21 will bring real benefits for drivers and will be a big boost for the economy too. It's a major undertaking, so I'd encourage anyone with an interest in the project to come along and find out more about why it's needed, how we'll be carrying it out and the care we'll be taking to protect and enhance the environment around the A21.

– Highways Agency Project Manager Anne Marie-Palme

The exhibition will be held at the Mercure Tunbridge Wells Hotel in Pembury today between 2pm and 8pm and tomorrow between 10am and 4pm.

Advanced work on the project has already begun, with main construction expected to start next spring.

Disabled hitting the target at firing range

Firing a crossbow, rifle or a bow and arrow may not be everyone's cup of tea but a new business in Hastings is desperate to change the image of target sports.

And with our recent successes in the Olympics, as well as equal opportunities for those with disabilities, and pensioners, it already seems like a sure-fire hit.

Andy Dickenson reports and we hear from John Lawler, Claude Sinden and Lynn Kipling, as well as Jason Byrne, managing director of 1066 Target Sports, Amber Rudder MP and Parliamentary candidate Sarah Owen.

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