Live updates

Midwives across the region to join strike action

Midwives gear up for industrial action Credit: ITV news

Midwives in the region will be joining others across the country in strike action on the 13th October. It's in a dispute with the government over pay. Eighty two percent of the Royal College of Midwives members backed the four hour walkout.

It was the first time the college balloted for industrial action, and it will be the first time in its 133 year history that members will go on strike. The RCM says it is meeting with employers to ensure mothers and babies are not put at risk during the industrial action.

Mini market owner fined after decomposing mouse found on shelf

This decomposing mouse was found sandwiched between packets of beans. Credit: Medway Council

The owner of a mini market has been fined after a decomposing mouse was found sandwiched between packets of beans.

Rodents had attacked and contaminated food and mouse droppings were found on shop shelves at Gurkha SP4 Mini Market in Gillingham in Kent.

Environmental Health Officers shut the premises down after discovering the widespread infestation, poor cleanliness and a mouse corpse inbetween packets of mung beans.

Officers closed the premises for six days until conditions no longer presented a risk of health to the public.

Shop owner Mrs Prerna Rai appeared at Medway Magistrates' Court where she pleaded guilty to five charges in relation to a lack of cleaning and repair, inadequate procedures to control a mouse infestation, food which had been contaminated by mice, no running hot water at the hand wash sink and failure to put in place procedures to manage food safety.

Rai was fined £2,000 and was ordered to pay £500 costs as well as a £40 victim surcharge.

Since reopening, the owner has refurbished the shop and Environmental Officers noted a vast improvement in hygiene standards.

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Customer Contact Cllr Peter Hicks said: “The standards of cleanliness and hygiene in this mini market were in no way acceptable and posed an imminent risk to the health of the public."


The Queen of apples turns to pears

She became known as 'The Queen of Apples' for her beautifully illustrated book detailing everything you ever needed to know about......apples. It was a labour of love that took more than a decade to complete.

And now, Dr Joan Morgan, from Wye in Kent has turned her attention to writing a book about pears. And, as Andrea Thomas reports, it's been an equally time consuming and absorbing task.

Folkestone Banksy attracts art lovers

Art lovers are descending on Folkestone after a mural by street artist

Banksy appeared on a wall.

The piece, called Art Buff, depicts an older woman staring at an empty plinth while wearing headphones with her hands clasped behind her back.

It's been covered with protective sheeting for the time being as hundreds turn up to view it.

We speak to sightseers plus Alistair Upton from the Creative Foundation and Jenny Hollingsbee from Shepway council

Art lovers flocking to see Banksy painting

This painting by Banksy has popped up in Folkestone Credit: ITV Meridian

Art lovers are descending on the seaside town of Folkestone after a mural by street artist Banksy appeared on a wall.

The piece, called Art Buff, depicts an older woman staring at an empty plinth while wearing headphones with her hands clasped behind her back.

Clear plastic sheeting has been placed over the artwork by Banksy, who is renowned internationally for his stencil-style "guerrilla" art in public spaces.

The local authority, Shepway District Council, said it was working with the owner of the building to ensure it remains undamaged.

Visitors to Banksy's website are greeted with pictures of the wall before and after the artwork appeared at Payers Park.

As users click through the three pictures featured, they are faced with the words Part Of The Folkestone Triennial. Kind Of at the bottom of the last image.

The triennial is a two-month long showcase of art in the resort, which has attracted the likes of Yoko Ono, widow of the late Beatle John Lennon.

The event gained headlines at this year's launch when Berlin-based artist Michael Sailstorfer sparked a stampede when he hid 30 bars of 24-carat gold, worth £10,000, on Folkestone beach.

The emergence overnight of an original Banksy artwork is another publicity coup for organisers of the event, which runs until November 2.

Shepway councillor Jenny Hollingbee said: "This is a tremendous opportunity for the people of Folkestone to see a Banksy original.

"It is another reason to be proud of Folkestone."


Burglar jailed for three years

Burglar Credit: KENT POLICE

A burglar who targeted two houses while the children and parents who lived there were home has been jailed for three years. George Bignall, from Sheerness, wore gloves while he rummaged through one of his victim’s belongings, talking to her as he did so.

Maidstone Crown Court heard how Bignall knocked on the front door of the property and asked the occupant if she would like to buy or sell anything. When she turned around to check on her two young children, Bignall had entered the house and closed the door behind him. He eventually left the property after being given £5 by his victim, who later discovered that Bignall had stolen perfume and hair conditioner from the bathroom.

The second offence occurred when Bignall entered a property through the back door while the occupants and their two children were home. When confronted by one of the adults, Bignall claimed he was being beaten up before turning around and leaving. He was later picked out in an identity parade and despite denying both offences was convicted of two counts of burglary.

Bignall was sentenced to a total of three years’ imprisonment at Maidstone Crown Court.

Detective Constable Alasdair Murray said, "Although it is very rare for a burglar to enter a property while its occupants are home, such offences clearly have a devastating impact on those affected. I am very pleased with the sentence imposed on George Bignall and hope those whose lives he disrupted with his brazen actions can take some comfort knowing he is now behind bars."

Back to nature - fundraisers prepare to bare all

Sumatran Tigers are currently an endangered species Credit: ITV Meridian

Staff at a big cat sanctuary in Kent are preparing to bare all to raise money for Sumatran tigers.

Head Keeper Beccy Porter and five other brave souls from the Wildlife Heritage Foundation in Smarden are planning join 300 others to run naked around London Zoo wearing just a pair of tiger ears.

It's part of a challenge to win £5000 in a charity competition. They came up with the idea because a group of tigers is called a 'streak'.

At the moment they're in third place, but they need more people to vote for them before Tuesday. If they're successful they'll put the money towards refurbishing the tiger ponds. Sumatran tigers are an endangered species.

Police searching for man sentenced to 7 years in prison

Kent Police is searching for this man Credit: KENT POLICE

Kent Police is appealing for information on the whereabouts of a man who failed to appear at court after he was convicted of money laundering.

Uyi Egiebor, formerly of Black Eagle Drive, Northfleet, was sentenced yesterday at Maidstone Crown Court to seven years after he was convicted of laundering £1.1 million between January 1st, 2012 and September 5th 2012.

The 31 year old did not appear at court and officers are searching for him.

New exhibition marks anniversary of Black Friday

One of the darkest chapters of Maidstone's history is the subject of a new display at the town's museum.

During the Second World War, two squadrons of Luftwaffe planes dropped more than forty bombs in a single day. Twenty-two people were killed and many more injured in the raid on 27 September 1940. This weekend marked the 74th anniversary of what became known as Black Friday.

ITV Meridian spoke to display organiser Tony Webb.

Load more updates