Kent MP leads Euro rebellion

Kent MP Mark Reckless led a rebellion of Conservative MPs in defeating the government in a vote on the European Union.

Rochester's Sweeps Festival

Medway celebrates Sweeps Festival

One of the more bizarre May Day celebrations takes place in Kent today. The Sweeps Festival in Rochester is the largest in the country.

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Soldier's death 'not suspicious'

Rochester Kent Josh Thomas
Josh Thomas went missing on April 10

The body was found in the River Medway at 12.44pm on Monday. Officers say they are not treating the death as suspicious and a report has been prepared for the coroner.

Josh Thomas, who was 18, was based at Brompton Barracks in Chatham had been reported missing on Wednesday 10 April after having been out with friends the night before.

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Prisoner sentenced for biting officers

John Schock Credit: Kent Police

A prisoner has been sentenced to six additional years in jail for biting several officers at prisons in Rochester, Sheppey, Durham and Worcester.

John Bernard Schock was found guilty of assault following an attack on two officers while in custody of HMP Elmley.

He was convicted of five counts of grievous bodily harm, one of actual bodily harm and one of common assault.

He will serve at least four years before he is eligible for parole.

During the incident at HMP Elmley, in June 2011, Schock bit one officer on the upper left arm and another on the wrist.

New CCTV clues in hunt for missing soldier

Kent, Rochester, Medway, Josh Thomas
Police have released new CCTV of two bike riders they want to speak to Credit: Kent Police

Kent Police have released new CCTV images of two bike riders they want to speak to in connection with the disappearance of soldier, Josh Thomas.

The 18-year-old, who was a soldier at Brompton Barracks, was last seen by a friend outside the City Wall pub in Rochester on Wednesday 10 April.

Detectives want to speak to two men seen riding mountain bikes along Corporation Street just minutes after Josh had been seen in the area.

Kent, Rochester, Medway, Josh Thomas
Where these cyclists the last people to see Josh Thomas before he disappeared? Credit: Kent Police

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Appeal to BMX riders in search for missing soldier

Detectives investigating the disappearance of a soldier from Brompton Barracks have issued a fresh appeal to two BMX riders seen on Corporation Street minutes after the teenager was last sighted on CCTV.

Police are growing increasingly concerned about the whereabouts of Josh, 18, who was last seen by a friend outside the City Wall pub in Rochester on Wednesday 10th April.

We now are focusing our attention on known last CCTV sightings of Josh heading towards Gas House Road. We know that two males on BMX bikes were cycling past that area, along Corporation Street, just minutes after sight of Josh is lost. I am appealing to those two people who were in that area shortly after 1am to come forward and let us know if you saw Josh and where.

– Investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Rik Spicer, Kent Police

It is important to point out that you are not in trouble, we just want to learn of Josh’s last movements and you may hold vital information on this. I would urge you to call us on 101, quoting reference 10-0243. Alternatively contact Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

– Investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Rik Spicer, Kent Police

CCTV released in hunt for missing soldier

Kent Police has released a CCTV image of missing teenage soldier Josh Thomas.

It captures Josh, 18, on a traffic island in the middle of the A2 outside the Crown pub in Rochester shortly before 1am on Wednesday 10 April.

The CCTV shows him walking on Rochester bridge towards Corporation Street and a black hatchback car is stopped next to him.

The car then drives off and is reversed back, seemingly for whoever's in the car to talk again to the young soldier.

Missing soldier Josh Thomas
Missing soldier Josh Thomas Credit: Kent Police

Police are also appealing to two men on BMX bikes who were seen on Corporation Street early on Wednesday morning to come forward to help in the search. They are then seen riding along the High Street back towards Rochester at just before 2am.

Investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Rik Spicer, said: "This CCTV image shows Josh sometime after he left the pub. It shows what he was wearing on the night and I would urge anyone that saw him to come forward and help us."

Josh, who comes from Wales, is a soldier at Brompton barracks on Dock Road in Gillingham, He is described as white, about 5ft 9ins tall, slim build and with short dark brown hair. He was wearing a dark blue Lyle and Scott jumper with white and red collar, grey jeans and white Converse trainers.

Officers want to speak with anyone who saw Josh on Corporation Street or the people in the black car that stopped on Rochester bridge, to come forward by calling the non-emergency number, 101, quoting reference 10-0243. Alternatively contact Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Plans for new £26m rail station unveiled

External view of proposed new station in Rochester Credit: Network Rail

Plans for a new £26 million railway station in Rochester have been revealed.

Network Rail is proposing to build the new station as part of its "commitment to increase capacity on the railway and deliver better facilities for passengers in Medway and Kent".

The new station, planned for land at Corporation Street, is part of a wider £135 million investment programme in the county as the number of passengers using the railway continues to grow.

A formal planning application is expected to be submitted this spring.

Fiona Taylor, route managing director for Kent, said: “The new station will be able to accommodate longer trains than the current station, helping boost capacity and providing more seats for passengers.

“The development will also help kick-start the wider regeneration of the Riverside area, which is an important part of the development of Rochester."

Cllr Rodney Chambers added: “The number of rail passengers is forecast to grow significantly and freeing up this space for a new station will not only improve the service for commuters and other passengers, but also make sure it grows with future demand.

“It would also result in the train station moving closer to the centre of Rochester, and the places that visitors come to, and give local people a newer, better station that is easier to get to and has better links with local bus services.”

The new station will have three platforms, all of which will be able to accommodate trains with up to 12 carriages, Network Rail said.

Second death in road crash

Police say they are continuing to appeal for witnesses after a second person died following a car crash in Rochester.

The collision took place in the Ratcliffe area of the town just after 3.50pm on Saturday. A silver Peugeot left the road for "reasons unknown" and hit a road sign.

A 30-year-old woman was pronounced dead at the scene. A 29-year-old man was airlifted to London with life-threatening injuries and has since died.

Two girls, aged four and seven, also sustained minor injuries. They are now being cared for by relatives.

Police are appealing for witnesses.

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