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India's dancing bears swap lives of torture for sanctuary, thanks to Sussex charity

An animal charity from Sussex is celebrating the success of its mission to save India's dancing bears from lives of cruelty and exploitation.

It's five years since International Animal Rescue took the last Sloth Bear off the streets and into a sanctuary.

Now, to mark the anniversary, the charity has released remarkable footage showing the bear's new life.

Malcolm Shaw spoke to Alan Knight who spearheaded the project.

Calls for Lewes to Uckfield rail line to be reopened

Politicians in Sussex are urging Network Rail to reopen the Lewes to Uckfield railway. They say as well as benefitting people in the two towns, it would also relieve pressure on the existing mainline between London, Brighton and the Sussex coast. The project, called BML2, could also serve Brighton & Hove Albion's new football stadium at Falmer.

ITV Meridian spoke to Lewes Conservative candidate, Maria Caulfield.


Man jailed for cutting off pup's tail

A man from Uckfield has been jailed for 12 weeks after he cut off an eight-week-old puppy's tail.

Walter Doe, who is 24 years old, from Campbell Close in Uckfield was also banned from keeping all animals for 10 years.

The RSPCA were called in July last year and found the Jack Russell puppy with a bandage around his tail and in obvious pain.

The vet said the wound was very clean-cut wound and must have been made with a sharp tool.

The prison sentence reflects how seriously the court took the suffering caused to the puppy. We have no proof about what was used to dock Jack’s tail, but whether it was a knife or a pair of scissors, he would have been in agony. Cutting through the bone of the tail must have been excruciatingly painful and no attempt at all was made to relieve this pain.Tail docking is such a brutal way to treat a young animal in any case. As well as the pain is causes, it is just completely unnecessary and deprives the animal of their best means of expression and balance.”

– RSPCA Inspector Andrew Kirby

Missing Chloe found safe and well

Schoolgirl Chloe Newman, who went missing on 7th January, has been found safe and well.

The 14-year-old, from Uckfield, contacted police after they asked members of the public and the media to help find her.

Chloe has got in touch with us tonight and officers are talking to her to find out where she has been over the last 10 days. I'd like to thank the public and the media for helping us find her."

– Superintendent Laurence Taylor

Two teenagers jailed for starting a fire in charity shops

Firefighters tackled the fire in Uckfield Credit: Sophie Williams

Two teenagers have been convicted of starting a fire in Uckfield, East Sussex which caused more than £1million of damage to charity shops.

Sense and the British Heart Foundation lost their entire stock in the fire in September 2012.

More than forty firefighters were needed to bring the fire under control.

18-year-old Adam Bushell pleaded guilty to arson and was sentenced to nine months in prison suspended for two years.

Geriant Purton was jailed for 12 months for the arson, and was also sentenced to two years for a string of burglaries across East Sussex.

Detective Constable Sean Stapley, of East Sussex CID, said: "This incident caused a considerable amount of damage and has had a major impact on the residents and businesses of Uckfield.

"A moment of ignorance turned a harmless game into a dangerous fire.

Geraint Purton Credit: Sussex Police


Exhausted but exhilarated: Davina recovers from her epic bike ride

The television presenter Davina McCall is easing her aching muscles today, after a gruelling charity bike ride through the Sussex countryside. She joined hundreds of women who cycled either 21, 40 or 63 miles to raise money for Action Medical Research.

Andrea Thomas was there to meet them at the finishing line. She spoke to Davina McCall and Ella Moye.

Uckfield man convicted of fly tipping

Dunham Cobdam where rubbish was dumped Credit: Wealden District Council

A Sussex man has been given a nine month suspended jail sentence and ordered to pay £2,400 for fly tipping.

James Dunham from Uckfield pleaded guilty to five charges of fly tipping at a number of locations across the county between May and September last year.

Animal ambulance in drugs 'hold-up' - police statement

The driver of a wildlife rescue ambulance was brought to a stop near Uckfield and then assaulted by a man who demanded drugs.

The ambulance was being driven along the A22 near Palesgate Common at around 11pm on Monday when it was overtaken by a dark coloured, older style, hatchback.

It slowed down and put on hazard lights bringing the ambulance to a standstill. Thinking that something was wrong, wildlife rescue volunteer Trevor Weeks got out of his vehicle, but was then assaulted and asked to handover drugs from the vehicle.

However, the wildlife rescue ambulance does not carry drugs or medical supplies.

This would appear to be an opportunist and very unusual attack, which has obviously left the victim very shaken.

"We would like to hear from anyone who may have seen the two vehicles in the Palesgate Common area on Monday evening, either driving or at a stop by the roadside. Please call Sussex Police on 101 quoting serial 1861 of 15/10."

– Det Sgnt Julie Dow
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