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Second man charged with attempted murder and possessing a firearm after arson attack at traveller site near A249 in Stockbury Valley

A second man has been charged with attempted murder after a caravan was set alight at a traveller site off the A249.

Billy Smith Snr, 52, of Miller Close, Kemsley, was arrested after officers were called to land at Stockbury Valley in the early hours of Saturday.

A mobile home and a number of nearby vehicles were on fire, which saw chaos on the A249 for some 19 hours after a road closure was first enforced by Highways England at around 2.30am.

Smoke rising from the A249 fire. Picture: Tori Russon
Smoke rising from the A249 fire. Picture: Tori Russon

He was charged with four counts of attempted murder alongside one count of arson and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.

His son, Billy Smith Jnr, 28, of the same address, has now also been charged with the same offences.

Mr Smith Snr has been remanded in custody to appear Maidstone Crown Court on June 4 and Mr Smith Jnr has been remanded to appear by virtual link before Medway Magistrates Court today.

Three fire engines were sent to tackle the blaze, and the A249 was not fully reopened until 9.46pm that evening as a result of the disruption.

The Sittingbourne-bound carriageway had reopened at around 11.15am and one lane of the Maidstone-bound carriageway was reopened by 4.15pm.

One man was taken to hospital with a possible broken leg and cuts.

A further four people have been arrested in connection with the incident.

Three men aged 54, 23 and 20 and from Stockbury were arrested on suspicion of assault. They have been bailed, pending further enquiries, until 1 June.

A 22-year-old woman from Sheerness was arrested on suspicion of arson and criminal damage. She has been bailed, pending further enquiries, until May 31.

All of the people involved are known to each other and officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate are conducting ongoing enquiries.

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