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  1. Updates from across the West of England on Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Live Reporting

By Ian Parker

All times stated are UK

A round-up of Wednesday's top stories from across the West

That's it from BBC Local Live for the West Country. We're back at 7am tomorrow.

Before we go here is a quick round-up of our top stories.

EU debate

City hosts EU referendum debate

Hundreds of business leaders have gathered in Bristol this evening for the region's biggest event of the campaign so far. 

Both sides claimed a vote for them would boost jobs and prosperity.

Jim McCormick

Fake bomb detector seller to forfeit £8m

A Somerset businessman who made and sold fake bomb detectors has had cash and assets worth nearly £8m seized from him. 

Jim McCormick was told he had "blood on his hands" - after he made a fortune selling fake devices to war-torn countries including Iraq. 

Flooded road in Bristol

Heavy rain causes flash flooding across the West

Two inches of rain fell in less than an hour in parts of Gloucestershire earlier today. 

Longlevens Infant School was forced to close early due to water leaking into the building and a local supermarket had to shut when part of the roof collapsed.  

And in Bristol torrential rain caused some drains to overflow, flooding several basement flats in Clifton, Cotham and Redland.

Swindon tented market demolition rejected

Plans for the tented market in Swindon to be knocked down and replaced with a food hall have been rejected by the borough council.

Discussions have been going on since December last year.

Nick Hayward, manager of the market, said: "There are still units to rent but unfortunately because of all the rumours of a potential redevelopment of the site it's putting people off.

"You can't blame people if they are looking at spending a lot of money fitting out a unit only to be potentially told in the near future that the market might be closing."  

Salisbury District Hospital nursery shut after 'safeguarding' concerns

Salisbury District Hospital

Toy Box Day Nursery which provides childcare for staff at Salisbury District Hospital has been temporarily closed by Ofsted.

A hospital spokesman said the nursery's registration had been suspended "because staff do not have a sufficient understanding of their roles and responsibilities in relation to safeguarding children."   

"This potentially puts children at risk of harm," the trust said in a statement. 

"The trust is working closely with Ofsted and Wiltshire Council to address the situation as quickly as possible," it added.

The nursery was rated "good" following an inspection in March 2014. 

Flooding in Gloucestershire: Watch scenes from today's flash floods

Heavy downpours in Gloucestershire have caused a building's roof to collapse and flooded a school forcing it to close early.

The roof of the Tesco store on London Road, Gloucester, collapsed and a cafe in the town also had water pouring through its ceiling.

Gardners Lane Children Centre in Cheltenham and Longlevens Infant School in Gloucester closed early.

Motorists are being warned of localised flooding on roads in the county.

Balloon release in memory of Taunton teenager

Pupils at Bishop Fox's School in Taunton released balloons in memory of Amy Hofmeister who was killed cycling home five years ago.  

Following her death in 2011 two people were later jailed for racing their cars at more than twice the 30mph speed limit.  

Can you find a 'jumpable' puddle on the Kennet & Avon towpath?

Puddle jumper
Canal & River Trust

It's cost £180,000 to revamp a 700m stretch of the towpath in Devizes - but has it got rid of all the puddles?

The Canal and River Trust is offering a certificate to any youngster who can spot a puddle on the path that's at least an inch deep and can "give a decent splash".    

The trust's Mark Evans said they were "fairly certain" the path between Caen Hill Locks and Devizes town centre was puddle-free but they wanted "to be sure".

"So we're challenging the experts, and appealing to the many enthusiastic puddle jumpers we see out and about on the canal to see if they can find any."

Devizes towpath, Wiltshire
Canal & River Trust

Bristol's Broadmead redevelopment: what is happening?

Andy Howard

BBC Points West

I've just got back from the press conference about the future of the Broadmead shopping centre in Bristol.

Bosses are planning to knock down and develop parts of Horsefair and Penn Street for a multi-level, open shopping area with cafes, bars and shops.

Housing is being considered for part of the area. They say Broadmead is outdated and buses and other traffic form a barrier between it and neighbouring Cabot Circus.

Work could start as early as 2020, presuming they get planning permission. Those plans will be on show for the next three days with an application in the autumn.

Orient sign Parkes from Bristol Rovers

Tom Parkes
Rex Features

League Two side Leyton Orient sign central defender Tom Parkes from Bristol Rovers on a two-year deal.

Taunton Marine to take part in Royal Marines Rehabilitation Triathlon

Corporal Andy Lock from Taunton will compete in a rehabilitation triathlon

Corporal Andy Lock from Taunton has been battling with post-traumatic stress disorder for six years and will compete in a rehabilitation triathlon later.

He is one of nearly 200 competitors who are to fighting to prove there is life beyond injury or illness at the competition in Devon.

The gruelling charity event will test endurance in various disciplines, including swimming, cycling and rowing.

Illegal signal booster to blame for village's mobile reception problems

Leanne Launchbury has been talking to BBC Radio Gloucestershire about the problems the booster caused

For weeks people living in a Gloucestershire village have been without a mobile phone signal from O2.

Their frustrations even led to a protest march being organised in Bourton-on-the-Water.

But it's since emerged that the problem was due to one man who had bought an illegal signal booster from the internet - helping him get a signal at the expense of others.  

The devices can be easily purchased but it's against the law to use them without a licence.

Scared of spiders? This might help you


Meet nine-year-old Stephen who lives in Bristol.

He's recently overcome his fear of spiders and raised £140 for Bristol Children’s Hospital's Grand Appeal at the same time.

Stephen's mum Alison arranged for her arachnophobic son to go to Bristol Zoo to come face-to-face with a Chilean rose tarantula - nice mum!

Bristol Zoo

Luckily it worked as Stephen explains: "The spider was very scary but the zoo expert gave me lots of support.

"He explained that spiders are quite docile creatures but I was still careful as even spiders can have bad days."

Clever glass coin preserves Magna Carta 'for eternity'

Glass disc
University of Southampton

The one inch (2.5cm) glass disc is inscribed with both the Latin and English Versions of the historic charter and has been presented to Salisbury Cathedral.

The cathedral holds one of the original documents, signed by King John at Runnymede on 15 June 1215. 

It was created by researchers at the University of Southampton to preserve data for billions of years.

Injured runner pledges to complete 401 marathons bid

Ben Smith 401 Challenge
401 Challenge

A man from Portishead is determined to complete his marathon challenge despite developing a very painful back injury which forced him to put his running on hold.

Ben Smith started his challenge in September and managed an impressive 284 consecutive marathons but an umbilical hernia left him struggling to walk.

Since then he's had a number of intensive physiotherapy and acupuncture sessions and says he's confident he can pick up his running again on Tuesday.

Bristol Rovers give McChrystal new deal

Mark McChrystal
Rex Features

Bristol Rovers captain Mark McChrystal has signed a new contract with the club.

The 31-year-old former Northern Ireland youth defender made 21 league appearances for Rovers in 2015-16.

He has been with the club since January 2013.

Fake bomb detector seller Jim McCormick to forfeit £8m

A British businessman serving a 10-year jail term for making bogus bomb detectors has been ordered to forfeit cash and assets worth nearly £8m.

Jim McCormick, from Langport, Somerset, made a fortune selling his detectors to Iraq and other countries.

At his Old Bailey trial in 2013, Judge Richard Hone QC said that McCormick's fraud had undoubtedly cost lives.

Now the same judge has ordered that his cash, properties and a luxury motor cruiser should be taken from him.

Clinton Rogers reports.

In your local papers

Giant lily blooms in Bristol

Himalayan lily
University of Bristol

The Himalayan Giant Lily, which only blooms once every few years, has burst into life at the University of Bristol's Botanic Garden.

They first received a plant in 1994 and have finally being rewarded with the huge flowers.

Some of the stems reach 3m (9ft 8in) in height and we're told the blossoms smell of spices.

Nick Wray, botanic garden curator, said: "I have seen visitors stop in their tracks, mouth open at the sight of such a large plant."

The next step is securing another crop, let's hope they don't have to wait so long this time.

Fake bomb detector boss: Fortune to be seized for compensation

Jim McCormick

A Somerset businessman who's serving 10 years in prison for making fake bomb detectors has been ordered to forfeit about £8m in cash and assets.

Jim McCormick made a fortune selling his detectors to countries around the world.

During his trial at the Old Bailey the court heard McCormick's fraud had undoubtedly cost lives. 

Today Judge Richard Hone QC ordered his assets - including cash, properties in this country and abroad and a luxury motor cruiser - should be taken from him.  

Judge Hone also ordered that £2m of the assets should be paid in compensation to customers around the world who bought the bogus devices, including Iraq, Bahrain, Lebanon, Niger and Georgia. 

Fake bomb detector graphic

It's raining cats and dogs in Bristol and there's more to come!

This was the scene outside the BBC Local Live newsroom in Bristol a few moments ago.

Forecasters are warning the showers will become more widespread this afternoon with some heavy, thundery and slow-moving downpours in places, leading to the risk of some localised flooding.

BreakingFake bomb detector boss ordered to pay £8m

A Somerset businessman who's serving a 10 year jail sentence for making bogus bomb detectors has been ordered to forfeit cash and assets worth nearly £8m. 

Jim McCormick made a fortune selling his detectors, based on the principle of dowsing, to countries around the world, mainly Iraq. 

More to come.

What to do if you're mauled by a bear?... a Gloucestershire woman finds out

Sacha Dench training ahead of expedition following Bewick swans from Russia to Slimbridge

A wildlife enthusiast is getting ready to join a group of swans as they migrate from the Arctic to Gloucestershire, this autumn.

Sacha Dench, who works for the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, is planning to follow the Bewick swans more than 4,000 miles on their journey from Russia to Slimbridge.

This week she is being trained on how to deal with any life-threatening situations she might encounter - including being mauled by a bear.  

Murder trial adjourned: Eight men accused of the murder of Dolton Powell from Gloucester

Picture of Dolton Powell
Gloucestershire Constabulary

The jury in the trial of eight men accused of the murder of Dolton Powell from Gloucester has been sent home for the day.

The defence was only just getting under way this morning when the case was adjourned due to what the judge described as a “problem which had arisen".

Mr Powell, 21, died after a party at the All Nations Community Centre in August last year.

Eight men from Bristol are jointly accused of murder under the joint enterprise law. They deny all charges against them.

The trial is set to resume at Bristol Crown Court tomorrow.

Queues as Bristol's Plimsoll Bridge shuts for maintenance

Bristol's Plimsoll Bridge is closed for maintenance until 3pm this afternoon.

There's a problem with drainage that's causing water to flow into the bridge's electrics. 

Traffic is queuing along the Portway coming into the city and there are more queues inbound along Brunel Way between Winterstoke Road and Brunel Lock Road.

We're also hearing about congestion on Bedminster Down Road. 

Traffic builds as the Plimsoll swing bridge in Bristol is shut for maintenance

Flooding in Gloucestershire: Roof collapses at Tesco store

Part of the roof has reportedly collapsed at a Tesco store in Gloucester following heavy rain.

The Tesco Express store in London Road has been closed.

Staff in the shop next door said water was pouring through the ceiling. 

Tesco Express in Gloucester

Flooding in Gloucestershire: School closures following downpour

Flooding in a street

A crazy downpour has led to schools closing in Gloucestershire, so far we know the following schools are requesting parents to collect children as soon as possible:

  • Gardners Lane Children Centre - Cheltenham
  • Longlevens Infant School - Gloucester

We'll keep you updated on any further closures. This is one area in Gloucester where the road is full of water.

Car driving through water

Here comes the rain: Gloucestershire gets 'crazy' downpour

So that rain we told you about ... it's here!

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Watch out...bad weather is coming

Bring the washing in and shut the windows the weather isn't looking good!

W COUNTRY 1225BST Rapid intensification of cells now parts of #Somerset; lightning in places; local flooding poss

W COUNTRY 1225BST Rapid intensification of cells now parts of #Somerset; lightning in places; local flooding poss

Tidy up before summer solstice at Stonehenge

Not long to go now until the solstice, and Stonehenge bosses have been making sure the iconic monument is ready to go...

View more on twitter

A gorilla who owns a pet kitten: BBC documentary discovers that and more

The BBC were given special access to create a documentary about a gorilla who can apparently use sign language.

Koko was born at the San Francisco Zoo in 1971 and has lived most of her life in California with her caregiver, who claims she can also understand 2,000 words of English.

But critics say the gorilla can't read sign language, while others have said it's not fair that the animal has lived with a human for several decades.

The documentary has been made by the Natural History Unit in Bristol and is being broadcast on BBC One tonight.

Cabot Circus expansion: More of Bristol city centre to be developed

The BBC's Andy Howard is at a press call in Bristol where proposals are being made by the owners of the Cabot Circus shopping centre to "revitalise" the neighbouring Broadmead.

View more on twitter

Bristol bridge closure: warnings over impact

We're already hearing of queues in the Cumberland Basin area and along the Portway. If you're near, do let us know (if safe to do so) what conditions are like via Twitter or email.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Every penny counts: silver 2p found in Malmesbury worth more than £1k

Unusual coin discovered

A rare two pence coin, collected by the Royal British Legion in Malmesbury, is being sold later for more than £1,000. 

The Royal Mint say the coin, which is silver, was intended to be a 10p but was put in the 2p press by mistake. 

Paul Thompson, from the Royal British Legion, says: "I do think at night sometimes about the person who put it in the collection tin."

It's being bought by the Westminster Collection today for £1,350.

Local headlines across the West

Here's the latest headlines from across the West of England today.

BBC Wiltshire: A rare 2p coin is boosting funds for Malmesbury's Royal British Legion 

BBC Radio Gloucestershire: Trees, planted at a memorial in the Forest of Dean for the hundreds of miners killed while working in the pits, have been mown down

BBC Radio Bristol: Police say it's a "constant battle" to stop new dealers moving into the inner city to sell heroin and crack cocaine

BBC Somerset: Part of the Paulton Birth Centre has been closed after traces of the bacteria Legionella were discovered

Bristol bridge closed for five hours due to drainage block

Plimsoll Bridge

The Plimsoll swing bridge in Bristol will be shut for a large chunk of the day as a block in the drainage is causing water to flow into the electrics of the bridge.

A Bristol City Council spokesman says: "The damage it could cause if left would create a lot more disruption than closing the bridge and sorting the problem now."

It will be closed for around five hours from around now to 3pm - so open for the school run. 

Make sure you allow extra some extra time getting from A to B if you're travelling in the city.

Grass cutting is 'behind schedule' in Swindon

Lawnmower cutting grass

If you live in the Swindon area and have noticed grassy verges are looking a little untidy there - we now know why.

A broken mower means Swindon Borough Council is behind on its four-week cutting schedule. Yes there is such a thing! You can even check when the mower is visiting your area.

Bristol bridge closure: structure needs 'a really good clean'

The closure of the Plimsoll swing bridge in Bristol for much of today is likely to cause problems for motorists heading between the south and north of the city.

Made in Bristol journalist Liam Corcoran says the closure is down to the bridge needing "a really good clean".

View more on twitter

BreakingBusy Bristol bridge to close for five hours for maintenance work

Bristol's Plimsoll swing bridge is to close from 10am until 3pm for bridge maintenance work, it has been announced.

Overgrown hedges causing controversy in Wiltshire

Overgrown grass around a road sign
Peter Gray

People across Wiltshire are raising their concerns about road safety because of grass overgrowing in their areas.

Many have been sharing their views on social media. In Swindon, people say they're worried about the town looking messy. 

Philip Whitehead, the cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "They have between six and nine tractors working from the end of May through June and July.

"That means some places will be cut early and some will be cut late."

Facbeook comment
River and grass verge
Kim Banus
Wichelstowe canal
Facebook Comment

Pack your poncho and your sunnies: We have the Glasto forecast

Glastonbury crowd
Will it be sunshine ...

Glastonbury festival goers would be wise to pack both sun cream and wellies as they prepare to face the elements next week. 

There are predictions of sunshine and showers during the festival in Somerset, which opens its gates in a week.

Martin Bowles, from the Met Office, said he could predict "some brighter interludes but also some showers".

"Temperatures are expected to be near average, so it will be high teens, 18 or 19 degrees.

"If it's unsettled it's likely to be fairly windy, but there are no indications of gales or anything." 

Person in wellies at Glastonbury
... or rain over Glastonbury weekend?

Legionella bug partially closes Paulton Birth Centre near Bath

Paulton Hospital sign

Part of the Paulton Birth Centre in Somerset has been closed after traces of the bacteria Legionella were discovered.

It's the second time the maternity unit has been closed this year, after the bug was found in the water system back in March.

While it's been shut to new births since the end of last week, both the post and antenatal departments remain open.

Helen Blanchard, director of nursing and midwifery, said: "Our midwives are in touch with mums-to-be who may be affected by this temporary unavailability, and are helping women to decide on the right place for them to give birth."

NHS Property Services, which owns and manages the centre, say it doesn't know when it'll fully reopen - as it awaits the results of tests.

Three pregnant women