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Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

British Sugar gets ready for beet exports

Alex Harris

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Peterborough-based British Sugar says it is planning exports to the world market for the first time in at least a decade.

The move comes as a 50-year-old European Union quota on the amount of sugar beet that can be grown in the UK is set to be abolished this weekend.

Paul Kenward, managing director of British Sugar, says it's a "real opportunity to grow a really successful business" as "1.1m tonnes of beat is grown in Cambridgeshire".

Sugar beet crop
Getty Images

Duke 'keen to fly' world's longest aircraft

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

It seems like the Duke of Cambridge has unofficially given Airlander 10 - the world's longest aircraft - his royal seal of approval.

The future king met Chris Daniels from the company that operates it at the launch event of the International Festival of Business in London.

Chris Daniels and Prince William
Hybrid Air Vehicles

Mr Daniels told me Prince William was aware of Airlander from his time as a pilot for the East Anglian Air Ambulance, and knew its Cardington airfield home was a no-fly zone.

He also revealed the duke said he was "keen to fly it".

Chris Daniels and Prince William
Hybrid Air Vehicles

He was then presented with an Airlander 10 stress ball, and apparently said Prince George would "love it".

Large snake makes 'dash for it'

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Snake
RSPCA

The RSPCA had to be called in after a big snake escaped from a home in March.

Aimee was looking after her friend's false water cobra called Cyrus when it "made a dash" from its vivarium and got trapped under a wardrobe.

Aimee says she "panicked a little bit" due to children and other pets being in the house, so called in the charity.

Inspector Richard Lythgoe came to the rescue. After the wardrobe was emptied he said the snake "darted out" and it was caught.

"I have never seen a snake move so fast," he said.

There are no restrictions on the snake, meaning it can be kept as a pet.

The charity says: "The RSPCA are opposed to the keeping of potentially dangerous species as pets.

“Caution must be taken when caring for a false water cobra, as a bite could be painful and produce localised swelling and bruising."

Local paper round-up: Hospital repairs and garden centre tackles travellers

Let's have a look at what some of our local papers are covering today...

  • The Cambridge News is reporting that Addenbrooke's Hospital needs £13m of urgent repairs
  • Meanwhile, a Peterborough garden centre is taking legal action to move travellers on who have set up camp in the car park, the Peterborough Telegraph reports

Strictly: Show Us Your Charleston

The moves have been set, the spray tan applied and thousands of sequins glued on.

That can only mean one thing - Strictly Come Dancing is back on Saturday night.

Hertfordshire's very own Brian Conley is getting ready to perfect his Cha Cha Cha... but not before some very impressive arm waving...

Before they did any training, we asked our celebs do give us their best Charleston

Strictly: Show Us Your Charleston

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

The moves have been set, the spray tan applied and thousands of sequins glued on.

That can only mean one thing - Strictly Come Dancing is back on Saturday night.

Peterborough's very own Aston Merrygold is getting ready to perfect his Salsa... but not before doing his best Marcel Marceau impression...

Before they did any training, we asked our celebs to give us their best Charleston

But can fellow Cambridgeshireman Jonnie Peacock steal his thunder? Saturday, 18:45, BBC One - be there!

Strictly: Show Us Your Charleston

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

The moves have been set, the spray tan applied and thousands of sequins glued on.

That can only mean one thing - Strictly Come Dancing is back on Saturday night.

Finedon's very own reverend Richard Coles is getting ready to perfect his American Smooth... but not before he gave some knee action on his attempt at a Charleston.

Before they did any training, we asked our celebs to give us their best Charleston

Local paper round-up: 'Fracas' at hospital, 'pyro' at Chairboys' match and speed cushions

Let's have a look at what some of our local papers are covering today...

  • The Watford Observer reports that police were called to Watford General Hospital on Thursday night after a fracas erupted between protesters and contractor staff at a demonstration against "poverty pay"
  • Wycombe Wanderers are investigating after a pyrotechnic device was let off in the away end after the final whistle at the Chairboys' match against Colchester, reports the Bucks Free Press
  • Meanwhile, the Hertfordshire Mercury writes that Hertfordshire County Council has apologised after an "administrative error" saw speed cushions installed in Bishop's Stortford before a public consultation was carried out. It says they now have to be removed.

Couple robbed of tens of thousands shortly after withdrawing from bank

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

A couple have been robbed of a whopping £38,000 in Northampton.

It was after they withdrew the cash from the Santander Bank on Market Square, between 15:30 and 15:40 yesterday.

Police said they were walking towards their car on Guildhall Road when they realised they were being followed.

Santander in Northampton
Google

When they got on to Guildhall Road, a white, stocky man, about 5ft 8in tall with a black beard grabbed one of them.

There was a struggle, the victim was punched and he fell over.

The robber then ran off with the cash in the direction of Angel Street.

Police are appealing for witnesses.

Police alerted to 'suspicious' bag of rice

Helen Burchell

BBC News

Police have been called out to two "suspicious" packages in Cambridge today.

However, there's no need to be alarmed, as one turned out to be a bag of rice - and the other was a rucksack full of clothes.

Rice
Getty Images
The rice turned out to be a non-suspicious grain

Cambridge officers have been tweeting about their call-outs since this morning, and these were just two of the incidents they have had to check.

View more on twitter

Police said: "These packages can be a drain on our resources and cause alarm for the public."

If you've lost your rice, we know who's got it...

Digger taken away after falling from lorry

Phil Shepka

BBC News

This was the scene a short time ago after a mini-digger fell off the back of a lorry in Cambridge.

It has now been loaded back on to the vehicle to be taken away.

Digger on back of lorry
BBC

Person injured as mini-digger falls off lorry

Alex Harris

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

A person has been injured after a mini-digger fell off the back of a flatbed truck.

Digger accident
Cambridgeshire Police

The accident happened on Mariners Way in Cambridge at about 13:00.

Cambridgeshire Police said the person's injuries were not thought to be life-threatening.

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We'll bring you more on this as we get it.

A one in 100,000 chance of snapping that!

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

If you go down to the woods today, you never know what you might spot.

Neil McCarty was lucky enough to see a very rare sight when he went for a walk on the outskirts of Bedford.

At first he thought it was a cat stuck up a tree, as all he could see was a white ball of fur, but on closer inspection it was an albino squirrel.

Albino squirrel
Neil McCarty

So like every good photographer, he went back the next day "hung around for ages" and caught these amazing images.

Albino squirrel
Neil McCarty

He says it's a bit of a change from his day-to-day job of music photography, as he usually snaps "grungy bands in the dark".

Albino squirrel
Neil McCarty

"The irony is I have snapped some amazing artists passing through Bedford over the last five years, many who have gone on to be huge... and I am going to get my 15 seconds of fame over a squirrel," he said.

The odds of a squirrel being born white is thought to be about one in 100,000.

Nascot Lawn: 'Inaccurate legal advice' postpones closure

Andy Holmes

BBC Three Counties Radio political reporter

Yesterday we brought you news that a reprieve had been given a Herfordshire centre for disabled children.

Nascott Lawn in Watford was set to close in October, but that date has been moved to January, according to families.

Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) claimed the closure was necessary because of its "serious financial situation".

However, it has since been in touch to say it has "set aside its decision" to stop paying for the site after receiving "inaccurate legal advice".

Nascot Lawn
NHS

It will now speak to families and "make a new decision regarding the running of respite services at Nascot Lawn".

New school to 'take the learning outside'

Tom Percival

BBC Radio Northampton

A brand new primary school has officially opened today.

Pineham Barns is teaching its first pupils in Pineham village, on the outskirts of Northampton.

Pineham Barns Primary School
BBC

Principal Caroline Stewart said: "We are growing something completely new here. That's incredibly exciting.

"Today is a momentous occasion - we are starting to build this community and to make Pineham Barns central to the community."

To mark the opening, every child is receiving a pair of Wellington boots and a boiler suit so they can "take the learning outside", Ms Stewart said.

Former Tesco directors arrive for trial

BBC Business Live

Three former executives of Hertfordshire-based Tesco have arrived at Southwark Crown Court to stand trial over their alleged role in a £326m accounting scandal at the retailer.

Former UK finance chief Carl Rogberg, UK managing director Christopher Bush and UK food commercial director John Scouler are charged with fraud by abuse of position and false accounting between February and September 2014.

They have all denied the charges.

The trial is expected to last 13 weeks.

Lewis Hamilton off pace in Malaysia practice as Romain Grosjean crashes

Andrew Benson

BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer in Singaore

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel set the pace in second practice at the Malaysian Grand Prix as Stevenage's Lewis Hamilton struggled in his Mercedes.

Vettel headed team-mate Kimi Raikkonen by 0.604 seconds, with the Milton Keynes Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen third and fourth and Hamilton sixth.

Lewis Hamilton
Getty Images

The Briton, 28 points ahead of Vettel, was a massive 1.416secs off the pace.

The session came to an end early following a major crash involving Haas' Romain Grosjean.

Northampton stadium Cobbled together in Lego

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Northampton Town's Sixfields Stadium is at last finished!

The ground, including its long-awaited East Stand, has been completed... but only in Lego.

Sixfields Stadium
Jules Richards

The work was carried out by Jules Richards, who has so far built about 70 of 92 Premier League and Football League grounds.

Sixfields Stadium
Jules Richards

He said it was rather difficult building the unfinished East Stand and he had to use research and his imagination.

Sixfields Stadium
Jules Richards

"The seats are in, the above part and the back part is unfinished, because I didn't know what the rest of it would look like, and no-one does, until it's built properly," he said.

Sixfields Stadium
Jules Richards

Northampton by-election result

Craig Lewis

BBC Northampton Politics Reporter

The Conservatives and Labour have each retained a seat on Northampton Borough Council following two by-elections.

Luke Graystone held Nene Valley ward for the Tories, while Labour's Paul Joyce won in Eastfield.

Tweets the way to do it

Police in Cambridge are taking to Twitter today to give an insight into what their average day looks like.

It's to show the various demands put on officers as they answer a range of calls, including reports of burglary, drug taking and violence.

In August, 2,731 calls were made to police in the city and 1,160 crimes were recorded.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Teenager suffering life-threatening injuries after crash

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

Meanwhile, a 14-year-old girl is in hospital with life-threatening injuries after a crash in Chalfont St Peter.

Police say the teenage cyclist was found on Austenwood Lane with serious head injuries at about 17:15 on Wednesday.

Austenwood Lane by Bull Lane
Google

PC John Belson said: "This was a particularly traumatic incident involving a school child on her bicycle.

"Our thoughts firstly go out to her family at this difficult time. I really wish to hear from anyone who saw what happened to contact me or recalls seeing a cyclist around the time in question."

Woman seriously hurt in 'hit and run'

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

A woman has been left with serious head injuries after being struck by a vehicle, police say.

Camp Road, St Albans
BBC

She was found lying on Camp Road, St Albans, at about 20:20 on Thursday evening.

Anyone who saw what happened has been asked to get in touch with police.

'Locked' lorry causes traffic delays on A14

The A14 at junction 23 for Spittals is beginning to get back to normal after lorry broke down this morning.

Police said delays were caused because the driver "locked the vehicle and walked off".

The lorry has now been removed, but queues still remain.

Lorry on road
BCH Roads Policing

County Championship: Northants miss out on promotion

As had looked increasingly likely, Northamptonshire's cricketers have narrowly missed out on promotion from Division Two of the County Championship.

Northants - who beat Leicestershire by six wickets at Grace Road earlier - needed Nottinghamshire to lose their match with Sussex at Hove, but their slim hopes of a return to Division One are over after that fixture ended in a draw.

In all, Northamptonshire won nine of their 14 matches in the County Championship this season, two more than Notts, but still finished five points behind the second placed side.

table
BBC

Last month, Northamptonshire were deducted five points for a slow over rate in their match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

Plans to build thousands of homes on site of sewage works moves a step closer

Hannah Olsson

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire political reporter

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority has been given permission to bid for about £200m of government funding to move Anglian Water's sewage plant just outside Cambridge.

There are plans to build 7,000 homes on the site of the water recycling plant on Cowley Road, by Milton, instead.

Regan Harris from the company says they support the idea as "it's a big project and it's a phenomenal amount of money that will be invested in the area.

"It would involve building a brand new water recycling centre to support that growth and the new people that live in around the area," she said.

Entrance to Milton
Google

There's been a mixed response from people living close by.

Some believe more homes are needed, some won't miss the smell, while others are concerned about an increase in traffic as the roads are already "chock-a".

Need a skeleton? Take a bone on loan from the library

Helen Burchell

BBC News

Meet Sid, the "library skeleton".

View more on twitter

Sid "hangs out in the reference section" of Homerton College's library in Cambridge, among the Hebrew and Latin dictionaries, librarian Liz Osman says.

But, Sid is not alone.

There are six other "Sids" ready and waiting for this year's new intake of medical students at the Cambridge University college.

The library's skeletons can be checked out just like a book by any of the medics.

It's only the second year Homerton has taken medical students and there are five this year - so there's a skeleton left over for spare parts, should any of the others suffer a fracture.

But, make no bones about it, the students' skeletons come in bits in a box, so they'll have to build their own "Sid" if they fancy borrowing one.

Multiple arrests after week-long drugs crackdown

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Police arrested 18 people as part of a drug crackdown in Hatfield.

A large quantity of class A and B drugs, cash and drug paraphernalia were seized from several properties and during police patrols over a week.

Drugs
Hertfordshire Police

Det Insp John Hazeldine said: "As drugs can genuinely blight local communities, we are determined to do everything to put a stop to such offences and drive these criminals out of Hatfield."

Police raid
Hertfordshire Police
Police raid
Hertfordshire Police

Ten people are facing further police action, while eight have been released.

Posh's longest serving player to stay

Peter Swan

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire sport

Peterborough United midfielder Jermaine Anderson has signed a new two-year contract.

The club's longest-serving player, who joined from Arsenal’s Academy in 2012, is set to stay until 2019.

He said: "I want to thank the chairman Darragh MacAnthony, the director of football Barry Fry and the manager Grant McCann for showing so much faith in me and it is up to me now to repay that faith and kick-on."

Jermaine Anderson and Grant McCann
Joe Dent/Peterborough United

The 21-year-old added "I have been here a long time and it feels weird to hear I am the longest-serving player because I still feel young."

Man dies after being hit by car

Sarah Foster

BBC Radio Northampton

A 50-year-old man has died after being hit by a car in Rushden last night.

Police say he was walking along the path in Higham Road, towards Asda, when he fell into the road at about 22:00.

A car driving along the road then hit the man. He died a short time later.

Higham Road
Google

A10 re-opens after diesel spill

BBC News Travel

The A10 has re-opened after an earlier accident involving a lorry and a 4x4.

The road, by the BP garage at Waterbeach was closed for about two hours, whilst a diesel spill was cleared up.

View more on twitter

'Paw-fect' home needed for older pets

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Meet Winston, he's a nine-year-old mastiff who's looking for a new home.

He's currently being looked after at the RSPCA's Block Fen Animal Centre and is "full of life" and "enjoys taking in the smells on short walks and loves a good bath", according to the charity.

Winston the Bull Mastiff
RSPCA

He's just one of several older dogs that need a new home and are part of a campaign to home "golden oldies" with older adopters.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Samantha Gaines said: "Sadly, many of our older and elderly dogs are overlooked. Puppies and dogs under a year of age seem to be rehomed much quicker.

“On Older People’s Day we’re trying to raise awareness of the lovely golden oldies in our care who are patiently waiting for the paw-fect home to call their own."

County Championship: Play resumes at Grace Road

After losing the morning session to a wet outfield in Leicester, Northamptonshire's cricketers have resumed their run chase against Leicestershire.

They need to chase down 187 runs for victory to keep their slim promotion hopes alive, but that is unlikely to be enough with rivals Nottinghamshire set to draw their match with Sussex at Hove, meaning Northants would narrowly miss out.

Man, 80, dies after mobility scooter crash

An 80-year-old man has died after losing control of his mobility scooter in Kettering.

He crashed, fell out of the scooter and hit his head on the ground.

Police say it happened in Saunders Close, at about 14:20 on Tuesday.

The man was taken to Kettering General Hospital, but his condition later deteriorated and he died yesterday morning.

Campaigners lose battle to save village pub

Lee Agnew

BBC Three Counties Radio

Campaigners in Bedfordshire have lost their battle to save their village pub, as The Queen's Head in Tebworth has been sold off by brewers Charles Wells.

The Queen's Head, Tebworth
Geograph/Robin Webster

The brewery put the pub on the market in November after the retirement of its long-standing landlord.

Residents had said it was the village's only community focal point, and its loss would change the character of Tebworth forever.

After a fundraising campaign, an initial offer of £150,000 to buy the pub was rejected by the brewery.

The group failed to buy the pub at auction yesterday, when it sold for £271,000.

'Illegal' motorbike seized after complaints from Daventry residents

Police in Daventry have seized a motorcycle which has been the focus of several complaints from local residents.

Seized motorcycle
Northamptonshire Police

At least three complaints had been lodged about the green and white Kawasaki ZX6R, which had been spotted around Admirals Way, Southbrook and The Inlands

These included causing danger around a primary school, forcing a pedestrian off a path and narrowly avoiding a parent collecting children from school.

The motorbike has no current keeper, is notified to DVLA as off road, and is not insured.

Sgt Sam Dobbs said that members of the public had come forward with information which allowed the force to prove who was riding it and seize the vehicle.

"As this 30-year-old is a persistent offender, we will now consider further action," he said.

"This matter tells two tales. The first is how the community is driven to distraction by idiotic, dangerous and reckless use of uninsured, untaxed and unlicensed motorcycles.

"The second tale is that by working with the community and the variety of legislation available to us, we can act in slower time."

Primark to move into former BHS store in MK

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

The empty BHS store in centre:mk is to be filled by Primark.

The company says it will open "one of its biggest stores" in 2018, and will occupy an "extension" of the current empty space on Silbury Arcade.

It will be 75,000 sq ft in size.

Primark store
Getty Images

Kevin Duffy, centre manager at centre:mk, said: "The new flagship store will be the single biggest store since we introduced Marks & Spencer to centre:mk nearly 25 years ago."

Large diesel spill closes A10

BBC News Travel

Firefighters are at the scene of a large diesel spill on the A10, by the BP garage at Waterbeach.

Police say they were called at about 11:35 to reports of a collision between a lorry and a 4x4.

The road is expected to be closed for two hours.

There are so far no reports of any injuries.

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Policing with kindness in the wake of Hurricane Irma

Helen Burchell

BBC News

Earlier this month the British government sent 50 police officers to the UK's overseas territories to help after Hurricane Irma.

We've caught up with two of them, sent to the British Virgin Islands from Cambridgeshire Police.

PC Ross Beesley and PC Den Williams
Liz Groom

PC Ross Beesley (above left) and PC Den Williams (right) volunteered along with officers from 14 other forces to assist with the relief effort after the hurricane. They've been out in the Caribbean for two weeks, working in what they describe as "very difficult and challenging conditions".

They were greeted by a scene of "utter devastation", and were "heartbroken" to see many children had lost everything, Sgt Liz Groom, chair of the Cambridgeshire's Police Federation, told us.

Aerial shot of Tortula
BBC
Tortula in the British Virgin Islands was devastated by the hurricane
PC Ross Beesley (left) and PC Den Williams (right)
Liz Groom

She's been in touch with the officers, although communication - like everything else on the island - is limited.

However, when they asked for funds to buy a few treats for the children they'd met, the union and the police and crime commissioner gave them £450 to spend.

Finding suitable treats for the children was not easy, though, Sgt Groom says. There's not a lot in the shops and what there is costs about twice as much as it would in the UK.

But PCs Beesley and Williams managed to find pens and paper, balls, a few games and some teddy bears which were handed out to the grateful children.

PC Ross Beesley (left) and PC Den Williams (right)
Liz Groom

"I am incredibly proud of them both for considering such a gesture, and it really shows the human side of policing," Sgt Groom said.

"Even thousands of miles away, British police officers can help protect the vulnerable and bring some relief and kindness to those most in need."

She is not sure how much longer the officers will remain on the Island.

Car crime on rise

Willy Gilder

BBC Radio Northampton

An average of 20 cars are being stolen each week in Northamptonshire.

Figures released by the RAC show the number of vehicle thefts in the county has risen by a third in three years, in line with the national figure.

About 1,000 vehicles were stolen in 2016, up from about 780 three years earlier.

Sherrell Goode, from Wootton, has had it happen to her twice, 12 years apart.

She said it has caused her "constant stress" and had a big impact as she lost the no claims bonus on her insurance.

Hand in car
BBC

For rhyme and reason

Roses are red, violets are blue and a hospital is tweeting in rhyme too!

To mark National Poetry day, Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge is getting into the spirit of things, by creating their very own prose.

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But the challenge is clearly taking its toll.. as just an hour or so in, they have admitted they're finding it rather hard.

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