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Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Fowl play!

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

We're hoping the police didn't get into a flap this morning when they were called to deal with a pheasant in a Luton shop.

I wish I could claim the next joke, but sadly the social media team at Bedfordshire Police got there first and responded with "No fowl play is suspected here"...

View more on twitter

Fly-tipping costs taxpayers £58m in clean-up costs

A drone-camera filmed the extent of rubbish dumped in Purfleet in south Essex in 2014

More than one million incidents of fly-tipping were dealt with by councils in England in 2016-17, costing taxpayers £58m to clear up.

It was the fourth year in a row that incidents increased.

About 56,000 fixed penalty notices were handed out by councils to people caught illegally dumping.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said two-thirds of fly-tipping was household waste.

There were about 1,002,000 cases of fly-tipping handled by councils in England between April 2016 and March 2017, equivalent to 114 every hour.

This was 66,000 (7%) more than the year before.

Chart showing areas with the most incidents of fly-tipping by population

Arson attack on Luton home

Investigations are continuing after an arson attack on a Luton home "endangered the lives of the people inside the house".

Police say the "nasty attack" happened at about 20:00 last night, when a lit piece of clothing was pushed through the letter box of the property on High Ridge, just north of the airport.

They want to hear from anyone who saw anything, and speak to two young men who were on pushbikes around time of the incident.

High Ridge, Luton

'Age simulation suit' being worn by hospital staff

Dotty McLeod

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Today I tried on an "age simulation suit".

It basically works by adding weight and stiffness to your body on places like your neck, elbows, waist, knees and ankles to simulate what happens to you as you get older.

Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge has been getting its staff to wear them along with goggles and ear muffs to replicate site and hearing problems.

Dotty McCloud trying on an "age simulation suit"

Consultant geriatrician Stephen Wallis says it's all about working to keep patients "mobile" as it makes their staff empathise with older patients.

"We all understand on an intellectual level, some of the challenges and difficulties that older patients face, but there is nothing quite the same as wearing the suit and thinking twice before you get up and walk across the room because it's hard work," he said.

Job losses as computer reseller goes into administration

Some 200 jobs have been lost in Wellingborough after the UK arm of computer reseller Misco entered administration.

It's understood the Northamptonshire-based company will keep 30 people on during the administration period.

Misco headquarters in Wellingborough

Misco UK had made great progress since the change of ownership and new investment in March this year, but the company's turnaround plans could not deal sufficiently with the rapid deterioration in cash flow after the sudden tightening of credit insurance terms. The UK business had moved to a system of supply chain outsourcing of stock, with increasing levels of automation to enable greater efficiencies with suppliers and distributions and overall lower cost, however these efforts came at a time of heightened competition from other globalised online retailers which have eaten heavily into the margins of even established IT resellers like Misco.

Geoff RowleyJoint administrator at FRP Advisory

BreakingLuton man guilty of terror acts

Mubashir Jamil, 22, from Belmont Road in Luton, has been found guilty of preparation of terrorist acts by making a travel booking and purchasing items for travel to Syria to engage in violent jihad.

The verdict was read out a short time ago after a re-trail at the Old Bailey in London.

More to follow on this page...

Tortoise, 50, stolen from Cheshunt back garden

A 50-year-old tortoise has been stolen from a garden in Cheshunt.

Herts Police

Hertfordshire Police said Deano was taken from his box in the back garden of a house in Holme Close between 02:30 and 08:00 on 15 October. He has been in the family for 28 years.

PCSO Nicole Wilson said: "They were extremely upset to find that he had been taken.

"I am appealing for anyone who may have seen someone acting suspiciously in the area or has been offered a tortoise for sale since Sunday, to please get in touch."

Herts Police

Officers ask public to 'keep 'em peeled' for stolen apple

Thames Valley Police have asked people in a tweet to "#KeepEmPeeled" after a large decorative apple - which reportedly has a "massive following" - was stolen from Atkins Farm in Prestwood, near Great Missenden, this week.

Stolen apple
Thames Valley Police

The fibre glass fruit, which stood outside My Fruit Orchard in Nairdwood Lane, went missing over the night of the 17 and 18 October.

It is the logo of the company - which takes people's home-grown apples to be pressed, pasteurised and made into juice.

My Fruit Orchard
Clark Betz

Clark Betz, from the company, who is offering a reward for its return, said the theft was "very disappointing".

"It's got a massive following, people travel from all over to see it, they love it, it's iconic," he said.

Mr Betz said he got the apple second-hand from a shop on London's Bond Street and it had previously been used as a prop.

Made out of fibre glass, he said it was quite light, so someone could have walked away with it, but at about 90cm x 60cm in size, you would "struggle to get it into a car".

"We just would like it back no questions asked," he said.

Stolen apple
Clark Betz
Stolen apple
Clark Betz

Question Time set goes up in Dunstable

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

The Grove Theatre has given us a peek at what's going on inside as they prepare for tonight's BBC Question Time - and it looks like they're pretty much ready to go.

Question Time at the Grove Theatre
Grove Theatre
Question Time at the Grove Theatre
Grove Theatre

The programme, presented by David Dimbleby, is on BBC One at 22:45.

Man charged after fatal Ivinghoe collision

A 20-year-old man has been charged in connection with a fatal accident near Ivinghoe in April.

A motorcyclist died after a collision at the junction of the B489 Tring Road and Beacon Road.

The man, from Aylesbury, has been served a postal requisition of one count of causing death by careless/inconsiderate driving and one count of causing death by driving without due care/consideration whilst over a prescribed drug limit.

He is due to appear at High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

Dunstable gets ready for BBC Question Time

BBC Question Time

Tonight's BBC Question Time is coming from the Grove Theatre in Dunstable.

The panel includes Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, Hertfordshire's Baroness Sal Brinton, who is the president of the Liberal Democrats, and Finedon's pop star-turned-vicar and Strictly Come Dancing contestant the Reverend Richard Coles.

Question Time panel

Question Time, presented by David Dimbleby, is on BBC One at 22:45 and then available on the BBC iPlayer.

Man arrested in inquiry into rapes in Luton in 2007

A 35-year-old man has been arrested in Luton on suspicion of rape, after two attacks, which happened 10 years ago.

They happened over a two-week period in 2007.

The first incident was reported on 30 November, when a 15-year-old girl said she was raped in a secluded area off Totternhoe Road, Dunstable, after accepting a lift from a taxi driver.

Then on 15 December, a 22-year-old woman reported a rape at an unknown location in Luton after she had been picked up by a taxi in Dunstable.

Totternhoe Road
Recent image of Totternhoe Road

Det Insp Pushpa Guild said: "It is never too late to speak to police if you are a victim of sexual assault.

"Your report will be taken seriously, and specially-trained officers will handle your case sensitively and without judgement."

Andrea Leadsom defends decision to delay Brexit debate

BBC Politics

The government is defending its decision to delay parliamentary debate on Brexit for several weeks.

Measures which would pave the way for European Union legislation to be transferred into British law will only be discussed after the autumn break.

Andrea Leadsom

The government is looking very carefully at those amendments and new clauses to ensure that when it does come back to this chamber, where we have eight days of debate with eight protected hours on each day, that the responses will be well thought through."

Andrea LeadsomSouth Northamptonshire MP

Teenager in 'terrifying attack' in St Neots

An 11-year-old girl has been involved in a "terrifying attack", according to Cambridgeshire Police.

They say the girl was walking home from school in the Love's Farm area of St Neots, when two men in a white van tried to steal her bag, at about 05:20 on Wednesday.

They don't believe it wasn't an attempted kidnap.

Map of St Neots

The men are described as in their 30s and wearing dark coloured beanie hats.

Extra patrols are taking place in the area to "provide reassurance to pupils and parents", police added.

Travis Perkins sales up after Brexit-related price rise

BBC Business Live

Northampton-based builders' merchant Travis Perkins, has said it put up prices to offset soaring costs from the Brexit-hit pound in the third quarter, which helped it boost sales.

The group, which also owns the Wickes DIY chain, reported a 4.1% rise in like-for-like sales in the period, with total sales increasing by 3.5%.

The firm said its revenue growth was down to "inflation driven price increases" after the pound's slump following the Brexit vote last year saw costs soar.

Builders merchant Travis Perkins

Read more economics news from the BBC Business Live page.

Histon care home residents get boxing fit

A care home is getting its residents into boxing as a way of getting fit.

Dorothy Hanant and Francis Hookham boxing
Dorothy Hanant sparring with 86-year-old Francis Hookham

Bramley Court in Histon near Cambridge has rolled out a new personalised exercise programme for all of its residents, which includes circuit training and boxing.

Dorothy Hanant, 81, says she is really enjoying the exercises and she can now "pull and open doors" that she previously struggled with.

'Significant' fire in Bletchley care home

We have had it confirmed that a kitchen fire, in Epsom Grove, Bletchley last night, was in a care home.

Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue service say it was "significant".

Sanctuary Care, which runs the home, says there are no reports of any injuries.

Caton care home

Flying Scotsman repairs continue

The Flying Scotsman remains in Peterborough this morning so repair works can continue.

The locomotive developed a fault yesterday during a "Cathedrals Express" trip between Ely and Norwich.

Flying Scotsman

The company behind the tour, Steam Dreams Rail, say it was due to a fault in the "hot axle box".

"It's not currently clear if the fault will be fixed in time for the trips on Saturday," they added.

Flying Scotsman being repaired

The train is due to travel from Norwich to Ipswich and back on Saturday morning, then from Norwich to London King's Cross in the afternoon.

Whatever happens the trips will take place, but with "an alternative steam locomotive" if the Flying Scotsman can't be fixed in time, they company explained.

Northampton remembers mother and twin daughters killed in Zeppelin raid

Commemorations are taking place 100 years to the day since a World War One Zeppelin raid on Northampton killed a woman and her twin daughters.

Eliza Gammons, 52, died instantly when an incendiary bomb struck her house on Parkwood Street in the St James area, setting fire to the upper rooms of the house.

Her brother-in-law Pte Albert Bazeley, who was staying at the house, rescued his family and carried out Mrs. Gammons' 13-year-old daughters Lily and Gladys, but they later died as a result of "shock by burns".

The grave of Aliza Gammons and her twin daughters Gladys and Lily lies in Dallington Cemetery

Their father Henry Gammons, a railway bricklayer, was away at the time.

The Zeppelin L45 airship, had been trying to reach Liverpool, but was blown off course and dropped an estimated 66 bombs on Northampton instead.

The Gammons are believed to be Northampton's only victims of WW1 air raids, which killed more than 500 people throughout the UK.

At 11:00 today, Mrs Gammon's great-great grandson, Wayne Casey, will lead a ceremony at their graveside at Dallington Cemetery.

Why was Northampton targeted in German air raids?

Then, from midday, a ceremony led by the St James Residents' Association will see a new memorial unveiled on St James Square, and a shopping area between It's A Gift and Natwest Bank re-named as Gammons Place.

To learn more about how World War One affected the people and places of the UK and Ireland visit the BBC's WW One At Home website.

Police raids taking place

Police raids are taking place Amersham this morning.

Thames Valley Police have tweeted this picture of an operation in Abrahams Close.

View more on twitter

Maulden crash: Couple 'fighting to get back to normality'

A couple who were forced to leave their 16th Century cottage after a van crashed through the front door are back in their home.

It is thought the vehicle came off at a bend on Ampthill Road, in Maulden, Bedfordshire, on 10 October before it crossed a grass verge, went through a hedge and embedded itself in the house.

Maulden van crash
South Beds News Agency

Val and Steve Fossey were lucky not to be injured and since then, their house has been reinforced by engineers.

Steve Fossey said: "We've been able to come back in, they've shored up the structure and boarded over the gaping great big hole in the front of the house.

"We've managed to resurrect half of our kitchen and with the help of neighbours and our family we've managed to clear out the debris."

Maulden van crash

Mr Fossey also said the couple had been getting "fantastic" support.

"I can't praise how good our neighbours and family have been," he said, "It just shows the true nature of people when these incidents occur.

"We're fighting really hard to get back to some sort of normality, but I think it's going to take a long time for the shock to wear off."

He said they hope that repairs can begin as soon as possible.

A man who was arrested on suspicion of drink driving has been released under investigation.

Dozens of firefighters tackle kitchen fire

About 30 firefighters have tackled a kitchen fire in Bletchley.

Two crews from Great Holm and Bletchley attended, while a crew each from Broughton and Newport Pagnell were called to Epsom Grove.

Epsom Grove

They were called at about 18:00 last night.

There are no reports of any injuries.

Giraffe stolen from Staverton back garden

Police are appealing for witnesses to stick their neck above the parapet after a 6ft (1.82m)-high giraffe ornament was stolen from a back garden in a rural village.

The metal sculpture was taken from Staverton near Daventry.

Ornamental giraffe
Northamptonshire Police
The owner did not wish to be identified

Police believe it was taken between 14:00 on Wednesday, 11 October and 10:00 on Saturday, 14 October.

The ornament is of "significant value", Northamptonshire Police said.

PC threatened with knife after attempted robbery

Police are trying to trace and identify a robber who threatened an officer with a knife in Letchworth before stealing his radio.

They say the man was being followed after he tried to rob a 69-year-old man at a cashpoint in the Garden Square Shopping Centre at about 10:15 on Tuesday.

He made off with the man's railcard, before dropping it.

He was confronted by a police officer as he tried to board a Cambridge-bound train at Letchworth, but he threatened the officer and ran off.

The railway line was temporarily closed while the area was searched, and the radio was later found.

The robber is described as black, aged 20-40, and spoke with a Caribbean accent. He was wearing a black jacket and a black woolly hat.

The Apprentice: Watford's Harrison Jones hangs on

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Watford sales executive Harrison Jones kept his place in The Apprentice last night by the skin of his teeth.

The candidates were given a robot-themed task where one half of each team had to programme a prototype robot.

Harrison's sub-team decided on a robot for the over 60s and decided the main things they would want from a robot to help their lifestyle were recipes, yoga and a reminder to take your medication.

Over 60 Lord Sugar took umbridge and suggested they might want to look up a villa holiday in Spain, rather than "incontinence pants".

As sub-team leader, Harrison was brought back into the boardroom by Team Vitality leader Michaela Wain as it was felt these decisions contributed to the loss of the task.

But Lord Sugar decided to keep him and fired barrister Elliot Van Emden instead.

The boys discuss ideas for a mechanical robot.

Today's weather: Mild and damp

Elizabeth Rizzini

BBC Look East weather

It's a damp, mild and rather murky start to the day across the BBC East region, with mist and fog in some places and there will probably be some rain in the western counties. Further east, it is more likely to be dry.

There will be lots of cloud through the day and there might be some showers through the afternoon as well.

Maximum temperature: 17C (63F).

Elizabeth Rizzini has the outlook for the East of England on Thursday, 19 October 2017.

Flying Scotsman fault 'very unusual'

Flying Scotsman at Peterborough

The travel company behind Flying Scotsman's unsuccessful 'Cathedrals Express' trip from Ely to Norwich today says the locomotive "developed a fault" earlier and had to stop at Peterborough.

In a statement, the Steam Dreams Rail co. said: "Flying Scotsman developed a fault with its hot axel box on the right hand driving wheel, which was discovered at Peterborough.

"Unfortunately this means the locomotive is a failure, and the Cathedrals Express will be hauled instead by a vintage diesel locomotive this evening.

"Steam locomotives need 24 hours preparation so a failure like this during the day leaves us no choice but to run with diesel as the extent of the hotbox cannot be assessed until the locomotive has returned to a depot.

"This is a very unusual occurrence in the middle of a journey and only the second time the Flying Scotsman has had any problems since its return in January 2016.

"We are extremely sorry for the disappointment that this will cause to both our passengers and onlookers."

Flying Scotsman at Peterborough

Student who moved to the UK speaking no English graduates with first-class degree

Orla Moore

BBC Local Live

Hameeda Hussani

A student who moved to Peterborough from Afghanistan a decade ago will receive a first-class law degree from Anglia Ruskin University this evening.

Hameeda Hussani arrived in the city at the age of 13. She'd never been to school and couldn't speak English.

Hameeda, 23, used to earn money for her family by weaving carpets with her sister.

"Ever since I was a child I’d wanted to study law," she said. "But coming to the UK unable to speak, read or write English, I didn’t believe it was possible for me.

"When you’ve dreamed of doing something for so long, even if it seems impossible, the thought revisits you again and again."

Her next target is to secure a training contract with a firm of solicitors in the summer, with a view to specialising in property or corporate law.

"Anybody can go as far as they want to go with the right determination and support," she said.

Two sculptures stolen from Great Missenden

Nic Rigby

BBC News

Two abstract spiral sculptures by Chesham-based sculptor Charles Elliott were stolen last night whilst on show near Great Missenden, in Buckinghamshire, the artist has said.

Charles Elliott artworks
Charles Elliott

They had been on show near Great Missenden since September.

Mr Elliott said: "We have sculpture on show to the public throughout the Home Counties and London, this is the first time someone has even attempted to steal our work. We hope the community enjoy seeing our work and will help us track these down."

Mr Elliott said the sculptures, which are about 6ft (1.8m) tall and valued at £1,250 each, had been welded down to large lumps of steel.

We've asked Thames Valley Police for a comment.

New £40 fee for garden waste collection, despite local opposition

People in parts of Hertfordshire will soon have to pay £40 a year to have their garden waste collected.

Councillors at North and East Hertfordshire district councils have voted to introduce the charge, even though a public survey showed 83% of East Herts residents were against the plan.

Garden waste bin

Defending the decision, Michael Weeks, North Herts District Council's executive member for waste, recycling and environment said: "It all comes down to money, we have to save £4m in the next three or four years and we are struggling to do that."

The contract will run for seven years from May 2018, with the option of a further seven years.

As reported by The Comet, opposition councillors called the consultation, which cost a reported £5,031 "a waste", with the majority of the money spent on publicity leaflets.

Man charged over road death

A man has been charged with causing death by dangerous driving after a woman died in Bourne End in May.

The 65-year-old, from High Wycombe, was charged on Tuesday.

Hilary Haines, 68, died after she was hit by a lorry on 10 May.

Kettering Town identify 'viable site' for new stadium

Kettering Town say they have identified a site within the town which would be "a viable location" to build a new football ground.

Rockingham Road, the club's home until 2011, was bought last month by property developers - ending any hope of the Poppies returning to their home of 114 years.

Kettering had twice tried and failed to get their old home listed as an "asset of community value".

After a brief spell playing at Nene Park, the now demolished former home of Rushden & Diamonds, the club currently play in Burton Latimer in a ground share with Burton Park Wanderers.

Latimer Park
The club have played games at Latimer Park in Burton Latimer for almost five years

A statement on the Southern League Premier club's website said: "As discussions are still at a delicate stage we have been requested not to declare the location but we are confident that it will tick the boxes for the majority of our followers.

"If we can make this happen the club will move to a purpose-built stadium, with on-site parking and suitable clubhouse facilities.

"This would not, however, see the end of our relationship with Latimer Park, which would continue to be used as a training base, match day facility for our academy as well as a community venue."

On the pitch, the Poppies missed out on an FA Cup first-round trip to Stevenage last night, after they were beaten 1-0 at home by Nantwich in a replay.

Man to go on trial over attempted murder of baby

Orla Moore

BBC Local Live

Luton Crown
Geograph/Thomas Nugent

A man accused of the attempted murder of a baby will go on trial in the new year.

Sean Ziemelis, 31, appeared at Luton Crown Court this morning via a video link from Bedford Prison.

Mr Ziemelis is charged with the attempted murder of a child under a year old, two offences of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and assault by beating.

Both the defence and prosecution told Judge Michael Kay QC that they needed more time on the case - and asked for psychiatric reports.

The case was adjourned until next month, and a trial date set for 29 January.

Mr Ziemelis was remanded in custody.

Great British Bake Off: Spoiler alert

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

You know the drill... stop reading if you're yet to watch last night's show.

While Bedfordshire basked in the glory of its Bedfordshire Clanger on prime time TV in the Great British Bake Off, Hertfordshire had the honour of seeing Radlett's Stacey Hart become star baker - even though she pulled her oven door off.

In forgotten bakes week, Stacey's clanger consisted of a savoury Camembert and onion side, and a sweet apple and blueberry end for which she got a coveted handshake from judge Paul Hollywood.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

In the technical challenge to make a Cumberland rum Nicky, Stacey came third and even backchatted Hollywood when he accused her of making too many lattice strips.

"It said 14 so I made 14," she said - but apologised when he pointed out she'd made 15.

Her showstopper lemon and orange Savoy cake was described by Paul Hollywood as having "great flavour" and the "texture is amazing".

Cambridgeshire hospitals missing targets

The performance of hospitals across the UK has slumped with targets for cancer, A&E and planned operations now being missed en masse, BBC research shows.

Addenbrooke's Hospital only met one of its targets in cancer care and failed in A&E and planned operations and care.

A&E at Addenbrooke's

The North West Anglia NHS Trust, which manages both Peterborough City Hospital and Hinchingbrooke Hospital, also failed to meet two of its targets. The only one it met was planned ops and care.

Strictly: Waltz a way to go, Aston

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

It's the moment that any Strictly Come Dancing fan can't wait for... the dance reveal.

Peterborough's Aston Merrygold danced a quickstep last week, but now it's the turn of Jonnie Peacock to rush around the floor.

He'll be dancing to Part-Time Lover by Stevie Wonder.

It will be a case of 1,2,3 for Aston, as he and Janette Can't Help Falling In Love to a waltz, Elvis Presley style.

View more on twitter

Strictly: Jive talking

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

It's the moment that any Strictly Come Dancing fan can't wait for... the dance reveal.

Watford's Brian Conley better be practising his kicks and flicks, as he'll be attempting a jive to It's Not Unusual by Tom Jones.

What would be unusual would be a 10 from Craig!

View more on twitter

Flying Scotsman in the region

The world famous steam engine, the Flying Scotsman, is passing through the region today.

The train left Peterborough this morning on a scheduled trip to York and will return later.

If you missed it, don't worry as it will travel from Ely to Norwich this afternoon.

Flying Scotsman

Trainspotters are being urged to keep off the tracks, with Network Rail asking spectators to only take photos from safe areas.

It also warns against drones being flown, reminding enthausiasts flying them within 50 metres of the railway is illegal.

Dr Whitlock

It was a very proud day yesterday for Olympic gold medallist Max Whitlock, who received his Honorary Doctor of Science degree from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge.

Max Whitlock
Max Whitlock

Here he is getting it... .

View more on twitter

Anglia Ruskin University says he was chosen for his "dedication and success" helping to "raise the profile of gymnastics with young people throughout the UK".

GBBO drops a clanger

Social media in Bedfordshire went into a little bit of a meltdown last night, as the Bedfordshire Clanger featured on Channel 4's Great British Bake Off.

The meal consists of a savory filling in one end and a sweet one in the other.

Sarah Gammon from Bedford was very excited to see it feature on TV, and said of the delicacy: "I quite like’s a genius idea!"

View more on twitter

According to local bakers, Gunns it "was originally the food of farm labourers. A suet pudding with a meat filling, portable cold or eaten hot on returning home.

"They were considered affordable, filling and very calorific.

"As the pudding could be left simmering away all day, ready for the family's evening return, it suited an area where many of the women were employed outside the home in the 19th Century".