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Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Delivery driver 'robbed of Christmas parcels'

A delivery driver has been robbed of his van thought to have been filled with Christmas parcels in Milton Keynes, police said.

At about 15:00 yesterday, the driver was hit on the head by a man while delivering £2,000-worth of packages on Clifford Avenue, Bletchley.

Clifford Avenue
Google

The offender, who was described as black, then got into the white Mercedes van - registration WR56 BKL - and drove off.

The delivery driver, a man in his 40s, was taken to Milton Keynes Hospital for treatment and later discharged.

Det Con Kim McHugh said: "This robbery happened in the middle of the afternoon just as the driver was delivering parcels, presumably, considering the time of year, many were destined as Christmas presents."

The officer appealed for witnesses to come forward.

CCTV appeal to find name of man killed at railway station

Laurence Cawley

BBC News

Man at Hemel Hemstead train station
British Transport Police

Police investigating the death of a man at Hemel Hempstead railway station have released an image in an appeal to find out who he was.

The man was struck by a train and died on Monday.

Roger Andrew, of British Transport Police, said: "This was a tragic incident and we are working very hard to identify this man so we can offer his family support and let them know what has happened."We are confident that there is nothing to say this death is suspicious."

Luton stabbing: Teenager arrested

A 17-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm after a man was stabbed in Luton.

Police were called to Derwent Road on Tuesday at about 19:50 following the stabbing. The man was taken to hospital but not seriously injured.

The teenager was arrested in Kempston this morning.

Derwent Road, Luton
Google

Campaigners oppose 'wrong place' new town proposals

Campaigners say a new town of between 4,500 and 6,000 homes, planned for at least one of four locations north of Bedford, is in "absolutely the wrong place".

Baroness Young of Old Scone is part of Keep North Beds Green, a new group set up to oppose the proposals.

The scheme to build new towns at Lee Farm in Sharnbrook, Thurleigh, Twinwoods or Wyboston is part of Bedford Borough Council's local plan for housing development. Keep North Beds Green says the area is already too congested.

The council said its draft plan will go out for public consultation, if it is approved by its executive on 10 January.

Map showing possible new town locations
Keep North Beds Green/Google

An odd place to park...

A driver has been fined for parking their car in the middle of a road in Beaconsfield.

Officers from Thames Valley Police said they hoped the motorist would "think again" about parking in a similar fashion after receiving three points and a £100 fine.

View more on twitter

Waste treatment plant would have taller chimney than Ely Cathedral

waste treatment works plan
Amey

Environmental services firm Amey has submitted plans for a waste treatment plant that, when finished, could end up taller than Ely Cathedral.

The plant at Waterbeach would cost £200m and its chimney stack would be 80m (262ft) - 14m higher than Ely Cathedral.

Chris Smiles, from Amey, said the company wanted the plant to have the "least impact on the surrounding area" but admitted the stack height was "significant".

Plans will now be fully reviewed by the county council, and a decision made next year.

Badminton England funding cut: One year on

This time last year it was announced UK Sport was withdrawing its funding to Badminton England. The Milton Keynes-based federation was one of seven sports to lose its funding.

One year on, the former England women's singles number one, Fontaine Wright, has spoken of the effects of the funding cut.

"It's been a bit of a whirlwind," she said.

Fontaine Wright
The Racketline

"I basically had a few months to figure out my life once I lost that funding. It's really hard; you get yourself to a position where you've made good progress - I was number one - then you have to start over."

Wright explained the funding was used for a variety of things including physiotherapy, training, shuttles, insurance, tournament entry fees and travel costs.

Badminton England attempted to overturn the decision by UK Sport, but failed in their bid.

Christmas with a difference for Northampton police officer

It could be a working Christmas with a difference for a Northamptonshire Police officer.

Det Supt Simon Blatchly has been seconded from the county force as the United Nations Police Commissioner in the West African state of Liberia.

A presidential election is in progress there, with a second round of voting likely to take place on Boxing Day.

"It is strange seeing Christmas trees in temperatures around 30C," he told BBC Radio Northampton.

"It [Christmas] is an important festival here. People try and meet with their families, which will have an impact on the voting because people won't be in the areas where they would [normally be] to vote."

Simon Blatchly
@Pol_Comm_UNMIL / Twitter

Borough council budget moots parking charge increase

Craig Lewis

BBC Northampton Politics Reporter

Northampton Borough Council's cabinet has met to discuss plans for next year's budget.

The budget-setting proposal at the borough council comes against a backdrop of a funding gap of more than £11m over the next five years.

The deficit is the result of years of reductions in government funding.

Plans to address this included proposals to increase car parking fees in Northampton by £1 per day along with the introduction of an additional £2 charge at the weekend.

A council tax increase of more than two per cent was also discussed.

Northampton Guildhall
BBC

Milton Keynes casino funds help for gambling addicts

Milton Keynes Citizen

More than £1m has been docked from the profits of the city’s casino to fund support for gambling addicts.

Paintball attacks in Bishop's Stortford

Residents in Bishop's Stortford are being blighted by paintball attacks.

Balls fired at Birchwood High School caused £20,000 worth of damage and six other residential addresses have been targeted in Parsonage Lane, Stansted Road, Cranwell Gardens, Hurn Grove and two in Linkside Road.

All the offences took place between 15 and 20 December and involved yellow paint.

Sgt Mark Collins said: "Those responsible may think this is a bit of fun, but they are actually committing a criminal offence and will be dealt with as such.

"Not only are they causing damage to people’s property, but firing any missile without permission of the landowner, even paint, is a criminal offence and very dangerous."

The force has asked for anyone with any information to come forward.

'Step up' campaign launched to prevent sexual assaults

Orla Moore

BBC Local Live

A campaign has been launched by Cambridgeshire Police to reduce sexual assaults in bars and clubs.

The 'Step up' initiative is encouraging people to intervene if they see a situation where they see inappropriate behaviour that could lead to a sexual assault.

A recent poll from the force revealed that seven in 10 people would be prepared to intervene.

The campaign follows initiatives like "Ask for Angela", aimed at putting preventative measures in place to stop people becoming victims of sexual assault.

Step Up campaign
Getty Images

Det Insp Kate Anderson, who leads the force's Rape Investigation Team, said: "This campaign is about empowering bystanders to 'step in' if they are concerned for someone's welfare.

"Everyone has the right to go out and enjoy themselves without fear that they will be subjected to sexual violence, assaults and sexualised comments."

Ice rink work delayed after WW2 grenades found

Cambridge News

Work on a new ice rink in Cambridge has been delayed after 40 unexploded grenades dating from World War Two were found and detonated.

Council makes U-turn over Rhubarb Bridge plans

Peterborough Telegraph

Rhubarb Bridge, Peterborough
Google

The city council has guaranteed that Peterborough's ailing Rhubarb Bridge - at junction 17 of the A47/A15 - will be repaired and eventually replaced - despite the £30m price tag.

Pedestrian killed at Haddon services named

Police have named a pedestrian who died in a collision involving a lorry near Peterborough earlier this month.

Daniel Guillaume, 54, from France, sadly died on the A605 by the A1 Haddon Services on 12 December.

Police have renewed an appeal for witnesses.

A605 at Haddon Services
Google

Hatfield motorcyclist banned after doing 139mph on A1(M)

Welwyn Hatfield Times

A motorcyclist has been banned from driving after doing 139mph along the A1(M) in the Hatfield area.

Scene of crash involving fire engine and pedestrian

This is the scene on Towcester Road in Northampton, after a pedestrian was hit and left seriously injured by a fire engine on its way to an emergency.

The pedestrian was taken to hospital for treatment after the incident at 19:20. The road remained closed for several hours but has since reopened.

Towcester Road, Northampton
BBC
Towcester Road, Northampton
BBC

Incinerator plan approved by council

Plans to build an energy-from-waste facility in Hoddesdon have been approved by Hertfordshire County Council.

Hoddesdon incinerator site
Google

The development control committee voted by seven to three to grant planning permission for Veolia to build a recycling and energy recovery plant at Rye House in Ratty’s Lane.

Chairman Ian Reay said: "It hasn’t been a straightforward decision – and I know it won’t be universally popular – but overall the committee felt that the negative impacts of the facility are clearly outweighed by the benefits, and therefore we’ve resolved that planning permission be granted... "

The council cannot issue a formal decision notice granting planning permission until the communities secretary decides whether or not he will call the application in and hold a public inquiry. If he doesn’t call it in, planning permission will be granted upon the completion of a section 106 agreement.

County and Broxbourne borough councillor Tim Hutchings tweeted: "We may have lost the battle but the war goes on."

Suspected drug dealer arrested after getting in unmarked police car

A man has been arrested on suspicion of possession of drugs with intent to supply after unwittingly getting into an unmarked police car.

Officers in plain clothes were in the car looking for a "drug dealer" in Buckingham, when the man approached the car and got in the back.

Thames Valley Police said the man was "surprised" when he was arrested.

View more on twitter

Driver seriously hurt in roundabout crash

Orla Moore

BBC Local Live

A motorist has been seriously injured after his Jaguar car "went airborne over the roundabout" in Peterborough last night.

It happened on the A15 Lincoln Road at Dukesmead, just before midnight.

View more on twitter

A spokesperson for Cambridgeshire Police said: "The driver of the vehicle, a man, had to be released from the vehicle by the fire service. He was taken to hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries."

Arthur Street murder: Serious case review into boy's death

Arthur Street, Northampton
SOUTH BEDS NEWS AGENCY

The Northamptonshire Safeguarding Children Board said there would be a serious case review in relation to the death of a two-year-old boy in Northampton last Friday.

Emergency services were called to a property in Arthur Street where the child was found unresponsive.

A 30-year-old man has been charged with murder and remains in custody ahead of a plea and case management hearing early next year.

Northamptonshire Police has also referred the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Family jewellery stolen in 'distressing' Luton burglary

Family jewellery handed down through several generations has been stolen during a burglary on Monday.

The thieves broke in to the house on Riddy Lane in Luton.

PC Alex Marvin said it was "a very distressing incident" for the home owners.

View more on twitter

Appeal for statue stolen from church

Thames Valley Police is appealing for information after a statue was stolen from a church in Winslow, near Aylesbury.

It was taken from St Laurence Church on the high street some time between 19 and 22 November.

View more on twitter

Stolen guide dog reunited with owner

Guide dog with police officers and PCSO
Northamptonshire Police

A neighbourhood PCSO using an off-road police motorbike has recovered a guide dog that had been stolen from an 83-year-old woman in Northampton.

Chandler, the black Labrador, was being exercised by his owner at about 10:30 this morning in the Rectory Farm pocket park.

Two men approached the partially-sighted owner and took her dog. Northampton's Neighbourhood Policing Team were called and the PCSO quickly located Chandler in Ecton Brook and returned him to his owner.

The men who took the animal were described as dark skinned, about 20 years old, with one wearing a grey hooded top. Officers are asking for anyone with information to contact them.

Police cadet outdoor sleepover raises more than £2,000

A group of 43 cadets and their instructors slept in the car park at Bedfordshire Police HQ at Kempston to raise awareness of homelessness.

The money will be shared between SMART Prebend Day Centre, charity Emmaus and the cadet programme.

View more on twitter

Northampton toddler killing: Murder accused remanded in custody

Arthr Street, Northampton
SOUTH BEDS NEWS AGENCY

A 30-year-old man charged with the murder of a two-year-old-boy in Northampton has been remanded in custody following a hearing at Leicester Crown Court.

Raphael Kennedy was arrested last Friday after a child was found unresponsive at a property on Arthur Street.

A provisional post-mortem examination found the boy died from a blunt trauma to his abdomen, causing internal injuries.

Mr Kennedy is due back in court again on 23 January.

Peterborough link to missing Carlisle teenager

Police trying to locate a missing teenager from Carlisle, Cumbria, believe he may have travelled to the Peterborough area.

Joseph Charlott, 16, was last seen on 25 October.

He's described as white, 5ft 4in tall and of slim build with short, dark brown hair.

Police say Joseph has family connections to both Peterborough and Hastings.

Joseph Charlott
Cambridgeshire Police

Corby police station closes, replaced by new desk at Corby Cube

Corby police station has shut down, but has been replaced by a police desk situated at Corby Cube.

From today the new desk will be used by people to report crime, produce driving documents and make enquiries. The county's force says it is more modern and welcoming.

Corby Cube
BBC

"There's no doubt the footfall within front offices has dropped significantly," said Insp Julie Mead from Northamptonshire Police.

"But we are hoping that people will see us here and use this as an opportunity to speak to the police."

The Cube - which is also home to Corby Borough Council and a theatre - is about half a mile from the now closed police station on Elizabeth Street.

Rescue dog found in Bushey six weeks after she ran away

Watford Observer

A rescue dog is recovering at her new home six weeks after she ran away.

Letchworth family's touching tribute after crash tragedy

The Comet

The family of Jessie Worbey have paid tribute to their "sociable, loving and talented" daughter and sister from Letchworth, after her tragic death following a car crash.

Business leader defends 'professional beggars' comments

A business leader in Milton Keynes has stood by her comments that many people on the streets of the town are "professional beggars" and not genuine homeless people sleeping rough.

The chief executive of Central Milton Keynes Business Improvement District, Melanie Beck, had said people were "coining it in" by begging on the streets and "making themselves look like victims of the state".

Homeless campaigner Ricky Oates was angered by the comments. He said the Business Improvement District should stop advising people not to give money to the homeless.

Yesterday, BBC Three Counties Radio reporter Justin Dealey went undercover on the streets of Milton Keynes acting as a homeless person to see if he could "coin it in". After seven hours, he received just £24.60 from members of the public.

Justin Dealey on the streets of Milton Keynes
BBC

Ms Beck today defended her comments and said there were a number of people who begged on the streets during the day but were not there at night.

"They are not true homeless people, they are going somewhere to sleep and they are coming back in the morning to take money," she said.

The money Justin received will be donated to Children in Need.

Shops 'will switch' if Booker raises prices

Tesco logo; Booker logo
Getty Images

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) says it also examined whether Tesco's £3.7bn takeover of Booker "could raise prices or reduce service quality at either the wholesale or retail levels".

It concluded "that existing strong competition in wholesale and retail made this unlikely".

The CMA said that of the hundreds of retailers it surveyed during its investigation into the deal, "most shops use more than one wholesaler and frequently switch".

They added: "In addition, almost half of symbol group retailers surveyed and more than a third of independent retailers said that if Booker were to raise prices after the merger with Tesco, they might stop buying from Booker altogether."

Watchdog clears Tesco-Booker deal

Booker in Wellingborough
BBC

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has cleared Hertfordshire-based Tesco's takeover of Northamptonshire wholesaler Booker.

The CMA says: "Tesco, as a retailer, and Booker, as a wholesaler, do not compete head-to-head in most of their activities."

Booker supplies shops operating under the Premier, Londis and Budgens brands.

But the CMA added: "Booker does not own the shops it supplies and these retailers are free to set their prices and decide which products to stock. So, although these shops compete with Tesco, Booker cannot directly determine how they compete."

130 travellers want to spend Christmas together on a park and ride site

Cambridge News

A family of 130 travellers evicted from the Cambridge North station car park on Tuesday are hoping to remain at the former park and ride site on Cowley Road until after Christmas.

Man fined for Fen Ditton fly-tipping

Orla Moore

BBC Local Live

Fly-tipping
South Cambs District Council

A man who dumped a load of domestic waste in the middle of a road in Fen Ditton has been fined more than £1,600.

Aaron Duffy, 29, of Jack Warren Green, Cambridge, was paid £150 to dispose of the rubbish, Cambridge Magistrates' Court heard.

However, he instead left the material - including full black bin bags, white goods and furniture - strewn along Low Fen Drove Way, off High Ditch Road, in July.

Duffy pleaded guilty to fly-tipping under Section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

The fine included the council's costs, because a grab lorry was needed to clear the waste.

Fly-tipping
South Cambs District Council

Mark Howell, South Cambridgeshire District Council's cabinet member for environmental health, said: "There are so many legal options for getting rid of waste, so there is never, ever an excuse for dumping rubbish.

"Fly-tipping will not be tolerated and we will continue to take a hard line on anyone who does it."

Search for 'most Christmassy name' ends in Cambridgeshire

Cambridge News

The British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA) scoured the UK to find someone with a festive namesake - and it turns out Donna Rudolph lives in March.

St Albans council escapes punishment

Herts Advertiser

The Information Commissioner has decided not to punish St Albans district council after it sent taxpayers' bank details to the wrong people.

Herts PCC to ask for residents' views on police funding

Hertfordshire's police and crime commissioner has welcomed the new police funding plans announced by the government and will ask for residents views on the proposals.

David Lloyd
Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner

Commissioners will be able to raise the portion of council tax that goes towards policing by £12 per household annually without having a referendum.

David Lloyd said: "I welcome [the] settlement which provides additional funding for Hertfordshire in 2018-19 and transparency on 2019-20's settlement at this early stage.

"Hertfordshire will continue to have one of the lowest council tax bills for policing in the whole country.

"I've called for a greater degree of flexibility in raising the precept and have worked closely with the Home Office in recent months to make a detailed, evidenced-based case for more investment in policing.

"I shall, as I do each year, be writing an open letter to all residents to seek their views on the proposal."

Uninsured driver applied for insurance from squad car

A motorist suspected of driving without insurance took out a policy in the back of a police car after she was pulled over by officers in Northampton.

Special Insp Anthony Rawson tweeted. "That policy was taken out at 08:25. She has been in our car since 08:00... 10/10 for effort."

The car was seized and driver reported for driving without insurance for the second time in four weeks.

Picture showing uninsured vehicle in Northampton
@SInspRawson / Twitter

Pictures: Car crashes into property in Luton

This was the scene earlier as emergency services dealt with a car that crashed and ended up in a front garden of a house in Luton.

It happened at about 14:45 on Crawley Green Road and police, ambulance and fire crews were at the scene.

Car crash in Luton
BBC
Car crash in Luton
BBC
Car crash in Luton
BBC