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  1. Updates for Monday 11 May 2015
  2. More new, sport, travel and weather updates from 08:00 on Tuesday

Live Reporting

By Craig Lewis

All times stated are UK

Get involved


Craig Lewis

Beds, Herts & Bucks Live

That's all for a busy news day on Beds, Herts and Bucks Live.

We'll be back tomorrow morning from 08:00.

BreakingMajor incident in Drakes Drive

Craig Lewis

Beds, Herts & Bucks Live

A man has been taken to hospital in a serious condition after police attended a property in Drakes Drive in St Albans following reports someone had been stabbed.

Ambulance at Drakes Drive

Two police cars, an ambulance and the air ambulance attended. Hertfordshire Police say the incident is not suspicious and they are not looking for anyone else.

PCC calls for meeting with home secretary

Craig Lewis

Beds, Herts & Bucks Live

More reaction now from Olly Martins after his plan to increase the police funding in the council tax by almost 16% was rejected.

Police referendum results

He said the force can "only do so much with so few officers" and it is now down to the government to ensure it has the resources it needs.

He added: "To this end I will be seeking an urgent opportunity for the Chief Constable and I to meet with the home secretary to press our case."

Olly Martins vows to continue as Bedfordshire PCC

BBC Three Counties Radio

Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Olly Martins has just told us that it will be up to the people to decide if he should continue in his job.

Mr Martins said he will face an election next year and "people will make a decision then".

He added: "No-one said being Police and Crime Commissioner would easy, but I'm getting on with it and doing the best job I can."

MP Alistair Burt gets political promotion

Paul Scoins

Political reporter, BBC Three Counties Radio

It is a return to front-line politics for Alistair Burt having left the foreign office following a re-shuffle in the last parliament.

Alistair Burt

Mr Burt was regarded as a safe pair of hands during the Arab Spring uprising and his departure raised a few eyebrows.

He was minister of the Department for Social Security during the last Tory government from 1992 to 1997.

Via Twitter

David Cameron

tweets: "Alistair Burt is the new Minister of State at the Department of Health."

Mr Burt is the MP for

North East Bedfordshire.

Update: Bab's Store stabbing verdict

Adina Campbell

Reporter, BBC South Today

David Clarke, who was earlier found guilty of wounding with intent for stabbing shop worker Rushatharan Asok last September, had been living at the Whiteleaf mental health unit in Aylesbury a few days before the attack, the court heard.

The 25-year-old victim is still being cared for in hospital eight months after he was stabbed. The attack led to him suffering a stroke and being in a coma.

Clarke, 63, who was found guilty at Reading Crown Court, will be sentenced at a later date.

Man found guilty of wounding with intent

Adina Campbell

BBC South Today

A man who stabbed a shop worker in the neck has been found guilty of wounding with intent, but cleared of attempted murder.

Bab's Food and Wine Store

David Clarke, 63, of no fixed address, had denied both offences at Reading Crown Court.

The offence took place at Bab's Food and Wine Store in Buckingham Street, Aylesbury, last September.

Update: Audi confirm 'free meal' charity deal

Craig Lewis

Beds, Herts & Bucks Live

The garage which

refused to pay for all of a free meal it offered after a customer spent £700 at a Michelin-starred restaurant has confirmed it will be donating half of the cost to charity.

L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon

A spokesman for Watford Audi said it will donate the outstanding £357 balance of the restaurant bill to a charity of Siobhan Yap's choice.

He said: "Miss Yap has also agreed to accept the £250 originally offered by the team at Watford Audi in full settlement, meaning that the £107 she had originally requested in addition will now be included in the charitable donation, taking the total to £464."

Coral cashier threatened with gun

Craig Lewis

Beds, Herts & Bucks Live

Hertfordshire Police have released CCTV images of a man who pointed a gun at a cashier during a robbery at Coral Bookmakers in Welwyn Garden City.

CCTV of Coral robbery
Hertfordshire Police

The incident happened at 21:10 on 4 May when the crash helmet wearing man demanded cash, before making off on a motorcycle.

The man wore black clothing, a balaclava and a crash helmet. He was also wearing motorcycle gloves and what police believe are black plimsolls.

Atif Ali murder conspiracy: Luton sisters jailed for perjury

Katy Lewis

Beds, Herts and Bucks Live

The ex-fiancee of a man targeted in a love triangle assassination plot has been

jailed for lying to jurors.

Atif Ali

Nazeem Dad, 29, admitted committing perjury during the trial of ex-boyfriend Shahzad Mahroof, who was jailed last year for conspiring to murder accountant Atif Ali (pictured above).

Milton Keynes parking charge hike

MK Web

Charges for parking in the centre of Milton Keynes will increase with immediate effect on Monday 18 May.

Standard purple spaces - which currently cost 40p per hour - will increase by 10p to 50p an hour, while the cost of premium red spaces will go up from £1.40 to £2 an hour.

Weather update

BBC Weather

The weather should remain largely dry overnight with clear spells.

Kate Kinsella

There is a possibility it may become cloudier later in the night with light spots of rain possible in the south.

Four-year-old girl faced 'sustained' attack

Nic Rigby

BBC News, East

Four-year-old Alexa-Marie Quinn suffered a "sustained persistent hard hitting" by her father Carl Wheatley, prosecutor Christopher Donnellan QC tells St Albans Crown Court, in his closing speech.

Carl Wheatley and Alexa-Marie Quinn
John O'Reilly/Fairleys

The girl died on 12 March 2014 after it is alleged she was beaten by her father at the home they shared together in Queen Bee Court, Hatfield. Mr Wheatley, 31, denies murder but admits Alexa-Marie's manslaughter.

During the trial the jury have been told the father suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, but Mr Donnellan said it was the crown's case that he knew what he was doing adding "he knew right from wrong". The case continues.

In other news

Craig Lewis

Beds, Herts & Bucks Live

The thwarting of the PCC Olly Martin's ambition for an increase council tax to pay for Bedfordshire Police has been a big talking point today.

We'll have more reaction later, but first some other stories making the news in the three counties today...

Olly Martins: Beds Police a "weak link" in terrorism fight

PCC Olly Martins said defeat for his tax plan will mean Bedfordshire Police "is potentially a weak link in the fight against terrorism and organised crime".

Olly Martins

He said the result would lead to a "lack of properly resourced neighbourhood policing teams" and "serious urban challenges".

"This directly impacts on its ability to gather information against and tackle terrorists and criminals and to come to the aid of the public when needed," he added.

Council tax rise rejected at referendum

Andrew Woodger

BBC News Online

Council taxpayers in Bedfordshire

have voted against a £4.5m rise in their bills to pay for the police.

The referendum had been prompted by Olly Martins, the county's Police and Crime Commissioner, who wanted to use it to fund 100 extra officers.

MP backs PCC after referendum defeat

Paul Scoins

Political reporter, BBC Three Counties Radio

Kelvin Hopkins MP has offered his 100% support to PCC Olly Martins despite his referendum defeat.

Mr Hopkins said attempting to increase the

Bedfordshire Police council tax precept was "the right thing to make sure we have sufficient policing".

He added that issues like terrorism and child abuse can't be policed without proper resources.

Police referendum: "Underlying problem remains"

Craig Lewis

Beds, Herts & Bucks Live

PCC Olly Martins said voters in Bedfordshire have "given a clear and emphatic verdict" in today's referendum.

Police officer and police tape

But he said the "underlying problem" in the police budget has not gone away, with the vote meaning the force will miss out on £1.28m.

He added: "This will result in a recruitment freeze in the next 18 to 24 months and a reduction of up to 135 police officers, or 12% of our current strength."

Chief Constable: "We will do our best"

Craig Lewis

Beds, Herts & Bucks Live

Colette Paul, Bedfordshire's police Chief Constable, has reacted to the referendum result by saying the force will "continue to do the best we can with the resources we've got".

Colette Paul

She said the aim is to concentrate on community policing and keeping people safe.

"The Commissioner felt that any endeavour to secure the additional funding for the force was a risk worth taking," she said. "As a result of today's outcome, our estimated budget shortfall is £6m - which equates to approximately 135 police officers."

Why Olly Martins went ahead with the referendum

Katy Lewis

Beds, Herts and Bucks Live

Mr Martins, who proposed the council tax increase in January, consulted on whether it would be accepted by the public saying he wouldn't go ahead with the vote unless he was "reasonably confident of getting an affirmative result".

A YouGov poll he commissioned suggested 70% of residents would reject the idea, but the PCC said other research showed "strong support" for the rise.

Referendum was "brave and honest"

Paul Scoins

Political reporter, BBC Three Counties Radio

MP for Luton North Kelvin Hopkins has blamed the wording on the ballot paper for PCC Olly Martin's referendum defeat.

Kelvin Hopkins

Mr Hopkins told BBC Three Counties Radio: "I think it was a brave and honest thing. I certainly voted yes myself.

"The problem was the wording on the paper. If it had said 'would you be prepared to pay 18p a week extra for 100 extra police officers' people might have said yes," he said.

Via Twitter

Bedfordshire PCC

tweets: PCC says there will be recruitment freeze in the next 18 to 24 months and reduction of up to 135 police officers or 12% of current strength.

Via Twitter

Sally Chidzoy, BBC Look East's home affairs correspondent,

tweets: 301,799 voters cast vote. PCC "disappointed ..police resources so thin it's like trying to cover a double bed with a single duvet".

Olly Martins loses council tax referendum

Paul Scoins

Political reporter, BBC Three Counties Radio

Police and Crime Commissioner Olly Martins has comprehensively lost in his bid to increase the council tax precept by 15.85%.

There were 207,551 who voted against the proposal and only 91,086 for.

Why a referendum?

Katy Lewis

Beds, Herts and Bucks Live

Police and Crime Commissioner Olly Martins proposed a council tax increase saying 15.85% more must be collected in police precept to raise an extra £4.5m per year for the Bedfordshire force.

As this was more than the government's 2% rise limit, a vote had to be held.

The increase would equate to 32p extra a week for a band A property and 48p for band D, some of which would be invested in 100 extra police officers, he said.

Update: Minutes away from Bedfordshire referendum result

Paul Scoins

Political reporter, BBC Three Counties Radio

We are five to 10 minutes away from a declaration in the referendum - will PCC Olly Martins get his tax hike to pay for extra officers?

Beds referendum count

Referendum: The count goes on

Paul Scoins

Political reporter, BBC Three Counties Radio

Votes in the Bedfordshire referendum are being counted at the Inspire swimming pool in Luton as well as in Bedford and at the Central Bedfordshire council offices in Chicksands.

Referendum count

Mr Martins has arrived at the pool ahead of the declaration, now due about 13:30.

Praise for top dog Tai

Craig Lewis

Beds, Herts & Bucks Live

Hero police dog Tai, who helped track down a missing man, has been praised by his boss.

Sgt Vicky Stoughton from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Dog Unit, said: "I'm happy that the man was located safely and proud that Police Dog Tai and his handler played such a vital role in finding him.

"This is an excellent example of our unit working with other policing teams effectively."

'Free meal' charity deal done

Katy Lewis

Beds, Herts and Bucks Live


the garage which refused to pay for all of a free meal it offered after its customer spent £700 at a Michelin-starred restaurant? Well, a compromise has been reached.

L'Atelier de Jowl Robuchon bill

Watford Audi had said the bill Siobhan Yap, 27, presented from L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Covent Garden was "excessive", and offered to pay half.

This morning Siobhan told the JVS show on

BBC Three Counties Radio Audi has now agreed to pay the full amount, with the other half going to a charity of her choice.

Re-vamped historic pub opens again

Beds on Sunday

A historic pub in Ampthill has re-opened following a

£1.5m refurbishment.

The White Hart, a Grade II listed 18th Century coaching Inn, shut its doors in 2013, but owners Punch Taverns entered into an investment last October.

Update: Bedfordshire referendum

Paul Scoins

Political reporter, BBC Three Counties Radio

It is now expected the Bedfordshire referendum will finish between 12:30 and 13:00.

Original estimates had anticipated the result would be in around 15:00. We'll have more on this throughout the day.

School coach catches fire on A1(M)

Craig Lewis

Beds, Herts & Bucks Live

A coach carrying school children caught fire on the southbound A1(M) this morning between junctions six and four.

Coach fire on the A1(M)
BCH Road Policing

Officers from Herts Fire & Rescue Service attended to put the blaze out at 07:40 and no-one was injured.

Two lanes were closed while fire fighters put out the fire on the 53-seater coach. The road was re-opened at 10:45.

Beds police precept referendum

Craig Lewis

Beds, Herts & Bucks Live

Not sure what the Bedfordshire referendum is all about today?

Olly Martins

Police and crime commissioner Olly Martins made the decision in January to

ask the public if he could increase the council tax precept by almost 16% to fund more officers.

The increase would provide an extra £4.5m per year for the force.

Police dog Tai 'a hero'

Craig Lewis

Beds, Herts & Bucks Live

Police dog Tai has been heralded as a four-legged hero after finding a man who had been reported missing from Luton.

Police dog Tai
Bedfordshire Police

The animal, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Dog Unit, tracked the man for just under a mile across fields in Hertfordshire after his car was found.

The search had involved a number of officers and the police helicopter and concluded after police were called to Dyke Lane in Weathampstead on Friday afternoon.

News headlines

Lee Agnew

BBC Three Counties Radio

These are the main news headlines so far today:

  • A result in the Bedfordshire Police referendum asking for more to be paid towards the force in council tax will be known later
  • The funeral of a man found dead at a travellers site in Buckinghamshire takes place today. Police say the large funeral procession is likely to disrupt traffic through Dunstable and Houghton Regis
  • Luton Borough Council is being criticised for threatening to take a 101-year-old woman to court after a letter was issued automatically by its computer system

Decision time on Beds Police council tax

BBC Three Counties Radio reporter Tony Fisher

tweets: "Is it a case of sink or swim for Beds PCC @OllyMartins as counting begins on referendum at Inspire swimming centre in #Luton?"

Mr Martins has increased the amount of the council tax precept for Bedfordshire Police by 15.84 per cent - a move which has

triggered a referendum.

Wycombe manager calls for home support

BBC Sport

Wycombe Wanderer's manager Gareth Ainsworth wants people to come out to support the Chairboys on Thursday when they host Plymouth in the second leg of the League Two play-off semi-final.

Wycombe Wanderers


Chairboys beat Plymouth 3-2 in Saturday's first leg at Home Park with the Pilgrims netting both their goals in the last five minutes.

"I just hope the Wycombe fans... go home and tell their friends to come along on Thursday and get behind us because we're going to need them," he said.

Get in touch

Craig Lewis

Beds, Herts & Bucks Live

Thanks to Katy for the early updates this morning. I'm here until 6pm, keeping you up to date with all the latest news from across Beds, Herts and Bucks.

As always, I'd love you to get involved as well, so feel free to

email your comments to or contact us on
Twitter or

What's the make-up of your constituency?

Election 2015

A tide of blue washed across the East of England as the Conservatives claimed 55 of the possible 61 seats in the BBC Look East region.

Map of east region's political make up after 2015 general election

A full break-down of the results in your constituency is available from the

BBC Election 2015 website.