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Summary

  1. Two Bedfordshire police officers found guilty of gross misconduct over their handling of autistic man Faruk Ali's case have been sacked
  2. An extra £2m is being given to councils across the three counties to fill potholes
  3. Three rail firms have been shortlisted to run the West Midlands franchise
  4. Updates for Thursday, 7 April 2016
  5. News, sport, travel and weather updates resume on Friday at 08:00

Live Reporting

By Dani Bailey and Nic Rigby

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage across the day

Live updates for BBC Beds, Bucks and Herts have finished for the day - thanks for your company.

We'll be back with more news, sport, travel and weather updates for Beds, Herts and Bucks from 08:00 tomorrow.

Have a good evening.

Weather: Showers dying out, with tomorrow mostly dry

Alex Dolan

BBC Look East weather

Any showers will largely die out during the evening, but a few will persist through the night with some clear spells developing. A low of 6C (43F).

Weather graphic
BBC

Tomorrow will be mostly dry, but a few showers will develop through the morning and into the afternoon, with a high temperature of 10C (50F).

Contenders for West Midlands rail franchise revealed

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

Three firms have been shortlisted to run the West Midlands rail franchise, which runs trains from Milton Keynes and Bedford into Euston.

London Midland
BBC

Current operator Govia, which runs the service under the London Midland name, is one of the companies bidding.

The other two are West Midlands Trains Limited, which is a part of a Dutch-owned group; and the MTR Corporation which is based in Hong Kong.  

Clubber killed by single punch 'pursued' barworker

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

A clubber killed by a single punch outside a nightclub in Dunstable had pursued a woman working behind the bar, a court has heard.

Luton Crown Court heard Tomas Juska, 24, who died from a lethal brain injury after being punched outside Club Cookies, had called Sarah Haynes "beautiful" and said he would take her home.

Club Cookies in Dunstable
BBC

Ms Haynes' boyfriend Cortney Batchelor, 22, of Paisley Close, Luton, "saw [Mr Juska] give [her] the bit of paper" with his telephone number. The situation escalated and once the men had left the club, a punch was thrown, which "poleaxed" the 24-year-old, who died in hospital the following day.

"He is not aggressive. He is... certainly not what the papers are making him out to be," Ms Haynes said of her partner. The case continues.

Waterpark 'scam' removed from Facebook

BBC News England

It's a story we've touched on a couple of times this week already - a waterpark event which prompted fears of a data mining 'scam' has been removed from Facebook for 'violating standards'.

Screengrab of waterpark event
Facebook

Thousands expressed their interest in the Summer Safari Waterpark 2016 events advertised for 30 UK cities.

Councils where the events had been advertised said they had not received any applications to host the activity.

The Big Picture: Stockgrove Country Park

The main image at the top of our live page today shows the river in Stockgrove Country Park.

Thanks to Chelsea Dymock from Central Bedfordshire College for sharing this photograph with us.

Stockgrove river
Chelsea Dymock

Homophobic attack in Bedford

Police are investigating a homophobic attack on a woman in Bedford.

Cardington Road in Bedford
Google

The woman was punched and kicked by a group of four young men as she left a shop in Cardington Road last Friday evening.

Police say the offenders made homophobic remarks and have no doubt she was targeted because of her sexuality.

Latest headlines: Police officers sacked for misconduct... Homophobic attack in Bedford

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

The headlines:

  • Two Bedfordshire police officers have been sacked over their treatment of a severely autistic man in Luton
  • Police are investigating a homophobic attack on a woman in Bedford 
  • A Facebook group promoting a visiting water park in Milton Keynes this summer has been removed
Christopher Thomas and Christopher Pitts

Two police officers are sacked after being found guilty of gross misconduct over the way they dealt with a man who had autism.

Read more

Hertfordshire man wins £1m on scratch card

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

A man from Rickmansworth has won a £1m on a lottery scratch card given to him for his birthday by his daughter.

Roger Towndrow, who's 69, says he plans to use his winnings to travel.

My family have been joking with me that I should play poker because my expression didn’t change, but I can assure you that I felt a huge jolt in my stomach when I realised."

Roger Towndrow

Herts charity 'learns politics and patronage don't mix'

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

A Hertfordshire charity say it has learnt "politics and patronage is not a good mix" after an MP resigned as their patron over his support of benefit cuts.

Herts Aid base in Watford
Google

Peter Lilley, the conservative MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, had supported Herts Aid since the death of his nephew from AIDS. However, he also voted to support cuts to the employment support allowance (ESA), which would affect service users.

Chief executive, Suzanne Bannister, says the cuts are in direct conflict with their work. She said although "Peter Lilley has been a fantastic support" to the charity, they "just need to stand firm" on their "values as a charity."

Sports village with ‘iconic’ velodrome included in Aylesbury Woodlands scheme

Bucks Herald

Details of a ‘sports village’ which would be built as part of a development near Aylesbury have been revealed.

Burglars dismantle Amersham jewellers wall

Lee Agnew

BBC Three Counties Radio

Burglars have tried to break into a jewellery shop in Amersham by dismantling one of it's walls.

Jewellers in Amersham
Google

Police were called when the thieves were heard trying to get in to DJ Warner Jewellers in Woodside Road at  01:30 yesterday.

Officers were deployed and the area was searched, but no arrests have been made so far. Detectives say that because of the method used to try and gain access, they believe it was an organised crime. They say they're liaising with other police forces to see if similar crimes have been committed.

Throwback Thursday: Polices cars of the 1960s

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

Well I haven't got a clue, but have you?

Bedfordshire Police want to know if you can guess the make and model of these police cars from the 1960s.

View more on twitter

Hertfordshire MP resigns as patron of Herts Aid over employment support allowance vote

Carol Abercrombie

BBC Three Counties Radio

The MP for Hitchin and Harpenden says he's reluctantly resigned as patron of a charity he supported following the death of his nephew from AIDS.

The chief executive of Herts Aid challenged Conservative Peter Lilley's support of cuts to employment support allowance. Suzanne Bannister felt that was incompatible with their ethos and values, as such cuts will adversely affect service users.

When she wrote to the MP to voice her concerns he resigned. He says he had been happy to support the charity particularly because of his nephew.

Central Beds local plan open to traveller site submissions

Central Bedfordshire Council say its Local Plan is open to submissions for gypsy and traveller sites, following calls from a group in Dunstable for more permanent sites.

Travellers in Dunstable
BBC

The plan is open for "interested parties to submit a site" until 11 April, the council said.

There are currently 37 permanent sites and pitches throughout Central Bedfordshire.

Traveller sites an issue which is 'brushed aside'

Justin Dealey

BBC Three Counties Radio

Travellers in Bedfordshire say they're in urgent need of more permanent sites, an issue which is continually swept under the carpet according to a spokesman.

Travellers camp in Dunstable
BBC

"We've got part of the community that probably is a bit unruly sometimes, which tarnishes everyone else and they're just not wanted as a next door neighbour," Cliff Codona from the National Travellers Action Group told me.

"Sites have to built, whether it's by the community or by the local authority," he said. This comes as Central Bedfordshire Council prepares an eviction order for 20 caravans in Dunstable.

Inquest into deaths in Roxton caravan fire

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

An inquest is taking place today into the deaths of a man and a woman in a caravan fire in Bedfordshire.

Caravan fire
BBC

Daniel Breen, 77, and Elsie Walker, 69, from Hatfield were killed in the blaze at the marina at Roxton last December.

Faruk Ali: Bedfordshire Police apologise to family

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

The deputy chief constable of Bedfordshire Police has apologised to autistic man Faruk Ali and his family for the way he was treated by two officers in Luton in 2014, who have today been sacked for misconduct.

Faruk Ali
BBC

"I would like to apologise... for the distress this incident has caused," Dep Ch Con Mark Collins of Bedfordshire Police said.

Collins said the fact two officers had lost their jobs "should send a very clear message that this type of behaviour is not acceptable and will not be tolerated".

Faruk Ali: Two police officers sacked

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

Two officers have been sacked by Bedfordshire Police after it was found they committed gross misconduct in their treatment of autistic man Faruk Ali in Luton two years ago.

Bedfordshire Police officers Christopher Thomas and Christopher Pitts breached professional conduct standards, a hearing found
South Beds News Agency

PC Christopher Thomas was found to have breached four professional standards and PC Christopher Pitts three.

The officers had been suspended since the incident and cleared of misconduct in public office following a trial.

BreakingFaruk Ali: Officers sacked by Bedfordshire Police

Two police officers found guilty of gross misconduct have been sacked by Bedfordshire Police.

PCs Christopher Thomas and Christopher Pitts were investigated over their treatment of autistic man Faruk Ali in 2014.

Travel: Two lanes shut on M1 south due to bricks

BBC Travel

There are two lanes closed on the M1 southbound from J7 to J6a due to a shed load of bricks. 

Stay up to date here.

Bricks on M1 carriageway
BBC

Weather: Rain this lunchtime

BBC Weather

We'll see some rain this lunchtime, which should clear later on to leave a mixture of sunny spells and scattered showers. 

Maximum temperature: 11C (52F).

Weather graphic shows rain this afternoon
BBC

Faruk Ali police misconduct: Report from hearing in Wyboston

Nicola Haseler

BBC Three Counties

PC Christopher Thomas is found to have breached four professional standards in his treatment of Faruk Ali in 2014, who clearly had a severe disability and a mental age of five. The panel found his laughter and comments were offensive and disrespectful.

In Christopher Pitts' case, the panel found him to have breached three professional standards of behaviour expected of a police officer. In both cases the breaches amounted to gross misconduct. 

Faruk Ali
South Beds News Agency

The panel found evidence they gave as to why they turned their police car around on seeing Faruk Ali was fabricated.

We are awaiting the decision as to whether they will be dismissed from Bedfordshire Police, but both officers have already left the hearing.

Lunchtime headlines: Police officers guilty of misconduct... Amersham attempted burglary

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

The headlines this lunchtime:

  • Two Bedfordshire police officers have been found guilty of gross misconduct
  • Burglars have tried to break into a jewellery shop in Amersham by dismantling one of it's walls 
  • An inquest is taking place today into the deaths of a man and a woman in a caravan fire in Bedfordshire 

Travellers call for more permanent sites in Bedfordshire

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

A group of travellers who are in the process of being moved on from Dunstable say they just want a permanent site.

The group in Court Drive told us they had no option but to pitch up after being moved on from just a few miles up the road.

Two Bedfordshire police officers guilty of gross misconduct

Carol Abercrombie

BBC Three Counties Radio

Two Bedfordshire police officers have been found guilty of gross misconduct at a disciplinary hearing.

Bedfordshire police officers Christopher Thomas and Christopher Pitts
South Beds News Agency

PC Christopher Thomas, of Welwyn Garden City, was found guilty of four breaches of the code of conduct and PC Christopher Pitts, from Bedford, of three.

It relates to their handling of a case involving a autistic man  Faruk Ali in Luton.

BreakingFaruk Ali: Police guilty of gross misconduct

Two Bedfordshire police officers have been found guilty of gross misconduct over the way they dealt with autistic man, Faruk Ali, in Luton.

More details to follow.

Bucks council leader says pothole fund 'a drop in the ocean'

The leader of Buckinghamshire County Council has said £500k from the government's pothole fund "is just a drop in the ocean".

Buckinghamshire County Hall
Google

Conservative Martin Tett is sceptical how far the money will go as he says the council spent "£25m on repairing roads" last year.

"Most people just don't know how expensive roads are. They cost a fortune to repair," Mr Tett said.

Travel: Stranded vehicle on M1 and A5 slow

BBC Travel

There are two lanes closed on the M1 southbound J13-J12 due to a stranded vehicle.

The A5 in slow southbound between Dunstable and Flamstead.

View more on twitter

Bedford fire rescue 'hampered by high winds'

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

The rescue of three men from a fire at a building in Bedford yesterday was hampered by high winds, a fire service has said.

Firefighters rescue at Bedford building
@EEAST_CMartin/Beds Fire

Firefighters were called to the building under renovation in Harpur Street at about 17:30, where they rescued the workers with an aerial platform.

Ian McLaren, of Bedfordshire Fire Service, said the "prompt actions" of crews "helped save the lives of the three people trapped" despite their work being "hampered" by high winds and the height of the building.

Luton community centres given more time to survive

Luton News

A campaigner has revealed her delight after two community centres threatened with closure were handed a temporary reprieve.

Potholes: Some don't think they're filled properly

Lee Agnew

BBC Three Counties Radio

Almost 40,000 potholes will be repaired in Beds, Herts and Bucks after councils were granted £2m by the government. But some groups don't think the holes are being filled properly.

Pothole
Danny Lawson

Graham Knight, from the Hertfordshire Wheelers cycling group, says he thinks "Hertfordshire does an extremely poor job of maintaining their roads and repairing them".

"They never seem to do a proper job and it doesn't last; two months later the hole's back and getting worse," he said.

Pothole fund: Beds, Herts and Bucks breakdown

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

A £50m pothole fund is to be divided up between councils across England.

Here's what it means for our three counties:

Graphic shows money allocated to each county for potholes
Danny Lawson

Two million pounds to repair potholes in Beds, Herts and Bucks

Jessica Cooper

BBC Three Counties Radio

More than £2m is being given to councils in the three counties to fix potholes. 

Potholed road
Getty Images

Hertfordshire will receive the most money, almost £1m.

The government's allocating money from it's Pothole Action Fund which means almost 40,000 potholes can be repaired.

Workers rescued from Bedford roof blaze

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

Three workers have been rescued from the top of a building in Bedford after a fire broke out.

Firefighters rescue workers from roof / inside fire damage
@EEAST_CMartin/Beds Fire

The blaze took hold of the roof of the building in Harpur Street just after 17:30 yesterday.

Firefighters tackled the fire at the property, which is under renovation, for about 90 minutes. A man thought to be in his 30s was taken to hospital suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation.

Weather: Cloudy start with patchy rain

Georgina Burnett

BBC Weather

It will be a cloudy start to the day with outbreaks of patchy light rain in places. Some showers are likely to be heavy at times, with hail and thunder possible. 

Maximum temperature: 11C (52F).

Person injured in M1 crash

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

One person has been injured in a collision on the M1 this morning, police say.

View more on twitter

Bedfordshire Police were called to the southbound carriageway between J11 and J10 just after 06:30 to reports of a crash between a car and a lorry.

The car has hit the central reservation and one person has suffered injuries, but they don't appear to be life-threatening, police say. All emergency services are at the scene.

Travel: Train delays through Milton Keynes

BBC Travel

London Midland services are delayed by up to 20 minutes London-bound between Northampton and Milton Keynes due to a train fault.

Morning headlines: £2m to fill potholes... Two rescued from roof blaze

Lee Agnew

BBC Three Counties Radio

The top stories this morning:

  • An extra £2m is being given to councils across the three counties to fill potholes
  • Three workers have been rescued by firefighters from the top of a building in Bedford
  • The MP for Hitchin and Harpenden says he's reluctantly resigned as patron of a sexual health charity, after it challenged him over his vote in favour of cuts to benefits