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Summary

  1. Updates for Friday, 22 April 2016
  2. More news, sport, weather and travel updates from 08:00 on Monday

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Weather: Cloud and rain clearing overnight, sunny spells on Saturday

Dan Holley

BBC Look East weather

Cloud and rain will gradually clear southwards this evening with clearer and colder conditions becoming established overnight, this allowing a slight frost to form in places, chiefly in rural spots. 

Weather map
BBC

 Minimum Temperature: 2C (36F).   

Teatime headlines: Police release the name of man killed in Stevenage yesterday... Photos of Helen Bailey’s dog released as part of continued search

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

Here are the main stories making the news this Friday evening:

More parents choosing to home school their children

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Figures obtained by the BBC show that more parents are deciding to home school their children. 

Child on a computer
BBC

The numbers have risen across the three counties with an 81% increase in Buckinghamshire and a 61% increase in Hertfordshire over the past five years. 

Some of the reasons being given include class sizes, bullying and schools not catering for children with disabilities. 

Florist set to leave MK shopping centre after rent increases

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

A florist who's been trading in Milton Keynes shopping centre for the past 26 years says he's leaving because of rent increases and demands over the appearance of his stall. 

Flower Kube stall in MK
Simon Savin

Flower Kube owner Simon Savin says paying the £4,000 a month rent is too much. 

Helen Powell from the Centre MK says they value the independent businesses and offer reasonable terms. 

Man's skull fractured after being hit by an object in Waltham Cross

A man's skull has been fractured after being hit with an unknown object in Waltham Cross on Wednesday afternoon. 

Theobold Grove Railway Station
Google

The 25-year-old was on his bike and was chased from Theobalds Grove Railway Station to High Street by three men between 16:15 and 16:45. 

He was taken to North Middlesex University Hospital but was released last night. 

Flores says 'common' sense will decide which goalkeeper he uses

Geoff Doyle

BBC Three Counties Radio sport

Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores wouldn’t be drawn on who will be in goal for the Hornets in the cup tie at Wembley. 

Second choice Costel Pantilimon has been the cup goalkeeper this season and not first choice Heurelho Gomes. 

Quique Sanchez Flores
Getty Images

Flores says: "The goalkeeper situation is like the right back situation, the centre back situation, the winger, striker. I would like to choose 24 but have to choose 11. They (both) play well. 

"The feeling we have with Pantilimon is he is a very good professional. We will use common sense to take decisions."

Obese patients denied surgery in a third of areas in England

Carol Abercrombie

BBC Three Counties Radio

Surgeons are worried overweight patients and smokers in England and Wales are being denied surgery - to save money.

Measuring wasitline
Thinkstock

A report by the Royal College of Surgeons found a third of local NHS health bosses in England put restrictions on access to surgery. 

It found that the Luton CCG has a BMI cut-off of 30 for any planned surgical procedure and the East and North Hertfordshire CCG requires a patient's BMI to be under 30 or for them to lose 10% of their bodyweight before surgery. 

Tribute paid to Stevenage murder victim

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

The 47-year-old who was killed in Stevenage on Thursday morning has been named as Mark Altabas. 

Mark Altabas
Hertfordshire Police

His family have paid tribute to him saying "Mark was a loving son, father, brother and partner, who was loved dearly by family and friends for his caring and outgoing nature. He will be sadly missed by all."

Man threatened with knife in Hertford

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

A man has been robbed at knifepoint in Hertford. 

It happened just before midnight on Tuesday when the man left Hertford North Train station and was walking past the hospital on Riversmeet. 

Riversmeet by the corner of A414
Google

He was approached from behind, threatened with a knife and asked for money. He handed some over and the offender then walked off towards Gascoyne Way. 

Special good luck message for oldest London marathon participant

Shaun Peel

BBC Look East

Best of luck wishes are flooding in for Bedford's Iva Barr. 

The 88-year-old is the oldest participant to take part in this Sunday's London Marathon. 

To find out who's sent her a special message, watch the video below...

New photos of missing author and dog released to try to help search

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Two more images of missing Royston author Helen Bailey and her dog Boris have been released by police.

Helen Bailey and Boris
Hertfordshire Police

Ms Bailey, 51, was reported missing last Friday and was last seen at her home on 11 April.

Boris
Hertfordshire Police

North Herts Ch Insp Julie Wheatley, said: "We do not know if Helen and Boris are still together so we are asking anyone who thinks they may have come across him to please contact police."

Rediscovered steam locomotive in 'incredible condition'

Johnny Dee

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

A 1929 steam locomotive found hidden away in a Hertfordshire shed is in "incredible condition", according to Jerry Thurston, from Nene Valley Railway in Peterborough, where it has gone on display.

"It took two days to move it and we had to cut down trees to get it out of the shed but it has been preserved in this incredible condition," he said.

Steam train
Nene Valley Railway

Watford Boss 'focussed' ahead of Sunday's FA Cup semi-final

Geoff Doyle

BBC Three Counties Radio sport

Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores cut an uncomfortable figure as he spoke to the media ahead of his team's FA Cup semi-final against Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Normally calm and relaxed, he appeared on edge and didn't want to discuss speculation about his future and whether he still had the support of his board. 

Watford press conference
BBC

Sorry but I'm not going to talk about me. This is time to talk about Watford. What is important is to see Watford play well at Wembley."

Quique Sanchez-FloresWatford manager

Watford v Crystal Palace: What's happened before?

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

As Watford play Crystal Palace in an FA Cup semi-final on Sunday, we've had a quick look at how previous meetings between the two have turned out:

Watford v Crystal Palace FA Cup meetings
BBC
Watford v Crystal Palace FA Cup meetings
BBC

Weather: Becoming cloudier and cooler with some rain

BBC Weather

It will be a cloudier and cooler afternoon than on Thursday, with a continuing easterly wind. 

Great Linford
Oldboy/Weather Watcher

There is an increasing chance of seeing intermittent light rain from the south, perhaps eventually becoming more persistent by the evening. 

Maximum temperature: 11C (52F). 

Headlines: Stevenage man died of stab wounds... Watford prepare for Sunday's FA Cup tie

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

Here are the main stories making the news this Friday afternoon: 

Recently discovered industrial steam locomotive goes on display

Johnny Dee

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

After delays in moving it, a 1929 steam locomotive found hidden away in a shed at a convent has finally gone on display at the Nene Valley Railway near Peterborough.

Train
BBC

It was thought the industrial steam engine, called "Newstead", had been scrapped. But the train - which was last used to haul coal in the 1970s - had been saved by an enthusiast who restored it and then built a small track and shed at a convent near his Hertfordshire home, where it remained for almost 30 years.  

Specialists at the Nene Valley Railway described it as "one of the biggest preservation stories of the 21st Century so far".

Concern over firearms licence renewals in Buckinghamshire

Howard Shannon

BBC Three Counties Radio

The process of how a firearms licence is renewed in Buckinghamshire is causing concern, after figures in new report were revealed.

Gun and bullets
BBC

If the police do not have enough time to process an application in full - something that should be done every five years - they are instead able to issue a temporary section 7 permit. In 2014, Thames Valley Police issued 270 temporary permits - last year this figure had jumped to 2,516.    

The Countryside Alliance, which commissioned the report, says temporary permits are only supposed to be used as a stop gap measure as the checks are not as thorough as for a full licence. 

The force says delays have been caused by a peak in renewal requests, a flood in the department and changes in procedure.  

Man killed in Stevenage died of a stab wound

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

A man who was killed in Stevenage yesterday died of a stab wound.

Police were called to Angle Ways yesterday morning after a man in his 40s was found lying in the street. He later died in hospital. 

Angles Way Stevenage
BBC

Det Insp Justine Jenkins says: "We have now established the incident began at a property in Long Leaves and currently this area remains cordoned off. 

"We are continuing to appeal for any witnesses and information about what happened and would also like to reassure the local community that we believe this to be an isolated incident."

Watford boss set to face questions over his future

Geoff Doyle

BBC Three Counties Radio sport

I'm at the Watford press conference ahead of their Wembley FA Cup semi final on Sunday against Crystal Palace. 

You'd expect Watford boss Quique Sanchez to be chatting about whether his Hornets side can reach only their second ever final matching their effort in 1984 and whether they can tactically deal with the pace of Palace at Wembley. 

Watford Press Conference
BBC

Instead he's likely to be fielding questions about his own future. 

Speculation continues following his comments on Wednesday night when he appeared to imply that he hoped his and his team's efforts weren't going unnoticed by the Watford board and technical directors following questions about him being under pressure. 

Fifth man arrested in Stevenage murder inquiry

Lee Agnew

BBC Three Counties Radio

A fifth arrest has been made in connection with the murder of a man in Stevenage yesterday.

Angles Way Stevenage
BBC

A 49 year-old from the area was arrested last night on suspicion of conspiracy to rob. He remains in police custody. 

Four others arrested on suspicion of murder also remain in police custody.

Local players past and present named in PFA teams of the year

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

Two Wycombe players, defenders Aaron Pierre (pictured) and Joe Jacobson, have been named in the PFA Team ofthe Year for League Two.

Aaron Pierre
Getty Images

MK Dons fullback George Baldock is also among the 11 players for his performances while on loan at Oxford.

Former MK Dons midfielder Dele Alli is included in the Premier League team of the year and former Luton striker Andre Gray is in the Championship side selected by fellow professionals.

Today's weather: Cool and cloudy

Elizabeth Rizzini

BBC Look East weather

It will be cloudier and cooler today, with the chance of rain this afternoon and this evening.

Maximum temperature: 11C (51F).

Get the detailed forecast where you live at BBC Weather

Murder investigation continues in Stevenage

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

A murder investigation is continuing in Stevenage after a man was found in the street early yesterday morning.

Murder scene at Angles Way, Stevenage
BBC

Two men and a woman from Stevenage and an 18-year-old man from London have been arrested on suspicion of murder.

The man in his 40s was found seriously injured in Angle Ways at about 04:20 on Wednesday but later died at the Lister Hospital. 

Police haven't yet revealed how he was injured but detectives believe it was an isolated incident.

Home schooling on the increase across the Three Counties

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

The number of children being home schooled is on the increase. 

Pupil working from home
BBC

Figures obtained by the BBC has found that across Beds, Herts and Bucks the numbers have risen. 

The largest increase has been in Bedfordshire where the numbers have gone up by 164% from 99 in 2011/2012 to 262 in 2015/2016. 

Six Buckinghamshire men charged with child sex offences

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

Six men from Buckinghamshire are among eight charged by Thames Valley police with sexual offences against a child.

The men aged between 20 and 26 are accused of abusing one girl between 2008 and 2015.

They come from Aylesbury, Flackwell Heath, High Wycombe, Woburn Green, Wendover, London and Maidenhead. Another seven men have been released without charge.

Watford prepare to name FA Cup semi-final squad

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

Watford FC will name their squad for Sunday's FA Cup semi-final against Crystal Palace today.

Costel Pantilimon
Getty Images

Manager Quique Flores will have to chose between in-form keeper Heurelho Gomes and regular FA Cup goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon (pictured) for the Wembley trip.

The Hornets have sold more than 28,000 tickets, with sales going offline at 14:00 today.

Hornets fan to skip anniversary for cup

Watford Observer

Wedding anniversaries are usually a time for a couple to celebrate the years they have spent together – but not for one avid Watford FC fan.

Watford: FA Cup semi-final history

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

Sunday will be Watford's sixth FA Cup semi-final, but their first at Wembley. Four of the five matches have been at Villa Park, but their first was at White Hart Lane in 1970. Here's what happened:

Watford v Manchester United, 14 April 2007
Getty Images
  • 1970 - White Hart Lane: Watford lost 5-1 to eventual winners Chelsea and then went on to lose a third-place play-off to Manchester United
  • 1984 - Villa Park: Watford's only FA Cup semi-final victory - a goal from George Reilly gave them a 1-0 win over Plymouth. They lost 2-0 to Everton in the final
  • 1987 - Villa Park: The Hornets lost 4-1 to Tottenham with goalkeeper Gary Plumley - the son of the club's chief executive - playing in place of the injured Tony Coton
  • 2003 - Villa Park: Ray Lewington's Hornets lost 2-1 to Southampton
  • 2007 - Villa Park: Aidy Boothroyd was Watford's manager in their last FA Cup semi-final (pictured) when they lost 4-1 to Manchester United despite equalising through Hameur Bouazza

Suspected stowaways discovered in lorry

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Fourteen people have been detained after they were found in the back of a refrigerated lorry at Toddington services yesterday morning.

Toddington service station on the M1
Google

The 14 people plus the driver are being held in custody in Luton and Kempston.

Tring hole may be due to leaking pipe

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

A large hole which opened up in a road in Tring on Wednesday is likely to have been caused by a leaking pipe, Herts County Council has confirmed.

Hole in Bunyan Close, Tring
South Beds News Agency

A spokeswoman said initial observations suggest the void in Bunyan Close - which is approximately 2m (6.5ft) deep and 4m (13.1ft) wide - might have been caused by a leaking water main or sewer. She said a Thames Water main pipe runs along a similar line to the hole and the company was sending an engineer to find out if it was leaking.

The road has been closed while checks are carried out.

Travel: Disruption on M25

BBC Travel

Traffic is queuing on the anti-clockwise M25 at J16 for the M40 due to two vehicles which broke down earlier. All lanes have now reopened but it's still very busy.

We've also heard there are long delays both ways on the A602 in Hitchin at the B656 London Road junction.

Get the latest updates from BBC Travel.

Latest headlines: Murder investigation continues in Stevenage... Police failing to review firearms licences

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

Here are the top stories we're looking at this morning:

  • A murder investigation is continuing in Stevenage after a man was found in the street early yesterday morning
  • Six men from Buckinghamshire are among eight charged by Thames Valley Police with sexual offences against a child  
  • Concern has been expressed over firearms licence renewals in Buckinghamshire

Welcome to Local Live for Beds, Herts and Bucks

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Good morning and welcome to today's live page for the three counties where we'll be bringing you the latest news, sport, weather and travel for the area until 18:00.

Coming up - the build up to Watford's FA Cup semi-final against Crystal Palace on Sunday. One Watford man is missing his 40th wedding anniversary to go to the game. If you're missing something important for the sake of the Hornets or are doing something special on the day - let us know. 

To get in touch at any time you can tweet us or email us here