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Summary

  1. News, sport, travel and weather updates resume on Thursday at 08:00
  2. Updates for Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage across the day

That's all from us here at Local Live for Beds, Herts and Bucks today.

We'll be back with you from 08:00 tomorrow. In the meantime, if you missed anything why not take a scroll through the page...

Weather: Showers to ease tonight with more sun tomorrow

Alex Dolan

BBC Look East weather

Showers in the south will ease, leaving most parts clear and dry. Lows of 14C (57F).

Weather graphic
BBC

Tomorrow will be another warm and often sunny day. It will remain dry for most, with only a slight risk of one or two afternoon showers. High temperatures of 20C (68F).

MP's call for debate over e-cigarette rules

Nic Rigby

BBC News

"Severe" EU regulations on e-cigarettes will be "absorbed" by Britain without debate among MPs and to the detriment of smokers' efforts to quit, a Tory Brexit campaigner and St Albans MP has complained.

Anne Main MP
BBC

Anne Main called for an emergency debate on the new directive, which requires warnings for e-cigarettes, limits their nicotine levels to 20mg and restricts advertising and sponsorship by their makers.

Speaker John Bercow turned down the emergency debate, but suggested that if there was "significant interest" either among MPs or the public, party whips could arrange a debate before recess on 15 June.

Brits who 'went to Syria by mistake' admit their story is fake

A 25-year-old who claimed he and two friends had travelled from Ayia Napa to Syria on a fishing boat by mistake has admitted they made the story up.

James Wallman, Alex McCormick and Lewis Ellis
Snapchat

Lewis Ellis, who set up his own vlogging page on YouTube four months ago, told friends on his Facebook page that it was all a hoax. The club rep turned prankster said: "Hahaha what a prank." 

And when asked if they had actually got on the wrong boat, he replied: "Naaa we just made it up for fun."

Mr Ellis appears in the photos with fellow club reps Alex McCormick, 19, from Essex, and 23-year-old James Wallman from Hertfordshire.

Taxi driver stabbed in Luton by 'violent opportunists'

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

A taxi driver was stabbed in Luton in the early hours of this morning.

Bedfordshire Police said the man was parked near a cash point in Calverton Road just after midnight, when he was approached by two black men riding push bikes. The pair attempted to steal money from the victim before stabbing him in the back with a knife.

He was taken to hospital, where his injuries have been deemed non-life-threatening. 

Det Con Benjamin Stone, said: “This was a nasty attack on an innocent individual by two violent opportunists."

Women 'will no longer give birth at Bedford Hospital' after review

Nic Rigby

BBC News

Maternity services are to be moved from Bedford Hospital to Milton Keynes Hospital under plans announced following a healthcare review of services.

The proposals will be discussed at a joint meeting of Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Groups next week.

Bedford Hospital
BBC

The review says moving the service to Milton Keynes would "help to attract and retain essential staff and provide the highest quality of care".

But it recommends Bedford Hospital keep its accident and emergency and paediatric services - which people feared might also be transferred to Milton Keynes. Bedford MP Richard Fuller had argued that in any review A&E, paediatrics and maternity should stay in the town.

Police officer charged with fraud

Nic Rigby

BBC News

A Bedfordshire Police officer has been charged with fraud and computer misuse.

Bedfordshire Police HQ
Google

The officer is due to appear before Stevenage Magistrates' Court. 

No details about the allegations have been released. The officer, based at Luton Police Station, has been suspended.

Rio 2016: Greg Rutherford has sperm frozen over Zika virus fears

BBC Sport

Milton Keynes long jumper Greg Rutherford has had his sperm frozen before competing at the Rio Olympics because of fears about the Zika virus, says his partner.

Greg Rutherford
Getty Images

"The Zika news has caused no end of concern," wrote Susie Verrill for Standard Issue Magazine.

"We've made the decision to have Greg's sperm frozen. It's just another thing we don't want to chance."

Slavery trial: Man 'worked unpaid for seven years', court told

Nic Rigby

BBC News

The trial of a couple who deny holding a man in slavery has heard testimony from a Scotsman picked up on the streets of London and taken to St Albans in Hertfordshire.

Johnny Moloney, aka Murphy, and his wife Shanon Loveridge, of Watford Road, St Albans, deny holding a person in slavery or servitude.

St Albans Crown Court
South Beds News Agency

Giving evidence via a video link from Kilmarnock, Cameron Biggar said he met Mr Moloney in 2004 on the Strand where he was sleeping rough.

"He (Moloney) shouted to people if they wanted work. I thought it would be an opportunity to maybe earn some money and a chance to not be homeless anymore," he said.

The court heard that between 2004 and 2011 Mr Biggar was never paid, but was made to clean and carry out block paving and tarmacking work.

The case continues.

St Albans accordion man memorial approved

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

A memorial to a musician known as the "accordion man of St Albans" on the spot where he played has been approved by the council and is due to be installed over the summer.

John "Paddy" Delaney plaque
Michael & Mandy Reekie artwork

John "Paddy" Delaney, who died on 31 March 2015, aged 86, spent more than 35 years entertaining people in the city's market place outside W H Smith.

St Albans singer Melanie Wall, who organised a busking event and street collection to raise money for the 300mm plaque, said it would be placed in the "lovely, dark coloured bricks" outside the shop.

"Thank you to everyone who has made this happen," she said.

It's raining again in Dunstable

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

It's not so much been raining again in Dunstable, it's been tipping it down.

So much so that I caught Matt Lockwood, who's been reporting on the floods all morning, outside assessing whether he needed to go back to the High Street.

Matt Lockwood
BBC

Slavery trial: Alcoholic picked up to do unpaid work, court hears

Nic Rigby

BBC News

The trial of a couple accused of holding a man in slavery has heard how an alcoholic Scotsman was picked up on the streets of London and made to carry out unpaid block paving and building work.

Johnny Moloney aka Murphy, 26, and his wife 22-year-old Shanon Loveridge,
South Beds News Agency

The man, now 43, was taken to St Albans where he lived in sheds and a camper van while working up to 14 hours a day, sometimes seven days a week, St Albans Crown Court was told.

Johnny Moloney, aka Murphy, 26, and his wife 22-year-old Shanon Loveridge (pictured), from Watford Road, St Albans, both deny knowingly holding a person in slavery or servitude and knowingly requiring another person to perform forced labour in St Albans between April 2010 and December 2014.

Travel: Eight mile queues on M1

BBC Travel

It's looking slow on the M1 this afternoon.

One lane is closed southbound between J14 for the A509 at Milton Keynes and J13 for the A421 at Bedford due to an accident involving two lorries. Traffic is queuing for eight miles in the area.

Meanwhile, on the northbound carriageway, traffic is queuing because people are slowing down to look at the accident.

Also northbound, between J12 for Flitwick and J13 a lane is blocked due to a broken down car that's towing a caravan.

Get the latest updates from BBC Travel.

Bedford MP to discuss hospital with health secretary

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

The Conservative MP for Bedford is meeting health secretary Jeremy Hunt today and says he'll raise the issue of Bedford Hospital.

Bedford Hospital
Other

Richard Fuller says the plan proposed by the borough council, which recommends major services - A&E, paediatrics and maternity - should stay in the town, should be accepted.

He said: "I can put my hand on heart and say this is the best answer... it retains in the town those services that people have told me on the doorstep they want to keep."

The One Show: Bedfordshire couple fall for 'text spoofing'

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

If, like me, you watched BBC One's The One Show last night, you might also have been horrified by the story of a Bedfordshire couple who face paying for their home all over again after falling for a spoof text message from someone pretending to be their bank, informing them that there had been "unusual activity" on their account.

It seems those texts we might receive from banks alerting us to potential fraud are now themselves being hijacked by scammers.

Watch the report and think about what you'd do.

Whipsnade Zoo ditches water bottles

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

There might be some people in the area who are a bit fed up of water stories today, but once we're on a theme we're relentless.

Today, Whipsnade Zoo has announced it is ditching plastic water bottles, as part of a campaign by the Zoological Society of London to protect the world’s oceans from the growing threat of plastic pollution. It's switching to paperboard water boxes in its refreshment areas and encouraging visitors to re-fill their reusable drinks bottles.

In solidarity, these Humboldt penguins at its sister zoo in London have been pictured investigating a new feeding device made entirely from recycled plastic water bottles.

View more on twitter

Dunstable flooding: Council calls for clean up volunteers

Central Bedfordshire Council has put out a call for volunteers to help with the clean up after last night's flooding.

The authority said various council teams were already out but they needed help.

It tweeted: "We need small teams of people to check properties and streets in Dunstable so we know who has been affected by the flooding and what help they might need."

View more on twitter

Dunstable flooding: A505 latest update

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Earlier we told you one lane in each direction under Duck Bridge on the A505 was open while repairs were carried out - but the road would be closed again at 18:30.

Well, the council has now tweeted the westbound carriageway will be closed between 12:00 and 15:00 - and the eastbound carriageway will be single lane only.

The repair work is obviously a moveable feast, so we'll keep you updated with the latest information as we get it.

View more on twitter

Hair salon flooded for third time... but still open

Matthew Lockwood

BBC Three Counties Radio

Dunstable's Red Hair Salon in the High Street has been flooded for the third time in 11 years, but the business is still open to customers.

Sandra Lauder, from the salon, said about two to three ins of water came in to the shop and mopping up started this morning. So far, they have used 40 towels - which have had to be thrown away - and the wood flooring may have to be replaced.

Red Hair Salon
BBC

Dunstable flooding: Council emergency response team assess damage

Matthew Lockwood

BBC Three Counties Radio

Environmental Heath officers from Central Bedfordshire Council are in Dunstable, assessing the level of the damage in the High Street from the flood.

Guy Quint said they were seeing how people were coping and if there was anything the council could do to help.

He said: "At this stage it's really about gathering information and feeding it back to our emergency planning team... we're seeing how bad it is and making sure people know we're here to support them if we can."

Emergency response team
BBC

Dunstable flooding: Estate agent badly hit

Matthew Lockwood

BBC Three Counties Radio

I'm in Dunstable High Street talking to businesses affected by yesterday's floods.

Urban and Rural estate agents were badly hit - flood water has taken out the electrics and damaged furniture.

Urban and Rural estate agents
BBC

Owner David Russell is advising clients to re-book appointments at his Leighton Buzzard branch.

He told me the damage could cost him more than £10,000 in lost revenue and he doesn't know when he'll be able to re-open.

Dunstable flooding: A505 update

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

As we told you earlier, traffic is moving again along the A505, where one lane is open in each direction between Luton and Dunstable.

The council has now tweeted to say the road will be closed again at 18:30 to "make fixes".

View more on twitter

Today's weather: Less dramatic

Kate Kinsella

BBC Look East weather

After yesterday's dramatic scenes, you're probably wondering what today's weather has in store for us?

Well, today is due to be much calmer - warm with sunny spells - and most parts will stay dry although the odd thundery shower is possible later.

Maximum temperature: 24C (75F).

Get the detailed forecast for where you live at BBC Weather.

Stormageddon: Lightning fells tree in Kempston

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Robert Pack has sent us these pictures of a tree felled by lightning in yesterday's storm in Bedford Road, Kempston.

Tree in Bedford Road, Kempston
Robert Pack
Tree in Bedford Road Kempston
Robert Pack

If you've been affected by the floods, you can let us know via Twitter or email.

Flooding in Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

It wasn't just Dunstable suffering in yesterday's storms.

We've had reports that lightening strikes on houses in Richings Way, Iver in Buckinghamshire and Tottenhoe in Bedfordshire caused small fires, a bus was hit by lightning in Newport Pagnell and several properties flooded in Woburn Sands.

Fire service gets more than 150 calls in four hours

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said it received more than 150 calls in four hours yesterday evening following flooding around the county.

It said calls about lightning strikes and flash flooding started at about 16:50, when heavy rain began to fall in Dunstable and Luton, and continued until about 21:00.

Totternhoe lightning strike
Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue

The incidents included:

  • A fire crew from Luton prevented a roof fire caused by a lightning strike from destroying a house in Brightwell Avenue in Tottenhoe (pictured). The strike blasted a hole in the roof, melted the header tank and flooded the house
  • In Cranfield, two elderly people were rescued from their homes in Maple Road after they had been cut off by floodwaters
  • A house in Priestleys in Luton was struck by lightning, severely damaging the chimney stack
  • There were also lightning strikes in Greenfield Close, Dunstable, Tomlingson Avenue, Luton, Mander Close and Tattler Knoll, Toddington and Maple Way, Cranfield

Convicted councillor Mohammed Ashraf could retain public office

Paul Scoins

BBC Three Counties Radio political reporter

A Luton borough councillor could remain in position despite being found guilty of various offences relating to his travel agency business, Luton Travel Services.

Mohammed Ashraf already faces expulsion from the Labour Party after he was convicted of five of the six charges against him. He was fined more than £2,000.

But Sarah Hall, Luton Borough Council's director of business and consumer services, said: "A person can still retain public office if they are convicted of an offence that carries a sentence of less than three months."

Mohammed Ashraf 'likely to be excluded' from Labour Party

Paul Scoins

BBC Three Counties Radio political reporter

I had a conversation with an east of England Labour Party spokesman last night.

They told me Councillor Ashraf would likely be excluded from the Labour Party "at the earliest opportunity". Effectively he would be expelled.

He's been a Labour councillor for nearly 30 years, and perhaps ironically spent some of that in charge of Trading Standards - the very department which brought him down.

Mohammed Ashraf: 'No comment' from convicted councillor

Paul Scoins

BBC Three Counties Radio political reporter

I was in court yesterday when Luton brough councillor Mohammed Ashraf was convicted of five of six offences against him, relating to his travel agency business, Luton Travel Services.

This is what happened when I tried to speak to him afterwards - I think it's fair to say he didn't want to talk.

View more on twitter

Councillor faces Labour Party expulsion after guilty verdicts

Paul Scoins

BBC Three Counties Radio political reporter

A Luton borough councillor is facing expulsion from the Labour Party after he was found guilty of various offences relating to this travel agency business yesterday.

Mohammed Ashraf
BBC

Mohammed Ashraf was convicted of five of the six charges against him at Luton Magistrates' Court and fined more than £2,000.

The court heard he displayed outdated signage and documents inferring he was consumer protected and the logo of a major airline - Pakistan International Airlines - which he wasn't entitled to display. He also faked documents and produced them in an official investigation under caution.

It's an embarrassing end to a long council career spanning nearly 30 years - for part of which he was the councillor responsible for Trading Standards.

Dunstable flooding: One lane open in each direction on A505

Kate Bradbrook

BBC Look East

I'm at the site of the road repairs on the A505 in Dunstable which was damaged during yesterday's floods.

The latest from the scene is that one lane in each direction is now open.

View more on twitter

Dunstable flooding: Yesterday's pictures from the scene

Dunstable flooding
Vicky Ferguson
Dunstable flooding
Kristina (viewer picture)
Dunstable flooding
Kristina (viewer picture)
Dunstable flooding
Kristina (viewer picture)
A505 flood damage
BBC
A505 floods
BBC

Dunstable flooding: Clean up under way at Lancot School

Matthew Lockwood

BBC Three Counties Radio

A clean-up operation has been under way at Lancot School in Dunstable, which remains closed today after yesterday's flooding.

Lancot School clean up
Jenny Rumbelow

There is a smell of sewage, some carpets are still wet and workers are assessing the damage after a couple of inches of water got into the classrooms and kitchen.

Deputy head teacher, Clare Probert, told me everyone has been rallying around to try and get the school open for pupils as soon as possible.

Dunstable flooding: Schools closed

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Two schools in Dunstable will be closed today.

Ardley Hill Academy on Lowther Road said it would not open due to "extensive flooding" and it would issue further updates as soon as possible.

Lancot School on Lancot Drive will also be closed.

If you've been affected by the floods or your business is closed, you can let us know via, twitter or email.

Ardley Hill Academy closed
BBC

Bedfordshire flooding: Weather posed problems for police

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

The road policing unit experienced some "quite nasty weather" while doing their job in Bedford yesterday as this amazing picture they tweeted shows.

Elsewhere during the storms, in Dunstable, the force said it was only able to respond to life-threatening emergencies in the town centre due to floodwater.

View more on twitter

Dunstable flooding: Council assessing damage

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Central Bedfordshire Council has tweeted to say its teams worked through the night to clear the debris in Dunstable after the flash floods and confirm repair work is due to start this morning.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Luton airport computers knocked out by flooding

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

During yesterday's storms, Luton Airport warned flash flooding in the area had hit the power supply to the airport and wider vicinity - but later tweeted all its systems were "up and operating again".

Luton Airport
@LE_PHILL

The storms temporarily knocked out a computer system used by the UK Border Force and an airport spokesman said staff were using laptops to process people.

The Home Office said that owing to the power interruption, security checks at passport control may take longer than normal, but stressed that border security had not been compromised.

View more on twitter

Dunstable flooding: A505 'impassable'

Matthew Lockwood

BBC Three Counties Radio

I'm on the A505 between Luton and Dunstable this morning, where the floodwater has subsided but the road is still closed due to this damage.

There's no word yet as to when it might re-open.

View more on twitter

Dunstable flooding: Latest pictures from the closed A505

A505 flood damage
BBC
A505 flood damage
BBC

Dunstable flooding: A505 remains closed

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

The main road from Luton into Dunstable remains closed this morning after yesterday's flooding damaged the road surface.

A505 floods
BBC

The A505 is closed between the A5 and the Boscombe Road junction.

May Brown, a passenger in one of several cars which became submerged, said: "The car started filling with water so I rang the fire brigade, they told us to try and get out of the car but the door wouldn't open... and then it started just gushing in."