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Summary

  1. Luton Airport tax contract protest
  2. Search for missing Helen Bailey
  3. Football league fixtures announced
  4. News, sport, travel and weather updates resume on Thursday at 08:00

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage across the day

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

That's it for today from the Local Live team here for Beds, Herts and Bucks. We'll be back from 08:00 on Thursday morning. 

As ever it's been a busy day, including news of a protest by Luton taxi drivers and a debate on the EU referendum. 

We've also heard how friends of missing Hertfordshire author Helen Bailey hope she's safe and well. More on that story below...

Demolition work starts on derelict Dunstable pub

Tony Fisher

BBC Three Counties Radio

Demolition work has started at Dunstable pub, The Norman King. 

The former thatched building was destroyed in an arson attack almost five years ago. 

The remaining walls are being pulled down and the site will now be re-developed.

Demolition of The Norman King pub in Dunstable
BBC

Weather: Heavy showers expected tonight

BBC Weather

It'll still be warm and humid this evening with some hazy sunshine. The night will be muggy but probably stay dry. Heavy, thundery showers could affect some parts around dawn, with torrential downpours possible.

Minimum temperature: 15C (59F). 

Goffs Oak
David/Weather Watcher

Tomorrow, heavy showers or thunderstorms remain a risk during rush hour, but these will clear during the morning to give a cloudy, warm and humid day for most of us with some brighter spells.

Maximum temperature: 22C (72F). 

Watch: Baby crocodiles hatch in Bedfordshire

Whipsnade Zoo has overseen the birth of four West African dwarf crocodiles. You can learn more about them here...

Birds nests 'swiftly reinstated at renovated Biggleswade flats

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Contractors have made a 'swift' return to a recently renovated block of flats in Biggleswade... to reinstate nest holes for birds.

The flats in Winston Crescent have just been done up, but residents contacted the RSPB when they realised nests for swifts hadn't been included.

Aragon Housing Association said it was only too pleased to provide new homes for "our smaller, feathered friends" and they will "consult the RSPB on future building and refurbishment work to see where we can do more to help”.

Contractor making a new nest hole for swifts
Aragon Housing

Djokovic says he's ready for Rio despite Zika fears

Geoff Doyle

BBC Three Counties Radio sport

Novak Djokovic has just confirmed he's still planning to go to the Rio Olympics despite fears around the Zika virus.

It comes after Rory McIlroy announced he won't be taking part in the Games because of the virus. 

Even though he lost his match at The Boodles in Stoke Park today, Djokovic says its a "great way to get ready for Wimbledon".

Novac Djokovic
BBC

Bletchley veteran takes part in Flog It!

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

A World War Two veteran has been filmed today at Bletchley Park, as part of the 1000th edition of Flog It!

Betty Webb MBE was a member of the Auxiliary Territorial Service and worked to decode German police messages in the Mansion. 

You can see her below being interviewed by Paul Mann and the valuation team. 

Paul Mann and Betty Webb
Bletchley Park.
Betty Webb and valuation team of Flog It!
Bletchley Park

Flog It! comes to town

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

The TV cameras have been at Bletchley Park today to film an episode of Flog It!

The antiques show has been in Buckinghamshire to record it's 1000th episode.

As the pictures show it was a time to celebrate... 

Flog It filming at Bletchley Park
Bletchley Park
Filming of Flog It at Bletchley Park
Bletchley Park

Snap, crackle and hatch... Baby crocs at Whipsnade

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

The West African dwarf crocodiles are classified as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and Whipsnade Zoo's four new reptiles will be added to the European Studbook. 

At the moment they're eight inches long (20cm) and were hatched on Friday after being laid in March.

West African dwarf crocodile
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Alex Cliffe, from the zoo, said: "Amazingly, even before hatching, the baby crocs can actually call to their mum from inside the egg.

"That means she can help excavate them from the nest and carry the hatchlings down to the water for safety."

Parents wait 18 years to add to their family

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

When it comes to having kids it seems like 'in a while crocodile' is the case for some.

At Whipsnade Zoo, four West African dwarf crocodiles have hatched after their parents - Amara and Kojo - waited 18 before adding to their brood.

Already the babies have been out and about in the pool, bonding with their parents and learning that crickets are tasty.

West African dwarf crocodile
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Djokovic loses in Wimbledon warm up game

Geoff Doyle

BBC Three Counties Radio sport

Novak Djokovic has just lost his warm up game for Wimbledon at The Boodles at Stoke Park in Buckinghamshire today. 

This is the moment David Goffin beat him 6-4, 7-5...

View more on twitter

Taxi driver protest: Council 'regret' local taxi drivers didn't win contract

Kate Bradbrook

BBC Look East

Luton Borough Council have told me it's an "unsettling time" for local taxi drivers, but they had no involvement in the decision to award Addison Lee the contract for a taxi rank at Luton Airport.

They regret local taxi trade didn't win the bid, but added it was "open and transparent process".

Luton airport
Andrew Abbott/Geograph

Taxi drivers want a taxi rank at the airport, but the council says it has no power to place an open taxi rank there without the consent of the airport.

Taxi driver prorest: Airport says new contract was 'fair'

Kate Bradbrook

BBC Look East

Following a protest by taxi drivers today, Luton Airport says the process to award the new taxi contract was "fair and open".

A spokesman said the priority is to ensure customers "receive the best possible service" and the "tender was carried out with this in mind".

Luton Airport
BBC

It says the move is part of a £110m investment to redevelop the airport.

Djokovic drops a set at The Boodles

Geoff Doyle

BBC Three Counties Radio sport

It's five days before Wimbledon, and Novak Djokovic has lost his first set 6-3 to Belgium's David Goffin at The Boodles in Buckinghamshire.

View more on twitter

Taxi driver protest: Contract 'unfair' say drivers

Kate Bradbrook

BBC Look East

Hackney carriage drivers in Luton have told me they want a taxi rank re-instated at Luton Airport after it was announced their contract had been awarded to Addison Lee instead. 

They believe the new contract is unfair.

Taxi drivers protesting in Luton
BBC

Addison Lee have told us the contract will "expand and improve" options for passengers and they'll be recruiting "locally for both management and driver vacancies".

Taxi driver protest: 'Thousands of livelihoods will be lost'

Kate Bradbrook

BBC Look East

There are about 60 Hackney taxi drivers outside Luton Town Hall, very unhappy that a new contract to ply trade at Luton Airiport has been awarded to Addison Lee.

Mohammed Yassin has told me he's been in and out of the trade for the "past 35 years" and because the airport has "changed their mind" drivers like him have been told to "go."

He says thousands of livelihoods will be lost.

Taxi driver Mohammed Ansar
BBC

Game set and match to Bedene

Geoff Doyle

BBC Three Counties Radio sport

It's been a good afternoon for Aljaz Bedene, from Gosling in Hertfordshire. 

He's won his match at The Boodles at Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4. 

This is the moment he took the match...

View more on twitter

He's behind you... (the best tennis player in the world that is)

You might just be able to spot a rather famous tennis player behind me. Novak Djokovic has come to Buckinghamshire to start his warm up to Wimbledon.

View more on twitter

Anyone for tennis? Novak comes to The Boodles

Geoff Doyle

BBC Three Counties Radio sport

I'm at The Boodles in Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire today for the tennis.

Novak Djokovic is playing in preparation for Wimbledon. Also in action is Hertfordshire tennis player Aljaz Bedene.

The Boodles at Stoke Park
BBC

Taxi drivers protest over airport contract

Kate Bradbrook

BBC Look East

I'm outside Luton Town Hall, where Hackney carriage drivers are protesting over the Luton Airport contract being awarded to Addison Lee.

The are chanting "shame on you," referring to Luton Borough Council and Addison Lee.

View more on twitter

Football League Cup Round One draw takes place

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Following the excitement of next season's fixtures being announced this morning, it's time to get your diaries out again because the draw for the League Cup - this year known as the EFL Cup - has taken place.

Round One will see Championship new boys Aston Villa visit League Two's Luton Town.

Elsewhere, MK Dons will play Newport County away,  Wycombe will host Bristol City and Stevenage go to Ipswich Town.

The matches will be played on 8 August.

View more on twitter

Hertfordshire Police still trying to find missing author, Helen Bailey

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Hertfordshire Police have told me they're still treating the disappearance of Helen Bailey as a missing persons case and are appealing for anyone with information to come forward.

They swant people to keep an eye out for the author and Boris her dog and report any possible sightings of her since her disappearance on 11 April.

They are also asking if anyone works for a B&B or hotel, and think she's stayed with them, to get in touch. 

Helen Bailey
Hertfordshire police

Disappearance of Hertfordshire author 'doesn't make sense', says close friend

James Longman

Victoria Derbyshire Reporter

Shelley Whitehead was Helen Bailey's bereavement coach after she lost her husband on holiday in Barbados. 

She said they became close friends and the children's author had moved on from her sadness.

Shelly Whitehead
BBC

Ms Whitehead told me she has "no idea" why she vanished and it "doesn't make sense".

She urged Ms Bailey to "have your space, have your time" but to let people know she is safe.

'My gut feeling is she's okay,' says neighbour of missing Hertfordshire author

James Longman

Victoria Derbyshire Reporter

I've spoken to Mavis Drake, the neighbour of missing Royston author, Helen Bailey

She told me she hopes Ms Bailey has done an "Agatha Christie" and is secretly writing a novel somewhere with her dog, Boris.

Mavis Drake
BBC

She told me she can't believe the author has done "anything bad to herself" and her "gut feeling is they're okay".

Hertfordshire author still missing after ten weeks

James Longman

Victoria Derbyshire Reporter

I've come to Royston to try and find out more about the case of missing Hertfordshire author Helen Bailey and her dog Boris.

On 11 April, she left her home, writing a note to her partner Ian Stewart saying she "needed some time to herself".

Helen Bailey
Hertfordshire Police

It's thought she headed to a heath nearby, where she would often go for walks.

She was last spotted the next day and since then no-one has heard anything, her bank account hasn't been activated and her phone hasn't been used.

EU vote: How your MP is voting?

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Tomorrow is the day everyone can go to the polls to vote either In or Out in the EU referendum. 

If you want to know how your MP is voting you can follow this link and type in the area where you live.

Map showing a breakdown of which MPs are backing the Leave and Remain campaigns
BBC

EU debate: Luton companies 'thrive' because of Union, says Beds MP

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Labour MP for Luton South Gavin Suker says Luton based companies like Easyjet, Vauxhall, TUI travel and Luton Airport thrive because of the EU as they can work across 28 countries. 

He says "the money they bring in goes straight back into the economy."

Gavin Shuker
BBC

He believes the value of being 'In' gives the UK £10 back for every £1 put in. 

"I want to see companies like Vauxhall go on and thrive," he said, adding "there are implications on the vote you cast on Thursday".

EU debate: Britain must not remain 'shackled' to EU economy, says Herts MP

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Out supporter and Conservative MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, Peter Lilley, believes Britain will have access to the single market whether we vote In or Out on Thursday. 

In a live debate this morning, he says places like Asian, Africa, China, India and Latin America are where trade deals should be made and it will be easier to make them as one nation instead of with 28 other member states.

Pete Lilley
BBC

He says "opportunities for business world wide will be much greater if we leave then if we remain shackled to the EU economy."

EU debate: Two of the county's MPs state their case for 'In' and 'Out'...

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Both sides in the EU referendum debate are making final appeals to voters before the polls open tomorrow morning.

This morning on BBC Three Counties Radio, two politicians appeared head to head in a final attempt to secure your vote. 

Gavin Suker and Peter Lilley
BBC

Gavin Shuker, the Labour MP for Luton South (pictured left), is in favour of staying in the EU. He said the UK "is safer, and stronger and better off inside the EU."

Peter Lilley, the former deputy leader of Conservative Party and MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, is supporting Bretxit. He said leaving will mean we will have better prosperity as he will have our own control of our "laws, money and borders".

Easyjet re-affirms commitment to Luton

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Luton-based Easyjet has re-affirmed its commitment to Luton Airport whatever happens in tomorrow's EU referendum.

Easyjet
PA

The low-cost airline has campaigned strongly to remain in the European Union, but UK commercial manager Neil Slaven moved to allay fears they could pull out in the event of a Brexit.

He said there are no details on "contingency plans" that "nobody should be concerned about our commitment to Luton Airport".

He added: "We wouldn't be opening these new routes if we weren't fully committed to the future of Luton Airport."

Today's weather: Cloudy and dry

Kate Kinsella

BBC Look East weather

Today is due to be rather cloudy, dry and humid, with a chance of thunderstorms this evening.

Maximum temperature: 21C (69F).

Football League season 2016/2017: Wycombe Wanderers

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Wycombe Wanderers start the 2016/17 season away at Crawley Town on 6 August, and will end it at home to Cambridge United on 6 May.

Wycombe Wanderers
Getty Images

It's not strictly what you'd call a derby, but the Chairboys will face Luton at Kenilworth Road on 3 September and at home on 21 January.

Fans will have to travel to Plymouth Argyle on Boxing Day and Cheltenham on New Year's Eve.

Football League season 2016/2017: Stevenage FC

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Stevenage start the Football League season at home to Crewe Alexandra and will finish by hosting Accrington Stanley (who are they?) at the Lamex Stadium on 6 May.

Stevenage FC
Getty Images

As we told you earlier, the games against Luton Town will take place in Stevenage on 20 August and at Kenilworth Road  on 11 March.

On Boxing Day, Boro host near neighbours Cambridge United, while they play Colchester United on New Year's Eve.

Football League season 2016/2017: Luton Town

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

After long trips to Accrington and Carlisle in the last two seasons, the Football League fixtures have not been kind to Luton Town fans this time around either as they face a trip to Plymouth Argyle on 6 August - although on the plus side, it's the summer holidays so a weekend in Devon can't be ruled out.

Luton Town
Getty Images

As a respite, they won't have to travel over the Christmas holidays with games at home to Colchester United on Boxing Day and Barnet on New Year's Eve.

With Watford in the Premier League - it's a fact I'm not rubbing it in - Luton's derby is now against Stevenage. The teams will meet at the Lamex Stadium on 20 August and at Kenilworth Road on 11 March.

The Hatter's last game is at home to Morecambe in 6 May.

Football League season 2016/2017: MK Dons

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Milton Keynes Dons start life back in League One with a trip to Shrewsbury. Their first home game is a week later against Millwall. The Dons will finish away at Walsall on 30 April.

MK Dons fan
Getty Images

The first much talked about game with AFC Wimbledon will be at stadium:mk on 10 December, with a midweek meeting on 14 March in south London.

Fans won't have to travel too much over the festive season with home games against Charlton Athletic on Boxing Day and Swindon Town on New Year's Eve.

BreakingFootball league fixtures released

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

The fixtures for the 2016/17 Football League season - which starts on 6 August - have been released.

In League One, MK Dons will travel to Shewsbury Town on the first day of their campaign.

In League Two, Luton Town face a long trip to Plymouth Argyle, Wycombe Wanderers will have a shorter journey to Crawley Town and Stevenage host Crewe Alexandra.

Wycombe Wanderers sign new striker

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

One person who'll be very interested in Wycombe Wanderers fixtures this morning is their new striker.

Dayle Southwell
Getty Images

The Chairboys have signed 22-year-old Dayle Southwell from non-league Boston on a two-year deal.

Southwell, formerly of Grimsby Town, has scored 54 goals in the past two seasons for the National League North side.

Football League fixtures - MK Dons ties to look out for

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

So the countdown to the start of the season starts at 09:00...

The new Football League season - now branded as the EFL - kicks off on 6 August with MK Dons back in League One and due to face promoted AFC Wimbledon for the first time in the league.

MK Dons fans
Getty Images

The Dons will also have local derbies with Northampton and Oxford to help cushion the financial blow of dropping out of the Championship, although the fixture list won't match up to that unveiled this time last year.

There's no need for fans to feel disappointed though because the draw for the first round of the League Cup takes place at lunchtime and the Dons are among the seeded teams. They could be drawn against Luton, Stevenage, Wycombe or AFC Wimbledon.

Football League fixtures: Luton, Stevenage and Wycombe

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

In the absence of Luton vs Watford - a fixture missing for ten years now - the Hatters game against Stevenage in League Two is the derby fans will look out for.

Hatters fans will also be wondering how far they will be sent on the opening day, after trips to Accrington and Carlisle in the last two seasons.

Stevenage and Wycombe Wanderers fans will also be looking out for those long trips - hoping they don't have to make their way to the other side of the country on Boxing Day; a day of limited public transport. 

Football League fixtures due to be announced

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

It may be all about the Euros at the moment, but closer to home we're poised for the release of next season's Football League fixtures when Milton Keynes Dons, Luton Town, Wycombe Wanderers and Stevenage fans will find out, among other things, where they'll need to get to on Boxing Day.

Footballs
Getty Images

MK Dons are back in League One, with Luton, Wycombe and Stevenage once again in League Two - and all four teams will also be in the lunchtime draw for the first round of the League Cup.

The new season starts on 6 August and the fixtures will be announced at 09:00 - so not long to wait now.