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  1. Updates on Tuesday, 19 July 2016
  2. Author's body was found in septic tank at her house
  3. Calls for laser pen ban after conviction
  4. Police cells redesigned after custody death
  5. Hatters grant pro contract to a sixth youth team player
  6. News, sport, travel and weather updates resume from 08:00 on Wednesday

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our coverage across the day

That's all from the live team today but we'll be back from 08:00 tomorrow with the latest news for Beds, Herts and Bucks.

Here's a round-up of some of the stories we've covered today:

  • Author Helen Bailey's partner has appeared in court charged with her murder
  • A new £40m building is planned for the University of Bedfordshire's campus in Luton  
  • New cell doors at Luton police station, which are being put in after a man died in custody last year, will consist of "a three stage hatch".  

Remember this: Prince Philip visits Whipsnade Zoo

Just before we go - a dip into the archives. On this day in 1967, the Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip met Kumara, a seven-month-old elephant, during a visit to Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire. 

Prince Philip meets an elephant at Whipsnade Zoo in 1967
Getty Images

The Duke was at the zoo in his capacity as president of the London Zoological Society. 

He was joined by the society's secretary Lord Solly Zuckerman (1904-1993, second from left) and Conservative politician Christopher Soames (1920-1987, far left).

Lorry containing 21 'illegal immigrants' including baby found

Nic Rigby

BBC News

A lorry containing 21 people described as "illegal immigrants", including a three-month-old baby, has been found by police in Hertfordshire. 

Police were called to reports of a banging noise coming from inside a large goods vehicle parked in Goldsmith Way, Hatfield, at 15:00.

The policing unit tweeted that the alleged "illegal immigrants" were safe and well. 

Police said the occupants of the lorry had been treated by paramedics. Officers remain at the scene and the Border Agency has been informed.

Helen Bailey: Post-mortem examination 'inconclusive'

Mike Cartwright

BBC Look East

Helen Bailey and Ian Stewart

A post-mortem examination on author Helen Bailey has so far proved inconclusive. 

Ms Bailey's body was found in a septic tank along with her pet dog Boris, St Albans Crown Court was told, after forensic searches of the author's home and gardens in Royston, Hertfordshire.

Her partner, Ian Stewart, appearing by video link accused of her murder, spoke only to confirm his name.

Ms Bailey, known for writing teen novels, disappeared three months ago.

Overnight weather: Staying warm and humid

Alex Dolan

BBC Look East weather

It'll remain hot and sunny this evening and stay warm and humid overnight, with temperatures staying around 20C (68F) for most of the region.

Wednesday's weather map

Wednesday will be another hot and sunny day with temperatures reaching up to 30C (86F). It'll stay dry but there'll be a little more cloud in the afternoon, and there's a low risk of an isolated thunderstorm later in the day.

You can get the full forecast where you live, from BBC Weather.

#lifehack: Keeping cool in the heat

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

Two people sit on deckchairs in the sunshine

It's a warm day and whilst some people love it, others really struggle... But never fear - we have a tip for you to try and keep cool.

Earlier, Luan in Ampthill called The JVS Show to say that a great way of keeping your home cool, if you have an attic, is to open your loft hatch and let all of the warm air that normally collects at the highest point of your home simply float away... #lifehack

21 illegal immigrants found in a lorry

Andrew Woodger

BBC News

Traffic police have said the lorry was stopped in the Hatfield area.

View more on twitter

Subsequent tweets said "everyone is safe and well".

'No evidence' that Zafira cars catch fire, says Vauxhall director

A director at Vauxhall has given evidence to MPs today to say that the company has no evidence that Zafira B models caught fire.

Zafira car on fire

Charles J Klein, director of Global Engineering at Vauxhall, told MPs they "have not had access to vehicles that have demonstrated that, to be honest."

He said that despite trying to recreate such conditions to "see if it exists", they haven't been able to affect their vehicles. 

The Zafira itself is not manufactured in Luton - Vauxhall only makes vans there now.

Radcliffe: Russian ban decision 'really important'

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

The International Olympic Committee has postponed a decision on banning Russia from next month's Rio Olympics, a decision which Bedford marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe is watching closely.

The World Anti-Doping Agency has called for the entire Russian team to be excluded after a report found evidence of a widespread, state-run programme of cheating. 

Radcliffe said: "The message the IOC sends by how they act on this is really important. 

"[It] has to stand up for the rights of the clean athletes who want to perform in the Olympic Games on a fair and level playing field."

Olympic flags at Sochi 2014

Bikers sentenced for causing summer disruption

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

Three motorbike riders have been sentenced for causing a day of disruption across Bedfordshire last summer, as their convoy of around 80 riders performed wheelies, jumped red lights and mounted pavements. 

Judge Michael Kay QC handed out 12-month community orders and fines at Luton Crown Court, describing their behaviour as "outrageous". 

Luton Crown Court

The riders were tracked from Bedford by a police helicopter, over the M1 into Woburn Sands before they headed back through Cranfield and Astwood on 19 July 2015. 

They were traced by police through videos they posted on social media.

Oliver Sergeant, 22, of Whitley Road, Shortstown; Richard Clarke, 30, of Trevor Drive, Bromham; and Terry Emberson, 28, from south London pleaded guilty to causing a public nuisance. 

Sergeant admitted an additional charge of careless driving.

Vauxhall execs give evidence over Zafira fires

Senior executives from Vauxhall HQ in Luton have been giving evidence to MPs about Zafira B models which have caught fire

Zafira model

A second round of recalls will start next month, costing the company £40m. 

Iain Stewart, the Milton Keynes MP who sits on the transport committee and owned one of the cars, said: "I'd no communication from Vauxhall whatsoever, so I continued to drive it and sold it in good faith.

"Yet we've had evidence that there have been fires."

University of Bedfordshire plans new £40m building

A new £40m building is planned for the University of Bedfordshire's campus in Luton.

Artists impression of what the University of Bedfordshire's new science building will look like
University of Bedfordshire

The STEM building will be constructed on Park Street and will be home to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

A range of new science courses will be available at the university as a result, including pharmacy, chemistry and mechanical engineering.

The building will be four storeys and is due to be completed in 2018.

Helen Bailey death: Partner appears in court via video link

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

Author Helen Bailey's partner Ian Stewart has made his first appearance at crown court charged with her murder.

Police found Ms Bailey's body in the septic tank of her Royston home last Friday, three months after she disappeared.

Helen Bailey and partner Ian Stewart

Ian Stewart, 55, of Baldock Road, Royston, appeared at St Albans Crown Court via video link from Bedford Prison.

He was remanded in custody but will be brought into court in October where he is due to enter a plea to the charges of murder, perverting the course of justice and preventing lawful burial in April. 

The trial date has been provisionally reserved for January.

#hottestdayoftheyear: Enjoying the sunshine

Sorry to all those stuck indoors working (don't worry, we are too)...

View more on twitter

Helen Bailey: Court hears where body was found

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

The partner of author Helen Bailey is appearing at St Albans Crown Court today charged with her murder, after human remains were found at their Royston home.

Helen Bailey and dog Boris
Hertfordshire Police

Ian Stewart, 55, of Baldock Road, Royston, has also been charged with perverting the course of justice and preventing lawful burial in April.  

The court heard Helen Bailey's body was found in a septic tank in the grounds of her home, along with the body of her dog Boris.

More to follow soon.

BreakingHelen Bailey: Body found in septic tank

Our reporter heard at St Albans Crown Court today that the body of author Helen Bailey was found in the septic tank of her home in Royston.

We'll bring you more on this as we get it.

View more on twitter

Fancy a game of #heatbingo?

BBC Look East

It's a scorcher today so let's play #heatbingo...

How hot is it where you are?

Tweet us a dash-pic and your location to see who can hit the high notes!

Car dashboard with temperature gauge reading 25C
Kevin Nugent

Charlton Athletic name former Leyton Orient striker Kevin Nugent as assistant manager to Russell Slade.

Read more

Stevenage sign Jamaica winger McAnuff on free transfer

BBC Sport

Stevenage have signed Jamaica winger Jobi McAnuff on a free transfer.

Jobi McAnuff
Getty Images

The 34-year-old left Leyton Orient in May at the end of his contract, having scored six goals in 57 games.

McAnuff has won 29 caps for Jamaica and was involved in all three of their matches at last month's Copa America.

Weather: Heat continues...

BBC Weather

There will be clear blue skies and sunshine this afternoon, and it will be feeling hot with the highest temperatures likely in built up areas. 

Maximum temperature: 32C (90F)

Blue skies over Bedford

Trading standards officers 'actively looking' for laser sellers

Sophie Sulehria

BBC Three Counties Radio

Hertfordshire County Council is now "actively looking" to see if retailers are selling high-powered laser pens, after a trader was convicted of selling them at a school fair and one damaged a boy's eye.

Councillor Richard Thake, cabinet member for community safety, said: "There's a limit to what you can do and this is one of the first times we've come across this.

"We are now actively looking to see if other retailers [sell high-powered laser pointers]."

Mum calls for ban on laser pens

Sophie Sulehria

BBC Three Counties Radio

The mother of a boy whose eyesight was damaged after he was sold a high-powered laser pointer is calling for a ban on such devices.

Laser beam points at camera

A trader has been convicted for selling one at a school fair in Hertfordshire. The laser, which shouldn't have been on sale to the public, damaged the eye of an eight-year-old boy. 

The boy's mother Angela Marshall, said: "When he doesn't think about it he's okay", but sometimes "he will see a pale purple floater still in his eye".

"Hopefully with the result from the magistrates' court, companies will see that it is being taken seriously and you shouldn't be selling laser pointers of that milliwatt [strength] up and down the country."

Laser seller convicted after boy's eye damaged

Sophie Sulehria

BBC Three Counties Radio

A trader has been convicted for selling a high powered laser pointer at a school fair in Hertfordshire. 

The laser, which shouldn't have been on sale to the public, damaged the eye of an eight-year-old boy. 

Green laser

Jonathan Marshall from Bushey Heath was bought the Laser Star pen at the Christmas Fair in Aldenham.

Two days later he was taken to hospital with a burn to his retina. 

It was sold by Lynsey McClure, of Orestan Lane, Effingham, Surrey who imported various products from China. Although it was labelled as one milliwatt power, it peaked at 128 times that level. 

After pleading guilty at St Albans Magistrates' Court to selling the laser, the 47-year-old was given 240 hours of community service.

Yesterday was hot... will today be hotter?

Here's BBC Look East's weatherman Dan with the scorchio scores on the doors from yesterday... it's set to get even warmer today.

View more on twitter

But will the mercury rise higher today?

Theresa May's cabinet: Who's out?

Paul Scoins

BBC Three Counties Radio political reporter

We've seen who's in but there are a couple of MPs from Bedfordshire who are out of Theresa May's cabinet.

Andrew Selous (South East Beds) will be leaving the government after being replaced as prisons minister. 

Alistair Burt (North East Beds) had already announced his intention to leave the government before the reshuffle took place.  

Can Lewis Hamilton become Hungary GP's most successful driver and claim title lead?

BBC Sport

Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton celebrate a win with champagne
Getty Images

A win for Hertfordshire's Lewis Hamilton this weekend would see him become the most successful ever driver at the Hungarian Grand Prix with five wins.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the event and a lot has changed over that period.

It was the first grand prix ever to be held behind the 'Iron Curtain'. Read more here.

Defender Famewo signs Luton contract

BBC Sport

Luton Town youth team player Akin Famewo has signed his first professional contract with the Hatters.

Luton Town's Kenilworth Road ground
Getty Images

The 17-year-old central defender is in his second year at the League Two club's academy and played in their pre-season win over Bedford Town.

He is the sixth youth team player to sign professional terms this summer.

"We saw in the game the other day that as a centre-half, he's an excellent prospect," Luton boss Nathan Jones told the club website.

The hazards of open water

Caroline Kingdon

BBC Local Live

During the mini-heatwave be careful of cooling off in open water.

It can contain a number of hazards, including unseen debris, near freezing temperatures and undercurrents. 

Swimmers in a river

Dan Phillips of the East of England Ambulance Service warns the cold water can also numb arms and legs, leading to hypothermia.  

Every year we're called out to incidents where people need help in lakes, rivers, ponds, quarries and canals and need emergency medical care. One poor decision could lead to a serious situation."

Dan PhillipsEast of England Ambulance Service

Weather Watchers: Blue skies this morning

BBC Weather Watchers

It is looking beautiful across Beds, Herts and Bucks today.

Blue skies over poppy field in Royston

Thank you to all of our BBC Weather Watchers who are uploading photos of where they are in the three counties.

How's it looking where you are? Send your photos to our inbox or drop us a quick email here.

Pollen levels high and UV very high

BBC Weather

With temperatures set to hit the 30s with unbroken sunshine, it's no surprise that UV levels today are very high... 

UV levels

Hayfever sufferers should also be aware that as well as being scorching hot, there's going to be high pollen levels today too across the east of England...

Pollen levels

Theresa May's cabinet: Who's in from Beds, Herts and Bucks?

Paul Scoins

BBC Three Counties Radio political reporter

So we now have the final details of Theresa May’s cabinet and there are some big wins for MPs in Beds, Herts and Bucks...

Theresa May outside 10 Downing Street

David Gauke (South West Herts) gets a promotion – he stays in the Treasury but gets made Chief Secretary to the Treasury. He gets to attend cabinet.

Mike Penning (Hemel Hempsted) moved from Policing Minister to Defence Minister.

Sir Oliver Heald QC ( North East Herts) returns to government, having lost his job as Solicitor General – he’s back in the Justice Department as a minister.

Richard Harrington (Watford) gets moved from being a minister responsible for the Syrian refugees to the Department for Work and Pensions – he’ll be a junior minister there.

But the biggest move is for Aylesbury MP David Lidington, who will be a cabinet minster as Leader of the House of Commons. He’ll be responsible for pushing through Theresa May’s legislative programme, including the Queen’s Speech.

'Executive' taxi licence exemption rejected in Luton

Usman Azad

BBC Three Counties Radio

The new operator of the taxi service at Luton Airport has lost its bid for a special licence for its fleet of cars with tinted windows, which Luton Borough Council does not allow on the road.

Its licensing panel rejected Addison Lee's application for an exemption which would have got its vehicles on the road. 

Addison Lee car
Addison Lee

The company wanted to ferry passengers in its fleet of black vehicles which have tinted windows and "subtle" signage. 

But this has now been dashed after the council's licensing panel found this service didn't warrant exemptions to its standard licence. 

Addison Lee has yet to comment on the decision.

Keeping cool in the sun

Caroline Kingdon

BBC Local Live

With temperatures set hit the 30s today, the East of England Ambulance Service has issued this advice on how to beat the heat and stay safe in the sun:

  • Wear loose, cool clothing, and a hat and sunglasses if you go outdoors
  • Avoid the sun between 11:00 and 15:00 if you're vulnerable to the heat
  • Drink cool drinks regularly, such as water, and avoid excess caffeine and alcohol
  • Stay in touch with friends, neighbours and relatives who may be less able to look after themselves 
Four sunloungers on a beach, with a parasol
Getty Images

The service saw a surge in 999 calls at the weekend, with an average of 3,370 daily calls between 15 and 17 July, compared to 3,075 in their busiest period of Easter. 

Luton cell doors will have 'three stage hatch'

Nicola Haseler

BBC Three Counties

New cell doors at Luton police station, which are being put in after a man died in custody last year, will consist of "a three stage hatch".

Door designs have been worked on since 2014.

Luton custody cell

"There will be a three stage hatch," Det Ch Insp Steve Ashdown from Bedfordshire Police said.

"One will have a perspex window, one a solid window and one will allow us to have the hatch completely open."

Spy holes in doors will be completely removed, after the coroner at the inquest into Istiak Yusuf's death pointed out that using them for checking on inmates contravened Home Office guidelines.

Police cells refurbishment after inquest into suspect's death

Nicola Haseler

BBC Three Counties

Work has begun to modernise cells at Luton Police Station, following an inquest into the death of a man there

Istiak Yusuf died from a drugs overdose after he smuggled cocaine into his cell in 2015. 

Luton police station cells

The coroner recommended that the cell doors were changed, as Mr Yusuf was checked through a spy-hole, which contravenes Home Office guidelines. 

Det Ch Insp Steve Ashdown, from Bedfordshire Police, has been working on the new design since 2014. 

He said: "We want people to come in safely, be interviewed, dealt with and to leave us safely" and, as a result, all "existing portholes" will be removed.

Weather: Blue skies and sunshine

Kate Kinsella

BBC Look East weather

There will be clear blue skies and sunshine today, and it will be feeling hot with the highest temperatures likely in built up areas such as Luton and Watford.

Maximum temperature: 32C (90F).

For more detailed forecast from where you are, visit BBC Weather.  

Welcome to Local Live for Beds, Herts and Bucks

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

Good morning and welcome to today's live page for the three counties, where we'll be bringing you the weather forecast shortly.

We'll be discussing the refurbishment of Luton police station's cells following the inquest into the death of Istiak Yusuf there in 2015..

If there's anything that we should be talking about, then please let us know via Twitter or email.