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  1. Updates for Wednesday, 27 July 2016
  2. Numbers of armed police officers set to increase
  3. Jury continues deliberations in Noah Serra-Morrison death case
  4. Govia apologises for service disruption
  5. News, sport, travel and weather updates resume at 08:00 on Thursday

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

That's it from the Beds, Herts and Bucks Live team for Wednesday - so goodnight, but we'll be back tomorrow from 08:00 bringing you the news, sport, travel and weather updates as they happen. 

If you have any photographs from around the county that you'd like to share, or if there's anything happening that you'd like us to know about, you can contact us via email, Facebook or Twitter

Local live headlines from throughout the day

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

If you are just logging on to catch up with news of the day, here are today's top stories from the three counties:

Take a scroll down the page for all of the other stories we've featured today.

Weather: Clear spells overnight but rain tomorrow

Dry with clear spells overnight, but cloudy with outbreaks of rain tomorrow.

Weather chart

It'll turn heavy at times, but will quickly clear eastwards to leave a brighter end to the day but still with the risk of some showers in light winds.

Maximum temperature: 21C (72F)

Get the latest local forecast where you live from BBC Weather.

Online retailer transport firm set to create 400 jobs in Dunstable

A transport operator working with several online retail sites is planning to create 400 new jobs at a warehouse in Dunstable.

Amazon package
Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Chinese-owned 4PX will be using the site as a major distribution centre for retailers including eBay, Amazon and Alibaba, and is hoping to have the Dunstable operation running in time for Christmas. 

The warehouse, on the Woodside Industrial Estate, will be used as an import, storage and distribution centre for its UK and European operations. 

The majority of the 400 jobs should be filled by the beginning of next year, the company said.

Lottery grant and donors' cash gives life to St Albans Cathedral heritage project

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

A grant of £3,872,900 has been awarded to St Albans Cathedral by the Heritage Lottery Fund for its development project - Alban, Britain's First Saint: Telling the Whole Story

A further £3m has been raised from more than 1,000 donors. 

St Albans welcome centre
St Albans Cathedral

Dean of St Albans, the Very Revered Dr Jeffrey John, said: "We shall create a beautiful new welcome centre, a new centre for school children, a new exhibition area, and a new adult study centre and library. 

"We shall be able to present the cathedral's treasures in a much more attractive way, which includes illuminating the medieval wall paintings and rebuilding the ruined medieval shrine of St Amphibalus." 

Nic Cruwys: Watford supporter to hold charity football evening

Watford Observer

Watford supporter Nic Cruwys is holding a charity football evening this weekend.

The Hornets fan wants to give back to the organisations which helped him recover from his injuries following the unprovoked attack after Watford's game at Wolves in March 2015.

Travel: Crash partially blocks A421 near Milton Keynes

BBC Travel

A lorry and a car have crashed on the A421 at Monkston, near Milton Keynes, partially blocking the road in both directions and causing long tailbacks between the M1 at J13 and the A5130 for Newport Road.

More details from BBC Travel.

New fiver gets the thumbs up from MK South MP

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

MK South MP Iain Stewart has joined members of the Bank of England team in Parliament today to learn more about the new £5 note before it's issued on 13 September.

Iain Stewart MP
Iain Stewart

The new note features former Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill and will be made of a thin flexible plastic which allows for new security features which make it even harder to counterfeit.

The MP said: "Paper £5 notes will be gradually withdrawn once the new fiver enters circulation and will cease to be legal tender in May 2017."

BBC Three Counties political reporter Paul Scoins said the new note "looks remarkably impractical"... we know, we know - it's not actually this large!

Politicians welcome GlaxoSmithKline investment in Hertfordshire

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

This morning's news that GlaxoSmithKline is to invest £275m to expand its UK manufacturing sites, including the one in Ware, has brought reaction from politicians.

Conservative MEP for the East of England Vicky Ford has tweeted that the £74m going to the Hertfordshire site which makes the Ellipta inhalers was "good news".

Mark Prisk, the Conservative MP for Hertford & Stortford has said it is a "vote of confidence in the local workforce".

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Girl, 11, to represent Britain in Dragon Boat Euros

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

An 11-year-old girl from Bedford is preparing to be the British team's dragon boat drummer at the European championships in Rome this weekend.

Dragon Boat Euros: Bedford's Izzy Gallo to represent Great Britain

Izzy Gallon caught the eye of the selectors after the GB Premier Team visited her club - the Cambridgeshire Royals Dragon Boat - to train. She will be the youngest member of the GB team. 

As drummer she has to stand at the end of the boat, drumming out the beat of the rowing and shouting instructions - very loudly.

Squad manager Tim Smith said: "You may say 'give a child a drum and ask them to shout' is all you need, but the role of the drummer is crucial and we need the right individual to understand the race, read situations, motivate the team and bring out the best when competitors are under pressure."

This afternoon's weather: Becoming brighter

BBC Weather

This afternoon looks set to be brighter than this morning with sunny spells, light winds and just the chance of an isolated heavy shower.

Maximum temperature: 22C (71F).


Ambulance meeting open to public

Patient care improvements will be the focus of the annual general meeting of the East of England Ambulance Service, taking place this afternoon at Great Notley, near Braintree, Essex.

Ambulances parked in a row

The trust's board members have already met this morning to discuss its performance and working with other agencies - and the service has been live tweeting from the meeting.

The latest annual accounts, clinical priorities and future plans are due to be unveiled during the public meeting.

Atul Shah murder case: Co-accused was 'seeing red'

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

The girlfriend of one of the two Luton men charged with the murder of Atul Shah has told a jury her boyfriend went to the dead man's flat to get "weed" and it was there that his co-accused got into a fight with the victim and struck Mr Shah with a dumbbell.

Atul Shah
Bedfordshire Police

Luke West, 23, of Abbots Wood Road and Kyle Pitchford-Price, 23, of Dovehouse Hill are on trial for the murder of Mr Shah, 47, who was pronounced dead at his flat in Crescent Road, Luton, on 6 January after being beaten.

It's alleged the pair bludgeoned Mr Shah to death after going to his flat to rob him of cannabis and money.     

Emmeileen Bradbury told Luton Crown Court her boyfriend, Mr West, told her Mr Pitchford-Price had fought with Mr Shah at the flat and was "seeing red, losing it" and using a dumbbell to strike the victim to try to get "information" out of him.

They both plead not guilty of murder, but Mr West has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

The trial continues.

On This Day: First passenger jet airliner flew in Hatfield

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

The Hatfield-based University of Hertfordshire has reminded us today is an important anniversary in the history of aviation - especially for the Hertfordshire town.

In the late 1940s the DeHavilland company designed the Comet - the world's first ever jet airliner.

The prototype made its first flight in Hatfield on this day in 1949 - flown by the renowned company test pilot John Cunningham with the inventor of the jet engine, Frank Whittle, there to see it.

The first jet service carrying fare paying passengers was in May 1952.

View more on twitter

Cyclist 'critical' after A414 collision

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

A cyclist is critically ill in a London hospital after a collision in Hertfordshire on Monday night, Hertfordshire Police said.

The 49-year-old man from Welwyn Garden City was in collision with a Vauxhall Corsa driven by an 18-year-old woman on the A414 near Holwell just after 22:30. He suffered serious head injuries.

Officers are appealing for witnesses.

Football League Trophy: Group stage draw made

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

Our local clubs have been kept apart in the draw for the group stages of the Football League Trophy, (formerly the Johnstone's Paint Trophy) which now includes Premier League and Championship academy sides.

Luton win the Johnstone's Paint Trophy in 2009
Getty Images

The Dons are grouped with Norwich academy, Peterborough and Barnet while Luton face West Brom academy, Millwall and Gillingham.

Stevenage are with Brighton academy, Southend and Leyton Orient while Wycombe are with West Ham academy, Coventry and Northampton.

Teams will play each other once, but where each game will be played is still to be confirmed. The group stages start in the last week of August.

Local football pre-season round-up

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

Turning to sport and Milton Keynes Dons lost 3-1 to Everton in last night's friendly at Stadium MK in front of a crowd of more than 10,000.

Georgio Rasulo scored for the Dons, but they lost Ben Reeves to injury after just 20 minutes.

Georgio Rasulo
Getty Images

Stevenage drew 0-0 at Borehamwood and the Chairboys new signing Will De Havilland scored a late goal as Wycombe lost 2-1 at Aldershot.

Armed police increase: Response will be 'as quick as it can be'

Josef Hall

BBC Look East

As it emerges the number of armed police officers in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire is to rise by 50%, the Police Federation has raised concerns the joint firearms unit will focus on Luton and Luton airport.

Armed police

But Cambridgeshire's Chief Constable Alec Wood has said this will not be the case.

"I am confident that when we do need those resources in any part of the counties that we'll get them as quickly as we possibly can," he said.

"But of course across the three counties we need to make sure that those areas that do have the greatest risk, that carry the greatest threat, get the response as quickly as it possibly can and in this case, more incidents occur in say Luton than in Fenland, Cambridgeshire."

Armed police increase: A 'response to current threat levels'

Josef Hall

BBC Look East

The Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire joint firearms unit says an increase of 50% in the number of armed police officers in the three counties is a response to current threat levels.  

Assistant Chief Constable Dan Vasovitch, who runs the joint service, said deploying officers with their weapons already happens on "a daily basis, two or three times a day, every day".

He said: "We felt it was appropriate to put in some additional capability that would be there in the event of something really terrible happening.

"On a routine basis we won't be seeing those officers out and about in an armed capacity, but they are there as a surge of capability to support our colleagues across the country."     

Armed police numbers to rise in Beds, Herts and Cambs

Josef Hall

BBC Look East

The number of armed police officers is to rise by 50% in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire, according to figures obtained by BBC Look East.

The joint firearms unit says the increase comes after they "reviewed capability and capacity in the light of current threat levels".

Police have said training for these roles has already started.

Armed police

Noah Serra-Morrison death: Jury continues deliberations

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

A jury at Luton Crown Court is resuming deliberations this morning in the trial of two people accused of murdering Luton toddler Noah Serra-Morrison.

Luton Crown Court
South Beds News Agency

The child was 13-months-old when he died at his home in Crawley Road, Luton, last November.  

His mother Ronnie Tayler-Morrison and her partner Hardeep Hunjan deny murder.

Three arrested in Bedford drugs raid

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Three men have been arrested after police raids in Bedford in the early hours of this morning.

They took place in Woburn Road and Beckett Coyrt in the town and in Bents Close in Clapham.

The men were arrested on suspicion of supplying class A drugs and are being questioned.

GlaxoSmithKline to invest in Ware site as part of £275m package

BBC Business News

The pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline has announced it's investing £275m in the UK spread across three sites - including Ware in Hertfordshire - with new jobs likely to be created.

GlaxoSmithKline, Ware

The company warned before the EU referendum that Brexit would be bad for business and research, but now says Britain remains attractive.

Chief executive Andrew Witty said: "It is testament to our skilled UK workforce and the country's leading position in life sciences that we are making these investments in advanced manufacturing here."

Today's weather: Rain clearing

BBC Weather

It's a bit drizzly outside in Dunstable this morning and it's due continue cloudy and breezy in the region with outbreaks of rain.

These are set to clear leaving some sunny spells this afternoon, feeling warm at 22C (71F).


Govia Thameslink says strike action 'not justified'

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

This morning, as the rail union - the RMT - announced the possibility of strike action on services from Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire into London, Govia Thameslink has said it doesn't feel the action is justified.

RMT protest

Station staff at Govia, which includes Thameslink and Great Northern, are to be balloted over plans to change staffing at stations.

Govia's passenger service director Keith Jipps said: "All our employees would have received an improved pay offer so I'm really disappointed that this has come to a ballot.

"I really don't understand why it's come to this and why over half the people that are going to be balloted by the RMP aren't even affected by these changes."

Herts County Council calls for Govia timetable 'to fit driver availability'

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

A councillor from one of the local authorities which has written to MPs about the "appalling" passenger service offered by Govia has called upon the rail company to "actually introduce a timetable that fits their driver availability".

Thameslink train

The company has been criticised for service disruption due to driver shortages. It said it is recruiting and training "as fast as possible".

Derrick Ashley from Hertfordshire County Council said: "What we need is pressure from [government] to say to Govia 'let's run a service that we can rely on'.

"If it means a slightly less frequent service at certain times... then fine, at least when people turn up at the station they know the train is actually going to run."

Govia Thameslink: Strike action possible over ticket office closure plans

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

We've been talking this morning about train company Govia facing criticism over its shortage of drivers - well, now it's also facing the threat of strikes in a new dispute over jobs and pay.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) has just announced that station staff at Govia Thameslink Railway, which includes Thameslink and Great Northern from Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire into London, are to be balloted for strikes in the row over the impact of plans to close ticket offices. 

Govia Thameslink: What they have done so far?

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Train company Govia, which has faced criticism over service disruption due to a shortage of drivers, said it takes more than a year to recruit and train each one.

It said Great Northern had one of the oldest train fleets in the country and while it was bringing in new trains, up to 16 drivers a day per route had to be taken off duty to learn how to drive them. On Thameslink, drivers are being trained on five new Class 700 trains.

A spokesman detailed its "enhanced" training programme:

  • There are 184 drivers in training on Thameslink and Great Northern
  • It has doubled the number of driver trainers from seven to 14 with more to follow
  • Number of courses being run annually has tripled from four to 13 with more planned
  • Fifty six more trained drivers have been brought onto the Thameslink route and 68 on to Great Northern since the start of 2015

Govia Thameslink: Company 'apologises sincerely' for service disruption

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Yesterday we told you that six local councils had written to MPs about the "appalling" passenger service offered by rail company Govia.

Govia train

Hertfordshire County, Bedford Borough, East Herts District, Luton Borough, North Herts District, and Welwyn & Hatfield Borough councils are calling on the government to ensure that the rail company provides "a timetable that people can rely on".

We've now received a response from the company which said it "apologised sincerely for the cancellations and service disruption" but it was working "as fast as possible" to fill driver vacancies.

We'll bring you more from Govia shortly.

Welcome to Local Live for Beds, Herts and Bucks

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Thanks for joining us again for live news, sport, weather and travel for the three counties - we'll be here until 18:00.

Yesterday we told you that six local councils had written to MPs about the "appalling" passenger service offered by rail company Govia. This morning we'll start with the company's response.

Remember, if you'd like to get in touch, you can email us or send us a tweet.