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Summary

  1. HGVs are 'target group' for police in mobile phone crackdown
  2. No sentencing in Thames Water case due today
  3. Updates on Friday, 17 March 2017

Live Reporting

By Alex Pope

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Crystal Palace

Matthew Henry

BBC Sport

Crystal Palace earn their third successive victory thanks to an own goal by Watford's Troy Deeney at Selhurst Park.

Read more

Goodbye

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Sadly it's time for us to go for another week.

But don't despair, we'll be back with more news, sport, travel and weather on Monday morning from 08:00. 

Whatever you're doing this weekend, we hope it's a good one. 

If it stays dry I might even mow the lawn! The drawbacks of spring ay...

See you again soon.

A mix of weather for the region tomorrow

Julie Reinger

BBC Look East weather

A mostly cloudy night, with some outbreaks of patchy rain and drizzle across the BBC East region.

Temperatures falling to 7C (45F).

Weather graphic for Saturday morning
BBC

It's a mixed bag of weather for the region tomorrow.

Some parts will remain cloudy with further outbreak of patchy rain - and other areas could have a mainly dry day with sunny intervals.

Winds will ease, with temperatures reaching 14C (57F).

BBC Weather has more details for where you live.

Charity saves dog from the Korean meat market

Sinead Carroll

BBC South Today

A dog saved from a dog meat farm in Korea has found a new life in Buckinghamshire. 

Faith, the collie cross jindo, is being trained by Buckinghamshire-based charity  Medial Detection Dogs .

It uses dogs to sniff out conditions like cancer and is also helping people with diabetes. 

Faith the dog and trainer
BBC

The charity describes her as "beautiful and a whirlwind" and named her Faith, as despite all that has happened to her, she "has the most amazing faith in humans". 

The charity is hoping to take on another dog from South Korea in the coming months. 

Shedding light on the darkness

Dan Holley

BBC Look East weather

The Spring Equinox marks the start of astronomical Spring - and that's on Monday.

But today's the Spring Equilux.

Confused? This tweet explains:

View more on twitter
Gang travels by bike to stores stealing gems worth millions
Six men have been jailed for stealing more than £3m worth of jewellery from shops around England.

Student jailed for assaulting man on train

A Bedfordshire student has been jailed for a year after he was found guilty of assaulting a man on a late night train .

Sam Pearce, 24, of Rickmansworth Road, Pinner, north west London, hurled film-maker Benjamin Kerr, from Flitwick, out of the carriage after the train stopped at Luton's Parkway Station on 17 June 2015.

Sam Pearce
British Transport Police

Mr Kerr told St Albans Crown Court he was attacked when he woke up on the train and mistakenly told Pearce they had reached the "end of the line" at Bedford station, when in fact they were at St Albans.  

He said he realised moments later he had made a mistake, but not long afterwards Pearce found him in another carriage and attacked him, before violently ejecting him from the train at Luton.  

The student was found guilty on Monday of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Severe disruption: A6 Bedfordshire both ways

BBC News Travel

A6 Bedfordshire both ways severe disruption, between Newbury Lane and Barton Road.

A6 Bedfordshire - A6 in Silsoe blocked in both directions between the Newbury Lane junction and the Barton Road junction, because of a police incident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Dr Dons

A beaming Pete Winkelman collected an honorary degree from The University of Buckingham today. 

The chairman of MK Dons was awarded a Doctor of Science at a graduation ceremony. 

Pete Winkelman at a graduation ceremony
University of Buckingham

He was one of five to be given the special accolade, including the former governor of the Bank of England, Lord Mervyn King.

Wheely good fun

Gareth Lloyd

BBC Three Counties Radio

A mountain unicyclist who has competed in World Championships says he now does it "purely for fun".

Edd Hawkes, from Dunstable, Bedfordshire, started unicycling after his brother went to a juggling club.

That was 14 years ago, and just one year later he moved on to riding off-road.

Why I take part in extreme mountain unicycling for fun

Mountain unicyclist Edd Hawkes says most people associate his sport with "clowns".

The 30-year-old used to run a display team which travelled all over the UK and Europe, and he also made it into the elite downhill category in the Mountain Unicycling World Championships.

"There's not a living to be made... for me it's purely for fun" he said. 

Drivers appear blasé after being caught using phone while driving

Justin Dealey

BBC Three Counties Radio

While Thames Valley Police officers have been using an unmarked lorry to catch motorists using their mobiles, I've been out with Bedfordshire Police to see what it's doing. 

HGV and police motorbike
Thames Valley Police

In the two hours I was with the force, three people were pulled over and  I managed to talk to two of them

What I heard amazed me, as they didn't seem that bothered that they had received six points on their licence and a £200 fine. 

Michael told me he was his phone as his speaker was broken, and said "I know it's wrong but it was a necessity. If I have to take a call for work then I will take a call for work". 

When I challenged him on if he will do it again, he said he will "try". 

Marcus was caught syncing his phone to his bluetooth and said: "Yes, it's wrong in the eyes of the law. It's not that I don't think it's dangerous, but there's a lot of other things happening on the roads." 

GBBO: The gift that keeps on giving

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Yes - Beds, Herts and Bucks has another link to the Great British Bake Off

Not content with having two winners from the area - Milton Keynes' Nadyia Hussain and Barton Le Clay's Candice Brown - we can now claim former Buckinghamshire New University graduate Noel Fielding as our very own.

View more on twitter

The comedian and actor, best known for the surreal BBC sitcom The Mighty Boosh, has been announced as the show's new presenter, along with Sandi Toksvig. 

I also saw him at a gig at the Clock Inn in Milton Keynes years ago, so I hope this also counts?!

How much?

Jozef Hall

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Earlier this week, you may remember we mentioned that you, humble taxpayers, are still paying for the regional fire control centre that never was .

The Waterbeach headquarters would have answered all emergency fire calls from Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Hertfordshire and north Essex.

However, the project was  abandoned in 2010  after the coalition government determined the "requirements of the project cannot be delivered to an acceptable timeframe".

Mothballed fire control centre in Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire
BBC

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) initially refused to comment on why it had failed to let the building.

However, we've now finally got a breakdown of exactly how our money is being used to support this ongoing venture.

The total costs in 2015-16 were:

  • Rent (net): £1,384,903.36
  • Rates: £49,296.33
  • Service charge: £17,268.76
  • Water: £246.78
  • Electricity: £25,605.73
  • Fixed Maintenance: £200,227.33
  • Reactive Maintenance: £1,166.57

Total: £1,678,714.86 = £4,599 a day

Yep, going on for £2m a year.

Man snapping pencil
Thinkstock

We asked the DCLG to comment on the figures. We especially wanted to know why £26,000 of electricity was being used each year when no-one was there, but they wouldn't. 

With another 14 years left on the lease, the final spend will dwarf the millions spent so far on a service which has never been used. 

White elephant? You decide...

Pedestrian in critical condition after being hit by car

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

A woman in her 50s has been left in a critical condition after being hit by a car in Luton on Wednesday.

Police say she was hit by a grey Audi A3 Sport at about 21:20 on the Dunstable Road, by Wordsworth Road. 

Dunstable Road
Google

Her injuries are described as serious and she's currently in a stable condition in hospital. 

Police are appealing for witnesses. 

Weather: Cloudy afternoon ahead

BBC Weather Watchers

Sadly the bright skies of Wednesday are a dim and distant memory as it's gone rather cloudy over the three counties, as this picture by BBC Weather Watcher Steves Skies shows. 

Field in Ampthill
BBC

For the rest of the day it will be a dry but rather cloudy day although there will be some brighter spells, most likely in eastern areas. 

Maximum Temperature: 11C (52F). 

Man still being questioned over Stevenage death

Lee Agnew

BBC Three Counties Radio

Police have been granted an extension to question a man who's been arrested on suspicion of murder.

It's after Bill Floyd, 57, was found dead in his flat on Harrow Court, in Stevenage, on Sunday. 

A man in his 30s was arrested on Wednesday and remains in police custody. 

Harrow Court
Google

Severe disruption: M25 Greater London anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Greater London anti-clockwise severe disruption, between J25 for A10 and J24 for A111.

M25 Greater London - One lane closed and queuing traffic on M25 anticlockwise between J25, A10 (Enfield) and J24, A111 (Potters Bar).

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: M1 Bedfordshire southbound

BBC News Travel

M1 Bedfordshire southbound severe disruption, between M1 J10 and J9 for A5.

M1 Bedfordshire - Stationary traffic on M1 southbound between M1 J10, Luton Airport Spur Road and J9, A5 (Redbourn), because of a rolling road-block.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: M25 Surrey clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Surrey clockwise severe disruption, between J13 for A30 and J14 for A3113.

M25 Surrey - Heavy traffic on M25 clockwise between J13, A30 (Staines) and J14, A3113 (Heathrow), because of onlookers.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Travel: M1 slip road re-opens

BBC News Travel

The M1 slip road at junction 10 has now re-opened after a lorry overturned earlier.

View more on twitter

Teenager charged with knifepoint robberies

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

A Luton teenager has been charged with two knifepoint robberies on taxi drivers in Dunstable and Luton on 12 March.  

The 15-year-old was charged with two counts of robbery, possession of a knife in a public place and possession of cannabis. 

He's due in court on 21 March. 

Severe accident: M25 Buckinghamshire anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Buckinghamshire anti-clockwise severe accident, between J16 for M40 and J14 for A3113 Airport Way.

M25 Buckinghamshire - Delays are easing on M25 anticlockwise between J16 M40 and J14, A3113 (Heathrow Terminal 4), because of an accident earlier on.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

No sentencing in Thames Water case due today

Duncan Kennedy

BBC South of England Correspondent

Earlier we reported that a fine was likely to be imposed today on Thames Water, after it admitted water pollution and other offences at sewage facilities in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. 

I'm at Aylesbury Crown Court and the judge has just said that because there's a further indictment to consider, sentencing is now expected on 21 March. 

Sewage works in Henley
BBC

Prison officer remains in critical condition after attack

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

A 21-year-old prison officer is still in a critical but stable condition after being attacked at Oakhill young offenders' centre in Milton Keynes on Wednesday.

Thames Valley Police says five boys aged 16 and under, who were arrested on suspicion of assault, have been bailed. 

Oakhill Young Offenders Centre sign
Google

Travel update: Recovery work starts on M1 slip road

BBC News Travel

Highways England has just released this picture of the overturned lorry by junction 10 of the M1. 

Recovery work is under way and the northbound slip road is expected to remain closed until midday. 

View more on twitter

Travel update: M1 slip road could remain closed until midday

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

We've got an update on the situation at J10 of the M1, where the northbound exit slip road has been closed due to an overturned lorry.

Highways England said it expects "normal traffic conditions" to return between 11:45 and 12:00.

Blues v Saints: Hooker Charlie Clare says Blues 'got me where I am now'

Craig Lewis

BBC Sport

Northampton Saints' hooker Charlie Clare says his three-year stint at Bedford Blues "got me back on track" after a number of injuries.

Clare helped Bedford reach the Championship's top four at the end of last season, prior to joining Saints.

Before he joined the Blues, the 24-year-old was a member of the Leicester Tigers academy, where he had loan spells with Nottingham, Jersey and Loughborough Students.

Charlie Clare
Getty Images

Speaking about this evening's friendly, he said: "It's an East Midlands derby. We are probably closer to Bedford than Leicester.

"Back in the old days it was those three who would battle it out."

Clare said he has some "great memories" of his time at Goldington Road.

"I kept my head down and worked hard, and everyone always looks after you," he said.

"It is what happened there that got me where I am now." 

Northampton Saints' visit to Bedford will feel like a homecoming for Charlie Clare

Craig Lewis

BBC Sport

From re-acquainting himself with the unique sloping pitch to preparing to take on his housemate, Northampton Saints' hooker Charlie Clare is looking forward to tonight's clash with Bedford Blues .

Saints travel to Goldington Road for an evening friendly. It is a ground Clare, 24, is familiar with after spending three seasons with the Blues.

Charlie Clare
Getty Images

"It's quite special [playing at Bedford], mainly because of the slope," he said.

"There are not many other pitches like that. It is right in the centre of town. Bedford is very similar to Northampton in that it is a rugby town.

"They get 2,000 people to most games."

Clare said he has more reason than most to put in a big performance: "I still live in Bedford and my housemate is a Bedford player."

HGVs are 'target group' for police in mobile phone crackdown

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Earlier this week we told you how Thames Valley Police used an unmarked lorry to catch drivers using their mobile phones on the M1.

Mobile phone driver
PA

Targeting the stretch between J15 for Northampton and J13 for Bedford during four days last week, 83 drivers were stopped, of which 38 were driving lorries, both UK-and foreign-registered.

We've now been talking to Thames Valley Police about why using a lorry is particularly helpful.

Acting inspector Simon Hills said: "Heavy goods vehicles are one of the target groups for us and that's why the very kind loan of a truck enables us to see into the cab and see things that we perhaps normally wouldn't see from one of our patrol cars.

"Lorry drivers need to heed the message, especially when they're driving 40 tonnes at 60mph."

At the start of this month,  new legislation was introduced  with increased penalties for those caught using a mobile at the wheel.

Thames Water pollution 'worst ever seen'

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

As Thames Water prepares to be given its "biggest ever fine" after pumping millions of gallons of untreated sewage into the River Thames, the Environment Agency said it was some of the "worst pollution" it had ever seen.

Robert Davis from the agency witnessed the pollution in the River Thames in Buckinghamshire in 2013.

He said: "When I got to it I couldn't believe what I was seeing, the river was visibly polluted bank to bank with sewage.

"It was grey, it was lifeless, there were dead fish floating along it and it was polluted for as far as the eye could see, both downstream and upstream.

"It was really sad to see such a beautiful river so badly polluted and it's some of the worst pollution that I've ever seen."   

Thames Water apologised, blaming technical issues for the spills.

Thames Water faces 'biggest ever fine'

Roger Harrabin

BBC environment analyst

The UK's biggest fine for river pollution is likely to be imposed on Thames Water today at Aylesbury Crown Court. 

Thames Water sewage works
BBC

The company  has admitted water pollution and other offences  at sewage facilities in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. 

Raw sewage was spilled into waterways at six different sites, including into nature reserves and even on to the well-known Thames Path. 

Hundreds of fish and birds died and manholes overflowed.

The Environment Agency said the amount of untreated sewage illegally discharged into rivers was unprecedented.

The volume of some of the spills exceeded the capacity of a super tanker.

Thames Water,  which has pleaded guilty to six cases of water pollution , has apologised, saying technical problems were to blame.

It will attempt to mitigate the punishment in court today, but the judge has already warned it will face a record fine that could stretch to millions of pounds. The judge said shareholders, not consumers, should foot the bill.

Weather: A cool and cloudy day

Elizabeth Rizzini

BBC Look East weather

A cool end to the working week, with the best of any sunshine this morning.

Turning cloudy, but staying dry, with freshening winds.

Temperatures reaching a high of 11C (52F).

BBC Weather has more details for where you live.

Elizabeth Rizzini has the forecast for the east of England

Travel: M1 exit slip closed at J10 for Luton Airport

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

The northbound M1 exit slip road at junction 10 for Luton Airport is closed due to an overturned lorry.

Highways England is recommending those trying to get to the airport use J11 for the A505.

Recovery is under way, but we understand the slip road is likely to remain closed until at least 10:00. 

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Welcome to today's live updates for Beds, Herts & Bucks

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Good morning and welcome to another day of live updates from Beds, Herts and Bucks.

We'll be here from now until 18:00 bringing you the very latest news, sport, weather and travel. 

Today, the UK's biggest fine for river pollution is likely to be imposed on Thames Water this morning. We'll bring you the news from Aylesbury Crown Court. 

As always you can get in touch and let us know what you're doing today by  emailFacebook  or  Twitter

Severe disruption: M1 Bedfordshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M1 Bedfordshire northbound severe disruption, at J10 for M1.

M1 Bedfordshire - M1 exit slip road closed northbound at J10, M1 (Luton Airport Spur Road), because of an overturned lorry and recovery work. Diversion in operation - turn around at J11 and use the southbound exit at J10. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: M1 Bedfordshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M1 Bedfordshire northbound severe disruption, at J10 for M1.

M1 Bedfordshire - M1 blocked and stationary traffic northbound at J10, M1 (Luton Airport Spur Road).

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time