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Summary

  1. Investigation into racial discrimination at police force widens
  2. Recovery resumes at Snowdonia helicopter crash site
  3. Police investigate Luton shooting
  4. Funds needed to restore George Michael's first gig venue
  5. 'Footballing' tortoise is online hit
  6. Updates on Friday, 31 March 2017

Live Reporting

By Alex Pope

All times stated are UK

Get involved

David Moyes

Matthew Henry

BBC Sport

Miguel Britos' second-half header ended Watford's four-game winless run, giving them victory over Sunderland.

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Goodbye

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

That's it from all of us on the Local Live news feed for Beds, Herts and Bucks this week.

We'll be back on Monday from 08:00 with more news, sport, travel and weather. 

Whatever you're doing this weekend, whether you're going to be a busy bee, or just take it easy, have a good one. 

Bee on a flower
BBC

BreakingSnowdonia helicopter victims named by police

The five victims from the Milton Keynes area who died in a helicopter crash in Snowdonia on Wednesday have been named by police in Wales.

Kevin and Ruth Burke, aged 56 and 49; Donald and Sharon Burke, aged 55 and 48; and 51-year-old Barry Burke died after the crash in the Rhinog mountains.

North Wales Police said the recovery all of the bodies had been completed with the help of local mountain rescue teams and the coastguard.

Ch Insp Richie Green said: "Now all the bodies have been recovered the joint investigation with the Air Accident Investigation Board will begin in earnest to establish how this accident happened.

"Our thoughts remain with the extended family and their friends."

Carters Get Rich... in Milton Keynes

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Apparently celebrating your 50th birthday just isn't enough for Milton Keynes. 

The new town will feature on a brand new TV show tonight at 20:00. 

Carters Get Rich is on Sky 1 and features Hollywood star James Van Der Beek (he's the one who used to be in Dawson's Creek). 

The show is a rags-to-riches story following the antics of the Carter family, who find themselves overnight millionaires when the youngest member of the family invents an app in the shed of his back garden in MK. 

You can listen to James explaining the show on  Steve Wright In The Afternoon .

Cast of Carters Get Rich
Sky 1

A dry night, with sunshine and showers tomorrow

Julie Reinger

BBC Look East weather

Tonight will be mostly dry across the BBC East region, with clear spells as temperatures drop to 7C (45F).

It's a mixed bag of weather for Saturday. There'll be sunny spells and the first of those April showers, some heavy with hail and thunder.

Temperatures could reach 15C (59F).

BBC Weather has more details for where you live.

Weather graphic for Saturday 05:00
BBC

Cleverley to stay at Watford

Geoff Doyle

BBC Three Counties Radio sport

Watford have announced midfielder Tom Cleverley's loan spell from Everton will be made into a permanent transfer.

The former Manchester United 27-year-old has signed a five-year deal with the Hornets.

Watford boss Walter Mazzarri said: "I'm very happy that he has signed, because since he arrived he has showed to be a great professional; very serious in training; great technique and personality."

Tomm Cleverley
Getty Images

Severe accident: M40 Buckinghamshire southbound

BBC News Travel

M40 Buckinghamshire southbound severe accident, between J3 for A40 and J2 for A355 affecting J4 for A404.

M40 Buckinghamshire - Three lanes blocked and very slow traffic on M40 southbound between J3, A40 (High Wycombe East) and J2, A355 (Beaconsfield), because of an accident involving multiple vehicles. Congestion to J4, A404 (High Wycombe Handy Cross Roundabout).

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

Man bailed in Bedford rape investigation

A man arrested on suspicion of rape has been bailed after a woman was attacked in Bedford in the early hours of Thursday.

Police say it happened on Mill Street at about 01:15. 

They're appealing for witnesses to come forward and would like to speak to a group of men who were in the area at the time, and could be vital witnesses.

They say a student night was taking place at the nearby Empire nightclub and witnesses may have heard and seen something. 

Mill Street in Bedford
Google

Severe disruption: M25 Greater London clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Greater London clockwise severe disruption, between J14 for A3113 Airport Way and J15 for M4.

M25 Greater London - Delays on M25 clockwise between J14, A3113 (Heathrow Terminal 4) and J15 M4, because of an earlier broken down vehicle.

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

Luton road re-opens after shooting

Police are no longer at the scene of a shooting in Luton and have told us that Dallow Road has re-opened. 

The road was closed after they were called to the area at about 21:20 on Thursday, following reports a man had been shot.

He was taken to hospital with serious, but not life-threatening injuries.

An arrested man is continuing to be questioned. 

Dallow Road
Google

Harmit Bahra race case: Bedfordshire Police 'will not tolerate discrimination'

Lee Agnew

BBC Three Counties Radio

Bedfordshire Police says it "will not tolerate any type of discrimination" after it was announced that 15 officers and staff were being investigated in a racism case.

Deputy chief constable Mike Colbourne made the comments after the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it was widening its probe into the case of former officer, Harmit Bahra , who won a £200,000 payout for suffering racial discrimination. 

He said: "We celebrate diversity at Bedfordshire Police and are committed to building a workforce which is more reflective of the communities we serve."

Deputy chief constable Mike Colbourne
BBC

Hulcote 'in shock' over villagers' helicopter deaths in Snowdonia

The Bedfordshire village that was home to a couple killed in a helicopter crash in Snowdonia has been left stunned by the deaths, according to a local councillor.

Kevin and Ruth Burke from Hulcote, near Milton Keynes, have been named locally as two of the five members of the same family who died in the crash on Wednesday.

Efforts to recover their bodies and the aircraft wreckage from the Rhinog Mountains have been hampered by both the weather and the remote location.

Richard Mann, who is a councillor in the Burkes' home village, described the sombre mood in the community.

Fifty cows to celebrate 50 years of MK

Gareth Lloyd

BBC Three Counties Radio

This morning I went to Milton Keynes, the new town synonymous with concrete cows, to see for myself the new herd created to celebrate its 50th anniversary. 

This is what they look like...

Fifty cows to celebrate 50 years of Milton Keynes

Severe accident: M25 Hertfordshire anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Hertfordshire anti-clockwise severe accident, between J17 for A412 and J16 for M40.

M25 Hertfordshire - Queuing traffic on M25 anticlockwise between J17, A412 (Maple Cross) and J16 M40, because of an accident involving three cars and two vans earlier on. All lanes have been re-opened.

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

Severe accident: M25 Surrey clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Surrey clockwise severe accident, between J13 for A30 and J14 for A3113 Airport Way.

M25 Surrey - Delays on M25 clockwise between J13, A30 (Staines) and J14, A3113 (Heathrow Terminal 4), because of an accident, which is now on the hard shoulder. All lanes have been re-opened.

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

Helicopter crash recovery 'treacherous'

Recovery of the bodies of five family members killed in a helicopter crash in north Wales continues today. 

Poor weather and the remote and "challenging" terrain at the Rhinog Mountains in Snowdonia have hampered recovery efforts, police have said.

Two of those on board have been named locally as Kevin and Ruth Burke from Hulcote, near Milton Keynes, who were travelling to a christening in Dublin.

A search began on Wednesday when the aircraft vanished over Caernarfon Bay.

Ch Insp Richard Green said conditions were treacherous and challenging for recovery teams.

Snowdonia helicopter crash recovery 'treacherous'
Chuks Aneke

MK Dons forward Chuks Aneke signs a contract extension to stay with the League One club until the end of next season.

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What the former Shredded Wheat factory site will look like

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Over the next few years the site of the former Shredded Wheat factory in Welwyn will be transformed. 

The land is currently owned by Tesco and the work is being completed by Spen Hill, the development brand of the company. 

This is what it will look like...

Broadwater Road artists impression
Spen Hill
Broadwater Road artists impression
Spen Hill
Broadwater Road artists impression
Spen Hill

Shredded Wheat's Art Deco factory buildings to stay

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

The Grade II-listed Art Deco buildings at the former Shredded Wheat factory site in Welwyn will be be kept and restored, despite hundreds of homes being built there.

It means the 1920s silos (pictured below) will stay along with the production hall, grain store and boiler house. 

Silos at Shredded Wheat factory
Christine Johnstone/Geograph
Former Shredded Wheat factory
Christopher Hilton/Geograph

The developers of the site, Spen Hill, will spend about £8.5m on improvements to local infrastructure, with £4.2m going on highway works – including a new roundabout at the Broadwater Road junction and footbridge to the station. 

Former Shredded Wheat factory
Nigel Cox/Geograph

About £3m will also be spent on moving Peartree Primary School to a different site and increasing its capacity.

Severe disruption: M25 Hertfordshire clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Hertfordshire clockwise severe disruption, between J23 for A1 and J24 for A111.

M25 Hertfordshire - One lane blocked and very slow traffic on M25 clockwise between J23 A1(M) and J24, A111 (Potters Bar), because of a broken down vehicle.

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

Homes to be built on former Shredded Wheat factory site

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

For years the former Shredded Wheat factory in Welwyn Garden City has stood empty, but the site is set to be redeveloped.

Former Shredded Wheat factory
Christine Johnstone/Geograph

In 2008 the factory shut down and since then the buildings have gradually fallen into disrepair.  

At a packed meeting, councillors from Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council approved planning permission to redevelop the site on Broadwater Road.

Shredded Wheat factory taken in 2007
John Partridge/Geograph

It means 850 homes will be built on the site along with office, leisure and retail space.

However, parts of the factory are due to stay...

Bubba and his ball become online hit

Earlier we brought you the story that Bubba, a "football-playing" tortoise from Aylesbury, had become an internet sensation.

A film was shot of him crawling at speed across the kitchen floor while nudging a purple ball. 

It's now clocked up more than 60m views online.

Want to see it for yourself? Of course you do... 

'Footballing' tortoise Bubba is online hit

Severe disruption: M25 Hertfordshire clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Hertfordshire clockwise severe disruption, between J21A for A405 and J22 for A1081.

M25 Hertfordshire - One lane closed and slow traffic on M25 clockwise between J21a, A405 (St Albans) and J22, A1081 (St Albans), because of a broken down lorry.

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

Severe disruption: M25 Hertfordshire clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Hertfordshire clockwise severe disruption, at J21A for A405.

M25 Hertfordshire - M25 entry slip road closed and heavy traffic clockwise at J21a, A405 (St Albans), because of a broken down lorry.

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

Severe disruption: M25 Buckinghamshire clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Buckinghamshire clockwise severe disruption, at J16 for M40.

M25 Buckinghamshire - M25 lane blocked on exit slip road and slow traffic clockwise at J16 M40.

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

Bedfordshire police officers and staff being investigated by watchdog

Lee Agnew

BBC Three Counties Radio

In total, 15 officers and staff are now being investigated by the IPCC. 

Ten have retired or are no longer serving with a police force, two are working for other forces and three remain at Bedfordshire Police. 

The IPCC said of the 11 police officers all but one held a rank higher than inspector. 

IPCC associate commissioner Guido Liguori said: "This has been a complex and resource-intensive investigation that has now reached a critical and significant stage. 

"This case raises serious allegations against a large number of officers and staff throughout Bedfordshire Police.

Bedfordshire Police Headquarters
Google

“We have now notified 15 individuals that their conduct is under investigation and will be working hard to bring this investigation to a close and provide our report to the appropriate police forces to determine next steps."

Investigation into racial discrimination at police force widens

Lee Agnew

BBC Three Counties Radio

A gross misconduct investigation at Bedfordshire Police in the case of an officer who suffered racial discrimination has been widened.

Five more officers and staff members are being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in the case of  Harmit Bahra , who won a £200,000 payout from the force.

It takes the total to 11 Bedfordshire officers and four staff members who are under scrutiny. They will now be interviewed by the IPCC.

Bedfordshire Police Headquarters
Google

Severe accident: M1 Bedfordshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M1 Bedfordshire northbound severe accident, between J11 for A505 Dunstable Road and J12 for A5120 affecting J9 for A5.

M1 Bedfordshire - Very slow traffic on M1 northbound between J11 A505 Dunstable Road and J12, A5120 (Flitwick), because of an accident earlier on. All lanes have been re-opened. Congestion to J9, A5 (Redbourn).

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

Weather: Warm but not as warm as yesterday

BBC Weather Watchers

Sadly today isn't quiet as nice as yesterday - we've had a bit of a cloudy day, as this BBC Weather Watcher picture shows

Grey skies
BBC

The good news is that the cloud should break up to reveal some spells of sunshine and the odd chance of a shower.   

Bird in a bird box
BBC

Maximum Temperature: 16C (61F).   

Man who admitted attacking woman avoids jail

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

A man from Bedford who admitted hitting a woman with a wheel-brace has avoided jail.

John Kinsella has been given a 15-month sentence for actual bodily harm, suspended for one and half years.

His victim had written to the judge to say he wasn't guilty and she wanted to marry him.

Kinsella, 44, of Crown Quay, Prebend Street, Bedford, pleaded guilty at Luton Crown Court on 6 March to causing actual bodily harm, but sentencing was delayed because the judge wanted to find out why she said he was not guilty.

He also admitted having an offensive weapon and driving with no insurance.  

The court heard police were alerted to the attack by someone who saw him hitting his victim in a black Mercedes.

The witness could see the woman being punched and covered in blood, but when officers went to Kinsella's home a woman told them she hadn't been assaulted.

When officers viewed CCTV from the scene they realised the woman they had spoken to was not the one who had been assaulted.

The Mercedes was stopped by the police later that night and the woman on the CCTV was in the passenger seat. 

Blood was coming from a wound on her head, she had a reddening to the bridge of her nose and bruising around her eyes, prosecutor Sean Smith told the court. 

The victim did not make a statement to police, but later wrote the letter to the judge.

PD Finn starts his retirement

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

Today is the day that police dog Finn officially starts his retirement.

After seven years of loyal service, he's now off duty as he retired from Hertfordshire Police on Thursday.

Finn was stabbed on duty in Stevenage last October but went on to make a miraculous recovery and returned to service.

You can watch his story below...

MK50: Celebrating until the cows come home

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

You can't celebrate the 50th anniversary of Milton Keynes without milking the story of their concrete cows.

MK Cow
BBC

The Herd About MK project, which has just been unveiled at Centre:MK, looks to raise funds for three local charities - Willen Hospice, MK Community Foundation and MK Dons SET.

Fifty organisations have sponsored a cow, which they beefed up and decorated as they saw fit.

Don't they look udderly brilliant!

MK Cow
BBC
MK Cow
BBC
MK Cow
BBC

All of them will be mooooved around the city throughout the year, with a number of showcases planned at different landmark sites.

You can hoof down to Middleton Hall this weekend, where you can see all the creations. 

In the summer holidays eight or nine cows will be hidden in the town each weekend. The cows' sponsors will provide a series of clues to help the public find them.

Recovery resumes at Snowdonia helicopter crash site

North Wales police have released a statement saying the recovery of the bodies of the five family members killers in a helicopter crash in Snowdonia has resumed. 

Feared to be among the dead are Milton Keynes businessman Kevin Burke and his wife Ruth, who are from the Bedfordshire village of Hulcote - near junction 13 of the M1. 

Police say weather conditions are still "very poor" and the area is "very challenging", with "hazardous terrain and under-foot conditions".

Emergency services at the scene
BBC

They say because of this the recovery is expected to take some time. 

Work had to be suspended last night due to poor weather conditions. 

'Violence' leads to Bedford nightclub licence being suspended

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

The licence of a Bedford nightclub has been suspended after a number of violent incidents were reported to police.

They include a man being stabbed at Vibe, on St Peter's Street, at the weekend. 

The Bedfordshire Police licensing team said a full review hearing would take place next month.

Vibe nightclub
Google

Hapless horse stuck in the mud given lucky reprieve by rescuers

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

Animal rescue specialists were called to retrieve a horse stuck in deep mud and silt in Buckinghamshire yesterday.

Horse stuck in mud
Bucks and MK Fire

It was found on Old Rectory Lane in Denham in the Colne Valley.

Horse stuck in mud
Bucks and MK Fire

Firefighters were also called and they managed to prise it out, give it a brush down and left it in the care of a local vet.

Footballing tortoise is online sensation

Brennan Nicholls

BBC News

A football-playing tortoise from Aylesbury has become an internet sensation.

A film of Bubba crawling at speed (seriously!) across the kitchen floor while nudging a purple ball has clocked up more than 60m views so far. 

You can watch it on the link below...

View more on twitter

Owner Paul Milham said: "The ball happened to be on the floor and we got him out as we usually do just to have a runaround and exercise and he saw this ball and went for it, which had us in stitches, so I thought I'd record it and stick it out for a bit of fun on Twitter." 

His daughter Ciara said: "It's just the fact that it's a tortoise going so quickly - that's not what people think tortoises are like."

Funds needed to restore George Michael's first gig venue

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

It's not exactly Club Tropicana, but the dilapidated scout hut where George Michael played his very first gig is getting a makeover.

George Michael
PA

Michael moved with his family to Bushey in Hertfordshire in his teens, where he met Andrew Ridgeley, a fellow pupil at Bushey Meads School.

The two discovered they had a shared interest in music and in 1981 they formed Wham! - in The Three Crowns pub where they met Pepsi and Shirlie.

In a 2006 interview he revealed his first gig was at a scout hut in Bushey in front of 400-500 people, but it is not clear exactly what year this was, only that it was pre-Wham!

The 1st Bushey Heath Scouts launched a £20,000 Buy a Brick Scheme to give their HQ a new lease of life. New windows and woodwork have already been installed, but about £5,000 more needs to be raised to complete the revamp.

1st Bushey Heath Scout Hut
Michael Duffy
1st Bushey Heath Scout Hut
Michael Duffy

Michael Duffy, who is the scout group chairman and owner of The Three Crowns pub, said: "Interestingly the stage is still pretty much as it was when George performed on it and we want to keep it just as it is."  

He added that they may even put up some kind of plaque, because it "would be good to commemorate a wee bit of pop history".