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  1. Updates on Thursday, 20 July 2017
  2. Ian Poulter posts 3-under score at The Open
  3. Cyclist in his 90s dies in crash
  4. MPs back Herts PCC's plan to takeover running of fire service
  5. CCG stand by decision to close Watford respite home

Live Reporting

By Alex Pope

All times stated are UK

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Severe disruption: M1 Hertfordshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M1 Hertfordshire northbound severe disruption, at J6 for A405 North Watford affecting J5 for A41.

M1 Hertfordshire - One lane blocked and queuing traffic on M1 northbound at J6, A405 (North Watford), because of a broken down car. Congestion to J5, A41 (Watford).

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

Our live coverage across the day

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

That's it for the day from all of us here at the Local Live news feed for Beds, Herts and Bucks.

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

If you missed anything, you can scroll down through the page and catch up on all the day's news.

Although it's been a mixed day of weather, with sun and rain, we couldn't resist sharing this stunning picture by BBC Weather Watcher carlas garden with you.

Harpenden field

Golf: Update on our three at The Open

The opening day of four at Royal Birkdale is coming to a close, so here's a quick check on our local competitiors:

  • Woburn's Ian Poulter finished on -3 with 67 and looks likely to finish the day in the top ten
  • Callum Shinkwin of Watford finished on +4
  • Tyrell Hatton of Marlow was +4 after 17 holes

Follow the latest with BBC Sport's live reporting page from The Open.

View more on twitter

Severe congestion: M1 Bedfordshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M1 Bedfordshire northbound severe congestion, at J10 for M1 affecting J6A for M25.

M1 Bedfordshire - Queuing traffic and heavier than usual traffic on M1 northbound at J10, M1 (Luton Airport Spur Road). Congestion to J6a M25.

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

First electric car showroom opens in Milton Keynes
The UK's first electric car showroom aims to "dispel myths" about the vehicles.

Weather: A dry night

Alex Dolan

BBC Look East weather

A fine end to the day with some late sunshine across the BBC East region.

It'll stay dry overnight with temperatures dropping to 9C (48F).

Weather grahic for Friday afternoon

Tomorrow will be fine and dry, with sunny spells. Cloud will increase later, with outbreaks of rain overnight, heavy at times.

Temperatures reaching 22C (72F).

You can find a more detailed forecast on BBC Weather.

Mixed review as government scraps rail electrification plans

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

As we reported earlier, the government today announced that the electrification of the Midland Mainline (London-Sheffield) north of Kettering will no longer be going ahead.

They said it was "no longer necessary" because new modern bi-mode trains, will run instead.

At the moment the line between Bedford, Kettering and Corby is being electrified and this work is set to continue.

Whoever the wires will now stop just north of Kettering, at the junction for Corby and will not continue to Leicester, the East Midlands and South Yorkshire.

Midland Main Line
Alan Thrippleton/Geograph

Sim Harris, editor of Railnews says the announcement means "new trains through to Sheffield on the Midland Main Line will be welcome, as they will be faster and offer more seats, but they won't be as good as the fully electric trains which were promised a few years ago".

One man released on bail after Bedford river death

Tony Fisher

BBC Three Counties Radio

One man has been released on bail, and another will face no further action, after being arrested on suspicion of murder.

They were being questioned by police after a man was pulled from the River Great Ouse, at the Riverside Embankment in Bedford on Tuesday morning, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

A post-mortem examination was inconclusive and the death is being treated as unexplained.

Further tests are due to be carried out to find out the cause of death.

Butterfly Bridge, Bedford
Thomas Nugent/Geograph

Satellite gets ready for blast off

Lee Agnew

BBC Three Counties Radio

A satellite which will monitor pollution levels on Earth is beginning its journey from Stevenage to its launch site in Russia.

Sentinel-5P has been assembled by scientists at Airbus as part of a Europe-wide space programme.


It will gather data that experts hope will improve the management of the environment and understand and mitigate the effects of climate change.

It's due to be blasted into space in September.

Travel: Tree blocks railway

BBC News Travel

A fallen tree has caused some disruption and delays on the railway this afternoon.

Network Rail staff have now removed the tree by Gerrards Cross on the Chiltern Line from Marylebone.

All lines have now reopened, but delays and cancellations are expeced.

Tree on railway line
Chiltern Railways

Severe accident: M1 Bedfordshire southbound

BBC News Travel

M1 Bedfordshire southbound severe accident, between J11 for A505 Dunstable Road and M1 J10.

M1 Bedfordshire - One lane blocked and slow traffic on M1 southbound between J11 A505 Dunstable Road and M1 J10, Luton Airport Spur Road, because of an accident.

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

Golf: Poulter not in the lead, but very much in contention

BBC Sport

It's been a good day in the opening round of The Open at Berkdale, for Woburn's Ian Poulter, as he held the lead for some time.

He finished -3 with a round of 67 and was clubhouse leader for some time.

Jordan Speith is also back in the clubhouse and finished on -5 along with fellow American Brooks Koepka.

For the latest, follow BBC Sport's live reporting page from Southport.

Ian Poulter
Getty Images

Knife crime rises in Beds, Herts and Bucks

Kate Bradbrook

BBC Look East

The number of knife crimes has increased across Beds, Herts and Bucks, according to Home Office and the Office of National Statistics (ONS), which have released the annual crime statistics today.

Knife crime went up in Bedfordshire by 52% year on year, in Hertfordshire by 34% and in the Thames Valley Police area, which includes Buckinghamshire, by 32%.

Robbery and assault with a knife was the most common offence.

Billy Dove
Billy's Wish

Paul Dove, whose son Billy, 21, (pictured) was stabbed and killed during a night out in Hemel Hempstead in November 2011, set up the Billy’s Wish charity to educate young people about the dangers of knife crime.

He said that to prevent further tragedies, the country needs "stiffer sentences, licences on knives and more money put into the education of children carrying knives".

"We’ve got to go harder," he said.

"As soon as they’re caught carrying [knives], double [or] treble the sentences.

"If you strike somebody with a knife you’ve got to be looking at a minimum, without doing serious damage [to someone], of five years [in prison]."

Darren McGrath, 17, who was convicted of Billy Dove’s murder in 2012, was jailed for 14 years.

At the time McGrath, of Essex Mead, Hemel Hempstead, was on a supervision order for stabbing a schoolboy and drug offences.

MK's got the power!

Gareth Lloyd

BBC Three Counties Radio

The first electric car showroom has opened its doors in Milton Keynes, and I've been lucky enough to have a sneak preview of what's on offer.

The store is in centre:mk and is run by Luton-based Chargemaster.

It opens to the public on Saturday.

Electric Vehicle Experience Centre

David Martell, Chargemaster's chief executive, said: "The whole idea is to take away some of the myths about ownership of electric cars - people thinking the range is bad, the performance is not very good, they are expensive - all those are false.

Electric Vehicle Experience Centre

"You can get some very good value electric cars now and there are lots of charging points and the range are doing 200 miles now."

Staff at football club threated at gunpoint

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

Armed robbers have threatened staff at gunpoint before stealing money from a Bedfordshire village football club.

The club say three masked men entered Barton Rovers FC in Barton-le-Clay at about 00:43 on Wednesday.

Club chairman Darren Whiley said: "Our staff are OK, shaken and also angry that scum bags could do this in what appears to be a pre-targeted attack.

"Any info, big or small, please get in touch."

He's appealing for people to check their CCTV footage from Tuesday night into Wednesday morning to look for "anything suspicious".

Barton Rovers

Poulter impressive on Royal Birkdale return

Poulter (-3 after 18)

Ged Scott

BBC Sport at Royal Birkdale

Ian Poulter, runner-up here in the 2008 Open, admits he only used his driver four times on his way to an opening-round three-under 67.

"There's no right or wrong way to play links golf," said the 41-year-old Ryder Cup star. "It's all about keeping out of the traps and it worked for me."

Poulter, who has dropped out of the world top 50 following injury, had to come through qualifying to get here, being watched by an unexpectedly large gallery of several thousand followers as he qualified on his home course at Woburn.

"I've been surprised by the amount of people who have come up to me and said 'well done' for not just qualifying, but actually turning up to play in Final Qualifying," he added.

"But I always planned to do that. If you have a chance to play in the best golf competition in the world then you should it. It's quite simple."

Officers request anonymity at inquest into Luton police shooting

Police officers involved in the fatal shooting of a man in Luton in November, are to ask the Bedfordshire coroner for anonymity when an inquest is heard.

The request was made at a pre-inquest review into the death of Josh Pitt, 24, from Leighton Buzzard.

Josh Pitt
South Beds News Agency

The coroner in Ampthill, Ian Pears, said the officers' representatives will have to make written submissions before the inquest is heard.

Mr Pitt was shot in the chest when officers were called to Hibbert Street.

Police outside Tracey Court
South Beds News Agency

At the time of the incident, Bedfordshire Police said they were responding to a report that Mr Pitt had attacked a woman in a flat at Tracey Court.

A date for the full inquest hasn't been fixed, but it's expected to be in late November or December.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is also investigating the circumstances.

Severe accident: M1 Northamptonshire southbound

BBC News Travel

M1 Northamptonshire southbound severe accident, between J15 for A45 and J14 for A509.

M1 Northamptonshire - One lane closed and slow traffic on M1 southbound between J15, A45 (Northampton) and J14, A509 (Milton Keynes), because of an accident.

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

Severe accident: M25 Hertfordshire anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Hertfordshire anti-clockwise severe accident, between J24 for A111 and J23 for A1 affecting J26 for A121.

M25 Hertfordshire - Delays on M25 anticlockwise between J24, A111 (Potters Bar) and J23 A1(M), because of an accident involving a car, a lorry and a van earlier on. All lanes have been re-opened. Travel time is 50 to 60 minute. Congestion to J26, A121 (Waltham Abbey).

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

Severe accident: A418 Buckinghamshire westbound

BBC News Travel

A418 Buckinghamshire westbound severe accident, between Portway and Chiltern Avenue.

A418 Buckinghamshire - A418 Oxford Road in Hartwell closed and queuing traffic westbound between the Portway junction and the Chiltern Avenue junction, because of an accident involving a lorry and car.

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

'Publish Woodhill report' says charity

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

A charity is calling for a report into the regime at Woodhill prison in Milton Keynes to be made public.

INQUEST wants findings by Simon Shaw, former prison and probation ombudsman, to be published.

Selan Cavcav from the organisation said: "Even the families of the people who died in Woodhill have not seen the report yet, I think it's very important, in terms of restoring the public confidence that this report is published."

It follows the death of 18 inmates from suicide since 2013.

HMP Woodhill
South Beds News Agency

We've asked the Ministry of Justice for a response.

Midland Mainline electrification plans scrapped

The electrification of the Midland Mainline (London-Sheffield) north of Kettering is "no longer necessary" according to the government.

In a statement issued in the past hour, the transport secretary Chris Grayling said new modern bi-mode trains, which can operate on diesel or electric, will be introduced on the line, meaning "disruptive" electrification work on the line to Nottingham and Sheffield won't be needed.

The government says passengers will benefit from more seats and faster journey times.

Kettering Railway Station
Kettering Railway Station

Poulter in lead at The Open

BBC Sport

It's been a good start already for Woburn's Ian Poulter who's currently top of the leader board at The Open - he birdied the ninth hole to retake the overall lead on -2.

At the moment his play is not the main topic of conversation on the BBC's Open live reporting page but what he's wearing is...

They say "You know the most remarkable thing about Ian Poulter this morning? Not that he is leading the early running. Nope, it is that he has not got a speck of dirt on those John Travolta pants".

Ian Poulter
Getty Images

Severe accident: M25 Greater London anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Greater London anti-clockwise severe accident, between J25 for A10 and J24 for A111 affecting J26 for A121.

M25 Greater London - Very slow traffic on M25 anticlockwise between J25, A10 (Enfield) and J24, A111 (Potters Bar), because of people slowing to look at an accident involving a car and lorry. All lanes have been re-opened. Congestion to J26, A121 (Waltham Abbey).

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

Nascot Lawn: CCG stand by decision to close Watford respite home

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Earlier this week, we told you that Hertfordshire County Council said it was committed to extending the running of Nascot Lawn respite home in Watford beyond the planned closure date set by Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Nascot Lawn, Watford

The CCG had decided a respite care home for young people with disabilities should close at the end of October, despite campaigners collecting 14,000 signatures on a petition to keep it open.

We've now had a statement from the CCG, who, after a meeting with the council last night to "to explain our decision and to hear councillors’ views", said they are standing by their decision to close the home.

It said they remain committed to meeting the childrens' health needs, but can't continue to fund short breaks services after 31 October.

It also said it welcomed the council's "resolution to extend the funding" after that date in order to secure suitable alternative provision for the affected families.

Chairman Dr Nicolas Small said: "We note the county council’s interest in working in partnership with the CCG to achieve this and we would be happy to explore with them what that might mean.

"... we remain committed to meeting the health needs of this group of children and young people in line with our responsibilities.

"Where the joint health and social care assessments show that children need health related support in any short breaks services we will work with the county council to make sure their health needs are provided for.”

Open Championship: Poulter tees off

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Golf's Open Championship got under way at Royal Birkdale in Merseyside earlier this morning.

Ian Poulter
Getty Images

Ian Poulter, who qualified at his home course of Woburn, teed off just after 08:00, with what's been described on the BBC's Open Live Reporting page as a "bold choice of trousers" - he's in bright white after the day started off with a downpour!

Watford's Callum Shinkwin, fresh from his second place at the Scottish Open, starts at 12.20 and Buckinghamshire's Tyrell Hatton starts just before 13:00.

Judging by Poulter's Twitter feed this week, he's happy with his bunker play:

View more on twitter

MPs back Herts PCC's plan to takeover running of fire service

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

The eleven Hertfordshire MPs have written to the Home Secretary and Herts County Council in support of plans by the county's Police and Crime Commissioner, David Lloyd, to take over the running of the county's fire and rescue service.

It comes as the Conservative-led county council has formally decided to object to the plan, which is currently out for public consultation until 14 August.

The MPs, who are all Conservative, say they back the plan as money currently spent on administration can be used for front line services.

The county council says the move is not in the interests of economy, efficiency, effectiveness or public safety.

Hertfordshire fire officers in training

Thursday's weather: Continuing unsettled

Georgina Burnett

BBC Weather

It's fairly cloudy this morning with some showers as well, fairly heavy at times, perhaps thundery.

They'll be moving off to the north east, taking most of the cloud with them. The further west you are, the more chance you've got of seeing some sunny spells by the end of the day.

Temperatures up to about 19C (66F).

Watch my full forecast for the BBC Eastern region here:

Georgina Burnett has the outlook for the East of England on Thursday, 20 July 2017.

Welcome back to live updates from Beds, Herts and Bucks

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Hello and welcome to Thursday's live updates for Beds, Herts and Bucks. We'll be here until 18:00 with the latest news, sport, weather and travel.

It's still quite damp outside, as this BBC Weather Watchers picture shows, and it's set to continue humid with some rain this morning with brighter and fresher weather later this afternoon - a full regional forecast is coming up shortly.

Weather Watcher picture

You can get in touch by email, Facebook or Twitter.

Severe disruption: M25 Hertfordshire anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Hertfordshire anti-clockwise severe disruption, between J23 for A1 and J22 for A1081.

M25 Hertfordshire - Three lanes closed on M25 anticlockwise between J23 A1(M) and J22, A1081 (St Albans), because of a broken down vehicle.

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

Severe disruption: M25 Hertfordshire anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Hertfordshire anti-clockwise severe disruption, at J23 for A1.

M25 Hertfordshire - M25 entry slip road closed anticlockwise at J23 A1(M), because of a broken down vehicle.

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


Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Well, that is it from all of us at Local Live for Beds, Herts and Bucks. Thanks for following us.

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

If you missed anything during the day, you can scroll down to read more.

See you again tomorrow!

Severe disruption: M1 Buckinghamshire southbound

BBC News Travel

M1 Buckinghamshire southbound severe disruption, between J14 for A509 and J13 for A421.

M1 Buckinghamshire - Slow traffic on M1 southbound between J14, A509 (Milton Keynes) and J13, A421 (Bedford), because of an overturned car.

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

Drugs raids in Buckinghamshire and London see 12 arrests

Police raided 18 properties this morning as part of an investigation into Class A drug dealing in High Wycombe.

More than 250 officers executed 16 warrants in High Wycombe, one in Aylesbury and one in Wembley.

Twelve people have been arrested on suspicion of supplying Class A drugs across the south east.

Ch Insp Graham Hadley, of Thames Valley Police, said: "Officers are continuing to search various locations predominantly in the High Wycombe area and the public will see an increased police presence."