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  1. Updates on Friday, 20 October 2017
  2. Road to be closed for eight years for HS2 construction
  3. Long delays on M25 after accident and fuel spill
  4. Baby murderer loses appeal against conviction

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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NHS graphic

Use our tracker to check whether your local services are meeting strict waiting-time targets for cancer, routine operations and A&E.

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Joe Root

How did Mark Lawrenson get on against England cricket captain Joe Root in the last round of Premier League matches.

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Matthew Henry

BBC Sport

Chelsea score two late goals as they come from behind to end a three-game winless run against Watford despite an unconvincing performance.

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A fire crew were called to tackle a blaze just 60m (200ft) from their base.
The crew from Royston took four minutes to arrive on the scene.

Overnight weather: Dry at first but some outbreaks of rain later

Dan Holley

BBC Look East weather

There'll be a few clear spells at first tonight where it will turn a little chilly, but thickening cloud will eventually bring outbreaks of rain from the west.

Southerly winds will strengthen during the early hours, with temperatures initially falling to 8C (46F) but becoming milder by dawn.

Wind chart

There'll be a sunny start to Saturday morning, with just a few isolated showers, but these will become more widespread as cloud builds through the day.

Windy with southwesterly winds gusting 40-50mph during the afternoon, temperatures peaking at 16C (61F).

Get the full forecast where you live from BBC Weather.

Severe accident: M1 Buckinghamshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M1 Buckinghamshire northbound severe accident, at J14 for A509 affecting J13 for A421.

M1 Buckinghamshire - One lane closed and queuing traffic on M1 northbound at J14, A509 (Milton Keynes), because of an accident. Congestion to J13, A421 (Bedford).

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

Severe accident: A404 Berkshire northbound

BBC News Travel

A404 Berkshire northbound severe accident, at A308 Marlow Road affecting A404.

A404 Berkshire - Heavy traffic on A404 northbound in Bisham at Bisham Roundabout, because of an accident earlier on. Congestion to the A404(M) J9b junction.

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

Severe accident: M25 Hertfordshire clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Hertfordshire clockwise severe accident, between J20 for A41 and J21 for M1.

M25 Hertfordshire - Two lanes blocked and slow traffic on M25 clockwise between J20, A41 (Kings Langley) and J21 M1, because of an accident.

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

Yellow weather warning issued ahead of Storm Brian

Stuart Bailey

BBC News

There's a yellow weather warning in place for Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire tomorrow as Storm Brian moves across the UK.

The Met Office says there's likely to be strong winds between 04:00 and 23:59.

The warning says: "Some transport disruption is likely across the whole warning area, with delays to road, rail, air and ferry transport.

"Short term loss of power and other services is also possible, as well as damage to trees."

Met Office weather warning.
Met Office

Click here for more details from BBC Weather.

University admissions shows a 'shocking' regional bias

The sheer dominance by the top two social classes of Oxford and Cambridge University admissions has been revealed in newly released data.

The data, obtained by David Lammy MP, shows a "shocking" regional bias, with more offers made to Home Counties pupils than the whole of northern England.

The data on admissions by region provided by the universities themselves showed:

  • The North West, the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber between them received 15% of Oxford offers and 17% of Cambridge offers.

The research also revealed that 27.9% of pupils in Middlesbrough qualify for free school meals, while only 5.5% qualify in Buckinghamshire.

You can read the full feature here.

Swan rescued by police in Buckinghamshire

Stuart Bailey

BBC News

It's been an eventful day for this swan, which was spotted on the A5 this morning.

Luckily it's a tale with a happy ending.

It wasn't injured and was driven away by Thames Valley Police to be released in a safer place.

View more on twitter

Road to be closed for eight years for HS2 construction

Stuart Bailey

BBC News

A road in Hertfordshire is to be closed for about eight years for construction of the new HS2 high speed railway between London and Birmingham.

Chalfont Lane in Maple Cross will be shut from 8 November until early 2026.

A new link road between Shire Lane and Hornhill Road will open in early 2018 for diverted traffic and new slip roads will be built to and from the M25 for heavy goods vehicles.

M25 and Maple Cross map.

A spokesperson for HS2 Ltd said: "HS2 is committed to working with residents, local authorities and other stakeholders to ensure that construction impacts are minimised.

"Our aim is to maintain through access on local roads in the Maple Cross area and by redirecting our construction HGVs via temporary slip roads on and off the M25 we significantly reduce impacts on local traffic.

"To help a smooth transition we will advertise and sign the closure in advance and clearly signpost the new diversion once it is implemented."

Severe disruption: A422 Buckinghamshire both ways

BBC News Travel

A422 Buckinghamshire both ways severe disruption, at B4034 Marlborough Street.

A422 Buckinghamshire - A422 Monks Way in Milton Keynes closed and very slow traffic at Redbridge Roundabout, because of an overturned tractor. On the roundabout.

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

Opportunity for young people to try their hand at sports reporting

Do you know a youngster who'd like to report on their own sports story at the BBC?

The BBC School Report Sports Reporter scheme is open for 16-18-year-olds, with applications open until 10 November.

What's on offer?

  • 5 day placement within a BBC Local or Nations radio or online sports department
  • A mentor from your chosen BBC site
  • The opportunity to share your sports story with BBC audiences
  • Training with your BBC mentor to provide you with the required skills to tell your story. These could be: interviewing and sports story writing skills; editing skills; script writing and presenting skills of packages for radio and online

What are we looking for?

  • You'll need to be aged 16-18 before the start of the scheme
  • You’ll need to be in full-time education*
  • A proven passion for sport
  • A fantastic story idea relevant to the location you’re applying to
  • You don’t need to have any prior journalism experience or training to apply

*Please note this is an opportunity for people studying at school, college or a youth group. This is not a suitable opportunity for university students or apprentices studying at university level.

School Report Sports Reporter logo

Severe disruption: M25 Hertfordshire clockwise

BBC News Travel

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

M25 Hertfordshire - Two lanes closed and queuing traffic on M25 clockwise between J22, A1081 (St Albans) and J23 A1(M), because of a broken down lorry.

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

Bedfordshire against Nuclear Dumping (BAND) Monument

The new structure marking anti-nuclear dumping protests will be unveiled near to the original site.

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Long delays on M25 after accident and fuel spill

Stuart Bailey

BBC News

A section of the clockwise M25 between J23 for South Mimms and J25 for Waltham Cross is expected to reopen shortly but it could take a while for tailbacks to clear.

The Met Police said a car and a lorry collided at about 04:30 before a second lorry collided with the car shortly afterwards.

Highways England said it caused "a large fuel spill" but the operation to the clear the road was nearly finished.

One person was taken to hospital but his injuries are not life threatening.

Section of M25 closed after accident.
Highways England

Congestion on M25.

Strictly: 'Storm Brian' set to swirl onto the dancefloor

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

With Storm Brian set to affect southern Britain on Saturday, it would be remiss of us not to do some kind of link between the meteorological event and Watford entertainer Brian Conley's appearance on Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday night - probably involving a number of puns.

Will he dance up a storm in this week's jive? Will the [low] pressure be on? Will the judges rain compliments upon him? Or will he - as Brian himself has tweeted - just be "wet and windy".

There you go - that's all I can manage!

View more on twitter

Baby murderer loses appeal against conviction

Stuart Bailey

BBC News

A man jailed for the murder of his partner's 13-month-old son has lost an appeal against his conviction.

Noah Serra-Morrison was found dead at his home in Crawley Road, Luton, in November 2015.

He had head injuries caused by blows with a blunt intrument and multiple fractures to his arms and legs.

Medical experts said his injuries were so severe they were similar to those suffered by people in car crashes or high falls.

Hardeep Hunjan and Noah Serra-Morrison.
Bedfordshire Police

Hardeep Singh Hunjan, 28, was convicted of murder in July 2016 and jailed for at least 23 years.

He took his case to the Court of Appeal but it was thrown out by judges yesterday.

Mr Justice Jay said there was nothing to suggest his conviction was tainted.

Police patrols increased after boy approached by driver

Stuart Bailey

BBC News

Police are hunting a Mercedes driver who approached a 10-year-old in Gerrards Cross.

The boy was walking along East Common, near to the Apple Tree Pub, at 15:30 on Wednesday when a man in a white Mercedes with a black convertible roof pulled up next to him.

The man spoke to the youngster, got out of the car and attempted to grab his backpack, before the boy ran away.

East Common, Gerrards Cross.

Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Kerry Bradfield said:

"We are asking anyone who has seen a white Mercedes with a black convertible roof in the Gerrards Cross area yesterday to come forward.

"We are investing the circumstances of this incident but members of the public will see reassurance patrols in the area."

Travel: M25 closed

The M25 is closed clockwise between J23 for South Mimms and J25 for Waltham Cross due to a four-vehicle collision involving two lorries a van and a car.

A diversion route is in place and Highways England say long delays are expected.

View more on twitter

Today's weather: Wet and windy start

Elizabeth Rizzini

BBC Look East weather

After a wet and windy start there will be a gradual improvement through the day and things will brighten up in the afternoon.

Maximum temperature: 14C (57F).

Elizabeth Rizzini has the outlook for the East of England on Friday, 20 October 2017.

Severe disruption: M40 Buckinghamshire southbound

BBC News Travel

M40 Buckinghamshire southbound severe disruption, between J2 for A355 and J1A for M25.

M40 Buckinghamshire - One lane closed and heavy traffic on M40 London-bound between J2, A355 (Beaconsfield) and J1a M25, because of a lorry having a tyre changed.

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

Severe accident: M25 Hertfordshire clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Hertfordshire clockwise severe accident, at J23 for A1 affecting J3 for A414.

M25 Hertfordshire - Queuing traffic on M25 clockwise at J23 A1(M), because of an accident involving two lorries and car earlier on and all traffic being temporarily held. Congestion on A1(M) to J3, A414 (St Albans) and to J21a, A405 (St Albans).

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

Severe accident: M25 Hertfordshire clockwise

BBC News Travel

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

M25 Hertfordshire - Two lanes closed and slow traffic on M25 clockwise between J21a, A405 (St Albans) and J22, A1081 (St Albans), because of an accident involving van and three cars.

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

Weather: Wet and misty overnight, brighter by Friday afternoon

Alex Dolan

BBC Look East weather

Rather cloudy across the BBC East region this evening with scattered showers becoming more prolonged later this evening, but they should clear to leave mild and misty conditions.

There will be moderate southerly winds and lows of 10C (50F).

BBC East weather map

Friday will be cool, cloudy and breezy with more showers possible at first, but then brighter later.

There will be west to south westerly winds and a peak temperature of 14C (58F).

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

Fowl play!

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

We're hoping the police didn't get into a flap this morning when they were called to deal with a pheasant in a Luton shop.

I wish I could claim the next joke, but sadly the social media team at Bedfordshire Police got there first and responded with "No fowl play is suspected here"...

View more on twitter
FA Cup

The BBC will televise the FA Cup first round tie between non-league Hyde United and League One MK Dons live on BBC Two on Friday 3 November.

Read more

Arson attack on Luton home

Investigations are continuing after an arson attack on a Luton home "endangered the lives of the people inside the house".

Police say the "nasty attack" happened at about 20:00 last night, when a lit piece of clothing was pushed through the letter box of the property on High Ridge, just north of the airport.

They want to hear from anyone who saw anything, and speak to two young men who were on pushbikes around time of the incident.

High Ridge, Luton

Severe disruption: M25 Greater London clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Greater London clockwise severe disruption, at J25 for A10 affecting J22 for A1081.

M25 Greater London - Slow traffic on M25 clockwise at J25, A10 (Enfield), because of an earlier broken down vehicle. All lanes have been re-opened. Congestion to J22, A1081 (St Albans).

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

BreakingLuton man guilty of terror acts

Mubashir Jamil, 22, from Belmont Road in Luton, has been found guilty of preparation of terrorist acts by making a travel booking and purchasing items for travel to Syria to engage in violent jihad.

The verdict was read out a short time ago after a re-trail at the Old Bailey in London.

More to follow on this page...

Tortoise, 50, stolen from Cheshunt back garden

A 50-year-old tortoise has been stolen from a garden in Cheshunt.

Herts Police

Hertfordshire Police said Deano was taken from his box in the back garden of a house in Holme Close between 02:30 and 08:00 on 15 October. He has been in the family for 28 years.

PCSO Nicole Wilson said: "They were extremely upset to find that he had been taken.

"I am appealing for anyone who may have seen someone acting suspiciously in the area or has been offered a tortoise for sale since Sunday, to please get in touch."

Herts Police

Severe accident: M4 Berkshire eastbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Berkshire eastbound severe accident, between J6 for A355 Slough and J5 for A4 affecting J7 for A4.

M4 Berkshire - One lane closed, queuing traffic and long delays on M4 London-bound between J6, A355 (Slough) and J5, A4 (Langley), because of an accident involving three vehicles. Travel time is 30 minutes. Congestion to J7, A4 (Slough West).

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

Officers ask public to 'keep 'em peeled' for stolen apple

Thames Valley Police have asked people in a tweet to "#KeepEmPeeled" after a large decorative apple - which reportedly has a "massive following" - was stolen from Atkins Farm in Prestwood, near Great Missenden, this week.

Stolen apple
Thames Valley Police

The fibre glass fruit, which stood outside My Fruit Orchard in Nairdwood Lane, went missing over the night of the 17 and 18 October.

It is the logo of the company - which takes people's home-grown apples to be pressed, pasteurised and made into juice.

My Fruit Orchard
Clark Betz

Clark Betz, from the company, who is offering a reward for its return, said the theft was "very disappointing".

"It's got a massive following, people travel from all over to see it, they love it, it's iconic," he said.

Mr Betz said he got the apple second-hand from a shop on London's Bond Street and it had previously been used as a prop.

Made out of fibre glass, he said it was quite light, so someone could have walked away with it, but at about 90cm x 60cm in size, you would "struggle to get it into a car".

"We just would like it back no questions asked," he said.

Stolen apple
Clark Betz
Stolen apple
Clark Betz

Question Time set goes up in Dunstable

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

The Grove Theatre has given us a peek at what's going on inside as they prepare for tonight's BBC Question Time - and it looks like they're pretty much ready to go.

Question Time at the Grove Theatre
Grove Theatre
Question Time at the Grove Theatre
Grove Theatre

The programme, presented by David Dimbleby, is on BBC One at 22:45.