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  1. Updates for Thursday 11 December 2014
  2. News, sport, travel and weather updates from 08:00 Friday

Live Reporting

By Stephanie Barnard

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good evening

BBC Local Live will be back from 08:00 on Friday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather updates for Birmingham and the Black Country.

Rain overnight

Rain will spread northwards across the region tonight. This will occasionally be heavy and may fall as snow over the hills in Staffordshire - a low overnight of 1C (34F).

Shefali with the weather forecast

BBC One at 18:30

Nick Owen

Presenter, Midlands Today

Police say thieves are using gadgets which are legitimately needed by mechanics and locksmiths to steal so-called keyless cars

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders is calling for tighter controls on who can access the equipment, in order to reduce the number of thefts.

We'll have a full report from Sarah Falkland

from 18:30 on BBC One.

Man jailed for stabbing bouncer

A pubgoer in Wolverhampton who stabbed a doorman who

refused to let him in while carrying a drink has been jailed for 14 years.

Craig Birch and The Harp Inn composite
West Midlands Police/Google Streetview

31-year-old Craig Birch, attacked the bouncer, who had stopped him entering the Harp Inn in Wolverhampton because he was carrying a bottle of beer. He was found guilty of wounding with intent.

i54 at '90% capacity'

Midlands Today

Staffordshire County Council, one of the funders of the new slip roads says a new junction on the M54 has enticed big business to the i54 business park.

Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council

Cabinet member for economy, environment and transport, Mark Winnington says: "It is incredibly important for the region and we are getting enquiries every day about the space that's left."

Coming up on BBC WM

Chris Blakemore

News editor, BBC WM

It's claimed

Lichfield Cathedral might have to close unless decrepit wiring is replaced.

The local MP, Conservative Michael Fabricant, wants public money to be given to the cathedral to upgrade its electrical system.

He'll be live on Drivetime with Paul Franks.

Listen live to BBC WM.

News on the hour

Jo Tidman

Journalist, BBC WM

We'll hear from West Midlands Police as figures the force reveals one in three cars stolen in the region were via so-called "keyless" cars.

Listen live at 17:00.

Walsall Syria terror suspect admits passport offence

A man arrested at Heathrow Airport on suspicion of Syria-related terrorism offences

has admitted using his brother's passport to board a flight to Turkey.

20-year-old Alex Nash, from Walsall, appeared before Warwick Crown Court earlier.

Rapist jailed

A man who raped a woman on a grass verge in Rowley Regis in broad daylight has been jailed for eight years.

Gerald Malcolm
West midlands police

West Midlands Police say unemployed 48-year-old Gerald Malcolm met the 28-year-old woman in a public library before taking her to a pub in April.

Members of the public saw a couple having sex on a grass verge in Hanover Street near Stuart Road. Malcolm ran off when one person tried to intervene but the woman lay there intoxicated before police were called.

Schools below average

Tim Stokes, BBC Local Live

The percentage of pupils reaching expected levels in maths, reading and writing at primary schools in Birmingham and the Black Country is generally

below the national average, new figures released by the
Department for Education reveal.

Comparison map of league table results across the country
Department for Education

Overall, results show

more disadvantaged pupils across England are moving on to secondary school able to read, write and add up. You can check how primary schools in your area compare

Holidays are coming

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live


Coca-Cola truck has been in Birmingham city centre today.

Coca Cola truck in Birmingham city centre

Dozens of people have been queuing behind The Bullring, to have their picture taken next the iconic red truck.

Have your say

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

What do you make of BBC Local Live?

Give us feedback on the service.

News on the hour

Jo Tidman

Journalist, BBC WM

Police say one in three cars stolen in the West Midlands this year were so-called "keyless" cars, taken by thieves using hi-tech equipment.

We'll hear from one victim in Birmingham shortly in

BBC WM's 16:00 news bulletin.

Schoolgirl 'spirited to US'

Birmingham Mail

A Birmingham schoolgirl at the centre of a tug-of-love wrangle has been

unlawfully spirited to the US by her mother, lawyers say.

Illegal fuel raids

A 53-year-old Birmingham man is among eight people arrested after

two diesel laundering plants were raided and closed down. The sites on Merseyside and Kent were capable of producing up to 26,000 gallons (120,000 litres) of illegal fuel a day.

Diesel laundering plant

The operation by HMRC also made arrests in Essex, Lancashire, Merseyside and Staffordshire.

'High calibre' at i54

Peter Plisner

BBC Midlands Transport Correspondent

Jaguar Land Rover's engine plant is one of four global businesses to have sited itself at the i54 business park which collectively employs about 2,000 people.

Peter Plisner at i54 business park

The new junction which has opened today has cost £40m and was funded by unique partnership between Staffordshire and Wolverhampton councils.

News on the hour

Jo Tidman

Journalist, BBC WM

In the news at 15:00 on

BBC WM: A judge has given permission for an eight year old girl from Birmingham to be named in the hope that her mother will bring her back to the UK.

West Bromwich Albion press conference

Rob Gurney

BBC WM Sport

Head Coach Alan Irvine is facing the media ahead of the derby against Aston Villa on Saturday.

Alan Irvine

Chris Brunt and Jonas Olsson are the only definite absentees for the Baggies.

Crossroads to return to Sutton Coldfied for filming next year

Royal Sutton Coldfield Observer

A much-loved Midlands soap opera is to return to the scene of one of its former sets in Sutton Coldfield next year

for filming of a special anniversary episode.

Filming for a 50th anniversary Crossroads special is due to commence in 2015 at the Ramada Hotel, formerly Penn's Hall, the very hotel used for the exterior scenes throughout the 1980's.

Morrison aiming to extend Blues loan

BBC Sport

Birmingham City's on-loan defender

Michael Morrison says he would like to stay at St Andrew's after admitting his Charlton Athletic career looks over.

Michael Morrison

The 26-year-old was Blues boss Gary Rowett's first signing when he joined on an emergency two-month deal at the end of October.

News on the hour

Jo Tidman

Journalist, BBC WM

A new motorway junction giving access to a major business hub in south Staffordshire opened this morning.

In the news at 14:00 on

BBC WM we'll hear from Staffordshire County Council which has part funded the project.

Wind warning

The Met Office issues a yellow weather warning for tomorrow.

Met Office weather warning
Met office

There's the potential for gales, accompanied by heavy rain, to spread across southern areas of England and Wales during the early hours of Friday, before easing during the morning. Gusts may reach 50 to 60 mph inland.

Stalking claims

Chris Blakemore

News editor, BBC WM

In the last six months West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service says it dealt with 48 stalking cases which led to 39 convictions.

BBC WM spoke to Sue Harris from West Bromwich who says when she reported a case of stalking she was told they were too busy to help her.

Hear more on this story on


BBC One at 13:30

Rebecca Wood

BBC Midlands Today, presenter

Coming up in Midlands Today at 1.30pm we'll be live in the Staffordshire Moorlands where the snow is falling. Sarah Falkland is examining the rise in keyless car thefts, and we'll be on the set of a film being shot in Herefordshire looking at the life of the last Sikh Maharaja.

Join me this lunch time on

BBC One from 13:30.

News on the hour

Jo Tidman

Journalist, BBC WM

In the

news at 13:00.

A man charged with two counts of rape after a woman was attacked in a Birmingham Cemetery has appeared in court.

Residents unite against crematorium plan

Express and Star

The fight to stop a £4 million crematorium being built on green belt land in Staffordshire has been stepped up as

protesters launched a letter-writing campaign.

They intend to swamp South Staffordshire District Council with written objections to the proposed site in Broad Lane, Essington.

Watch: Malala 'inspires' pupils

As education activist Malala Yousafzai is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, one Birmingham primary has used the schoolgirl as inspiration for a literacy campaign.

Nelson Primary School

Teachers at inner city Nelson Primary School say reading standards have been increasing over the past year, particularly among boys.

Watch more on BBC News.

New shopping & housing

Wolverhampton City Council unveiled plans to develop the city centre in a Cabinet meeting last night.

One plan for Wolverhampton City Council
Wolverhampton city council

The council document says: "The Plan should respond to changing shopping patterns and the impact of the recession."

Read the report in full online.

'Delays starting to build'

Highways Agency

tweets: #M6 lane 1 has reopened past the scene J6-J5 S/B 3 lanes remain closed awaiting recovery of a stranded LGV delays are starting to build

Morning meeting

Abigail Uden, Producer, Midlands Today

There was much talk in the morning meeting today about some new research which seems to suggest chools in Birmingham are some of the most successful in the country at raising pupil attainment from aged 11 to GCSE.

Is it down to the city's ethnically diverse population, and the difference culturally placed on education, or could it be that a small number of academies and selective schools are helping to push up results?

Find out more on Midlands Today later.

News on the hour

Steve Hermon

Journalist, BBC WM

In the news at 11:00 we'll hear more about Birmingham's council cuts.

It's feared there'll be less support for people who are struggling in the city after

Sir Albert Bore announced millions-of-pounds are to be cut from next year's budget.

M6 delays

Three lanes closed on the M6 southbound between junction 6 (Aston Expressway) and junction 5 (Spaghetti Junction) due to an accident.

JPT draw

BBC WM Sport

Walsall will be at home in the second leg of the Johnstone Paint Trophy Northern Area Final.

The club says it will face either Preston or Notts County - with dates to be confirmed at a later date.

Man charged with cemetery rape

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

A man has been charged with two counts of rape after a woman was attacked in Kings Norton Cemetery.

Kings Norton Cemetery

22-year-old Michael James Ware, of Shenley Fields Drive in Northfield was also charged with assault, possessing a firearm and a weapon in a public place after the incident on Saturday. He's been remanded in custody.