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  1. Updates for Wednesday 21 January 2015
  2. News, sport, travel and weather updates return from 08:00 Thursday

Live Reporting

By Alex Homer

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good evening

That's it for your Local Live updates for today. We'll be back tomorrow morning from the usual time of 08:00.

Cloudy but dry night

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today Weather

It will be

dry, cold and cloudy for most areas tonight, with residual outbreaks of rain, sleet or snow dying out.


Where any breaks in the cloud occur, some patchy frost and ice patches will develop. Lows of 1C (33F)

Coming up on Midlands Today

Mary Rhodes

Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

New figures show a drop in unemployment across the West Midlands, but the number of young people out of work remains stubbornly high.

Tonight we'll hear from one young man who's being helped back into work through a special mentoring programme.

Job Centre sign

Join me on

BBC One at 18:30.

Albion duo to leave

Two of West Bromwich Albion's signings from last summer are leaving,

the club has said.

The Baggies are in the final phases of agreeing a deal with Argentinian side San Lorenzo which will see Sebastian Blanco (pictured left) leave The Hawthorns.

Sebastian Blanco and Silvestre Varela
West Bromwich Albion FC

Silvestre Varela has meanwhile had his loan from Porto cancelled by mutual consent.

He is now in talks with Italian club Parma.

Action on secondary schools

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Sandwell Council plans to challenge the performances of secondary schools after Ofsted revealed a dip in the borough's high schools.

Ofsted said in December that in Sandwell 82% of primary-age children were attending good or outstanding schools (as of 31 August 2014) but in the secondary sector this was 53%. 12 of the borough's 17 high schools are independent academies.

The council's cabinet will be asked today

to approve a range of measures to ensure improvements.

Severe disruption on M6

BBC Travel

There are big delays on the M6 northbound between J4 and J4A for the M42 at Water Orton. One lane is closed and there is slow traffic because of a broken down vehicle and recovery work.

More details here.

Parents 'brushed off' pupil concerns

David Lumb

Reporting from Birmingham Crown Court

At the trial of Marcus Marcussen today , one of his former pupils

told a court his parents brushed off concerns about the retired PE teacher's behaviour.

The man, said his mother told him "not to worry" when he told her the PE teacher had run his hands over students' naked bodies while they were changing.

Marcus Marcussen, 91, denies assaulting 15 boys between 1957 and 1978,

Bilston revamp moves forward

Demolition of derelict buildings at the front of Bilston High Street is under way to allow for the creation of a pedestrian link from the town centre to the Bert Williams leisure centre.

How the new pedestrian link will look from the High Street towards the Bert Williams Leisure Centre.

Land opposite the leisure centre will be developed to include food and drink outlets.

A total of £7.5m is being jointly invested by the city council and the Homes and Communities Agency.

News on the hour

Rob Mayor

Journalist, BBC WM

A Wolverhampton man has told us he's been struggling to find work since March last year - and says it's still tough for lots of people.

That's despite job figures out today which show more people in the West Midlands found work than anywhere else in the UK.

Tune into

BBC WM at 17:00 to hear more on this and today's other top stories.

Crow 'shot dead' in Birmingham

Tom Richardson

BBC News Online

A crow has been found

shot through the neck with an airgun pellet in Birmingham, according to an RSPCA inspector, who fears the culprit could be behind a spate of similar shootings in the area last spring.

A crow
Getty Images

The bird was found by a member of the public on Brandwood Road, King's Heath and a magpie has also been found hurt.

Sex workers 'need support'

Clare Lissaman

BBC News Online

Women sex workers

need more help to get off the streets, the co-founder of a West Midlands women's project has said.

Robert Gregory, from the Manor Women's Project in Walsall, said a crackdown on prostitution in Wolverhampton would just move the problem to a "different area".

Manor Women's Project in Walsall
Manor Women's Project

He said the 12-year-old Walsall project worked because the women had to abstain from drugs and helped each other.

Good Hope revamp progressing

Work is under way on a multi-million pound revamp of Sutton Coldfield's Good Hope Hospital.

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust has brought in Knowle-based Greswolde Construction to transform two existing wards into the new £3.2m Acute Medical Unit.

The hospital's treatment centre
Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust

Richard Parker, Good Hope Hospital Managing Director, said: "This work will help us to treat and discharge patients more quickly."

Nurse accused of manslaughter

Michele Paduano

BBC Midlands health correspondent

A nurse has appeared in court charged with manslaughter after the death of a 91-year-old woman.

Iris Teale suffered a spiral twist fracture of her thigh bone at Aston Court Nursing and Residential Home in Little Aston, Birmingham.

Iris Teale

She was taken to Good Hope Hospital on 8 October 2011 but later died.

The trial continues.

News on the hour

Rob Mayor

Journalist, BBC WM

Two suspected drug dealers have been arrested after a chase on the M6 through the West Midlands.

We will hear how the drama unfolded at 16:00 on


Second Albion bid 'to be rejected'

Nathan Middleton

BBC Radio Manchester

Wigan Athletic are expected to turn down West Bromwich Albion's improved bid for winger Callum McManaman.

The Latics

rejected an offer of around £4m from the Premier League side for the 23-year-old over the weekend.

Callum McManaman

The forward is Wigan's joint top-scorer this season with five goals in his 22 appearances and is contracted to the club

until 2017.

Why is it so hard to predict snow?

Lucy Ballinger

BBC Wales News

When rain is forecast it normally falls. When we are promised blue skies we can usually get out the sunglasses.

But snow? Now that is a different story and so much harder to guarantee.

Snow Fields

But why? Find out


DJ Campbell's 'nightmare'

BBC Sport

Former Birmingham City striker DJ Campbell says he was

pushed to the brink of retirement and reveals his family was verbally abused as he fought spot-fixing allegations.

DJ Campbell
Getty Images

In his first interview since the case against him was dropped, the 33-year-old said he had suffered a "nightmare" 15 months.

Tackling youth unemployment 'a priority'

Midlands Today

Ensuring young people have the right opportunities to get into work must remain a priority according to the Conservative MP for Halesowen and Rowley Regis James Morris.

James morris

He's been speaking to Midlands Today after

figures out today show the West Midlands saw the biggest drop in unemployment than any other region.

News on the hour

Rob Mayor

Journalist, BBC WM

The former Birmingham City player DJ Campbell has told the BBC

he was pushed to the brink of retirement as he fought to clear his name from allegations of match fixing.

We will hear more from him in the

headlines at 15:00.

Ken Clarke sex assault accuser to face trial

Bethan Bell

Journalist, BBC News

A man is to stand trial accused of falsely claiming former cabinet minister Ken Clarke sexually assaulted him more than 20 years ago.

Ken Clarke

Benjamin Fellows, 40, from Solihull, is charged with perverting the course of justice by alleging the MP for Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire behaved indecently towards him in 1994.

Wolves boss 'has final say'

BBC Sport

Wolves boss Kenny Jackett says that "it wouldn't work" if he did not have the final say on any new potential transfer targets at Molineux.

Like neighbours West Bromwich Albion,

Wolves are one of the few British clubs who operate with a head coach of their first team, rather than a manager.

Wolves head coach Kenny Jackett

But Jackett said: "If someone was signed I didn't want it wouldn't work.

Teacher 'touched naked pupils'

David Lumb

BBC News, West Midlands

I'm at Birmingham Crown Court for the ongoing trial of a former teacher accused of indecently assaulting children.

A former pupil has told a court how his old PE teacher would run his hands down his back and buttocks as well as other naked pupils, sometimes "catching his private parts."

Birmingham Crown Court

Marcus Marcussen, 91, denies 30 counts of indecent assault and three of indecency with a child.

Fifteen boys, aged under 16, are alleged to have been assaulted between 1957 and 1978.

News on the hour


The West Midlands saw the highest employment increase in the country,

according to the latest figures.

We'll bring you the full story in our

14:00 news bulletin.

Wolves fans' anger after Sir Jack labelled 'massive racist'

Express and Star

Wolves fans have

reacted furiously after a football pundit labelled Sir Jack Hayward a 'massive racist'.

Barry Gledenning apologised after also likening the much-loved former owner to Adolf Hitler.

Supporters were outraged with the comments, saying they were a 'disgrace' and calling for a boycott of the Guardian, which released the podcast.

Coming up on TV

Amy Cole

Reporter, Midlands Today

Later we will be reporting on life after retirement for professional athletes.

Nine years ago, Anna Turney - who lives in Warwick - was left paralysed following an accident. But she went on to become one of Britain's most successful downhill racers. Now, she's retiring, in search of a new challenge, and she's been investigating for us.

Join us for the

Midlands Today on BBC One at 13:30.

Video enticing social workers

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Birmingham's acres of green space, canal network and nightlife all feature in a new advert for the city, created by the council in a bid to attract social workers.

The authority's strategic director for people Peter Hay has voiced a video showcasing all Birmingham has to offer to people thinking of moving here; alongside a job advert.

A screengrab from the video
Birmingham City Council

Watch the video and let us know what you think of the idea over
Twitter and

News on the hour

Rob Mayor

Journalist, BBC WM

It's claimed the number of crimes being solved using DNA evidence is falling because of the lack of funding for forensic science.

We will hear from a leading expert in our

bulletin at 13:00.

Train delays

BBC Travel

There are some major delays on the trains at Birmingham New Street due to a signalling problem. CrossCountry Virgin, London Midland and Arriva Trains Wales all have delays.

More details here.

Disruption in Oldbury

BBC Travel

A burst water main is causing delays on Pottery Road in Oldbury between the Broadway junction and the Abbey Crescent. Drivers are being warned to expect delays.

More details here.

Birmingham misses out on snow - but rain causes flooding

Birmingham Mail

Rising temperatures turn wintry showers to rain - and

blocked drain causes rush hour flood chaos on A38.

News on the hour

Steve Hermon

Journalist, BBC WM

Four men have appeared in court following raids in Birmingham by detectives investigating illegal gun sales.

We will hear more about this case in

the 12:00 news.

Abandoned Mercedes will go

David Lumb

BBC News, West Midlands

An abandoned car which

racked up £9,500 in unpaid parking tickets after it was left in a multi-storey in Birmingham will be moved by the start of next month, according to managers of the facility.

The unlocked black Mercedes was abandoned in the Broadway Plaza car park, off Five Ways.

The unlocked Mercedes was abandoned in the Broadway Plaza car park, off Five Ways in Birmingham.

APCOA, which manages the car park, said it was advised Birmingham City Council "no longer assisted with the removal of vehicles on private land due to limited resource. "

West Midlands unemployment falls

Chris Blakemore

News editor, BBC WM

More people found work in the West Midlands than any other region in the country

according to the latest estimates.

Woman walking past Job Centre

The figures from the

Office for National Statistics show unemployment in the region fell by 34,000 between September and November - and now stands at 173,000.

Council rules out suing

David Lumb

BBC News, West Midlands

Birmingham will not sue Fox News for reporting parts of the city are "no-go zones" for non-Muslims, the city council has said.

The council commented after Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said she is suing the US broadcaster after it broadcast comments about the city in the aftermath of terror attacks.

Steven Emerson on Fox News

US terrorism commentator Steve Emerson

made the comments about Birmingham.

The council said although the comments were "bonkers" it had moved on.

News on the hour

Steve Hermon

Journalist, BBC WM

More people found work in the West Midlands than in any other region in the country -

according to the latest estimates released this morning.

We will hear from the Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith in

our 11:00 headlines.

Smile in the sky

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

All our thoughts about the weather were turned on their head this morning after most of us woke to drizzle-soaked scenes instead of snow-coated roads.

It makes it all the more fitting we've been sent a picture of an "upside-down rainbow" taken from Warwick Boat Club at 10:00 yesterday, on the River Avon at Warwick.

The 'upside-down rainbow'
Ken Butler

Ken Butler said the crew was just about to go on the river when they noticed it.

He believes it might be a so-called rare

circumzenithal arc, or Bravais' arc, which are created by sunlight bouncing off ice crystals high in the atmosphere.

Signalling problem at New Street

BBC Travel

A signalling problem at Birmingham New Street could cause disruption on services between Birmingham New Street and Wolverhampton,

train users are being warned.

Drink-driving arrests down

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

A total of 225 drivers were caught drink-driving in West Midlands Police's annual Christmas campaign - including 77 after collisions.

Breathalyser test
West Midlands Police

However numbers dropped

by more than a half as the force tested thousands fewer people.