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  1. Updates for Thursday 26 February 2015
  2. News, sport, travel and weather updates return at 08:00 Friday

Live Reporting

By Alex Homer

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good evening

Local Live has finished for the day. Join us from 08:00 on Friday for more news, sport, travel and weather.

Tonight's forecast

BBC Weather


A cold night, with clear spells developing for most and winds easing, although isolated wintry showers remain possible, mainly in the north.


Clear skies will lead to a risk of frost, and possibly some localised icy patches.

Coming up on TV

Mary Rhodes

Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

A "prolific paedophile" who used his position as a charity boss to abuse street children in Kenya has been sentenced to more than 17 years in prison at Birmingham Crown Court.

We speak to some of the victims of Simon Harris from Herefordshire, who was found guilty of indecently and sexually abusing boys, some as young as nine at his home in Gilgil.

More on

Midlands Today on BBC One at 18:30.

Wolves at full strength

Rob Gurney

BBC WM Sport

There are no new injury worries ahead of the Cardiff game on Saturday according to Wolves head coach Kenny Jackett (pictured).

Wolves head coach Kenny Jackett
Getty Images

Bakary Sako will be back for the away trip after suffering from stomach pains against Fulham.

More team news here.

Home schooled Walsall 10-year-old to study maths degree

Express and Star

A 10-year-old from Walsall has been awarded more than just a gold star for her maths homework -

she has been accepted onto a university course to study the subject at degree level.

Esther Okade has enrolled on an Open University course after achieving a maths A Level last year and passing GCSE exams in the subject aged just six.

Paedophile teacher jailed

Trystan Jones

BBC News

A British charity boss who abused Kenyan street children after luring them to his home has been

jailed for 17 years and four months at Birmingham Crown Court.

Simon Harris, 55, was convicted of eight counts of indecent and sexual assault on boys in Gilgil and possessing indecent images of children.

Simon Harris
West Mercia Police

He abused the boys between 1996 and 2013, the court heard.

Harris, of Pudleston, near Leominster, was head of gap-year charity VAE, which placed volunteers in Kenyan schools.

M6 delays warning

BBC Travel

BBC Travel

One lane is closed and there is very slow traffic on the M6 southbound between J10 for Wolverhampton and J9 for Wednesbury because of a crash.

Congestion is back to J10a for the M54.

More details on the BBC travel page.

News on the hour

Chris Blakemore

News editor, BBC WM

Walsall Council's budget is set to be approved this evening - the authority needs to save nearly £90m over the next four years.

The controlling Labour group and opposition Tories on the council have both put forward their savings proposals.

More on this story in

our 17:00 bulletin.

Streamlining managers cost £1.3m

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

A move to halve the number of senior managers and save £1m from a local authority's budget,

has so far cost £1.3m - and has not yet been completed.

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council is replacing 22 top posts with 11 roles, paid at higher salaries.

Dudley council house

BBC News Online can reveal payouts and pay rises have topped £1.3m, with five of the new roles still to be filled.

Labour Council leader Peter Lowe said these "one-off costs" were the only way to

streamline management.

Blues midfielder's loan extended

BBC Sport

Midfielder Olly Lee has extended his loan spell with Plymouth until the end of the season, Argyle manager John Sheridan has confirmed.

Olly Lee
Getty Images

Lee joined the League Two club

from Birmingham City on an initial one-month loan in January and has since made seven appearances, scoring once.


Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

BBC Local Live brings news, sport, travel and weather together in one place.

What do you think of it?

News on the hour

Chris Blakemore

News editor, BBC WM

At 16:00 we hear from Steve Hollingworth, from Birmingham City Council, after figures revealed Birmingham's Frankfurt Christmas Market had a record-breaking year for visitors.

Listen live


Lee Rigby 'memorial march' sparks alarm on copycat violence

Express and Star

A group which has supported the English Defence League is

planning a march through Bloxwich, sparking fears of a repeat of the violent scenes at an EDL protest in the borough three years ago.

Drummer Lee Rigby

The Walsall Patriots want to hold a memorial walk in Bloxwich to mark the second anniversary of the murder of solider Lee Rigby by Islamic extremists.

West Brom team news

BBC WM Sport

West Bromwich Albion head coach Tony Pulis says James Morrison (pictured) and Saido Berahino are both doubtful for Saturday's game against Southampton at the Hawthorns.

James Morrison
Getty Images

Pulis also described the challenge of their

0-0 draw at Sunderland as being "Cattermoled", after playing against midfielder, Lee Cattermole.

Better bike security bid

Bob Hockenhull

Reporter, Midlands Today

Nineteen bikes were stolen from train stations in Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton, last month compared to 10 the same time last year, British Transport Police said.

Officers told me how they were

trying to improve security.

Cyclist parking at Birmingham New Street

Transport operators are also planning to create more secure cycle shelters.

News on the hour

Jo Tidman

Journalist, BBC WM


the news at 15:00:

An investigation's underway after a man was left unconscious in the street in West Bromwich this morning.

The 51 year old is being treated for a broken jaw and nose after being attacked by two men on Bridge Street just after 05:00

Famous figurehead for force museum

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Historian, author and presenter Professor Carl Chinn has taken over as the

patron of the West Midlands Police force's museum.

Famous Brummie Carl has agreed to take over as ambassador at the museum, based at Sparkhill police station following the death of former patron Lord Knights.

Carl Chinn
West Midlands Police

The museum houses rogues galleries showing Victorian prisoners arrested from everything from rabbit theft, to murder. It also includes details of the real life Peaky Blinder gang that operated in Birmingham.

Search for relatives

Relatives of a man who recently passed away are being asked to get in touch with the City of Wolverhampton Council so that his funeral can be arranged.

Matthew David Cullen, who lived in the Wednesfield area, was 55. He was born in the Market Harborough area.

Any relatives or anyone with information which may help trace his relatives, is asked to call Elaine Thursfield on 01902 555740 or

email her.

Shopkeeper saw off armed raiders

Birmingham Mail

A hero shopkeeper who saw off gunmen with only his baseball bat has spoken of his terror at

his brush with death.

News on the hour

Jo Tidman

Journalist, BBC WM

The West Midlands has the second highest number of drivers with penalty points on their licence.

One driver in West Bromwich has 27 points but is still driving on our roads.

More on this in

the news at 14:00.

Brightening up

Sara Blizzard

Weather Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

It will gradually feel colder throughout the day because of a cold wind which is coming in. However,

it should brighten up this afternoon.


Highs of 10C (50F)

Netherton's 'claim to fame'

Stourbridge News

Visitors to Netherton will soon be able to read all about the area's "claim to fame".

Dudley planners have given the go-ahead for two interpretation panels, explaining

the history and of the original Titanic anchor, to be installed by the Netherton anchor.

Coming up on TV

Amy Cole

Reporter, Midlands Today

A family firm has outgrown its Stourbridge premises and expanded into Kidderminster on part of the former of boat builders Sealine, which went bust two years ago.

It comes as a survey shows that small- and medium-sized manufacturers in the region are enjoying an increase in sales. Ben Sidwell reports for

Midlands Today on BBC One at 13:40.

Armed raid


Masked raiders threatened a shopkeeper in Vardon Supermarket in Kings Norton

with what appeared to be a handgun and asked for money, according to police.

The shopkeeper being held up by what appeared to be a handgun
West Midlands Police

But the shopkeeper pressed a panic alarm and grabbed a baseball bat to fend off his attackers and they only got away with beer and a mobile phone.

Officers today released the CCTV footage in an appeal for information about the armed robbery from 6 January. You can watch how the drama unfolded

on the BBC WM Facebook page.

News on the hour

Jo Tidman

Journalist, BBC WM

Our top local story at 13:00: Police have released footage of two masked men stealing a crate of beer at gunpoint from a convenience store in Birmingham.

Hear more about the shopkeeper's ordeal in

our bulletin.

Historic Nazi flag found

Halesowen News

A missing historic Rowley Regis Second World War

Nazi flag has been found and there are now plans to use it to help educate schoolchildren the sacrifice the town made to help defeat Nazism.

The flag, which was presented to Rowley Regis by the town's adopted warship HMS Tumult after sailors recovered it from an Italian destroyer, was located in an archive in Wednesbury after the News reported it missing.

Students launch record label

Richard Wilford


Student-run record label

New Street Records has launched today, the brainchild of two final year Business students at the University of Birmingham.

Sam Jackson and three of the four people involved in New Street Records with Richard Wilford

They came to see us in the studio for

the breakfast show earlier to announce their new signing Sam Jackson.

German Market's humble origins

Caroline Gall

BBC News

As the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market reports record numbers, it has for many, become the city's premier yearly tradition since it began in 1997.

Visitor numbers have risen by 28% since 2012,

according to Visit Birmingham. The 180-stall market is the largest in Europe.

Carousel composite
Getty Images

Its popularity slows shopping streets to a crawl throughout its six-week residence, as locals and tourists alike browse stalls and gulp Glühwein.

Organisers claim it is the "largest authentic German market outside of Germany and Austria". It has grown from a humble 10-stall pilot project into a mile-long trail of huts.

News on the hour

Rob Mayor

Journalist, BBC WM

Twenty-three councils around the country, including Sandwell, are calling for the government to hand over more powers to help them get people into work.

They say they can do a better job finding answers to long-term unemployment.

Join us at 12:00 for more on this story.

Bike thefts from stations rising

Bob Hockenhull

Reporter, Midlands Today

There has been a sharp increase in the number of bicycles stolen from railway stations.

In the West Midlands, thefts rose by 90% in January and it can be lucrative for thieves - some of the bikes targeted are worth several thousand pounds. The police are warning cyclists to take extra security precautions.

Birmingham 'short-changed' by BBC

Birmingham Mail

Midland TV licence fee payers are forking out billions of pounds on the BBC - but

the region gets precious little in return, shocking new figures reveal.

The total amount spent on our patch last year was LESS than the cash poured into just one building, the Beeb's Broadcasting House HQ in London.

Despite a quarter of all licence fee payers living in the Midlands, the region is bottom of a priority list run by 'London luvvies', a city MP warns.

Have your say

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

What do you think of BBC Local Live? We'd like your

feedback about this service.

Singing to 'rewire the brain'

5 Live

There is evidence that in some cases singing has

helped stroke patients to rewire their brains, repairing some of the original damage.

Martin Killeen, his wife Rachel, and little daughter Sophie are among the regulars at the One Voice choir in Selly Oak.

Martin Killeen, his wife Rachel, and daughter Sophie

"When Martin was in hospital he just kept singing", Rachel said.

"It was one of the first things that came back".

News on the hour

Rob Mayor

Journalist, BBC WM

An investigation has been launched after a man was left unconscious in the street in West Bromwich this morning.

The 51-year-old is being treated for a broken jaw and nose after being attacked by two men on Bridge Street just after 05:00.

More on this story and others in

our bulletin at 11:00.

Record year for German Market

Caroline Gall

BBC News

A record number of visitors came to Birmingham during the six weeks the city's Christmas German Market was open, latest figures have shown.

Birmingham city centre and Frankfurt centre
Birmingham City Council/Getty Images

About 5.5 million visitors contributed towards the

£397m spent, nearly double the £201m generated in 2012, Visit Birmingham said.

Getting people into work

Susana Mendonca

BBC West Midlands political reporter

Sandwell apprentices Ross, Sam and James and director of Independent Scaffolding Services Simon Phillips talked to me on BBC WM this morning about the benefits of council-run schemes to get young people into work.

The apprentices at work

It comes as Sandwell Council heads to London later to join other councils in calling for greater devolution of powers over providing work schemes for the hardest to help people.

The Department for Work & Pensions says job centres do already work with councils and unemployment is down in the West Midlands.

Mixed reaction to Mander Centre revamp

Express and Star

Store owners have had their say over

plans to consign discount stores to the bargain bin at a Black Country shopping centre.

News on the hour

Rob Mayor

Journalist, BBC WM

We're being urged to join the stem cell register - by the parents of twins being treated at Birmingham Children's Hospital.

Laura Otter and her partner Ian want more people to sign up to help seven-year-old Luis and Kian who have Krabbe Disease - a rare genetic illness which attacks the nervous system.

At 10:00 we have

more on this story and others.

'Easy' to get hold of guns

Noel Phillips

Journalist, BBC WM

A convicted armed robber from Birmingham says it's easy to get hold of guns in the West Midlands and that police are struggling to keep firearms under control.

Figures released last week show the West Midlands had the highest rate of gun crime in the country and hospitals here have treated 10 people for gunshot wounds in the past nine months.

West Midlands Police

Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands Yvonne Mosquito says they need the public's help to catch those selling firearms.

More than 100 guns were handed into the West Midlands force during

a gun surrender last year.

Missing teen found

The missing teenager, Bonnie Clark from Bishops Castle in Shropshire, has been found by police in Birmingham.

West Mercia Police

West Mercia Police had released a CCTV image showing Bonnie, who the force said was sometimes known as Keisha Jones, at New Street Station in Birmingham on 15 February, the day she went missing.

She had been on a day trip to the Sea Life Centre in Brindley Place, Birmingham, when she disappeared.

The force thanked the public and the media for their help in assisting with the search for Bonnie, who was found yesterday.