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  1. Updates for Thursday 5 March 2015
  2. News, sport, travel and weather updates return at 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 with the latest news, sport, travel and weather for Birmingham and the Black Country on Friday.

Overnight forecast

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today Weather

Generally cloudy skies with the odd clear spell possible, mainly in the south and east. It will remain generally dry for all areas.

Shefali Oza

A breezy night and a milder one than of late.

Lows of 4C (39F).

Cathedral rids itself of pigeons

Amy Cole

Reporter, Midlands Today

Workers are scaling the inside of one of Lichfield cathedral's spires to try and rid the building of pigeons.

Lichfield Cathedral

The birds are being prevented from having access to the north west tower because public tours will soon start there.

Builders using abseil ropes are having to fill in holes where the pigeons have been coming through.

More on

Midlands Today at 18:30 on BBC One.

Morutuary mix-up: 'dreadful, distressing, shocking'

Gareth Ford-Lloyd


Reaction on Drivetime with Paul Franks to the news that

the wrong body was cremated after a former West Midlands politician died last year.

Philip Bradbourn, a Conservative MEP, died at Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield while Philip Bradburn died at University Hospital Birmingham before Christmas.

Philip Bradbourn

Both bodies were taken to the same mortuary but the wrong body was released in January for the MEP's cremation in Bushbury.

Conservative MP for Wolverhampton South West Paul Uppal has told Paul Franks it's "dreadful, distressing and shocking."

The scale of Crufts

Bethan Bell

Journalist, BBC News

Almost 21,500 dogs will compete at Crufts this year, with the number of

dogs from overseas reaching 2,987, coming from 43 countries.


The exhibition covers more than 25 acres of the NEC in Birmingham - the equivalent of about 14 football pitches.

'Extra time' for airport journeys

Birmingham Airport

tweets: Traffic near #bhx may be busier than normal this evening. Passengers advised to allow extra time for their journey to the airport.

Plans for 50-storey skyscraper in Birmingham are ditched

Birmingham Mail

Plans for a 50-storey skyscraper which would have been Birmingham's tallest building

have officially bitten the dust.

Alternative proposals for the Arena Central site on Suffolk Street Queensway, which is much smaller in scale, will instead go ahead.

News on the hour


Two hospital trusts and a mortuary have launched an investigation after it was found that the wrong body was cremated at the funeral of former MEP Phillip Bradbourn from Wolverhampton, who died late last year.

More in

the news at 17:00

Crufts 2015: Dogs take to the catwalk

Bethan Bell

Journalist, BBC News

The famous green carpet has been rolled out Oscars-style in Birmingham as canine competitors arrived for what is billed as The Greatest Dog Show on Earth - Crufts.

Dogs arrive for day one of Crufts 2015 at the NEC, Birmingham
Joe Giddens

The most represented breeds this year are Labrador Retrievers, with 549 entrants, and Golden Retrievers, with 532.

There are

more pictures from this year's entrants here.

Wolverhampton fears bankruptcy

Jennifer Harby

Journalist, BBC News Online

A Black Country council that said it feared becoming "bankrupt" has

agreed to make a further £46m of cuts by 2019.

Wolverhampton Civic Centre

Wolverhampton City Council said in 2014 the authority faced the prospect of "becoming insolvent", unless it made "very deep and very fast cuts".

The Labour-run authority approved plans yesterday to cut a number of services, including neighbourhood wardens, and increase council tax.

Unions say they fear service standards will drop.

Hospital investigations held

Jerry Chester

BBC News Online

An urgent investigation is being carried out after it's

emerged the wrong body was cremated at the funeral of a West Midlands MEP.

Dr Andrew Catto, from the Heart of England Foundation Trust, which runs the Good Hope Hospital (pictured), said this was "an incredibly distressing situation".

Good Hope Hospital, Sutton Coldfield

"We are very sorry that this has happened - we are carrying out a full and urgent investigation between all the parties involved, he said.

Read more on this story on BBC News.

Methadone to 'knock him out'

David Lumb

BBC News, West Midlands

Read more on BBC News about Kelly Emery who has been jailed for six years after feeding her son methadone to make him sleep.

Kelly Emery and Fenton Hogan
West Midlands Police

Emery, of Cotswold Close, Frankley, had denied administering the substance but was found guilty of manslaughter at Nottingham Crown Court.

The jury cleared the mother of a separate charge of cruelty to a person under the age of 16.

Petrov returns to Villa as coach

BBC Sport

Former Aston Villa captain

Stiliyan Petrov will return to the club to work with the first team, head coach Tim Sherwood has revealed.

Stiliyan Petrov returns to Aston Villa as coach
Getty Images

The 35-year-old Bulgarian played for Villa from 2006 to 2012, when he was diagnosed with acute leukaemia.

Petrov is in remission but

he was forced to retire in May 2013.

News on the hour

Chris Blakemore

News editor, BBC WM

In the news at 16:00 on

BBC WM: A Birmingham mother whose one-year-old son died after she gave him
methadone has been jailed for six years.

Fenton Hogan
Police hand out

Fenton Hogan (pictured) died in July 2103 and his mother Kelly Emery, 34, from Frankley was found guilty of manslaughter.

The court heard that that Emery had a history of drug abuse.

Commonwealth Day

Birmingham's Lord Mayor Shafique Shah will be launching the city's Commonwealth Day events next Monday, the council has said.

Lord Mayor Shafique Shah
Birmingham City Council

Mr Shah will raise the Commonwealth Flag in Victoria Square before welcoming 30 of the city's newest citizens in a ceremony at Birmingham Register Office.

He said: "As the first citizen of Birmingham, which is a cosmopolitan city with residents from many Commonwealth countries, I am looking forward to marking this important occasion."

BBC announces 5,000 digital traineeships

Up to 5,000 young unemployed people will be offered

BBC Traineeships to help them boost their digital skills and get a foot on the jobs ladder.

Make it digital logo

Currently being piloted with the BBC Academy in Birmingham, the traineeships are due to be rolled out nationally in the summer of 2015.

Redditch vegan fair

Vegan campaigners have organised a fair to be held in St Stephen's Church, Redditch, on 14 March.

The vegan fair
Midlands Vegan Campaign

Visitors will be able to try samples of alternatives to meat, cheese, chocolate and cakes.

News on the hour


In the

15:00 news bulletin: The wrong body was cremated at the funeral of a politician from Wolverhampton, the BBC in the Midlands has exclusively found out.

Exclusive report on Midlands Today

Peter Wilson

West Midlands Home Affairs Correspondent, BBC News

An investigation has been launched into how the

wrong body was cremated at the funeral of Philip Bradbourn.

The conservative MEP died in December. But a mix-up meant Philip Bradburn's body was released to the family and cremated instead.

We'll have an exclusive report on BBC Midlands Today at 18:30.

Investigations launched

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

Two hospital trusts and a mortuary have launched an investigation after it's emerged that the wrong body was cremated at the funeral of West Midlands MEP Philip Bradbourn.

Memorial service for Philip Bradbourn

Heart of England Hospital Trust and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust says it is full operating with investigations as they are carried out.

On Monday politicians including Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin gathered at St Peter's Church in Wolverhampton for a memorial service (pictured).

Mother guilty of killing toddler

West Midlands Police

tweets: A #Birmingham woman has been found guilty of the manslaughter of her two-year-old son. More to follow...

Mortuary mix-up: 'Incredibly distressing'


Philip Bradbourn (pictured) was diagnosed with bowel cancer soon after being re-elected as an MEP for the West Midlands last May. He died at the Good Hope hospital in Sutton Coldfield in December.

MEP Philip Bradbourn

Another man, with the same first name but a slightly different surname, died in the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham at around the same time.

Both bodies were sent to the same mortuary, and it's believed that that's where the mix-up happened.

In a statement, the Heart of England NHS Trust, which runs the Good Hope hospital, apologised and described it as an "incredibly distressing situation".


The wrong body was cremated at the funeral of an MEP, prompting an investigation by two hospital trusts and a mortuary.


Philip Bradbourn died in December and in January his family and friends attended a service in Wolverhampton.

They were then told that another man, with a similar name, was cremated in his place.

News on the hour


David Cameron is in Cannock today where he's defended his decision not to engage in a head-to-head televised debate with Ed Miliband.

More in

the news at 14:00

Cameron in Cannock

Ben Godfrey

BBC Midlands Today

I've been interviewing David Cameron in Cannock about housing and defending this seat at the General Election.

Media interviewing David Cameron

The prime minister explained his thoughts on

a single TV debate ahead of the election.

Halesowen woman's job celebrations ended with car crash

Halesowen News

New job celebrations by a Halesowen woman ended in disaster when

she crashed her car after drinking heavily and lost her employment.

Lisa Cleaver slightly damaged two cars in the Northgate area of Cradley Heath and caused major damage to her Ford, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard The 30-year-old admitting driving with excess alcohol after a breath reading showed she was three times the legal limit.

Stories we're working on

Hilary McConnell

Producer, BBC Midlands Today

Our reporter Ben Godfrey is catching up with David Cameron who's in Cannock today. We'll be finding out why that seat is on the margins in the upcoming election.

Trying to get rid of pigeons in Lichfield Cathedral

Catch the pigeon - we're finding out how a specialist team of workers are tackling a pigeon problem in Lichfield Cathedral's spire (pictured).

And suited and booted - Nick Clitheroe is meeting the Walsall team as they get measured up for their Wembley final suits .

Nick Owen will be presenting the programme tonight from 18:30 on BBC One in the Midlands.

News on the hour

Chris Blakemore

News editor, BBC WM

Our top story in the news at 13:00 on

BBC WM: David Cameron's been in Cannock today and he insists he isn't putting hurdles in the way of having televised leaders' debates.

It's after he ruled out going head-to-head with Ed Miliband before the general election.

Number plate recognition

Police say they are going to

introduce automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras on major routes across the West Midlands.

The new cameras will be situated at 16 different locations to help capture pictures of vehicles that are "of interest" to the police.

Big Issue vendor 'stops thief'

A Big Issue seller in Birmingham city centre has been commended by police for helping stop a thief.

Andy King was selling the magazine on Temple Row on Friday when he heard a woman calling for help after a man had taken her phone.

The Big Issue has written an article on its website. Andy says: "I just threw a karate kick to his legs to try and bring him down."

Woman dragged onto Hay Mills wasteland before being brutally robbed by man

Birmingham Mail

Police are appealing for help to trace a man who

attacked and robbed a woman as she walked home across wasteland in Birmingham.

The 43-year-old was walking on land off Coventry Road, adjacent to Berkeley Road, when she was approached and assaulted on January 5.

News on the hour


BBC WM has found the number of hospital beds in the West Midlands being taken up by people who drink too much has increased.

More details in

the news at 12:00

Blues beat Blackpool

BBC Sport

Birmingham City climbed a place to 13th in the Championship table with a

1-0 win over strugglers Blackpool at St Andrews last night.

Andrew Shinnie

Former Blues boss Lee Clark's first return to the ground since being sacked in October ended in disappointment for him, as a goal from Andrew Shinnie (pictured) left Blackpool side adrift at the foot of the table.

Clark was back at the Blues for the first time since being sacked in October and desperate for a first away win of the season.

PM in Cannock

Ben Godfrey

BBC Midlands Today

Cannock Chase is an incredibly important contest at the General Election with Labour needing just a 3.5% swing to take the seat from the Tories.

That's one reason why the Prime Minister is in town today as he showcases the Government's Help to Buy scheme.

Tory incumbent Aidan Burley (pictured) announced last month he won't be contesting the seat he won in 2010.

Conservative MP Aidan Burley

I'll be looking at this key battleground on tonight's Midlands Today, join me on

BBC One from 18:30.

Barking mad!

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

Crufts 2015 kicks off at the NEC today.

Old English Sheepdog and a spaniel in a onesie
EPA / pa

I've been taking a look at some of the photos - I have to say I was torn between using one of a dog wearing shoes, and a dog wearing a onesie. So thought... I'll share both with you!

The Express and Star newspaper is running a live page on events - keeping you up to date with the latest.

News on the hour

Chris Blakemore

News editor, BBC WM

In the news at 11:00 on

BBC WM: A petition signed by 2,500 people to save a pub in the Black Country has been presented in Parliament.

Election TV debates

There's been reaction on social media from some local MPs after

David Cameron said he would only take part in one televised debate ahead of the election.

Getty Images

Labour MP for Selly Oak Steve McCabe

tweets: "David Cameron knows he can't possibly agree the same TV debate format he demanded in 2010 as it would expose his woeful record. Not up to it"

Richard Burden, Labour MP for Northfield

tweets: "Cameron 'final offer' on TV debates: Cowardice projected in a way that displays utter arrogance"

Downing Street's criticised broadcasters for the "chaos" of the negotiating process.

Rubber stamped budget

Wolverhampton City Council has rubber stamped its budget plans to save £134m.

Wolverhampton Civic Centre

Leader Roger Lawrence said £88m of that has already been identified,

in a full council meeting last night.

Last year the council said up to 2,000 jobs could be axed as it looks to make savings over the next five years.

News on the hour

Steve Hermon

Journalist, BBC WM

There are calls to increase the price of alcohol after BBC WM found the number of hospital beds being taken by people who drink too much is on the rise.

More details in

the news at 10:00

Birmingham finally bouncing back after 70 years says Centre for Cities

Birmingham Post

Birmingham is only now overturning a deliberate government policy to

undermine economic growth which led to 70 years of decline.

The rise of the city in the immediate years after the Second World War led to fears at the top that it was becoming too powerful at the expense of the rest of the country.