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  1. Updates for Wednesday 22 April 2015
  2. News, sport, travel and weather updates resume at 08:00 Thursday

Live Reporting

By Stephanie Barnard

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good evening

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

On Thursday we'll have extended coverage of an

election debate in Solihull focusing on health. We'll be bringing you live updates from 18:00 - and you can also hear it on

Overnight forecast

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today Weather

After a fine end to the day it will remain dry overnight with clear spells at first.

Shefali Oza

Through the course of the night, however, cloudier conditions are likely to spread westwards across the region. Minimum temperature of 3C (37F).

Coming up at 18:30

Nick Owen

Presenter, Midlands Today

Feelings are running high in the Sikh community over a Bollywood film that some people feel is blasphemous.

So much so, campaigners protested at a cinema in Wolverhampton at the weekend and the customers were forced to evacuate over health and safety worries. That's our top story on Midlands Today this evening.

Join me for the latest in the Midlands from 18:30 on BBC One.

Villa hunting ex-Spur Luongo

BBC Sport

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood will attempt to sign Swindon midfielder Massimo Luongo (pictured), who he worked with when they were both at Tottenham, in the summer says the

BBC Football Gossip Page.

Massimo Luongo
Dan Mullan / getty images

The 22-year-old Australia international has played 36 times for Swindon, scoring six goals, this season.

Manhole fire footage

A pedestrian had a lucky escape after flames shot 15 ft into the air from a manhole he'd just walked over.

Pavement fire in Solihull

Shiraz Nawaz filmed this dramatic footage on his mobile phone on Stratford Road in Shirley in Solihull.

Western Power Distribution said the fire was caused by a problem with an underground electrical link box. The company says it's now fixed the fault.

See the footage in full on Facebook.

Latest updates

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

News on the hour


Police are on the search for a burglar from Birmingham who's absconded from prison.

22 year old Joseph Moss from Bartley Green, escaped from HMP Featherstone prison last Thursday. More in

the news at 17:00.

VE Day: 70th anniversary

Adam Bridge


The 70th anniversary of

VE Day is just weeks away and we'll be marking the event by sharing your stories, photos and cine film with the West Midlands.

If you're wondering

what VE Day is, it marked the formal conclusion of World War II - ending of six years of misery and suffering.

VE Day in London
Getty Images

Please get in touch and tell us your family stories and memories of VE day. We would love to see any photos from the time or even cine film if you have it.

You can get in touch with us via

email or call 0121 567 6040.

Birmingham millionaire

Noel Phillips


Life is good for 28-year-old millionaire Nick Holzherr. The

former Apprentice runner-up invited us for a tour inside his Birmingham home
and explained how he became a millionaire.

Nick Holzherr

The app developer says he doesn't believe "it's up to politicians to make young people successful." Do you agree?

To see what the politicians in Birmingham say about the cost of living, go to


Reading v Birmingham

BBC Sport

Birmingham duo Diego Fabbrini (pictured) and Lloyd Dyer are available for tonight's trip to Reading after being ineligible to face parent club Watford.

diego fabbrini
Getty Images

Striker Nikola Zigic is back after missing the last three games through injury for the mid-table Blues.

Read a full match preview on BBC Sport.

News on the hour

Gareth Ford-Lloyd


Coming up in the news bulletin at 16:00 on

BBC WM, we'll have more on the story about
police in the Midlands cracking downs on speeding drivers.

West Midlands Police says they stopped almost 500 people in the last week on the region's motorways

Your photos


via Facebook

BBC Midlands Today posts a selection of photos taken across the region by views.

Canal boat in Birmingham
Keith Donovan

This pic was taken by Keith Donovan in Birmingham.

Share your Birmingham and Black Country photos with us on

Twitter and

Grealish urged to focus on Villa

BBC Sport

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood has

urged Jack Grealish to focus on his club career - before making a decision on his international future.

Jack Grealish

The Birmingham-born 19-year-old has three Irish grandparents and has played for the Republic of Ireland at under-21 level but has yet to earn a senior cap and could still play for England.

"It is up to Jack where he wants to go. It is purely up to him," said Sherwood.

Halesowen resident in eight-year fight to get trees felled

Halesowen News

A keen gardener is appealing for action after

eight years of battling to get 50ft tall trees chopped down on school grounds which are "ruining" his and his neighbours' gardens.

Pensioner Harry Smith said sycamore trees were planted by Dudley Council just inches from the boundary of gardens in Greenhill Road in the early 80s without any consultation.

Prisoner escape

Police have released another photo of a 22- year-old prisoner who escaped from a West Midlands prison almost a week ago.

joseph moss
Staffordshire police

Joseph Moss, from Birmingham, is serving a sentence for burglary at HMP Featherstone near Wolverhampton. An investigation's underway into how he escaped on 17 April.

Blues head to Reading

BBC WM Sport

Blues manager Gary Rowett says he still wants to learn more about his current squad before he starts making changes ready for next season.

Blues are at Reading tonight looking to bounce back after a
1-0 defeat at Watford last Saturday.

The game is live on BBC WM (not available online) with the build up starting with the Football Phone In with Franksy from 18:00.

England's most unusual polling stations

Laurence Cawley

BBC News

A launderette, a caravan and a school bus are all going to be used as voters in England take to the polls on 7 May.

BBC News Online takes a look at some of the country's strangest polling stations today, including the coffee shop at Brandhall Golf Club in Oldbury.

Car polling station

Have you ever voted somewhere unusual? Let us know via

Ball games ban

Chris King

Political reporter, BBC WM

Campaigners are calling for a ban on playing ball games on a Sunday in Steven's Park in Stourbridge to be lifted.

The rule's been in place since it was gifted to the people of Dudley 85-years ago but local people tell me it's unenforceable.

The secretary of the Black Country bowls club tells me they've spent 15 years fighting a ban on playing ball games on a Sunday in Steven's Park in Stourbridge - they've only broken the rules twice in that time.

Stourbridge epileptic fit theft

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

A woman who police wanted to speak to after money was taken from a woman's purse while she was having an epileptic fit in Stourbridge has been eliminated for their inquiries.

West Midlands Police says the woman has been identified and "not involved" in the theft.

The force says: "We're still looking into the theft − which happened on 7 April at 3.30pm in the Ryemarket Centre − and anyone with info should call 101."

BBC One from 13:30

Amy Cole

Presenter, Midlands Today

Coming up at 13:30 we hear from a family from Cheltenham who've spoken of their anguish, after hearing their nephew was among the migrants who drowned in the Mediterranean.

Footage of ship full of migrants in the Mediterranean

And we'll have the latest forecast with Shefali - join me on BBC One for the latest this lunch time.

Motorcyclist killed on busy A41 was from Walsall

Express and Star

A motorcyclist who died after a crash on a busy road

has been named as Christopher Daniel Fisher from Walsall.

The 33-year-old suffered multiple injuries in the collision with a car on the main A41 between Albrighton and Codsall.

Visits vs users

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

A "record number" of people received aid from UK food banks in the last year, the Trussell Trust says.

The charity says its measure is not based on unique users but the amount of times a food bank has been visited.

So in Birmingham and the Black Country 100,000 visits were made - not 100,000 individuals.

It says: "Detailed evidence collected from a range of foodbanks indicates that on average 49% of foodbank users only needed one foodbank voucher in a year."

Library of Birmingham: Queues after opening hours cut

Queues have formed

outside the Library of Birmingham after its opening hours were cut.

Queues outside the Library of Birmingham

In February, the city council announced opening hours would be halved as it tries to save nearly £113m from its 2015-16 budget.

The library, which opened less than two years ago, now opens at 11:00 on weekdays, instead of at 08:00.

News on the hour

Michelle Dawes

Journalist, BBC WM

In the news at 12:00 on

BBC WM: We'll have more form our reporter Clive Eakin who is at the final day of Warwickshire's County Championship match against Hampshire at Edgbaston.

We'll hear from him shortly.

Hundreds locked out of Library of Birmingham after hours are slashed

Birmingham Mail

Hundreds of people were

forced to queue up to get inside the £190 million Library of Birmingham after it slashed its opening hours as part of massive council cuts.

More than 400 students and other users were waiting in a giant line in Centenary Square by the time the showpiece development - which opened barely 18 months ago - finally let them in at 11am.

Morning meeting

Hilary McConnell

Producer, BBC Midlands Today

BBC Midlands Today will be following up on the protests at the Wolverhampton cinema over the Bollywood film, that some people are saying is blasphemous to the Sikh religion.

We're on the campaign trail and will have a special report on Birmingham Ladywood.

And find out why one man is making unusual films about Birmingham using time-lapse footage.

News on the hour

Michelle Dawes

Journalist, BBC WM

In the news at 11:00:

BBC WM has been speaking exclusively to the uncle of a Wolverhampton murder suspect who is on the run.

Armed officers hunting 19-year-old Dylan Jackson raided a house in Oxbarn Avenue in the city last week after receiving information that he might be inside. The property was later found to be empty.

Playground 'making lives a misery'

Chris King

Political reporter, BBC WM

Eighty five people living on the Duke's Park Estate in Bilston have signed a petition calling for the play area to be removed because it attracts antisocial behaviour - one mum told me it was a "no go area" after 19:00.

Bilston park

A local councillor says that removing the play area from the Duke's Park Estate in Bilston is not the answer to solving the antisocial behaviour problems.

Local residents say it's attracting youths who are making their lives a misery.

Increase in food bank use

The number of people seeking using food banks in the West Midlands in the past year has doubled according to the charity The Trussell Trust.

More than 100,000 people used a food bank, compared to 41,300 people in 2013/2014.

Food bank

The charity published its statistics for the twelve months ending in March this year. The trust provides people with emergency food for three days.

Petition to remove park playground

A petition started by residents of an estate in Wolverhampton to remove playground equipment from a park has been submitted it to the city council.

Bilston debate

People living on Dukes Park in Bilston say it attracts youths who are making their lives a misery.

More than 80 people have signed a petition calling for the park to be replaced with a grassy area.
It's due to be discussed in a council meeting on Friday.

Redditch election debate

Kath Stanczyszyn

Political reporter, BBC WM

I'm feeling the pulse in Redditch today for Danny's election debate with candidates at 11:00 on BBC WM.

Redditch town centre

Five of the six candidates will be joining Danny Kelly in the studio.

Hear more on BBC WM shortly.

News on the hour

Michelle Dawes

Journalist, BBC WM

Coming up in the news at 10:00 on

Eight people arrested in dawn raids across Birmingham and the Black Country are to appear in court later charged with conspiracy to supply drugs.

Hundreds of police officers were involved in the operation, which saw eight simultaneous 6am raids in Birmingham, Dudley and Sandwell.

Watch: Evans can challenge the men

BBC Sport

Ronnie O'Sullivan says Dudley's Reanne Evans (pictured) should be given the "opportunity" to play against men, and will "do herself justice".

Reanne Evans
BBC Sport

Evans has dominated the ladies' game over the last 10 years, and

she pushed Ken Doherty close but eventually lost 10-8 in the first of three qualifiers for this year's men's World Championship.

O'Sullivan says

she has "all the ability in the world" and feels she is "ready to fly" in the men's game.

'Shakespeare's Airport' could help Birmingham crack US market

Birmingham Post

Birmingham Airport

could soon be known as "Shakespeare's Airport" in the US, its chief executive Paul Kehoe has revealed.

After launching the brand name in China, to promote the proximity to William Shakespeare's home town of Stratford-upon-Avon, the airport is debating branching the name out into new territories.

Film cancelled after protest


Screenings of a Bollywood film in Birmingham and the Black Country have been cancelled after Sikh campaigners condemned it is blasphemous.

It's reported hundreds of people were evacuated from Cineworld at Bentley Bridge in Wednesfield on Sunday, after 50 campaigners disrupted a showing of

Nanak Shah Fakir. Protestors say they are angry it depicts the Guru and other religious figures in human form.

Tajinder Singh from Birmingham who went to see the film at the Cineworld in Birmingham believes the film shouldn't be shown.

News on the hour

Michelle Dawes

Journalist, BBC WM

In the news at 09:00 on

BBC WM: New figures show an increase in the past year of people using foodbanks in the West Midlands.