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  1. Updates for Thursday 7 May 2015
  2. Election 2015 live updates for the West Midlands start at 22:00 tonight

Live Reporting

By Stephanie Barnard

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Election live page for the Midlands

That's the end of today's Local Live updates. We'll be back at 22:00 with election updates for the West Midlands.


won't be any election news on the BBC until the polls close tonight.

BBC election set

The BBC TV's election night programme, which starts at 21:55 will be fronted by David Dimbleby.

The programme will start with the results of a joint BBC, ITV and Sky exit poll. There'll be live coverage from 220 counts.

BBC One at 18:30

Mary Rhodes

Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

Coming up on Midlands Today at 18:30:

Aston Villa a step closer to a takeover - as a bid emerges of £150 million pounds, involving former Arsenal captain Tony Adams.

They've dubbed the city "Boomingham" and say cities such as London are now "saturated" - the Chinese investors looking to Birmingham.

And it's Birmingham's best Boxing line-up for five years. We look ahead to this weekend's fight featuring Olympic Champion Anthony Joshua

Overnight forecast

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today Weather

Showers will soon ease this evening to leave a mostly dry night with patchy cloud and long clear spells. Later in the night thicker cloud will spread in from the southwest with a low of 4C (39F).

Shefali Oza

Tomorrow we're likely to see patchy rain spreading north through the day, turning heavy at times.

Aston Villa bid: 'I haven't heard anything' - Sherwood

BBC Sport

Aston Villa are the subject of

a £150m takeover bid by a group of investors led by former Chelsea business director Paul Smith.

It's understood ex-Arsenal captain Tony Adams would be brought in to work on football matters if the takeover is successful but wouldn't pose a threat to current Villa boss Tim Sherwood.

tim sherwood
Getty Images

"I haven't heard anything. It's out of my hands," said Sherwood (pictured). "I know Tony but only through playing. He's a good guy, I have a lot of respect for Tony.

Viewing guide - and what to stay up for

Election 2015

It is set to be the most exciting general election night in years -

here is a full guide to what you can expect after the polls close at 22:00 and how to follow all the results and reaction on the BBC.

BBC election night set

Latest headlines

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

Here are the top stories coming up in the newsroom:

Aston Villa: 'A tired club, a tired brand'- Keane

BBC Sport

Roy Keane's not one to mince his words.

Roy Keane
Getty Images

And the ex-Manchester United captain has given his two pennies' worth on Aston Villa, where he was assistant manager under Paul Lambert.

Keane told the

Irish Independent: "There seems to be the wrong attitude. We're not going to be challenging but we're probably good enough to stay up. It's like drifting. It's a tired club, a tired brand."

Trees 'felled with an axe'

Jennifer Harby

Journalist, BBC News Online

Four trees have been hacked down in a "devastating" act of "mindless" vandalism in Cannon Hill Park.

Blossom tree hacked in Birmingham park

Birmingham City Council says the trees had been "felled with an axe" and the matter had been reported to the police.

The trees, including one that was about 50 years old, measured up to 30ft (9m) in height.

Election 2015: Coverage on BBC WM

Chris Blakemore

News editor, BBC WM

BBC WM presenters Adrian Goldberg and Paul Franks are double-heading our election coverage tonight from 22:00.

We're covering all 14 counts across the West Midlands and South Staffordshire, with reporters at every count, bringing you all the results as soon as they are announced.

You can also hear comprehensive coverage of the local election results on Friday.

Sexual offences arrests

Fourteen men have been

arrested as part of an investigation into claims of serious sexual offences on two young people.

Staffordshire Police say the men aged between 14 and 41 were arrested at five locations in Stoke-on-Trent, Wolverhampton and Derbyshire earlier today.

Police say the arrests are part of an ongoing case into "serious sexual criminal offences against two young people."

Cherry tree attack

Jennifer Harby

Journalist, BBC News Online

Police are looking for a vandal who attacked four mature cherry trees in a Birmingham park with an axe.

One of the cherry trees

The four trees, measuring up to 30ft (9m) were attacked overnight in Cannon Hill Park, in Edgbaston, West Midlands Police said.

Latest headlines

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

Our top stories in the BBC Birmingham newsroom:

Villa £150m takeover bid

BBC Sport

Aston Villa are the

subject of a takeover bid led by former Chelsea business director Paul Smith.

Aston Villa fans hold aloft a flag
Getty Images

It is understood that ex-Arsenal player Tony Adams would be brought in to work on football matters should the takeover be successful.

Smith is known to current Villa owner Randy Lerner, who put the club up for sale last May.

Road closed after woman suffers facial injuries in Smethwick smash

Express and Star

A road had to be closed for an hour following a

collision which left a woman with facial injuries.

The incident happened at the junction of St Paul's Road and Holly Lane in Smethwick at 11.15am and the road was closed for an hour.

Ex-Chelsea chief makes £150m Villa offer

BBC WM Sport

A consortium led by former Chelsea executive Paul Smith has made a £150m formal offer for Aston Villa.

The offer is dependant on Premier League survival and would happen before the end of July.

Tim Sherwood's job as manager would be safe if the deal goes through.

The curious world of the counters

Election 2015

When the polling stations are shut at 22:00 tonight, the vote counters work begins.

Election count assistants

Millions of votes will be taken in boxes from polling stations and transported to leisure centres, town halls, schools and other venues where their presence is eagerly awaited by hopeful candidates and tables of staff ready to count.

Who are the vote-counters?

Read more here.

Toilet break saved city chef from being crushed in avalanche

Birmingham Mail

An award-winning Birmingham chef was

saved from tragedy in Nepal by a TOILET break which saved him from falling victim to a devastating landslide.

Ganeth Shrestha, former head chef at Shimla Pinks on Broad Street, was travelling with relatives by car to visit Nepalese family members and was up to five hours away from Kathmandhu when the earthquake struck.

Gabby back for Villa

Mark Regan

BBC WM Sport

Manager Tim Sherwood answers my questions at Aston Villa's training ground Bodymoor Heath ahead of their crucial fixture with West Ham on Saturday.

Tim Sherwood
Aston Villa

He confirms striker Gabby Agbonlahor is back in training following injury and can play a part against the West Ham as Villa look to move clear of the relegation zone.

Villa are currently on 35 points, two clear of the bottom three.

Chinese investors' plan to fund major Birmingham regeneration schemes

Birmingham Post

A group of wealthy Far Eastern investors are

planning a major spending spree in Birmingham - and have huge regeneration schemes in their sights.

A consortium headed up by Denise Li, president at GlobalChina Wealth Management Company, plans to filter capital from the super-rich of China and Taiwan into property, infrastructure and energy schemes in the UK.

Pylon fire update

Midlands Today

Western Power engineers are now at the scene of the pylon fire at Great Barr.

Crews are using CO2 to prevent the blaze spreading from the cable terminal.

Engineers have diverted power supplies and we're told it's causing minimal disruption. The team is now investigating the cause of the small fire.

A5 cyclist death named

Jerry Chester

BBC News Online

A cyclist who died when he was hit by a van on a dual carriageway has been named by police.

Slip road off the A5 for the B5440
Google Maps

Paul Maguire, of Westbourne Terrace in London, died on the A5 in the Tamworth area, on the Staffordshire/Warwickshire border.

The 58-year-old suffered multiple injuries in the accident at about 16:40 on Tuesday, West Midlands Ambulance Service said.

The man driving the Ford Transit van was uninjured.

Loves Restaurant to close after six years

Birmingham Mail


Birmingham restaurant Loves is to close its doors on May 31 after six years.

Steve and Claire Love moved their restaurant from Warwickshire to the city centre in 2009 and within four months had gained three AA Rosettes.

Loves has also retained a listing in the Top 100 Best Restaurants in the UK for four years.

Great Barr pylon fire

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

An electricity pylon is on fire in Great Barr

West Midlands Fire Service tell us there is thick black smoke covering the area from the flames which are 100 ft off the ground.

Crews from Aston and West Bromwich are already on the scene.

Open air theatre comes to Fort Dunlop

Birmingham Press

Residents of Birmingham can prepare for some al fresco entertainment this summer as

Chapterhouse Theatre Company brings its open-air theatre tour to Fort Dunlop for the first time.

The esteemed theatre company will be performing three of its six shows on the rear lawns of this iconic site, transporting audiences to the faraway lands of The Jungle Book, the idyllic countryside of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice and a mystical Shakespearean Midsummer's night.

Latest headlines

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

Here are the latest stories we're looking at in the BBC Birmingham newsroom at the moment:

Count me in

Election 2015

When the votes have been cast and the polling stations are shut, it won't just be the politicians who are in for a sleepless night.

Election count assistants

The people responsible for counting - and recounting - the ballot papers will be steeling themselves for a night of intense pressure and concentration.

BBC News speaks to those who are charged with counting ballot papers.

Election 2015: How to vote

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

If it's your first time voting, or if you need a reminder on what to do and how to do it. BBC News answers some simple questions including;

  • When can I vote?
  • Where do I vote?
  • Do I need a polling card?
  • Can I spoil my ballot paper?

Read more on BBC News.

New group offers 'liberty' to disabled young people in Lichfield

Lichfield Mercury

A "vital" new initiative has been launched in Lichfield to

provide training, education, social and leisure activities for young people with learning disabilities.

Liberty Staffordshire CIC (Community Interest Company) has been developed to maximise opportunities for this group of people, aged 11 to 25, through fears they could be left isolated by the withdrawal of services.

Wolves honour Sir Jack

Caroline Gall

BBC News

Wolverhampton Wanderers are to rename a stand in honour of former owner Sir Jack Hayward.

Sir Jack Hayward
Getty Images

The Jack Harris Stand, named after another former chairman but affectionately known to fans as the South Bank, will change its name from next season.

Current owner Steve Morgan made the announcement at the club's end of season awards dinner on Wednesday.

Wolves are also in discussion with the city council to build a statue of Sir Jack.

'First' Northern Soul bar to open

Adrian Goldberg

Presenter, BBC WM

Two men in Birmingham say they're going to open the UK's first Northern Soul Bar in the city.

Richard Priest and Airth Linyage

Northern Soul music and the scene which accompanies it first became popular in the '70s but has seen a recent revival, partly because of the

Northern Soul film.

Brainchild Richard Priest (pictured right) says a sprung dance floor will host all-nighters and all-dayers. Airth Linyage (pictured left) who's backing the project says it's a place for all ages and

is due to open in June.

Wolverhampton accountant downed 10 pints before smash

Express and Star

A top accountant from Wolverhampton downed 10 pints before

ploughing a car head-on into a taxi after drifting on to the wrong side of a road.

Kevan Walker, aged 29, of Waltho Street, Wolverhampton, was almost six times over the legal limit when he crashed in Glasgow following a night out with friends on May 13 last year.

Recycling death man named

Amy Cole

Reporter, Midlands Today

An inquest has been opened and adjourned after a man's body was discovered in a skip at a recycling centre in Birmingham.

The man has been named at 41-year-old Irish national Thomas O'Brien who lived in Erdington.

He was found by workmen sorting through rubbish at Veolia Environmental Services last week

Disabled bay stand-off

A driver who wrongly parked in a

disabled bay in Birmingham and sat in his car for more than seven hours to stop it being towed away says there's been no further action since it happened last year.

Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders, 34, (pictured) from Macclesfield, said he had spent £270 to get his car on the road and could not afford the costs if it was impounded in December last year.

When asked what happened afterwards, he says: "I've heard absolutely nothing."

BBC WM's Danny Kelly is discussing the issue of parking in disabled parking bays now.

Latest headlines

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

Here's the latest news stories we're looking at in the newsroom at the moment:

Revenge porn 'suspended jail sentence'


A Birmingham man has escaped jail in a so-called revenge porn case after posting pictures of his ex-girlfriend performing a sex act online.

Christopher Lees admitted a charge of harassment against his ex and was sentenced to four months in jail suspended for a year.

People who share sexually explicit images without consent can now be jailed for up to two years.

Wolves 'player of the year'

Richard Stearman was named

Wolves player of the year last night by the fans and his team mates.

Wolves players Richard Stearman and Dominic Iorfa
Getty Images

Stearman (pictured left) says: "I would like to thank the fans. They've stuck by me through thick and thin. I'm very grateful to have their backing."

Meanwhile, Dominic Iorfa (pictured right) took away the young player of the year at the End of Season Dinner.

Judge praises actions of workers who saved colleague from knife attack

Birmingham Mail

Staff at a recruitment office bravely leapt in to save a colleague

as she was attacked by a frenzied knife man.

Workers at the Pertemps office on Soho Road showed no thought for their own safety as they battled to restrain Mohammed Abdullah, Birmingham Crown Court heard.

Sir Jack Hayward stand

Wolves reveal they'll be renaming the South Bank of the Molineux Stadium in honour of

Sir Jack Hayward.

Sir Jack Hayward

It's currently called the Jack Harris Stand after another former chairman but owner Steve Morgan says it will be the Sir Jack Hayward Stand from next season.

The former Wolverhampton Wanderers owner, businessman and philanthropist

died on 13 January, aged 91.

Body skip inquest

Michelle Dawes

Journalist, BBC WM

An inquest opens today into a man whose body was

discovered in a skip at a recycling centre in Birmingham.

Police cordon at recycling centre in Sparkhill, Birmingham

The man, who is yet to be named, was found by workmen sorting through rubbish at Veolia Environmental Services at Armoury Road in Sparkhill last week.

Police say the death is not being treated as suspicious.