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  1. Updates for Tuesday 12 May 2015
  2. News, sport, travel and weather updates resume at 08:00 Wednesday

Live Reporting

By Alex Homer

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good evening

Local Live has finished for today. We're back on Wednesday from 08:00 with more news, sport, travel and weather. Join us then.

Dry and cloudy overnight

BBC Weather

A few showers are likely at first this evening in the north, but most parts will have a fine end to the day.


Dry overnight but cool with a touch of frost in some southern rural spots.

Lows of 8C (46F).

Coming up on TV

Peter Plisner

BBC Midlands Transport Correspondent

Increasing demand for seats has forced one rail company to reduce the number of First Class carriages and covert them into Standard Class.

Passenger numbers on Virgin Trains have more than doubled to 34 million in the last 17 years.

Peter Plisner reports from a train carriage at the depot

More than 20 trains are being converted at a depot near Wolverhampton, creating 30 jobs - in a move which it is hoped will reduce overcrowding. I'll have more on the

Midlands Today on BBC One at 18:30.

Grealish rejection: O'Neill 'not snubbed'

BBC Sport

A little more on Jack Grealish's decision to

reject a call-up to Martin O'Neill's latest Republic of Ireland squad.

O'Neill has admitted he is disappointed but says he did not consider it a snub.

Getty Images

"I don't take it personally. I think Jack is pretty firm in what he wants to do and that's fine," said the former Villa manager.

As long as Grealish remains uncapped by Ireland, there is the possibility that Roy Hodgson could persuade him that his international future could lie with England.

Thomas the Tank Engines's birthday

Paul Franks

Presenter, BBC WM

Today marks 70 years since the very first Railway Series book was published - which of course gave birth to Thomas the Tank Engine.

Reverend Wilbert Awdry wrote some of the Thomas the Tank Engine books at St. Nicholas' Church in Kings Norton, where he worked as a curate.

Thomas the Tank Engine
Gullane (Thomas) LLC

The character went on to entertain millions in the TV series which started in 1984.

Which TV shows remind you of your childhood? Call 03453 00 99 56, text WM plus your message to 81333 or comment on

the BBC WM Facebook page.

Great Barr delays warning

BBC Travel

There are delays in both directions after a crash on the A4041 Queslett Road in Great Barr near the B4154 Beacon Road junction,

drivers are warned.

Latest headlines

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Here are some of the stories we've been looking at this afternoon:

Sandwell crime blitz continues

Around 100 police officers swooped on nine properties simultaneously in raids across Sandwell in a bid to break up the market for people peddling stolen goods.

Eleven people were arrested as part of the operations,

according to West Midlands Plice.

The operation's aimed at breaking the cycle of crime that funds illegal drug networks.

Wolverhampton's obesity problem

Ben Godfrey

BBC Midlands Today

Caroline Pugh from Wolverhampton changed her lifestyle after years of battling obesity.

The 34-year-old mother of three had diabetes throughout her pregnancies - she weighed almost 19 stones and it was the picture of her on the left that encouraged her to lose weight. Today she enjoys a healthy diet - and has lost six stones.

Caroline Pugh before she lost weight on the left and after on the right

The chance to battle the bulge is now on offer to dozens of families in the city in the form of exercise sessions and cookery classes - but will they accept it?

Westwood's literary role

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Aston Villa midfielder Ashley Westwood will have a new role later this year, but not on a football field.

Ashley Westwood
Getty Images

Westwood will become a science reporter in the latest novel by best-selling author, and Villa fan Lee Child.

He'll join more than 20 Villa players and managers whose names have been used in the past in the Jack Reacher series,

according to the club's website.

Patel stars in Bears win

BBC Sport

Jeetan Patel took 4-69 and reached 500 first-class wickets as

Warwickshire beat Worcestershire by 181 runs.

Jeetan Patel
Getty Images

Park View: School name change plan

Trystan Jones

BBC News

Adrian Packer, chief executive officer of CORE Education Trust of Park View School, has confirmed to me its new name from September will be Alum Rock Academy.

Park View School

He said: "In deciding the new name, we undertook a full consultation which allowed students, parents and staff a vote. We also took more in-depth views from the Student Council and the local governing body."

He said new uniforms would be provided by the trust at no extra expense for parents.

Bromsgrove man 'stole from BMW'

Michael Stoddard

BBC News

A former BMW-Mini worker from Bromsgrove who siphoned off almost £6m from the car manufacturer has admitted fraud.

Johannes Franken, 50,

stole the money at the Oxford plant between 2011 and 2014.

BMW Group Plant Oxford
Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Franken made it look like he was paying a supplier, but he was actually paying the cash into his own account.

University's spending plans

Express and Star

The University of Wolverhampton is

splashing out £250m over the next five years in a "once-in-a-lifetime" investment.

Janner: Winnick's call to grill DPP

The veteran Labour MP for Walsall North David Winnick (pictured) wants the director of public prosecutions to explain her decision not to prosecute Lord Janner in front of MPs.

Labour MP David Winnick

Mr Winnick says: "When the home affairs committee is re-established it should call in the director of public prosecutions for her to explain to the committee as she has done publicly the reasons why it was decided that Lord Janner should not be charged."

The DPP Alison Saunders insists Lord Janner's dementia was

so severe that he could "play no part in a trial".

Latest Headlines

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Here are some of the stories we've been looking into this afternoon:

Accent confusion claims denied

Chris Blakemore

News editor, BBC WM

Fire service bosses insist call handlers are not having difficulties with the Brummie accent after the merger of the Staffordshire and Birmingham control rooms.


reports claim that staff are having training on the difference between local accents so they can understand callers better.

But in a statement the fire service has told us there has been no impact on 999 calls because of the different dialects of callers.

Grealish's future

BBC Sport

Aston Villa's Jack Grealish has not been named in the Republic of Ireland squad for the friendly against England and Euro qualifier against Scotland.

Jack Grealish of Aston Villa
Getty Images

There was speculation that the in-form midfielder could be called up by Republic boss Martin O'Neill but Grealish, 19,

asked not to be included.

The Birmingham-born teenager could also play for England although he has already represented the Republic's Under-21s.

Erdington delays warning

BBC Travel

There is very slow traffic on A5127 in Erdington, Birmingham at Six Ways Island, due to the closure of Gravelly Hill North for emergency roadworks,

drivers are warned.

Brightening up this afternoon

BBC Weather

Most parts of the West Midlands will turn dry this afternoon,

with some warm sunshine.


It will still be rather windy, and a few showers may linger over northern parts.

Coming up on TV

Ben Godfrey

BBC Midlands Today

The problem of obesity in Wolverhampton, where more than a quarter of 10 year olds fall into that category, has been described as a "ticking time bomb".

Six months after a health summit in the city, parents and their children are now being invited to attend exercise sessions and cookery classes to encourage healthy lifestyles. I will be reporting for

Midlands Today at 13:40 on BBC One.

Black Country Chamber urges MPs to promote growth

Halesowen News

Black Country business leaders are calling on MPs to

ensure continued growth following the Tory general election victory.

Black Country Chamber of Commerce President, Ninder Johal, said: "The Conservatives now have a clear mandate to take bold and important decisions, and must use it to help British businesses invest and grow.

New Street signal problem

Trains through Birmingham New Street were facing delays after a signal problem caused by a power failure earlier

National Rail Enquiries

tweets that Arriva Trains Wales, CrossCountry and Virgin Trains are no longer affected by the disruption but delays of up to 20 minutes to London Midland services through the station are expected until 14:30.

Black Country dialect


Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

TeeT Shirts in Cradley Heath has posted an advert on its website for a "tay shert mekker".

The firm wrote: "Weem a lookin' fower a new mon ower oomon to join ower bostin team of...bosters!"

Can you make head or tail of this advert? How well do you know the dialect? Do you "spake propa"?

Bogus resignation letters probe dropped


Four women arrested in connection with a fraud investigation at a Birmingham school have been

released without charge.

The women were accused of being involved in a bogus resignation letters plot at Adderley Primary School in Saltley.

Adderley Primary School

One woman learning of the news, a teaching assistant, quoted Martin Luther King, saying: "Free at last free at last; thank God almighty we are free at last".

Latest headlines

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Here are some of the stories we've been looking into:

  • Four women arrested in connection with a fraud investigation at a Birmingham school have been released without charge
  • A detective was
    paid more than £20,000 in overtime in a year, a BBC Freedom of Information request found
  • Warwickshire are
    pushing for victory on the final day of their LV County Championship match with Worcestershire at Edgbaston

Listen: Bears against Pears

Richard Wilford

BBC WM Sport

There is some cloud cover around at Edgbaston for the final day of Warwickshire against Worcestershire in the LV County Championship.

Listen to live commentary


Brummie accents confusing on 999 calls

Birmingham Mail

Fire service call handlers at an emergency control room have been left floundering because they

can't understand Brummie accents on the end of the phone.

Since the Birmingham control room merged with the Staffordshire operation a year ago, staff have had to deal with a much larger range of West Midlands accents - causing great confusion.

Ex-Pear retires from cricket

BBC Sport

Former England fast bowler Kabir Ali has

retired from first-class cricket following a serious shoulder injury.

Kabir Ali, ex-Worcestershire, Lancashire, Hampshire and England fast bowler
Getty Images

The ex-Worcestershire, Hampshire and Lancashire seamer, 34, has failed to recover from the injury suffered in the T20 Blast semi-final win over Hampshire at Edgbaston in August.

Sir Albert Bore sees off challenge

Birmingham Post

Birmingham City Council leader Sir Albert Bore has

fought off yet another bid to seize control of the council's Labour group.

Councillor Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council

Sir Albert (pictured) won out after a challenge from Quinton councillor John Clancy - the fourth in the past five years.

Labour councillors, meeting in private, voted by 46 to 30 in support of the 69-year-old leader.

Man left with broken jaw in Sutton Coldfield after pub attack

Sutton Coldfield Observer

CCTV has been released of a man police want to trace after

a drinker was hospitalised after an incident at a Sutton Coldfield pub.

Police were called to the Station Pub in Station Street as last orders were called on Friday March 13.

A 33-year-old man was at the bar, paying for his drink, when he was attacked by an unknown man.

Birmingham hosting Olympic stars

Elizabeth Hudson

BBC Sport

Olympic champions Greg Rutherford and Christine Ohuruogu will join Mo Farah

at June's Birmingham Grand Prix.

Long jumper Greg Rutherford
Getty Images
Rutherford wants to add the world title to his list of honours this year

Rutherford, who won long jump gold in 2012 and Ohuruogu, the 2008 400m gold medallist, will compete at the Alexander Stadium

on 7 June.

Coaching to tackle obesity


Sixty of the fattest families in Wolverhampton are to receive intensive coaching to tackle the city's obesity crisis.

A total of 69% of adults and more than a quarter of 10-year-olds in the area are obese.

Parents and their children will attend exercise sessions and cookery classes to encourage healthy lifestyles.

Latest headlines

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

We've just had a morning meeting in Birmingham discussing some of the stories we're working on, including:

  • Virgin is going to convert first class carriages on half of its fleet of Pendolino trains into standard class
  • Coaching is to be given to fat families in Wolverhampton to slim the fat crisis in the city
  • A £13m compensation package has been awarded to a boy who was
    brain-damaged at birth

Police staff signed off


The number of West Midlands Police staff signed off with problems like stress has nearly doubled since 2010.

The Police Federation say it is not surprising - with long hours and a lack of help for people struggling with their mental health.

A total of 618 people were off for a total of nearly 17,747 days in 2013/14, compared to 311 people who were off for a combined 16,580 days in 2009/10.

Body cameras for hospital staff

Express and Star

Security staff at Walsall Manor Hospital has been

fitted with a police-style body camera under new safety measures.

Detective paid £20k overtime

Andrew Dawkins

BBC News

A detective was

paid more than £20,000 in overtime in a year, a BBC Freedom of Information request found.

The officer was working for West Mercia Police, which spent £9.5m on staff overtime costs over two years.

Elsewhere in the West Midlands region, Staffordshire police spent £8.57m, Cheshire £6.49m, West Midlands £3.29m and Warwickshire £352,407.

Elderly man carjacked

An elderly man was left with serious head injuries after a man

knocked him against a wall whilst stealing his car.

Reg Stocking

Reg Stocking's blue Peugot 207 was taken outside his home in Chapel Street, West Bromwich, at 21:20 on Sunday.

Sajid Javid on the EU

BBC Radio 4

The Bromsgrove MP and new business secretary Sajid Javid's refusing to be drawn on his position on the EU referendum or speculation it could happen next year rather than 2017.

Sajid Javid
Getty Images


Today he says: "I agree that there is uncertainty. It has been there for many years it's not something that we've created. In terms of timing it [the referendum] will be held before end of 2017," he adds.

School rebrand to break with past

Birmingham Mail

Park View School - at the centre of the Trojan Horse scandal - is to be renamed Alum Rock Academy in a bid to

break with its troubled past.