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  1. Updates for Wednesday 20 May 2015
  2. More news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Thursday

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Good evening

Today's updates have now finished. We'll be back with more news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Thursday.

Tonight's forecast

BBC Weather

Cloud may increase a little overnight but it will remain dry with some good clear spells for many, perhaps allowing a touch of grass frost in more rural parts.

Highs of 12C (54F). More about the next few days is


Coming up on TV

Rebecca Wood

BBC Midlands Today

Walsall is aiming to be the most dementia-friendly town in the country after experiencing a big rise in numbers of people with the condition. Hundreds of thousands of pounds are being spent on a pilot project.

And we will have more on why Big Break snooker club in Digbeth lost its licence. Join us for the

Midlands Today on BBC One at 18:30.

Rowley Regis delays warning

BBC Travel

Portway Road, in Rowley Regis, is partially blocked and there is very slow traffic in both directions at the junction with Portway Hill because of a crash,

drivers are warned.

Sex assault witnesses sought

Detectives are trying to trace two witnesses after a student was sexually assaulted in Selly Oak, Birmingham, as she made her way home in what she believed was a taxi.

The witnesses being sought by police
West Midlands Police


today released CCTV still images of the witnesses they wished to trace after the 19-year-old was attacked on 20 February.

Det Con Gavin McGrath, from West Midlands Police, said the two men were "believed to have been in contact with both the victim and the men suspected of being involved in this attack shortly before the assault".

Bears' unbeaten run continues

BBC Sport

Warwickshire wrapped up an

eight-wicket victory over Durham despite a battling century from opener Mark Stoneman.

Rikki Clarke
Getty Images

Rikki Clarke (pictured) picked up the crucial wickets of Paul Coughlin (49) and John Hastings after lunch, after they took Durham ahead.

Latest headlines

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Here is a quick recap of some of the stories we've been looking into this afternoon:

Northern Soul for night owls

A new Northern Soul & Motown Bar is set to open in Birmingham in July,

writes Mazzy Snape.

Organisers say the 300-capacity venue, set to open in Lower Trinity Street in Digbeth, will have a sprung wooden dance floor and will be called The Night Owl.

Fans 'face arrest' over offensive chants

Fans caught singing offensive chants in West Bromwich Albion's Monday night win over Chelsea face being arrested, police have warned.

Some supporters in the Smethwick End were singing "Chelsea rent boys" during the game, according to police, which

officers tweeted was "both offensive and insulting".

Officers will arrest anyone singing the chants who is identified from CCTV footage, said the force football unit.

MP crosses fingers

Trystan Jones

BBC News

MPs are currently

swearing their allegiance to the Queen before taking their seats in Parliament.

Jess Phillips, the new Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, appeared to have her fingers crossed when she took the oath.

Read more about what's happening on the

BBC Politics live page.

Girls 'groomed' at snooker club

Sian Lloyd

Correspondent, BBC News, Midlands Bureau

The Big Break snooker club voluntarily closed its doors in March and on 1 May West Midlands Police was granted a three-month closure order at the city's magistrates' court.

At the time, Insp Will O'Connor said inquiries had shown a "pattern of young women or girls entering the club with older men".

"Information we uncovered suggests the girls had gone on to spend time in private rooms with the men where they were exposed to alcohol and drugs and groomed for sexual activity," he said. The club has so far been unavailable for comment.

Arrest over Tunisia museum attack

Express and Star

Italian police have arrested a Moroccan man

over the attack on Tunisia's Bardo museum that left 22 people dead, including Midlands mother-of-two Sally Adey.

Sex den snooker club loses licence

Sian Lloyd

Correspondent, BBC News, Midlands Bureau

A snooker club has had its licence revoked after it was used for child sexual exploitation (CSE), and as a location to deal class A drugs, as well as hosting people smoking cannabis.

Big Break snooker club

Birmingham City Council's licensing sub-committee said its reasons for revoking the licence of Big Break snooker club were due to concerns raised by West Midlands Police, which set out a bundle of evidence including that the Coventry Road premises in Digbeth was used for CSE since January 2014.

Birmingham pilot drowned neighbours' pet dog

Birmingham Mail

A Birmingham pilot was allowed to carry on flying despite

admitting killing a neighbours' beloved pet dog after its barking caused him to momentarily lose his 'sanity'.

Flybe captain Steven Woodhouse, 53, drowned the seven-year-old Border Terrier called Meg in a water butt and then hid the body in his car boot.

Woodhouse has now been sentenced to 12 weeks jail, suspended for two years.

Latest headlines

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Here are the top headlines in Birmingham and the Black Country this afternoon:

Walsall's dementia plan

Bob Hockenhull

Reporter, Midlands Today

Walsall Clinical Commission Group is spending hundreds-of-thousands-of-pounds on making shop staff and businesses more aware of the needs of sufferers so they can make life easier.

Bernard Morris and his wife Margaret

Asda in Walsall is one of the first to sign up. Bernard Morris visited with his wife and carer Margaret - the first time they've been to a supermarket in years.

Margaret (pictured left) told me coping with dementia means your world gets smaller and smaller if you're confined to your home - and making people in the community more aware of the condition will hopefully mean sufferers can get out more.

Speedway: Brummies look for victory

BBC WM Sport

The Birmingham Brummies are looking to build up a handy lead in the first leg of their Knockout Cup tie with Eastbourne at Perry Barr tonight.

The Brummies will once again use the rider replacement facility for Sam Chapman, who has delayed his comeback after a hand injury until the start of June.

We'll have coverage on DAB and online after 19:00.

Combined authority a step closer

Andrew Dawkins

BBC News

Solihull has moved closer to

joining the proposal for a West Midlands combined authority.

Council House in Solihull
Google Maps

Bob Sleigh, leader of Solihull council, said he intended to seek its approval for talks in principle.

‘Osborne must back down on metro mayors'

The Chamberlain Files

Greater Birmingham's chances of grabbing powers and budgets from Whitehall are likely to depend on

persuading George Osborne to perform a dramatic U-turn on metro mayors.

If Mr Osborne sticks rigidly to his declaration that only combined authorities prepared to be run by elected regional mayors, like Greater Manchester, can move to full devolution, then the West Midlands is surely doomed to suffer centralist control for an eternity.

Student dies at football training


A healthy 21-one-year-old student collapsed and died in front of his twin brother after he suffered a cardiac arrest during football training.

Aspiring teacher and Birmingham City student Miles Reid died from a cardiac arrest in Shirley Hill Park, Solihull.

Another six months of misery on the M6 as repair scheme lags behind

Birmingham Mail

A £6 million roadworks scheme on the M6 link road to the M5 will run for

six months longer than planned, it has emerged.

The project to replace waterproofing on the southbound route from the M6 junction nine at Walsall to the M5 at West Bromwich began in January and should have been finished this month.

BBC One this lunchtime

Rebecca Wood

BBC Weather

On Midlands Today at 13:30 we'll be finding out why Walsall is hoping to become the most dementia friendly town in the country.

Plus we'll live at a detention centre for young offenders which has been rated as inadequate.

Wolverhampton hotel owner disappears

David Lumb

BBC News, West Midlands

A hotel owner from the West Midlands has disappeared after leaving for a business trip to India.

Ranjit Singh Power, owner of the Ramada Park Hall Hotel & Spa in Wolverhampton, was reported missing on 14 May after he failed to return home.

The Ramada Park Hall Hotel & Spa

His family fear he has been kidnapped or killed, the

Express & Star has reported.

The Foreign Office said it was liaising with authorities. West Midlands Police says it is investigating.

Latest headlines

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

The top stories in the newsroom at the moment:

  • Passengers planning to make train journeys on Bank Holiday Monday are being warned they may face disruption due to strike action
  • Baggies striker Saido Berahino and Wolves' Benik Afobe are named in the preliminary England U21 squad for the European Championships
  • Weather: Dry today, rather cloudy with occasional sunny spells

M6 delays

BBC Travel

Two lanes are closed on the M6 northbound between junctions 10-10a due to emergency repairs.

Highways England warns drivers to expect delays.

More information on the

BBC Travel page.

England U21 squad: Berahino & Afobe in

BBC Sport

West Bromwich Albion's Saido Berahino (left) and Wolves' Benik Afobe (right) have been named in the

preliminary England Under 21 squad for the European Championship finals in the Czech Republic next month.

West Bromwich Albion's Saido Berahino and Wolves Benik Afobe
Getty Images

Read more about the team selection on the

BBC Sportsday Live page.

Walsall's dementia plan

Bob Hockenhull

Reporter, Midlands Today

Earlier this week I met Bernard Morris, an 87-year old with dementia. He is one of an increasing number of people with the condition in Walsall, a town which has seen cases treble in five years.

Dementia group in Walsall

As a result the town is aiming to be one of the most dementia friendly communities in the country.

Mantom looks ahead new season

Chris Blakemore

News editor, BBC WM

The Walsall midfielder Sam Mantom says he wants to go flying into pre-season training after a serious knee injury ruled him out for most of last season.

Walsall midfielder Sam Mantom
Getty Images

Mantom says he wants to make sure he's ahead of the game and recapture the form that saw him named

The Saddlers' Player of the Year in 2014.

'Come clean' on police numbers, May told


Home Secretary Theresa May is addressing the Police Federation in England and Wales.

Labour's shadow policing minister and Erdington MP Jack Dromey's called for Mrs May to "come clean" on future policing numbers.

Jack Dromey

He says: "With over 10,000 more police officers likely to go in the next few years, senior officers are warning this will be the end of neighbourhood policing as we have known it. Already the public are complaining they no longer see their local bobbies as often as they once did. Theresa May needs to come clean with the police and the public today on future police numbers."


more about the story here.

Willenhall delays

BBC Travel

One lane is blocked and there's slow traffic on A454 Black Country Route eastbound in Willenhall.

The disruption between Anson Junction and Wolverhampton is because of a broken down lorry.

Stay up to date on the

BBC Travel page.

Drama celebrates 3,000th episode

Parts of Birmingham's Brindley Place will be closed today as the

BBC One drama Doctors film its 3,000th episode

BBC One drama Doctors filming behind the scenes

The scenes recorded won't be shown until September.

The daily drama is based around a Doctors surgery in fictional Letherbridge and attracts millions of viewers.

Take a look behind the scenes of the Birmingham set here.

'Discretionary housing benefit'

More details on the mother of Joshua Ribera who was stabbed outside a nightclub two years ago, who says she could lose her house because she can't afford it.

The chief executive of

Ashrammoseley, part of the Accord Group which manages the home Alison Cope lives in says it does not have any concern over her rent.

Adding: "The Accord Group has not issued her with an eviction notice, we do not intend to do so, and she does not have four weeks to leave her home.

"Since the bedroom tax has been introduced we have assisted Ms Cope with accessing discretionary housing benefit."

Next phase of Beorma Quarter to be lodged this year

Birmingham Post

The first phase of the long-awaited Beorma Quarter project in Digbeth

will be handed over next month as the developer makes final deliberations over how the second element will look.

The scaffolding has been taken down from the new 110-bedroom Adagio Hotel and the former Digbeth Cold Storage building which is being converted into offices and an innovation centre.

Dementia help for shoppers trialled

Shops in Walsall are being encouraged to take part in a

pilot project to improve the lives of people living with dementia.

Couple shopping in Asda Walsall

Staff are being offered free training so they can help people cope better with everyday tasks.

There's been a big rise in numbers of people with the condition and it's hoped that the town will become the most Dementia friendly in the country .

Scott Sinclair: Aston Villa sign winger

BBC Sport

Aston Villa have

signed Manchester City winger Scott Sinclair on a four-year contract for an undisclosed fee.

The 26-year-old former Swansea player has been on-loan at Villa Park since January, scoring three goals in 11 appearances for the FA Cup finalists.

Scott Sinclair
Getty Images

"This is the happiest I have been in a long time," said Sinclair, who started only three times for Manchester City.

"I believe that will help me perform better and push on for this great club in the coming years."

Erdington train services delayed

London Midland

tweets: NEW: Owing to a vehicle striking at bridge at #Erdington services between Birmingham New St. and Lichfield are currently suspended.

Council could become a 'powerhouse' union


The leader of Coventry City Council says the whole of the West Midlands needs to work together to get more powers from Westminster.

The ruling Labour Group there is behind a midlands council - an idea authorities here in Birmingham and the Black Country have already said they support.

The Conservative group in Coventry are against the plans. Labour leader Ann Lucas says she's hopeful Warwickshire and Solihull will join to make it "the biggest powerhouse in the country".

M6 roadwork delays

Roadworks where the M6 joins the M5 near Walsall will take longer than originally expected,

according to the Highways Agency.

Roadworks on the M6

Initial work on the link road has shown more damaged than first thought and the roadworks won't finish until November.

Highways England say "repairs are proving to be more challenging than originally anticipated".

Latest headlines

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

The top stories in the newsroom at the moment:

  • The mother of Joshua Ribera who was stabbed outside a nightclub two years ago says she could lose her house because she can't afford it
  • The leader of Coventry Council says the West Midlands authorities needs to work better together
  • Travel: There's heavy congestion on the M6 southbound near junction 3 due to an accident

Solihull could join powerhouse 'in principle'

Rebecca Wood

BBC Weather

Our top story this morning - Solihull Council has become the latest authority to announce it intends to join a new West Midlands combined authority "in principle".

West Midlands council graphic

Leader Bob Sleigh says he believes regional devolution is the best way of boosting local skills and infrastructure.

The details will first be discussed by the Conservative group before being debated by the full council in July.