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  1. Updates on Tuesday 10 May 2016
  2. More news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 Wednesday

Live Reporting

By Alex Homer

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good evening from Local Live for Birmingham and the Black Country

That's it from us on Tuesday. We're here from 08:00 on Wednesday with more news, sport, travel and weather updates. Join us again.

Connor Smith murder: Mum's loving tribute to son she will 'never get chance to hold in my arms'

Birmingham Mail

The heartbroken mum of murdered teenager Connor Smith saw his killers jailed for a total of 50 years and said: “I will never get the chance to hold my boy in my arms.”  

Wolverhampton councillor receives OBE for political service and services to local government

A Wolverhampton councillor has collected an OBE from Prince Charles during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Councillor Sandra Samuels, the City of Wolverhampton Council's cabinet member for public health and wellbeing, was recognised for political service and services to local government in the Queen's New Year's Honours List.

Ms Samuels was first elected to the council as Labour councillor for Park ward in 2004 and has also been a community activist for around 30 years, and set up the Heritage Centre, an African Caribbean community hub in Whitmore Reans.

Councillor Sandra Samuels
City of Wolverhampton Council

Coming up on TV

Mary Rhodes

Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

Guns will not be tolerated - that was the message from West Midlands Police as two men were jailed today for a total of 50 years for shooting dead a teenager in Birmingham.

And a trial is running for six months for people to meet police - in their local post office.

We'll have more on these stories and others in the Midlands Today on BBC One at 18:30.

'Prison suicide mix-up': Latest

Earlier we told you how an MP told the Commons a family had received a phone call to say their relative, his constituent, had died in HMP Birmingham - only for the erroneous info to be retracted 30 minutes later.

The prisons minister apologised to the family concerned.

This afternoon, G4S, which runs HMP Birmingham, says it has checked its phone records and is confident the call did not come from the prison. 

Special report: Farmer on why he wants to leave the EU

Patrick Burns

Political editor, Midlands

With all of Cannock Chase stretching out across the horizon, Lower Drayton Farm in Staffordshire is what's known in the trade as a mixed farm. But there's nothing mixed about farmer Ray Bower's views on the European Union: he says there's nothing to fear from Brexit. 

Mr Bower (pictured) says farming alone is no longer enough to pay the bills and has joined the growing number who are convinced it's a case of diversify or bust. 

Even those EU farm payments worth up to £3bn a year to British agriculture are seen here as a diminishing asset.

Ray Bower

Yesterday, though, in our first special report on this issue, a Warwickshire farmer, Adam Quinney, told the BBC the EU did not deserve the blame for so-called "red tape" which would still be necessary even if Britain voted to leave.    

More on Midlands Today from 18:30 on BBC One.

Man who left his dog in pain from tumours is banned from keeping animals for three years

A Birmingham man who left his dog with tumours large enough to drag along the floor as he walked has been given community service and banned from keeping animals for three years, the RSPCA says.

According to the charity, Chico, a 15-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier, had to be put down because he was in so much pain.

At Birmingham Magistrates Court, Martin Travers, of Ledbury Close, Ladywood, admitted three offences of causing unnecessary suffering to the dog - which had tumours on his testicles, shoulder and chest.

As well as the three-year disqualification order, magistrates yesterday handed Travers a 12-month community order, a four-week curfew and ordered him to pay costs of £100 and a £60 victim surcharge.

Latest: Two jailed for shooting; appeal over knifepoint robbery; prison 'suicide' mix-up

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

If you have not yet caught up with the news on Tuesday, here are our headlines:

- Two men have been jailed for a combined 50 years for shooting dead a teenager over a £50 bag of cannabis

- Police are appealing for information about a knifepoint robbery in Stechford

- The government has apologised after a family was wrongly informed their son had killed himself at HMP Birmingham

Football: New name emerges in Villa takeover talks

A new bidder has emerged in the race to take over Aston Villa. 

American venture capitalist David Freeman, who owns the Nashville Predators Ice Hockey team, has set up a company called AVFC 1874 in order to pursue the bid. 

Freeman is believed to be one of a host of potential new owners, including some from the Far East.   

Villa Park

Appeal over Stechford knifepoint robbery

A CCTV image has been released of a man police want to trace after a woman was robbed at knifepoint in Stechford in broad daylight.

The West Midlands force said the woman, aged 43, was approached by a man as she got into her car at Stechford Retail Park, Birmingham, at 16:55pm on 27 April.

Officers said a knife was held to her throat and her handbag was stolen. The woman was left shaken but uninjured.

The man police want to speak to
West Midlands Police

Travel: M42 northbound

BBC Travel

One lane is blocked and there's slow traffic on the M42 northbound between J6, A45 (Birmingham Airport) and J7, M6 because of a broken-down vehicle

Campaign to halt the closure of Walsall tax office

Jennie Aitken

Reporter, BBC WM

The Labour MP for Walsall South is trying to halt the early closure of Walsall tax office. 

More than 1,000 people have signed petitions to stop the closure of the branch, a move which means staff transferring to Birmingham or facing redundancy by next month. 

Valerie Vaz will raise the issue in the House of Commons this evening.  

Arrests after sheep found in back of car

Three sheep were herded into the back of a people carrier before being driven around by suspected rustlers arrested in Birmingham, West Midlands Police said.

In a bid to protect the victims - which were unhurt - officers blurred out the animals' faces so you've no idea whether you're looking at Dolly, Baaaa-bara or Ewe-nice.

Apologies for the puns - trust me, I'm feeling pretty sheepish about them.

The sheep that were rustled
West Midlands Police

CCTV images of Walsall burglary suspects released

Walsall Advertiser

Police have released CCTV images of four men they want to trace after a burglary at a Walsall home.

burglary suspects
Walsall Advertiser

Nick Drake celebrated in Two Local Festivals

Grapevine Birmingham

Nick Drake is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential musicians of all time. 

To celebrate him, there are two music festivals locally which fans should really pay close attention to. We take a brief look at both events.  

Priorities for Burton Albion after Championship promotion

Dan Pallett

BBC Midlands Today Sport

A bigger away end to accommodate Aston Villa, Birmingham City and Wolves fans, and a larger press box - those are the immediate priorities for Burton Albion chairman Ben Robinson after his club secured promotion to the Championship.

Burton's priorities

Revised ward boundary changes in Birmingham

Earlier we brought you news of revised proposals to change ward boundaries in Birmingham.

The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England recommends Birmingham City Council should have 101 city councillors in the future, 19 fewer than the current arrangements. 

It comes after former head of the civil service, Sir Bob Kerslake, published his report into the running of the authority which recommended ward boundaries be redrawn.

The recommendations also outlined how there should be 41 wards with a single councillor and 30 wards with two councillors, instead of the current system of 40 wards with three councillors each.

Consultation on the idea runs until 20 June.

County Championship: Rain prevents play at Edgbaston

Mike Taylor


Rain has prevented play so far on day three of the County Championship match between Warwickshire and Somerset at Edgbaston. 

The Bears are chasing a target of 322 to win and are currently four without loss.   

Watch: Latest weather forecast for the West Midlands

There is potential for just a touch of brightness between the rain. Lows of 13C (55F) overnight.

Find out more.

Weather update

'Vital' firefighting equipment stolen

'Vital firefighting equipment' was stolen as a crew from Cradley Heath tackled a fire last night.

West Midlands Fire Service says the hydrant key and bar was snatched as firefighters dealt with an out-of-control garden blaze. 

Compounding the theft, three fire hydrants in Netherton, Dudley, were tampered with and opened. The keys are crucial to getting water quickly at the scene of an emergency. 

A spokesperson said: "The reality is they could have been needed at any time and put lives at risk if they had been damaged."  

View more on twitter

Coming up on TV

Elizabeth Glinka

BBC Midlands Today

Two men have been jailed for a total of 50 years for shooting dead teenager Connor Smith. 

The convicted men were both Class A drug dealers and used guns to enforce fear and control on a Birmingham estate. 

Hear more on this story and others on the Midlands Today on BBC One at 13:30.

Stourbridge's popular Greys coffee shop owner Melissa Davey dies unexpectedly at 49

Stourbridge News

A much-loved Stourbridge coffee shop owner has died unexpectedly at the age of 49.  

Stourbridge News

Watch: Connor Smith's dad wants guns off street

Earlier we told you that the killers of Connor Smith - a teen shot dead last year - have been jailed.

Here's Connor's dad making a plea for our streets to be gun-free: 

Connor Smith: Shot teen's dad wants guns off street

'Peaky Blinders' haircut sees Erdington pupil suspended from Abbey Catholic Primary School

Royal Sutton Coldfield Observer

An eight-year-old Erdington pupil has been suspended from school - because of his Peaky Blinders-style haircut.

Joshua Reape, his mum Claire and the school
Royal Sutton Coldfield Observer

'Blacklisting still happening' claims union after payouts in construction controversy

A trades union believes the "blacklisting" of workers is still happening and not just in the construction industry. 

It comes after three unions and a law firm reached a settlement with several major construction firms, which will see more than 250 workers receive a share of £10m in compensation. 

They had claimed they were included on a list shared by companies to vet people who'd raised union issues or health and safety concerns. 

Brian Rye from the UCATT union said there was still work to do to curtail the practice.

Construction site
Getty Images

BreakingTwo jailed for shooting dead a teenager over a £50 bag of cannabis

Peter Wilson

BBC Midlands Today Special Correspondent

Two men have been jailed for shooting dead a teenager in Birmingham in a row over a £50 bag of cannabis.

A jury found Leon Frye guilty of murdering Connor Smith and Philip Baillie guilty of manslaughter.

Today Frye was jailed for a minimum of 30 years and Baillie was jailed for 20 years but told he would serve half of that.

A third man, Marcus Jones, 27, of Gildas Avenue, was earlier found not guilty of all charges at Birmingham Crown Court.  

Connor Smith
West Midlands Police
Connor Smith

Family 'mistakenly told son had killed himself at HMP Birmingham'

A family wrongly informed their son had killed himself in prison has received an apology from the Government.

MPs heard the HMP Birmingham inmate's relatives received a call earlier this month in which they were told he had taken his own life.

But 30 minutes later they were informed he was still alive, Labour's Stephen Doughty told the Commons.

The Cardiff South and Penarth MP called for an investigation into the error, also noting his constituent had endured a "lengthy bureaucratic process" in efforts to transfer him to a secure mental health unit.

Prisons Minister Andrew Selous apologised to the family concerned and agreed to discuss the inmate's case further.

Suspected sheep rustlers rounded up in Birmingham - ewe herd it here first

Three suspected sheep rustlers have been rounded up in Birmingham after some woolly passengers in a people carrier were spotted by police.

The vehicle carrying the lambs - spotted on Hob Moor Road, Yardley, in the early hours of today - tried to get away, but, according to police, "rammed" into a parked car in Rosedale Road where men leapt out and fled.

Insp Clive Baynton and a lamb
West Midlands Police

Three men, aged 22, 27 and 28, are currently in police custody on suspicion of theft.

The lambs were recovered unhurt and have been temporarily re-homed on a farm in Sheldon while officers make inquiries with regional farmers.

Islamic Relief hits back in debate over religious bus posters

Louise Hancock

Newsreader, BBC WM

Britain's biggest Islamic charity is hitting back at criticism over religious adverts due to be published on Birmingham buses in June. 

Islamic Relief says the adverts will help change what it describes as the "negative climate" around the Muslim community and international aid.

But the campaign, which will run during Ramadan, has been criticised by Christian groups who say their own religion is being censored and that allowances are made for Islam. 

County Championship: Conditions not yet ideal for play at Edgbaston

It's looking wet at Warwickshire but hopefully play will get under way on time.

View more on twitter

Sats tests: Second paper published online 'by mistake'

A grammar, punctuation and spelling test due to be taken by 600,000 children aged 10 and 11 in England has been accidentally published online.

Sats answers appeared for a short time on a password-protected exam board site, the government confirmed.

It is the second time in three weeks a primary school exam has been accidentally published online.

Labour said faith in the controversial tests - which have been the subject of parent protests - had been undermined.

Some parents in England kept their children out of school on Tuesday in protest against tests

Latest: Boundary changes revised; Islamic Relief tackles criticism; exam published online

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Here are the top stories on Tuesday so far:

- Proposed Birmingham ward boundary changes are revised after 2,000 responses

- Charity Islamic Relief hits back at criticism over adverts going on Birmingham buses

- A Sats test has been published online by accident

Somerset batsman Peter Trego has made two half-centuries in the match at Edgbaston

Peter Trego makes another half century to give Somerset the edge over Warwickshire on a day of 18 wickets at Edgbaston.

Read more

People power: Birmingham ward boundary changes revised after thousands respond

Plans for controversial boundary changes to wards in Birmingham have been thrown out - and a new map drawn up - after 2,000 people gave feedback on the plans. 

The Local Government Boundary Commission has published revised proposals - which, among other things, keep Moseley Village in Moseley, Edgbaston cricket ground in Edgbaston ward, and Acocks Green in Acocks Green.

Moseley village

There will also still be a Hall Green ward containing Hall Green railway station and Hall Green School. Part of the Hall Green community had been included in a Tyseley ward under the previous proposals. 

A six-week public consultation on the changes begins today and will end on 20 June 2016.

Watch: Latest weather forecast for the West Midlands

We do have a change on the way after the sunshine of the past few days. Showery rain will work its way across the region. Highs of 15C (59F).

Find out more.

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Travel: M54 delays warning

BBC Travel

There is queuing traffic on the M54 eastbound at J1 for Wolverhampton on the exit slip road, drivers are warned.

Good morning from Local Live for Birmingham and the Black Country

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

I'm here with the news, sport, travel and weather updates on Tuesday.

If you see a story you think we should be covering or have captured a stunning picture you want to showcase, email us, tweet us or reach us on the BBC WM Facebook page.