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Summary

  1. Vandals close Wolverhampton playground and sensory centre
  2. Gazza denies racially-aggravated public order at Black Country show
  3. 'Racist' leaflets to homes in north Aston
  4. Pair deny murdering a businessman shot in Digbeth

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Latest weather for the West Midlands

Latest weather for the West Midlands
Angela Eagle and Jeremy Corbyn

Angela Eagle will challenge Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership on Thursday, the BBC is told, but Mr Corbyn says he is determined to "carry on" in the face of calls to resign.

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Police car generic

Four officers with West Midlands Police face misconduct hearings after a Dudley man who went missing was later found dead.

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Commuters in the West Midlands will be able to pay for their journeys using contactless cards and smartphones, bus operators announce.

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Nikki Sinclaire

An MEP's claims for road journeys she never made would not have been paid if it was known she had travelled more cheaply by plane, a court is told.

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Good evening from Local Live for Birmingham and the Black Country

We're back at 08:00 tomorrow with our usual mix of news, sport, travel and weather, but keep an eye out here for updates through the evening and into tomorrow morning.

Contactless bus payments and EU referendum latest...

Nick Owen

Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

One of the region's biggest bus companies is investing millions of pounds on its transport network to enable passengers to use contactless bank cards and smartphones. 

National Express West Midlands is installing the technology on its 1500 buses. 

In the continuing leadership vacuum after the EU Referendum, two senior local MPs look increasingly likely to mount efforts to fill it. 

The Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid is on a "joint ticket" for the Conservatives. And the West Bromwich East MP Tom Watson is one of two names expected to contest a possible Labour leadership election. 

More on these stories and others on the Midlands Today on BBC One at 18:30.

Concerns car auction site fire could have spread to nearby gas firm

David Lumb

BBC News Online

Fire crews had trouble getting onto the site of a fire at British Car Auctions in Castle Bromwich because of locked gates.

Firefighter Steve Horsley said: "We were concerned about the heat from the fire affecting fuel tanks at Flo Gas."

Vans and a range of cars were affected, he said, with tens of thousands of pounds' damage estimated. 

The fire broke out during the early hours of the morning.

Accidents closing motorway lanes

BBC Travel

There's a lane closed on the M40 southbound between J16, A3400 (Henley In Arden) and J15, A46 (Longbridge Island), because of an accident, BBC Travel reports.

There's also a lane closed and queuing traffic on the M42 northbound at J3a M40, because of an accident.  

A police dog called Bobby

Ben Sidwell

BBC Midlands Today

A three-year-old boy who is fighting a brain tumour and is about to start 18 months of chemotherapy, has had a police dog named in his honour.

A West Midlands Police officer asked the force to name the dog after Bobby Humphries from Yardley in Birmingham after meeting him and his family when he was rushed into hospital last October. 

And now Bobby has met Bobby. See the moment on Midlands Today on BBC One at 18:30.

Bobbie meets Bobby
BBC

M42: Lane shut northbound

BBC Travel

There's a lane closed on the M42 northbound between J5, A41 (Solihull) and J6, A45 (Birmingham Airport), because of an accident involving a car, BBC Travel reports.

Big Centre TV: Behind the music with a Birmingham folk ensemble

Watch Big Centre TV's report with a sneak peek at a large folk ensemble in final rehearsals in Birmingham for their tour.

Folk ensemble
BBC

Charred shells of vehicles left after fire swept through car auction site

David Lumb

BBC News Online

These pictures give you some idea of the heat reached and the damage wreaked by the fire at the British Car Auctions fire overnight in Castle Bromwich, which we reported earlier.

The damaged cars
West Midlands Fire Service
The affected cars
West Midlands Fire Service

Watch: Latest weather forecast for the West Midlands

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

Through this evening we will start to see rain drift away.

Lows of 12C (54F).

Find out more.

Shefali Oza with the afternoon forecast for the West Midlands

Latest: Vandals close centre; 'racist' leaflets at homes; ex-MEP denies 'dishonest expenses' claims

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Here are our headlines this afternoon so far:

- An adventure playground and sensory centre in Wolverhampton has been forced to close after vandals struck for the fifth time in three months

- 'Racist' leaflets have been left at dozens of homes in north Aston

- A former West Midlands MEP denies making 10 dishonest expenses claims between 2009 and 2010 when she was still in office

Former MEP denies accusation she claimed for mileage to Europe when she flew instead

Former Ukip MEP Nikki Sinclaire is accused of submitting 10 expenses claims dishonestly between 2009 and 2010.

In six, Antonie Muller, prosecuting, said Sinclaire flew via Brussels, Basel in Switzerland or Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, despite allegedly signing claims stating she had driven.

Ms Sinclaire denies all the charges against her. The trial continues.

Rained off at Edgbaston

No play is possible on the final day at Edgbaston as Warwickshire's game with Nottinghamshire is abandoned as a draw.

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'Racist' leaflets dropped through dozens of letterboxes in north Aston

Giles Latcham

BBC Midlands Today

Dozens of homes in north Aston have received leaflets which police say they are treating as a racially-aggravated offence. 

The leaflets have been seized and officers are looking at CCTV footage to try and find out who is responsible. 

Police say they are considering it as "material intended to incite racial hatred" and say they will not tolerate hate crime. 

Shabana Mahmood, Labour MP in Birmingham Ladywood, said she felt "shocked and angry" about the leaflets being delivered in her constituency, which she described as "multi-page...full of hatred and bigotry".

Lloyds job losses 'will hit Birmingham' - Unite the union

BBC WM

Unite the union say more than 525 job losses announced at Lloyds will hit staff in Birmingham and several other sites around the country. 

The cuts will hit the bank's retail and group operations. The bank, 9% owned by the taxpayer, said the cuts were part of 9,000 reductions announced in 2014.

Lloyds say 115 new roles are being created in the affected areas.

MEP 'claimed travel expenses for mileage and ferry trips when she drove more cheaply'

A former Ukip MEP's expenses claims for road journeys she never made would "certainly not" have been paid if it was known she had travelled more cheaply by plane, an EU bureaucrat in charge of expenses has told a court. 

Nikki Sinclaire, who represented the West Midlands until 2014, signed and submitted "significant" expenses "in excess of the flight costs", according to the prosecution. 

It is alleged Sinclaire wrongly claimed for thousands of euros in road and ferry travel expenses when she had travelled more cheaply by air, but she denies all charges against her.

Nikki Sinclaire
PA

Francisco Estela Burriel, head of the European Parliament members' travel and subsistence expenses unit, said: "In the files and documentation presented for the member for the European Parliament there is no evidence of flying."

'Mindless vandals' close adventure playground and sensory centre

An adventure playground and sensory centre has had to close after excrement was smeared on a wall and thousands of pounds worth of damage was caused in an attack. 

The Old Fallings Adventure Playground in Low Hill, Wolverhampton, was hit in what police say is the fifth incident they are investigating there since April.

The latest vandalism prompted the city's cabinet member for children and young people, Val Gibson, to speak out and appeal for information.

Composite image of the damage
City of Wolverhampton Council

Sensory equipment, doors and windows, polytunnels and fruit beds in the grounds were smashed and a fire was also started.

The council says it has been forced to closed the building due to the "severity" of the damage.

Latest: Gazza denies racism; two men deny shooting; dozens of cars on fire

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Here is a recap of our headlines in the past few hours on Wednesday:

- Paul Gascoigne has denied a charge of racially-aggravated public order during a Black Country show

- Two men have denied shooting dead a businessman outside a warehouse in Birmingham

- Around 50 vehicles were affected by a fire at a car auction site which began with one car bursting into flames in Castle Bromwich

Istanbul Ataturk airport attack: Turkish flag at half-mast in Birmingham

The Turkish flag is flying at half-mast at Birmingham City Council in memory of the victims of yesterday's terror attack at Istanbul's main international airport

Turkish officials believe Islamic State militants were behind the attack, in which at least 41 people were killed. 

Three men began shooting outside and inside the terminal then blew themselves up after police fired at them.

All aboard as sailing club opens its doors at Community Games 2016

Sutton Coldfield Local

There is less than two weeks to go until the Sutton Coldfield Community Games and the excitement is mounting.  

sailing
Sutton Coldfield Local

No mirrors trial in Bullring shop changing rooms

Jennifer Meierhans

BBC News Online

Changing room mirrors are being covered in some of Birmingham's Bullring stores as part of a customer trial.

Research by retail giant Hammerson, which owns the shopping centre, showed 71% of British women are put off buying clothes after they have tried them on in front of a changing room mirror.

Woman trying on clothes in changing room
Getty Images

Alex Thomas, regional marketing manager for Hammerson, told the Telegraph: "We want to ensure that everyone feels comfortable and confident when trying on clothes, so that's why we're trialling banning the mirrors."

Coming up on TV

Amy Cole

BBC Midlands Today

The BBC has learned that the region's biggest bus company, National Express West Midlands is to invest millions of pounds to allow passengers to use contactless bank cards and smartphones on all of its 1,500 buses. 

Passengers have often complained that the company does not give change when buying a ticket. 

More on this story and others on BBC Midlands Today on BBC One at 13:30.

Car auction site fire began in one car on the compound

David Lumb

BBC News Online

The fire at a car auction site in Castle Bromwich overnight began in one car in the compound, the business has said.

British Car Auctions said: "We understand from the Fire Brigade’s initial assessment that the source was a single vehicle in that area.  

"Around 50 vehicles experienced fire damage of varying degrees as a result and the company is currently liaising with those customers affected.

The site of the fire
BBC

Firefighter Steve Horsely said: "We've ruled out arson. We now believe it was accidental damage."

County Championship: Bears' hopes of victory suffer rain delay

BBC Sport

Rain has delayed the start of play on the final day of Warwickshire's County Championship match against Nottinghamshire. 

The visitors trailed by 159 runs after both first innings at Edgbaston. Notts will resume on 81/2, still 78 runs behind.

Follow this game and other scores.

Akhtar Javeed killing: Three deny charges connected to Digbeth shooting

A businessman and a student have denied murdering a company director who was shot dead at a warehouse in Digbeth. 

Suraj Mistry, aged 26, and co-accused 18-year-old Lemar Wali entered not guilty pleas over a video-link during a hearing at Birmingham Crown Court. 

Both have been charged in connection with the death of 56-year-old company director Akhtar Javeed in a shooting in February.

Akhtar Javeed
West Midlands Police

They have also denied charges of conspiracy to rob and two counts each of possession of a handgun with intent to cause fear or violence. 

A third man, 25-year-old Asif Aurangzaib, of Leacroft Road in Derby, also pleaded not guilty to a charge of conspiracy to rob the warehouse.

Watch: 'Gazza' greets fans outside court

Former England football star Paul Gascoigne is to stand trial later this year after denying a racially-aggravated public order offence. 

The former Newcastle, Tottenham and Rangers midfielder is alleged to have used "threatening or abusive words" towards a security guard during An Evening With Gazza show in Wolverhampton in November last year.

The 49-year-old ex-footballer, who lives in Dorset, was granted unconditional bail at Dudley Magistrates Court until a trial on 19 September. 

Paul 'Gazza' Gascoigne signs autographs outside court

Consultation on new waste collection strategy for Birmingham

Kathryn Stanczyszyn

Political Reporter, BBC WM

Recycling food waste will be the focus for Birmingham City Council as it sets out its new plan for removing rubbish and recycling in the city. 

The authority says it wants 30% of all household and municipal waste to be recycled by 2030 - it also wants to get rid of landfill sites by 2035. 

A 25-year contract for the Tyseley incinerator will end in 2019. 

The cabinet member in charge of waste Lisa Trickett has this morning ruled out fortnightly rubbish collections from the 420,000 households across the city.

Have your say in the council's consultation here.

Reports that Stephen Sutton's mum Jane has cancer are 'untrue'

Lichfield Mercury

Media reports that Stephen Sutton's mother Jane has cancer are "not true".

From left to right: Jane Sutton and Stephen Sutton
Lichfield Mercury

Gazza signs shirt and memorabilia as he arrives at court over 'abuse'

Ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne was approached by fans asking for a shirt and memorabilia to be signed as he arrived at Dudey Magistrates Court to face a charge of alleged racially-aggravated abuse during a stage show.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) previously said it initially declined to charge him following the show at Wolverhampton Civic Hall on 30 November.

That decision was later overturned after a request to review evidence.

The case has been adjourned until 19 September.

Gazza signs shirt
BBC

Information appeal over fire bomb at halal butcher's shop in Walsall

Peter Wilson

BBC Midlands Today Special Correspondent

Witnesses are being urged to come forward with information, after a bottle of flaming liquid was thrown at a shopkeeper and gutted a halal butchers shop in Walsall.

The victim says he is in "a state of shock" and "lucky to be alive".

I spoke to Bashir Hussain at the scene of the attack in Wednesbury Road, in Pleck, yesterday. His brother Jamil owns Kashmir Meat & Poultry, but was not there at the time.

West Midlands Police is keeping an open mind about the motive for the attack, but says it is investigating the possibility it was "racially-motivated".

Bromsgrove MP vying for highest ranks of Conservative party

Nominations open today in the Conservative leadership contest to replace David Cameron. 

The Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb has announced he's running on a joint ticket with the Bromsgrove MP and Business Secretary Sajid Javid (pictured). 

Sajid Javid
BBC

Dozens of cars engulfed in flames at car auction site in Castle Bromwich

No-one was injured in the fire at British Car Auctions, in Castle Bromwich, overnight, West Midlands Ambulance Service says.

View more on twitter

Children being raised by their grandparents at a national high in the West Midlands

Jennie Aitken

Reporter, BBC WM

A record number of children in the West Midlands are being raised by their grandparents - that's more than 10,000. 

The region is proportionately the second-highest in the UK, according to the Economic and Social Research Council. 

Jonk Watts, from Birmingham, is the full-time carer for his grandson.

Jonk Watts
BBC

Those stuggling to deal with drug and alcohol addictions or mental health issues often find their own parents stepping in. 

Mr Watts took early retirement three years ago so he could be around for his grandson after his alcoholic daughter could not cope.

Watch: Latest weather forecast for the West Midlands

Make sure you take your brollies out with you as we have more wet weather on the way.

It starts off dry though. Highs of 15C (59F).

Find out more.

Latest: Car auction firm fire; children raised by grandparents; fuel thefts at a high in the West Midlands

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Here are our top stories on Wednesday so far:

- A car auction site in Castle Bromwich has been hit by fire - with 40 cars on its forecourt engulfed in flames overnight  

- A record number of children are being raised by their grandparents in the West Midlands

- Bilking - fuel thefts where drivers fill up and leave without paying - is at a UK-high in the West Midlands