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  1. Updates from across the West of England on Tuesday 26 July, 2016.

Live Reporting

By Tammy McAllister

All times stated are UK

Showers on the way for Womad

That's almost all from us, just time to show you the weather forecast and unfortunately it's looking like it might turn a bit damp for the start of the Womad Festival tomorrow.  

Ian's weather forecast

That's all from BBC West Live. We'll will be back tomorrow from 7am with news, sport and weather for the West country.

Madison Hotel fire: Now under control but emergency services remain

Fire crews have been dealing with a large fire at the derelict hotel in Swindon and police officers have also been managing traffic which has been affected by the incident.

Wiltshire Police say the building was empty and nobody has been injured but they expect emergency services to be at the scene throughout the night.

View more on twitter

Geoff Twentyman meets the West's football bosses

Geoff Twentyman has been talking to Swindon Town head coach Luke Williams as part of his series chatting to the region's current crop of young managers. (Only Cheltenham Town's Gary Johnson is over 40!)

You can catch it on BBC Points West next week.

View more on twitter

Patchway man jailed after hiding dead body to run cannabis farm

Nicholas Clark
Avon and Somerset Police

A man has been jailed for three-and-half years after he illegally moved and hid the body of a Royal Navy veteran so a cannabis factory could be set up in his home. 

Paul Jackson, 40, moved the body of his neighbour Nicholas Clark, 63, after he died from natural causes. He concealed it under debris in a yard behind a former gym in Gloucester Road, Patchway.

Mr Clark served in the Navy as a helicopter engineer between 1967 and 1981 and his remains were found when the yard was being cleared in April 2015.

Cannabis farm Paul Jackson court case
Avon and Somerset Police

The yard was behind a disused gym and flat being rented by Jackson's co-defendant Anthony Whillier, 30, who had been using the property to grow cannabis. 

Whillier (pictured on the right) was handed a two-year suspended jail sentence and 240 hours of community service after admitting the charges against him.

Paul Jackson (l) and Anthony Whillier

Video: Plumes of black smoke over Swindon after hotel fire

BBC Wiltshire's Late Show presenter Dan Chisholm took this video of the fire at the derelict Madison Hotel in Swindon earlier this evening.

He was making his way into the studios but got caught up with the traffic delays and congestion.

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Service has said no injuries have been reported but crews are still at the scene.

Crews attend a large fire that broke out at a derelict hotel in Swindon.
Jade Dernbach

Surrey avenge their 2015 One-Day Cup final defeat by Gloucestershire with a thumping 165-run win at the Oval.

Read more

Last minute preparations for Womad 2016

The Womad Festival site takes shape ahead of the event starting tomorrow.

Final preparations are under way at the Womad Festival in Wiltshire which begins tomorrow. 

The event's being held at Charlton Park near Malmesbury for the tenth year running and there'll be lots to keep you entertained with seven stages featuring 90 artists from 49 different countries. Phew!

Here's a photo we dug out of the Womad Festival in 2014 - loving the summer evening skies here.

Womad 2014, Charlton Park, Wiltshire
Getty Images

Madison Hotel fire: People asked to avoid the area

View more on twitter

Firefighters from Gloucestershire have been brought in to help tackle a fire in the roof of the Madison Hotel in Swindon.

Nine fire crews are now in attendance and crews from other parts of Wiltshire are providing cover for the town while the fire continues.

No injuries have been reported and an investigation will begin once the fire is out.

View more on twitter
Smoke from fire at Madison Hotel
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Hundreds attend Pokemon Go event in Bristol

Many Pokemon fans were still queuing to get into the special event at Bristol Zoo when the doors closed at 7pm.

Let's hope they find happy digital hunting grounds elsewhere in Bristol this evening.

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Heads up on overnight M32 closure from 8pm


A section of the M32 in Bristol will be closed tonight so work on the city's new MetroBus scheme can be carried out.

The southbound carriageway between junction one and two will be shut from 8pm until 6am tomorrow morning. Diversions will be in place.  

Video: Fire at the derelict Madison hotel in Swindon

The Swindon Advertiser has shared their video of a fire that's broken out at a derelict hotel in the town.

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service says several crews are at the scene and have advised people to avoid the area if they can.

The fire is mainly concentrated in the roof of the Madison hotel building on Oxford Road.

Eight crews have been called to a major blaze at the old Madison Hotel in Swindon.

Derelict Madison Hotel alight in Swindon

Eight crews have been called to the derelict Madison Hotel in Swindon where a fire has broken out.

Firefighters were called to the building on the White Hart roundabout by the A419 at about 6pm.

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue say it's best to avoid the area if you can.

View more on twitter

Your BBC Local Radio headlines this evening

Matt Faulkner, BBC Somerset

Here's a round up of the BBC Local Radio headlines this evening:

  • The two Cheltenham students who were seriously injured in a coach crash in France are due to be flown home this week
  • The latest Care Quality Commission inspection of Yeovil District Hospital has rated it as 'Requires Improvement'
  • A fire at a Wiltshire farm has killed more than 750 pigs and piglets
  • The family of a man whose body was dumped in a yard in Patchway so a neighbour could set up a cannabis farm have said it will take them a long time to come to terms with how he was treated

France coach crash: Injured students expected home soon

Heavy traffic on the M5 near Burnham-on-Sea

Fire badly damages house in Burnham-on-Sea

A house in Burnham-on-Sea has been severely damaged by fire.

The fire service was called to reports of flames and smoke coming out of the window of a two storey semi-detached home on Burnham Road just after two o'clock.

Firefighters have been trying to stop the fire spreading to the neighbouring property.

There are five fire engines there and Burnham Road is currently closed.

View more on twitter

Tests continue on River Leadon following fish deaths

Work's continuing along the River Leadon in Gloucestershire after ammonia leaked into the watercourse over the weekend.

Yesterday we told you how several thousand fish had died in the river.

The Environment Agency says the leak has now been stopped and its staff shared these photos of the work they've been doing today.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Rubbish left by travellers causes anger and upset in Lockleaze

Local residents are unhappy as travellers have left rubbish and excrement after moving on from a site in Lockleaze.

BBC Radio Bristol posted this video on their Facebook page earlier this afternoon and it's already getting comments from some of you:

Janet Patricia Oram: "Disgraceful they should be fined for leaving the mess."

Laurence Ian Marsh: "It's so wrong just wrong."

Nikki Fox: "its art mann."

Local residents are unhappy as travellers leave rubbish and excrement in Lockleaze.

Aardman stars on Isle of Man stamps

Isle of Man Post
The first stamp features Morph almost being flattened by a tram

Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep and Morph are to star on a set of Isle of Man stamps.

All eight stamps feature well-known Aardman Animations' characters to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Bristol studio.

Aardman character stamps
Isle of Man Post
The stamps feature Aardman characters at locations on the Isle of Man

Isle of Man Post worked with Aardman on scenes for the stamps which include Laxey Railway station and the Laxey Wheel.

The stamps will be available to order online from 12 August.

Record-breaking swimmer

Half-brother admits Bristol murder

Shamus Mcnama
Shamus Mcnama
Shamus Mcnama died in March

The half-brother of a teenage father-to-be has pleaded guilty to his murder

Jazzie Francis Watson, 19, known as AJ, admitted killing 17-year-old Shamus Mcnama. 

It happened on Stothard Road, Lockleaze, Bristol, in March. 

Mr Mcnama, who was due to become a father according to tributes, died from knife wounds in hospital. 

Watson will be sentenced at Bristol Crown Court next month.

Watch Shetland Pony Grand National hopefuls

They may have small legs but these Shetland ponies can move pretty fast.

At stake is a place in the Shetland Pony Grand National at Olympia for them and their young jockeys.

Children as young as eight took part in the event at Dunster Country Fair which has also help launched the careers of National Hunt jockeys including Gloucestershire's Will and Sam Twiston-Davies.

Young jockeys are competing in Somerset for a place in the Shetland Pony Grand National

Hundreds of pigs killed in fire at a Wiltshire farm

More than 750 piglets and sows have died in a fire which broke out last night on a Wiltshire farm.

Crews were sent out to tackle the blaze on Sandridge Farm in Bromham.

Relief crews had to be brought in from across the area and it was eventually put out at 5am.

The cause of the fire is unknown.

Fire crew generic

Football: Teams in trial trophy draw

EFL Trophy logo

The new EFL trophy draw has been made and many of our local football sides are involved.

League One and League Two clubs will face Under-21 teams from top flight teams as part of a one-season, 64-team competition trial.

Northern Group A: Everton, Bolton, Cheltenham, Blackpool.  

Southern Group A: Reading, Bristol Rovers, Portsmouth, Yeovil.  

Southern Group C: Chelsea, Swindon, Exeter, Oxford.

Click here for more details of how the competition works and the draw in full.

Council leader delights in 'radical' merger agreement

Taunton Deane Borough Council

Two councils in Somerset are currently exploring a proposal to merge, which, according to one of them, would make them "the first two district councils in the country to join forces to create a new, single authority".

Well last night Taunton Deane Borough councillors agreed to it and West Somerset Council is meeting in September to discuss the same thing.

In response to last night's agreement, TDBC leader John Williams said:

The proposal for transformation is radical and will bring change on a scale not seen before for our communities, our customers, our staff and ourselves as Members. The decision is important, and will ensure we can continue to invest in our growth ambitions, deliver services to our public, and importantly, help us take a huge step towards having a financially sustainable future.

Army homes get green light

Army vehicle
Nearly a third of the British Army will be based in and around Salisbury Plain by 2020

Work to build more than 900 new army family homes in the Salisbury Plain area is to begin in summer 2017, after an agreement on planning permission was reached.

The houses are part of wider plans to accommodate 4,000 extra troops and their families who will be based in the county by 2020.

Wiltshire Council approved a total of 917 new homes - 246 at Ludgershall, 444 at Larkhill and 227 at Bulford. 

A deal bringing transport, education, leisure and healthcare facilities has also been agreed.

Fourth arrest in schools abuse probe

Badgeworth Court
Badgeworth Court stopped operating as a boarding school in the 1980s

Police investigating allegations of physical and sexual abuse at boarding schools in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire during the 1970s and 80s have questioned a fourth former member of staff.

The 70-year-old man from Norfolk, who hasn’t been named, was arrested by detectives on suspicion of physical and sexual abuse.

He was later released on police bail to appear at a later date.

The 14-month police enquiry began after a BBC Points West investigation revealed the allegations at the privately run Badgeworth Court and Dowdeswell Court schools in Gloucestershire, and at Clouds House in Wiltshire.

So far more than a 160 former pupils have been contacted and over 70 have made criminal allegations of abuse.   

Last month three former teachers at the schools were also arrested and released on bail.

Lake safety warning

Cleveland Lakes
Robert Bewley

An outbreak of blue-green algae has been confirmed at Cleveland Lakes, near Ashton Keynes.

The Cotswold Water Park Trust, which owns the two lakes, is advising members of the public to take extra care when walking around the nearby footpaths.

They say the algae, which occurs in warm weather, can be potentially fatal for animals and harmful to humans.

They're advising people to make sure their dogs don't enter the water and to keep away from the water’s edge as the "fumes" can cause nausea.

Bath rail incident: Delays expected

Bath Spa railway station

Following this morning's incident at Bath Spa station, in which a man was hit by a train, services are now running again on some lines but trains are expected to continue to be delayed, cancelled or revised.

British Transport Police said a person was taken to hospital with injuries to his arm, and the incident is not being treated as suspicious.

GWR has tweeted there are currently delays of up to 30 minutes.

France coach crash drivers face probe

Crash scene
The coach went into a ditch on the A39 motorway near the Swiss borde

The two drivers of a coach which crashed in France, seriously injuring two teenagers from Cheltenham, will be quizzed by their bosses on Thursday.

They've returned to Wales following Saturday's crash near the Swiss border.

The coach, which was carrying school children from Gloucestershire to Italy, went into a ditch on the A39 motorway.

Penygroes-based Express Motors said it will launch its own investigation while prosecutors in France continue theirs.

Click here to read more.

Bath rail incident: Motorists asked to avoid area

Bath Spa railway station

Drivers have been asked to avoid Dorchester Street in Bath due to an incident on the rail line this morning.

Bath and North East Somerset Council said: "Emergency services are on the scene and this is causing some congestion in the area around Bath Spa Railway Station."

Great Western Railway has tweeted that trains are now on the move, but long delays are possible...

View more on twitter

Trains suspended between Bristol Temple Meads and Bath Spa

The Network Rail website says the suspension is expected to continue until approximately 13:00 BST.

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View more on twitter

Tour de Britain through the West Country

The Tour of Britain will come through Gloucestershire

More details have been announced of the route which the Tour of Britain will take when it heads to the West Country later this year.

The Wye Valley and the Forest of Dean will form the core of Stage Five on Thursday 8 September.

The route, which runs for 205-kilometres from Aberdare to Bath, will take the international peddlers through the Wye Valley and into the Forest of Dean and Gloucestershire via the Bigsweir Bridge, passing landmarks such as Puzzlewood.

Important features of the race include two King of the Mountains climbs at Stowe Green and Speech House in the Forest of Dean.  

The competitors will also head to Bath on the same day, and Bristol will host the penultimate stage on 10 September.

'Pee power' project gets more cash

The technology has been tested at music festivals

Scientists in Bristol have been given further funding to develop technology that allows people to charge their smart phones using urine.

The University of the West of England is using the bacteria to generate and store electricity to power small devices.

It's been tested at music festivals with the idea it can be used in remote areas such as refugee camps. 

The research team has now been given more money from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that will help to develop a commercial "pee power" product.

Weird wheat

Crop circle

This picture, taken from inside a crop circle in Salisbury, was taken by BBC Weather Watcher "Sharnielou".

We're wondering whether it was made by aliens, magnetic energy, or a man with a rope and a plank?

My money's on an alien with a rope and a plank.

Going for gold

From left to right: Polly Maton, Holly Neill and Sophie Kamlish
Getty Images

The British Paralympic Association (BPA) has announced another 41 athletes have been added to the line-up for track and field in Rio - and three of them are from our area.

They are sprinter Polly Maton from Devizes, who trains in Bath, thrower Holly Neill from Dorchester who trains at Yeovil College, and sprinter Sophie Kamlish from Bath, who trains at Bath University.

The trio join local runner Paul Blake, who trains at Bath University, who had already been selected for ParalympicsGB at Rio 2016.

BBC local radio headlines

DAB radio

Here are some of the stories being reported in the West:

BBC Radio Gloucestershire: Research into the proposed Eco Park at Junction 13 of the M5 says the project could be worth £300m to Gloucestershire's economy.

BBC Radio Bristol: Plans to redevelop Bath's historic Colonnades area could get the go-ahead today. Last year an application to turn the district into a £5m dining quarter was turned down.

BBC Wiltshire: Plans to introduce parish councils to the whole of Swindon are raising concerns for some existing parishes. It's hoped the changes will save the Borough Council money and will take place by April next year.

BBC Somerset: Taunton Deane Borough councillors have approved plans to merge with West Somerset Council after five hours of debate last night. Some councillors are strongly opposed to the plans because of concerns over job cuts and Taunton losing its identity.

EDF investors agree Hinkley Point fundraising

Artist"s impression of plans for the new Hinkley Point C

Here's some more news on the long-running saga of the planned Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in Somerset.

Shareholders at French energy giant EDF have approved plans to issue new shares to raise 4bn euros (£3.4bn) to help pay for it.

The move comes ahead of Thursday's board meeting where the firm is expected to finally approve the project in Somerset - Britain's first new nuclear power plant in decades.

The French state, which owns 85% of EDF, will buy 3bn euros-worth of new shares in the fundraising. The project is expected to cost £18bn.