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  1. Updates from across the West of England on Friday, 19 August, 2016

Live Reporting

By Ian Parker

All times stated are UK

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Batten down the hatches: Winds increasing to gale force overnight

Winds will continue to increase overnight perhaps reaching gale force along the Bristol Channel. 

There will be some clear spells but also some heavy showers.

Ian Fergusson has the latest forecast...

West country weather forecast for 19 August

That's all from BBC Local Live for the West country for this week. We're back on Monday from 7am with all the latest news, sport and weather.

Rio 2016: Charlotte Dujardin on that marriage proposal

Charlotte Dujardin on that wedding proposal

Dressage gold medalist Charlotte Dujardin was in the middle of a television interview after winning Olympic gold when the big screens in the arena showed her partner Dean Golding's reminder of his desire to get married sooner rather than later.

"He's brilliant, he's a real rock. I'm very lucky," she said.

Postal union warns of strike action over job cuts

Post box

Post Offices in Bristol, Bath, Trowbridge, Yate, Nailsea, Kingswood and Yeovil could be hit by strike action.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) says the move is part of a dispute around job cuts, closure of the pension scheme and a "slash-and-burn approach". 

But a Post Office spokesman insisted it must continue with plans to modernise the network.

“We will give serious consideration to any ideas that our unions put forward... we're happy to talk and continue to invite the CWU to join us at the negotiating table," he added.

Rio 2016: Charlotte Dujardin has 'definite plans for Tokyo'

Charlotte Dujardin: 'Definite plans for Tokyo'

Freshly back from Rio, Olympic gold medallist Charlotte Dujardin is already talking about her plans for Tokyo 2020.

She says she has a couple of "really lovely" up-and-coming horses in training and that it would be an incredible feeling to be able to get one of them up to the standard of Valegro.

Making the headlines in your local newspapers

Three held after tyres slashed on 36 cars in Yeovil

Roping Road, Yeovil
Police said cars were targeted in Roping Road

Three men have been arrested in Yeovil after 36 cars had their tyres slashed in seven different streets.

Police were called in the early hours of Friday after reports of a robbery in the area. 

A man matching the description of the robber was arrested and then further arrested on suspicion of criminal damage.

Two further men were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage after reports of three men, also fitting the description of those involved in the robbery, had also been seen damaging cars in the area.

Rio 2016: Burnham-on-Sea's BMX star thanks support team

View more on twitter

Somerset BMX rider Liam Phillips - now out of hospital after a nasty crash ended his Rio 2016 challenge - says he is "beyond devastated" at the outcome, but has thanked the people around him for helping him reach the Olympic Games in the first place.

Just being in Rio demonstrated remarkable resilience and determination, having broken his collarbone earlier this summer.

He is now recovering from another painful injury - get well soon, Liam.

Rio 2016: Bond and partnership with horse 'truly amazing'

Bond and partnership 'truely amazing'

After winning Olympic gold in Rio, Charlotte Dujardin has returned to her Newent stables along with her horse Valegro.

She spoke of the amazing bond she has with him and how he "reassured" her before the dressage event.

On Monday the 31-year-old, who won gold netting Team GB's 40th medal of the Rio Games with a 93.857% routine.

New discoveries at dig in Lufton

Archaeologists from Newcastle University are currently digging a site in the village

Archaeologists excavating a Roman villa have found it had underfloor heating in an unexpected part of the building.

The site at Lufton near Yeovil was first excavated in the 1950s and 60s by local archaeologist Leonard Hayward.

Project leader Dr James Gerrard, said: "If you were living here in the 4th Century having underfloor heating is at the top of your priorities."

The dig also aimed to precisely locate the Roman villa using GPS and surveying techniques which it has now achieved.

The 'fridge suit' that saved newborn Willow Rose

Baby girl whose heart stopped saved by 'fridge suit'

A baby whose heart stopped for eight minutes has stunned medics to make a full recovery.

Willow Rose from Worcester was delivered by emergency C-section at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and had to be resuscitated.

She was put in a refrigeration suit and taken to St Michael's Hospital, Bristol, where specialist teams cooled her body for three days to prevent brain damage.

Fifteen months on and she's made a full recovery. Relieved parents Martin and Bex Forrest said "we're just so thankful Willow pulled through".

Inside Wiltshire's abandoned WWII village

BBC Wiltshire broadcast live from the village for the first time this morning

The village of Imber, on Salisbury Plain, has been deserted for 70 years after villagers were evicted so American troops could train there during World War Two.

The land is now owned by the MoD and used for army training. 

This weekend is one of five when the village is opened to the public.

'Oh I do like to be beside the seaside....'

Two ladies sat on the wall at Weston
Earlier in the week the beach was packed with holidaymakers soaking up the sun - just not today

What a difference a few days make.

This picture, showing two women in coats with their hoods up, was shot today on the seafront at Weston-super-Mare. 


Forecasters tell us the wind will be particularly strong around the coast, increasing overnight to perhaps reach gale force in exposed areas.

But the good news is that they expect warm conditions to return next week.


'These offences are so serious' - judge tells paedophile

Paul Platten
Avon and Somerset Police

Paul Platten from Wincanton, who was jailed for 12 months earlier today, admitted:

  • Three charges of attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity
  • One charge of attempting to engage in sexual communications with a child

Jailing him, Judge James Patrick said: "You sent to someone you thought was a 13-year-old girl a number of photographs of you naked.

"In my judgment these offences are so serious that they warrant an immediate custodial sentence."

M5 southbound crash - just below Almondsbury Interchange

Highways England

This was the scene on the M5 near Bristol a few minutes ago.

Highways England tell us an earlier crash between junctions 16 and 17 are slowing things down southbound

They hope traffic will be back to normal by 6.30pm.

View more on twitter

Hungry boar are foraging in Forest of Dean bins

Wild boar

Many of us are used to the occasional fox or badger ...or gull ...rummaging through our bins at night, but imagine having groups of up to 15 wild boar sniffing through last night's leftovers.

Well that's the reality for people living in Ruspidge in the Forest of Dean and it's become so bad that the council has issued a warning about the hungry boar.

The authority is advising residents to keep garden gates closed and to leave bins locked away until collection day.

Paedophile trapped by vigilante group posing as 13-year-old girl

Paul Platten, 38, from Wincanton, Somerset
Avon and Somerset Police
Paul Platten, 38, was also ordered to register as a sex offender for 10 years

A paedophile from Somerset has been jailed for 12 months after sending explicit messages to vigilantes posing as a 13-year-old girl.

Paul Platten, 38, sent naked pictures of himself and a string of messages after contacting a fake profile on social media, Taunton Crown Court heard.

He was tracked down and confronted at his Wincanton home by the vigilantes and police were called.

Baby born with no heartbeat saved by being 'frozen'

Medics from Bristol saved the life of a newborn baby by putting her into total body hypothermia to prevent brain damage.

Little Willow Rose Forrest's heart stopped beating for eight minutes during an emergency caesarean at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. 

Willow in an incubator in hospital

She was revived and then rushed to St Michael's Hospital in Bristol where she received revolutionary "cooling therapy".  

Willow is now 15 months old and has made a full recovery.

Willow Roses' parents praise medics for saving their daughter

Cigarettes and cash seized from illegal tobacco couple

These pictures were taken by officers during a raid on the home of a couple in the Forest of Dean who sold illegal cigarettes and tobacco. 

More than 100kg of tobacco and 750 packs of cigarettes were seized as well as £72,000 in cash.

Illegal tobacco and cash
Gloucestershire Police

At Gloucester Crown Court, Susan and Harold Bennett, aged 54 and 73 and from Coleford, pleaded guilty to several offences of selling illegal tobacco products and not paying duty.

Cash seized
Gloucestershire Police

Croc shock: Crocodile spotted in fishing lake

Crocodile replica
Holiday Resort Unity

Imagine finding this fella in the water!

That's just what happened at the Holiday Resort Unity in Brean, causing a conservation team to be sent in to investigate.

Thankfully it was just a "very lifelike replica" that had been moved from a nearby adventure golf course during the night.

Resort owner Alan House said: “It must have taken a great deal of effort to have pulled off this prank."

Bristol charity opens 50th high street shop

The opening of the first store in 1981
St Peter's Hospice

One of Bristol's most successful charities is marking a milestone today by opening its 50th high street shop. 

St Peter's Hospice cares for adults with terminal illnesses is now the largest charity retailer in the South West after opening its first store in Knowle in 1981.

Area manager Louisa Merchant-Locke on their new shop in Hartcliffe

'He was supposed to be there and it looks like he is there'

Catherine Flower, her mother, stepfather and brother Shaun Carter
Jelly Penguin Graphics/Catherine Flower

It's a wedding snap that's sparked a debate on our Facebook pages.

Catherine Carter's brother Shaun died weeks before her wedding so she asked a designer to incorporate him into her pictures.  

"I love them so much," she said.

Many of you agree but others aren't so sure they'd do the same.

Facebook comments

Watch: Dramatic moment car catches fire with toddler inside

This footage shows the dramatic scene after a car burst into flames in Bristol.

The driver was dropping her two-year-old girl off at a nursery in Cotham when she smelt smoke.

Luckily neither of them were injured and the fire service was able to get the fire under control.

Concerns over Virgin taking over social care

Yesterday we told you about Virgin Care becoming the preferred bidder for children's and adult services in Bath and North East Somerset.

A charity in Bath, which helps people with substance abuse issues, says it fears the new contract could impact on what they do.

Rosie Phillips is CEO of Developing Health & Independence

Watch out for that tree!

This driver has caused some disruption in Clifton this afternoon...

View more on twitter

Rio 2016: Somerset BMX rider out of hospital

Hopefully Burnham's Liam Phillips will be back on his bike in no time!

The BMX rider was concussed after crashing out of the Olympics quarter-finals but British Cycling says he's now out of hospital.

View more on twitter

Bat experts spark police search

Police were called to reports of suspicious activity on the roof of Malmesbury's historic Abbey last night.

However they found the flashlights belonged to two ecologists who were carrying out a bat survey.

View more on twitter

Car bursts into flames in Bristol

Car on fire

A mother and daughter had a lucky escape in Bristol this morning when the car they were in burst into flames.

The mum was dropping her two-year-old girl off at a nursery in Cotham when she smelt smoke.

Avon Fire and Rescue said the BMW had caught fire due to "accidental ignition".

The smoking car after the fire was put out

Dismaland: A flash in the pan or a positive legacy?

A year on from the opening of Banksy's Dismaland exhibition in Weston-super-mare, the council says it's still having a positive impact on the town.

The street artist's transformation of the Tropicana attracted tens of thousands of visitors and international attention. 

Despite some hotels saying it was a flash in the pan, North Somerset Council says the event continues to boost the town.

Dismaland in figures

Your reaction to 125mph police chase with children

A video of a high speed police chase through Gloucester has got you talking on BBC Radio Gloucestershire's Facebook page.  

Officers were shocked to discover two young children in the car at the time.

Police footage of car chase

What a selfish man. Putting the lives of those innocent children, innocent members of the public and his own life at risk.

Gillian Wright

This isn't a warning at all though. It's just glorifying what the idiot did for all his mates to see.

Mark Jackson

Sickening to watch.

Richard Dare

Should the police not have given up? I do not agree with what he did at all but chasing through the streets at that speed...someone innocent could have easily got killed.

Fay Daniels

Tyres slashed in Yeovil: Did you see anything?

Facebook post

Your local radio headlines

Radio newsroom

BBC Radio Bristol: A year after Banksy's Dismaland exhibition in Weston-super-Mare, council bosses say it's continuing to have a positive impact on the town.

BBC Radio Gloucestershire: Major improvements to one of the county's busiest junctions is starting today and could last for a year.

BBC Radio Somerset: Firefighters have been dealing with a fire in a barn near Wedmore.

BBC Radio Wiltshire: Bacteria has been found in the pool at the Oasis Leisure swimming pool which will remain closed for the rest of the summer holidays.

Take a last look around this floating lighthouse

Fancy having a look inside a floating lighthouse? 

The iconic lightship SULA is moored at Llanthony Quay in Gloucester but has been closed to the public since last year as it's up for sale.

It's being temporarily opened up again from tomorrow as part of International Lighthouse Heritage Weekend.

Jan van der Elsen is the owner of the SULA

Can you believe this is made from beer cans?

Unicorn statue
Tom Hiscock

We all know we're meant to be recycling more but Tom Hiscock has gone one better and created this fabulous sculpture from 150 cans of Fosters.

Tom, who's based in Wiltshire, chose the brand for their blue colour and the unicorn stands at 16 hands high - the size of a large horse.

We're not sure if he drank all of the beer first!

Close up of unicorn
Tom Hiscock

First broadcast from abandoned WW2 village

Imber village, Wiltshire

BBC Wiltshire has become the first radio station to broadcast live from the deserted village of Imber on Salisbury Plain. 

No one has lived there for more than 70 years when the residents were evicted so American troops could train for the Second World War. 

Imber is only open to the public for a few weeks a year but the station's breakfast programme team has been there all morning.

Imber village, Wiltshire
Imber village

Making the headlines in your local newspapers

Major roadworks reminder for Gloucester and Bristol

Elmbridge roundabout
Gloucestershire County Council

If you commute into Gloucester via the Elmbridge roundabout remember there's going to be roadworks starting on Monday.

The first six weeks of the year-long project will be lane closures on the roundabout and on the approach roads.

Meanwhile a section of St Augustine’s Parade in Bristol city centre will be reduced to three lanes for two weeks from Sunday, while work on the MetroBus project continues.

Is there a Dismaland legacy in Weston?

Dismaland, Weston-super-Mare

Has it really been a year since Banksy's Dismaland exhibition opened in Weston-super-Mare?

This morning we'll be finding out whether there has been any lasting benefit to the town.

The exhibition staged at the Tropicana attracted thousands of visitors and generated an estimated £20m to the local economy.


BBC Radio Bristol has been speaking to people who visited Dismaland.

Jo, from Weston, said: "It was sad but poignant at the same time and the actual artwork reflected that as well."

Watch: Somerset BMX rider crashes out of Rio 2016

Liam Phillips' crash in the BMX quarter-finals

BMX rider Liam Phillips is out of the Olympics in Rio after crashing in the quarter-finals. 

The 27-year-old former world champion, who's from Burnham-on-Sea, was one of the favourites for a gold medal.

Sadly the heavy crash meant he had to withdraw from the competition and saw him leave the track with a doctor. Thankfully he later tweeted to say he's OK.

View more on twitter

Brollies at the ready!

Don't forget your umbrellas this morning because it's going to be a wet one.

There will be a little bit of sunshine later on today but it will feel cooler with winds strengthening throughout the afternoon.

West country weather forecast for Friday