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  1. As it happened across the West of England on Wednesday 31 August, 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Dry with sunny spells tomorrow on the first day of metrological autumn

Goodnight from BBC Local Live for the West country.

We're back tomorrow from 7am with all the local news, sport, travel and weather.

West weather for 31 August

Any cloud will fade away overnight with clear skies developing for most. The winds will turn light, which may lead on the some mist and fog patches developing.

Tomorrow will see plenty of sunshine and only limited amounts of cloud. Through the day the sunshine will turn hazy as high cloud spills in from the west. 

Maximum temperature: 21C.

Rio 2016: Volunteer, 79, liked it so much he's now considering Tokyo 2020

A man from Bath - who's about to celebrate his 80th birthday - is back at home after being a volunteer at the Olympic Games in Rio.

George Harding was inspired to sign up after being a Olympic "Games Maker" in Weymouth four years ago.

He says he absolutely loved his experience in Brazil, which restored his faith in young people and the future, and he's now considering volunteering for Tokyo.

Four hurt in 999 ambulance crash

Crashed ambulance

Four people have been injured after an ambulance on an emergency call collided with another vehicle in Somerset.

The crash happened on the A30 Yeovil Road, near Crewkerne, earlier this evening.

A South Western Ambulance Service spokeswoman said two of the injured were ambulance crew and the other two were members of the public who were travelling in the other vehicle.

She added that no patient was in the ambulance at the time and "care was not compromised" at the destination where the crew was heading.

Somerset batsman Tom Abell

Tom Abell hits a career-best 135 as Somerset respond well to being put in by Lancashire at Old Trafford.

Read more

Bracken from heath to hearth

Invasive bracken growing wild here in the West of England is being cut down and turned into a fuel, as part of a scheme to let other plants flourish. 

It could also mean we'll see more grass growing through on moors and common land - where the ferns have got a strangle hold.  

BBC Points West's Scott Ellis introduces one company claiming to be the first to farm fern...

Scott Ellis reports.

Running Man paramedic begins treatment

A paramedic whose colleagues took part in a Running Man 'dance off' to raise money for cancer treatment has started a video diary of her experiences.

Kath Osmond from Bristol has skin cancer which has spread to her bones, lymph nodes and lungs.

In this video, she talks openly and frankly about her cancer. Some people may find it upsetting.

Kath Osmond, the paramedic behind #runningman4Kath, will vlog her cancer treatment

MP Jacob Rees-Mogg on Conservative Brexit 'turf wars' claims

A Tory MP says there has been only 'cricket pitch mowing', not turf wars, over Brexit

The North East Somerset MP Jacob Rees-Mogg says there has been only "cricket pitch mowing", not turf wars, over Brexit.

There have been reports of tussles between Brexit Secretary David Davis, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and their departments over responsibility for the Brexit negotiations.

But the Conservative told the World at One's Martha Kearney the three politicians were "affable" personalities who would get on with the job.

Hinkley Point C - another twist?

Hinkley Point in Somerset

Ready for a fresh twist in the long-running saga over the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset? 

French union officials have started legal action against the decision by EDF to go ahead after its board narrowly voted in July to proceed with the controversial project, expected to cost £18bn, to build two nuclear reactors.

But the government postponed a final decision shortly after Theresa May became prime minister.  

A court hearing has been scheduled for 5 September.

In your local newspapers this evening

Ben Slater

Ben Slater hits his first Championship century of the season but Derbyshire struggle on day one against Gloucestershire.

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A nod to the current ITV drama about the young Queen, perhaps?

Swindon Town's chairman responds to ticket price anger

Lee Power

Swindon Town's chairman Lee Power has released a lengthy statement supporting the recent ticket price decision which has angered a number of supporters.

In it he says:

  • The abandoned match on Saturday, against Bristol Rovers, "was an act of God and beyond the club's control"
  • Matchday costs are "higher than usual" due to it being a derby match
  • The club has tried and failed to reach an agreement with police and authorities about a reduction in costs for the rearranged fixture

To read his full statement, click here to visit the Swindon Town website.

Police have another week to question Marine, arrested in Somerset

Ciaran Maxwell

Detectives have been given more time to question a Royal Marine in connection with a terror-related investigation.

Ciaran Maxwell was arrested last week in Somerset, after searches in Larne and Devon. 

He was moved to a police station in London and the Metropolitan Police will be allowed to keep him in custody for another seven days.

His arrest is believed to be in connection with the discovery of two arms dumps in County Antrim earlier this year.

Gloucestershire teenager killed in M6 collision

Iain Thornton
Lancashire Police

A Gloucestershire teenager, who died after being hit by a car on the M6, has been named as Iain Thornton.

The 15-year-old from Didmarton, was airlifted to hospital following the crash in Lancashire, but died of his injuries in hospital.

Iain's family have described him as a much-loved son and brother. 

The collision happened at Charnock Richard Services on the motorway at around 1.45pm yesterday.

These are tragic circumstances and my thoughts remain with this young man’s family and friends at this incredibly difficult time.

Sgt Lee CampbellLancashire Road Policing Unit

Rovers fans offered free ride to rearranged fixture

View more on twitter

Yesterday we told you about the anger among football fans following Swindon Town's decision to charge normal pricing for the rearranged fixture with Bristol Rovers.

The game was abandoned after 60 minutes on Saturday due to a storm and resulting waterlogged pitch.

Well Bristol Rovers have today offered a helping hand to their supporters, with free coach travel to the rearranged fixture.

M5 delays near Weston-super-Mare following motorbike crash

M5 traffic
Highways England

This was the scene on the M5 between Weston-super-Mare and Clevedon a few moments ago.

Motorway traffic is stretching back to Highbridge following an earlier motorbike crash which has caused congestion on a number of roads in the area.

However all lanes on the M5 northbound, between J21 and J20, have now reopened.

View more on twitter

Rape at a Gloucestershire beer festival

A police car

A police appeal has been launched after a woman was raped at a festival in Gloucestershire last weekend.

The victim, who was at the Frocester Beer Festival, was attacked in a tent by a man she had met at the event, according to Gloucestershire Police.

"The victim danced with the man before realising she had become separated from her friend. She walked back to her tent to look for her but was followed by the man. He is then alleged to have raped her in her tent," said a force spokesman.

The man is believed to be from Bristol, aged in his late 20s or early 30s, and described as wearing a short-sleeved burnt orange polo shirt, dark blue shorts and white sport socks with black markings.

Swindon Town v Bristol Rovers - £14,000 policing cost confirmed

In the latest twist in the Swindon Town tickets tale, Wiltshire Police have confirmed that the cost of policing the original match versus Bristol Rovers was £14,000.

We told you yesterday that the club planned to charge non-season ticket holders again to get into the rearranged match, blaming police costs for the move.

Wiltshire Police said the costs were fixed following a pre-match assessment as is standard procedure.

This is in line with national agreements. The primary focus is always in relation to the safety of those attending the match. STFC will pay a proportion of that cost (about a third), in this case just over £14,000.

Supt Gavin Williams

Rescued fox 'behaved like a dog'

Charity warns against keeping foxes as pets

A charity on the Gloucestershire/Worcestershire border says an increasing number of people are keeping foxes at home as pets.

The Vale Wildlife Hospital, near Tewkesbury, is currently rehabilitating 21 foxes. 

It says keeping them as pets is wrong as the animals belong in the wild. 

One fox was so domesticated when it was brought to the hospital it behaved like a dog.

Bristol City defender sent to help Accrington

Zak Vyner
Rex Features

Bristol City defender Zak Vyner has joined Accrington Stanley on loan until January.

The 19-year-old made four Championship appearances last season after coming up through the ranks at Ashton Gate.

His help is much needed probably, as Accrington have the second worst defensive record in League Two, conceding 10 goals in five games.

Click to read more.

Mud, mud, glorious mud

Rare Beatrix Potter with city links goes under the hammer

The Tailor of Gloucester

A rare copy of Beatrix Potter's Tailor of Gloucester which dates back to 1902 has sold at auction today for £2,750.

The book is based on the true story of a Gloucester tailor, John Pritchard, who came to work one morning to discover an almost finished waistcoat with a note saying "no more twist" pinned to it.  

The first edition print exceeded its expected guide price by almost £1,000.

Claims badger cull policing 'not safe'


A serving police officer in Gloucestershire claims the force is unable to guarantee public safety during this year's badger cull. 

The anonymous officer contacted Points West with their concerns as the latest cull in the region is due to roll-out.

The officer said recent budgets cuts have slashed police numbers "to the bone" and the force is at "breaking point".

Gloucestershire Police admits the cull is "an extra demand on resources" but says the force "is as well prepared as we can be".

It stressed that its duties will be focused on keeping the peace, reassuring the local community and investigating any criminal activity.

County Championship: Scores at lunch

Marcus Trescothick
Getty Images

Here's the latest scores from our cricket sides in action today.

Somerset are 69-0 v Lancashire.

BBC Somerset's Anthony Gibson:

"Two short breaks for rain reduced the morning session to 23 overs, in which Marcus Trescothick and Tom Abell made largely untroubled progress against an inexperienced attack, Trescothick reaching his 1,000 runs in this season's Championship in the process."

Meanwhile Derbyshire are 101-3 v Gloucestershire.

BBC Radio Derby Sport's Dave Fletcher:

"Gloucestershire fought back well on the first morning at Derby, where the home side were in control at 91 without loss before Billy Godleman (31), Alex Hughes (1) and Wayne Madsen (0) were out for the addition of just six runs. Craig Miles picked up a couple of wickets with one for Liam Norwell."

Follow live text and radio commentary of the matches here.

Elmbridge Court roundabout: 'Hamburger' lane takes shape

It'll be a new look for one of Gloucester's busiest roundabouts with a new 'hamburger' lane taking motorists straight through the island.

Roadworks started last week and engineers have posted this picture of their progress so far.

View more on twitter

Pedal power fuels outdoor cinema in Bath

Cinema-goers are being asked to get on their bikes at two outdoor screenings in Bath on Friday.

Spectators at showings at Springfield Park and the Bath City Farm will be invited to jump on specially-adapted bikes to help power the projector and PA system.

2015 Bath Film Festival screening
Bath Film Festival

Argyle sign striker Garita on loan

Arnold Garita
Getty Images

Our first bit of transfer deadline day news and Plymouth Argyle sign striker Arnold Garita from Bristol City on loan until 16 January.

The Cameroon-born forward moved to City from French side Chateauroux for £50,000 in January.

You can follow all of today's ins and outs on the BBC Sport website.

Weston company turning bracken into bio fuel

A company in Weston-super-Mare believes it's the first to harvest bracken and turn it into a bio fuel. Renewable fuel company Brackenburn turns the ferns into briquettes for log burners and open fires. Bracken is seen by many as invasive, possibly discouraging other wildlife, and it's said to be growing by 3% a year in the West.  

Footbridge to close eight months after opening

Footbridge over the railway track at Chippenham Station

The new footbridge at Chippenham Station cost £3m to build but already has to close for repairs.

The project was late and the footbridge finally opened in January 2016. It is due to shut for ten days from Friday.

National Rail says it's concerned the bridge is collecting too much surface water which will be dangerous if it freezes in the colder months.

Bath Rugby: Team 'is united'

Bath Rugby recently appointed Todd Blackadder as their new director. 

The 44-year-old from New Zealand takes charge for the first time at Northampton on Saturday and he says "the team is united".

BBC Points West's Damian Derrick spoke to him and his players ahead of the new season. 

Watch: Motorist driving wrong way on M5

We've been sent this footage of a man in his 80s driving the wrong way on the M5 in Somerset.

The incident closed the southbound carriageway for several hours last night after people called 999 to say the driver was travelling north on the outside lane.

Officers said he hit several other vehicles but thankfully the man only suffered minor injuries.

Still waters run deep at Somerset Levels

This glorious view of glassy water and glistening sand is where the Somerset Levels meet the sea and was captured on camera by Richard Bradford.

View more on twitter

Bristol Council job cuts: Report reads 'like a horror story for accountants'

Pete Simson

BBC Radio Bristol

A detailed report into why Bristol City Council is almost £30m over budget this year has been published. Last week the authority announced plans to cut 1,000 jobs in order to plug the shortfall.

It reads like a horror story for accountants, with a detailed, piecemeal look at why Bristol City Council is in such a perilous financial position. 

Housing in Bristol
Getty Images
Increased social care was highlighted in the report

For example, social care costs are rising, with an extra 200 adults accessing support in the past year and the schools budget is costing more, with a 52% increase in children being excluded from secondary school, that costs an £1m.

The decision to cut 1,000 staff is just one of many ways the council is trying to manage. A recruitment freeze is in place, museum opening hours will change, whilst all council spending is up for review. 

Ultimately, however, the report admits even these drastic measures might not be enough.

BreakingRoad reopens following collision overnight

The A417 at the Air Balloon roundabout in Gloucestershire has reopened following a collision between a lorry and a pedestrian during the night.

Eviction of squatters in Stokes Croft divides opinion

Squatters who have been occupying The Magpie in Stokes Croft are facing eviction.

Some locals are calling it "gentrification" of the area, while others claim the building is an eyesore.

Bristol Council £30m budget overspend areas identified

Bristol City Council HQ

Last week Bristol City Council announced it is cutting 1,000 jobs in a bid to recoup a budget shortfall of nearly £30m.

Now a detailed report into why the authority has overspent has been published.

It highlights increased social care, schools and council property costs as being areas partially responsible for the overspend.

Swindon v Bristol Rovers ticket row continues

The row over Swindon Town's decision to charge fans to see a replayed fixture between them and Bristol Rovers is rumbling on.

The game was abandoned on Saturday because of a deluge of rain 60 minutes in.

We told you yesterday that the club planned to charge non-season ticket holders again to get into the match - usually fans get into rearranged games free if they paid for the original match. Swindon blamed police costs for the move.

Chris Walker, from the Bristol Rovers supporters club, called the decision a "disgrace" and called for a rethink

View more on twitter

I think it's grossly unfair that some fans, who went last time, are able to go in free. And the rest are expecting to either go in for nothing, or at least half price, are being charged full price. It's just an own goal by Swindon in football terms. I'm hoping the football club, and Bristol Rovers, will get together and reflect on it and perhaps change their minds.

Chris Walker, Bristol Rovers supporters club

Diesel spill on A303 in Somerset

A tractor has broken down on the A303 between Wincanton and Sparkford causing a large diesel spill.

One lane is closed westbound near the Sparkford end, and drivers are being warned to expect long delays while the diesel is cleaned up.   

Clifton Suspension Bridge closed again

Remember Bristol's Clifton Suspension Bridge is closed again today while scaffolding is taken down and maintenance work is checked.It will be shut to cars and bicycles from 9.30am, and open again at 4pm. Cyclists and pedestrians will be allowed to walk across the bridge. Motorists will be diverted via Bridge Valley road, Brunel Way and the A369 Rownham Hill.

Do you remember the drought of '76?

Points West has delved back into the archives to remember the driest summer of the 20th century. A countrywide hosepipe ban was imposed and families were told to take baths together to save water!Things are much different these days and according to Wessex Water it shouldn't happen again, as it's spent hundreds of millions of pounds on improving the water network in our region.