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  1. Updates from across the West on Thursday, 16 March 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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That's all from Local Live tonight

We will be back at 7am tomorrow bringing you all the latest news, sport and weather for the West of England.

Here's Ian Fergusson with Friday's weather forecast. 

It's going to be breezy and cooler in the morning with patchy rain in the afternoon.

Watch: Weather for the West with Ian Fergusson

Powerboat racing in Bristol's docks: Yes or No?

A powerboat racer returned to Bristol's harbour in 2015

Former elected mayor George Ferguson says that a return of powerboat races in the Harbourside would damage Bristol's green credentials. 

This clashes with Marvin Rees who said talks were under way to bring back the sport during his first major speech last October.

The event was stopped in 1990 after accidents and the death of some competitors.

Former champion powerboat racer Steve Kerton said: "The development in safety for the boats, the rescue crews and driver safety and training that they have to go through is far safer than it used to be."

Man guilty of killing UK's rarest butterflies

          A composite image of Philip Cullen and a Large Blue butterfly
Butterfly Conservation

The man found guilty of capturing and killing Large Blues says he is "appalled by the sentence" and said he will appeal. 

Phillip Cullen, 57, was found guilty of six offences relating to Large Blue (Maculinea arion) butterflies, which are endangered globally. 

He said there was "no evidence against him" and added "as a conservationist...I am very, very embrassed not to be believed and found guilty".

Bristol Magistrates Court was told that Cullen was seen with a net at a two sites in Somerset and Gloucestershire on the same day in June 2015.

The court heard Large Blue butterflies were found at Cullen's home in Cadbury Heath, Bristol, on 12th February last year. 

Brean Down conservationists on the hunt for a new grazier

Ponies on Brean Down

Conservationists are searching for a new grazier to help them with conservation work along Brean Down.

The National Trust owns the 65-hectare site which is at the furthest tip of the Mendip Hills and overlooks the North Somerset coastline.

The project first began in November 2015 and ran until May when a herd of Dartmoor ponies were brought in to graze and clear the scrubland.

Ian Clemett from the Trust said: "It did do it the world of good, the hill is in a good state now but it will start to grow up again."

Grazing livestock helps to clear the land of brambles and improve the limestone grassland's biodiversity.

Cheltenham Gold Cup: A look at the runners and riders

Cue Card ridden by Paddy Brennan
Getty Images

Cue Card will bid to make amends for a late fall last year when he lines up for the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday.

The popular steeplechaser,  under the guidance of trainer Colin Tizzard,  will have stablemate Native River among his rivals.

A strong Irish challenge includes the two-time runner-up Djakadam who bids to secure a first win for trainer Willie Mullins.

Outlander, for in-form Gordon Elliott, and Sizing John are other contenders.

And as we've been reporting, Lizzie Kelly on Tea For Two will be the first woman to ride in the race for 33 years.

It's Eddie Redmayne - honestly!

Eddie Redmayne
Aardman Animations Early Man stars the Oscar winning actor

Eddie Redmayne's prehistoric character in a new film from Bristol-based Aardman Animations has been revealed.

The Oscar-winning actor voices Dug, a courageous caveman hero who belongs to a hapless tribe.

Early Man, which is set for release in January 2018, also stars Bristol's Game of Thrones actor Maisie Williams.

Thousands of Children of the 90s babies return to help latest study

Alex (centre) at the Focus@24 clinic

One of the world's largest population studies, which started in Bristol 26 years ago, has welcomed its 3,000th participant to a new clinic aimed at researching human health all the way from babyhood to adulthood.

Alex Hughes-Games (pictured centre above) was one of the original babies who took part in Bristol University's Children of the 90s (CO90s) project, he's now 25 and has agreed to be part of the study's Focus@24+ clinic.

"It’s just really nice to be part of a special group of people who’ve been doing their bit for science from birth onwards," he said.

CO90s research is known for many discoveries including the benefits of eating oily fish during pregnancy, "getting grubby" boosts children's immune systems and the link between peanut allergy and peanut oil in skin creams. 

Ruby Walsh

Nichols Canyon is the big winner as jockey Ruby Walsh and trainer Willie Mullins win four races on a day dominated by the Irish at Cheltenham.

Read more

How long should mothers breastfeed for?

Baby feeding from bottle
Science Photo Library

Earlier we told you how Bristol's Claire Tchaikowski, the partner of Massive Attack producer Neil Davidge, has made a  new film  about the little-known nutritional benefits of human breast milk beyond infancy.

She wants women who decide to breastfeed for longer to feel empowered and supported in that choice.

Women in the UK are advised to begin breastfeeding an hour after their baby is born and then exclusively for six months.

In fact just 1-2 per cent of women exclusively feed their baby with breast milk up to the age of six months, the NHS' 2010  Infant Feeding Survey  found.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends continued breastfeeding, along with other sources of nutrition, for two years or more.

Cleaning up at the Cheltenham Festival

The Jockey Club, who run Cheltenham Racecourse, has set itself a target of sending nothing to landfill by 2020. 

More than 65,000 people a day will visit the Festival this week and they'll leave behind plenty of rubbish. 

But over the last five years the racecourse has raised its recycling rates from eight to 70 per cent.  

Watch: How Cheltenham Festival is taking recycling seriously

Headlines from your BBC Local Radio station


BBC Radio Bristol

Four men from Bristol and Bath have been jailed after the discovery of what police described as an "Aladdin's cave" of drugs, cash and goods. 

BBC Somerset

BBC Somerset has learnt that Wells MP James Heappey and Yeovil MP Marcus Fysh have been interviewed by police as part of their investigation into general election expenses. 

BBC Gloucestershire

Cheltenham Town have wished manager Gary Johnson a quick recovery after undergoing unexpected heart surgery today.    

BBC Wiltshire

A man's been arrested this afternoon on suspicion of the murder of 25-year-old Jordan Taylor in Trowbridge and an area around County Hall in the town has been cordoned off as part of the investigation.  

Butterfly collector conviction: 'Unnecessary to collect butterflies from the wild'

A Large Blue butterfly
Martin Warren/Butterfly Conservation

A butterfly collector has been found guilty of killing the UK's rarest butterfly. Phillip Cullen, 57, was found guilty of six offences relating to the Large Blue .

The Butterfly Conservation charity has its own policy on collecting, breeding and taking photos of butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera). 

It says no butterflies or moths should be killed or collected casually, unthinkingly and without good reason.

It adds that collecting, breeding or photography should never be carried out in a way that would endanger, or have any long-term adverse effect, on any population of butterflies and moths.

It is unnecessary to collect species from the wild and we discourage any collecting apart from for legitimate scientific research."

Dr Caroline BulmanButterfly Conservation

Drug dealers living 'the high life' jailed

          L-r Jay Cowell, Joe Wilkins, Mark Howard and Jose Paulo De Sousa were arrested following a two-year investigation
Avon and Somerset Police

Four men have been jailed for a total of more than 30 years at Bristol Crown Court. 

Jay Cowell, 42, Joe Wilkins, 29, Mark Howard, 40, and Jose Paulo De Sousa, 49, (pictured left to right above) were all convicted after a two year police operation.

Jay Cowell lived in an Aladdin’s cave of wealth, he was a high level dealer, living a rich lifestyle buying expensive and lavish items including luxury cars, artwork, designer clothes and electronic gadgets, while preying on the vulnerable."

Det Insp Tony Hubbard Senior Investigating Officer

Police seized money, drugs, cars, art work and jewellery from houses  in Gay's Road and Soundwell Road in Hanham, Bristol.

Cowell was jailed for 13 years, six months for “his significant role”, Howard for eight, Wilkins seven and De Sousa for four.   

Watch, car and jewellery seized by police
Avon and Somerset Police

Live: Bristol City striker Aaron Wilbraham

View more on facebook

BBC Radio Bristol's Facebook team are live right now with Bristol City striker Aaron Wilbraham.

You can get your questions to the man himself via the BBC Radio Bristol Facebook page.

Butterfly collector conviction: What is the Large Blue?

Watch: The Large Blue butterfly is thriving on reserves in Gloucestershire and Somerset

Phillip Cullen, 57, has been found guilty of six offences relating to Large Blue butterflies .

Here's a few facts about the largest and rarest of the UK's butterflies. 

  • It has a wingspan of more than two inches and can be identified by a row of black spots on its upper forewing.
  • The species became extinct in 1979 but is now thriving after reintroduction in 2004.
  • Conservationists say there is a population of more than 10,000 on reserves in Gloucestershire and Somerset.

Man who beat and stole drugs from pensioner guilty of murder

Tony Swift
Gloucestershire Police

A man has been convicted of killing Cheltenham pensioner Tony Swift before stealing his cannabis and selling it on.

Tony Swift, 68, was found with head injuries at his flat in October 2015. 

A jury at Bristol Crown Court today found Lee McClatchley, 31, of Cromwell Road, Cheltenham, guilty of murder following a three week trial.

That day he was a desperate man seeking to put right a number of dodgy deals. I believe he saw Tony as a soft target and tried to rob him of his stash but it all went wrong in the flat and he battered Tony to death."

Det Insp Richard Pegler Senior Investigating Officer

BreakingButterfly collector guilty of killing UK's rarest butterfly

Phillip Cullen

A butterfly collector has been found guilty of killing the UK's rarest butterfly.

Phillip Cullen, 57, was found guilty of six offences relating to Large Blue (Maculinea arion) butterflies, which are endangered globally. 

Bristol Magistrates Court heard he was seen climbing over a locked gate with a net at Collard Hill, near Street, Somerset, on 18th June, 2015. 

Conservation volunteers watched Cullen chasing and swiping at a Large Blue butterfly with the net before leaving the site with white plastic bags hours later. 

Cullen also allegedly clambered over a gate into Daneway Banks near Cirencester, Gloucestershire, on the same day. 

He was approached by a volunteer after being seen with a net and claimed he was interested in parasitic wasps. 

The court heard Large Blue butterflies were found at Cullen's home in Cadbury Heath, Bristol, on 12th February last year. 

BreakingScrambler bike crash in Gloucester

An 18-year-old man has been injured following a collision involving a scrambler bike.

Police have closed roads at the Blakehill Way roundabout in Abbeymead, Gloucester.

Abbeymead, Gloucester

Why is breastfeeding a toddler deemed so controversial?

Tamara Eccleston

We've been reporting on a film encouraging mothers to breastfeed beyond babyhood that's been made in Bristol.

Women who breastfeed their children beyond the first few months of infancy are not a common sight in our society, as highlighted by the model Tamara Ecclestone recently .

She was criticised for posting a picture on social media of her feeding her three-year-old daughter with one Instagram user saying: "For babies yes it's beautiful but for two years old it's disgusting."

Ecclestone said it was a "very sad and surprising sign of the times" that the image had prompted negative comments, after uploading a second breastfeeding picture .

BreakingMarine A: Fresh sentencing next week

Marine A

Sgt Alexander Blackman, who fatally shot an injured Taliban fighter in Afghanistan, will be sentenced next Friday.

The former Royal Marine, 42, from Taunton, Somerset, is now charged with manslaughter on the ground of diminished responsibility after his murder conviction was quashed by the Court Martial Appeal Court

He has already served three years of a life sentence.

Severe disruption: M5 Bristol northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Bristol northbound severe disruption, between J15 for M4 and J14 for B4509 Thornbury.

M5 Bristol - One lane closed on M5 northbound between J15, M4 (Almondsbury Interchange) and J14, B4509 (Thornbury), because of a broken down lorry and recovery work. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Butterfly trial: Why collecting them can break the law

A Large Blue butterfly

We told you earlier that the trial of a man charged with capturing and killing the UK's rarest butterfly is taking place in Bristol.

So why is collecting or harming the Large Blue a crime?

According to Butterfly Conservation :

  • There are 59 species of UK butterfly and out of these, 25 are under some form of protection
  • Six species are fully protected, including the Large Blue, which means they cannot be collected, sold or killed
  • A further 19 species are partially protected, which means it is illegal to sell them, dead or alive
  • It's illegal to collect any butterfly species from any Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in the UK
  • It's legal to possess insect collections only if they were taken from the wild without contravening the law (e.g. under licence or before legal protection was enacted)

Trowbridge murder: Man arrested

Jordan Taylor
Wiltshire Police

A man has been arrested in connection with the murder of Jordan Taylor. 

A 27-year-old man from Westbury has been arrested on suspicion of murder and has been taken to custody in Melksham. 

Jordan, from Hilperton, died from stab wounds after he and a friend were attacked by a man in the town on Sunday morning. 

Wiltshire Police said the force's enquiries into the incident are ongoing.  

Gary Johnson: 'Doing well' after heart operation

Jockey 'doing it for me, not for all females'

Watch: Lizzie Kelly on being accepted in horse racing

If the Cheltenham Festival is 'the Olympics of horse racing', then the Gold Cup is the equivalent of the 100m finals.

It is the blue-riband race of the most prestigious meeting in the sport - but only once has a female jockey ridden in it, and that was more than a generation ago.

Back in 1984, Linda Sheedy did not reach the finish on board 500-1 outsider Foxbury, so Devon-based Lizzie Kelly is determined to smash through another glass ceiling.

Not that she goes along with the idea that women have it tougher in the saddle than their male counterparts.

Click here if you would like to read more.

'Bee'autiful picture of a hive found in a chimney in Salisbury

Severe disruption: M5 Somerset northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Somerset northbound severe disruption, between J23 for A39 and J22 for A38.

M5 Somerset - One lane closed on M5 northbound between J23, A39 (Bridgwater North) and J22, A38 (Burnham-On-Sea), because of a broken down lorry and recovery work. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

John Hales going for win at Cheltenham

BBC Sport

It's day three of the Cheltenham festival and Shropshire owner John Hales' horse - Politologue - is being tipped as a potential winner of the JLT Novices' Chase 2m 4f.

Getty Images

The horse is regarded as champion trainer Paul Nicholls' best chance of a winner at this year's festival.  

The race is first up today at 13:30.

Breastfeeding film: Mother faced hostility on bus

Mia Neill
Human Milk

A film encouraging mothers to breastfeed beyond babyhood has been made in Bristol.

Single mum Mia Neill, 22, from St George, breastfed her son Eric until he was 16 months old.

She features in the Human Milk film and feels there needs to be more support and information for mothers who want to continue feeding their children for longer.

She said she endured looks and comments and had an unsettling experience when feeding Eric on a bus once:

"This man turned round and looked at us and said: "They won't let me smoke on the bus but they will let her do that"- I was gobsmacked."

Swindon man guilty of manslaughter

Grzegorz Beyer
Wiltshire Police
Grzegorz Beyer had a wife and 3 young daughters

A man has been found guilty of the manslaughter of a father who had only recently moved to Swindon from Poland.

Marcin Koscielniak, who's 28 and from Westlea in Swindon, was found guilty by a jury at Bristol Crown Court.  

Grzegorz Beyer was out with friends in May last year when they were approached by another group of men.

There was a disagreement and Koscielniak punched Mr Beyer - causing him to fall and hit his head on the ground. 

He never recovered from his injuries. 

This tragic case should serve as a reminder to members of our local community who may see ‘one punch’ as innocuous. This man’s actions have had a devastating impact - not only has he taken someone’s life and had a devastating impact on the lives of his family and friends, he has hugely affected his own life.

Detective Sergeant Don Pocock Wiltshire Police
Marcin Koscielniak
Wiltshire Police
Marcin Koscielniak will be sentenced next month.

Well wishes to Gary Johnson on his heart surgery

Cheltenham Town manager Gary Johnson will miss a "few weeks" of work to have "straightforward" heart surgery. 

Hundreds of people have taken to Twitter to wish him a speedy recovery. We hope to see him fit and well soon.

Best wishes to @CTFCofficial manager Gary Johnson as he prepares for heart surgery. Get well soon

Here's one EVERYBODY at Cheltenham should be backing: Best wishes and speedy recovery to Gary Johnson, @CTFCofficial manager and top bloke

Good luck to our mate #Garyjohnson, can't wait to see you back in action #cheltenhamtownfc

Good luck to @CTFCofficial manager Gary Johnson, who is undergoing heart surgery. Get well soon gaffer.

Bristol's Somali community to help families affected by drought

LISTEN: Mohamood Ismail from Bristol's Somali community on how they hope to help people facing starvation in Somalia

Bristol's Somali community is taking action to help family and friends in Somalia who are facing starvation. 

Organiser Mohamood Ismail said the situation is now "unbearable" and "every Somali" in Bristol is talking about it. He said the community needs to be "mobilised urgently".

There are more than 10,000 people of Somali origin in the city.   

The UK's Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) says at least 16 million people in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan need food, water and medical treatment. 

Mother and child in hospital in Somalia
Livestock in Somalia

Gary Johnson on his heart surgery

Cheltenham Town manager Gary Johnson has sent this message to fans ahead of his heart surgery today.

I'm sorry to say that at the present time, after much consultation, I am going to need heart surgery. The timing is obviously not the best but it is out of my control. I'm told that I'll be fighting fit within the next few weeks. Until then I ask politely for everyone; The board of Directors, management staff and fans to come together as they have been all year to support our team. It is a young team and positive support will be vital in the next few weeks. The squad is good enough to succeed and we can put our faith in them as well as trusting Russell and the management staff to see us through this period.

Gary JohnsonCheltenham manager

Gary Johnson heart surgery - club statement

Cheltenham Town Football Club has issued a statement about manager Gary Johnson, who undergoes heart surgery today.

It carries the message:  'Get Well Soon Gaffer'. 

View more on twitter

BBC School Report live

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees is going back to his old school, which is now City Academy. 

He's being grilled by the students as part of BBC School Report, which is taking place across the country today

Watch him there live.

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Trial begins of man accused of killing rare butterflies

Phillip Cullen

The trial of a man charged with capturing and killing the UK's rarest butterfly is taking place in Bristol.

Phillip Cullen, 57, of Cadbury Heath in Bristol, is accused of six offences relating to Large Blue butterflies. 

The prosecution allege he caught butterflies in Street, Somerset, and Cirencester, Gloucestershire, and then killed and mounted them for a wall display.

Mr Cullen denies all charges.

A Large Blue butterfly
Getty Images

The last working windmill in the West is back in action

Wilton Windmill
Nearly £20,000 was spent on restoring the sails.

Wilton Windmill near Marlborough in Wiltshire has been bare of its sails since August last year as they were being restored.

It took a team of five men, a crane and a cherry picker to finish the job and finally all four white painted sails are back where they belong.

Doesn't it look glorious in the sunshine!