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Summary

  1. News, sport, travel and weather updates for the West of England on Thursday, 13 April 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Bank holiday weather: 'A reasonable weekend'

Thanks for being with us today. 

Here's Ian with the four day outlook for your Easter weather. Don't eat too much chocolate - we'll be back on Tuesday morning at 7!

Ad removal 'increases quality of life'

There are calls for Bristol to become the first city in the UK to abolish street advertisements. 

It could follow Grenoble in France which became the first city in Europe to remove all commercial advertising in 2014.

Grenoble mayor Éric Piolle said it wasn't appropriate that in public places people were exposed to advertising for products such as alcohol, or which depicted naked women. 

He added removing the adverts "increased quality of life" in the city.

West mayor hopefuls quizzed: all of the candidates face the challenge

Going quackers for Easter

An Easter tradition of knitting ducks for charity has become a global experience for a community group in Somerset.

Two of the ducks created by the Knit and Natter group in Dulverton have started travelling the world - and sending back postcards.  

The group began knitting Easter ducks four years ago and have a different design each year. 

They're sold in Dulverton's thrift shop to help raise money for the town hall. 

The postcards from "Mr and Mrs Duck" are now being displayed in the town - and they even have their own Facebook page.

Hundreds flock to see rare blooms in Wiltshire

An old hay meadow in Cricklade is attracting a lot of attention right now.

It's home to a large number of rare Snake's Head Fritillaries, a rare plant that come into bloom at this time of year.

The plant is known for its striking tulip-like flower with a purple, chequered pattern on the leaves.  

Bowood House and Gardens open early for Easter

Are you a fan of rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas? 

The Woodland Garden at Bowood House and Gardens have opened just in time for Easter. 

The garden was due to re-open to the public for its annual six-week-run on Friday 28 April, but it will now open today instead - very fitting for National Gardening Week!  

Future looking bleak for Gloucestershire Old Spots

Gloucestershire Old Spots
BBC
Gloucestershire Old Spots are known as “The Orchard Pig”.

There has been a "dramatic decline" in the number of breeding Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs.

According to the Rare Breed Survival Trust in 2014 there were 837 sows producing litters. But by 2016 this had dropped to only 416.  

The trust has put the pig in the 'at risk' category. 

Tom Beeston, from the Trust, says the future of native pig species "is extremely worrying".

It is not that our native breeds lack their enthusiasts and we must give huge credit to those breeders who devote time, energy and money to ensuring the survival of their favoured breeds... However, economic factors have a massive influence and for many people working with pigs, breeding is very challenging at present.

Tom BeestonRare Breeds Survival Trust

Severe disruption: M32 Bristol southbound

BBC News Travel

M32 Bristol southbound severe disruption, at M4 J19.

M32 Bristol - One lane closed on M32 southbound at M4 J19, Bristol, because of a broken down vehicle. Traffic is coping well.

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

Roads still looking good

The West's motorways are looking pretty clear now.

All clear: M5 looking north between junction 17-18.
Highways England
All clear: M5 looking north between junction 17-18.
Traffic flowing well: M4 looking west from junction 19
Highways England
Traffic flowing well: M4 looking west from junction 19

Owl rescued from glue trap

An owl has been rescued after getting stuck in a glue trap.

The RSPCA had to rescue the tawny owl, which was stuck on the trap in Clapton in Gordano, near Bristol. 

The traps are designed to catch pests, like mice. 

Margarine was used to dissolve the glue, and then its wings were cleaned with washing up liquid. 

The centre is currently caring for two owls caught in traps like these.

Pair jailed following ram raids in Bristol

Two men have been jailed for a total of 14 years after a ram raid and a robbery in Bristol. Driver Lee Tucker, 38, of Lawrence Weston, and his passenger Richard Hebdidge, 32, of Henbury, caused more than £18,000 worth of damage after two attacks on shops.

The pair attacked a branch of Sainsbury's in Coalpit Heath on 10 July 2016 by reversing a stolen car into it.

Ram-raiders
Avon & Somerset Police

They then went to a McColls store on Charlton Road in Brentry and threatened an employee with a screwdriver. 

They attempted to rob the shop but dropped what they had stolen after being challenged by a member of the public.They then reversed their car into the shop front twice as they attempted to pick up their stolen money. 

Ram raided shop
Avon & Somerset Police

Lee Tucker was convicted of burglary, robbery, taking without consent, dangerous driving and driving while disqualified. He was jailed for eight years and disqualified from driving for a further four years. Hebdidge was convicted of burglary, robbery and taking without consent. He was jailed for six years and disqualified for a further year.   

West mayor hopefuls quizzed: Liberal Democrats' Stephen Williams

It's only a few weeks until voters in Bristol, Bath and South Gloucestershire go to the polls to elect a new regional mayor. 

Their main responsibility will be to decide the region's economic strategy, and the mayor would have powers covering other areas such as transport and housing. 

Ahead of the poll, our reporter Robin Markwell has been talking to each candidate on a vintage Bristol.

Here is the Liberal Democrats' Stephen Williams. We'll be talking to the other candidates across the rest of today.

You can find a full list of candidates for the election here.  

If you want to keep up-to-date you'll find more news about the mayoral elections here.

M5 congestion: pictures

Reports are coming in of a severe accident between J18A for M49 and J19 for A369, affecting J17 for A4018. 

Traffic is slow past the scene.

M5 looking north near junction 18.
Highways England
M5 looking north near junction 18.

Severe accident: M5 Bristol southbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Bristol southbound severe accident, between J18A for M49 and J19 for A369 affecting J17 for A4018.

M5 Bristol - Very slow traffic and one lane closed on M5 southbound between J18a M49 and J19, A369 (Portishead), because of an accident. Congestion to J17, A4018 (Cribbs Causeway).

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

Warning after owl gets stuck in glue trap

Owl
RSPCA

An owl has been rescued after getting stuck in a glue trap.

The RSPCA had to rescue the Tawny owl, which was stuck on the trap in Clapton in Gordano, near Bristol. 

The traps are designed to catch pests, like mice. 

Animal collection officer Chris James said the owl was alive but exhausted.

owl
RSPCA

We are opposed to the use of these traps as they can cause a great deal of suffering to the animals who get caught in them - who are basically left to die a slow, lingering death.

Chris JamesRSPCA

West traffic still flowing well around major pinch points

The motorways are busy tonight but there are no reports of hold-ups. 

The M32/M4 junction looking south.
Highways England
The M32/M4 junction looking south.

Traffic is even flowing well along the notoriously busy M5 south near Cribbs Causeway.

Looking north along the M5 near Cribbs Causeway.
Highways England
Looking north along the M5 near Cribbs Causeway.

BreakingPair released without charge in Sir Edward Heath investigation

Sir Edward Heath
Getty Images

Two people arrested by detectives investigating child abuse allegations against the late former prime minister Sir Edward Heath have been released and told they face no further action, according to Wiltshire Police. 

The former prime minister lived at Arundells, in Salisbury, until his death. 

Operation Conifer has been examining the claims made against Sir Edward Heath since appealing for alleged victims to come forward in summer 2015. 

These were the only two suspects who had been arrested.

Roman Baths admission charge to rise

Plans to raise the cost of admission to the Roman Baths have been approved.

Bath and North East Somerset Council (BANES) has agreed the increase, but has not yet said by how much.

It's part of the authority's latest business plan.   

Last night the Cabinet unanimously agreed to:

“Increase admission charges in 2018 potentially with further increases in the other four years to be agreed with the relevant Cabinet Member and recognising the excellent value for money rating given by visitors.”

Residents of BANES are entitled to free entry to the Roman Baths with a Residents’ Discovery Card.

Roman Baths in Bath
PA

West mayoral hopefuls quizzed: Independent candidate John Savage

It's only a few weeks until voters in Bristol, Bath and South Gloucestershire go to the polls to elect a new regional mayor.

Their main responsibility will be to decide the region's economic strategy, and the mayor would have powers covering other areas such as transport and housing. 

 Ahead of the poll, our reporter Robin Markwell has been talking to each candidate on a vintage Bristol.

Up next, it's John Savage who is running as an independent candidate. 

You can find a full list of candidates for the election here.  

If you want to keep up-to-date you'll find more news about the mayoral elections here.

Autistic girl gets private cinema screening in Trowbridge

Natalie, Indie, Thea and Kayleigh
Natalie Long

A cinema in Wiltshire has given a private screening to a four-year-old with autism and her mum after they arrived to see a film at the wrong time.

Natalie Long took her daughters Indie (who's autistic) and Thea to see The Smurfs: Lost Village at the Odeon in Trowbridge.

But Natalie mixed up the times and they arrived two hours early for a showing. As the cinema was quiet, staff there offered to put on a special screening of the Smurfs movie just for Indie.

You can read more about the story here

West mayoral hopefuls quizzed: Labour's Leslie Mansell

It's only a few weeks until voters in Bristol, Bath and South Gloucestershire go to the polls to elect a new regional mayor.

Their main responsibility will be to decide the region's economic strategy, and the mayor would have powers covering other areas such as transport and housing.

Ahead of the poll, our reporter Robin Markwell has been talking to each candidate on a vintage Bristol.

Next, it's the candidate representing the Labour and Co-operative Party, Lesley Mansell

You can find a full list of candidates for the election here.  

If you want to keep up-to-date you'll find more news about the mayoral elections here.

The Easter getaway begins: motorways coping well so far

It will be a busy Easter weekend on the roads. 

But so far the motorways in the West are coping well, and while traffic is heavy, it's mostly moving freely. 

M4 westbound between junctions 18-19
Highways England
M4 westbound between junctions 18-19

According to transport data supplier Inrix, traffic will be 28% above typical levels for Thursday afternoon but could be normal again by 18:00 BST.  

M5 looking south to junction 16.
Highways England
M5 looking south to junction 16.

There are some signs that traffic is starting to build up on the M5 around Cribbs Causeway.

M5 looking north at Cribbs Causeway.
Highways England
M5 looking north at Cribbs Causeway.

But it's still flowing OK on the M5 further south.

M5 looking north at Lawrence Weston
Highways England
M5 looking north at Lawrence Weston

Thousands raised to fly Cheltenham crash victim home

More than £3,000 has been raised to fly the body of hairdresser Anna Rys back to Poland.

Anna, 34, was walking to work in Cheltenham on Tuesday morning when she was hit by a van in Clarence Parade.

Her fiance, Stagecoach driver Piotr Koriuszewski, could not afford to pay for her to be flown home so his colleagues set up a Just Giving page.

Cheltenham crashscene
BBC
Anna Rys died on her way to work at a Cheltenham hairdressers salon

West mayor hopefuls quizzed: Green party's Darren Hall

It's only a few weeks until voters in Bristol, Bath and South Gloucestershire go to the polls to elect a new regional mayor. 

Their main responsibility will be to decide the region's economic strategy, and the mayor would have powers covering other areas such as transport and housing. 

Ahead of the poll, our reporter Robin Markwell has been talking to each candidate on a vintage Bristol.

Here's what the Green party's Darren Hall had to say. We'll be talking to the others across the rest of today. 

You can find a full list of candidates for the election here.  

If you want to keep up-to-date you'll find more news about the mayoral elections here.

RAC: Prepping the car for the Easter getaway

Are you planning a car journey for the Easter weekend?

Rod Dennis from the RAC gives us his tips for prepping your car for the bank holiday journey.

Happy driving!

Be careful beside the seaside this Easter weekend

West mayor hopefuls quizzed: UKIP's Aaron Foot

It's only a few weeks until voters in Bristol, Bath and South Gloucestershire go to the polls to elect a new regional mayor.

Their main responsibility will be to decide their region's economic strategy, and many will have powers covering other areas such as transport and housing.

Ahead of the poll, our reporter Robin Markwell has been talking to each candidate on a vintage Bristol.

Next is UKIP's Aaron Foot. We'll be talking to the other across the rest of today.

You can find a full list of candidates for the election here.

If you want to keep up-to-date you'll find more news about the mayoral elections here.

Taking on the Devizes to Westminster challenge

Two Scout leaders from Salisbury are doing last minute training for this weekend's annual Devizes to Westminster canoe race.

Severe disruption: A432 Bristol both ways

BBC News Travel

A432 Bristol both ways severe disruption, near Villiers Road affecting B4058 Stapleton Road.

A432 Bristol - A432 Stapleton Road in Easton blocked and very slow traffic in both directions near the Villiers Road junction, because of a police incident. Congestion to the B4058 Stapleton Road junction.

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

West mayor hopefuls quizzed: Conservative Tim Bowles

It's only a few weeks until voters in Bristol, Bath and South Gloucestershire go to the polls to elect a new regional mayor.

Their main responsibility will be to decide the region's economic strategy, and the mayor would have powers covering other areas such as transport and housing.

Ahead of the poll, our reporter Robin Markwell has been talking to each candidate on a vintage Bristol.

First up is the Conservative candidate Tim Bowles. We'll be talking to the other across the rest of today.

You can find a full list of candidates for the election here.

If you want to keep up-to-date you'll find more news about the mayoral elections here.

Pilot took 'unintentional overdose', rules coroner

More now on a British Airways co-pilot who believed he had been poisoned by contaminated cockpit air. A coroner has ruled he died from an unintentional overdose of sedatives.

Richard Westgate, 43, from Marlborough, died in 2012 after moving to the Netherlands to seek help from a specialist clinic for his symptoms which he thought were caused by "aerotoxic syndrome".

His family said he had been in "excruciating pain" as he suffered from various symptoms, including digestive problems, fatigue and headaches. 

Coroner Dr Simon Fox QC recorded a conclusion of accidental death following a week-long inquest in Salisbury. 

Mr Westgate died in his sleep in his hotel room on the night of December 11 and 12 2012 as a result of taking an unintentional overdose of the sedative pentobarbital.

Dr Simon Fox QCCoroner

UK family sought over 1970 death of toddler Cheryl Grimmer

Detectives investigating the murder of a toddler in Australia nearly 50 years ago are trying to locate a family believed to be living in the UK.

Three-year-old Cheryl Grimmer, originally from Bristol, went missing from a shower block at a New South Wales beach in 1970.

The Goodyear family, from Nottinghamshire, provided a statement on the day and police believe they can still help with the investigation.

A 63-year-old man has been charged with Cheryl's abduction and murder.

Read the full story here.

Cheryl Grimmer
NSW Police

Pilot dies of overdose, coroner rules

Richard Westgate
PA
Richard Westgate believed his symptoms were caused by aerotoxic syndrome

A British Airways pilot from Marlborough, who believed he had been poisoned by contaminated cockpit air, died of an overdose according to a coroner.

An inquest into the death of Richard Westgate, who died in December 2012 in the Netherlands, concluded his death was accidental.

The corner said the medical cause of death was pentobarbital overdose.

World record bid for daredevil wingjumper

Wingjumper Fraser Corsan is hoping to raise more than £1m for an armed forces charity with two record breaking jumps.

He'll attempt to break the highest altitude jumped, longest time flown, fastest speed and furthest distance in the jumps from a plane flying 40,000 feet in the air.

SSAFA provides welfare and support for those serving in the armed forces, veterans and armed forces families.  

Cricket: 'I have to be my own man' says Somerset's new captain

Cricketer Tom Abell steps into his new role as captain of Somerset Cricket Club tomorrow.

The 23-year-old told the BBC how helpful and supportive the older, more experienced players have been with his appointment.

But at the end of the day, he's the told the BBC says he needs to think for himself rather than be led by other people's opinions:

'Lovely little pussy cat' not appropriate for town council office

Missy the cat
Tewkesbury Town Council
Missy even appears on the town council website as 'morale officer'

An office cat has caused a commotion in Tewkesbury after a complaint about Health and Safety.

Missy the cat, who appears on the council website as "morale officer", lives near the council offices and has been unofficially adopted as the office cat.

However, someone has lodged a complaint because they use an inhaler and now the council are to debate if Missy can stay.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mayor Karen Brennan said: "She is a lovely little pussy cat but is she appropriate to be in a business office environment?"

Staff list
Tewkesbury Town Council

Watch: Warning over livestock attacks

Surgeon by day, rock star photographer by night

Charlie Chan
Charlie Chan

Why settle for just the day job?

Charlie Chan, from Cheltenham, is a breast cancer and melanoma surgeon. He is also a rock star photographer.

"My patients always come first so I work full-time as a surgeon and photography is my night job," he says.

"I decided to become a surgeon at the age of 12 and concentrated on that."

But photography had been a passion of his since he was 15, and so he started smuggling his Leica camera into gigs.

Click here to read more.

Jamie Cullum and Gregory Porter
Charlie Chan
Jamie Cullum and Gregory Porter have been snapped by Mr Chan

New 'visual realm' needed in Bristol

There are calls for Bristol to become the first city in the UK to abolish street advertisements. 

An anonymous campaign group is using so-called "brandalism" and "subvertising" to deface and remove corporate ads. 

One member of the group said Bristol could create "a different type of visual realm" which is "not just about consumption".

Councils getting creative at raising cash

As budgets are squeezed some councils are looking at different ways to bring in money to pay for vital services.

Two of our councils are starting to build houses again - but it's not as you might imagine. 

Rather than building council homes for those most in need, they're starting to compete in the mainstream property market.