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Summary

  1. Live news, sport, travel and weather updates for the West of England on Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Goodnight from BBC Local Live - we'll be back tomorrow morning

That's it from BBC Local Live for the West of England - we'll be back online with more live updates from 7am tomorrow.

BBC weather forecaster Ian Fergusson says Wednesday will be dry and sunny. 

BBC West weather forecast with Ian Fergusson

Town crier back in Bermuda to defend title

A Wiltshire town crier is returning to Bermuda to defend his international town crier title.

Mark Wylie, from Calne, beat off competition from 24 criers from around the world to take the title in 2015.

Mr Wylie, who has been Calne's town crier since 2007, was the "first Brit" to win the title.

Mark Wylie
Calne Town Council

Mark said,: “If I can spark the interest of people across the Atlantic to learn more about Calne, and hopefully visit our delightful town one day, then I have done my job."

Farmers criticise rave revellers

Watch: More than 500 people moved on after illegal raves in Wiltshire

A Wiltshire farmer has criticised people who attended an illegal rave near Warminster over the weekend. 

Jane Harley - who farms near the site at Chitterne - says some of the 500 revellers broke fences trying to get in, which let cattle out.

Another rave in the Enford area - on the other side of Salisbury Plain - was shut down before crowds could gather

New playground for Swindon's Great Western Hospital 'will open soon'

Watch: Over £100k has been raised to update the outside of the children's ward.

Teenage cancer survivor goes back to school

A 14-year-old boy from Frome is going back to school today after a year's break - during which he's beaten a very rare form of leukaemia. 

As we reported last year, Daryl Allinson's family had to raise £100,000 to fund a second bone marrow transplant, after the first failed - see the video below. 

But now Daryl is getting back to a normal teenage life. And his mum, Sam, says he might struggle with the early mornings.

I call him Sleeping Beauty because he does like his sleep. I know he's my son but he is a bright child and he will pick up on school work quickly, and hopefully they won't overload him with homework straight away.

Daryl's mum Sam

West country cycle paths to become wildlife-friendly 'greenways'

Cyclists on the National Cycle Network.
Sustrans

Thousands of miles of the National Cycle Network are to be turned into wildlife friendly ‘greenways’ under new plans announced today by Sustrans. 

This will include Bath’s Two Tunnels path, Colliers Way between Radstock and Frome, the popular Bristol and Bath Railway Path and a section of the West Country Way between Cossington and Chedzoy in Somerset.

“We know that wildlife uses corridors to find its way much in the same way that people use cycling and walking routes," says James Cleeton, Sustrans’ Director for England South. 

"So the National Cycle Network really is a perfect framework for a hands-on project that can benefit both people and nature.”

'It was a lovely experience despite the pain': Steve Backshall and Helen Glover complete 125-mile canoe race

Listen: Steve Backshall and Helen Glover on the Devizes to Westminster canoe race

Snap general election: Greens unveil their Bristol candidates

The Green Party has named its candidates for the four Bristol parliamentary seats, with MEP Molly Scott Cato standing in the hotly contested Bristol West seat.

Despite concentrating the party's fire here in 2015, Darren Hall was unable to hold off the challenge of Labour's Thangam Debbonaire. But the Greens will once again look at this seat as a top target.

Elsewhere, Tony Dyer is running for the second time in Bristol South, Sharmila Bousa is standing in Bristol North West, with Lorraine Francis in Bristol East.  

View more on twitter

Snap general election: Lib Dem leader 'didn't see it coming'

Watch: Lib Dem leader Tim Farron is in Bristol with BBC political reporter Robin Markwell

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron says the general election is an "opportunity" to be a "strong credible opposition" and gives people a "chance to vote against a hard Brexit".

Tug of war fundraiser for electric shock amputee

Watch: People at the Mells Daffodil Festival raise money for Jamie Mines

A tug of war event to raise money for a scaffolder who had to have his leg and hands amputated after suffering an electric shock took place in Mells, Somerset, on Easter Monday. 

Jamie Mines was injured at the Kendrick Industrial Estate in Swindon just before Christmas.

Paramedic Kath Osmond dies on her 41st birthday

Watch: Paramedic Kath Osmond died today after losing her battle with cancer

Bristol paramedic Kath Osmond, whose colleagues took part in a "Running Man" dance-off to raise money for a pioneering new cancer treatment, has died on her 41st birthday. 

She was diagnosed with malignant melanoma five years ago, and shared her experiences of the disease in an online blog, in the hope of helping others.  

Kath Osmond
BBC

Cheltenham's MP: 'Election a surprise'

Listen: Cheltenham's MP Alex Chalk: 'Election announcement was a surprise'

Cheltenham's Conservative MP Alex Chalk said Theresa May's decision to hold a general election in June came as a surprise. 

He spoke to BBC Radio Gloucestershire shortly after the prime minister had spoken to backbench MPs in the House of Commons.  

Cash machine robbery: Did you see anything?

Waitrose in Malmesbury
BBC

Wiltshire Police are appealing for information after a cash machine was ripped out of the wall outside a Waitrose supermarket in Malmesbury at the weekend. 

First a chain was attached to the machine, then it was pulled out using a vehicle. 

A large amount of cash was taken. 

Police believe seven people were involved. The raid happened between 11.30pm on Saturday night and the early hours of Easter Sunday. 

Crash in Queen Square, Bath - car flipped on its side

'Our job to prove people wrong and show we're ready' - Labour councillor

Listen: "We'll approach it in a positive frame of mind," says Labour councillor Jim Robbins

Speaking to Ali Vowles on BBC Wiltshire, Jim Robbins - a Labour councillor for South Swindon - said he was surprised by the Prime Minister's "change of mind".

James Hildreth to stay at Somerset CC

Tory MP 'surprised' by snap general election

Listen: Gloucester MP Richard Graham MP on general election decision

Gloucester's Conservative MP Richard Graham said he was "caught by surprise" by Theresa May's decision to hold a snap general election.

#Brenda - Britain salutes the Bristolian's reaction to election news

There have been hundreds of comments under our interview with Brenda on the Points West Facebook page. 

Among the reactions are:

Lorraine Smith I completely agree with you Brenda!  

Katie Oldtofu Bristolian speaks truth  

Izzy Murphy Brenda from Bristol knows  

Nigel James Brown Brilliant!  

See more here.

Police chief's 'ambition' to improve stop and search in black community

Video reveals intensity of field fire near Exmoor

Firefighters spent Bank Holiday Monday evening battling a fire in a field near Stogumber, Somerset, on the edge of the Exmoor National Park.

Up to eight hectares of elephant grass accidentally caught fire. This video from a BBC viewer shows the intensity of the flames.

This was the second field fire that Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue had to deal with yesterday. An area of gorse also caught fire at Dunkery Hill.

Fire crews dealt with an eight hectare fire on Exmoor in Somerset on Monday.

BreakingGloucester Rugby deal off

Gloucester Rugby logo
Gloucester Rugby

Gloucester Rugby have announced a proposed investment deal won't now go ahead.

Syrian businessman Mohed Altrad, who was interested in investing in the club, has said his proposal has been rejected.

Altrad - who also has a controlling stake in French club Montpellier - has walked away from the deal after PRL - the body representing the 12 Premiership clubs - decided to restrict Altrad's investment to a 20% stake in Gloucester, as opposed to the 45% he wanted.

Read the full story on Gloucester Rugby's website by clicking here.

Gloucester RFC takeover deal is off

Pagan power: King Arthur Pendragon to stand for election in Salisbury

King Arthur Pendragon
PA
King Arthur Pendragon

Campaigner King Arthur Pendragon has announced that he intends to stand as an independent candidate to become MP for Salisbury in the 2017 General Election.

He says that he will oppose the Stonehenge tunnel plans and continue to challenge English Heritage over what he calls their 'Pay to Pray' car parking policy at the neolithic site.

Snap general election: How will West country MPs react?

Watch: BBC political editor Paul Barltrop says a snap election "really matters"

BBC political editor Paul Barltrop talks about the impact of a snap general election on MPs in the West. 

Snap general election: Arron Banks confirms he will run

Bristol businessman Arron Banks has wasted no time in confirming he will take on Douglas Carswell in Clacton.

Banks suggested in February he could stand against Carswell, who defected from the Conservatives to become Ukip's only MP, before quitting the party to be an independent in March.

He described Carswell as a "terrible individual who has done his best to destroy UKIP".  

View more on twitter

It's official... Bridgey McBridgeface appears on Google Maps

It had to happen at some point... Bristol's newest bridge has been officially renamed Bridgey McBridgeface on Google Maps. 

Castle Bridge opened to the public earlier this month but was vandalised within a week. Does this now count as digital vandalism?

Castle Bridge opened to the public earlier this month
Google
Castle Bridge opened to the public earlier this month
View more on twitter

Snap general election: Murrison says PM 'decisive'

Snap general election: Labour MP says she's up for the fight

Karin Smyth, the Labour MP for Bristol South, says she will "relish the battle" against the Conservatives.

The former NHS manager was elected for the first time in 2015 with a majority of 7,128 over her Tory rival.

View more on twitter

Snap general election: 'This will clear up ongoing distractions'

Listen: "It's quite a distraction not having a clear mandate," says Michelle Donelan MP

Michelle Donelan, the Conservative MP for Chippenham, says she has been getting a number of emails saying there was no mandate to trigger Article 50 for Brexit, so this will "clear up" any distractions and "make sure we get on with governing".

Snap general election: Astonished Bristolian's reaction to the news

Snap general election: Former MP rules herself out of Swindon seat

Labour's former MP in South Swindon has ruled herself out of making a comeback, the BBC's Dan O'Brien has reported.

Anne Snelgrove lost to Conservative Robert Buckland at the 2010 general election after five years as an MP. 

She was selected to fight again for the seat two years ago but saw her Tory rival increase his majority.

View more on twitter

Snap general election: 'Irritating' says Bristol mayor

Bristol mayor Marvin Rees says the snap general election shows a complete disregard for local government and is "irritating to put it mildly". 

He says local authorities are already working around restrictions imposed by elections for the new metro mayor role, at a time when they are having to impose difficult policies.

Watch: Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees says the snap general election is 'irritating'

Snap general election: Wiltshire MPs react to news

Justin Tomlinson, Conservative MP for North Swindon called it a "decisive move by the prime minister to ensure we have strong leadership, certainty and stability."

Justin Tomlinson
BBC

Andrew Murrison, Conservative MP for South West Wiltshire, said Brexit is "the first consideration" and the prime minister "wants a clear mandate".

James Gray, Conservative MP for North Wiltshire, said: "It's apparent that the Labour Party were not prepared to support Theresa May in the forthcoming negotiations with the European Union, so she wants to declare a mandate for these talks. 

"The election will be a very clear choice between some form of coalition headed by Jeremy Corbyn, or a strong, free-thinking government led by Theresa May."

Snap general election: Analysis

Paul Barltrop

Political Editor, West of England

For a year political parties across the West have been bracing themselves in case an early general election was called. 

But few really expected it, and the announcement has sent shockwaves through activists and candidates. 

The Liberal Democrats know, after losing all their Parliamentary seats in the region last time, the only way is up. 

Labour is worried - deep divisions within the party over Jeremy Corbyn's leadership could make their three Bristol MPs vulnerable, and the opinion polls don't bode well for winning back seats lost to the Conservatives in 2010 in places like Swindon. 

For the Tories, there are big potential gains to be made elsewhere in Britain - but apart from targetting Labour in Bristol, the West country will be a tough fight to hold on to what they've got.

Snap general election: How the map looked in 2015

The West turned a deep shade of Conservative blue after the last general election two years ago. 

Only a small island of Labour red remained in Bristol West, Bristol East and Bristol South, preventing a full bluewash for our region.

Can the opposition parties turn back the tide, or will Theresa May surf an even bigger blue wave?

Election map
BBC

Severe accident: M4 Bristol westbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Bristol westbound severe accident, between J19 for M32 and J20 for M5.

M4 Bristol - One lane closed and slow traffic on M4 westbound between J19, M32 (Bristol) and J20, M5 (Almondsbury Interchange), because of an accident.

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

Snap general election: Andrew Murrison 'digesting news'

PM Theresa May is "frustrated and wants a clear mandate", says Andrew Murrison MP

South West Wiltshire MP Andrew Murrison says he can understand why Theresa May has called an election.

Snap general election: Martin Horwood says he's 'ready'

Man filmed appearing to steal bike in Bristol

Watch: a man was filmed hacking off a bike lock on a busy Saturday afternoon.

A video of a man who appeared to be stealing a bike in Bristol is attracting tens of thousands of viewers on Facebook. 

It was filmed by a passerby in Park Street.

The incident has been reported to police.