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Summary

  1. News, sport, weather and travel updates from across the West of England on Thursday 20 April 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Cloudy and rather warm on Friday

Watch: Ian Fergusson with the weather forecast

Well, that's all from us. But don't forget the West of England metro mayor debate is on BBC One in the West at 10.45pm tonight.

We'll be back with more news, sport, travel and weather from 7am tomorrow.

And we'll leave you with the weather forecast for the West Country.

Jail for gang who blew up cash machines in the West

Merseyside Police
Merseyside Police
Clockwise from top left: Anthony White, Anthony Conroy, Andrew White, Nanu Miah, Michael Galea, Gary Carey, Carl Cavanagh

A gang who blew up cash machines in Swindon, Wiltshire, and Hucclecote, Gloucestershire, in May 2015 during a crime spree across England and Scotland, have been jailed.

The seven men from Merseyside stole hundreds of thousands of pounds, using powerful explosives and high-powered vehicles.

Click here to read the full story.

CCTV of cash point attack
Merseyside Police
CCTV of one of the gang's cash point attacks
Merseyside Police

Jail for gang who blew up cash machines

They used stolen cars hidden inside a lorry to carry out the raids across England and Scotland.

Read more

'There's a future for me now' - scheme to help former rough sleepers expanded

Watch: Clive explains how he's been helped

A scheme which allows former rough sleepers to live in converted council buildings is to be expanded in Bristol. 

Beds are rented out to those who are free of drink and drug problems, but who can't afford the city's high rents. 

Clive is one of the former rough sleepers to have benefitted already from the St Mungo's charity.

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 vehicle. Traffic is coping well.

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

Early hip fracture surgery will save hundreds of lives

Surgeon
Science Photo Library

Hundreds of lives could be saved if patients with hip fractures were operated on in under 24 hours, a new study reveals.

Researchers in Bristol found 8% more patients died after 30 days if they were operated on between 24 and 36 hours after admission to hospital.

Click here to read the full story.

Suspected grenades found on Trowbridge building site

Police cordon
PA

The bomb squad has been called in after suspected anti-tank grenades were found on a building site in Trowbridge.

Police say road closures are in place at the Wingfield Road junctions with Brook Road and Bradford Road.

It follows the discovery in February of phosphorus-containing incendiary devices from World War Two.

Read the full story here.

Police cordon

Suspected grenades found on building site

It follows the discovery in February of phosphorus-containing incendiary devices from World War Two.

Read more

Greens plan to beat Tories through strategic alliance with other parties

Watch: Caroline Lucas explains proposed deal with other parties

The Green Party's joint leader Caroline Lucas has said her party is proposing doing a deal with the Lib Dems and Labour aimed at defeating the Conservatives in the upcoming General Election.  

She was speaking on a visit to Bristol earlier.

Archaeologists discover 15th century French coin at Gloucester Cathedral

Coin shows that visitors came from the continent to Gloucester 600 years ago.

Metro mayor debate: where should we build new homes?

Watch: Metro mayor debate: Where to build new homes?

A West mayor will decide how many homes we need and where to build them.

But with limited brownfield sites and plenty of greenbelt the winner faces an unenviable task.

Find out more on BBC One West at 10:45pm tonight as six mayoral hopefuls battle it out.

Terror plan 'not to blame' for fair axe

Hundreds of people are attracted to the town square for the annual Devizes May Fayre
BBC

The organisers of a May Day bank holiday fair have rubbished newspaper reports they cancelled this year's event due to terrorism fears.  

A report in The Sun newspaper said that the Devizes Lions May Fayre had fallen foul of council demands for an anti-terror plan.

But Lions president Roger Stratton blamed bureaucracy for the decision.

Click here to read more.

Hundreds of people are attracted to the town square for the annual Devizes May Fair

Terror plan 'not to blame' for fair axe

Organiser rubbishes newspaper claims May Day event was cancelled due to terrorism fears.

Read more

Jenson Button pledges £15,000 to help injured driver

Billy Monger is air-lifted to hospital
Rex Features

Somerset's Jenson Button has pledged £15,000 to a fundraising page set up to support a British Formula 4 driver who had both legs amputated following a crash.

Billy Monger, 17, drove at high speed into the back of a car that seems to have stopped on the track during Sunday's race at Donington Park.

Click here to read the full story.

Charity to expand homeless rooms scheme

Hartcliffe Community Centre, Bristol
BBC

More disused council buildings in Bristol are being converted into housing for homeless people.

The St Mungo's charity currently rents out 19 rooms for people who are free of drink and drugs addiction.

Click here to read the full story.

Hartcliffe Community Centre, Bristol

Charity to expand homeless rooms scheme

St Mungo's aims to double the number of rooms it can offer to homeless people in Bristol.

Read more

Glastonbury tickets all sold

The latest batch of Glastonbury tickets has now gone - but there's still a chance to get some other resales on Sunday morning.

View more on twitter

Charity horse race - live

Charity horse race 'is the highest honour'

Hannah Francis
Willberry Wonder Pony Charity

The equestrian community has been overwhelming in its support for Hannah's legacy and to share this day with the Bob Champion Cancer Trust is the highest honour. We hope people will generously support the heroes riding, and those inspiring their efforts - Bob and Hannah. The fight against cancer needs heroes and we know the equestrian community will stand shoulder to shoulder with ours.

Ian PetersTrustee of Hannah's Willberry Wonder Pony Charity

Horse race at Cheltenham honours Somerset rider

Watch: Bob Champion at Cheltenham Racecourse

A horse race is about to take place in memory of a Somerset rider who died from cancer last year.

Hannah Francis set up a charity named after her toy mascot, Willberry the Wonder Pony, and she was only 18 when she died.

A special race is taking place at Cheltenham Racecourse this evening - and you will be able to watch it live here at 6.10pm. 

Some of the money raised will also go to the Bob Champion Cancer Trust.

Bob, who famously won the Grand National in 1981 following intensive treatment for cancer himself, said hundreds of people applied to ride in the race.

Metro mayor debate: how should we ease congestion on the West's busy roads?

Watch: Metro mayor candidates discuss how to solve the West's transport woes

One of the big issues the metro mayor will have to look at is how we all travel around. 

Congestion charges, smart ticketing, and a workplace parking levy are all ideas that have been put forward. 

But what do our six candidates think of the ideas?  

You can see the the full debate on BBC One West at 10:45pm, and afterwards on the iPlayer.  

Another chance to go to Glastonbury - at 6pm tonight

Glastonbury Festival
Getty Images

People who missed out on a ticket for this year's Glastonbury Festival will get a second chance to buy one tonight.

A resale of a limited number of coach travel and ticket packages - ones that weren't paid for in full - will start at 6pm on the festival's website.

Organisers say a further resale of a limited number of returned general admission tickets will take place at 9am on Sunday.

This year's Glastonbury Festival will take place at Worthy Farm in Somerset from 21 to 25 June.

Tickets sold out in less than an hour when they originally went on sale last October.

Severe disruption: M5 Somerset southbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Somerset southbound severe disruption, between J20 for B3133 and J21 for A370.

M5 Somerset - One lane closed and slow traffic on M5 southbound between J20, B3133 (Clevedon) and J21, A370 (Weston-Super-Mare), because of a broken down lorry and recovery work.

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

Warning of industrial action over Hinkley C pay row

Artist's impression of Hinkley C
PA

A consultative ballot on possible industrial action by Hinkley C power station workers is to be held by the Unite and GMB unions. 

They claim contractors failed to pay a predicted bonus and warned industrial action could lead to "expensive" delays at the Somerset nuclear plant site. 

About 700 members of the workforce are expected to be balloted. 

Work began on Hinkley Point C last month. It it is expected to begin generating electricity in 2025. 

Metro mayor debate: rising rents in the West putting pressure on Welsh housing stock

Watch: Knock-on effect of Bristol rents on housing prices in south Wales

The new metro mayor will have an important role to play in solving the West of England's housing crisis. 

To see the scale of Bristol's housing problem we take a trip across the Severn Bridge to see how people in south Wales are being priced out of the housing market by Bristolians looking for cheaper accommodation.  

Emergency services seal off roads in Trowbridge around where explosives found

Police cordon: Wingfield Road, Trowbridge
Robin Murray/Wiltshire Times
Police cordon: Wingfield Road, Trowbridge

Road closures in Trowbridge - area affected

Explosive devices found on Trowbridge building site - road closures

Police tape
Getty Images

The bomb squad has been called in after suspected explosive devices were found on a building site in Trowbridge.

Wiltshire Police say road closures are in place at the Wingfield Road junctions with Brook Road and Bradford Road.

It follows the discovery in February of what is believed to have been phosphorus-containing incendiary devices from World War Two.

A 50m cordon is in place and local people have been advised to shut windows and doors.

Bath Spa: points now repaired but possible 'short notice' alterations to services this afternoon

GWR train
Getty Images

More now on the rail disruption that was affecting services through Bath Spa.

GWR say emergency engineering work has been completed and trains are now running as timetabled.

However, there's a warning of possible "short notice" alterations to services this afternoon.

A spokesman said engineers had repaired damaged points near Oldfield Park, which had caused further disruption to "an already reduced service during modernisation work to the station".

Expansion for Bristol Council scheme to help rough sleepers

A scheme letting former rough sleepers live in converted council buildings is to be expanded in Bristol.

Rooms are rented to people who are free of drink and drug problems, but can't afford the city's high rents. Organisers hope to have more rooms in the next year and extend the project to other parts of the west. 

32-year-old Clive works as a chef, but his zero-hours contract made it hard to rent a room, so he ended up on the streets.

Watch: the scheme allows rooms to be rented out at a reduced rate for homeless people.

Bath Spa railway disruption over

GWR is reporting the disruption at Bath Spa is now over, but delays still expected.

View more on twitter

Severe disruption: A366 Wiltshire both ways

BBC News Travel

A366 Wiltshire both ways severe disruption, between Brook Road and A363.

A366 Wiltshire - A366 Wingfield Road in Trowbridge closed and slow traffic in both directions between the Brook Road junction and the A363 junction, because of a police incident.

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

Metro mayor debate: 'You can't come in like a bigfoot because we're here'

Metro mayor debate: Marvin Rees' message to mayor hopefuls

As part of this evening's debate between the six metro mayor hopefuls, Bristol's elected mayor Marvin Rees has some words of advice for the successful candidate.

Mr Rees say he wants to see some clarity over how the new metro mayor will interact with the leaders of the existing local authorities.

You can see the the full debate on BBC One West at 10:45pm, and afterwards on the iPlayer.

Lunchtime headlines across the West

Microphone
BBC
  • BBC Radio Bristol: No further action will be taken against the Bath Conservative MP Ben Howlett after he was questioned last autumn concerning an allegation of sexual assault.
  • BBC Somerset: Police in Somerset are warning that drug dealers from big cities are targeting vulnerable people in rural areas to set up new networks. The force says it dealt with around 20 cases in and around Weston-super-Mare and Yeovil last year. 
  • BBC Wiltshire: People who scare livestock in Wiltshire, or allow their dogs to, could be hit with a £1,000 fine or even jailed for six months. Wiltshire Police are warning people to keep their dogs on leads around livestock.
  • BBC Radio Gloucestershire: Gloucester cattle are no longer in the Vulnerable category according to the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. The number of breeding females is now above 500.

What do Gloucester cows look like?

Gloucester cattle are battling their way back from possible extinction, according to a new report. 

The Gloucester Cattle Society describes the breed as "strikingly beautiful".

Black-tipped up-sweeping white horns are part of the breed's appearance, along with a black-brown body, black head and legs, and a white stripe down the back.

Farmers say it's important they are saved. 

"We must not give up - the breed's so historic" says farmer Eric Freeman.

Gloucesters are a joy to keep. To see them lying peacefully on a fine summer evening with the sun shining on their lustrous black-brown coats, or standing with white tails swishing and thriving calves alongside, is a stockman's delight hard to match.

Gloucester Cattle Society

BreakingNo charges brought against Bath MP Ben Howlett in sexual assault case

Ben Howlett
Conservative Party

Bath's Conservative MP Ben Howlett won't face any charges after an allegation of sexual assault made against him in November.

Mr Howlett wasn't arrested at the time, but did voluntarily attend a police station to speak to officers about the allegation.

A Crown Prosecution Spokesperson said:

In November 2016 the CPS received a full file from Avon and Somerset Police relating to an allegation of sexual assault in Bath. This file has now been considered by a specialist lawyer who has concluded that it does not meet the evidential threshold, and no charge has been authorised.

CPS Spokesperson

Charity race to 'celebrate the life' of Hannah Francis

Hannah Francis
Willberry Wonder Pony Charity

Stars of the equestrian world are to join a charity race in memory of a teenager horse-rider who died of cancer last year.

Hannah Francis raised thousands of pounds for the Willberry Wonder Pony Charity she set up before she died.

A number of well-known riders will compete in the flat race at Cheltenham Racecourse which is being staged by the charity in partnership with the Bob Champion Cancer Trust.

Hannah Francis was a brave and inspirational person and I was fortunate enough to have met her. I feel honoured that the Bob Champion Cancer Trust can celebrate her life with the Champions Willberry Charity race, linking the charity she set up as her legacy with the Bob Champion Cancer Trust.

Bob Champion

South West Green MEP urges progressive alliance

Bristol West's Green candidate and the South West Green MEP Molly Scott Cato has suggested that centre left parties should join together in opposition to the Conservatives in the upcoming general election.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4, she said that the co-leaders of the Green Party have written to Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron and Labour's Jeremy Corbyn suggesting alliances at a local level where it would help challenge the Tories.

Listen: Molly urged a centre left alliance of parties for the general election.

BreakingRailway at Bath Spa closed for one hour

Network Rail are shutting the railway line between Bath Spa and Oldfield Park to allow them to test faulty points which have been causing delays for travellers. 

The line will be closed from 12 noon.

Metro mayor debate: Transport

One of the key areas the new West of England mayor will be responsible for is transport.  

Political reporter Robin Markwell has been finding out what people want on this issue.

But these taxi drivers at Bristol Temple Meads railway station are unclear about the role the new mayor will play.

Watch: Metro mayor debate: Public transport

Hear the six candidates for metro mayor debate the issues on BBC One tonight at 10.45pm.  

Gloucester cattle breed battling back

Gloucester cattle numbers are on their way up again, according to the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.  

Three years ago we reported that a drop had led to increased fears the breed could once again face extinction.

However the trust has reduced the concern slightly by moving the breed from 'Vulnerable' to the lesser 'At Risk' category on its 2017 Watchlist.

Gloucester cattle numbers are on their way up again, according to the RBST.

Rally against planned McDonald's in Fishponds

Campaigners protesting against plans for a branch of McDonald's in Fishponds have been rallying outside Bristol's City Hall.

Bristol City Council refused an application by McDonald's to build a large restaurant in Fishponds, so McDonald's have appealed. A six day enquiry will now take place to discuss the issue.

Watch: campaigners are protesting against plans for a McDonalds in Fishponds, Bristol.

Metro mayor debate: Why didn't North Somerset want to get involved?

Watch: Metro mayor debate: Why didn't North Somerset want to get involved?

As part of the BBC West debate Richard Jordan wanted to know why we need another mayor given the costs and that the role does not cover the entire greater Bristol area.

The area which would be governed by the new mayor includes that covered by Bristol City, South Gloucestershire, and Bath and North East Somerset councils

North Somerset Council chose not to get involved 

Conservative Elfan Ap Rees explains why.

Hip surgery research reveals life-changing conclusion

Hundreds of lives could be saved if patients with a hip fracture were operated on more quickly, according to the biggest study of its kind by researchers in Bristol.

Researchers at Southmead Hospital analysed data from more than 250,000 patients with broken hips across the country. 

They found 8% more patients died if they were operated on 24-36 hours after the injury occured, compared to those who undergo surgery within 24 hours.

Tim Chesser, an orthopaedic surgeon, said the research has shown early surgery is much better.

Hip surgery research in Bristol reveals a potentially life-changing conclusion.