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Summary

  1. News, sport, weather and travel updates across the West of England on Wednesday, 26 July 2017.

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Good night from Local Live

Watch: Ian Fergusson with the weather forecast

That's all from us here at Local Live tonight.

We'll be back from 7am tomorrow with all the latest news, sport, weather and travel updates from across the West Country.

See you then! Here's Ian Fergusson with the weather forecast.

New Avon Fire Authority to be formed

Avon Fire Authority is accused of being run for the benefit of senior officers, not the community
BBC

A new Avon Fire Authority is to be formed following a critical report into the way the current authority is run.

A Home Office report published last week unearthed an "old boys club" culture and called for reforms to leadership.

Local authority leaders met with the area's Police and Crime Commissioner earlier to discuss the report.

They called for a "radical restructure" and said a new "reduced" fire authority would be formed.

The move is expected to be appoved when the Authority meets on Thursday.

Click here to read more.

Avon Fire Authority is accused of being run for the benefit of senior officers, not the community

New Avon Fire Authority to be formed

Local leaders call for a "radical restructure" of the current fire authority.

Read more

Poodle savaged by bulldog

Avon and Somerset Police say the owner of an American bulldog-type dog, which attacked and killed a poodle in a Bristol park, has come forward following appeals.

The poodle was out for a walk, with its keeper in Malago Park, Bedminster Down late on Saturday evening.

The larger dog attacked and killed the poodle almost instantly. The bulldog's owner, a man on a mobility scooter, left the scene.

But police say the man identified himself voluntarily, at a police station this afternoon.

Police enquiries into the incident are continuing.

This was a vicious and unprovoked attack... had it been a child, the consequences don't bear thinking about.

PC Thomas ThompsonAvon and Somerset Police

First day of the rest of your life... ? A Wiltshire couple build their dream.

Got a plan for your retirement?

How many of you think you'd like to "just take off on the open road"?

We've been talking to a retired Wiltshire couple in Devizes who are "living the dream" and converting and old coach into motorhome.

They plan to rumble off into the sunset together, but first they have a lot of work to do...

Wiltshire couple converting an old coach

Five hundred homes in Bath to be bulldozed and replaced

Proposals to demolish 542 houses on an estate in Bath have been approved by Bath and North East Somerset Council, by a vote of 5 to 4.

The authority plans to build 700 new houses in their place in the Foxhill area of the city.

Housing provider Curo, which is behind the plans, owns many of the homes on the Foxhill estate, although some are owned privately.

The developer said: "We will continue to work closely with the local community to develop detailed plans for each phase of the regeneration."

Designs for the planned replacement homes and estate will now have to be approved.

Ariel map of affected area
BANES
More than five hundred affected homes in the Foxhill area of Bath are marked in pink

Family to commemorate the anniversary of the battle of Passchendaele

Watch: Walter Weston's journal offers a vivid picture of the "appalling conditions" he encountered on the front line.

Next week is the anniversary of the battle of Passchendaele, one of the bloodiest battles of World War One.

Walter Weston from Calne enlisted in Devizes as a signaller and fought on the Western Front with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

On his return home the 18-year-old wrote a journal about his experiences and how he survived in the trenches when so many died.

BBC Points West's Ali Vowles has been meeting three generations of the family who are all going to the commemorations in Belgium this weekend.

Man died after falling into water on a night out

An inquest has heard that a man died after falling into the water and drowning following a night out in Bristol.

Jason Gurgul, 33, had been drinking and was last seen on CCTV stumbling near the waterfront. His body was recovered from the water by divers six days later.

Jason's family have started a campaign for better safety around Bristol's harbourside area.

Watch: Jason Gurgul's family are campaigning for better safety at Bristol harbourside

Lucky escape after manhole cover blows

Watch: Family talk of lucky escape after manhole cover explodes

This video shows the moment a manhole cover exploded in a Gloucester street and narrowly missed a woman.

Jode Wardell filmed the metal slab flying into the air and landing just a metre from his wife, Adriana after water pressure built up during flash flooding on Tuesday.

He said: "If she had been one step to the left of it, the weight of it would have killed her. "The blast of air was incredible, like a bomb."

The couple were taking daughters Rebecca, four, and Daniela, nine, out for a pizza by the docks in Gloucester when it happened.

Jode, 43, said: "It has really affected my daughter Daniela - she's terrified. "I don't think she will be walking over manhole covers for a long time."

Grassroots cricket umpires 'a dying breed'

As women's cricket enjoys a huge increase in popularity and thousands tune in the BBC local radio for the T20 Blast coverage, a crisis looms at local cricketing level.

There is a shortage of cricket umpires in the Bristol, BANES and Wiltshire area.

Watch: The number of qualified umpires have decreased by a third in the last five years

Wildcat helicopter manufacture to stay in Yeovil

Watch: Wildcats to stay in Yeovil

Wildcat military helicopters will continue to be made in Yeovil after Airframe Manufacture struck a new deal with the MoD.

There had been fears that the work could move to Poland.

Helicopters have been made in Yeovil since 1940.

Teacher had sex with a student in an aeroplane toilet

Teacher
Getty Images

A teacher who had sex with a student in an aeroplane toilet on a school trip has been banned from the profession.

Eleanor Wilson, 28, who worked in Bristol, kissed the pupil and drank alcohol with him while on the flight.

A National College for Teaching & Leadership (NCTL) panel found she engaged in sexual activity with a male pupil in August 2015.

The panel's report found her guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and banned her from teaching indefinitely.

BBC searches for gremlins after 'technical hitch'

An audio blip on Points West's main news programme last night had engineers scrabbling around the bowels of the BBC. So what happened?

Last night everything went quiet for the final few minutes of the programme.

The afternoon headlines from your local newspapers

Avon fire authority "cannot fix itself" say leaders: new authority to be created

West leaders have concluded that a new, reduced Fire Authority should be created.

Four local authority leaders, representing Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire and the Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset, met to discuss the recommendations of a critical Home Office report.

The damning inspection report into the Authority was published last week. It said that sweeping reforms in the governance, leadership and culture of Avon Fire Authority and called for the leadership "to be revitalised".

In a joint statement following the meeting today the leaders today concluded: “we are not convinced that the Fire Authority can fix itself."

“As leaders we have a responsibility to our residents to ensure that the issues identified... are put right. We believe this can only be done with a radical restructure.

The Fire Authority will meet tomorrow to consider and approve the government's recommendations.

Fire Authority sculpture
BBC

We have not taken this decision lightly and it is one that we have come to in the interests of residents and the many hard-working and dedicated Avon Fire and Rescue Service officers and staff who deserve strong accountability, support and reassurance.

Joint statement from four local authority leaders and the PCC

Plans to demolish homes on Bath's Foxhill estate agreed

Watch: Foxhill residents react to demolition plans

Proposals to demolish 542 houses on an estate in Bath have been approved by Bath and North East Somerset Council.

The authority plans to build 700 new houses in their place in the Foxhill area of the city.

Housing provider Curo, which is behind the plans, owns many of the homes on the Foxhill estate, although some are owned privately.

The developer says all affected will be offered a place to live locally but many residents are against the plan. They say they are depressed and worried about their future.

Poodle killed in 'horrific' attack by American bulldog in Bristol park

Police are hunting the owner of an American bulldog type dog which attacked and killed a poodle in a Bristol park.

The dog was out for a walk with its owner and their other dog in Malago Park in Bedminster Down at 11.30pm on Saturday when it was savaged.

The larger dog attacked and killed the poodle almost instantly and its owner, a man on a mobility scooter, left the park.

He was seen heading up Hartcliffe Way and turning left into Novers Lane with the dog, which was mainly white with brown patches and a Jack Russell, also white with brown patches.

“This was a vicious and unprovoked attack on a couple’s dog which has left them shaken and traumatised. Whilst it is horrific enough for a couple’s pet to be killed in this way, had it been a child, the consequences don’t bear thinking about.

PC Thomas ThompsonAvon and Somerset Police
View more on twitter

Family's "brush with death" after manhole cover explodes

Watch: Adriana Catteneo says she felt like she had "a close brush with death"

A family had a lucky escape after a manhole cover exploded into the air under the pressure of torrential rain in Gloucester.

Jode Wardell filmed the metal slab flying into the air and landing just a metre from his wife, Adriana Catteneo, and young daughter Daniella. Mrs Cattaneo said she felt like she had "a close brush with death".

Severn Trent Water called it a "highly unusual" incident, and said they are looking at ways of preventing it happening again.

Ex-tennis coach jailed for sexually abusing girl

Daniel Sanders
North Wales Police

A former tennis professional turned coach who sexually abused a girl has been jailed for six years.

Daniel Sanders, 42, was told he "took advantage" of her during a six-month period.

The father of three pleaded guilty to seven counts of sexual activity with a girl and one of causing her to engage in sexual activity.

Sanders, now living in Merriott, Somerset, once played doubles with Tim Henman and played his last professional match in 1996.

Royal Marine terrorist: Ciarán Maxwell's hide contained booby-trapped explosive torch

Andrew Segal

Local Live

A hide containing explosives and other equipment in Devon also contained a modified booby-trapped torch which, when armed, would explode if turned on, a court has heard.

A three-day hearing is under way at the Old Bailey to sentence Ciarán Maxwell, 31, originally from Larne in Co Antrim, after he admitted charges earlier this year of preparing terrorist acts.

Maxwell had hides across Northern Ireland and England, including in Powderham New Plantation, near Teignbridge in Devon. It was here the deadly torch was found.

Mine. Pic: Police Service of Northern Ireland
Police Service of Northern Ireland

Last March, police said bomb-making parts had been found in barrels hidden in a wooded area in Carnfunnock County Park in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Two months later, another "terrorist hide" was found in Capanagh Forest, near Larne in the province.

Officers described it as one of the most significant arms finds in recent years.

Of particular concern to security chiefs was the discovery of military grade anti-personnel mines (pictured).

Pipe bombs and parts for making explosive devices also made up part of the haul. Their serial numbers revealed they had been taken from the Royal Marines base in Somerset where Maxwell was based.

The hearing continues.

Royal Marine terrorist: Case against Ciarán Maxwell outlined ahead of sentencing

June Kelly

BBC Home Affairs correspondent

The case against a Royal Marine who admitted preparing terrorist acts is being outlined ahead of his sentencing.

Ciarán Maxwell, 31, who has now been discharged from the Marines, pleaded guilty earlier this year to preparing terrorist acts linked to dissident republicanism.

The Old Bailey has been told that four out of 14 pipe bombs built by him when he was a serving Marine were deployed in Northern Ireland.

Maxwell, originally from Larne in Northern Ireland, joined the Royal Marines in 2010. Today the court was told that within months of signing up he was involved in terrorist activity.

During his military career he lived a double life. The court heard he researched the manufacture of explosives, acquired the items he needed to make explosive devices and built 14 pipe bombs.

He stored his vast terrorist arsenal, which included weapons, ammunition and anti-personnel mines in a series of hides across England and Northern Ireland.

The hearing continues.

Ciarán Maxwell
Facebook

Royal Marine terrorist: Ciarán Maxwell 'shocked' at arrest and had drugs in locker

Hamish Marshall

BBC Spotlight

A Royal Marine who hid explosives in a Devon wood to make bombs for terror attacks "appeared shocked" when he was arrested, a court has heard.

Thirty-one-year-old Ciarán Maxwell lived in Exminster and was based with 40 Commando in Taunton, Somerset. He was arrested last August at Norton Manor Camp.

As well as admitting preparing terrorist acts, the serviceman, originally from Northern Ireland, also admitted drugs offences.

After his arrest, drugs were found in locker at the camp, including herbal cannabis, cannabis resin, and hallucinogenic drugs DMT and LSD.

The sentencing hearing at the Old Bailey, listed to last up to three days, continues.

Missing man found safe and well

Earlier we told you how a search and rescue operation was underway after John Allinson from Rangeworthy, South Gloucestershire, went missing.

We're relieved to tell you he has been found safe and well.

View more on twitter

Severe disruption: M5 Gloucestershire northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Gloucestershire northbound severe disruption, at J11 for A40 Golden Valley Bypass Gloucester.

M5 Gloucestershire - M5 lane closed on exit slip road northbound at J11, A40 (Gloucester), because of a broken down vehicle. Traffic is coping well.

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

Royal Marine terrorist: Ciarán Maxwell stashed away explosives and other equipment

Andrew Segal

Local Live

A Royal Marine with links to dissident republicanism who made 14 pipe bombs also stashed away an assortment of other weapons and equipment in 12 hides at various sites across England and Northern Ireland, a court has heard.

A three-day hearing is under way at the Old Bailey to sentence Ciarán Maxwell, 31, originally from Larne in Co Antrim, after he admitted charges earlier this year of preparing terrorist acts.

Pipes. Pic: PSNI
Police Service of Northern Ireland

Along with the 14 pipe bombs (some components of which are pictured), the court heard Maxwell also stashed:

  • Two anti-personnel directional mines
  • Two explosively formed projectiles (EFPs)
  • 29 complete explosive firing systems
  • 33 initiators (part of a detonator for explosives), including two military initiators
  • 13 military "Igniter Safety Fuze Electric" initiators
  • Three fully-constructed improvised detonators
  • Other component parts for IEDs [improvised explosive devices]
  • Other materials and chemicals to make explosives
  • A replica handgun and ammunition

Platform improvement works at Waterloo to hit West rail services

Rail services in the West are likely to face delays when large-scale works to lengthen platforms at London Waterloo get underway.

Many trains won't run at all and services will be disrupted.

Half of Waterloo Station will close so platforms can be extended.

Graffiti 'puts Stokes Croft on the map'

For many years Bristol has enjoyed a reputation as the UK's number one city for graffiti and street art, but along with that reputation comes an ongoing debate about creativity and criminality.

On BBC One on Friday presenter Miquita Oliver will be assessing the debate and asking why Banksy’s work is protected when other graffiti artists are being prosecuted and sometimes imprisoned for their work.

In three special online-only videos, photographer Beezer takes us back to three key locations in the city’s early graffiti story.

Part one was yesterday, part two is below and part three will follow tomorrow.

'Vandals and Visionaries' is on BBC One at 7.30pm on Friday, 28th July.

Watch: Graffiti photographer Beezer praises the creativity of Stokes Croft in Bristol

Manhole cover explodes 'like a bomb' and nearly hits woman

Lucky escape after manhole cover blows

This video shows the moment a manhole cover exploded in a Gloucester street and narrowly missed a woman.

Jode Wardell filmed the metal slab flying into the air and landing just a metre from his wife, Adriana after water pressure built up during flash flooding on Tuesday night.

He said: "If she had been one step to the left of it, the weight of it would have killed her.

"The blast of air was incredible, like a bomb."

The couple were taking daughters Rebecca, four, and Daniela, nine, out for a pizza by the docks in Gloucester when it happened.

Jode, 43, said: "It has really affected my daughter Daniela - she's terrified.

"I don't think she will be walking over manhole covers for a long time."

Royal Marine terrorist: Ciarán Maxwell appears via video link at sentencing

Hamish Marshall

BBC Spotlight

A court hearing to decide how long a Royal Marine who hid explosives in a Devon wood to make bombs for terror attacks will serve in prison is under way.

Thirty-one-year-old Ciarán Maxwell lived in Exminster and was based with 40 Commando in Taunton, Somerset.

The serviceman, originally from Northern Ireland, admitted to the preparation of terrorist acts.

He was arrested last August and a search of Powderham New Plantation near Exeter (pictured) found hides with a range of explosive substances, as well as ammunition, weapons and tools for making bombs.

The sentencing hearing at the Old Bailey will last up to three days.

Maxwell himself is not in court in person. He is appearing via video link from Woodhill Prison in Milton Keynes.

Woodland search
BBC

Royal Marine terrorist: Sentencing hearing begins for Ciarán Maxwell

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Ciarán Maxwell. Pic: Metropolitan Police
Metropolitan Police

A sentencing hearing has begun for a Royal Marine from Northern Ireland who admitted preparing acts of terrorism linked to dissident republicanism.

Ciarán Maxwell, 31, originally from Larne, pleaded guilty in February to bomb-making and storing stolen military weapons after he was arrested in Somerset last August over the discovery of two dissident republican arms dumps near Larne in County Antrim.

Following his arrest, police in Devon searched a house in Exminster and a wooded area nearby.

He had maps, plans and lists of potential targets for a terrorist attack as well as images of an adapted Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) pass card and a PSNI uniform, his trial heard. He also pleaded guilty to drugs and fraud charges

He faces years behind bars when he is sentenced by Mr Justice Sweeney in a hearing at the Old Bailey which could last up to three days.

Concern over missing man who has Parkinson's Disease

John Allinson
Avon & Somerset Police

Police are appealing for help finding a missing man, who has Parkinson's Disease and has difficulty walking.

John Allinson, 60, left his home in Rangeworthy, South Gloucestershire, at about 1.30pm on Tuesday and has not been seen since.

Officers say it's possible he may have wandered into someone’s garden. They're asking people in the area to check outbuildings.

The police helicopter is being used to search for him.

He was last seen wearing a cream coloured Panama hat with a black ribbon around it, a navy blue long sleeve shirt and brown trousers. He uses a walking stick.

Umpire shortage 'will drive people away from playing'

There is a shortage of cricket umpires in parts of the West.

A poster has gone up in changing rooms in Bristol this summer saying it's at a crisis level.

The Bristol Association of Cricket Umpires is targeting cricketers who no longer play who might like to give something back.

Chew Magna Cricket Club captain, Mike Denning, says the shortage is a real problem.

Umpire shortage "will drive everyone away from playing", says Mike Denning.

Sean Conway is using his Europe ride to train for another challenge

Sean Conway is using his Europe ride to train for another challenge - but what?

On Tuesday we told you about adventurer Sean Conway's plans to break the record for cycling across Europe.

The Cheltenham-based athlete will set off on the 4,500 mile route from Portugal to Russia on 5 August.

And he told BBC Radio Gloucestershire the challenge will actually be a training run for another record attempt in the UK October.

He gave us a few clues to the challenge, and we reckon he wants to beat the record for cycling around the British coast, which has stood since 1984.

Back from the Front: Tracking down WW1 war graves

Grave stones
Getty Images
Nearly 12,000 Commonwealth servicemen are buried at Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in Passchendaele, Belgium

Heritage specialist Nick Stone and a band of dedicated volunteers are tracking down the wooden crosses that once marked the graves of the World War One fallen.

The Returned from the Front project sees them tracing the repatriated grave markers to photograph and catalogue them and create an ever-growing online map and database.

Ministry of Defence colleagues Samantha Fryer, from Swindon, and Dr Alison Wilken, from Lambourn, Berkshire, have surveyed markers in Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Berkshire and Gloucestershire.

"It's quite nice to know that you are part of a project that's being published that schools and researchers might find useful in the future," says Samantha.

'My daughters were very worried about me driving'

New figures show that for the first time the number of people aged 90 or over still driving has passed the 100,000 mark.

That figures includes 1,429 from Wiltshire.

91-year-old Arthur Burden from Chiseldon was still driving up until his 90th year but then his daughters persuaded him to stop.

91-year old Arthur Burden from Chiseldon was persuaded to stop driving.

Banksy beats Constable to 'favourite artwork'

A V&A museum employee looking at John Constable's 1821 painting The Hay Wain
PA

Banksy's mural of a girl letting go of a heart-shaped balloon has been voted the nation's favourite artwork.

John Constable's 1821 Romantic landscape The Hay Wain was beaten into second place by Banksy's mural.

Some 2,000 people chose their favourite artwork from a shortlist of 20 works drawn up by arts editors and writers.

Here's the poll results in full:

  1. Banksy; Balloon Girl
  2. John Constable; The Hay Wain
  3. Jack Vettriano; The Singing Butler
  4. JMW Turner; The Fighting Temeraire
  5. Antony Gormley; The Angel of the North
  6. L S Lowry; Going to the Match
  7. John William Waterhouse; The Lady of Shalott
  8. Peter Blake; Sgt Pepper album cover
  9. Hipgnosis and George Hardie; Dark Side of the Moon album cover
  10. George Stubbs; Mares and Foals
  11. Thomas Gainsborough; Mr and Mrs Andrews
  12. John Everett Millais; Ophelia
  13. Andy Goldsworthy; Balanced Rock Misty
  14. David Hockney; A Bigger Splash
  15. Bridget Riley; Movement in Squares
  16. Anish Kapoor; ArcelorMittal Orbit
  17. Stik; A Couple Hold Hands in the Street
  18. Maggi Hambling; Scallop
  19. Henry Moore; Reclining Figure
  20. Jamie Reid; Never Mind the Bollocks album cover

Watch out for delays on the roads in Bristol this morning

Your local radio headlines this morning

On Air light
BBC

BBC Radio Bristol: A proposal to demolish more than 500 homes on an estate in Bath will be considered by planners today.

BBC Radio Gloucestershire: Police say roads in Gloucestershire are back to normal after torrential rain caused flash flooding yesterday.

BBC Somerset: The number of over-90s who hold a driving licence in Great Britain has topped 100,000 for the first time.

BBC Wiltshire: A Wiltshire councillor is facing mounting criticism for appearing to suggest transgender people have mental health conditions.

More than 7,000 older drivers on roads in the West

Driver's hands
Getty Images

There are now more than 7,000 drivers over the age of 90 on the roads of the West.

The figures were obtained from the DVLA through a Freedom of Information request by the BBC.

Here are the stats for our individual counties:

  • Avon area: 2,227
  • Gloucestershire: 1,680
  • Somerset: 1,666
  • Wiltshire: 1,429
  • Total: 7,002

How facial recognition could replace train tickets

Watch: How your face could replace the need for ticket gates

A facial recognition system designed to replace the need for tickets on trains is being developed by scientists in Bristol.

An early version that uses two near-infrared lights to help a single camera determine texture and orientation of each pixel it captures was shown to BBC Click.

The system, being developed by the Bristol Robotics Lab, is being partly funded by government and the private sector.

Researchers told the programme that they believe it will successfully identify passengers without the need for them to stop walking and could replace ticket gates.