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  1. News, sport, travel and weather updates for the West of England on Thursday, 5 October 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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'A chilly night ahead'

Watch: Ian Fergusson with the weather forecast

Well that's all from us for today.

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

We'll leave you with the weather forecast from Ian Fergusson.

And it looks like it's going to be a chilly night ahead.

Operation Conifer: Chief Constable interview

The national spotlight has been thrust on Wiltshire Police today as it finally published its report into Sir Edward Heath.

Tonight the Chief Constable Mike Veale has defended himself and his force against accusations that Operation Conifer was a fishing expedition fuelled in the aftermath of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Presenter David Garmston has been been talking to Mr Veale.

Watch: The Chief Constable of Wiltshire Mike Veale speaks about Operation Conifer

Stolen bronze pig found after appeal

Calne, Wiltshire
Wiltshire Police / BBC

A stolen bronze pig sculpture created to celebrate a Wiltshire town's pork pie making heritage has been found in a Gloucestershire reclamation yard.

Police said the yard owner got in touch with officers after seeing the appeal.

Det Con Jo Chesshire said the stolen item had been "quickly sold" on to the reclamation yard and its owner had no knowledge of where it had come from.

A 17-year-old boy has been arrested in connection with the theft and other offences and is in police custody.

Click here to read more.

Calne, Wiltshire

Stolen bronze pig found after appeal

The bronze statue was found in Gloucestershire following a police appeal for information.

Read more

Hospital sorry for baby's care 'failings'

Ben Condon

A hospital has apologised to the parents of a baby who died and accepted it had "failed in his care".

Ben Condon died at Bristol Children's Hospital in April 2015 after developing a respiratory illness. His parents said he should have had antibiotics earlier.

University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust said "failing to give Ben timely antibiotics" had "contributed to his death".

Ben's dad Allyn Condon said the apology was "two and a half years too late".

Click here to read more.

Seeing double - five times over!

A Bristol primary school has welcomed what must be a record number of twins to their reception class this year.

Hillcrest Primary School in Totterdown has not one, two, three or four sets...but five.

While they're not all identical, teachers say they have to tell some of them apart by their freckles.

Watch: Five sets of twins have all started in the same year group at a Bristol school

Parachute fail wife 'among UK's best'

Victoria Cilliers and Sgt Emile Cilliers

The wife of an Army sergeant who survived a 4,000 ft fall after her husband allegedly tampered with her parachute was among the UK's top parachutists, a court has heard.

Victoria Cilliers, 40, suffered multiple serious injuries at Netheravon Airfield, Wiltshire, on April 5, 2015.

Emile Cilliers, 37, denies attempting to murder her.

Click here to read more.

Bath City appoint Jerry Gill as new manager

Jerry Gill
Bath City

Jerry Gill has been appointed the new manager of Bath City FC.

The former City player also played for a number of clubs, including Yeovil, Birmingham, Cheltenham and Forest Green Rovers, before he retired and went into coaching.

Chairman Nick Blofeld said: “We’re really excited to have Jerry join us as our new Manager.

"He’s a very talented coach who has worked with some of the best managers and young players in the country, and is well thought of throughout the game."

Bristol school's twin-vision

Watch: Head teacher Gina Lewis says it's "quite extraordinary"

A whole five different sets of twins have started class at one Bristol primary school.

Teachers at Hillcrest Primary School in Totterdown have resorted to using identifying marks to tell some of the pairs apart.

Gina Lewis is the headteacher there and says having so many pairs in the same class is quite unusual.

PCC supports police decision to investigate Sir Edward Heath allegations

Angus Macpherson

Wiltshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has said he fully supports Wiltshire Police's decision to investigate allegations into Sir Edward Heath.

It follows the publication today of the findings of Operation Conifer which was carried out by the force on behalf of the police service nationally.

The report found Sir Edward Heath would have been questioned over sex abuse claims if he was alive when they came to light.

Wiltshire PCC Angus Macpherson said calls for the force's chief constable Mike Veale to resign were misguided.

There have been calls for the Chief Constable, Mike Veale, to resign - or for me to sack him. I consider these to be fundamentally misguided.

Angus MacphersonWiltshire PCC

Royal Marines​ rescue dogs affected by Hurricane Irma

Dogs lost or separated from their owners during hurricane Irma have been rescued by 40 Commando personnel who are based in Norton Fitzwarren.

These dogs were on the first commercial flight out of the British Virgin Islands' main airport.

They're now being cared for by animal charities.

Watch: The dogs were rescued by 40 Commando personnel who are based in Norton Fitzwarren

Severe accident: A419 Gloucestershire westbound

BBC News Travel

A419 Gloucestershire westbound severe accident, between Cricklade Road and Midland Road.

A419 Gloucestershire - A419 Bristol Road in Cirencester blocked and slow traffic westbound between the Cricklade Road junction and Fire Station Roundabout, because of an accident.

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

Heath allegations revealed by Wiltshire Police

Allegations that Sir Edward Heath raped an 11-year-old boy and indecently assaulted several others have been revealed by Wiltshire Police.

The force has been investigating the former Prime Minster for the last two years.

Today the chief constable of Wiltshire Police defended the inquiry.

Our Home Affairs Correspondent Charlotte Callen has been following the story.

Allegations about Sir Edward Heath have been revealed by Wiltshire Police

The bacon's been saved! Stolen pig statue found

Calne pig statue
Wiltshire Police/BBC

A bronze pig sculpture that was stolen from a Wiltshire town earlier this week has been found.

The bronze sculpture was erected in Calne town centre in the 1970s, to commemorate the Harris pork factory - but was removed by thieves between Sunday evening and the early hours of Monday.

Wiltshire Police said it was located after the owner of a reclamation yard in Gloucestershire realised its significance after it had been sold to him.

It will now be handed back to Calne Town Council.

A 17-year-old boy has been arrested in connection with the theft and other offences and is currently being questioned by police.

Air rifle threat at children's home

Aspirations Childrens Residential South West is based in Tiverton, Somerset

A young person was able to access an air rifle and knives which were used to threaten staff and a resident at a children's home, a report has found.

Ofsted inspectors found there had been a "high number of very serious and potentially fatal incidents" at the Crossways Care children's home.

The home near Yeovil was rated inadequate after an inspection in September.

Click here to read the full story.

Severe accident: A4019 Gloucestershire westbound

BBC News Travel

A4019 Gloucestershire westbound severe accident, between B4633 Gloucester Road and Colletts Drive.

A4019 Gloucestershire - Very slow traffic and one lane closed on A4019 Tewkesbury Road outbound in Cheltenham between the B4633 Gloucester Road junction and the Colletts Drive junction, because of an accident.

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

Ted Heath report: 'Still just allegations'

Watch: Sir Edward Heath's godson responds to the Op Conifer report

Following today's announcement that Sir Edward Heath would have been questioned over sex abuse claims if he was alive when they came to light, his godson, artist Lincoln Seligman, has been giving his reaction.

He said the police investigation had cast a stain over a man who could not defend himself.

Hospital sorry for 'failings' in premature baby's care

Jenny and Ben Condon
Ben was born prematurely at 29 weeks in February 2015

A hospital has apologised to the parents of a baby who died and accepted it had "failed in his care".

Ben Condon died at Bristol Children's Hospital in April 2015 after developing a respiratory illness.

Parents Allyn and Jenny Condon, from Weston-super-Mare, said he should have had antibiotics earlier.

University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust said "failing to give Ben timely antibiotics" had "contributed to his death".

It said it had "learnt lessons" and had "already made changes and improvements in light of their [Ben's parents] and Ben’s experience in our care".

Your local newspaper headlines


Here are some of the stories making the news in your local newspapers this afternoon:

Somerset Live: A303 traffic: Live updates as road blocked by crash

Bristol Post.Updates: Main Bristol road closed after reports of man hit by lorry

Wiltshire Times: Parking ticket at M&S overturned

Gloucestershire Live: 'I thought he was a shoulder to cry on' - how this blackmailer 'degraded, humiliated and traumatised' three young women

Dursley Walking Festival 2017 kicks off

Dursley walkers
Dursley Walkers

The three-day Dursley Walking Festival kicks off again today for the sixth year.

It features a "huge variety" of walks around Gloucestershire taking in Dursley, Stonehouse and surrounding villages, as well as the historic Cotswold Way and Dursley's very own Lantern Way.

BBC Radio Gloucestershire's Mark Cummings will be joining walkers on Saturday.

Organisers say the festival gets bigger every year, with hundreds of ramblers expected. Dogs are also welcome.

For more information about times and routes, visit the Dursley Walkers website.

Lawrence Vigouroux

Swindon goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux gets a four-game ban for using "foul and abusive language" towards match officials.

Read more

Severe accident: A303 Wiltshire both ways

BBC News Travel

A303 Wiltshire both ways severe accident, between A350 and A36 Deptford.

A303 Wiltshire - Very slow traffic on A303 in both directions between the A350 junction in Chicklade and Deptford, because of an accident earlier on. All lanes have been re-opened. Congestion to turn for West Knoyle.

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

'Dear meningitis B...' - a letter from a victim's sister

Watch: Nicole reads her letter to meningitis B

The sister of a teenager who died from meningitis B has written an open letter about her experiences.

George Zographou, 18, fell ill at a music festival in Cornwall and died shortly after.

Since then, his family have been raising awareness of how meningitis B, the strain that killed George, is different from other strains of the disease.

Portishead eyes a blooming glory

Flower beds

The North Somerset town of Portishead could win gold at the South West in Bloom awards for the 10th year running today.

They will find out if they have won at an award ceremony in Torquay later on.

Portishead has also been nominated for the Champion of Champion entry at the national Britain in Bloom competition.

Portishead's volunteers estimate they put in around 5,000 hours a year tending to plants in the town.

BreakingLarge fire in Fishponds, Bristol

View more on twitter

A large fire at the Fishponds Trading Estate in Bristol is being tackled by emergency crews.

Fire engines from Southmead, Kingswood, Temple and Bedminster fire stations are dealing with the blaze.

No injuries have been reported but the fire is sending out large plumes of smoke across east Bristol.

View more on twitter

Op Conifer: 'No inference of guilt' over abuse allegations

Watch: Assistant Chief Constable Paul Mills

Wiltshire Police have been responding to a report on sex abuse claims made about the late Prime Minister, Sir Edward Heath.

Speaking to journalists, Assistant Chief Constable Paul Mills said the fact he would have been questioned did not equate to an assumption of guilt on their part.

'He wasn't interested in children' - Edward Heath's godson

Watch: Lincoln Seligman talks to the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme

Sir Edward Heath's godson, Lincoln Seligman, has told the BBC it was "obvious" his godfather "wasn't interested in children at all".

A police report on sexual abuse claims against Sir Edward - who died in 2005 - has been published.

Wiltshire Police launched Operation Conifer two years ago after the former Conservative prime minister was accused of historical child sex abuse.

Op Conifer: Praise from police for their investigation

Dan O'Brien from, BBC Wiltshire has been noting some of the remarks made by Mike Veale, the Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police:

Chief Const Veale thanks those who have come forward during heath investigation, "it takes bravery & courage to do so"

.@wiltspoliceCC praises team involved in Heath investigation: “they've not buckled under pressure of relentless speculation & criticism”

Who was Edward Heath?

Watch: A brief look at the life of the former Conservative prime minister.

Here's a brief biography of Edward Heath, as Wiltshire Police publishes a report about its investigations into sexual abuse allegations against the former prime minister.

Op Conifer: Key dates

Sir Edward Heath

2015 - Operation Conifer launched

2005 - the year of Sir Edward Heath's death

1992 - the year of the most recent alleged offence

1970s - the decade in which Sir Edward led the Conservative government

1956 - the earliest alleged offence investigated by Operation Conifer

Op Conifer: More from Wiltshire Police HQ

BBC Wiltshire's Dan O'Brien has been tweeting comments made by Mike Veale, the Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police, during a public briefing:

Veale on Heath investigation: the "protection of vulnerable people continues to be the primary reason for conducting this investigation.

Wilts Chief Veale is "satisfied there are compelling and obvious reasons to investigate" Edward Heath

Veale describes Heath as "arguably one of the most powerful people in the world, the allegations against him are of the utmost seriousness."

Veale says total cost of Operation Conifer is £1.5 million - 1.1 million coming from Home Office who deem it "proportionate & reasonable"

Op Conifer: Sir Edward Heath report key points

Sir Edward Heath on a yacht
  • The former Prime Minister would have been questioned over sex abuse claims if he was alive when they came to light
  • He would have been interviewed under caution over seven claims, including the rape of an 11-year-old, Wiltshire Police said
  • No inference of guilt should be drawn from this fact, the force stressed
  • Operation Conifer was launched two years ago, after he was accused of historical child sex abuse

Click here to read more on the BBC News website.

Op Conifer: Wiltshire Police chief giving briefing

Mike Veale

Wiltshire Police has published its report following Operation Conifer.

The investigation looked into allegations of non-recent child abuse made against the late Sir Edward Heath.

The force's chief constable, Mike Veale, is currently giving a public media briefing.

Severe disruption: M5 Somerset southbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Somerset southbound severe disruption, at J25 for A358.

M5 Somerset - M5 in Taunton lane blocked on exit slip road southbound at J25, A358 (Taunton), because of a broken down vehicle. Traffic is coping well.

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

What is the Edward Heath report about?

Charlotte Callen

BBC West home affairs correspondent

We expect the report to say Wiltshire Police have enough evidence, from a handful of alleged victims, to question the late Sir Edward Heath under caution.

But that does not mean he is guilty of anything. In fact he remains innocent to this day as no charges were brought during his life.

Questioning under caution is fairly standard procedure in such cases.

The police remain clear they had a duty to fully investigate all allegations of historical child sexual abuse against the former Prime Minister, who lived in Salisbury.

Supporters of the Chief Constable say he and his force have been placed under unacceptable pressure over their investigation.

West Country apple crop weeks early

Watch: Louisa Sheppy from Sheppy's cider in Taunton

This year's unusual weather has meant that apples are falling off the trees much earlier than they should be.

Our apple harvest has been one of the earliest on record.

Growers say a mild winter last year produced a good crop and blossoms were on some trees in April.

Hope for future of St Peter's Hospice

Listen: St Peter's Hospice chief exec Simon Caraffi

An appeal to raise more than £1.5m towards a new hospice in Bristol is being launched.

Currently, some patients nearing the end of their lives at St Peter's Hospice, have to share a room.

Work on the new hospice in Brentry is expected to take a year.

Patients will be moved to a temporary unit in Keynsham while construction takes place.

The orchestra opening up music for everyone

Watch: Founder Barry Farrimond wants to take the project to the rest of the country

Bristol charity OpenUp Music was started in 2013 with the aim of empowering young disabled musicians to get involved with playing music.

The South West Open Youth Orchestra is the first in the UK that is led entirely by disabled people.

OpenUp's founder, Barry Farrimond, wants to take the project to the rest of the country and launch a national equivalent.

Parachute murder attempt trial continues

Victoria Cilliers and Emile Cilliers

The trial continues today of an army sergeant accused of attempting to murder his wife by tampering with her parachute.

Victoria Cilliers was seriously injured during a 4,000ft (1.2km) jump at Netheravon Airfield in Wiltshire in March 2015.

Emile Cilliers, 37, denies two counts of attempted murder.

Winchester Crown Court was told on Wednesday that Mr Cilliers wanted to leave his wife for a lover he had met on Tinder.

It's also claimed that just days before the jump, the defendant tried to kill Ms Cilliers, 40, by deliberately causing a gas leak at their home.