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  1. Live news, sport, travel and weather updates for the West of England on Thursday 12 October 2017.

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Goodnight from us

That's it for now from Local Live: we'll be back in the morning at 7am.

We wish you a pleasant evening.

In the meantime, what will Friday the 13th bring, in terms of weather?

Ian Fergusson has the latest: dry and mild, with sunny spells for some of us.

Police charges following raids in Gloucestershire

Ten men have been charged with cannabis production offences after a number of properties were raided in Gloucestershire.

The men have been remanded in custody. They are thought to have been part of an organised crime network producing huge amounts of drug supplies.

Watch our footage of one raid:

Police have charged ten men with cannabis offences over two days of raids

Bristol's Claudia Fragapane thanks Strictly for her medal success

The Bristol gymnast has come back with a bronze medal from the World Championships.

Bristol gymnast Claudia Fragapane has returned from the World Championships in Canada with a bronze medal.

It was her first-ever individual medal, and she said that her experiences with Strictly Come Dancing were a big help:

Bungling burglar jailed after raiding Gloucester sports store

Man lying injured after raid
Gloucestershire News

A burglar in Gloucester, who's been convicted of 122 past offences, has today been jailed for three more.

Michael Lebon was found near to Sports Direct in Gloucester, after falling while he had attempted to steal from the shop. He had broken his arm in the process.

Police hadn't spotted him when they initially searched the store, but they were alerted by his groans when they returned with a contractor to board up a broken window.

Liam Fox says Bristol's key to success after Brexit

The minister responsible for making new trade deals after Brexit says Bristol is key to the UK's success after we leave the EU.

Liam Fox was visiting the University of the West of England where they're carrying out cutting edge research into robot technology.

In July, Dr Fox said the EU negotiations should be "the easiest in history"P; today those talks seem to have stalled again.

BBC Points West's business correspondent, Dave Harvey has been talking to the Conservative MP for North Somerset.

The North Somerset MP was touring UWE's robotics labs today.

Six cannabis farms shut down by police in Gloucestershire

Eleven men have been arrested and ten of them charged, following two days of coordinated police raids targeting organised crime groups in Gloucestershire.

Six large cannabis farms were shut down and workers at car washes spoken to - suspected of being victims of "modern day slavery".

The charges relate to the production of cannabis and conspiracy to produce and supply the drug, as well as falsifying documents.

All ten men charged were remanded in custody.

cannabis plants

Councils set up 'sharing services' firm

Generic office workers
Getty Images

About 600 workers are being shifted to a new firm created by four local councils in a plan to share services and operational costs.

Publica Ltd will be owned by Cheltenham, Forest of Dean, Cotswold and West Oxfordshire councils.

Cabinet member at West Oxfordshire, Colin Dingwell, said: "The company can start to sell its services to other councils so we can create income."

Critics of the new firm say it lacks transparency and accountability.

Read the full story here.

Bristol dyslexia centre reaching children around the world

30 years ago, the Bristol Dyslexia Centre started up.

It began when Pat Jones was struggling to help her dyslexic son Mike, so she decided to teach him at home.

From the games that she created, an animated programme called Nessy was born, which has since gone on to be used as as teaching aid by nearly 500,000 children across the world:

The dyslexia school is planning to open a new centre in Texas, after 30 years of expansion

Tobacco Factory refurbishment plans revealed

Bristol's Tobacco Factory Theatre has released new plans to redevelop its interior.

The venue says the upgrade will attract 30,000 more people to their performances and workshops every year.

Among the planned refurbishments are a new entrance for the original theatre, a reorganisation of the dressing room space and a new multi-purpose performance space.

It will cost £1.5m; the organisation has launched a crowdfunding bid for the remaining £300,000 it needs for the project.

Plan of theatre expansion
Tobacco Factory Theatres

'Live life to the full': deceased soldier's instructions to mum

A Wiltshire soldier told his mum - when he went off to fight - that she should carry on and "live life to the full" if he should die.

Fran Chandler is now training for the Great South Run, and raising money for the Royal British Legion in his memory.

Corporal Matthew Hatfield died in a tank explosion at the Castlemartin ranges in Wales in the summer.

His mum explained that the charity was close to his heart:

Mother of Wiltshire soldier killed in action speaks about fundraising in his memory

Parachute checker gives evidence in Cilliers case

The trial of an army sergeant accused of sabotaging his wife's parachute has today heard from the man who packed the parachute.

Emile Cilliers is accused of removing vital pieces of Victoria Cilliers' parachute in an attempt to kill her.

But the man who checked her equipment two months before accident, said that in the hundreds of chutes he'd checked not one had the key parts missing or incorrectly fitted.

Alan Westley, the chief reserve parachute packer at the base said he had checked around 500 reserve chutes in his career.

Describing Mrs Cilliers, with whom he has jumped 100 times, Mr Westley said: "She was a very competent, capable jumper, she was an accelerated free-fall instructor."

Victoria Cilliers fell 4000ft when her parachute failed to open at an airbase in Wiltshire in 2015 and received multiple injuries.

The prosecution say both her main and reserve chutes were sabotaged by her husband Emile in an attempt to kill her and that he removed two ties, called slinks, so her reserve chute would fail to open.

Emile Cilliers denies two counts of attempted murder and the trial continues.

Wiltshire Police

Arrests in Gloucestershire: cannabis factory uncovered

Crossbow arrow

Somerset prepare to take legal action against the ECB, should relegated Middlesex's points deduction be overturned.

Read more

New confirmed meningitis case at Bristol University

Meningitis B vaccine
Science Photo Library

Public Health England (PHE) says it is working with the University of Bristol and North Bristol NHS Trust following a new confirmed case of Meningitis B in a student who attends the university.

The student is currently receiving treatment and is said to be recovering well.

PHE’s health protection team and the university have identified close contacts of the case (students who shared the same accommodation block) and antibiotics are being arranged as a precautionary measure to reduce the risk of any additional cases.

Mike Wade, Deputy Director for Health Protection at Public Health England South West, said:

We urge students to look out for symptoms of meningitis and to be vigilant for anything out of character (amongst their housemates). We would also urge students to register with the Students’ Health Service and to take up the offer of the MenACWY vaccine which is available to students as part of the routine vaccination schedule for this age group.

Mike WadeDeputy Director for Health Protection, PHE South West

Severe disruption: M4 Wiltshire westbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Wiltshire westbound severe disruption, between J16 for A3102 and J17 for A350.

M4 Wiltshire - One lane closed and very slow traffic on M4 westbound between J16, A3102 (Swindon West) and J17, A350 (Chippenham), because of a broken down lorry.

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

Yeovil Town Ladies: FA's Katie Brazier defends new WSL licence criteria
The FA's head of women’s leagues and competitions, Katie Brazier, defends changes to Women's Super League club licence criteria.

Campaign launched for a government Minister for Men

Swayne O'Pie believes a men's minister is needed in government.

A new campaign has started in Bath, claiming that "democracy requires a Minister for Men".

The group has been started by Swayne O'Pie, who believes men's issues are currently being ignored by the government.

He believes more should be done to address high levels of male suicide, and "failings" for boys in the education system.

200 Cheltenham finance workers affected by Scottish Widows deal

Scottish Widows, based in Edinburgh, is to take over the UK pensions and savings division built up by Zurich.

The long-rumoured deal has been announced by Scottish Widows' parent company Lloyds Banking Group.

200 Zurich employees, based in Cheltenham, are expected to transfer to Lloyds.

Read more here

Scottish Widows and Zurich images
Scottish Widows / BBC

Warning over gang of 'forty plus' youths roaming in Gloucester

Gloucestershire Police has issued a warning to gangs of younger people in Gloucester, after several reports of anti-social behaviour in the county.

They say groups of boys, aged between 13 and 16-years-old have been seen cycling around the city-centre wearing masks.

"The group has been described as forty-plus in size at times, with the majority wearing face masks" say police.

Seven incidents have so far been reported to police in less than a week.

Individuals in the gangs have reportedly "threatened to hit people or run them over with their bikes".

I want to send a message to those involved that we are working hard to get all of your names so it would be wise to stop the threatening and anti-social behaviour now. I'd also like to send a message to parents that they should pay an interest in what their children are doing out and about on the streets with the possession of masks.

Rob BollandPolice Constable, Gloucestershire Police

Traditional skittles bowled out by modern life


It's a proper West Country sport, but there are fears the traditional pub game of skittles is reportedly slowly dying out.

The number of skittles teams and leagues has halved over the past decade, because not enough youngsters are taking it up.

Eddie Lewis, who plays at Windmill Hill Community Centre in south Bristol, says the younger generation wanted to go clubbing in town instead of taking up the game.

I started when I was 24-years-old; I am now 78 so I have seen a lot of changes. Our league started in 1927 with eight divisions of 16 teams (128 teams). Now we have two divisions: one of 14 and one of 13 (27 teams), so you can see how we have suffered over the years.

Eddie LewisSkittles player

Eastern input for Longleat lanterns

A team of workers from China have been preparing for the Festival of Light at Longleat.

Thousands of people flock to the safari park for the annual lantern display, but did you know how it is put together?

Peter Rabbit and Mrs Tiggy-Winkle took centre stage at last year's event: this year the theme is Fairytales.

We've been along to meet the team from China who have designed and are building the grand structures.

A team of workers from China have been preparing for the Festival of Light

Stokes lips are sealed by legal process, says agent

England cricketer Ben Stokes will give a full explanation of what happened on the night of his arrest, "when the time is right" says his agent.

The cricketing all-rounder, 26, was arrested in Bristol on 26 September on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm following an incident near a city centre nightclub.

Neil Fairbrother has said, "On legal advice, it is not possible (for Ben to explain) whilst the investigation continues and no charges have been brought forward" as "he does not wish to prejudice the legal process."

Stokes was released without charge but remains under investigation after claims of an early-hours brawl.

On Wednesday, it was announced Stokes had lost his sponsorship with sportswear brand New Balance, which was worth a reported £200,000 a year.

Read more here

Ben Stokes
Getty Images

Dad raises £15,000 to amputate his own leg

Rob Franks

Rob Franks - a father of two from Frome is in so much pain he wants to amputate his own leg - has reached a £15,000 fundraising target he set to carry out the proceedure.

Following surgery to remove tumours, Rob was left with chronic pain... but the NHS says he's not a candidate for surgery to remove the leg.

He decided to start crowdfunding to raise the cash for private surgery.

The NHS won't consider me for an amputation and just want me to continue taking medication to manage the pain, so a private amputation is my only hope. It's not that they don't think I'd benefit from it, but I think they are still resistant to the idea of a leg being chopped off when it's not already hanging off.

Rob Franks

Soldier's mum 'determined to keep his memory alive'

The mother of a Wiltshire soldier killed during a training exercise has spoken of her determination to keep his memory alive.

Corporal Matthew Hatfield died in a tank explosion in Wales earlier this year.

Fran Chandler is training for the Great South Run to raise money for the Royal British Legion and to keep her mind focused after her loss.

She's been speaking to Scott Ellis at her home in Ludgershall.

Watch: Mum of Wiltshire soldier killed in a training exercise says she'll keep his memory alive.

Midfielder Noble returns to Notts

Liam Noble
Rex Features

Forest Green Rovers midfielder Liam Noble rejoins League Two side Notts County on an 18-month deal from 1 January.

The Magpies had a £100,000 bid turned down by Forest Green in the summer, before he parted company with Rovers by mutual consent on Monday.

The 26-year-old spent two years with Notts from 2014, scoring 16 goals in 78 appearances, before joining Forest Green in 2016.

He has agreed an 18-month deal.

Click here to read more.

Debate set as council staff set to join new boss

Cotswold District Council

Hundreds of council staff in Gloucestershire are preparing to change employers in less than three weeks.

Cotswold, Cheltenham, Forest of Dean and West Oxfordshire have joined forces to create Publica Ltd - which will employ the staff.

The authorities says they have created this unique model to share services and make savings.

But opposition councillors in Cotswold say they fear a lack of transparency of services and for staff - and they have secured a full meeting of the council to debate their concerns.

It's not an understatement to say that this move will be a revolution in the way our local council operates. It will effectively mean the council no longer employs any staff directly, apart from a handful who are required by law to be employed directly by the council. There are still many unanswered questions and I hope that the council meeting will be a good opportunity to debate this huge issue.

Joe HarrisLeader of the Liberal Democrats, Cotswold District Council

A view of Bristol to cheer your lunchtime

Unable to leave the office? Here's a nice West Country view to cheer you up.

View more on facebook

Nurse cleared of misconduct at Winterbourne View

Winterbourne View

A specialist nurse accused of punching a patient with special needs in the face has been cleared of misconduct.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council said Maxwell Nyamukapa had acted in self defence at the Winterbourne View private hospital in Bristol in August 2009.

In the incident, an 18-year-old patient with autism and bi-polar disorder, had two teeth knocked out.

It happened two years before the BBC's Panorama programme revealed widespread mistreatment at the home.

A review panel found Mr Nyamukapa did not use excessive force and said his actions did not amount to serious professional misconduct.

Man charged with unlawfully taking child

A 27-year-old man is to appear in court charged with unlawfully taking a child.

Kyle Richards, of no fixed address, will appear at North Somerset magistrates' court today.

He has been charged with drug offences and taking a child as to keep her from a person having lawful control.

Appeal after armed robbery

CCTV of robbery suspect
Avon and Somerset Police

Police are appealing for help to identify four men following an armed robbery at a shop in Bristol.

Staff at the Co-op store in Filton Avenue were threatened with baseball bats and forced to lie on the floor.

Cash and cigarettes were stolen in the incident last Sunday.

Forensic examinations have been carried out at the scene, and police have released these CCTV images.

CCTV of robbery suspect
Avon and Somerset Police
CCTV of robbery suspect
Avon and Somerset Police
CCTV of robbery suspect
Avon and Somerset Police

A new way to get the news in Gloucestershire

Gloucester Citizen front page

Gloucestershire's daily papers are being replaced with two new weekly papers from today.

The Gloucester Citizen and Gloucestershire Echo put out their last daily editions on Saturday.

They've been replaced by two weekly papers with five separate editions.

Readers in The Forest of Dean, Stroud and Gloucester will be offered The Citizen while Tewkesbury and Cheltenham will be served by The Echo.

Campaign focuses on donating gift of sight

Tissue transplant transport

Nurses are urging more people to give the gift of sight, by donating their eyes when they die.

There's a shortage of donations at the moment, delaying those needing cornea transplants from receiving the transplant help they need to see again.

"Almost anyone can donate their sight," says Marion Jones, an NHS Blood and Transplant nurse practitioner.

You can register to donate your organs and check on your current registration at

Severe accident: M4 Wiltshire eastbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Wiltshire eastbound severe accident, at J15 for A346 Marlborough Road.

M4 Wiltshire - One lane closed on M4 eastbound at J15, A346 (Swindon East), because of an accident involving a car. Traffic is coping well.

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

Making the headlines in your local newspapers

When is a bus not a bus?

Bus lane generic

People in Gloucestershire are being asked to have their say on how the county's bus lanes are managed.

At the moment each bus lane in Gloucestershire has its own rules - some do and some don't allow access to taxis and private hire vehicles.

There are also several definitions for what qualifies as a bus.

So they want to simplify the rules and make them the same right across the county.

There's a public survey on Gloucestershire County Council's website for your feedback.

Fears over future of skittles in the West

Watch: Skittles player Eddie Lewis on the lack of new blood

There are fears the traditional game of West Country skittles could be dying out.

In Gloucester, the city's charity league has halved in size over the last decade.

They say it is due to skittle alleys closing and fewer players taking up the sport. They are now trying to recruit more youngsters to keep the the tradition alive.

Trailer and jumps stolen from pony club

Stroud Pony Club

A trailer containing a number of jumps has been stolen from a pony club in Gloucestershire.

Stroud Pony Club said on its Facebook page that police have been notified of the theft which took place at a field near Lypiatt sometime overnight.

The club is a charity and run entirely by volunteers and it fundraised to purchase both the trailer and the jumps.

It is appealing for anyone with information to contact them.

We are absolutely devastated, everything we do is for the children and they have now had these taken from them.

SpokespersonStroud Pony Club
Horse on jump
Stroud Pony Club

Bid to attract more foster carers

Anonymous child on pedal car

Somerset County Council says it's going to increase allowances for foster carers to encourage more people to come forward.

There's currently a shortage of foster carers in the county.

As well as making more money available, the council's planning to offer other benefits. It hopes the move will persuade more people to look after children who are currently in care.

Severe disruption: M4 Bristol westbound

BBC News Travel

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

M4 Bristol - One lane closed and heavy traffic on M4 westbound between J19, M32 (Bristol) and J20, M5 (Almondsbury Interchange), because of a broken down vehicle.

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

The stories making your local radio headlines this morning

Radio studio

BBC Wiltshire: The mother of a Wiltshire soldier who died during a training exercise in the summer has been talking about how she's coming to terms with his death.

BBC Gloucestershire: Four councils have formed a new company that'll bring hundreds of staff under one employer.

BBC Somerset: Foster carers are going to be paid more by Somerset County Council.

BBC Radio Bristol: The atmosphere at council meetings in Portishead has been described as toxic and offensive.