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Summary

  1. Updates on Thursday 7 July 2016

Live Reporting

By Vanessa Pearce

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Latest weather for the West Midlands
Philip Townshend

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

A deputy council leader accused of mortgage fraud also got his elderly victim to sign blank cheques and papers, documents reveal.

Read more

Our coverage across the day

Live updates for Coventry and Warwickshire have now ended for the day.

We'll be back with you from 08:00 tomorrow but keep an eye out here for updates through the evening and into the morning.  

Watch: Latest weather for Coventry and Warwickshire

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

After a largely dry evening with some brightness, cloud will thicken bringing some rain that could be heavy in places and lows of 15C (59F).

Warwickshire MP 'delighted' over Conservative leader vote

The only Warwickshire MP to back Conservative leadership contender Andrea Leadsom has tweeted his "delight" at the news she will be going through to the next round of the contest.

The North Warwickshire and Bedworth MP was among 84 MPs who voted for Leadsom, compared with 199 for Theresa May and 46 for Michael Gove.

View more on twitter

Drug ring ordered to pay nearly £600k

Vanessa Pearce

BBC Local Live

Members of a drug smuggling ring have been ordered to pay nearly £600,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The gang, from Coventry, Warwickshire and Essex, were jailed in 2014 for distributing millions of pounds worth of class A and B drugs around the country, police said.

At hearings at Birmingham Crown Court this week four of the gang, all from Coventry, were ordered to pay back £595,662.18 within six months or serve additional prison sentences.

Ice Hockey: Coventry Blaze sign Canadian Garrett Klotz

BBC Coventry & Warwickshire Sport

The Blaze have announced a new signing, in the shape of Canadian forward Garrett Klotz.

The 27-year-old has played over 370 professional games and scored nearly 900 penalties, most recently with the East Coast Hockey League's Elmira Jackals.

Garrett Klotz
Blaze

Latest headlines: Illegal skin products on sale in Coventry; and former special constable jailed

Vanessa Pearce

BBC Local Live

Here's a recap of some of our main stories:

- Investigation finds illegal skin bleaching products being sold in Coventry

- Former Warwickshire special constable jailed for abuse

- Plans for Stratford big wheel approved

Drones in plane near misses every week

Daniel Wainwright

Data unit - English regions

More near misses between drones and aircraft over the UK were reported in the first six months of 2016 than the whole of the previous year.

New figures show there were 34 reported near misses, including one in Coventry, between January and June, compared with 29 for all of 2015.

Drone with aircraft in background
Getty Images

Future of homeless Coventry Bees could be decided within days

Coventry Telegraph

The future of homeless Coventry Bees could become clearer within the next two weeks as “positive talks” continue with the owners of the speedway team’s Brandon Stadium.  

Watch: 'I use cream to make myself lighter'

An Afro-Caribbean model has spoken about the pressures to lighten skin, after a BBC investigation discovered illegal skin bleaching products being sold in Coventry.

Mutsa Chikwana, 24, from Coventry, said she hid her products from her daughter and tried to teach her that "black is beautiful".

Trading Standards have seized the illegal products which were being sold.

Big Picture: Chesterton Windmill

BBC News England

Each day we feature a photograph sent in from across England - and today's was taken by Deano Moore of Chesterton Windmill in Warwickshire.

He said the photo was taken after a downfall of rain  

Chesterton Windmill
Deano Moore

If you have a picture you'd like to share, email us at england@bbc.co.uk, post it on Facebook or tweet it to @BBCEngland. You can also find us on Instagram - use #englandsbigpicture to share an image there.  

Stratford teacher takes on 11-hour commute to work

It took one teacher 11 hours to get to work at Stratford's King Edward VI School today, as he joined colleagues in a Duke of Edinburgh Award challenge.

To mark the 60th anniversary of the awards, about 30 teachers at the school decided to walk in.

Award co-ordinator Rachel Biggs said the distances ranged from the headmaster walking "18 paces and a flight of stairs" to head of computer science Richard Barfoot walking 36 miles".

"I think he's probably planning on getting the train home," she said.

You can follow their journeys on Twitter.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Illegal skin products seized in Coventry

BBC Coventry & Warwickshire

National Trading Standards has joined with UK Border Force officials to tackle banned skin bleaching products getting into the country.

Warwickshire Trading Standards officer Eleanor Lake said the authority had seized 1,000 illegal skin products at Coventry airport since May.

Eleanor Lake
BBC

"We've found that some of them have contained up to 13% hydroquinone and significant amounts of mercury and these are dangerous substances which can lead to cancers.

"The idea is that they're putting these products on their skin to make themselves more beautiful - but ultimately they're causing themselves harm".

You can listen back to our special programme here.

Rare bat species saved

Endangered bats roosting in a Hampton-in-Arden property earmarked for demolition have been saved, West Midlands Police says.

Several rare species had been discovered ahead of works in 2012, meaning development could only go ahead if their protection and safe migration was guaranteed. But as work got under way last year, a builder found a bat under a roof tile.    

Brown long-eared bat (not actual one)
West Midlands Police

It was found the developer had ignored previous instruction to protect the animals.

Police say he was spared prosecution after apologising and agreeing to build dedicated environments to house the bats.

Warwickshire MPs switch support to Theresa May in leadership race

The two Warwickshire MPs who'd previously supported Stephen Crabb in the Conservative leadership race are now both backing Theresa May.

Mark Pawsey, MP for Rugby, and Attorney General Jeremy Wright - MP for Kenilworth and Southam - have pledged their support for the Home Secretary as MPs vote today for a shortlist of two candidates who then go forward to a vote of members.

View more on twitter

Russell thinks castle is something to 'Crowe' about

Hollywood star Russell Crowe is in the UK and here's what he had to say about a local tourist attraction.

View more on twitter

Former Warwickshire special constable jailed for abuse

A judge at Warwick Crown Court told former Special Constable Ronald Potter he was "effectively leading a double life" as he jailed him for indecently assaulting a boy.

Sentencing the 79-year-old from Tippers Hill lane, Fillongley, to three years in prison, Judge Sylvia de Bertadano accepted the pensioner was previously of exemplary character who had forged a successful business. 

Ronald Potter
West Midlands Police

She said: "I don't doubt that these proceedings have caused you very considerable stress. You were effectively leading a double life which few of your friends or family knew about or even suspected." 

Budget airline move to create hundreds of jobs

Peter Plisner

BBC Midlands Today

Budget airline Jet2.com say its move to Birmingham Airport will create hundreds of jobs.

The company will be flying to 15 routes from the city next year and basing four aircraft in the region.

Launch of J2.com
BBC

Stratford big wheel gets go-ahead

Vanessa Pearce

BBC Local Live

Plans to build a big wheel in Stratford-upon-Avon were approved by councillors at a planning meeting last night.

The observation wheel could be up to 50m high and will stand on part of the town's Recreation Ground car park.

Artist impression of Stratford Big Wheel
De-Koning leisure Group

Councillors voted five to two in favour of the plans, despite objections from local businesses and members of the public.

Mark Cargil, chairman of the planning committee, said: "This was a finely balanced decision taking into account all sides of the argument, however, in the end, it was the expected benefits to the tourist experience in Stratford that overcame objections."

On Midlands Today: Rise in wildlife crime

Bob Hockenhull

BBC Midlands Today

Join me on Midlands Today at lunchtime when I'll be speaking to a police officer who saved a number of protected animals from a developer in Warwickshire.

Tune in to BBC One at 1.30pm.

View more on twitter

Watch: Latest weather for Coventry and Warwickshire

Sara Blizzard

BBC Weather

Thick cloud could bring spots of light rain this afternoon, mainly towards the west, and top temperatures of 19C (66F).

HS2 campaigners warn of 'more cuts to come'

Campaigners opposed to the High Speed 2 rail project claimed "there will be more cuts to come" after it was recommended that plans for a new station in Sheffield should be dropped.

The first phase of the high-speed line, passing through Warwickshire, is expected to be completed by around 2026 and will reduce London to Birmingham rail journey times by 32 minutes.

Artist impression of HS2
Other

Joe Rukin, Kenilworth resident and campaign manager for Stop HS2, said: "This cut to the HS2 project is one in a long line of cuts, and it is certain there will be more cuts to come, but the irony is it is a vindication of all those who said any new high speed link should go into existing stations."

Last month rail experts warned the project was "over-priced".

Tudgay signs one-year Coventry deal

BBC Sport

Coventry City forward Marcus Tudgay has agreed a new one-year deal, keeping him at the League One side until June 2017.  

Marcus Tudgay
Getty Images

The 33-year-old joined the Sky Blues from Nottingham Forest in 2014 and has made 50 appearances.

"I'm delighted to see Marcus stay at the club for another season," boss Tony Mowbray told the club's website.

"He is a player who has a presence in the dressing room and is an important figure for some of the younger players at the club."

Con man's victims left 'deeply upset'

Atherstone & Coleshill Herald

On our front page this week: An Atherston con man who targeted elderly people in a courier scam has been convicted.

Front page
Atherstone & Coleshill Herald

New operator announced for Birmingham Airport

Leisure airline and package holiday company Jet2 has announced they'll be operating out of Birmingham Airport from summer 2017.

View more on twitter

Illegal skin bleaching products on sale in Coventry

BBC Coventry & Warwickshire

Illegal skin bleaching products are being sold in shops in Coventry, our investigation has found.

Cosmetics which claim to lighten skin by using cancer-linked chemical hydroquinone were banned in the EU in 2001.

Illegal skin bleach products
BBC
Products recovered by Trading Standards

A reporter was able to buy six creams and three tested positive for hydroquinone.  

Analytical chemist Andrew Reid said of the chemical: "It kills cells. It's the sort of thing used to clean toilets."  

Nine jailed over abuse of Birmingham boy in care

Nine men have been jailed after a teenager in local authority care was subjected to "horrifying" sexual abuse.

The boy was "sold like goods" in Birmingham's red light area during 2009 and 2010, Warwick Crown Court was told.

Ronald Potter
BBC

The inquiry led to the identification of another victim who was indecently assaulted by former Special Constable Ronald Potter about 15 years ago.

Potter, 79, from Tippers Hill Lane, Fillongley, near Coventry, was jailed for three years.

Latest: Illegal skin products on sale; nine jailed over abuse

Vanessa Pearce

BBC Local Live

These are some of our headlining stories today:

- Investigation finds illegal skin products on sale in Coventry

- Nine jailed over abuse of boy in care

- Marcus Tudgay signs one-year Coventry deal

Watch: Latest weather for Coventry and Warwickshire

Sara Blizzard

BBC Weather

A rather cloudy day with a few showers, although a few breaks in the cloud may occur from time to time allowing a little brightness and highs of 19C (66F).

Travel: Accident on A444

BBC Travel

An accident is causing problems on the A444 in Coventry near the M6 J3 island junction.

More details on BBC Travel. 

Good morning from Coventry and Warwickshire Live

Vanessa Pearce

BBC Local Live

Welcome to our live service for Friday.

I'm in the Coventry newsroom bringing you all the latest news, sport, travel and weather updates throughout the day.

You can get in touch with us via email or tweet us @BBCCovWarks.