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Summary

  1. Updates on Thursday 7 April March 2016
  2. News, sport, travel and weather updates to resume at 08:00 on Friday

Live Reporting

By Jerry Chester

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage across the day

Live updates for Herefordshire and Worcestershire have finished for the day but we'll be back from 08:00 on Friday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather.

Warriors artificial pitch 'will allow more Sixways concerts'

Installing an artificial pitch at Sixways means the Worcester Warriors ground will be able to be used for "concerts, festivals and other non-rugby events", according to the club's chief executive, Jim O'Toole.

In the past, Sixways has hosted concerts, including one by Status Quo.

Status Quo
BBC

The pitch is currently used for fewer than 100 hours per season - and eight to 10 weeks have to be allocated over the summer to refurbish it, the club says.

It is a significant investment on behalf of the ownership and is another step in our journey to make the business profitable in the long term."

Jim O'TooleWarriors chief executive

Legal highs smuggled into prisons inside letters

Louise Brierley

Reporter, BBC Midlands Today

Scientists say legal highs are being smuggled into prisons in letters to inmates. 

Bio-chemists at Sandwell Hospital have analysed correspondence from five jails in the Midlands.

They found sheets of paper soaked with psychoactive substances. 

It's thought that once inside the prison they can change hands for hundreds of pounds.

Ambulance service rules out full Midlands merger

The chairman of the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) has said this afternoon that they are not planning a full merger with West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS). 

EMAS is in talks with its neighbouring service about working more closely together.

Ambulance
PA

It comes with the East Midlands service struggling financially and having some of the worst response times in England. 

In a statement, EMAS chair Pauline Tagg said they had discussed ways within the NHS to "strengthen our leadership".

She added that discussions had been held with WMAS about its chief executive Dr Anthony Marsh working with them, but options "are still being explored".

Travel: Lane blocked on M5

BBC Travel

Traffic is queuing on the M5 northbound after an accident between J7 for the A44 (Worcester) and J6 for the A449. 

One lane is blocked.

Watch: Weather forecast for Herefordshire and Worcestershire

Sara Thornton

BBC Weather

Mainly dry overnight with just isolated showers affecting some parts, most likely during the evening.  Lows of 6C (43F).

Travel: Bulls fans urged to plan their trip and parking

There is not a lot of off-street parking around Alvechurch's ground - the Bulls play there tonight in a second versus first clash. Full commentary on BBC Hereford & Worcester's 94.7 FM frequency and online.

View more on twitter

Arrest after woman assaulted in car

A man has been arrested after a woman was forced to perform a sex act in a car outside a pub in Worcester, police say.

West Mercia Police say the victim was a woman in her 20s and the incident happened opposite the Wheatsheaf Inn on Henwick Road, between 22:10 and 23;00 on 16 March.

Police want to speak to any witnesses, particularly a man wearing a fluorescent jacket who was riding a bicycle.

A 23-year-old man from Sutton Coldfield was arrested in connection with the incident and was released on police bail until Thursday 19 May, a spokesman said.  

Latest: Drugs operation in Worcester; man arrested after alleged sexual assault in car; artificial pitch for Sixways

Michael Perkins

BBC Hereford & Worcester

Here are some of the main stories we are looking at in Herefordshire and Worcestershire:

- Seven arrests have been made following a drugs operation in Worcester

- Police have arrested a 23-year-old man after allegations of a sexual assault in Worcester

- Worcester Warriors are to install a new artificial grass playing surface at Sixways in time for next season

Warriors new artificial pitch: Some facts

- Warriors will be the third side in the Premiership to play on an artificial pitch

- Saracens were the first to use an artificial surface in 2013, followed the next season by Newcastle Falcons (pictured).

- Sixways will be the first in the United Kingdom with an organic infill, rather than the more widely used rubber crumb made from shredded car tyres

Newcastle's Kingston Park pitch
Getty Images

Impressionist to host green awards ceremony

Worcestershire-born impressionist and actor Alistair McGowan will host the Intelligently Green Awards ceremony, being run by Wychavon District Council.

Alistair McGowan
BBC

The awards are about celebrating local green projects, activities and lifestyles that also benefit the community or save money. The ceremony is on 17 June.

I’m delighted to be part of Wychavon’s Intelligently Green Awards and to be part of a scheme that celebrates all that is innovative and community-driven when it comes to being environmentally-friendly, especially as it’s all happening in a place that is very close to my heart."

Alistair McGowan

Live commentary: Bulls in top-of-the-table-clash

Trevor Owens

Sports Editor, BBC Hereford & Worcester

Hereford FC take on leaders Alvechurch tonight - the Bulls are two points behind in second place in the Midland Football League.

You can hear full commentary on the game at Lye Meadow on BBC Hereford & Worcester's 94.7 FM frequency and online this evening in a football special from 19:30.

Contenders for rail franchise in Herefordshire and Worcestershire revealed

Three rail firms have been shortlisted to run the West Midlands franchise, including services in this area.  

London Midland train
BBC

Current operator Govia, which owns London Midland, is in the running for the contract which is due to expire in 2017.

West Midlands Trains Ltd, a subsidiary of Dutch-owned Abellio Transport Group, and Hong Kong-based MTR Corporation are also bidding for the franchise.

Fashion illustrator's work goes on show

Work from the 60-year career of the fashion illustrator Angela Landels is going on display at The Hive in Worcester.

Fashion images
Angela Landels

Her work has featured in magazines including Tatler and Harpers Queen - she has also produced illustrations for over 70 book covers.

The exhibition will be held on the Lower Ground Floor at The Hive from Saturday, 16 April to Thursday, 5 May.

WW1 memorial day gets Lottery grant of £9,200

A day commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland and the Battle of The Somme, to be held in a Herefordshire town, has been awarded a lottery grant of £9,200.

It will be held in Ledbury on 25 June, and will feature historical exhibits including a World War One tank and a continuous film show about the Battle of Jutland and the Battle of The Somme.

Soldiers in trenches
PA

In the naval Battle of Jutland, on the 31 May and 1 June 1916, 13 men from Herefordshire were killed - 290 died in the Somme campaign.

[The day will] tell everyone about the sacrifices of a hundred years ago that lie behind the freedoms many people take for granted today.”

Commander Andrew WynnChairman of the organising committee

Rugby Union: Worcester Warriors to install an artificial grass pitch

Worcester Warriors have confirmed they are to play on an artificial grass playing surface at Sixways Stadium next season.

Sixways Stadium
Getty Images

The new pitch is designed to meet all World Rugby synthetic pitch guidelines and will be the first in the UK to feature an organic infill rather than the more widely used rubber crumb made from desiccated car tyres. 

Warriors say the the state-of-the-art, all-weather surface will allow greater use by players at all levels as well as providing commercial opportunities for events and reducing maintenance costs.

Latest: Drug arrests in Worcester; heath bosses plan to cut A&E delays; artificial pitches for the Warriors

Michael Perkins

BBC Hereford & Worcester

Here are some of the main stories we are looking at in Herefordshire and Worcestershire:

- Seven arrests have been made following a drugs operation in Worcester

- Health bosses running the Worcestershire hospitals say they've designed a new rota to try and stop ambulance staff being held up at A&E

- A new generation of artificial grass pitches will be installed at Worcester Warriors Sixways stadium for next year

Your pictures: Hartlebury energy from waste plant

The £125m energy from waste plant, being built just outside Worcester, is expected to be finished by the Autumn.

View more on twitter

Kidderminster Shuttle front page: Day centre to close

Kidderminster Shuttle

Users of a "vital" Stourport day centre have been left devastated after it was announced it would shut this week due to dwindling numbers

Kidderminster Shuttle front page
Kidderminster Shuttle

Pitch invasion being investigated by Bulls

A pitch invasion by "a small number of supporters" after the winning goal by Mike Symons at Dunkirk on Saturday is being investigated, Hereford FC has said.

The club says the invasion was "good natured and celebratory" but it has been "asked for feedback on the behaviour of fans and a report is being compiled".

The club would like to remind supporters that unauthorised entry onto the field of play at any time during any Hereford FC fixture could lead to sanctions against the club."

Hereford FC statement

Injury setback for young Warriors' prop

Trevor Owens

Sports Editor, BBC Hereford & Worcester

Worcester Warriors' young prop, Gareth Milasinovich, faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines after it was confirmed he has ruptured his Achilles tendon. 

The 23-year-old was stretchered off during the defeat at Exeter Chiefs on Saturday.

Gareth Milasinovich being stretchered off the pitch
Getty Images

Watch: Latest weather for Herefordshire and Worcestershire

Charlie Slater

BBC Weather presenter

Brighter spells and scattered showers are likely this afternoon, these turning heavy and thundery in places. Highs of 11C ( 52F) 

Dawn raids on suspected drug gang

Joe Baldwin

News Editor, BBC Hereford & Worcester

A suspected drugs gang, with links to Somalia, has been arrested following dawn raids in Worcester, police say. 

Officers broke into two properties, in Newtown Road and Lichfield Avenue, at 06:30 this morning. 

West Mercia Police say seven people are being questioned on suspicion of supplying Class A drugs and money laundering.

No Grand National return for Worcestershire-trained winner

Tim Race

Producer, BBC Hereford & Worcester

Pineau De Re, the Grand National winner trained in Worcestershire, won't be running in this year's race.

Trainer Dr Richard Newland poses with Pineau De Re
Getty Images

It's just been confirmed the 2014 champion, trained in Claines near Worcester, has missed the cut for the 40-horse field.  

Latest: Drugs raid in Worcester; health bosses act on ambulance delays; no return for Grand National winner

Michael Perkins

BBC Hereford & Worcester

Here are some of the main stories we are looking at in Herefordshire and Worcestershire:

- A suspected drugs gang, with links to Somalia, has been arrested following dawn raids in Worcester

- Health bosses running the Worcestershire hospitals say they've designed a new rota to try and stop ambulance staff being held up in A&E

- Pineau De Re, Worcestershire's Grand National winner, won't be running in this year's race

Your pictures: Sun and clouds

Jerry Chester

BBC News Online

I love this picture, taken at Severn Stoke by BBC Weather Watcher Severn Ridge.

Send me your photos from around Herefordshire and Worcestershire and I'll feature them too - you can emailtweet us on @bbchw or message via Facebook.

Sun behind clouds
Severn Ridge

Hereford Times back page: Top two do battle

Hereford Times

The back page of the Hereford Times looks forward to the top-of-the-table clash between Alvechurch and Hereford FC.

Hereford Times back page
Hereford Times

Child victims of WW1 concert tragedy remembered

Nicola Goodwin

Reporter, BBC Hereford & Worcester

A service at Hereford Cathedral today is remembering the children killed when their costumes caught fire during a charity concert in World War One. You can read the full story here and listen to my radio piece.

View more on twitter

Ambulance services look at possible merger

The East Midlands Ambulance Service has had talks with West Midlands Ambulance Service about a possible merger.

Ambulance service facts
BBC

King John remembered at Worcester Cathedral

The tomb of the King who signed the Magna Carta is in Worcester Cathedral.

View more on twitter

Kidderminster Shuttle back page: Reds close in on new manager

Kidderminster Shuttle

Kidderminster Harriers are closing in on a new manager as the club heads towards relegation from the Vanarama National League.  

Kidderminster Shuttle back page
Kidderminster Shuttle

Watch: Concerns over possible Midlands ambulance services 'merger'

Michele Paduano

Health correspondent, BBC Midlands Today

One health expert believes a possible merger of the East and West Midlands ambulance services might prove drawn out, expensive and not deliver the expected benefits.

Troubled East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) is struggling financially and has some of the worst response times in England.

Iestyn Williams from Health Services Management Centre has concerns about the plan.

Your pictures: Storm clouds over Worcestershire

Jerry Chester

BBC News Online

Rob posted this dramatic picture of him being "chased by storm clouds" while on his way to the pub.

I'd love to feature your photos of Herefordshire and Worcestershire - you can emailtweet us on @bbchw or message via Facebook.

Storm clouds
Rob

How the New Road groundsman prepares for a new season (and the floods)

BBC Sport

Worcestershire's New Road presents a unique problem to the club's head groundsman Tim Packwood.  

BBC Sport found out how he gets ready for a new season on a ground that is regularly flooded

New Road cricket ground under flood water
Getty Images

Hereford Times front page: Bled white by milk prices

Hereford Times

The front page of the Hereford Times has the story of the struggles facing a couple on their dairy farm.

Hereford Times front page
Hereford Times

Midlands ambulance services 'in merger talks'

Michele Paduano

Health correspondent, BBC Midlands Today

Talks are under way into a proposal which could see the West Midlands Ambulance Service merge with the East Midlands

If they go ahead it would see the creation of the biggest ambulance service in the world, serving more than 10 million people.

Ambulances
BBC

Both trusts said discussions on a "range of options" had taken place but talks were at an early stage. 

Latest: Ambulance delays at hospitals; pothole budget gets £1.5m boost; mobile masts health fears

Kate West

Journalist, BBC Hereford & Worcester

Here are some of the main stories we are looking at in Herefordshire and Worcestershire:

- More than 800 hours of ambulance crew time was lost last month in delays at hospital A&E departments in this area

- The government is giving £1.5m to be spent fixing potholes in Herefordshire and Worcestershire

- A Herefordshire woman who claims she has health problems from contact with electro magnetic waves is calling for tighter regulations on mobile phone masts

Pothole repair budget gets £1.5m boost

The government is giving £1.5m to be spent on fixing potholes in Herefordshire and Worcestershire. 

That's enough for councils to repair 30,000 potholes.

Pothole
PA

If you want to nominate any potholes in Herefordshire and Worcestershire that need fixing, send us a picture, as long as it is safe to take one.

You can emailtweet us on @bbchw or message via Facebook.  

Ambulance A&E delays: Trust says it is making 'major changes'

The trusts running hospitals in Worcestershire says it is making "major changes" to cut delays faced by ambulance crews trying to get patients into A&E departments.

More than 800 hours of ambulance crew time was lost across Herefordshire and Worcestershire last month as crews had to wait to hand their patients over at hospitals.

A&E
BBC

Changes planned by the trust at the Worcestershire Royal include:

- Using an outpatient area on the Mulberry Ward to admit patients

- Putting a geriatrician at the front door of A&E to assess elderly frail people with the aim of avoiding admission

- Redesigning A&E help to improve the turn-around times