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  1. Updates on Wednesday 20 April 2016
  2. News, sport, travel and weather updates to resume at 08:00 on Thursday

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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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 Thursday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather.

Paths in park closed so potholes can be repaired

Paths in Sanders Park in Bromsgrove may be closed next week as potholes are fixed, the council is warning.

Sanders Park, Bromsgrove

Work will start on Tuesday, 29 April, on paths, the car park and the entrance, where there is a particularly large pothole.

Whilst the work may cause some disruption to visitors on Tuesday, it is essential that it is completed in order to improve the park ready to receive lots of visitors throughout the spring and summer as the weather improves.”

Rod LaightBromsgrove District Council

Watch: 'Don't get hung up on Harriers' next manager'

Trevor Owens

Sports Editor, BBC Hereford & Worcester

Kidderminster Harriers' chief executive, Colin Gordon, says he is at a loss as to why there is so much interest in the appointment of the new head coach or manager at Aggborough.   

He says an announcement will be made in due course.  

Japanese Olympics officials seek legacy advice from university

Officials planning the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020 have been to the University of Worcester to get advice on how to create a legacy after the event has finished.

The university has been giving advice on inclusive sport - it is the home the Great Britain wheelchair basketball squad and opened the University Arena after the London 2012 games.

University Arena, Worcester

I have introduced the university’s philosophy to the Tokyo 2020 organising committee in an attempt to spread that message, and I will be strongly encouraging them to work and study alongside the University of Worcester."

Dr Nobuko TanakaCEO of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee

Watch: The weather for Herefordshire and Worcestershire

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

There will be largely clear skies across the area overnight, with light winds too. This will lead to a patchy frost forming in rural spots, with the odd fog patch possible.

More time to quiz murder suspect

BBC News England

Detectives investigating the murder of a man who was stabbed to death on Father's Day are given more time to question a suspect.

Christian Bagley, 30, died in hospital after being stabbed in the arm and back under Hunderton Bridge in Hereford last June.  

Christian Bagley
West Mercia Police

Travel: Rail problems continue in Worcestershire

These are caused between a signalling fault between Droitwich and Worcester.

View more on twitter

Dead otter found in Worcestershire sent for post-mortem tests

A dead otter found in Malvern has been sent to a specialist centre in Cardiff to found out how it died.

Dead otter
Worcestershire Wildlife Trust

The animal was found by a former staff member of the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust - the charity then arranged for it to be sent to the Otter Project based at Cardiff University, which monitors deaths of the species.

Latest: Armed robber strikes a second bookmaker; SAS hero dies; Varnish dropped

Claudia Berry

Producer, BBC Hereford & Worcester

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

- A second bookmakers in Redditch has been raided by armed robbers within the space of three days

- A SAS hero decorated for his role in an airport hostage rescue has died

- Bromsgrove's Jess Varnish is dropped from the GB cycling squad

Watch: Amnesty offer for Bulls pitch invaders

Hereford FC officials say supporters who were involved in pitch invasions or disorder in the club’s Midland Football League matches at Dunkirk or Alvechurch that they have until midnight tonight to take advantage of an amnesty.

The club says a number of fans have already come forward and admitted their involvement and they are hoping to set up a Supporters Awareness Course rather than handing out banning orders.

Anyone who is yet to come forward is being urged to do so as the club has video evidence and those who don’t volunteer themselves will be more at risk of a banning order that could lead to them missing the FA Vase final against Morpeth Town at Wembley on Sunday, 22 May.

Your pictures: Early morning on the river

Jerry Chester

BBC News Online

This picture was taken from the Sabrina footbridge in Worcester by Hugo Sugg.

Send me any great shots you have of Herefordshire and Worcestershire - you can emailtweet us on @bbchw or message via Facebook.

River bridges in Worcester
Hugo Sugg

Doubling of free childcare 'could force nurseries to close'

Judith Burns

Education reporter

Nearly 750 childcare providers say they fear being put out of business by government plans to double free hours, says the Pre-school Learning Alliance.  

Children playing

In 2017, free care for three and four-year-olds will rise from 15 to 30 hours in each term-time week.

But childcare providers say the scheme is underfunded, and 49% of 1,500 who chose to respond to an online survey said they could be forced to close.

Ministers say many providers are keen to take part in the scheme.

Jess Varnish dropped: 'Not made the necessary gains in performance'

Jess Varnish has been dropped from the GB cycling squad "based on a projection of medal competitiveness at Olympic level", says British Cycling technical director, Shane Sutton.

The 25-year-old cyclist missed out on selection for the Rio Olympics after she and Katy Marchant finished fifth at last month's World Championships. 

Jess Varnish and Katy Marchant

Afterwards she strongly criticised British Cycling for "bad decisions".  

Since her gold medal at the London World Cup in 2012, Jess had not made the necessary gains in performance compared to the rest of the world."

Shane SuttonBritish Cycling technical director

UK unemployment rises to 1.7m

UK unemployment rose by 21,000 to 1.7 million between December and February, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) says.

That is the first increase since the May-July period of last year.

"It's too soon to be certain, but with unemployment up for the first time since mid-2015 - and employment seeing its slowest rise since that period - it's possible that recent improvements in the labour market may be easing off," ONS statistician Nick Palmer said.  


Second armed robbery at bookmakers

There's been a second armed robbery at a bookmakers in Redditch, police say.

West Mercia Police say that at approximately 09:05 this morning a man threatened staff with a gun at a bookmakers on Shakespeare Avenue, before leaving with "a quantity of cash".

Shakespeare Avenue, Redditch

On Monday, a man stole cash from bookmakers on Batchley Road, again after threatening staff with a firearm.

Police say extra patrols are being carried out in the area, focusing on other bookmakers.

All possible lines of inquiry are being pursued and that includes the possibility both incidents could be linked."

Det Insp John Cashion

Latest: Armed robbery at bookmakers; SAS hostage hero dies; school launches space camera

Claudia Berry

Producer, BBC Hereford & Worcester

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

- Second armed robbery at bookmakers

- SAS hero from airport hostage rescue dies

- Camera on a balloon sent into space by Herefordshire schoolchildren

Social worker shortage: Council says more have been recruited

More social workers have been recruited to tackle a shortage, but vacancies still remain, Herefordshire Council says.

The authority had a higher percentage of children's social worker vacancies than any other council in the West Midlands, according to figures for the year to September 2015.  

The council say one in five social worker jobs at the council are empty because it's hard to keep staff - it has recently recruited Romanian workers and graduates to fill its vacancies.

One of the things that's being reported has been the move into agency work, where the pay has been significantly greater that the pay that permanent social workers get."

Jo DavidsonDirector of Children's Wellbeing

New police chief for West Mercia and Warwickshire

A new assistant chief constable has been appointed for the West Mercia Police and Warwickshire Police forces.

Chief Superintendent Amanda Blakeman has been carrying out the role on a temporary basis since 2014.

She began her career with the West Mercia force in 1992.

Amanda Blakeman
West Mercia Police

Highest number of child deaths occur in the West Midlands

BBC News England

The biggest number of child deaths occur in the West Midlands, new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal.

This goes against the national trend, which has seen the number of babies dying before their first birthday in England and Wales fall to its lowest ever rate

Infant mortality figures

Watch: The weather for Herefordshire and Worcestershire

Sara Blizzard

BBC Weather

There will be plenty of sunshine across the region, although skies turning hazy from the southwest through the late afternoon.  Highs of 15C (59F).

Your pictures: Beautiful spring morning in Worcester

BBC Weather Watchers

This photo was taken in Worcester by BBC Weather Watcher Mikesnapper.

You can send me your photos from around Herefordshire and Worcestershire to be featured on this page by emailtweet us on @bbchw or message via Facebook.

Fields and trees

SAS hero from airport hijack rescue dies

One of the SAS team who took part in the hostage rescue operation at Mogadishu Airport in 1977 has died.

Barry Davies, who was born in Shrewsbury and served in the Hereford-based regiment for 18 years, was awarded the British Empire Medal for the storming of Lufthansa Flight 181.

Barry Davies
BCB International

Jessica Varnish dropped from Great Britain cycling team

BBC Sport

Bromsgrove's Jess Varnish (pictured below, left) has been dropped from the Great Britain team after failing to qualify for the 2016 Olympics. 

British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton said: "The decision was based on a projection of medal competitiveness at Olympic level." 

Jessica varnish and Becky James

She participated in the team sprint alongside Victoria Pendleton at London 2012, breaking the world record in qualifying before being disqualified in the semi-finals.

Latest: Bid to save engineering jobs; children's social worker shortage; Jess Varnish dropped from GB cycling team

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

- Bosses at a Worcester engineering firm facing administration are trying to see if any part of the company can be saved

- Social workers recruited from Romania as council tackles shortage

- The Bromsgrove cyclist Jess Varnish has been dropped from the Great Britain cycling team

Watch: Bulls players get ready for Wembley trip

Nicola Goodwin

Reporter, BBC Hereford & Worcester

I've been to meet some Hereford FC players who been visiting the club's new shop to kit themselves out ahead of their trip to Wembley for the FA Vase final on 22 May.

'High demand' for skills of engineering workers facing redundancy

James Pearson

Journalist, BBC Hereford & Worcester

The MP for Worcester, Robin Walker, says it's concerning that people are facing redundancy at one of the city's most established firms, but says their skills are in "high" demand. 

A hundred people could lose their jobs at the engineering company Froude Hofmann, which has announced it's planning to go into administration.

Froude Hofmann factory gate

Where there is more hope is that speaking to other engineering firms in the city there is a high level of demand for engineering skills at the moment."

Robin WalkerWorcester MP

City have a man sent off in Lowestoft loss

Trevor Owens

Sports Editor, BBC Hereford & Worcester

Worcester City are not mathematically safe, but they look as though they have now just about done enough not to be dragged into the relegation battle in Vanarama North. City were last night beaten 2-1 in their game at Lowestoft Town but are five points above the drop zone with two games remaining. 

Lee Hughes gave City a third-minute lead but they also had Daniel Nti sent off for a second yellow card in the final minute of the game.

Bus company apologies to disabled man told to 'hurry up'

First Bus has apologised after one of its drivers told a Worcester man with a muscle-wasting condition to "hurry up" getting off the vehicle because he was "holding up the traffic". 

Christian Fulton, 33, is the face of a West Midlands campaign for a national charity, aimed at stamping out discrimination on taxis, trains and buses towards people with Muscular Dystrophy. 

Christian Fulton
Muscular Distrophy UK

It's not acceptable - it's as simple as that. We train our drivers quite closely into the requirements of those with any form of disability, be it obvious or not, and hence when we found out about this we took appropriate action."

Nigel EggletonManaging director, First Bus

Worcester News front page: Worcester engineering firm set for administration

Worcester News

A city engineering firm looks set to go into administration putting up to 100 jobs at risk, the Worcester News has learned.  

Worcester News front page
Worcester News

Latest: MP offers hope to workers laid off; social worker shortage; bus company apologises to disable man

Kate West

Journalist, BBC Hereford & Worcester

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

- "High demand" for skills of engineering workers facing redundancy in Worcester says MP

- Shortage of children's social workers is being tackled, council says

- Bus company apologises to disabled man told to "hurry up" when leaving one of their services

Travel: Trains diverted due to signalling problems

Due to the signalling fault between Droitwich and Worcester Foregate Street, trains are being diverted though Worcester Shrub Hill.

View more on twitter

Bulls win to maintain their lead at the top

Trevor Owens

Sports Editor, BBC Hereford & Worcester

Hereford FC remain 10 points clear at the top of the Midland Football League table after they last night won 3-0 at third-placed Sporting Khalsa. Goals from Pablo Haysham, Mike Symonds and Rob Purdie (pictured), who scored a penalty, wrapped up an important win for the Bulls.

Rob Purdie
Getty Images

Your pictures: Sunny morning in the Teme valley

Jerry Chester

BBC News Online

It's a lovely morning - Lynette took this picture in the Teme valley.

I'd love to feature your photos on this page - you can emailtweet us on @bbchw or message via Facebook.

Teme valley

Travel: Signalling fault hits Worcestershire train services

The fault is between Droitwich Spa and Worcester Foregate Street.

View more on twitter

Shortage of child social workers in Herefordshire

Herefordshire has a higher percentage of children's social worker vacancies than any other council in the West Midlands. 

More than one in three jobs are still waiting to be filled and it's a similar position across the UK where councils are relying on agency workers to cover the positions.

Child sitting in window