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Summary

  1. Updates on Wednesday 27 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.

Reward offered after phone and broadband lines damaged

A £1,000 reward is being offered for information after a spate of damage on broadband and phone lines in parts of Worcester and Kidderminster. 

Some rural households and businesses have been left without broadband and phone connections. 

There have been 15 attacks on telecommunications networks over the past two months. 

Crimestoppers and BT say they will give the award if information leads to an arrest and conviction.

Warriors: Alex Grove to leave at the end of the season

Centre Alex Grove will leave Worcester Warriors at the end of the season, the club has announced.

Alex Grove
Getty Images

He began his 10-year career with the Worcester Academy and went on to make 152 appearances for the club, scoring 29 tries.

I must thank our incredible fans. Thank you to each and every one of you for your support over the years. I look forward to returning to Sixways to support the boys in the coming seasons. See you on the terraces."

Alex Grove

Are you being hit by hail, snow or frozen ice pellets?

There are some major wintry showers around in Herefordshire and Worcestershire today.

If you're confused over the difference between sleet, snow and hail then the Met Office has this handy guide.

If you get caught in one of the storms, and it is safe to do so, send us a picture - you can emailtweet us on @bbchw or message via Facebook.

Hailstones
BBC

Cycling boss denies allegations

Shane Sutton, who has been a GB coach since 2002, denies Varnish's claims, which include a sexist comment about her body shape.  

He previously said her contract was not renewed because her times had slowed over the past three years and she was unlikely to win a medal. 

Sutton said he looked "forward to taking a full part in the review process so I can respond to the allegations in detail".

Shane Sutton
Getty Images

British Cycling had already begun an independent review into its performance programmes following Varnish's comments.

Watch: Weather for Herefordshire and Worcestershire

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

Showers at first this evening could be heavy and thundery in places, but should die out in most parts by midnight. 

It will then be a cold night with a widespread frost. Lows of 1C ( 34F). 

Jess Varnish backed by Olympic champions

Olympic champions Victoria Pendleton and Nicole Cooke both backed Bromsgrove sprinter Jess Varnish and criticised British Cycling. 

"I know exactly how miserable they made me," said Victoria Pendleton (pictured with Jess Varnish at London 2012), now retired from track cycling. "I never really felt I had the same respect as my male teammates."

Cooke, a road specialist who is also retired, added: "I have my own experiences of Shane and sympathise with Jess. Speak out and your dreams will be destroyed and years of hard work wasted. Or put up with it and hope."

Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish competed together in the team sprint at London 2012
Getty Images

Conviction over illegal waste dump

A man has been sentenced after admitting running an illegal hazardous waste site in Worcestershire (pictured). 

Illegal waste dump
Environment Agency

Michael Wright, who traded under the name Port Oils, illegally stored 3,000 litres (660 gallons) of waste oil at the site at Smethwick Drop Forge in Kidderminster. 

A judge at Worcester Crown Court gave him a six-month suspended sentence and 150 hours of unpaid work.

Latest: Cycling chief quits after Varnish allegations; man admits running an illegal waste dump; dig at town car park

BBC Hereford and Worcester

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

- The technical director of British Cycling has resigned following allegations of sexism from Bromsgrove's Jess Varnish

- A man from Kidderminster has been sentenced after admitting running an illegal hazaroudous waste site

- Archaeological dig ahead of car park redevelopment in Bromsgrove

Archaeological dig to start at car park

Archaeologists are to begin a dig at a car par in Bromsgrove on 11 May, before it is redeveloped.

The capacity of the Hanover Street car park will be reduced by a third while the investigations are carried out, the council says.

Hanover Street car park, Bromsgrove
Google

The archaeological dig is compulsory to make sure that the planned development isn’t being built on anything it shouldn’t be."

Guy RevansBromsgrove District Council

Travel: Vandals target traffic lights near Kidderminster

The damage to the lights at Black Bridge near Kidderminster should be repaired by the weekend.

View more on twitter

Hailstorm hits Hereford

Nicola Goodwin

Reporter, BBC Hereford & Worcester

I've just taken this photo out of the window of our office in Broad Street as a 10-minute hail storm hits the city.

Hail storm
BBC

Cycling boss resigns: Varnish allegations had become 'a distraction'

British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton says he has resigned because the allegations against him had "become a distraction" to British athletes and he decided to step down "in the best interests of British Cycling". 

Shane Sutton
Getty Images

Bromsgrove cyclist Jess Varnish alleged he had made sexist comments towards her and told her to "go and have a baby".

He had been suspended while the sporting body investigated allegations of derogatory comments about Para-cyclists.  

I have made clear that I reject the specific claims that have been made against me in recent days, and I look forward to taking a full part in the review process so I can respond to the allegations in detail."

Shane Sutton

Cycling boss quits amid sexism and discrimination claims

British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton has resigned amid claims of sexism and discrimination towards elite cyclists.

Jess Varnish
BBC

He had been suspended while the sporting body investigated allegations of derogatory comments about Para-cyclists.

Bromsgsrove's Jess Varnish previously said Sutton made sexist comments towards her and told her to "go and have a baby".

Travel: Accident closes one lane on the A443

The road is closed at Great Witley - more from BBC Travel.

View more on twitter

Independent 'peer review' launched at County Hall

Worcester News

An independent root-and-branch investigation is taking place into Worcestershire County Council in a bid to see how the authority is faring.  

Latest: Call for Hillsborough criminal proceedings; illegal waste trader convicted; reward after phone line arsons

BBC Hereford and Worcester

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

- Hillsborough survivor calls for criminal proceedings against those responsible

- A man from Kidderminster has been sentenced after admitting running an illegal hazardous waste site

- A reward is being offered after a spate of damage on broadband and phone lines

Couple visa joy welcomed by their MP

The decision to grant a visa that will allow a couple who've been married for 45 years to be reunited has been welcomed by their local MP, who raised their case in parliament.

David and Maria Summers moved to Hereford from Canada to look after his mother, but Mrs Summers was sent back after officials said they didn't have enough money.

David and Maria Summers
Summers family

Jesse Norman, the MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire, raised the couple's case at Prime Minister’s Questions in November.

This has been a long and frustrating struggle, and it has gone on for far too long. But this decision now means Maria has the right to enter the country again and remain in the UK for at least 10 years."

Jesse Norman

Travel: A438 reopens

BBC Travel

Police say the A438 in Tarrington has now reopened after the earlier crash.

Road closed in Tarrington

BBC Travel

The A438 is closed in both directions in Tarrington, Herefordshire, after a crash

Police are on the scene and it's closed between School Road and the A417 (Trumpet).

Two people in hospital after multi-vehicle crash

Two people have been taken to Hereford County Hospital after a three-car crash at St Owen's Cross in the city.

A man in his 70s had to be cut free from his vehicle and another person is being treated for minor injuries, the ambulance service says.

The collision happened at the junction of the A49 and B4521 just after 09:30 this morning - accident investigation work is still taking place at the scene.

Your pictures: Bright sun on a cold day

Jerry Chester

BBC News Online

This picture taken in Bromsgrove by BBC Weather Watchers Chris and Ginny perfectly sums up how today's bright sunshine doesn't mean it's warm outside.

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

Sunlight on plants
Chris and Ginny

Warriors announce season ticket prices

There will be Premiership rugby at Sixways again next season.

View more on twitter

Boy taken to hospital after being hit by car

Joe Baldwin

News Editor, BBC Hereford & Worcester

A four-year-old boy has been taken to hospital after a crash involving a car in Worcester.

West Mercia Police say they were called at 8:49 to reports of the collision on Bromwich Lane.

An ambulance took the boy to hospital, but the extent of his injuries are so far unclear.

Watch: Historic gates to return to 'Royal' estate

James Pearson

Journalist, BBC Hereford & Worcester

I've been to meet blacksmith Steven Cooper, who repaired the massive gates to the Wood Norton estate, near Evesham, after they were damaged in a car crash and has been looking after them ever since. 

Now the new owners of the estate, which was once the home of the French royal family, are about to take them back.

Latest: Prosecutions call by Hillsborough survivor; couple win visa battle; Varnish backed by Olympic champions

BBC Hereford and Worcester

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

- A Herefordshire man who survived the Hillsborough disaster has called for criminal prosecutions

- Couple forced to live in different countries win visa battle

- Olympic champions back Jess Varnish over sexism claims

Volunteers search for plants - despite the snow

It may have been freezing cold with outbreaks of snow, but these volunteers weren't put off carrying out a plant survey on the Malvern Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

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Watch: Latest forecast for Herefordshire and Worcestershire

Charlie Slater

BBC Weather presenter

A day of sunny spells and widespread showers, these turning heavy and wintry in places, with the risk of hail and thunder too. Highs of 8C (46F).

Watch: Junior doctors strike for a second day

Nicola Goodwin

Reporter, BBC Hereford & Worcester

These junior doctors were on the picket line in Hereford for the second day of their strike - the first where they will not provide emergency cover.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt says withdrawing emergency care is "a very disproportionate action".

Suspended cycling chief denies sexism allegations

BBC Sport

British Cycling's technical director Shane Sutton has denied making sexist comments to Bromsgrove sprinter Jess Varnish (pictured) and telling her to "go and have a baby".

He has been suspended amid an investigation into discrimination allegations.

Jess Varnish
Getty Images

"There was never any talk of babies," he told The Times. "I don't know where that's come from."

He claimed Varnish had not been "up to the job", adding: "Jess was not one of the greats. It's sad she's come out and said the things she said."

Historic gates to return to Worcestershire estate

James Pearson

Journalist, BBC Hereford & Worcester

A set of ornamental gates that stood at the entrance to a Worcestershire estate are to be returned, 13 years after they were damaged in a car crash. 

Wood Norton gates
BBC

Until a car damaged them in 2003, the gates were at the entrance to the Wood Norton Estate, between Pershore and Evesham - built by exiled French royalty in the 19th Century. 

Since then they've been in a forge in Pershore run by blacksmith Steven Cooper and will now be returned to the estate's new owners.

They're very big - they weigh just over a tonne apiece."

Watch; Worcestershire player's bat snaps as he faces first ball

Worcestershire's Ben Cox had an interesting start to day three of the match against Gloucestershire - his bat snapped as he faced the first ball.

Latest: Hillsborough court action call; cycling boss suspended; visa joy for separated couple

Kate West

Journalist, BBC Hereford & Worcester

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

- The sister of a Bromsgrove man who died at Hillsborough says she'll never stop fighting to see those responsible in court

British Cycling has suspended its technical director following allegations of sexism by Bromsgrove sprinter Jess Varnish

- A Herefordshire man can be reunited with his wife of 45 years after she was granted a visa

Travel: Accident closes Worcester road

Bromwich Lane in Worcester is closed following a crash - more from BBC Travel.

View more on twitter

Revenge pornography victims as young as 11, investigation finds

West Mercia Police have investigated 29 cases of incidents of so called revenge porn over the past year, figures revealed to the BBC have shown.

No action was taken by the force in three-quarters of the cases.

Person typing on a laptop
Daviles

The BBC analysed Freedom of Information requests from 31 forces in England and Wales between April and December.    

Children as young as 11 are among more than 1,000 alleged victims of revenge porn who reported offences in the first year of the new law coming into effect, it has been revealed.  

Visa joy for man separated from his wife

A Hereford man is set to be reunited with his wife, after the government changed its mind over giving her a visa. 

David and Maria Summers (pictured), who have been married for 45 years, moved to Hereford from Canada to look after his mother. But Mrs Summers was sent back after officials said they didn't have enough money. 

Now Maria has been told she can stay in the UK again for at least 10 years.

David and Maria Summers
Summers family

It means she can travel, she can come here without being arrested at customs - although we talk two or three times a day it's not like having her here by my side."

David Summers

Listen: 'I think the underestimated what it's like to lose a loved one'

BBC Hereford and Worcester

Andy Bevan, a Herefordshire man who survived the crush that killed 96 fans in the Hillsborough disaster, gives a moving account of his memories of the day.

He condemns "the audacity" of those who tried to blame the fans for what happened and the lies told afterwards.

British Cycling chief suspended over discrimination claims

BBC Sport

British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton has been suspended amid an investigation into discrimination allegations.

Shane Sutton
Getty Images

It follows a report in the Daily Mail that claimed Sutton made derogatory comments about Para-cyclists.

Cyclist Jess Varnish previously said Sutton made sexist comments towards her and told her to "go and have a baby".