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Summary

  1. Dumped snakes 'could be part of stolen collection'
  2. No plans for bridge rebuilding until after the summer
  3. Rock legend presents cheque to Midlands Air Ambulance
  4. Musicians play on the Sabrina bridge in Worcester for BBC Music Day
  5. Updates on Friday 3 June 2016

Live Reporting

By Jerry Chester

All times stated are UK

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West Midlands parks 'at risk of decline'

BBC Midlands Today

Public parks in the Midlands are at risk of decline and some of the facilities in them could close, according to a new report by the Heritage Lottery Fund. 

Findings showed that 78% of councils across the region anticipate budget reductions of 10% or more over the next three years with nearly half their parks expected to deteriorate. 

Fallen gates at a park
BBC
London Midland Trains

Peter Plisner

BBC Midlands Transport Correspondent

Bidders for the West Midlands rail franchise are being given permission to remove seats and create more standing room to fit more passengers in.

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Coming up on Midlands Today: Standing room only

Peter Plisner

BBC Midlands Today

More commuters could have to stand under plans for rail services across the West Midlands.

Seats could be removed to fit more people onto services on trains currently run by London Midland.

Two groups are bidding to take on the franchise from October next year.

London Midland
BBC

The services include the cross city lines, and trains out of Birmingham to Hereford, Shrewsbury, Stoke-on-Trent, Liverpool, Stratford, Leamington, and down to London.

I'll have more on the Midlands Today on BBC One at 18:30.

More standing room on trains to Birmingham

Peter Plisner

BBC Midlands Today

Rail passengers are being warned to expect to stand for longer on trains running around the region. 

The companies bidding to run local trains in West Midlands are being given permission to remove seats and create more standing room in an effort to cope with massive growth in rail travel.

London Midland train
BBC

The franchise is currently run by London Midland.

Drawing

The only helpline for paedophiles worried they are at risk of offending calls for more volunteers and funding as it deals with rising demand.

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Our live coverage across the day

We'll be back with our usual mix of news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 tomorrow, but keep an eye out here for more updates this evening and into the morning.

The incident happened at Red Indigo Indian restaurant on September 1

A man is charged with several offences after an alleged racially-motivated incident at an Indian restaurant in Powys.

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Thomas Hadley

A Herefordshire farmer has spoken of his shock and devastation after two dogs killed more than 30 of his 56 sheep in an ferocious attack.

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Essex celebrate

Essex maintain their Division Two promotion push with a big win over Worcestershire inside three days at Chelmsford.

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Amelia and Muhammad are the most popular baby names in the West Midlands

Daniel Wainwright

Data unit - English regions

Amelia is the most popular girls name in the West Midlands while Muhammad is the most popular for boys, according to the Office for National Statistics. 

Only London had Muhammad as the most popular choice in 2014 but the new figures show the West Midlands has joined the capital in 2015 for having the most babies with that name. Oliver was most popular overall across England and Wales.

There were 649 Muhammads born in the West Midlands in 2015 compared with 622 Olivers. An alternative spelling - Mohammed - is also in the top 10.

chart showing most popular boys' names
BBC

For girls regionally, the top choice, Amelia, was the same as the overall favourite in England and Wales.

The data also shows the West Midlands to have a higher proportion of girls named Jessica than anywhere else. It ranks third for popularity in the region.

Chart showing most popular girl's names
BBC
Tom Westley Essex

Tom Westley's career-best unbeaten 238 puts Division Two leaders Essex in total control against Worcestershire.

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Our live coverage across the day

We'll be back with our usual mix of news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 tomorrow, but keep an eye out here for more updates this evening and into the morning.

On Midlands Today from 18:30: Disappeared hotelier case and a new harvest crop

Nick Owen

Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

On Midlands Today this evening we'll hear about developments in the case of a missing hotelier from the region and his family's search for answers.

Harvesting
BBC

We'll also hear about one of the last crops to be gathered in this summer's farming harvest is also one of the newest. 

Those stories and much more, include the latest sports news and weather forecast, all on BBC Midlands Today from 18:30 on BBC One.

Man with his face in his hands - generic image

A man with special needs was left in an unsuitable care home for almost a year after social workers delayed arranging appropriate care.

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David Masters

David Masters claims 7-52 to put Essex in a strong position against Worcestershire on the opening day at Chelmsford.

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Bridge collapse: New crossing could be built, says council

The collapse of an 18th Century bridge near Tenbury Wells in May has caused a lot of problems - and a solution may still be some way off.

Worcestershire County Council said it's investigating to see if building a new permanent crossing to replace Eastham Bridge would be cheaper and quicker than a temporary replacement.

Plans for a stop-gap have been delayed by the need for an environmental impact assessment into how it would affect the surrounding Site of Special Scientific Interest.

While a way of fixing the road is found, here's what a bus driver who just avoided driving over the bridge before it collapsed had to say at the time:

'I couldn't believe what I was seeing'
Eastham Bridge collapsed

The collapse of a Grade II-listed bridge in front of a bus carrying schoolchildren was caused by "fast-flowing water", a council investigation suggests.

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'Weeks-old' dead kittens dumped in lane

Seven dead kittens, thought to be only a couple of weeks old, have been found dumped in a lane in Bromsgrove, the RSPCA says.

The kittens were found in Pumphouse Lane, Hanbury on Saturday - the charity says two boxes found nearby suggest they were "deliberately dumped in the layby".

Boxes
RSPCA

This is a terribly sad situation for these poor young kittens. It is possible a mother cat was dumped in one of these boxes and she could be straying now."

Thea KerrisonRSPCA

The kittens had only just opened their eyes. Inspectors say they are keen to hear from anyone who might have more information.

Our live coverage across the day

We'll be back with our usual mix of news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 tomorrow, but keep an eye out here for more updates this evening and into the morning.

Tunnel

A man who allowed more than 800 cannabis plants to be grown in a former nuclear bunker is jailed.

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In the Cold War, the tunnels were turned into a regional seat of government in case of a nuclear attack
The BBC was given access to tour a nuclear bunker near Kidderminster in Worcestershire just days before police discovered a cannabis factory on the site.
cricket bat and ball

Ged Scott

BBC Sport

Worcestershire County Cricket Supporters Association chairman Ken Mills MBE dies.

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Daryl Mitchell

Kalika Mehta

BBC Sport

Daryl Mitchell and Joe Clarke score centuries as Worcestershire chase 401 to beat Northants by two wickets.

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On Midlands Today from 18:30: Preparing for the bank holiday getaway

Sarah Falkland

BBC Midlands Today

It's the great bank holiday getaway and for once it's looking good. 

Things were running smoothly at Birmingham Airport this morning, despite a record number of passengers. 

Montage of getaway shots
BBC

And on the roads, there's encouraging news at some of the West Midland's main bottlenecks. 

Will it last? I'll have the latest on Midlands Today from 18:30 on BBC One.

Carl Brookes

A drug dealer who took cocaine worth £185,000 with him on a day out with his toddler daughter is jailed for eight years.

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Daryl Mitchell

Kalika Mehta

BBC Sport

Worcestershire skipper Daryl Mitchell completes his first ton in 13 months on a rain-hit third day against Northants.

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Edgbaston under lights for this week's Second XI Championship match between Worcestershire and Warwickshire

Warwickshire hope to make this season's final County Championship home fixture against Lancashire a day/night match.

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Man proposes to girlfriend with film starring Lego version of himself
A man has asked his girlfriend to marry him in a film using Lego that was screened to cinema goers before the main attraction.

Heavy rain on the way

Bad news from the Environment Agency, with heavy rain expected to hit most of the West Midlands over the next 24 hours.

View more on twitter

Rain warning for West Midlands

Drivers are being warned they could be facing heavy rain through this afternoon and evening.

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning covering most of the West Midlands:

View more on twitter
Steven Crook's previous best was an unbeaten 142 against the Australian tourists in 2015

Steven Crook makes a career-best 145, while tailender Chad Barrett hits a ton on his Northants debut at New Road.

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Herefordshire win Knockout at Wormsley

Minor Counties Knockout Trophy Final

Herefordshire have won the Minor Counties Knockout Trophy for the second time in their history.

They beat pre-match favourites Staffordshire by 56 runs at Wormsley, in Buckinghamshire.

David Ball was the top scorer with 84 as Herefordshire posted a target of 258-9 from their 50 overs.

But Staffs were always struggling in reply after losing captain Kadeer Ali in the first over.

Despite Peter Wilshaw's 50, Staffs eventually fell short, being bowled out for 202, with five overs left unused.

Staffordshire struggling at Wormsley

Minor Counties Knockout Trophy Final

Herefordshire are now looking in total control at Wormsley as they look to win the Minor Counties Knockout Trophy for the second time.

Chasing 259 to win, Staffordshire have just lost their seventh wicket.

They are now 148-7 in the 37th over, still needing 111 for victory, Matt Coxon having holed out off spinner Peter Burgoyne, while Dan Conway has taken three wickets.