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Summary

  1. Bromsgrove cyclist Jess Varnish says she will not appeal after missing out on Rio
  2. Archaeologists continue to excavate Dorstone Hill site
  3. More than 800 children in area being brought up by grandparents
  4. Worcester to face Brive and Dragons in European Challenge Cup
  5. Updates on Wednesday 29 June 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Latest weather for the West Midlands

Latest weather for the West Midlands
Nikki Sinclaire

An MEP's claims for road journeys she never made would not have been paid if it was known she had travelled more cheaply by plane, a court is told.

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Our live coverage across the day

That's the end of live updates today for Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

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.  

Watch: Weather forecast for the West Midlands

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

Winds will ease through this evening with any showers, which may still be heavy at times, soon clearing to leave a dry night with some clearer spells developing with lows of 10C (50F).

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University tries to reassure EU students

The University of Worcester is reassuring its EU students who are receiving student loans that their situation remains unchanged, following the Brexit vote in last week's EU Referendum.

 Anyone with concerns is urged to contact Firstpoint on 01905 542551 or via email.

Sprint cyclist vows to 'compete for Great Britain again'

BBC Sport

British sprint cyclist Jessica Varnish says she's "excited about her future", despite missing out on selection for Team GB at this year's Olympics in Rio.

Varnish said she was shocked by the appeals procedure, after she was dropped by Team GB in April and said she would not contend the original selection decision.

While ultimately targeting a return to Team GB, she said she was also spending time doing her personal training exams and hoped to study sports nutrition at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Jess Varnish (right)
Getty Images

I am certainly not giving up on my dream of continuing to compete as a professional athlete. I will compete for Great Britain again, I’m not too old, I have the desire to win and I’ll be back."

Hospital plans approved by clinical senate

BBC Hereford and Worcester

Plans that could see maternity services moved from Redditch to Worcester and the Alexandra's emergency department becoming almost exclusively for adults have moved a significant step closer.

A body called the West Midlands Clinical Senate today gave its approval.

The idea will go out to public consultation later this year. 

The hospital trust says the plans are needed to ensure safe patient care.

Latest headlines: Javid and Crabb bid for Tory leadership; Worcester Warriors European Challenge Cup fixtures announced

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

The top stories for Herefordshire and Worcestershire this afternoon include:

- Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid thinks he and the Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb are the right men to lead the UK out of the European Union

- Three years ago the "discovery of a lifetime" was found on a hillside in Herefordshire, now archaeologists are back looking for more gems

Worcester Warriors can look forward to trips to Wales, France and Russia in rugby union's European Challenge Cup next season

Former MEP denies accusation she claimed for mileage to Europe when she flew instead

Former Ukip MEP Nikki Sinclaire is accused of submitting 10 expenses claims dishonestly between 2009 and 2010.

In six, Antonie Muller, prosecuting, said Sinclaire flew via Brussels, Basel in Switzerland or Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, despite allegedly signing claims stating she had driven.

Ms Sinclaire denies all the charges against her. The trial continues.

MEP 'claimed travel expenses for mileage and ferry trips when she drove more cheaply'

A former Ukip MEP's expenses claims for road journeys she never made would "certainly not" have been paid if it was known she had travelled more cheaply by plane, an EU bureaucrat in charge of expenses has told a court. 

Nikki Sinclaire, who represented the West Midlands until 2014, signed and submitted "significant" expenses "in excess of the flight costs", according to the prosecution. 

It is alleged Sinclaire wrongly claimed for thousands of euros in road and ferry travel expenses when she had travelled more cheaply by air, but she denies all charges against her.

Nikki Sinclaire
PA

Francisco Estela Burriel, head of the European Parliament members' travel and subsistence expenses unit, said: "In the files and documentation presented for the member for the European Parliament there is no evidence of flying."

Corrected hate crime figures show slight fall after EU vote

Andy Giddings

BBC Shropshire

West Mercia police have corrected their figures for the number of hate crimes reported immediately before and after the EU referendum result.

On Monday they were saying there had been a slight rise when comparing June 17-19 to June 24-26, but after looking at the numbers again, they are now saying there has been a slight fall - from 10 to six.

West Mercia policemen
BBC

And the number of those hate crimes which were found to have some racial element was exactly the same - four.

Dig site 'melting pot' of discovery

Three years ago the "discovery of a lifetime" was found on a hillside in Herefordshire, now archaeologists are back looking for more gems.

In a UK first, two "halls of the dead" dating from 4,000 BC were uncovered on Dorstone Hill. 

Tim Hovered, the archaeological projects manager for Herefordshire and prof Julian Thomas from Manchester University say they are back to hopefully uncover "more spectacular architecture".

Professor Julian Thomas from Manchester Uni (left) and Tim Hovered (Archaelogical Projects Manager for Herefordshire) in front of the new dig site
BBC
Professor Julian Thomas (left) and Tim Hovered

The site is described as a "spectacular and unique" place where people would've come from across the country to visit.

Tim says: "It would've been a real hub of people meeting and swapping ideas. This was a melting pot. People would've come from the south coast and even across the channel, as well as the north of Britain and wales. This is an important place, throughout the neolithic. It's in a prominent location."

Julian Thomas adds: "We know of nothing else like it in the county or the West Midlands."

The tunnel leading to the container

As a man is convicted of allowing a former nuclear bunker to be used for growing cannabis, BBC News looks at some of the more unusual places police have uncovered cannabis factories.

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Police officer nominated for bravery award

A West Mercia police officer who went into a burning house to rescue an elderly woman has been nominated for this year's National Police Bravery Awards.

The police force federation says PC Robert Harris was called to an address on 29 November 2014 to help 80-year-old Margaret Dodd, who had fallen over but found the property engulfed in smoke.

PC Robert Harris
West Mercia Police Federation

The officer smashed the window and put out the flames before a fire crew arrived and used cutting equipment to get to Ms Dodd.

Mr Harris will attend a reception at Downing Street and an awards ceremony next month.

Kidderminster Harriers: Size of the task ahead

BBC Hereford and Worcester

Kidderminster Harriers' manager John Eustace says he's under no illusion as to the size of the task facing the club this season.

After relegation at the end of last season, Harriers will be many people's tips to return to the Vanarama National at the first attempt. 

In addition to the established clubs at Vanarama North level, the likes of Salford City and Darlington have been promoted and both will be keen to mount challenges.

Redditch businessman says fill-up and run drivers ruining profits

A Redditch businessman running an independent petrol station says it's hard to make a profit because so many people drive off without paying. 

Nearly one in 10 motorists in Britain admit they've done it and West Mercia Police say they had more than 850 calls about it over the past year. 

Man filling up car at petrol station
BBC

We are trying to help the customer by being the cheapest but when this happens our profit margin is coming down. The money we lose is lost."

Velautham SarveswaranBusinessman in Redditch

Worcester to face Dragons and Brive in Challenge Cup

BBC Sport

Worcester Warriors are set to face Newport Gwent Dragons, Brive and Russian side Enisei-STM in Pool Three of the 2016-17 European Challenge Cup.

Montpellier won last season's European Challenge Cup
Getty Images

Cyclist quits Rio training and 'won't launch Olympic appeal'

Bromsgrove cyclist Jess Varnish says she's giving up training for Rio. 

The 25-year-old was dropped after failing to qualify in the team sprint and says it's now "pointless to try and appeal". 

The cyclist recently said she was the victim of sexist comments from technical director Shane Sutton, who has since resigned, but denies the allegations.

Varnish has released a statement saying she will be back to compete for team GB again. 

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Coming up on Midlands Today: High numbers of children being brought up by grandparents

BBC Midlands Today

A record number of children in the West Midlands are being brought up by their grandparents.

It's not because their own parents are busy out at work, but because they're incapable of looking after them, due to problems ranging from alcohol and drug abuse to mental health issues. 

But what's it like parenting the second time around? Find out on BBC Midlands Today on BBC One from 13:30. 

Hundreds drive off without paying for fuel

Andy Giddings

BBC Shropshire

The police say people drove off from the petrol station without paying 866 times in the West Mercia area last year.

Of the forces which replied to a Freedom of Information request by confused.com, West Midlands police saw the highest number of these thefts, with over 4,000.

Petrol pumps
BBC

West Mercia police were able to charge just five people in connection with petrol thefts last year.

Javid bids to become chancellor: 'We're all Brexiters now'

BBC Hereford and Worcester

The Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid has said there will be no second referendum if he becomes chancellor after the Conservative leadership contest.

Mr Javid will take the second most important job in government if his colleague Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb wins the race to be the next Prime Minister. 

Both men backed the Remain campaign during the EU referendum but Sajid Javid said they were both now fully committed to getting the UK out of the European Union.

Stephen Crabb and Sajid Javid
Getty Images
Stephen Crabb and Sajid Javid

There will be no going back on that decision. There will be no second referendum. It's all about implementation now - who are the best people - the best team to actually get this done? There's no distinctions between whether someone was Brexitor or Remain - we're all Brexiters now."

Sajid JavidThe Bromsgrove MP

Traffic lights switched on in Worcester

Drivers in Worcester are warned to expect new traffic lights on a section of London Road as a supermarket opens tomorrow.

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Warriors new artificial pitch ahead of schedule

Trevor Owens

Sports Editor, BBC Hereford & Worcester

The chief executive of Worcester Warriors says a new artificial pitch currently being laid is a week ahead of schedule.

Jim O'Toole says they are on track but have asked the Aviva Premiership for an away fixture in the opening round of games just in case of unforeseen problems.  

It is hoped the pitch will be ready by mid-August "despite some dodgy weather".

Newcastle's Kingston Park became the Premiership's second artificial pitch in September 2014
Getty Images

The prospect of not fulfilling three pre-season friendlies but our first premiership fixture was not a happy one. Apart from giving us a consistent surface to play on we think it will make for a faster surface which will lead to a different style of rugby."

Jim O'TooleWorcester Warriors chief executive

It's hoped that the transformation will also need to a bigger income for the club, as it looks to hold more sporting events and concerts.

New 'Halls of dead' dig will 'prove to be as exciting'

Nicola Goodwin

Reporter, BBC Hereford & Worcester

It's a very steep climb up to the top of Dorstone Hill but it's worth it.  

From the summit I could see as far as the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons to the west and Clee Hill and the Clent Hills in the north.  

It's obvious why our predecessors chose this as a special place 6,000 years ago. 

Professor Julian Thomas from Manchester University
BBC

The top soil had been removed by a digger and a team of volunteers and students from Manchester University had just started work with their trowels but immediately pieces of flint were glinting in the sun.  

Prof Julian Thomas from Manchester University (pictured) is confident that this dig will prove to be as exciting and insightful as the first excavations on the site and give us more insight into the lives of our Neolithic ancestors.  

I can't wait to see what they find.

One lane closed on the M5 southbound

BBC Travel

One lane is closed on the M5 southbound between J6, A449 (Worcester) and J7, A44 (Worcester) due to a broken down vehicle.  

Search continues on 'halls of the dead' archerological site

Nicola Goodwin

Reporter, BBC Hereford & Worcester

The search continues for more hidden treasures at a site in Herefordshire.

In 2013, two 6,000-year-old "halls of the dead" were discovered and described as "the discovery of a lifetime" by archaeologists.

Three years on, a new site on Dorstone Hill, near Peterchurch, is being uncovered and is opening to the public for a series of talks about the latest findings.

Here's a video to remind you about what was unearthed three years ago.

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Neolithic 'halls of the dead' found

Biyi Alo joins Warriors on season-long deal

Worcester Warriors have signed the Saracens tight-head prop Biyi Alo on a season-long loan.

He joins under the injury dispensation ruling which allows the Warriors to bring in a direct replacement for Gareth Milasinovich who ruptured an Achilles tendon towards the end of last season and who will be sidelined for a while yet.

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Meanwhile, Warriors will find out later today just where their European Challenge Cup travels will take them this season. 

The draw is due to be made at 13:00.

More than 800 children brought up by grandparents, says study

Kate West

Journalist, BBC Hereford & Worcester

More than 10,000 children across the West Midlands are being brought up by their grandparents. 

The Economic and Social Research Council says more than 840 of those live in Herefordshire and Worcestershire. 

Drug abuse, mental health problems and sudden death are some of the reasons why they are living with their grandparents.

More than 4,000 West Midlands drivers fill-up and run without paying

Amy Cole

BBC Midlands Today

The West Midlands has some of the highest number of "pump and run" incidents in the UK - that's where drivers fill up and then drive off without paying.

Petrol pump
BBC

Figures obtained by a Freedom of Information request reveal that more than 4,000 drivers made off without paying last year. 

West Midlands Police says it investigates around 20 fuel thefts each day.

Latest headlines: Police investigate Jamelia 'racially abused by policeman'; West Midlands sees 4k drivers 'pump and run' incidents

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

The top stories at BBC Hereford and Worcester this morning include:

- West Mercia Police continue to investigate whether the popstar Jamelia was racially abused by one of its officers in Worcestershire

- The West Midlands has the highest number of "pump and run" incidents in the UK - that's where drivers fill up and then drive off without paying

- A Worcester woman, who is a full-time carer to her two grandchildren, says people like her need more support as research shows that more than 10,000 people in the region are bringing up their grandchildren

Latest forecast for the West Midlands

BBC Weather

A dry and bright start for many before rain quickly spreads from the west, turning heavy over the higher ground, although sheltered eastern spots will escape the worst of the rain. 

Turning generally brighter with isolated heavy showers later with highs of 18C (64F).

Weather forecast at 2pm
BBC

Good morning: Live updates for Herefordshire and Worcestershire

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

I'll be bringing you the latest news, sport, travel and weather updates for Herefordshire and Worcestershire between now and 18:00.

If you'd like to get in touch you can emailtweet us on @bbchw or message via Facebook.