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  1. News, sport, travel and weather updates to resume at 08:00 on Monday
  2. Updates on Friday 12 August 2016

Live Reporting

By Andrew Dawkins

All times stated are UK

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Stories we're working on: BBC Midlands Today

BBC Midlands Today

Have you been gripped by The Archers this week? Millions have and even if you’re not one of them we’ve been behind the scenes to bring you the latest on the long running Radio 4 soap’s darkest plot – carefully scripted by writers and producers of the programme.

The trial of Helen Titchener, accused of attempted murder after a long running storyline about domestic violence, is attracting big audiences and headlines around the world and raising tens of thousands of pounds for the charity Women’s Aid. 

Helen finally makes public the extent of Rob’s abuse.

Watch Midlands Today on BBC One at 18.30.

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 automatically added this evening and into the morning. 

On Midlands Today from 18:30: The rise of city bees

David Gregory-Kumar

Science correspondent, BBC Midlands Today

On Midlands Today this evening, beekeepers are starting their harvest at the moment and overall it looks like this year will be pretty good. 

Bees being revealed in hive

However one owner of hives in the West Midlands has noticed a startling difference in the amount of honey his bees are producing. 

I've been investigating why and you'll see more from 18:30 on BBC One in Midlands Today.

Giraffe arrivals are already taller than their keepers
Two rare Rothschild's giraffes have given birth within days of each other at West Midlands Safari Park.

Stories we're working on: BBC Midlands Today

BBC Midlands Today

Hilary McConnell, Producer

Midlands Today will be looking at the issue of organ donation today - we meet a man from Worcestershire who needs a new kidney but faces up to 15 years on the waiting list. He’s hoping to find a living donor match. And we’re meeting a young girl from Warwickshire who’s just returned to school after a liver transplant.

David Gregory-Kumar will be finding out more about this year’s honey harvest. It turns out urban bees are producing more honey than rural hives because there's more diversity of plants and flowers in the town as opposed to the monoculture of the agricultural landscape.

And Jaguar goes back to motor racing, but will Formula E - which is electric car racing - have all the glamour of Formula 1? Dan Pallet finds out. 

Formula E racing

We'll also have an update on how our local Paralympics athletes are doing in the Games which start today.

Join us on BBC One from 13:30, 18:30 and 22:30.

West Mercia police looking for new Deputy Chief Constable

West Mercia Police is advertising for a new Deputy Chief Constable.

The post comes with an annual salary of £119,430, but before you think of applying, it is only available to people who are already Assistant Chief Constables.

Job advert
West Mercia Police

The post was held by Anthony Bangham until recently, but he was promoted to Chief Constable last month.

Almost 80,000 on zero-hours contracts

Daniel Wainwright

Data unit - English regions

Almost 80,000 people in the West Midlands are on zero-hours contracts, according to the latest official figures.

That number, covering April to June, has stayed roughly the same as the previous year.

Across the UK, the number of those whose main job did not guarantee a minimum number of hours increased to 903,000, a rise of 21% on last year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Zero hours figures

In the West Midlands there were 79,000 people on zero hours contracts between April and June, representing 3.0% of people in employment.

For the same period in 2015, there were also 79,000 but they made up 3.1% of people in employment.

Alexandra Hospital, Redditch

An ambulance service is told not to take children to a hospital's A&E department - prompting one paramedic to speak out about his fears.

Read more

Watch: Learning to drive at the age of five

BBC Midlands Today

Children as young as five have been testing out an electric two-seater car which has been designed for primary school age children. 

The 11-year-old daughter of motoring journalist Quentin Willson was among those driving the car, called Firefly.

Mr Willson has campaigned for children to be taught driving safety as part of the school curriculum, to help reduce the number of accidents and fatalities.  

Learning to drive at the age of five in an electric car

Metro mayor: Lib Dems confirm candidate

The Liberal Democrats have selected their candidate to fight next year's West Midlands Mayoral election. 

Beverley Nielsen is a director at Birmingham City University and has served as a Worcestershire county councillor. 

Beverley Nielsen

Last month Labour announced its candidate - former Birmingham MP and current West Midlands MEP Sion Simon.

Andy Street, the MD of highstreet retailer John Lewis is expected to be confirmed as the Conservative nomination.

The election is due to be held in May next year.  

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
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.

Read more

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

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

The franchise is currently run by London Midland.


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

Read more

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.

Read more
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.

Read more
Essex celebrate

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

Read more

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

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
Tom Westley Essex

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

Read more

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.


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.

Read more
David Masters

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

Read more

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.

Read more

'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".


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.


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

Read more
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.

Read more