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  1. Updates on Thursday 6 April
  2. News, sport, weather and travel updates return from 08:00 on Friday

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Our live updates have finished for the day, but we'll be back from 08:00 on Friday with more of the latest news, sport, travel and weather.  

Weather: Mainly dry with some sunny spells

BBC Weather

Remaining dry with sunny spells for some parts of the region. Similar conditions will continue through the evening and overnight. 

Highs of 10C.

More from BBC Weather

New factory in Lancashire could create 80 jobs

About 80 jobs are expected to be created in Lancashire with the opening of a new paper factory.

Clive Lawrence

Accrol Group, which specialises in manufacturing and kitchen roll and toilet paper, already has a base near Darwen and makes products for some of the UK's biggest supermarkets. 

It has opened a manufacturing site in Leyland with the unveiling of a ceremonial plaque by Lord Shuttleworth, Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire.

This new facility marks another milestone in Accrol’s development, increasing our total production capacity by 25,000 tonnes to 143,000 tonnes per annum.

Steve CrossleyAccrol chief executive

Grand National 2017: Field confirmed for Aintree showpiece

BBC Sport

The Last Samuri, last year's runner-up, heads the line-up after a final field of 40 runners was named for the Grand National at Aintree on Saturday.

Grand National

Coverage of the National, over 30 fences and more than four and a quarter miles, is said to be followed by 600 million people worldwide.

The race is due to start at 17:15 on Saturday.

More from BBC Sport

CCTV image of wanted sex offender, 81, released

A CCTV image of a missing 81-year-old sex offender has been released.

John Gilbert Blacktop
Lancashire Constabulary

John Gilbert Blacktop, of Marine Road West, Morecambe was convicted in his absence of historical child sex offences and jailed for 21 years at Bradford Crown Court, police said.

Police have released a CCTV image which shows him on a bus at Victoria Square in Cleveleys on 2 April.

Officers are asking anyone with information to contact them.

Police shooting: PC 'convinced' Anthony Grainger had gun

A police officer who shot dead an unarmed man was "absolutely convinced" he had a gun when he pulled the trigger, a public inquiry has heard .  

Anthony Grainger

Anthony Grainger, of Bolton, was  shot in the chest  during a Greater Manchester Police operation in Culcheth, Cheshire on 3 March 2012.

Giving evidence, the officer known as Q9 said he believed police were in "extreme danger" so he opened fire.

Mr Grainger, 36, lowered his right hand in a "sudden" movement, said Q9.

HMP Altcourse: Prison officer's neck 'slashed by inmate'

A prison officer has had his neck slashed by an inmate at a prison on Merseyside, the BBC understands .  

HMP Altcourse
Sue Adair/Geograph

The officer was taken to hospital where his condition was described as "stable", a Merseyside Police spokesman said.

He said the force was investigating an "assault of a member of staff at HMP Altcourse on Wednesday".

It is understood the attack took place as a prisoner was waiting for transfer to a higher category jail.

Latest headlines for the North West

  • A prison officer has had his neck slashed by an inmate at a prison on Merseyside,  the BBC understands
  • A police officer who shot dead an unarmed man was "absolutely convinced" he had a gun when he pulled the trigger,  a public inquiry hears
  • A swimming instructor from Ormskirk died while "pursuing her passion for scuba diving", her partner says

Barrow allotments' community value status removed by judge

A council's attempt to protect allotments earmarked for redevelopment as part of a plan for 500 new homes has been overruled at tribunal


The 75-year-old plots in Barrow, Lancashire, were listed as an asset of community value by Ribble Valley Borough Council in 2016 following a planning application by New Barrow Ltd.

A judge has now removed that status and said using the allotments in the middle of a building site was not "realistic".

The land will become a site compound.

Local coach firm offers to help football club get to Wembley

A football club from Blackburn can now get to the finals of the FA People's Cup, thanks to a coach company in Thornton Cleveleys. 

View more on twitter

All the players in the five-a-side team, Mill Hill Diversity, have disabilities. They won all of their games in the regional event including a 6-0 victory against a squad from Manchester City.

The club's manager made an appeal on BBC Radio Lancashire to get the team to Wembley. Heggarts Coaches on the Fylde offered to transport the team to the match.

Scuba diver died 'pursuing her passion'

A swimming instructor died while "pursuing her passion for scuba diving", her partner has said.

Carole Edwards
Champion Newspapers

Carole Linda Edwards, 51, was diving near the Farne Islands with a Lancashire sub aqua club when she failed to surface on Sunday morning.  

Her partner Neil Hyde, 51,  unknowingly watched her lifeboat rescue mission  as he walked his dog in nearby Seahouses.

Mr Hyde told  Champion Newspapers : "She was tragically lost while pursuing her passion for scuba diving."

The body of Ms Edwards, from Westhead, near Ormskirk, was recovered by a diver from another club at 14:30 BST, three-and-a-half hours after she went missing.

Breast surgeon Ian Paterson denies court verbal abuse

A breast surgeon accused of carrying out unnecessary operations has denied verbally abusing a witness while she was giving evidence against him.

Ian Paterson

Ian Paterson of Ashley, Greater Manchester, denies 20 counts of wounding with intent against nine women and one man at Nottingham Crown Court.

He said he did not direct abusive language at Dr Rosemary Platt as she took the stand, but had said "she wasn't telling the truth".

Dr Platt was one of 10 alleged victims of Mr Paterson.

Football: Man City's sister club hires ex-England boss

BBC Sport

Former England manager Roy Hodgson is to work with Manchester City's sister club for the rest of the Australian season on a consultancy basis.

Roy Hodgson
Getty Images

Hodgson, 69, will mentor coaches across all age groups at Melbourne City in the country's A-League.

It is his first job since standing down as England manager in the wake of the  Euro 2016 last-16 defeat by Iceland.

The arrangement has come about through Hodgson's friendship with City Football Group executive officer Brian Marwood.

Armed police to reassure racegoers over Aintree safety

Armed police have been stationed outside the Grand National festival as part of boosted security after the Westminster terror attack .

Armed police officers

Officers wearing protective vests and carrying automatic guns, pistols and Tasers have been posted in pairs at the entrance of the racecourse.    

Racegoers have also been warned to expect extra bag searches and car screening as they arrive at the festival.  

'Huge progress' being made to improve Blackburn nightlife

A voluntary group which aims to improve the night time economy in Blackburn says it has made "huge progress".


The Blackburn Nightlife Project started three years ago and is working alongside the council, local venues and club promoters to attract more people and businesses to the area.

Claudio Ballusci, one of the people behind the initiative, says the town will be "transformed" over the next 12-18 months. 

We need to bring it to the local area. People are spending money to go to Clitheroe, Preston and Bolton. We need to bring it back to Blackburn.

Claudio Ballusci The Blackburn Nightlife Project

Severe disruption: M6 Cheshire southbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Cheshire southbound severe disruption, between J18 for A54 Middlewich and J17 for A534 Sandbach.

M6 Cheshire - One lane blocked and heavy traffic on M6 southbound between J18, A54 (Middlewich) and J17, A534 (Sandbach), because of a broken down lorry.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Latest headlines for the North West

  • A CCTV image of a man police want to speak to after a woman was raped in Greater Manchester  is released
  • A 27-year-old man is in a serious condition in hospital after being found with stab wounds to his chest in Partington in Trafford
  • One of Blackpool's busiest routes, the Plymouth Road Bridge, is set to reopen  after being closed since November

Eight John Lennon sculptures go on display in Liverpool

Eight busts of John Lennon, from his childhood to his death, go on show for the first time tomorrow.

John Lennon sculptures
Dave Webster

The sculptures show a young Lennon, wearing a traditional school cap, through to his Quarrymen years, and to how he looked before his death in 1980.    

John Lennon sculptures
Dave Webster

They were created by local sculptor Dave Webster, who is known for the life-size statue of John Lennon opposite the Cavern Club.

The exhibition, Looking For Lennon, runs at Liverpool’s View Two Gallery  in Mathew Street until 23 April.

Trafford rape suspect CCTV image released

A CCTV image of a man police want to speak to after a woman was raped in Greater Manchester has been released.

CCTV/Warwick House

A 44-year-old woman was attacked after asking a man for a cigarette in Chester Road, Trafford, at about 03:15 BST on Tuesday.

He said he would only share a cigarette with her if she walked to Old Trafford Metrolink Station. He then dragged her into a car park in Warwick Road.

Police said it was a "petrifying attack" and appealed for information.

Blackpool's busiest route to reopen

One of Blackpool's busiest routes is set to reopen, after being closed since November. 

Plymouth Road Bridge

The town's council confirmed the Plymouth Road Bridge will reopen tomorrow evening. 

The bridge had been raised so that electrification works to the railway line underneath could take place.     

Royal Mail launches special stamps to pay tribute to racehorse legends

The Royal Mail is releasing a special collection of racehorse stamps today - the first day of the Aintree festival.

Royal Mail racehorse stamps

The stamps feature  original artwork of eight champion horses  achieving their greatest wins on UK race courses over six decades.

The horses that make up the set are: Frankel, Red Rum, Shergar, Kauto Star, Desert Orchid, Brigadier Gerard, Arkle and Estimate.

It is 40 years since Red Rum won his historic third Grand National title.

Weather: Mainly dry and cloudy

BBC Weather

Mainly dry and cloudy afternoon. Chance of odd spot of drizzle. Highs of 11C.

More from BBC Weather

Football: Fleetwood Town maintain hopes of promotion

BBC Sport

Fleetwood Town delayed Sheffield United's promotion party with a victory at Oxford United that maintained their own hopes of reaching the Championship.

Rex Features

Bobby Grant's early penalty was a dent to the Blades' hopes, which rested on them beating Coventry and Town losing.

Curtis Nelson drilled in to level for Oxford, which is how it remained until Ashley Eastham's powerful header put Fleetwood back in front late on.

David Ball fired into the top corner with three minutes to go to seal it.

Man, 28, arrested after Trafford stabbing

A 27-year-old man is in a serious condition in hospital after being found with stab wounds to his chest in Partington in Trafford. 

Derbyshire Rd

Officers were called to Derbyshire Road just after 06:30 .

A 28-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of assault. He was also taken to hospital with a stab wound to the chest. 

Detectives are now appealing for information.    

Grand National 2017: 40 years on from Red Rum's historic feat

BBC Sport

BBC North West Tonight looks back at the achievements of the unlikely hero Red Rum to mark the 40th anniversary of his historic third Grand National win.

Jockey Tommy Stack, 71, who rode Red Rum that day, reflects on his part in one of racing's greatest stories and the impact the horse made on the Aintree event. 

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn visits Leyland

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is visiting Leyland along with the Shadow Education Secretary, Angela Rayner.

The Leyland Project

The Labour Party is promising to provide every primary school pupil in England with a free school meal in an effort to improve results and health, if it wins the next general election.

Jeremy Corbyn says he would pay for the move by charging VAT on private school fees. 

The Leyland Project works with individuals, families and the local community to provide support, childcare, youth and community work. 

Plans for Salford Quays flats to go before planners despite original rejection

Manchester Evening News

Developers whose plans to build almost 600 swanky flats at Salford Quays were thrown out by council chiefs will have another crack at getting revamped blueprints approved today .  

Seaforth family home targeted by arsonists

Police believe arsonists who targeted a family home in Seaforth set fire to the wrong property by mistake.

Thornton Road

Two men were spotted on Thornton Road last night before the blaze started.

A man, a woman and a six year old girl managed to get out of their home uninjured after the "despicable act", Merseyside Police said. 

PNE player nominated for Championship award

Preston North End's Tom Barkhuizen has been nominated for the Championship's Player of the Month award.

View more on twitter

North End signed the forward from League Two side Morecambe in January.

The awards have been handed out since the start of the 2004/05 season and the winner is announced tomorrow.

Plans for new £30m RHS garden in Salford set for approval

Plans for a new national £30m Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) garden in Salford are expected to be approved by the council later. 


The garden, which is recommended for approval with certain conditions, is to be built on the site of the former Worsley New Hall , near the Bridgewater Canal in Boothstown.

Worsley New Hall
Chetham's Library

It will be the fifth RHS national garden alongside those in Surrey, Devon, Essex and North Yorkshire.

The plan will then have to be referred to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, because the site is on green belt land.

Grand National 2017: Rail service update

Changes are being made to Merseyrail services for the Grand National festival.

View more on twitter

Latest headlines for the North West

  • The Grand National Festival at Aintree is underway - gates opened an hour ago and more than 150,000 people are expected over the next three days
  • Manchester's Metrolink service is celebrating its 25th anniversary
  • Merseyside Police says an arson attack on a family's home in Seaforth was a "despicable act"

Remember when trams looked like this?

It is the 25th anniversary of trams returning to Greater Manchester. 

The first services started in 1992 and now an estimated 37 million passengers use the service.

View more on twitter

First edition of Crime and Punishment sells for £13,500

A first edition of Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, unknowingly bought as part of a lot by a woman from Lancashire for £14, has sold at auction for £13,500.

Crime and Punishment

After discovering it she approached auctioneers Dominic Winter. Chris Albery said he almost "fell off his chair" when he saw a photo.

Crime And Punishment was first published in Russian in 1866 and in English 20 years later.

Football: City left fighting for top four place after Chelsea defeat

BBC Sport

Chelsea maintained a seven-point advantage over Tottenham at the top of the Premier League with a hard-fought victory over Manchester City.

City V Chelsea
Getty Images

Pep Guardiola suffered league defeats home and away to the same opponents in a single league season for the first time in his managerial career as City are left to fight for a top-four place.

Eden Hazard gave Chelsea a 10th-minute lead when his shot deflected off returning City captain Vincent Kompany past keeper Willy Caballero, who should have done better.

Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois was also badly at fault when his poor clearance to David Silva set up Sergio Aguero's equaliser after 26 minutes - but Chelsea were back in front before half-time.

Man wanted in connection with suspected arson attack

A man with links to Kirkham is wanted in connection with a suspected arson attack in Preston.

Carl Fox
Lancashire Constabulary

Police want to trace Carl Fox, 28, to speak to him about an incident which happened at about 16:00 on 31 March.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue attended and extinguished the blaze at the address in Stephen's Road but the property was left badly damaged.  

Fox is described as white, 6ft 2ins tall, of medium build with shaved hair.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact them.

The jockey who raced again after reading his own obituary

BBC News Magazine

When National Hunt jockey Declan Murphy suffered a disastrous fall at Haydock Park in 1994, after winning all the major races that season, the Racing Post published his obituary. 

Declan Murphy
Getty Images

He was put on a life support machine at Warrington Hospital before being taken to the Walton Centre of Neurology in Liverpool.  

He explains how a furious determination got him back in the saddle

Co-op Group makes loss as bank stake written off

The Manchester-based Co-op Group has reported its first annual loss since 2013 after declaring that its stake in Co-operative Bank is worth nothing.

New Co-op Group boss looking at new markets

It reported a pre-tax loss of £132m for 2016, a sharp deterioration on the previous year's profit of £23m, reducing the value of its 20% stake in Co-operative Bank from £185m to zero, reflecting the bank's continuing problems. 

The group also said that its financing costs had risen by £74m in 2016. 

The Co-op Bank, which has four million customers, put itself up for sale in February.

Cricket: Lancashire announce £1.22m profit

BBC Sport

Lancashire have announced they made £1.22m during 2016 - a £60% increase in profit .

Old Trafford
Getty Images

During the year they hosted an England Test and a T20 game against Pakistan and sold out Old Trafford for their T20 Roses match against Yorkshire.

The Red Rose county also used to pitch to host a number of music concerts and saw record profits for hosted events.

After a battle with relegation, they maintained their Division One status in the County Championship last season.