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Summary

  1. Updates on Wednesday 3 May

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Goodnight: Our live coverage across the day

That's it for today. Enjoy the rest of the evening and we'll be back with more news, sport, weather and travel tomorrow at 08:00.

Voters to go to polls in historic elections

Residents in Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region will vote for their region's first elected mayor tomorrow.

ballot box
PA

It comes as more political powers are decentralised from the government.

County council elections will also take place across Lancashire.

Polling stations will be open across the North West from 07:00 to 22:00.

Eight charged over anti-fracking protests

Eight people have been charged with obstructing a road at fracking site in Lancashire.

Little Plumpton fracking site
BBC

Protests have been held at Preston New Road near Little Plumpton, since energy firm Cuadrilla was given permission to extract shale gas there in 2016.

Five woman and three men aged between 63 and 26 have been charged with wilful obstruction of a highway.

They have been bailed to appear at Blackpool Magistrates' Court on 15 May.

Windows grant scam couple sentenced

A Merseyside couple have been given a suspended prison sentence for defrauding double glazing customers in north Wales out of £50,000.

woman closing window
BBC

Susan and Terence Greer admitted conning vulnerable people into believing grants were available for their windows and doors.

They advertised their company Green extensively until they were stopped by Denbighshire Council in 2013.

They also lied about selling top quality glass, Mold Crown Court heard.

Deputy returning officer stands down over mayoral election retweet

The deputy returning officer at Trafford Council has stood down from her role in tomorrow's Greater Manchester mayoral election after appearing to endorse one of the candidates on social media with a retweet. 

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After a complaint was made, the council said it believed Ms Hyde had not knowingly endorsed council leader Sean Anstee but said she had stepped down "in the interests of ensuring public confidence in the election process".

'Clown mask' burglars rob pregnant woman

Armed men in clown masks have robbed a pregnant woman and her partner in their home, police say. 

Man in clown mask
GMP

Shortly after 22:15 last night, officers were called to Leigh Road, Wigan after the men smashed through the rear patio doors before forcing the woman to the ground. 

One of the offenders then threatened the woman’s partner with an axe and demanded cash. 

The pair fled towards Thomas Street with a significant amount of money and an Omega watch. 

The woman was taken to hospital as a precaution but was not seriously injured.     

I’m particularly interested in speaking to any local pawn brokers that have been approached with a watch... anyone who recognises the men in the CCTV stills.

Det Con Ian DearyGreater Manchester Police

Latest headlines for the North West

  • Energy firm Centrica announces investment of £60m in its gas production operation in Morecambe Bay
  • A man is shot in the leg in Kirkby, Merseyside Police say
  • Residents in Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region will get to vote for their region's first elected mayor tomorrow 

Madeleine McCann remembered at grandparents' church

A special Mass marking the 10th anniversary of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann is being celebrated at a church attended by her grandparents.

Madeleine McCann
PA

Parishioners of Our Lady of the Annunciation Church in Liverpool will pray for Madeleine and her family in the service starting at 18:00.

Services are also taking place in her parents' village in Leicestershire and the Portuguese resort of Praia Da Luz where she disappeared from her family holiday apartment at the Ocean Club complex in 2007.

Peter Kay reflects on final Car Share reaction

Comedian Peter Kay called up Becky Want’s show on BBC Radio Manchester again today to reflect on the reaction to his announcement that his sitcom Car Share will not be returning. 

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Town halls buy back Right-to-Buy homes

Alex Homer

Councils have spent millions buying back homes they sold at a discount under Right-to-Buy laws to meet housing shortages. 

aerial view of houses
PA

BBC News looked at local authority areas where waiting lists rose for four consecutive years since 2011 and chose 10 at random. 

Among the findings:

  • Oldham spent £60,000 on two flats it sold for £27,260 but also spent £100,000 refurbishing them for use as council homes
  • Bolton said they had not bought back any

Housing charities blame a lack of investment in social housing.

The government has vowed to build more affordable houses and in February called the current market "broken".

The Right-to-Buy policy was introduced by the Conservatives in the 1980s, allowing council house tenants to buy their homes at a discount.

Man shot in leg in Kirkby

A man has been taken to hospital after being shot in the leg in Kirkby, police say.

Police at scene in Kirkby
@ConnorBennett14

Officers were called to reports that a man had been shot at about 13:15 on Park Brow Drive near to the junction of Broad Lane.  

Police at scene in Kirkby
@ConnorBennett14

Broad Lane has been cordoned off and police are asking people to avoid the area.

Parents and carers of children at Park Brow Primary are asked to access the school via County Road.

Severe disruption: M60 Greater Manchester clockwise

BBC News Travel

M60 Greater Manchester clockwise severe disruption, near J8 for A6144.

M60 Greater Manchester - Slow traffic and one lane closed on M60 clockwise near J8, A6144 (Carrington), because of a broken down lorry. In the roadworks area.

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

Lennon expected to make full recovery

Aaron Lennon
Getty Images
Aaron Lennon

Lennon expected to make full recovery

Aaron Lennon is not suffering from a long-standing mental health issue and is expected to make a full recovery in the short term, BBC Sport understands.

Read more

Latest headlines for the North West

  • A man is shot in the leg in Kirkby, Merseyside Police say
  • Eight people are charged with obstructing a road at the Preston New Road fracking site
  • Energy firm Centrica announces investment of £60m in its gas production operation in Morecambe Bay

Severe disruption: M60 Greater Manchester clockwise

BBC News Travel

M60 Greater Manchester clockwise severe disruption, between J9 for A5081 and J10 for B5214.

M60 Greater Manchester - Heavy traffic on M60 clockwise between J9, A5081 (Trafford Park) and J10, B5214 (Trafford Centre), because of an earlier broken down vehicle. In the roadworks area. All lanes have been re-opened.

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

Wirral blast: Demolition decision due on 10 properties, council says

Most of the homes damaged by an explosion in New Ferry are going to be repaired but the council is "closely assessing" 10 properties which could be demolished, residents are told. 

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Rugby League: Salford Red Devils winger receives eight-match ban for racial abuse

BBC Sport

Salford Red Devils winger Justin Carney has been given an eight-match ban after being found guilty of racially abusing Toronto Wolfpack player Ryan Bailey.  

Justin Carney
Getty Images

The 28-year-old was sent off by referee Jack Smith in the 26th minute of the Super League club's Challenge Cup fifth-round win on 23 April.

Carney pleaded guilty to an abuse charge but contested its severity.

He served the first game of his ban in the win over Widnes on Sunday, meaning he will miss a further seven games.

Anti-fracking protests continue at Little Plumpton site

A demonstration by anti-fracking protesters at Preston New Road near Little Plumpton is not affecting work at the site and trucks are able to get in and out, Energy firm Cuadrilla said.  

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Protests have been held at the site since work started on 5 January. Cuadrilla has previously said drilling would start in the spring.

Hospital visitor ban lifted after norovirus outbreak

A ban on visiting patients at Arrowe Park Hospital in Wirral following an outbreak of the norovirus bug has been lifted.

Arrowe Park Hospital
BBC

Four wards were closed to visitors on 24 April before the ban was extended to all wards on Thursday.

The hospital has reopened to visitors but has limited three wards to two per patient.

Chris Oliver, director of operations at Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, urged visitors who have had symptoms of sickness and diarrhoea within the last 48 hours not to visit the hospital or go to A&E "unless it is a genuine emergency”.

Liverpool researchers find 'severely underweight' female mannequins

Researchers at the University of Liverpool have found that the average mannequin used to display women's clothes in the UK represents someone who is "severely underweight".

Mannequins
Reuters

Academics looked at national fashion retailers on the high streets of two cities.

The body size of "male" and "female"’ mannequins was assessed by two research assistants using visual rating scales.

The study, published in The Journal of Eating Disorders, found the average female mannequin body size was representative of a "severely underweight woman", while the average male size was significantly larger, with only a small proportion of male mannequins representing an "underweight" size.

Ultra-thin ideals encourage the development of body image problems in young people, [so] we need to change the environment to reduce emphasis on the value of extreme thinness.

We are not saying that altering the size of mannequins will ‘solve’ body image problems [but the] presentation of ultra-thin female bodies is likely to reinforce inappropriate and unobtainable body ideals.

Dr Eric RobinsonStudy leader

Former care home transformed into a new birth centre

Manchester Evening News

A former care home in Swinton is to be transformed into a new birth centre at a cost of £2m - with the help of the public and the city’s millionaires. 

It will replace one at Salford Royal which is due to close on 30 September.  

Rochdale MP 'considers' standing as Independent

Simon Danczuk, who has been Rochdale's Independent MP since his suspension from the Labour party in 2015, says he has not yet made his mind up on whether to stand at the general election.

Simon Danczuk
Getty Images

The Labour party said yesterday it would not endorse him to stand as one of their candidates in the vote next month. 

Mr Danczuk was suspended from the party after admitting sending "sexual" text messages to a 17-year-old girl. 

He says he is considering whether to stand as an Independent to give voters a "better choice".

Weather: Sunny and breezy

BBC Weather

Breezy but with plenty of sunshine across the region.

Highs of 16C.

More from BBC Weather

Multi-million pound investment in Morecambe Bay gas production

Energy firm Centrica has announced it is investing £60m in its gas production operation in Morecambe Bay.

Centrica
Centrica

The firm said 350 jobs will be secured as part of the onshore and offshore operation which involves refurbishing two 5,000 tonne platforms in the East Irish Sea.

Work is expected to start later this month and last about nine months.

With nearly 300 billion cubic feet of gas still in place under the East Irish Sea, major projects like this will help ensure we maximise the potential of these fields and continue supplying gas for UK homes and businesses.

Tamsin LishmanMorecambe Bay Director, Centrica’s Exploration & Production

Town halls buy back Right-to-Buy homes

Alex Homer

BBC News

Councils across England have spent millions buying back homes they sold at a discount under Right-to-Buy laws to meet housing shortages.

Homes
PA

Islington council spent more than £6.2m buying back homes it sold to people for less than £1.3m, a Freedom of Information request reveals.

The figures also revealed Oldham spent £60,000 on two flats it sold for £27,260 but also spent £100,000 refurbishing them for use as council homes.  

Housing charities blame a lack of investment in social housing.

The government has vowed to build more affordable houses and in February called the current market "broken".

Latest headlines for the North West

  • Police say a protest by anti fracking demonstrators in Bolton has ended peacefully
  • Energy firm Centrica announces it is investing £60m in its gas production operation in Morecambe Bay
  • Simon Danczuk, Rochdale's Independent MP, says he has not yet made his mind up on whether to stand at the general election

Aaron Lennon: Everton tweet thanks for messages of support

Everton Football Club has tweeted thanks for "kind messages" sent to the club after it was reported winger Aaron Lennon was detained under the Mental Health Act over concerns for his welfare.

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The 30-year-old was was taken to hospital "for assessment" after police were called to Salford on Sunday.  

Anti-fracking protest ends in Bolton

Police say a protest by anti fracking demonstrators in Bolton has ended peacefully. 

Two women had blocked the entrance to an engineering company on Lostock Industrial Estate. 

The protesters said it was because of AE Yates' links with fracking firm Cuadrilla. The demonstrators left the site after officers arrived.

WillGriff John

Premiership side Sale Sharks sign prop WillGriff John from Championship team Doncaster Knights.

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Wirral blast: Ten properties 'closely assessed' for demolition

Ten properties badly damaged in a suspected gas blast in New Ferry, Wirral may be demolished, residents are told.

Wirral blast
BBC

Two people were seriously hurt and 31 others injured in the blast on 25 March. 

Wirral Council said 15 buildings would be repaired and it was "closely assessing" the other properties, including a Chinese restaurant and a butchers. 

The local authority said it planned to make a decision in the next couple of weeks and if it decides to demolish them it would do so quickly.

'We sold our home to build a social network'

BBC Technology

The Hughes family in Manchester have quit their jobs and put everything they own into building a social network aimed solely at sports fans. But can they take on the giants?

Perry, Mollie, Sam and Lisa Hughes
MEFFU GRAPHICS

"We see ourselves sitting at the top table with the big boys," says father Perry Hughes confidently.

"We don't think we're taking on the competition."

It might sound optimistic to put your family business in the same league as the multi-billion dollar social networks but the Hughes family certainly have the passion to give it a go.

Read more.

Latest headlines for the North West

  • Ten properties badly damaged in last month's New Ferry explosion may be demolished, residents told
  • A UCLan professor becomes the oldest person to be nominated for the Turner Prize

Turner Prize: UCLan professor nominated for Turner Prize

A professor of contemporary art at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has become the oldest person to be nominated for British art's most high-profile award

Lubaina Himid
Edmund Blok

Lubaina Himid, 62, one of Britain's leading black female artists, has been nominated for the Turner Prize and is eligible for the £25,000 award after the ban on over-50s was abolished.

Described by The Daily Telegraph as "the under-appreciated hero of black British art", Himid made her name in the 1980s as one of the leaders of the British black arts movement - both painting and curating exhibitions of similarly overlooked black female artists.

The Zanzibar-born, Preston-based artist was made an MBE in 2010. The winner will be announced at the Ferens gallery in Hull on 5 December.

Severe disruption: M6 Cheshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Cheshire northbound severe disruption, between J21 for A57 and J21A for M62.

M6 Cheshire - One lane closed on M6 northbound between J21, A57 (Woolston) and J21a, M62 (Croft Interchange), because of a broken down lorry. Traffic is coping well.

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

Basketball: Manchester Giants 'legend' leaves coaching role

Manchester Giants "legend" Yorrick Williams has "stepped aside" to "take on an ambassadorial role" with the basketball club, a spokesman has said.

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The 41-year-old, who has played in the British Basketball League for 22 years, saw his side finish bottom of the league this season, but ended his managerial and playing career with a 99-93 victory over Plymouth Raiders on 23 April.

The Giants spokesman said Williams, who has been player coach for the past two seasons and passed the milestone of scoring 1,000 three-pointers earlier in this campaign, would become "a mentor to the club’s thriving junior and community set-ups".

The club's chief executive John Dwan said:

With the wealth of knowledge that Yorick has, we were determined to keep him involved in the club after he had made the decision to stop coaching, and he will be the ultimate ambassador for any young player wanting to come through and succeed at basketball in Manchester beyond.

Both the club and Yorick are very excited about the potential of his mentor and ambassador role.

Recruitment for a new coach would be "stepped up this summer", the club spokesman added.

Wirral explosion: Some badly damaged homes 'can be repaired'

Some of the most badly damaged homes at the site of the New Ferry blast can be repaired, Wirral Council says.

New Ferry after explosion
Getty Images

The future of properties between 56 and 74 Bebington Road are undecided, but some in Underley Terrace, Boundary Road and numbers 45 to 55 Bebington Road can be fixed. 

A community meeting will be held later at St Mark's Church to update residents.

Frank Bruno sends message of support to Aaron Lennon

Former world heavyweight champion Frank Bruno has tweeted a message of support to Everton's Aaron Lennon who has been detained under the Mental Health Act over concerns for his welfare.

The 30-year-old winger was was taken to hospital "for assessment" after police were called to Salford on Sunday.

Bruno, the former WBC and European boxing champion, has battled mental illness over a number of years and was sectioned under the Mental Health Act in 2003.

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Aaron Lennon

Everton winger Aaron Lennon is "receiving care and treatment for a stress-related illness" after being detained under the Mental Health Act by police.

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