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Summary

  1. Updates for Wednesday 4 February 2015
  2. News, sport, weather and travel returns from 08:00 on Thursday

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good evening

BBC Local Live will be back from 08:00 on Thursday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather for Merseyside.

Overnight forecast

Charlie Slater

Weather Presenter, BBC Weather

There'll be

clear skies overnight, which will allow temperatures to fall quickly, giving a widespread sharp frost.

Charlie Slater
BBC

Cloud will gradually increase in the far northwest by dawn, although it should remain dry. Low of 1°C (33°F).

Coming up

Annabel Tiffin

Presenter, North West Tonight

On tonight's programme, a Liverpool fan who nearly died at the Hillsborough tells the inquests the first thing investigating police officers asked him was how much alcohol he'd had to drink that day.

A pub in Wirral is surrounded by armed police after a man's folded walking stick is mistaken for a gun.

And Liverpool prepare to face Bolton - and former Reds striker Emile Heskey - again in the FA Cup.

Watch more on BBC One at 18:30.

Chain stores v independent shops

Jessica Robbins

BBC Radio Merseyside

Stanley Street in Bootle is the main shopping area. I went to The Strand and as I walked through, there were recognisable chain stores but noticeably a lot of empty shops.

TJ Hughes closed down
BBC

One group of women I spoke to say they really miss TJ Hughes in the town, as well as a lack of independent greengrocers.

FA Cup commentary

Phil Kinsella

BBC Merseyside Sport

Liverpool's aim tonight will be to set up an FA Cup fifth round clash away at Crystal Palace -

but first they'll have to win their replay at Bolton.

Manager Brendan Rodgers says his squad are looking forward to tonight's challenge.

You can hear full match build-up and commentary

on Merseyside Sport from 18:00.

Bus replacement service

Trains on the Liverpool - Huyton - Blackpool North line will be replaced by buses on Sunday, Merseytravel says.

Read more details online.

'Hard to compete with big stores'

One in five shops in the North is now empty and Bootle is third in the North West and eighth nationally with a vacancy rate of 26%.

Angela Chambers from Daisy May's Florists on Knowsley Road says they find it hard competing with big stores.

She says: "There's quite a lot of empty shops. Some open up but they don't last very long. Business for us is getting getting quieter and quieter every year."

News on the hour

Megan Key

BBC Radio Merseyside

A Liverpool fan who nearly died at Hillsborough says the first question he was asked by police investigating the disaster was how much he'd to drink that day.

Paralympian visits school

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

Paralympian Tim Reddish OBE has been in Liverpool today to give a "motivational" talk to teenagers.

Paralympian Tim Reddish OBE meets pupils at St John Bosco Arts College in Croxteth
The Foundry Agency

The chairman of the British Paralympic Association visited St John Bosco Arts College in Croxteth this afternoon to talk about swimming for his country and a world without vision.

Aaron's happier than he looked

After football fans had a good laugh at pictures of new Everton signing Aaron Lennon, which

seemed to show him looking glum on his arrival at the club, he's taken to Twitter to respond.

Aaron Lennon
EvertonFC

He

tweeted: Even though i may not look it in the pics I'm buzzing to be here,enjoyed my 1st day at training and everyone made me feel really welcome,

Looks, it seems, can be deceptive.

Future of Bootle?

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

We tweeted the story about

Bootle being named the third worst place in the North West for empty shops.

‏exBlue Steve

replies: I wonder how the shops in Bootle will be affected if a retail development gets the go ahead on Walton Hall Park !

'Pay members for meetings'

BBC Radio Merseyside

Councils should consider reverting back to a system of paying members when they turn up for meetings and seminars, rather than an annual allowance.

One of Warrington's longest serving members says it's "disgraceful" that only 10 out of 57 councillors turned up for a recent seminar on sexual exploitation.

Sheila Woodyatt, who was first elected as a Conservative councillor in 1979, says "we would get a better attendance if we still had the attendance allowance system".

Supermarkets to blame?

Jessica Robbins

BBC Radio Merseyside

I've been in Bootle talking to people as the area is

named as one of the worst in the country for empty shops. Local business owners blame the influx of supermarkets who offer deals they can't beat.

Closed shops in Bootle
BBC

You can hear more on

BBC Radio Merseyside with Simon Hoban now.

Hillsborough inquests latest

Ben Schofield

Hillsborough reporter

A Liverpool fan who nearly died at Hillsborough says the first question he was asked by police investigating the disaster was how much he'd had to drink that day.

John Davies was buried under bodies as he tried to make it out of pen three on the Leppings Lane terraces and told the inquests he clung on to the trouser leg of a police officer to let them know he was still alive.

After the disaster, officers from West Midlands Police came to interview him.

He said the first thing they asked was how much he'd had to drink before the match, adding he wasn't in a good place at the time and expected them to be more concerned about his welfare.

News on the hour

Megan Key

BBC Radio Merseyside

Armed police were called to a pub in Wirral after a customer's folded-up walking stick was mistaken for a gun.

Officers put a cordon around the The Cock and Donkey pub in Rock Ferry yesterday afternoon and closed the road for about 40 minutes - before detaining the man who was found carrying the walking stick.

Weather outlook

BBC Weather

Feeling cold throughout the rest of the week but we'll have blue skies and sunshine over the next few days.

Weather outlook with Charlie Slater
BBC

See the latest forecast online now on BBC Weather.

Cigarette drop four fined

Southport Visiter

Four people have been sent bills of £307.55 each by Sefton Council - after they were found guilty of

dropping cigarette butts on the floor.

'700th game' for Gerrard?

Phil Kinsella

BBC Merseyside Sport

If Steven Gerrard plays tonight, it will be his 700th game for the club, though as he missed the last game due to a tight hamstring, whether he'll play or not remains to be seen.

Steven Gerrard
Getty Images

Daniel Sturridge looks set to be included again, following his return at the weekend

Hillsborough inquest

Megan Key

BBC Radio Merseyside

A Liverpool fan who nearly died at Hillsborough says the first question he was asked by police investigating the disaster was how much he'd had to drink that day.

John Davies was buried under bodies as he tried to escape from pen three and says he only survived by using all his energy to cling on to the trouser leg of a police officer.

He told the jury at the new inquests the first thing West Midlands Police officers asked him about was whether he'd been drinking.

Mr Davies told the court he expected them to be more interested in his welfare at the time.

Lord Windermere tops entries

BBC Sport

Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Lord Windermere (pictured)

heads 98 entries for the Grand National at Aintree on 11 April.

Davy Russell riding Lord Windermere
Getty Images

Trainer Jim Culloty also has stablemate Spring Heeled as a contender for the £1m contest.

Victory would make Lord Windermere the first horse for 40 years to complete the Gold Cup-National double.

Off to the theatre?

via Facebook

As BBC research suggests the number of plays staged by the UK's most-subsidised theatre companies

rose, BBC Radio Merseyside asks on Facebook:
Do you use your local theatres?

Joe Gates responds: I've been the royal court, empire, and going the epstine next month

Walking stick 'mistaken for gun'

Paul Burnell

BBC News

A Wirral pub was surrounded by armed police after a customer's folded-up

walking stick was mistaken for a gun.

Officers were alerted after reports a man with a gun had walked into The Cock and Donkey pub on Old Chester Road, Rock Ferry on Tuesday afternoon.

Merseyside Police put a cordon around the pub before detaining the man who was found carrying the walking stick.

News on the hour

Megan Key

BBC Radio Merseyside

A Liverpool fan who nearly died at Hillsborough says the first question he was asked by police investigating the disaster was how much he'd had to drink that day.

The jury at the new inquests heard the first thing West Midlands Police officers asked John Davies about was whether he'd been drinking.

FA Cup: Bolton v Liverpool

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has indicated

he will make several changes for the FA Cup trip to Bolton to keep his team fresh for a busy February.

Eidur Gudjohnsen
Getty Images

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is fit to make his 700th club appearance after being rested against West Ham at the weekend and Daniel Sturridge, injured for five months before scoring in Saturday's 2-0 win, is likely to be on the bench.

The winners will face a trip to Crystal Palace in the fifth round.

Bird's eye view of bridge

NPAS Hawarden

tweets: The new
@merseygateway bridge is coming on nicely!

Mersey Gateway
NPAS

Coming up

Annabel Tiffin

Presenter, North West Tonight

On the programme, we'll have more on the story about

one in five shops in towns and cities in the North of England being empty compared with just one in ten in the South.

And we'll have a full local weather forecast from Charlie Slater.

Watch more on BBC One at 13:30.

Walking stick weapon error?

Paul Burnell

BBC News

I'm looking into reports that a man with a folded-up walking stick in a Wirral pub sparked a firearms alert.

Aussie 'amazed' by Reds tour

A Liverpool fan who lives in Adelaide says the club's plan to play down under this summer is "absolutely amazing".

Matt Selby, who is a member of the LFC fans supporters club, says: "There's been rumours for a good few months but until it was actually announced, it was all 'would they or wouldn't they?' "

He adds: "To some people, this is better than Liverpool winning the FA Cup. It's incredible."

Ninety-eight horses enter the National

Ninety-eight horses have been entered in this year's Grand National at Aintree on 11 April.

Grand National 2014
Getty Images

Last year's winner Pineau De Re and runner-up Balthazar King are among the favourites to enter the race.

A maximum field of 40 contenders will line up for the race.

Pigs facing eviction

Wirral Globe

Hundreds of people have joined a Facebook campaign to help a family of pigs under threat of

eviction from their Wirral home.

Threatened pig in Wirral
Wirral Globe

'Best football is yet to come'

BBC Sport

tweets: Brendan Rodgers says Liverpool's best football is yet to come. Watch now
bbc.in/1u6QMEb

Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool manager
BBC

Bootle's empty shops

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

Bootle has one of the highest vacancy rates in England. Share your views with us - what can be done to improve the situation?

Facebook,
tweet or get in touch on
email with your thoughts.

Read more on this story on BBC News.

News on the hour

Giulia Bould

BBC Radio Merseyside

Councils should consider reverting back to a system of paying members when they turn up for meetings and seminars rather than an annual allowance.

That's according to one of Warrington's longest serving members.

Have you seen this man?

Police want to trace this 31-year-old convicted drug dealer after breaching the conditions of his release from prison.

Michael Hanley
Merseyside police

Michael Hanley was jailed for more than five years in 2010 for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. He was released from HMP Risley last year but recalled back on 15 January.

Reds star on racism in football

Show Racism the Red Card have spoken to Liverpool player
Joe Allen about racism in football.

Liverpool player Joe Allen
youtube

He advises people to "share it with friends and family and people they trust" if they experience or witness racism in the game.

Traffic light failure

via Facebook

Cheshire Police posts: Issues with traffic lights at the junc. A41/Whitchurch Rd in Chester (Sainsbury's roundabout) Highways Agency aware and dealing