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Summary

  1. Updates on Tuesday 28 February
  2. News, sport, weather and travel updates return from 08:00 on Wednesday

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Live updates from Merseyside and west Cheshire have finished for the day, but we'll be back from 08:00 on Wednesday with more of the latest news, sport, weather and travel updates.

Weather: Rain to clear but cold night

BBC Weather

Rain and showers clearing during the evening, leaving a mostly dry night with clear spells. Another cold night with fairly light winds and a widespread frost. Lows of 5C.

More from BBC Weather

Football: Everton hopeful over Lukaku

BBC Sport

Everton's director of football Steve Walsh is confident the club can secure striker Romelu Lukaku on a long-term contract.

Romelu Lukaku
Getty Images

The Belgian's agent Mino Raiola said in December that a deal was "99% done" and on Monday claimed it was now "99.99999999% done". 

Walsh told Sky Sports: "I think once you have success at a club, you have a feeling for it, and there is a real feeling that Everton is a club he is part and parcel of and I think he'd like to continue with that."

Wirral Council defends publication of monthly newsletter

Wirral Council is defending publication of its monthly newsletter, despite claims a government minister wants it scrapped.

Wirral View newspapers
Wirral Council

Wirral Council launched Wirral View five months ago and says it has had positive feedback, especially from community groups in the borough.

But the government's publicity code states councils should not publish newsletters more than four times a year.

The council’s Conservative opposition councillors say it is a waste of public money and met minister for Local Government Minister Marcus Jones to discuss their concerns.

A council spokesman said: "We have put our case to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) a number of times, and we remain keen to discuss the issues with them in more detail."

Responding, a DCLG spokesman said:

Councils shouldn’t undermine local democracy by publishing their own newsletters more often than quarterly.

We’ve offered the small number that aren’t playing by the rules a last chance to put their publishing houses in order or we will use our powers to require them to do so.

Severe accident: M62 Merseyside eastbound

BBC News Travel

M62 Merseyside eastbound severe accident, between J5 for A5080 and J6 for M57.

M62 Merseyside - Very slow traffic on M62 eastbound between J5, A5080 (Huyton) and J6, M57 (Tarbock Island), because of a serious accident.

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

Drug poisoning highest for a decade

More patients are being admitted to hospital in England for drug-related mental health issues or poisoning than at any time in the past 10 years.

Drugs
Thinkstock

Official figures reveal 15,074 cases of people in hospital with illicit drug poisoning in 2015-16, 51% more than 2005-06.

Mental health issues had drugs as a cause in 81,904 cases.

Liverpool had the highest rate of admissions for drug-related mental health or behavioural disorders, with 491 per 100,000 residents.  

Public health experts say falling investment in drug treatment services may explain the rise.

Tigers enjoy the chill in Knowsley

Tigers at Knowsley Safari Park have been enjoying the low temperatures - much closer to their natural habitat in forests in eastern Russia and China.

Tiger in the snow
Knowsley Safari
Tiger in the snow
Knowsley Safari

The park has two endangered Amur tigers - sisters Bira and Sinda - who arrived in 2010 as part of a European breeding programme. 

The largest big cat species alive today, there are said to be fewer than 540 left in the wild.

Liverpool FC announce new chief exec

Liverpool have named the club's new chief executive who will replace Ian Ayre. 

Liverpool-born Peter Moore, 61, will join the Reds in June and report directly to owners, Fenway Sports Group, the club said in a statement.

Ian Ayre
Getty Images

Ayre announced  he will leave the club at the end of February  to join German second-division side 1860 Munich.

Moore is currently chief competition officer at Electronic Arts (EA), based in the United States, where he has been for nearly 10 years, including as chief operating officer and president of EA Sports.

Mersey Gateway bosses reveal bridge toll costs

Bosses of the new Mersey Gateway bridge have revealed more details about how much drivers will have to pay when it opens in the autumn.

Mersey Gateway bridge artist's impression
Handout

The standard toll will be £2 but people who live in Halton will be able to cross for free, if they pay a £10 annual registration fee. 

Blue badge holders will also be exempt if they pay a £5 annual fee and there will be reductions for other regular users. 

Drivers are being urged to go online to qualify for a discount. 

Toll booths will be replaced with cameras which register each vehicle.

This is a £600m project, the bills need to be paid, and the tolls will be the main payment of those bills.

David Parr Chief executive of Halton Council and of Mersey Gateway

Football: Tranmere game cancelled due to waterlogged pitch

BBC Sport

Tranmere Rovers' National League game against Forest Green Rovers has been postponed after the pitch at Prenton Park failed a pre-match inspection.

Football and players' boots
Getty Images

The match was scheduled to begin at 19:45 but heavy rain has made the pitch unplayable.

A new date for the National League fixture is yet to be confirmed.

The two sides are level on points, vying for promotion in fourth and third place respectively and are four points behind leaders Lincoln City.

Strike action by Merseyrail staff 'extremely disappointing'

Strike action by Merseyrail staff has been described as "extremely disappointing" by the Mayor of Liverpool.

Train
Merseytravel

The RMT union  announced the walkouts in a dispute with the firms over plans to remove guards from trains, which would become driver-only-operated (DOO).

Union officials, who confirmed the 24-hour strike on 13 March, say the move will make trains potentially dangerous but the Office of Road and Rail insists they are safe provided the right equipment and training is given.

Joe Anderson
PA

Joe Anderson, who is also the chairman of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, said:  

I can understand that union members want to make sure their frustrations are heard... we have tried to make sure that existing staff have job security.. That’s why it is extremely disappointing that RMT members have voted to take action.

Talks to develop wedding venue in Cunard Building under way

Talks are under way between developer Signature Living and Liverpool City Council to create a wedding venue and restaurant in the Cunard Building.

Cunard Building exterior
Google

A council spokesman confirmed talks are ongoing, and are subject to legal agreements. 

Signature Living, which operates a number of hotels in Liverpool, says it's always wanted to invest in the waterfront building, which is owned by the council.

Liverpool put forward as replacement Commonwealth Games 2022 host

Liverpool has put forward its interest in hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2022 after it emerged that Durban may be unable remain as host because of financial constraints.

South Africa's sports minister, Fikile Mbalula, told Reuters: "We gave it our best shot but we can't go beyond. If the country says we don't have this money, we can't." 

People waving Durban 2022 flags
AFP

Liverpool is interested in hosting the games in 2022. We had heard rumours that Durban might be unable to deliver the Commonwealth Games in 2022 and have already indicated to the Government that we are very willing to host them instead.

Liverpool City Council spokesperson

Latest headlines in Merseyside and west Cheshire

  • Merseyrail and Northern workers vote for strike action in a row over driver-only trains
  • Liverpool City Council confirms it is in talks with developer Signature Living about creating a wedding venue and restaurant in the Cunard Building
  • The match between Tranmere Rovers and Forest Green tonight is postponed due to heavy rain on the pitch at Prenton Park

Severe disruption: M58 Merseyside westbound

BBC News Travel

M58 Merseyside westbound severe disruption, between J1 for and M57 J7.

M58 Merseyside - One lane closed on M58 westbound between J1, Kirkby and M57 J7, Switch Island, because of a broken down vehicle. Traffic is coping well.

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

Merseyrail boss urges union to 'constructively discuss' role of staff

In response to the announcement RMT union Merseyrail workers have voted for strike action in a row over driver-only trains Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde, Merseyrail’s Managing Director, issued this statement:

Every industry needs to modernise, otherwise its future is at risk. Urban railways like ours are no different. The advanced technology on the new trains means they will no longer require traditional guards.

The RMT may be intent on blocking even modest modernisation plans such as Driver Controlled Operation (DCO), and watch as other innovations such as driverless cars on our roads overtake railways in the technology stakes.

But as a railwayman of 28 years, I’m certainly not happy to let this happen, and I would urge the RMT to return to the negotiating table to constructively discuss how we can best re-deploy my existing, experienced and hard-working team of guards during 2020 when the new trains arrive.

Weather: Heavy rain and wintry showers

BBC Weather

Heavy rain this afternoon, with some turning wintry. Wind will pick up too. Highs of 7C.

More from BBC Weather

Merseyrail 'committed to continuing talks' after union votes for strike

Merseyrail says it is "committed to continuing talks with the RMT" and will do everything it can to bring the dispute to a "satisfactory and swift conclusion" after the RMT union voted in favour of strike action on Merseyrail trains next month

The rail company say about 60 on-board customer service positions will be created under new plans for guardless trains, but the union are not happy with the proposed changes.

Merseyrail trains
Stadler

In a statement, Merseyrail said of the new roles:  

Ensuring passengers feel safe and secure continues to be the number one priority, and these people will work on board the new trains, to assist and reassure passengers.

We have promised that any member of staff who is currently employed as a guard and wants to stay at Merseyrail, will be guaranteed permanent employment in an alternative position, on the same terms and conditions as now, subject to successful negotiation between Merseyrail and the relevant trade unions, once the new trains are introduced.

Your pictures: Dark skies over Merseyside today

BBC Weather Watchers

There are some wintry skies over Merseyside today. Thanks to BBC Weather Watchers Weathers Neil and WeatherEyeSteve for these pictures of Prenton and Southport.

Southport
BBC
Southport
BBC

Have you got a photograph of the weather you would like to share? Why not join  BBC Weather Watchers and upload your report.

Football: Koeman would welcome Rooney return

BBC Sport

Everton boss Ronald Koeman is open to the idea of Wayne Rooney returning to Goodison.

Wayne Rooney
Reuters

Rooney, who  left the Toffees as an 18-year-old in 2004 to join United,  has been linked with a move to the Chinese Super League but Koeman told Sky Sports: "I think he made a good choice to stay at Manchester United and in the Premier League because he has still two or three years in front of him to play on a high level. 

"What will happen at the end of the season? I don't know but in my opinion he is one of the players who can make Everton more stronger."

More from BBC Sportsday

Chamber to host event on benefits of digital technology for businesses

St Helens Star

St Helens Chamber will hold a conference this Friday focused on the benefits for businesses of embracing digital technology.

St Helens Chamber
Google

Latest headlines in Merseyside and west Cheshire

  • Merseyrail workers vote for strike action in a row over driver-only trains
  • Drivers will be given details about how they will have to pay for tolls on the new Mersey Gateway bridge later
  • Thousands of school children across Liverpool will be tucking into scouse this lunchtime - to celebrate Global Scouse Day

Merseyrail 24-hour strike date announced

Merseyrail workers have voted for 24-hour strike action in a row over driver-only trains on Monday 13 March.

Members will also not work any "rest days" from 00:01 on Monday 7 March indefinitely.

Merseyrail train
Merseytravel

The RMT union is in dispute with the company over plans to remove guards from a £460m fleet of new trains. 

Of the 181 votes cast in the ballot, 148 said they supported strike action.

RMT General secretary Mick Cash said: "This ballot result sends out the clearest possible message to Merseyrail, Merseytravel and politicians across the area that RMT is prepared to stand up and fight for public safety and the guard guarantee."

Merseyrail has been contacted for a comment.

Eight year sentence for Wirral arsonist who set fire to rented home in 'grudge' attack

Wirral Globe

A Wirral man who set fire to his rented home in a "grudge" attack has been given an eight year sentence .  

Merseyrail workers vote to strike in row over driver-only trains

Merseyrail workers have voted for strike action in a row over driver-only trains.

Merseyrail
Merseyrail

The RMT union  revealed the results of the ballot  which is in protest at plans to remove guards from Merseyrail trains.

Union officials claim trains without guards are potentially dangerous.

The Office of Road and Rail inisists they are safe provided the right equipment and training is given.

How will you have your scouse on Global Scouse Day?

Lamb or beef? Beet root or red cabbage? How do you have your scouse?

It's Global Scouse Day today and to celebrate cafes and restaurants across the city are serving up the traditional Liverpool dish.

Global Scouse Day
Global Scouse Day

Don't know how to cook it? One thing we do know is that your mum's will always be the best.

Severe accident: M53 Merseyside northbound

BBC News Travel

M53 Merseyside northbound severe accident, at J5 for A41.

M53 Merseyside - Two lanes blocked and heavy traffic on M53 northbound at J5, A41 (Eastham), because of an accident and a fuel spillage.

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

House shot at in Speke

A house in Speke is cordoned off after a window was shot at. 

Speke Church Road
Google

No-one was hurt in the shooting just before 20:00 in Speke Church Road last night.

Police are appealing for witnesses.

Severe accident: M6 Cheshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Cheshire northbound severe accident, at J20 for A50.

M6 Cheshire - Slow traffic on M6 northbound at J20, A50 (Lymm Interchange), because of an accident, which is now on the hard shoulder.

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

Latest headlines in Merseyside and west Cheshire

  • Eleven people have now been arrested across Merseyside in raids by Cheshire Police targeting drug dealers
  • The RMT Union will reveal later if hundreds of rail workers have voted to strike in protest at plans to remove guards from Merseyrail trains
  • A house in Speke is sealed off after a window was shot at last night

Severe accident: M57 Merseyside northbound

BBC News Travel

M57 Merseyside northbound severe accident, at J3 for A526.

M57 Merseyside - One lane blocked and slow traffic on M57 northbound at J3, A526 (Stockbridge Village), because of an accident involving van and car.

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

Mersey Gateway bridge toll details to be announced later

Drivers will be given details about how they will have to pay for tolls on the new Mersey Gateway bridge later.

Mersey Gateway
Mersey Gateway

The new link between Runcorn and Widnes will cost £2 for a one way trip in a car or small van. 

Eligible Halton residents will be able to travel free if they pay a £10 annual registration fee.

When the new bridge opens in the autumn, the old one will close for repairs and when it reopens the same fees will apply.

Severe accident: M6 Cheshire southbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Cheshire southbound severe accident, between J21 for A57 and J20 for A50.

M6 Cheshire - Slow traffic on M6 southbound between J21, A57 (Woolston) and J20, A50 (Lymm Interchange), because of an accident earlier on. All lanes have been re-opened.

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

Dovecot 'thug' attacked West Ham fan with a brick

Liverpool Echo

A drunken 'thug' was jailed after a court heard he attacked two West Ham football fans on their first visit to Liverpool – repeatedly striking one on the head with a brick

Merseyrail train guards strike action ballot result due

The RMT Union will reveal later if hundreds of rail workers have voted to strike in protest at plans to remove guards from Merseyrail trains.

Merseyrail
Merseyrail

If they have backed the idea then it will be a major escalation of the industrial action which has already brought chaos to Southern Rail services. 

Union officials claim trains without guards are potentially dangerous, but the Office of Road and Rail inisists they are safe provided the right equipment and training is given.

Ten arrested in drugs raids across Merseyside

Ten people have been arrested in early morning raids across Merseyside by Cheshire Police in an operation targeting suspected drug dealers. 

More than 100 officers were joined by the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit TITAN in Liverpool and St Helens.

Eight men and two women are being questioned on suspicion of Class A drugs offences.

Latest headlines in Merseyside and west Cheshire

  • Ten people have been arrested in drugs raids across Merseyside by Cheshire Police
  • The RMT Union will reveal later if hundreds of rail workers have voted to strike in protest at plans to remove guards from Merseyrail trains
  • Drivers will get details today about how they will have to pay for the tolls on the new Mersey Gateway Bridge when it opens in autumn

Weather: Warning of ice

BBC Weather

A cloudy start with some heavy showers which may wintry. Highs of 7C.

More from BBC Weather

Good morning: Join us for today's live news coverage

Jenny Coleman

Reporter, BBC Local Live

 Hello from Liverpool, I'm here with all your news, sport, travel and weather updates from across Merseyside and west Cheshire today. 

If you've got a story you'd like me to hear about or a photograph you'd like to share, you can contact me on email , Facebook or Twitter .