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Summary

  1. Updates on Wednesday 29 March
  2. News, sport, weather and travel updates return from 08:00 on Thursday

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

That's it from us today. We'll be back on Thursday at 08:00 with more news, sport, travel and weather updates from across the North West of England. Until then, have a lovely evening.  

Weather: Cloudy and breezy, with outbreaks of rain

BBC Weather

Becoming more breezy with rain in some parts turning heavy overnight.

Highs of 13C.

More from BBC Weather

Professor Brian Cox makes Postman Pat debut

Professor Brian Cox may be an old hand at presenting, but now he's got a new string to his bow - voicing an animated physicist in the CBeebies show, Postman Pat .

The University of Manchester professor made his debut as the voice of Professor Ryan Farrow, a space expert friend of the show's resident inventor Ted Glen, this morning.

You can watch the episode, named Postman Pat and the Space Suit, above. 

Plan for £30m Salford to Trafford heritage railway proposed

A railway line closed in 1964 could reopen as a heritage line for steam engines if new plans come to fruition.

Businessman Neil McArthur's £30m plan would see a footpath and cycleway run alongside six miles (9.5km) of tracks between Salford and Trafford.

'Hillsborough Law' passes first Commons test

A proposed "Hillsborough law" that would demand police officers and other public authorities to be open and truthful in inquest proceedings has been introduced to Parliament. 

Andy Burnham
HofC

Former Shadow Home Secretary and Leigh MP Andy Burnham said the establishment had failed to learn lessons from the Hillsborough cover-up, as he introduced draft legislation through a 10-minute rule motion. 

The Public Authority (Accountability) Bill would make it a criminal offence for the police and other public bodies to cover up wrongdoing at inquests.

It would also give bereaved families the same resources as public bodies to make their case at inquests.  

The bill was approved at the first stage and will be given a second reading on 12 May. 

Coleman injury made Williams 'feel sick'

BBC Sport

Wales captain Ashley Williams says he "felt sick inside" when he realised Everton team-mate Seamus Coleman had broken his leg in Friday's World Cup qualifier in Dublin.  

Seamus and Ashley
Getty Images

Coleman will leave hospital after surgery for a double break, suffered  in a tackle that saw Neil Taylor sent off.

Williams also revealed Taylor wanted to see Coleman in hospital and sent him a text message from the Aviva Stadium.

"Neil was gutted. He was sitting on the floor virtually in tears," he said.

Ian Paterson: Cancer ticking 'time bomb' description denied

A surgeon has denied telling a patient she risked a ticking time bomb of breast cancer, a court has heard .

Ian Paterson
Trinity Mirror

Ian Paterson, 59, of Castle Mill Lane, Ashley, Altrincham, said he had never used that "frightening analogy" in his life.

The trial previously heard Patricia Welch was led to believe she was a cancer "ticking bomb" and was wrongly encouraged to have a mastectomy.

Mr Paterson denies 20 counts of wounding with intent. The procedures relate to nine women and one man and were carried out between 1997 and 2011.

Rare Star Wars figure bought in Bacup fetches £10k at auction

A rare Star Wars toy bought at a Lancashire market stall in 1980 has sold for more than £10,000 at auction .  

Star Wars merchandise
Vectis

Its original owner paid "pocket money prices" for the Jawa figure in Bacup when he was a boy.

The toy, which originally sold for about £1, came with a limited edition vinyl cape and had never been opened.

It was expected to fetch between £5,000 and £6,000 at the Vectis auction in Thornaby-on-Tees but went to an international buyer for £10,200.

Council to move out Chester headquarters

Cheshire West and Chester Council is to move out of its headquarters in Chester, seven years after moving in.

The HQ building in Chester.
Google

The authority says the move will help save £2.4m.

Staff will be moved to council sites in Winsford and Ellesmere Port, but the council insists it will retain a "smaller presence" in Chester in other buildings it currently owns.

Flood barriers tested in Ribchester

Teams from the Environment Agency (EA) have been testing temporary flood barriers in Ribchester today.

Flood barriers exercise, Ribchester
BBC

The barriers are used to reduce the impact of flooding to homes and businesses, as well as the clean-up required after a flood.  

The EA has a total of 25 miles (40km) of temporary barriers and 250 high volume pumps, stored around the country.

Wirral explosion: Community hub opens for victims

A community hub has opened giving support to people affected by a suspected gas explosion on Merseyside.

Hub
BBC

Up to 100 residents and 30 business owners hit by the  blast in Bebington, Wirral are being offered help from a team of advisers at New Ferry village hall.

Explosion
BBC

Two people were seriously hurt and 31 others injured in the explosion on Saturday evening.

The site remains a crime scene as police investigate the cause.

Puppy stolen from house in Trafford

Police are trying to reunite a family with their five-month-old dog.

Bobby, a Shih Tzu cross Maltese, was stolen from a house on Hancock Street in Stretford yesterday.  

Dog
GM Police

Melissa Briscoe, the owner, said: "I have three young children and they are absolutely heartbroken. They just keep asking me when he’s coming home."

Anyone with information should contact police on 0161 856 7635.

Football: Liverpool star helps Brazil qualify for 2018 World Cup

BBC Sport

Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho was on the score sheet last night as he helped Brazil become the first side to seal their place at the World Cup finals in Russia next year

Philippe Coutinho
Reuters

Their 3-0 win over Paraguay, along with defeats for Argentina and Uruguay, means they cannot finish lower than fourth in South American qualifying.

Mum's plea to son over child death crash

The mother of a man believed to have left the country after a four-year-old girl was killed by a car has pleaded for her son to contact police .

Violet Grace Youens died after being struck by a stolen vehicle while walking through St Helens, Merseyside, on Friday. 

Police are trying to trace Aidan McAteer, 23, who is believed to have left the country hours after the crash.

His mother Alicia contacted police after seeing his photo on the internet.  

Latest headlines for the North West

  • The mother of a man believed to have left the country after a four-year-old girl was killed, pleads for her son to contact police
  • Merseyrail publishes timetable for the day of the RMT strike, which will take place on Grand National Day
  • Staff and players at Morecambe Football Club are paid after a banking delay

Jewish community meeting ahead of Manchester Mayoral elections

Members of the Jewish community in Manchester are being invited to a meeting this weekend ahead of the Manchester Mayoral Election in May.

Manchester skyline
David Dixon, geograph

The Jewish Representative Council in partnership with the Jewish Leadership Council and King David Schools will host a debate which will focus on issues such as the rise of anti-Semitism, security and representation of the local community.

It takes place on Sunday, between 19:30-21:30, at King David High School.

Candidates who have declared their intention to stand in the election: 

  • Sean Anstee - Conservative
  • Jane Brophy - Liberal Democrat  
  • Andy Burnham - Labour  
  • Marcus Farmer - Independent
  • Stephen Morris - English Democrats
  • Shneur Odze - UKIP  
  • Will Patterson - Green Party  

Work begins to create ecology park on Lancashire coast

Work has begun to create an ecology park on the site of the multimillion-pound Rossall coastal defence scheme. 

Rossall
David Dixon, geograph

The site, which is also classed as a biological heritage site because of the rare species of flora and fauna that grow there, will be known as Larkholme Grasslands.

As well as seating, pathways and bridges, the ecology park will feature aluminium grassland beacons, hand-carved wooden artworks and an artwork trail based on folklore and myth surrounding the local coastline.

The new sea defences are due to be completed in November 2017, and Larkholme Grasslands in spring 2018.  

Grand National rail strike timetable announced

Merseyrail has published its Grand National timetable, which includes "key services" running every 7 and a half minutes between Liverpool city centre and Aintree on 8 April - the day of the RMT strike.

Merseyrail
Merseyrail

The 24-hour strike is planned to take place on Grand National Day only and will not affect other days of the Grand National Festival.

Members of the RMT are walking out for 24 hours in a row over driver-only operated trains.

Merseyrail said on 8 April, there will be "fewer trains or no trains at all" on other parts of the network, although rail replacement buses will run on certain lines and services on "key bus routes".

Full timetable overview from Merseyrail .

MP to meet PM to discuss New Ferry

Nina Warhurst

BBC North West Political Editor

Prime Minister Theresa May has agreed to meet Wirral South MP Alison McGovern to discuss what will happen next in New Ferry after the explosion which devastated the area on Saturday night.

View more on twitter

Boxing: Flanagan and Crolla bout possible

BBC Sport

WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan is open to a bout with fellow Mancunian Anthony Crolla but believes he "will have bigger fish to fry" if he beats Petr Petrov. 

Terry Flanagan and Anthony Crolla
Getty Images

Flanagan, 27, will defend his title for a fifth time when he meets the 34-year-old Russian in Manchester on 8 April.

He then hopes to fight WBA champion Jorge Linares, who  beat Crolla for a second time in six months on Saturday.

"I think I can beat Linares," Flanagan told BBC Sport. "I think I have the style to beat him."

Flanagan and Crolla went to the same high school but support rival Manchester clubs.

Severe disruption: A640 Greater Manchester both ways

BBC News Travel

A640 Greater Manchester both ways severe disruption, between Church Road and Witley Road.

A640 Greater Manchester - A640 Milnrow Road in Rochdale closed and slow traffic in both directions between the Church Road junction and the Witley Road junction, because of a police incident.

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

Morecambe players and staff paid after delay

Staff and players at Morecambe Football Club have now been paid.

View more on twitter

Owner Graham Burnard explained that the hold out was due to a delay in an international bank transfer. 

The money has come from the Shrimps' former co-chairman Abdul Rahman Al Hashemi in Qatar. 

Mother of man wanted over four-year-old girl's death named him to police

The mother of a man wanted over the death of a four-year-old girl who was hit by a car in St Helens on Friday has said she gave his name to police after seeing his picture on the internet .

Violet Grace Youens
Merseyside Police

Violet Grace Youens  died  after being struck in St Helens, Merseyside.

Police are trying to trace Aidan McAteer, 23, who is believed to have left the country hours after the four-year-old was knocked down.

His mother Alicia said it was crucial he comes home as soon as possible.

She said:

It's not right what has happened to that little girl. I was heartbroken - I'm his mum but you have got to think about that little girl's family. It must be horrific for them.

I saw his picture on the internet and knew it was him, so as soon as I got my head round it, I called the police.

I adore him - he's my first born, he's my world, but I don't condone what has happened. If he comes home, I will be there for him. We will get through this together.

A second man has been charged with assisting an offender, motor theft and being a passenger in a stolen car in connection with the incident and appeared before Liverpool magistrates earlier .

Man reunited with cat after New Ferry explosion

A man has been reunited with his cat following the New Ferry explosion.

Christopher Power reunited with Sparky
Christopher Power

Christopher Power had to evacuate his house in Wirral shortly after the blast on Saturday and leave Sparky behind.

The orange and white tabby cat was spotted last night sat on a wall near a local supermarket.

Mr Power called a firefighter to get the cat down. He said:

I cried. I'm 48 years old and I cried. I was very emotional.

Woman robbed at knifepoint in Droylsden

A woman was robbed at knifepoint at a hairdressers in Droylsden at the weekend, prompting police to launch an appeal.

Chapel Street
Google

The robbery happened at about 16:45 on Saturday after a man entered the shop and threatened the woman with a knife, demanding money from the safe.

The man - who is described as white, in his mid-40s, 5ft 10in tall, and of medium-stocky build - made of with the cash towards Chapel Street.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact them.

Preview of new mobile eye clinic ahead of launch next month

People in Preston and Chorley will get the chance to preview a new mobile eye service today, ahead of its official launch next month.

eye test
BBC

The Greater Preston and Chorley and South Ribble Community Macular Service, will provide treatment for NHS patients with conditions such as Wet Macular Degeneration.

The service, which is run by Care UK and Manchester Consultants Eye Partnership on behalf of the NHS, will initially operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and will visit sites across Chorley, Longridge and Preston.

Latest headlines for the North West

  • A hub offering support for residents and businesses affected by the New Ferry explosion has opened in Wirral
  • A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a 57-year-old was found dead in Seacombe  
  • The RNLI urges people to take extra care when out on the coast after an increase in the number of volunteer lifeboat crews called out last year

New Ferry explosion: Hub gives support and advice about accessing properties

A hub to support people affected by the Wirral explosion is offering residents and businesses tailored advice about their properties, how they have been affected and when they might be allowed access.

Community hub in New Ferry
BBC

People are also being offered access to clothes donations and basic toiletries.

Ten people have been placed in emergency accommodation and 30 businesses cannot trade because of collapsed or damaged buildings since the explosion on Saturday , New Ferry's Residents' Association said.

Football: Accrington up to 13th place after Cambridge win

BBC Sport

Shay McCartan fired home his fourth goal in three games to keep Accrington's slim League Two play-off hopes alive and hurt Cambridge United's.

Shay MacCartan
Rex Features

Stanley made it 11 games unbeaten as Sean McConville and McCartan scored the vital goals to move them into 13th place, seven points off the top seven and two behind Cambridge.

Stanley took the lead in the 19th minute when Cambridge failed to clear their lines and Jordan Clark set up McConville in the area and he rifled home his sixth goal of the season.

McConville came close to a second three minutes later but, unmarked at the far post, his effort was saved by goalkeeper Will Norris.

Severe accident: M6 Lancashire southbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Lancashire southbound severe accident, between J33 for A6 and J32 for M55.

M6 Lancashire - One lane closed on M6 southbound between J33, A6 (Galgate) and J32, M55 (Broughton Interchange), because of an accident. Traffic is coping well.

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

RNLI urges people to take extra care around the coast after increase in incidents

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is urging people to take extra care when on the coast after figures show that volunteer lifeboat crews were called out over a 1,000 times in the region last year.

RNLI
RNLI/Nigel Millard

Figures released by the charity today, show that there was an 8% increase in 2016 on the number of lifeboat launches compared to 2015 in the north of England, with Blackpool being one of the busiest crews, having launched 84 times.

There are 33 lifeboat stations in the north of England, with lifeguards patrolling the region’s beaches during the summer season, mainly running from June to September.

With Easter just around the corner, it’s the ideal time to remind people that to have an enjoyable time at the coast, they need to treat it with respect. A little preparation beforehand and knowing what to do if you do get into trouble can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.

Darren LewisRNLI Lifesaving Manager

Man arrested over Seacombe death

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a 57-year-old was found dead in Seacombe. 

Albemarle Road
Google

Jeremy Dickinson from Seacombe was found dead at a property on Albemarle Road at about 12:15 GMT on Tuesday. 

A 35-year-old man from Tranmere has been arrested on suspicion of murder and is being interviewed by police. 

A post-mortem is due to be conducted later to establish the cause of death, Merseyside Police said.

Appeal for witneses after man dies in Oldham crash

Police are appealing for witnesses after a man died in a crash in Oldham.

Broadway
Google

The 30-year-old was driving a Toyota Yaris which collided with a Ford Fiesta on Broadway in Chadderton at about 20:30 last night.

He was taken to hospital but died later. 

The other driver was treated for minor injuries. 

UKIP's Paula Walters to stand in Liverpool Metro Mayor election

UKIP has announced its candidate in the Metro Mayor election for the Liverpool city region. 

Paula Walters
UKIP

Paula Walters, who was born in Wallasey, is currently the chairman of the Wirral branch of UKIP. 

She is the 6th candidate to join the race to become Metro Mayor. 

The election takes place on 4 May. 

You can see a list of all the candidates on the BBC politics page  Election 2017: English mayoral candidates

Latest headlines for the North West

More money requested by police to investigate football child sex abuse claims

Phil McCann

Cheshire Political Reporter, BBC News

The Home Office is being asked to give Cheshire Police more money for an investigation into claims of historical child sex abuse in football. 

A number of former Crewe Alexandra players made allegations last year.

Children playing football
Thinkstock

The force is assembling a dedicated team of over 20 officers and staff. 

Cheshire Police have been given £130,000 so far to fund the investigation - they've asked for double that amount as the number of allegations made has gone up. 

The county's police commissioner also said "good progress" is being made on four "critical" investigations.

New Ferry explosion: Drop-in hub opens to offer support

A community hub to support residents and businesses affected by a "catastrophic" suspected gas explosion is opening later.

New Ferry's village hall will be offering help and advice to victims of the  blast in Bebington , Wirral, Merseyside for the next three days.  

New Ferry
PA

Two people were seriously hurt and 31 others injured in the  blast  in on Saturday evening.

The site remains a crime scene as police investigate the cause.

Wirral Council said the drop-in facility on Grove Road will be open between 10:00 - 16:00 for people and businesses from New Ferry and Port Sunlight.