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  1. Wirral man missing for 25 years 'may have been murdered and buried by M53'
  2. National Grid say no gas mains fault was found near site of New Ferry explosion
  3. Man arrested over death of four-year-old girl hit by suspected stolen car in St Helens
  4. Lancashire squash star becomes first Briton in 66 years to win second British Open title
  5. Updates on Monday 27 March

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Local Live updates on Monday

That's about it from us today. We'll be back tomorrow 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: a dry night in store

Tuesday will be largely dry, although with a few light showers as the day progresses.

There will be plenty of sunny spells though, with a top temperature of about 14C.

Police hunting man "abroad" in connection with death of 4-year-old girl

A third man wanted in connection with the death of a four-year-old girl who was killed in a car crash has fled "abroad", police said.

CCTV of men police want to trace
Merseyside Police
Police have issued CCTV images of two men they would like to speak to about what happened

Four-year-old Violet Grace Youens  died on Saturday,  a day after the vehicle mounted the pavement in St Helens.

A 27-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving earlier today after a 23-year-old, from Prescot, was arrested on suspicion of being a passenger in a stolen vehicle. 

Now police are hunting a third man, also 23 and seen in a blue t-shirt on CCTV, who they say left the country shortly after the fatal smash.   

We believe that a second male, aged 23, who we would like to speak to is abroad. He left approximately three hours after the incident. We have been in contact with the authorities of the country where we believe he is.”

Detective Chief Inspector Chris Sephton Merseyside Police

'I've not moved on' - Rio Ferdinand shares his struggle with grief

Rio Ferdinand opens up about how hard it has been to cope with his wife's death.

Rio Ferdinand's wife, Rebecca, died of breast cancer in 2015. 

The former England football captain and Manchester United defender reveals how hard he's found life without her and how he has struggled to cope with his grief. 

Watch Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad on BBC One at 21:00 on Tuesday. 

Latest headlines for the North West

  • A boy who punched a man and left him unconscious in the road before he was then killed by a careless driver in Ashton-under-Lyne  has been detained for five years
  • A man has been held on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving after  a four-year-old girl died after being struck by a car   in St Helens
  • Police want to trace a man in connection with a double assault in Accrington in May
  • Three women have successfully challenged the "old dinosaurs" who tried to block their attempts to get on the committee at a Conservative club in Blackpool  

Wirral blast 'most frightening experience of my life'

A man who was forced from his home in the blast in Wirral on Saturday said it was the "most frightening experience" of his life.

Christopher Power and explosion site

Two people were seriously hurt and 31 others injured when several buildings collapsed in the blast in Bebington.

Actor Christopher Power, 48, said he had collapsed in shock after witnessing the devastation.

More than 100 people were evacuated from their homes. An investigation into the cause is continuing.

I was asked to leave my house and I just collapsed in the street with shock and exhaustion.

It's your home, the place you live, breathe, spend time with family and friends, when that is taken away from you it's just devastating."

Christopher PowerResident

Lancashire welcomes new Dean of Blackburn

A new Dean of Blackburn has been officially inducted at the city's cathedral.

The Very Rev. Peter Howell-Jones
Diocese of Blackburn

The Very Rev. Peter Howell-Jones, 55, comes to Blackburn Diocese from his previous role as Vice-Dean of Chester Cathedral.

The new Dean was chosen by an appointment panel chaired by Jack Straw, the former MP for Blackburn and Foreign Secretary.

Dean Peter said he had been "overwhelmed" by the level of support and added: “I will now be taking time to listen to people and hear more about the current issues in the town and around the diocese."

Community shop raise concerns over future following New Ferry explosion

Wirral Globe

Owners of a charity shop that was destroyed by the explosion in New Ferry are concerned about a lack of official information coming from the emergency team co-ordinating clean-up operations.

New Ferry explosion

St Helens bridge to light up for girl who died after suspected hit-and-run

The Steve Prescott Bridge in St Helens will be lit violet tonight in memory of four-year-old Violet Grace Youens who died after a suspected hit-and-run in the town.

Steve Prescott Bridge
St Helens Council

Football: Clark switch vindicated by Bury form

BBC Sport

Bury manager Lee Clark says his players have vindicated his decision to leave Kilmarnock and join the club last month.

Lee Clark
Rex Features

Clark left Scottish side Kilmarnock to join the Shakers, despite them being in 21st place and two points from safety.

Since then, the former Birmingham and Blackpool manager has turned things around, losing just one of his eight games in charge to move them up to 17th, four points above the drop zone.

"We couldn't have asked any more from this group of players," Clark said.

Three women successfully challenge Tory club 'dinosaurs'

Three women have successfully challenged the "old dinosaurs" who tried to block their attempts to get on the committee at a Conservative club in Blackpool.

Tyldesley Conservative Club

Tyldesley Conservative Club has been ordered to pay £9,000 in an out-of-court settlement to Irene James, 67, Amanda Mitchell, 45, and Ellen Whiteley, 57, and £26,000 in legal costs after they brought a legal action for unlawful discrimination.

Ms James said they had been "vilified" by other members for bringing the action but they are still determined to serve on the committee as they have ideas to boost the club. 

She said:

It was not about the money; we did it for all the women in the club.

They picked on the strongest women as we were prepared to stand up for our rights.

The club committee was unavailable for comment.  

Happy Mondays star calls for referendum on fracking

Mark Berry, aka Bez from legendary 90s band Happy Mondays, says a referendum is needed over the future of fracking.

The 52-year-old, who tried but failed to become Salford's MP in the 2015 general election, joined a group of protesters demonstrating outside energy firm Cuadrilla's site on Preston New Road in Little Plumpton.

Meanwhile, protesters are also demonstrating outside two quarry sites in Over Kellet, near Lancaster.

The campaign group Reclaim the Power are trying to disrupt the supply chain to companies who provide material to the industry.

Latest headlines for the North West

Appeal made after Accrington assaults

Police want to trace a man from Oswaldtwistle after a double assault in Accrington.

Darren MacKenzie
Lancashire Police

Two men were attacked between 03:15 and 04:50 at the Voodoo Lounge on Willow Street in May.  

Darren MacKenzie, 29, who is also known as ‎Darren Young, is wanted in connection with the attacks.

He is described as white, stocky build and has links to the Accrington, Hyndburn and Blackburn areas.

Boy, 13, survives Blackburn factory roof fall

A 13-year-old boy was airlifted to hospital after falling 15ft (4.5m) through a factory roof , police said.

Scene of the fall

The accident happened on the Moorings Close Industrial Estate, off Bolton Road in Blackburn, shortly before 17:00 on Sunday.

The teenager, who was playing with friends at the time, escaped with a broken nose, cuts and bruises.

He was taken by air ambulance to the Royal Blackburn Hospital before moving to  Alder Hey Children's Hospital.

Boxing: Crolla meeting with Burns 'a possibility'

BBC Sport

Manchester boxer Anthony Crolla will consider moving up to Ricky Burns' weight class to pursue "big fights" following his rematch defeat by Jorge Linares on Saturday.

Anthony Crolla and Jorge Linares

After the  WBA lightweight title defeat  to Venezuelan Linares, promoter Eddie Hearn raised the prospect of Crolla moving to light-welterweight.

"With the notice I'd certainly grow into that," said Crolla, 30.

A move up opens the prospect of facing the winner of Scot Burns' unification bout with Julius Indongo on 15 April.

Boy, 16, detained for five years over McDonald's punch death

A boy who punched a man and left him lying unconscious in the street, where he was killed by a careless driver, has been detained for five years.

Bradley Moore

The 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, hit Bradley Moore outside a McDonald's restaurant in Ashton-under-Lyne in July 2016.

Shortly after, the 43-year-old was struck by Jonathan Carter's car.

The teenager was convicted of Mr Moore's manslaughter following a trial in January and sentenced to five years in youth detention at Manchester Crown Court.

Carter, 44, was found guilty of causing death by careless driving and given a nine-month suspended jail sentence.

FA Cup: Liverpool Ladies 2-0 Notts County Ladies

BBC Sport

Liverpool Ladies scored two first-half goals as they beat Notts County Ladies to secure a place in the Women's FA Cup semi-finals

          Natasha Harding's strike gave Liverpool a telling half-time lead

Caroline Weir gave the hosts a third-minute lead with a long-range shot that was fumbled by England goalkeeper Carly Telford.

The draw for the semi-finals will take place live on BBC Radio 5 Live at 14:45 BST on Monday, 27 March. 

Man, 27, held over road death of four-year-old girl

A 27-year-old man from St Helens has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving after a four-year-old girl was knocked down and killed on Friday.

Violet Grace Youens
Merseyside Police

Violet Grace Youens  died on Saturday  after being struck by a car when it mounted the pavement on Prescot Road, St Helens, police said. 

The man has been detained at a police station in Merseyside to be interviewed.

Call for regulated bus services after budget limitations revealed

Transport bosses in Greater Manchester say there is no budget left to subsidise more bus services, after Arriva, Stagecoach and First Manchester announced 20 routes would either be reduced or axed from next month.

About £15m is spent on maintaining the bus network in areas where operators say it is not financially viable every year.

Lianna Etkind from the Campaign for Better Transport says regulated bus services would mean better value for money.

Police launch crackdown on Preston drugs gangs

A major police operation is under way in Preston in an attempt to disrupt drugs gangs.

Police dog

The week-long crackdown, called Operation Nexus, follows an escalation in the number of violent incidents.

Ch Insp Jon Clegg says the aim is to show the local community that drugs, violence and anti-social behaviour "will not be tolerated".

Missing man murder probe: Land near M53 in Wirral searched

Land near to the M53, Junction 5 in Wirral is being searched by police today  in relation to disappearance of Steven Preston 24 years ago .

Land search in Wirral
Land search in Wirral

Specialist search officers have been deployed following new information that the 23-year-old may have been murdered and buried on land in the Eastham area.  

Weather: Warm with sunny spells

BBC Weather

It will continue to feel mild this afternoon with sunny spells across the North West. 

It will remain dry overnight but it will turn cold in clear spells.

Lows around 6C in towns and cities.

More from BBC Weather

'I've not moved on' - Rio Ferdinand shares his struggle with grief

Former Manchester United captain Rio Ferdinand has been talking openly about how he has struggled to cope with the death of his wife .

Ferdinand's wife, Rebecca, was 34 when she died of breast cancer in May 2015.  

He told the BBC that his children - now aged 10, eight and five - would not talk about the death of their mother and they would "shut me down" when he asked them how they were feeling.

Watch Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad on BBC One at 21:00 on Tuesday 28 March. You can catch up later online  here  - this page also has links to organisations offering advice and support to people affected by bereavement.

Latest headlines for the North West

Work to begin to reinstate disused platform at Bolton Railway Station

Bolton News

The Bolton News

The next stage of work to bring a disused platform at Bolton Railway Station back into use will begin in the coming days.

Anti-fracking demonstrations block quarry entrances

Campaigners opposed to fracking are staging protests at two sites in north Lancashire.

Police vehicles

The demonstrations are taking place at Leapers Mill Quarry and Back Lane Quarry in Over Kellet, near Lancaster. 

Protest group Reclaim the Power want to disrupt the supply chain to companies providing material to energy firm Cuadrilla's Preston New Road site in Little Plumpton.

The group claims Leapers Mill, which is operated by Tarmac, supplies aggregate to Cuadrilla.

We do not comment on commercial arrangements with customers. We agree that lawful protest is right and proper, however, we cannot condone illegal attempts to stop industry from working on projects that have been through the correct democratic procedures, and which potentially put at risk the safety of our employees, customers, suppliers and members of the public.

Tarmac spokesman

Severe accident: M60 Greater Manchester clockwise

BBC News Travel

M60 Greater Manchester clockwise severe accident, between J9 for A5081 and J10 for B5214 affecting J7 for A56.

M60 Greater Manchester - One lane closed and queuing traffic on M60 clockwise between J9, A5081 (Trafford Park) and J10, B5214 (Trafford Centre), because of an accident involving lorry and car. Congestion to J7, A56 (Stretford).

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

Man, 23, arrested after St Helens suspected hit-and-run

A 23-year-old man from Prescot has been arrested by detectives investigating a suspected hit-and-run in St Helens. 

Violet Grace Youens, four, died in hospital after a car, police believe was stolen,  crashed into her and her grandmother on Prescot Road on Friday

After being questioned on suspicion of travelling in a stolen vehicle, the man was released on bail. 

Police are appealing for help in finding two males, aged between 15 and 20, who left the scene of the crash.

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Funding boost for house building initiatives

Council leaders are set to approve loans worth more than £100m to help build more than 1,000 homes across Greater Manchester.

Tiler on roof
Getty Images

The cash is coming from the Combined Authority's Housing Fund, which provides low interest rate loans to developers, which commercial banks are unwilling to offer. 

Most of the homes will be apartments in Manchester and Salford.

Land search for man missing for 20 years

New information suggests a man who disappeared almost 25 years ago may have been killed and buried on land in Merseyside , police say.

Steven Preston
Merseyside Police

Steven Preston, 23, went missing on 18 September 1992 from his home in Wirral.

Supt Ian Hassall said new information suggests he may have "been murdered and buried in a specific area of land near to Junction 5 of the M53".

Officers are carrying out an "extensive land search" in the Eastham area of Wirral, Merseyside Police said.

Squash: Massaro wins second British Open title

BBC Sport

Lancashire's Laura Massaro beat compatriot Sarah-Jane Perry to become the first English woman for 66 years to win a second British Open title .

Massaro, 33, won the final in Hull 11-8 11-8 6-11 11-6 to reclaim the title she first won in 2013.

"It's just unbelievable," said the fifth seed, a former world champion and world number one.

CCTV appeal after Blackpool bar attack

A CCTV image of two men wanted in connection with an assault in Blackpool has been released.

Men wanted in connection with assault
Lancashire Police

A 21-year-old man from Weeton was punched by two men about 23:30 on 28 January at Scrooges Wine Bar in Milbourne Street.

The victim required extensive treatment at Blackpool Victoria Hospital after sustaining a broken jaw and losing several teeth.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact police.

Plaque unveiling for renowned Manchester scientist

A blue plaque will be unveiled later in memory of the Manchester scientist John Dalton.

John Dalton

The chemist and physicist is best known for developing modern atomic theory and researching colour blindness. 

The plaque will be installed outside the Ape and Apple pub on John Dalton Street, close to his statue in Manchester town hall.

Latest headlines for the North West

  • An investigation into an explosion in New Ferry  which left two people seriously hurt and more than 30 injured reveals no faults on the gas mains network
  • A week-long police crackdown on drugs gangs in Preston is under way
  • Council leaders in Greater Manchester are set to approve loans worth more than £100m to help build more than 1,000 homes

Severe disruption: M6 Cheshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Cheshire northbound severe disruption, between J18 for A54 Middlewich and J19 for A556.

M6 Cheshire - One lane closed and queuing traffic on M6 northbound between J18, A54 (Middlewich) and J19, A556 (Knutsford), because of a broken down car.

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

Kidney-donor pals celebrate op success

A man who was given a kidney by his best friend says he feels "100% better" and is considering a charity skydive.

Helen Crowther & Andy Clewes
Helen Crowther

Andy Clewes had the transplant in Manchester after his friend Helen Crowther agreed to become a donor.

The 46-year-old suffered chronic kidney disease since birth and was on the verge of needing dialysis treatment.

Mr Clewes and Ms Crowther, 45, are now planning "a curry and a few beers" to celebrate  the successful procedure,  which was carried out in January.

Business leaders voice concern over actions of anti-fracking campaigners

Danny Savage

North of England correspondent

A group of Lancashire business leaders are calling for "tough action" against protesters who target companies supplying the fracking industry.

Police and protesters in Little Plumpton

A number of demonstrations have been staged outside businesses supplying material to Cuadrilla's Preston New Road site in Little Plumpton.

Violence broke out at one protest last month, with the local Chamber of Commerce saying it has concerns over similar action planned over the next fortnight.

Anti-fracking group Reclaim the Power says direct action is a last resort after spending years following protocol.

Meanwhile, campaigners are currently staging protests at two sites in north Lancashire - Leapers Wood Quarry and Back Lane Quarry in Over Kellet, near Lancaster.

Appeal for documentary funding for threatened pub film

An appeal has been launched to fund a documentary about a well-known Manchester pub, which could be threatened by the development of land next to Piccadilly station.

Star and Garter

 A group of local people have been making a film about the Grade II-listed music venue, The Star and Garter, but they need more money to complete it. 

The pub could be bulldozed as part of plans to redevelop the former Mayfield Station, which stands next door to it.

Football: Everton player's return unclear after leg break op

BBC Sport

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill says no timescale has been put on Seamus Coleman's recovery from his  horrific double leg fracture.

Seamus Coleman

O'Neill told the BBC, Coleman's operation had been a success following his injury in the World Cup qualifier against Wales on Friday.

"I'm not sure, I would only be guessing," said O'Neill, when asked how long the Everton player could be out.

"Even the doctors and surgeons wouldn't be terribly sure."