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  1. Survey says too many emergency service workers in East of England are stressed, depressed and even contemplating suicide
  2. People in south Norfolk village call for lorries using their local road as cut-through to be diverted
  3. Auditors say farms owned by county council are being poorly managed
  4. Updates for Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Live Reporting

By Mariam Issimdar

All times stated are UK

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Our local live coverage across the day

That's it from the Norfolk Live team. We'll be back from 08:00 tomorrow, bringing you the news, sport, travel and weather updates as they happen. 

If you have any photographs from around the county that you'd like to share, or if there's anything happening that you'd like us to know about, you can contact us via email, Facebook or Twitter.  

Destruction of largest-ever gun haul begins

Kevin Burch

BBC Look East

The destruction of 463 firearms found hidden away in a Suffolk village has got under way at police headquarters in Martlesham.

The destruction of the largest-ever gun haul found in the UK is under way in Suffolk

Pistols, rifles, shotguns, machine guns, a rocket launcher, grenades and 200,000 rounds of ammunition were found at the home of former parish council chairman James Arnold in Wyverstone in 2014. 

It was the biggest haul of weapons ever found in the UK. Mr Arnold was charged, but died of cancer while on remand.

Anthony Buckland, from Norfolk, was jailed for six years for his part in supplying some of the weapons.

Weather: Clear skies and light winds overnight

BBC Weather

Overnight will be dry with clear skies and light winds. There's risk of a frost again as temperatures drop to around 0C (32F).

Weather map

Tomorrow will be fine and dry and feeling pleasantly warm in the sunshine. 

BBC Weather has more details.

Pensioners in ping-pong marathon to raise cash

Pensioners with an average age of 74 are holding a table tennis marathon in Weybourne today. 

Table tennis marathon

The six-hour event is to raise money to repair the village hall. 

Local funeral directors are sponsoring them, and so far they've managed to double their target of £1,000.

Watch: Normal for Norfolk's Desmond gives a scything masterclass

Mike Liggins

BBC Look East

As I've mentioned, I'm in north Norfolk today meeting Desmond MacCarthy, star of the BBC's new docu-soap Normal for Norfolk.

He's struggling to keep his 17th-Century manor house home afloat, while holding on to the country traditions of his childhood.

You can see my report on BBC Look East tonight at 18:30 on BBC One. Meanwhile, here's a quick peek at what you can expect in tonight's episode of Normal for Norfolk, which is going out on BBC Two at 22:00.

Centenarian celebrates 105th birthday with three-course lunch

Cath Saunt

BBC Radio Norfolk

A woman from Dereham is 105 years old today.

Grace Smith

Grace Smith who continues to live independently, said she worked until the age of 70 and was still cycling until the age of 90.  

She marked the event at the local Meeting Point Day Centre with a special three-course lunch with friends.

Replica Anglo-Saxon hut was deliberately destroyed, say police

Arson is thought to be the cause of a fire at a Norwich school on Monday evening.

Belle Carter, Henry Richards-Parry and Oliver Lincoln from West Earlham Primary School

A replica Anglo-Saxon longhouse built at West Earlham Junior School was destroyed in the blaze. 

Since being built in 2014 the building has been used by pupils for story-telling and history lessons.

Seals spotted inland near Norwich

Tim Sparrow

BBC Radio Norfolk

While we may be used to seeing seals along Norfolk's coastline, few of us would expect to see them closer to Norwich. 

Seal in river
Dave Grubb

But members of Norwich Canoe Club reckon they've spotted the playful creatures as far inland as Bramerton.

Paula Harrison and Chris Sharp have seen grey seals a couple of times while paddling to Surlingham and back. If you've seen the seals or have even managed to get a snap of then we'd love to hear from you.

Government agrees 'more to do' on devolution deals

Mariam Issimdar

BBC Local Live

The government says it has  "made huge progress" in the 10 devolution deals for the UK, including the one for East Anglia


Its response comes after the National Audit Office said better explanations about the benefits of devolution were required, and Norfolk County Council's leader warned this region's deal was heading for the rocks.

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “We agree there is much more to do and we will continue to talk to areas so everywhere that wants to take part in the process can do so.”

Council 'has five-year supply' of development land

Jill Bennett

BBC Radio Norfolk

Officials in west Norfolk believe they now have a five-year supply of land earmarked for housing. 

Geograph/Nigel Jones

King's Lynn and West Norfolk council has come under fire for not having enough land identified as suitable for homes.

But work to prepare for a public inquiry into development at Heacham has shown the authority has enough land for development over the next five years, as demanded by the government.

Emergency workers suffering extreme stress, according to mental health charity

Tim Addicott

BBC Radio Norfolk

A fifth (21%) of emergency service workers in the East of England have considered taking their own life, according to a survey by Mental health charity, Mind.

It carried out an online survey of 1,600 workers - nearly 50 of whom work in this region - to find out how big a problem things like depression and stress are proving to be.

The charity is now working with police, fire and ambulance services to provide mental health support for workers.

Police Federation 'not surprised' over mental health survey findings

Norfolk Police Federation says it's not surprised by new research from mental health charity MIND, claiming 90% of emergency service workers in the East of England have been stressed or depressed by work.

MIND questioned nearly 1,600 workers across the UK, including 50 in the East. Half  said they had taken time off work due to mood problems and 21% said they had considered taking their own life.

Council admits to poor record-keeping over farms

Norfolk County Council has admitted its record-keeping was not good enough after an audit highlighted a lack of transparency and poor management of its farms.

More than 16,000 acres (6,475 hectares) of land is rented out to more than 145 farmers. A report was commissioned last September following a number of complaints and allegations, including claims of land being sub-let without the council's knowledge.

It may be perfectly appropriate to sub-let part of an estate... but we need to know about... and at the moment our record-keeping and governance of that is not good enough."

Simon GeorgeFinance Director, Norfolk County Council

Normal for Norfolk: When Mike met Desmond

Mike Liggins

BBC Look East

I'm in the north of the county today, meeting Desmond MacCarthy, star of BBC docu-soap Normal for Norfolk.

We've been talking about Wiveton Hall, his 17th Century home; Norfolk, farming, television fame... and eyebrows.

Mike Liggins and Desmond MacCarthy

Headlines: Devolution deal 'heading for the rocks'... Norfolk bucks national trend on jobless figures

Mariam Issimdar

BBC Local Live

The main news stories this evening:

  • The National Audit Office says the government must offer more explanation on the implications of UK devolution, while Norfolk County Council's leader says the East Anglian deal is "heading for the rocks"
  • Norfolk bucks national trend with numbers out of workundefineddown 21% year-on-year
  • Grace Smith from Dereham celebrates her 105th birthday today

Devolution deal 'heading for the rocks'

One of the major figures responsible for bringing about a devolution deal for East Anglia says the idea is being rushed through, making it a hard-sell to both councillors and the public alike, and could be "heading for the rocks". 

Norfolk County Council leader, George Nobbs (left of woman)

In an article for Municipal Journal, Norfolk County Council leader George Nobbs stressed that although he was an "enthusiastic proponent of regional devolution", the deal was in danger.

Mr Nobbs writes: "Any objections we have raised have been brushed aside (by Whitehall officials) in the rush, firstly to meet the timetable of a budget announcement and now to meet the aim of a mayoral election in 2017."

Today the National Audit Office said the benefits of the 10 devolution deals for the UK needed more explanation.

Devolution deal for East Anglia has 'accountability issues', says National Audit Office

Mariam Issimdar

BBC Local Live

The government is being warned that devolution schemes, including the one for East Anglia, still need explaining to the public. 


National Audit Office report says new arrangements for Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire might be more complicated than in urban areas such as Manchester and there could be issues with accountability.

It says devolution deals "offer opportunities to stimulate economic growth and reform public services" but adds "...arrangements are untested and government could do more to provide confidence that these deals will achieve the benefits intended".

Who destroyed our much-loved house?

Norwich Evening News

The front page of the Norwich Evening News

Front page Norwich Evening News
Norwich Evening News

Trouble in the pipeline for driver

This is how not to do-it-yourself... Norfolk and Suffolk Police tweeted this picture of a car stopped by officers today.

View more on twitter

Watch: Duke of Cambridge emphasises importance of ambulance pilot role as he answers royal duty criticism

The Duke of Cambridge has attempted to shrug off criticism of his commitment to his royal duties.

Prince William's commitment has been questioned in some quarters in recent months, with headlines in some newspapers referring to him as "work-shy William".    

But speaking to the BBC before the Queen's 90th birthday, he said he took royal duty "very seriously" and emphasised the importance of his role as an East Anglian Air Ambulance pilot and the time he spent with his family.

Weather: Blue skies and sunshine this afternoon

BBC Weather Watchers

It's been looking glorious on the Norfolk coast today, this picture by Weather Watcher 'Mike of Bacton' shows.

Weather Watcher/ Mike of Bacton

He said the sky turned almost blue... and that's how it's looking for this afternoon with top temperatures of about 13C (55F) but feeling fresher on the coast in an easterly breeze.

BBC Weather Watchers has more weather pictures of the county and details of how you can also join in.

Work gets under way on new housing and business spaces in Long Stratton

Mariam Issimdar

BBC Local Live

Work has started on 50 new homes and commercial office space for Long Stratton. 

House construction
Getty Images

The plans for the 50 houses include five affordable homes, a range of business units and a recreational area for families to enjoy, while the office block has flexible accommodation that can be subdivided into smaller office spaces. 

The developer, Big Sky Developments, a company owned by South Norfolk Council, says the it will allow people to work closer to where they live. A public consultation was held before approval.

King's Lynn to host Speedway GP qualifying

Phil Daley

BBC Radio Norfolk sport

The King's Lynn Stars have announced they will be hosting the Speedway Grand Prix 1st Qualifying Round at the Adrian Flux Arena.

Norfolk's Robert Lambert will start his campaign to join speedway's Grand Prix series on home shale on Saturday 7 May.

Robert Lambert

Other riders who will attempt to qualify are: Freddie Lindgren, Sam Masters, Craig Cook, Jason Garrity, Brady Kurtz and Joonas Kylmakorpi.

Numbers out-of-work drop in Norfolk

Mariam Issimdar

BBC Local Live

Norfolk has bucked the national trend with the number out of work and claiming Job Seekers' Allowance falling by 21% year-on-year. 

Woman looking at job vacancies

There were 1,750 fewer claimants in March this year compared with the same month 12 months ago.

Nationally, unemployment has gone up by 21,000 to 1.7 million between December and February. It is the first time the total has increased in almost a year.

Weapons to be destroyed from 'largest-ever haul'

Kate Williams

BBC Local Live

The largest hoard of weapons ever found in the UK will be destroyed later.

Some of the guns in the hoard
Suffolk Police

More than 400 illegal weapons were discovered behind a false wall in a Wyverstone home two years ago. 

Earlier this year, Anthony Buckland, from Norfolk, was jailed for six years for his part in supplying some of them to former parish council chairman James Arnold.

Headlines: Farmland owned by Norfolk county council poorly managed say auditors... Norfolk bucks national trend with numbers out of work falling

Mariam Issimdar

BBC Local Live

The main news stories this lunchtime: 

  • More than 16,000 acres of farmland owned by Norfolk County Council is poorly managed, say auditors
  • A mental health charity claims nearly all emergency service staff in the East of England have been stressed or depressed at work
  • Norfolk bucks the national trend with numbers out of work falling by 21% in past 12 months

Carers' charity gets £50,000 to continue intervention work

Tim Addicott

BBC Radio Norfolk

A charity supporting unpaid carers across Norfolk has been given nearly £50,000. 

West Norfolk Carers was awarded the money from the Lloyds Bank Foundation, meaning it can employ a support worker and continue with early intervention work with families before they reach a crisis with their caring role. 

The charity says it's hoping to extend support in the harder-to-reach parts of Norfolk where many carers can experience "feelings of loneliness, responsibility and helplessness".

Farm land owned by council poorly managed, auditors find

Mariam Issimdar

BBC Local Live

Auditors have found that 16,000 acres (6,475 hectares) of farm land owned by Norfolk County Council has not been managed effectively and "disciplinary action is being taken involving one member of staff who is currently suspended pending an investigation." 

Farm land

The land is rented to 145 tenant farmers and the auditors' report found that in some cases land was being sub-let without the council's knowledge.

The authority said the audit was undertaken after several complaints about the management of the estate, covering a range of issues including transparency of farm letting procedures but that new measures had now been put in place to ensure "tenant farmers, officers and elected members alike" were aware of procedures. 

Wroxham relegation battle goes to the wire

Phil Daley

BBC Radio Norfolk sport

Wroxham will have to wait until the final day of the season to see if they will avoid relegation from the Ryman North.

Wroxham fan at Wembley
Getty Images

The Yachtsmen lost 4-0 to Cray Wanderers last night and remain one point above the relegation zone with a game left to play.

Waltham Abbey, who are the only team that can overtake Wroxham, take on already relegated Redbridge on Saturday,

Is the devolution deal dead?

Eastern Daily Press

On the front page of today's EDP:

Paper front page

Normal for Norfolk: Off to meet 'the eyebrows'

Mike Liggins

BBC Look East

They have become the most talked-about eyebrows in Britain, with the Daily Telegraph calling them ‘unkempt hedgerows’. 

Desmond McCarthy

They belong to  Desmond MacCarthy, owner of Wiveton Hall in north Norfolk, and the star of BBC docusoap ‘Normal for Norfolk’ which is on BBC Two tonight. 

Today I’m meeting up with the eyebrows and Desmond and the result will be on BBC Look East at 18:30 on BBC One (East).

Duke of Cambridge concentrating on family and air ambulance duties in the East

The Duke of Cambridge has rejected criticism of his commitment to his royal duties, saying he's concentrating on his family, and on his job as a pilot with East Anglian Air Ambulance.

Prince William in Leighton Buzzard

In a BBC interview, ahead of the Queen's 90th birthday tomorrow, Prince William said he was "absolutely willing" to take on more responsibility when the time came.

He said: "When the Queen decides that she's going to hand down more responsibilities, I'll be the first person to accept them."

Residents call for HGV route through village to be diverted

Andrew Turner

BBC Radio Norfolk

People living in the village of East Harling are calling for a re-think on HGVs passing through their village.

Road camera and sign

Thirty years ago the B1111 was designated as a route for vehicles travelling between the A11 at Larling to the A1066 at Garboldisham, but local people say since then surrounding roads have been improved, meaning an alternative could now be found.

The parish council carried out its own a traffic study, finding nearly 300 HGVs used the route in a 12-hour period and last week the county council also undertook a camera survey, saying when "analysis is complete they will discuss the findings with the local community".

Newcastle close gap on Norwich

Phil Daley

BBC Radio Norfolk sport

Newcastle have closed the gap on Norwich City to just two points after a 1-1 draw with Manchester City last night.

Premier League table 20/04/16

Sunderland remain inside the bottom three of the Premier League but have a game in hand over their relegation rivals.

While Norwich have the weekend off, Newcastle travel to Liverpool and Sunderland host Arsenal.

Weather: Dry and sunny

BBC Weather

Blue skies and sunshine are the order of the day. 

Still a bit breezy in the offshore winds with temperatures reaching 12C (54F).

BBC Weather has more local details.

Headlines: Survey finds emergency service workers in the East of England are stressed and depressed... Farms owned by county council are being poorly managed, auditors say

Mariam Issimdar

BBC Local Live

The main news stories this morning: 

  • A survey says too many emergency service workers in the East of England are stressed, depressed and even contemplating suicide 
  • People in a south Norfolk village are calling for lorries using their local road as a cut-through to be diverted
  • Auditors say farms owned by the county council are being poorly managed

Hello and welcome to Wednesday's Norfolk Live

Mariam Issimdar

BBC Local Live

Between now and 18:00, the team here will bring you the news, sport, travel and weather updates as we get them. 

We're always interested in what's happening in your part of Norfolk, so If there's anything you wish to share, contact us on email, Facebook or Twitter.