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  1. Updates on Tuesday 29 March 2016
  2. News, sport, travel and weather updates resume at 08:00 on Wednesday

Live Reporting

By Alex Regan

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our news coverage during the day

That's all from the BBC Local Live team for today. The service will resume at 08:00 on Wednesday.

Evening headlines: Man seriously hurt in car crash on M40

This evening's top stories in Oxfordshire:

  • After a man was seriously hurt in a car crash on the M40 in the early hours of this morning, police are wanting to track down the drivers of two other cars
  • Thames Valley Police says it takes suspected firearm offences by children very seriously, after it emerged there was a 30% increase in suspects arrested last year
  • An EDL rally in Oxford last year cost police more than £117,000, new figures show

Weather update: Showers throughout this evening

Bee Tucker

BBC Weather

Like today we will see scattered showers continue tonight, with the possibility of hail and sleet. 

Temperatures won't go down too low thanks to prevailing winds, with highs of 3C (37F). 

Weather update

It's a similar story tomorrow with sunny spells and showers, with temperatures creeping up to 11C (52F).

You can get more details on the BBC weather site.

Sport headlines: Wembley tickets still available for U's fans

Marie Indge

Radio Oxford Sport

Here are the top sports headlines for Oxfordshire tonight:

  • The call centre for the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final at Wembley is no longer operational, although some tickets can still be bought from the Oxford United ticket office
  • Banbury United boss Mike Ford says his side can still win the Division One South and West title this season after a 2-0 win over Wantage

Tonight's TV: Seven times more volunteers in Oxfordshire libraries

Geraldine Peers

Presenter, BBC South Today

Tonight on South Today, we'll be hearing why Oxfordshire libraries have seven times more volunteers than they did six years ago.

View more on twitter

Also we will speak to the brain injury charity that wants to ban boxing.  

And Oxfam wants the UK to take in five times more Syrian refugees than it's promised.

Join Geraldine Peers tonight at tonight at 18:30.

Henley MP 'disappointed' by air quality study

MP for Henley John Howell says an air quality study commissioned by South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) "lacks any firm recommendations" for the town. 

In the report, consultants said: "As a largely rural district, South Oxfordshire has very good air quality."

John Howell

An SODC spokesperson said: "We understand there is frustration that we weren't able to find any actions specific to Henley. 

"The 'low emission zone modelling' carried out by independent air quality experts highlighted that the main problem in Henley is down to local car use.

"Therefore restrictions on large vehicles, such as those proposed for Wallingford and in Watlington, would not bring about any significant benefits to the town."

Tomorrow on Howard Bentham: Nuremberg raid anniversary

Howard Bentham

Radio Oxford presenter

The night of 30 March 1944 was one of the worst in the RAF's history. 

The raid on the German city of Nuremburg resulted in the highest number of aircrew losses for any single air mission in World War II. 

Halifax Bomber LW579

At least 545 airmen died on that single night. One of the planes - Halifax Bomber LW579 - successfully took part in the raid, but crashed in Aston Rowant near Watlington on its way back to RAF Snaith in Yorkshire. 

Now a simple stone memorial lies at the crash site in Cowleaze Wood. 

We've tracked down some of the relatives of the Halifax crew and today we're bringing you the story of that fateful night, and finding out why the airmen will never be forgotten in a quiet corner of an Oxfordshire woodland.

Tune in to BBC Radio Oxford from 07:00 or listen online here.

Traffic update: Slow moving in Bicester, Witney and Oxford

Al Ryan

BBC Oxford travel presenter

  • There is heavy traffic around Bicester, especially on the A4421 Buckingham Road and Queens Avenue
  • It is currently very busy in Witney along High Street and Witan Way
  • In Oxford, heavy traffic along Botley Road and London Road, as well as queuing traffic at Beaumont Street and Hythe Bridge Street

Police respond to child firearm arrest figures

Thames Valley Police has said that any offences involving firearms "are very worrying", after it was revealed that 39 children had been arrested for suspected offences last year. 

Head of firearms, Superintendent Steve Williams, said: "Our officers are working and engaging with children and youth groups, educating them about the dangers of being involved in such activity."

Oxford EDL rally cost police £117,000

Alex Regan

South Online

An EDL rally in Oxford last year cost police more than £117,000, new figures show. 

EDL rally Oxford
EDL rally Oxford was sparked by the Operation Bullfinch child exploitation case

More than 500 police from as far afield as South Wales and Kent were deployed to the rally in April, which was sparked by the Operation Bullfinch child exploitation case

One police officer was injured when a glass bottle was thrown at him, and several people were arrested over the rally.

Bicester hotels warned to speak out over child abuse fears

Three out of seven hotels in Bicester allowed an older man book a room with a 15-year-old girl without question, a police operation revealed.

A plain-clothed policeman and a 15-year-old girl tried to book a double room for the night, to test whether hotel staff would ask any questions.

Three out of seven of the hotels let the couple book the room with cash and no ID. All the hotels tested were debriefed immediately after by two local sergeants.

Further tests will take place in Cherwell and West Oxfordshire. 

The results from the operation will be used to create further training that we can deliver in partnership to the hotels, as well as promote the Hotel Watch scheme in the town.

Sergeant Steve WillisThames Valley Police, in Bicester

Latest headlines: Call for boxing to be banned

The top stories in our county this afternoon:

  • Oxfordshire brain injury charity Headway has called for boxing to be banned after Nick Blackwell suffered bleeding on the brain during a fight with Chris Eubank Jr
  • A woman was taken to hospital on Easter Sunday after a car crash between Wheatley and Garsington. Two fire crews cut her from her car
  • Oxford's central library has relocated to the Castle Quarter as work on the new Westgate centre continues

Appeal for local green spaces in South Oxfordshire

A conservation campaign group has asked residents to identify areas of South Oxfordshire which could be designated "local green spaces".

South Stoke, South Oxfordshire
Andrew Smith

The Open Spaces Society has made the appeal after South Oxfordshire District Council invited landowners to offer up land which could potentially be developed.    

We believe that, at the same time as the council receives proposals for development sites, it should also be told of land which local communities value and which they would like to have protected as Local Green Space."

Nicola HodgsonOpen Spaces Society

Bicester nursery vandalised from rail footbridge

Roz Tappenden

BBC South

A nursery in Bicester has had its windows smashed twice in six months by objects thrown from a rail footbridge looking over the site.

Child First nursery
Child First

Child First opposed the building of the footbridge as managers were concerned that objects could be "thrown from the bridge".

Police are investigating the matter. 

It was only a matter of time. We had two windows smashed last month and now they've been smashed again - five of them this time."

Andrea LeonardNursery manager

Appeal after pregnant guinea pigs found in Abingdon rubbish tip

An appeal for information has been made after five guinea pigs were found in a rubbish tip in Abingdon. 

Guinea Pigs

The animals, some of whom were found to be pregnant, were found by a dog walker near Masefield Crescent earlier this month. 

The RSPCA wants anyone with information to contact them on 0300 123 8018.

Chipping Norton man denies rape at college ball

A Chipping Norton man has appeared in court to deny a single charge of rape allegedly committed at an end-of-year ball at the Royal Agricultural University.

Royal Agricultural University
Anthony Parkes

James Martin, 20, of Hook Norton Road, Chipping Norton, is one of four men who have been charged with sexual offences at the Cirencester college in May 2014, which include rape and assault by penetration. 

A jury has been sworn in at Gloucester Crown Court today. 

Judge Jamie Tabor QC said that some of the "sexual activity" was filmed and would be shown to the jury. 

LED lamps illuminate rare collections at Pitt Rivers Museum

Oxford Times

New LED lamps have been installed to illuminate rare collections at Oxford University's Pitt Rivers Museum.

Liam Sercombe: Oxford United on track for League Two promotion

Oxford United are still on course to reach their points target to win promotion from League Two, says midfielder Liam Sercombe.

Liam Sercombe
Rex Features

The U's have recorded consecutive draws in the league after a goalless stalemate against Cambridge on Monday.

Oxford remain second in the table but could be leapfrogged should Plymouth or Accrington win their games in hand.

Oxford tops bill (again) as UK's least affordable place to live

Oxford is, once again, the least affordable place to live in the UK, according to a study released by Lloyds Bank today

Radcliffe Camera
Getty Images

The average house price - £364,429 - is 11 times the average income in the city. 

Oxford narrowly beat Winchester, where house prices are 10.54 times the average income.

According to the report, the home affordability gap has widened to its worst level in eight years. 

Weather: Scattered showers and blustery winds

Bee Tucker

BBC Weather

Through the afternoon we'll see a band of more organised showers over the area, with winds hitting up to 50mph. High temp 10C (50F).

Weather update BBC Oxford

You can get more details on the BBC weather site.

Sport headlines: Banbury return to top of the league

Robyn Cowen

Presenter, Radio Oxford Sport

Here are your sports headlines for this afternoon:

  • Banbury United have returned to the top of Division One South and West after beating Wantage 2-0 over the Easter weekend
  • Oxford United forward Callum O'Dowda scored for the Ireland U21s in their 3-1 loss against Slovenia yesterday
  • Tickets for the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final are temporarily unavailable from the Wembley booking office, although Oxford United does have a small number of tickets it can sell until Thursday

Lunchtime headlines: Oxford professors urge PM not to impose junior doctors contract

Alex Regan

South Online

The top stories around the county this lunchtime:

Oxford United's O'Dowda scores for Ireland U21s

Oxford United forward Callum O'Dowda was the only player to score in the Republic of Ireland U21's disappointing 3-1 defeat against Slovenia yesterday. 

Callum O'Dowda
Callum O'Dowda

The U's player was on international duty as Oxford drew 0-0 against Cambridge. 

O'Dowda played alongside Reading player and Oxford-born Niall Keown, who has also been called up to the Irish U21 squad

Oxford professors back junior doctors in contract dispute

Professors from Oxford University are among 12,000 medical professionals who have signed a letter calling on the prime minister to drop an imposed contract on junior doctors in England. 

Junior doctors strike
Getty Images

Junior doctors across England are due to go on a further two strikes next month after health secretary Jeremy Hunt said the government would impose the contract in February, after negotiations with unions broke down.

This prolonged dispute is damaging our NHS, our patients and our profession. We urge you to withdraw the imposition of the new contract so that a safe and fair solution can be found.

Letter to David Cameron

Temporary library opens in Oxford city centre

Howard Bentham

Radio Oxford presenter

A temporary city centre library is opening in Oxford to replace the service which closed as part of the Westgate redevelopment.

Westgate redevelopment
Westgate Oxford Alliance
The new Westgate shopping centre is due to open in October 2017

The Central Library closed on 27 February, with a smaller replacement now in the Castle Quarter. It will not provide internet access, reference information, newspapers, journals or music services, though. 

The new Central Library is due to open when the Westgate redevelopment is complete in October 2017.

Bowel cancer survivor calls for more emotional support

An Oxfordshire fireman who was diagnosed with bowel cancer says families need greater support and more information about the illness.

Getty Images
Some bowel cancers are treated with surgeries, but there are other therapies including chemotherapy

Guy Dunkley was told he suffered from the disease six years ago and, although his physical symptoms were treated immediately, it took him months to receive psychological support.

There's quite a lot of people who don't take the initiative to talk, mainly because of the stigma.

Guy Dunkley

The Night Manager stars' Oxford connections revealed

Three of the leading men in BBC One's action-thriller The Night Manager all went to the same school

Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston
Getty Images
Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston, pictured, both attended the Dragon School
Tom Hollander attended Abingdon College, and rose to fame after playing Guy Burgess in Cambridge Spies
Getty Images
Tom Hollander attended Abingdon College, and rose to fame after playing Guy Burgess in Cambridge Spies

Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie and Tom Hollander all attended the famous Dragon School. 

After leaving the prep school both Laurie and Hiddleston went to Eton College in Berkshire, but Hollander continued his education in Oxfordshire at Abingdon College. 

The finale to the John Le Carre TV adaptation was watched by more than 6.6 million people on Sunday night.

Mum Clare runs to raise cash for Blue Skye Thinking

The Herald

A mother from Moulsford near Wallingford is taking part in a half marathon after being inspired when she met the parents of Skye Hall when her own daughter was seriously ill.  

Latest headlines: Cyprus airplane hijacker asks for asylum

Alex Regan

South Online

The top stories in Oxfordshire this morning:

Flood alerts still in place on River Thames

Flood alerts are still in in place around the River Thames and its tributaries, with areas between Wolvercote, Jericho and Radley most at risk. 

Iffley Lock
David Hallam-Jones
Water levels are expected to rise around Kings Lock, Godstow and Iffley Lock, above

No property flooding is expected, although after Storm Katie rising water levels are expected. 

Flooding on low-lying land and roads is expected around Kings Lock, Godstow and Iffley Lock due to rising river levels. 

Philip Pullman: Relying on volunteers is 'exploitative'

Best-selling author and Oxfordshire resident Philip Pullman has spoken out about the reduction in paid staff at the county's libraries

Author speaks out as it emerges number of paid staff fell 11.6% since 2010

The Northern Lights novelist spoke to BBC Radio Oxford earlier today, and said that reliance on volunteers was "exploiting people's goodness and willingness to work". 

He added: "I'm in favour of volunteering... but relying on volunteering for what is a statutory service? I don't think that is a good idea." 

Oxford United: Defenders need to be fit for Wembley

Two key members of Oxford United's defence are in a race against time to be fit for the U's trip to Wembley on Sunday. 

Michael Appleton
BBC Sport

Johnny Mullins had to be replaced in Oxford's 0-0 draw against Cambridge with a hip injury on Monday, and Joe Skarz has been troubled with a groin injury. 

Boss Michael Appleton says Mullins heard "something pop" during the match and had to be replaced.

Oxfam pleads for UK to take in more Syrian refugees

Cowley-based charity Oxfam has urged the UK and other wealthy nations to take in more Syrian refugees

Syrian refugees
Getty Images

The organisation says the UK's plans to take in 20,000 refugees by 2020 is "not good enough", but applauds its pledge to offer £2.3bn in humanitarian aid. 

Oxfam adds at least 480,000 refugees should be resettled by wealthy countries by 2016.

At least 39 children arrested in Thames Valley for suspected firearms offences

At least 39 children were arrested for suspected firearms offences in the Thames Valley last year, according to new figures. 

Police firearms
Getty Images

Offences included possession of a shotgun with intent to endanger life and possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence. 

Only 34 children were arrested for similar offences in 2014. 

Number of volunteers to keep libraries open soars

The number of volunteers in Oxfordshire's libraries has soared from 108 in 2010, to more than 800 this year.

Library data graphic

The number comes after a reduction of more than 10% in paid staff at libraries. 

The increasing reliance on volunteers is blamed on government cuts to local authorities.

Warning as scammers cross country to target rich pickings of elderly victims

Oxford Mail

Scammers have been crossing the country to target the elderly in Oxfordshire as the start of the year saw a "massive" rise in doorstep crime.

Weather update: Calmer day with sunny spells and scattered showers

Bee Tucker

BBC Weather

After some fairly stormy conditions yesterday we've got something a lot calmer. It will be a mixture of sunny spells and scattered showers.

Bee Tucker brings you the forecast for today

Through the afternoon we'll see a band of showers coming in from the west, we could see some hail too and gusts of wind up to 70mph with highs of 10C (50F). 

The showers will continue this evening and there will be one or too heavy ones.

Traffic update: Delays on M40 and train delays

Al Ryan

BBC Oxford travel presenter

  • There are delays on the M40 southbound from J10 and J9, which has been caused by an earlier collision at Wendelbury
  • The A40 is suffering the usual heavy traffic eastbound between Witney and Baynard Gate, as well from Cassington up to the roadworks at Wolvercote
  • Signalling problems at Maidenhead is causing disruption to train services between London Paddington and Reading. The issue is affecting trains from Oxford and Didcot Parkway