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Summary

  1. Use of Bicester and Banbury foodbanks increase
  2. Frideswide Square 'inaccessible for disabled people'
  3. Black investigator subject to 'toy monkey harassment'
  4. Weather: Cold with sunshine and showers

Live Reporting

By Alex Regan and John Hudson

All times stated are UK

That's all for today

Joe Nimmo

BBC South

Thanks for reading today, we'll be back with more news, sport, weather and travel from around Oxfordshire from 08:00.

Oxford's empty buildings could become homeless shelters

A proposal to use empty buildings in Oxford as temporary homeless shelters has been backed by councillors.

The car showroom
BBC

The city council gave its support to the plan after squatters from the Iffley Open House campaign group repeatedly occupied disused properties. 

These included a vacant car showroom, an Oxford University building, and an former Italian restaurant. 

The council said the decision was taken because of the growing number of rough sleepers, and the significant number of long and short-term vacant buildings in Oxford. 

It will now commission a report by September into how empty properties could be made available for use as temporary homeless shelters.

Picture of lorry fire tweeted by firefighters

This dramatic picture of the lorry fire that has closed Dry Lane was just tweeted by Eynsham Fire Station.

The lorry fire
Eynsham Fire Station

Travel update: Road closed after lorry fire

Al Ryan

BBC Oxford travel presenter

Dry Lane to the north of Witney is closed between Crawley and Witney because of a lorry fire.

Apocalyptic might be going a bit far...

But we have had reports of rather unseasonal snow across the county today, as suggested by this traffic camera picture.

View more on twitter

More details about suspected Witney arson

Thames Valley Police said the fire started at a derelict property belonging to the Diocese of Birmingham in Curbridge Road between 22:00 yesterday and about 03:00 today.

No-one was injured during the fire.

Detective Sergeant Rob Platt said: “Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service attended the scene to tackle the blaze. 

"Once the fire service was able to make the site safe, detectives were able to access the building and it is believed to have been started deliberately.

“I would urge anyone who saw or heard anything unusual in the area yesterday or today please contact police as soon as possible."

Watch: Andrew Smith's last speech in House of Commons

He said: "It's been a privilege to be an MP, both in and out of government."

Oxfordshire MP among targets of pro-EU campaign group

Pro-EU campaign group Open Britain has launched a "key seat strategy" in a bid to unseat MPs they say do not oppose a "hard Brexit".

Among their targets is the Oxford West and Abingdon seat of Conservative Nicola Blackwood, despite her support for Remain during the referendum campaign.

Nicola Blackwood
Conservative Party

A spokesman for the Open Britain group said a "hard Brexit" would involve losing the benefits of the single market and weakening workers' rights and environmental protections. 

Following the announcement of the plans, sources told the BBC four Conservative MPs - Anna Soubry, Nicky Morgan, Neil Carmichael and Dominic Grieve - were leaving Open Britain, because they did not want to be part of any organisation advocating campaigning against Conservative colleagues.  

Arson suspected after Witney derelict building fire

Police suspect a fire at a derelict building in Witney this morning was started deliberately.

The A4095
Google

The fire service was called to the building on the A4095 at 03:00 BST. Police are investigating and said they suspect arson. 

The emergency services had to close the road for a time while they got the fire under control. No one was hurt.

Man knocked out in Banbury's Moo Moo nightclub

Police are appealing for the victim of an assault in Banbury's Moo Moo nightclub to come forward.

The attack happened at about 03:00 on Saturday when a man was punched in the back of the head, causing him to fall temporarily unconscious inside the club.

He was given first aid by staff at the nightclub and then left without providing details. His injuries are unknown at this time.

PC Reece Millar said: “We are specifically appealing to the victim of this incident to come forward to police."

A 20-year-old man from Gloucestershire has been arrested on suspicion of assault and has been released on bail.

Newly discovered ant species named after Radiohead

Independent

Independent

A new species of ant, discovered in the Venezuelan Amazon, has been named after Radiohead in honour of their contributions to music and conservation efforts.

New microscope laser beam named after Star Wars

A new way of observing heart cells has been named after fictional planet destroyer the Death Star. 

Death Star
Death Star

Researchers at Oxford University have designed the technique, which modifies heart cells through inserting genes from blue-green algae and tropical coral.

The cells are then hit using a laser beam in a microscope, which is filmed with a camera.  

Dr Matthew Daniels said: "This will help us to identify drugs to treat diabetes and prevent sudden death, as we can detect helpful changes in pancreatic cells, and harmful changes in heart cells with this approach." 

Use of foodbanks in Bicester and Banbury increases

Lucy Bickerton

BBC Radio Oxford

Foodbanks
BBC

Use of foodbanks in two Oxfordshire towns has increased, according to the Trussell Trust. 

Two foodbanks were accessed 4,522 times in 2016, compared to 3,792 times in 2015.

The trust, which operates two foodbanks in Banbury and Bicester, claims the cause is due to the national rollout of universal credit, which replaced jobseekers allowance and other benefits. 

The organisation claims some people had to wait up to six weeks for their first payments. 

Black investigator 'shocked and offended' by 'toy monkey harassment'

Joe Nimmo

BBC South

Police hat
BBC

A former black police officer said she was "shocked and offended" when a colleague allegedly left a black toy monkey on her desk. 

She was giving evidence against Det Sgt Andrew Mottau, who is accused of gross misconduct while working as South East Counter Terrorism Unit supervisor. 

The woman said he used a key ring-sized black monkey toy to signal whose turn it was to make tea and coffee. 

She said the toy was on her desk when she came back from leave in August.

Can pigeons pass knowledge down generations?

Research from Oxford University indicates that pigeons can pass down information from generation to generation. 

It comes after a three-year study, which has some in the science community cooing over the results. 

But not everyone is convinced...

Fire at abandoned building in Witney now 'under control'

Firefighters have attended a fire that broke out in a derelict house in Witney overnight.

The A4095 Curbridge Road was closed - but has now re-opened.

View more on twitter

BBC Radio Oxford reporter Phil Mercer has been given a tour of the site of the fire - near Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic primary school - by the Incident Commander Graham Turner.

Frideswide Square 'unsafe' for wheelchair users

Frideswide Square
BBC

Oxford's newly renovated £6.7m Frideswide Square is inaccessible and unsafe for disabled people, according to evidence shared with MPs. 

The public space, in front of Oxford Train Station, was designed to be a shared space between cars, cyclists and pedestrians, with all traffic lights and crossings removed. 

Last year Oxfordshire County Council said it has met with local disability groups and altered paving at crossing points. 

Lord Holmes of Richmond said: "Local authorities require clarity in this space and the exclusion of people from their communities and potential waste of public money must end."

Love you till Tuesday

Alex Regan

BBC South

In the words of transcendent rocker and Labyrinth star David Bowie: "My burning desire started on Sunday, but give me your heart and I'll love you till Tuesday."

And here at BBC Oxford we've got a lot of love for the pictures readers have been sending in.  

Oxford
Becca Collacott

Here's a fantastic example from Becca Collacott of Abingdon in the sun over the weekend. 

Send us your pictures by email to be in with a chance of being featured on this week's Oxfordshire's Big Picture

Anyway, stay tuned for all the latest news, sports, travel, etc from around the county.