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  1. Updates on Thursday 7 April 2016
  2. News, sport, travel and weather updates to resume at 08:00 on Friday

Live Reporting

By Andy Giddings

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage across the day

Live updates for Shropshire have finished for the day but we'll be back from 08:00 Friday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather.

Weather: Rain this evening, but a dry night expected

Sara Thornton

BBC Weather

We could get some more heavy showers this evening, but it should be a dry night for most of us.

Coming up on Midlands Today: Ambulance services working together; £1m fund to repair Shropshire potholes

Mary Rhodes

Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

Midlands ambulance services working together, more than £1m to repair Shropshjire potholes and three rail operators in running for West Midlands franchise.


Those are just some of the big stories we'll be covering this evening in BBC Midlands Today's update from 18:30 on BBC One.  

Your photos: Rainbow in south Shropshire

Andy Giddings

BBC Local Live

This photo was tweeted by the police in south Shropshire this afternoon.

It looks like the pot of gold is somewhere behind that hedge.


Charity bike ride for Georgia

Johnty O'Donnell

Producer, BBC Shropshire

Hoping to build on the success of its debut, the charity bike ride in honour of Shropshire teenager Georgia Williams is back next week.

Georgia Williams

Last year's Georgia Williams Spring Challenge saw 150 riders tackle the Wrekin.

There'll be three routes for cyclists to chose from next Sunday.

Legal highs smuggled into prisons inside letters

Louise Brierley

Reporter, BBC Midlands Today

Scientists say legal highs are being smuggled into prisons in letters to inmates. 

Bio-chemists at Sandwell Hospital have analysed correspondence from five jails in the Midlands.

They found sheets of paper soaked with psychoactive substances. 

It's thought that once inside the prison they can change hands for hundreds of pounds.

Ambulance service rules out full Midlands merger

The chairman of the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) has said this afternoon that they are not planning a full merger with West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS). 

EMAS is in talks with its neighbouring service about working more closely together.


It comes with the East Midlands service struggling financially and having some of the worst response times in England. 

In a statement, EMAS chair Pauline Tagg said they had discussed ways within the NHS to "strengthen our leadership".

She added that discussions had been held with WMAS about its chief executive Dr Anthony Marsh working with them, but options "are still being explored".

Headlines: Ambulance service rules out merger; campaigners challenged to run library

Andy Giddings

BBC Local Live

These are our top stories this afternoon:

- East Mids ambulance service rules out full merger

- Campaigners challenged to run Church Stretton library themselves

- Three companies shortlisted for rail franchise serving Shropshire

BBC Weather Watchers: Heavy cloud over Clun

BBC Weather Watchers

The heavy showers should clear up overnight, but there's been some pretty thick cloud around today, photographed by the BBC Weather Watchers.

This picture was taken in Clun.

John on the Borders

Ice Hockey: German footballer to present awards

James Bond

Sports Producer, BBC Shropshire

The former Champions League winner Dietmar Hamann will be guest of honour at tomorrow's Telford Tigers awards night at The Place in Oakengates.

Dietmar Hamman
Getty Images

Hamann was in the Liverpool team that lifted the football trophy in Istanbul back in 2005.

Tigers owner Wayne Scholes says Hamann's ethic of commitment and teamwork is just what he values at Telford.

Football: Shrewsbury's Jack Hendry set for debut

James Bond

Sports Producer, BBC Shropshire

Jack Hendry is in line for his Shrewsbury Town debut in Saturday's tough trip to Millwall.

Jack Hendry
Shrewsbury Town

Micky Mellon brought him in last month on loan from Wigan as defensive cover for the season's run-in. 

And with Nat Knight-Percival and Zak Whitbread suspended, Hendry's big chance could come this weekend.

Wrekin cafe alterations approved

Renovations to the Halfway House cafe on the Wrekin have been approved by councillors.

The retrospective planning application owner Sean Seward submitted was recommended to be rejected earlier this year, meaning the redevelopment work would have to be undone.

The Wrekin

The decision was deferred six weeks ago. Since then, the planning committee has visited the site and approved the changes in a meeting last night.

Campaigners challenged to run library themselves

Campaigners who fought to prevent Shropshire Council from moving Church Stretton library are being challenged to run it themselves.

The authority backed down on its proposals to move the library, saying it was on the understanding the campaigners wouldn't pursue them for legal costs.

Books on a shelf

Now, the council says the group has the chance to "put forward their proposition to fund and operate the Library" and it promises to work with them if they "seek to contribute to the council’s future plans and vision".

Headlines: Council challenge to library campaigners; ambulance merger plans attacked

Andy Giddings

BBC Local Live

Here's a recap of our top stories:

- Council challenges campaigners to run Church Stretton library themselves

- Ambulance merger plans branded 'stinking lazy thinking' by ex-NHS boss

- Three companies bid for Shropshire rail franchise

Former NHS boss describes possible ambulance merger as 'stinking lazy thinking'

Former NHS trust chairman Roy Lilley, who now writes about health issues, isn't impressed by talks of a possible merger between the East and West Midlands ambulance services.

He describes the idea as "stinking lazy thinking" which "takes us right back the 1980s when mergers were very sexy".

Ambo stats

Mr Lilley believes an organisation that size would need to bring in more managers to operate effectively, at great cost.

This is an organisation so big you'd be able to see if from the space station and managing it would just be ridiculous."

Roy LilleyFormer NHS Trust chairman

Football: New head of recruitment for Shrewsbury Town

James Bond

Sports Producer, BBC Shropshire

Shrewsbury Town have a new head of recruitment to help make sure the club makes the "right" signings.

Adam Henshall has been promoted to the role after being with the club for a number of years.

Adam Henshall
Shrewsbury Town

Town's manager Micky Mellon says a player's on-pitch skills are as important as his off-pitch mentality.

BBC Weather Watchers: Showers around Shropshire today

BBC Weather Watchers

We like to share the photos sent in by the people who have signed up to be BBC Weather Watchers and today they've had a common theme - rain!

This one was taken in Shrewsbury a short time ago.

Shrewsbury window
Weather for Sheep

Three rail companies in running to operate Shropshire service

Tim Page

News Editor, BBC Shropshire

Three firms have been shortlisted to run some of Shropshire's rail services. 

London Midland is bidding to retain its franchise across the Midlands, including Shropshire to Birmingham. 

It faces competition from MTR, which will operate London's Crossrail service and Abellio which has routes in East Anglia.

London Midland train

Ambulance delays at hospitals an ongoing problem

Andy Giddings

BBC Local Live

One of the big issues for West Midlands Ambulance Service here in Shropshire has been delays at hospital A&E departments.

It's been recording the amount of time its vehicles are kept waiting beyond 30 minutes. In 2015, their figures show they lost 2,141 hours across the two hospitals.  

Two hospitals

In January and February 2016 a combined 754 hours were lost.

There's more about the potential merger of the West and East Midlands services on Midlands Today at 13:30 on BBC One.

Flood alert for Melverley area

Andy Giddings

BBC Local Live

There could be a bit of flooding in the Melverley area today, with the rivers rising at the point where the Severn and Vyrnwy meet.

The Environment Agency has issued a flood alert.

View more on twitter

HMP Birmingham inmates each handed seven-year sentence for attacking fellow prisoner

Two inmates at HMP Birmingham have been sentenced to seven years each for attacking a fellow prisoner, say police.

Jake Ratcliffe (pictured left), aged 22, attacked a 53-year-old in his cell with a sock containing a heavy implement, possibly a pool ball, in July last year, according to the West Midlands force.

Jake Ratcliffe and Nicholas Avey
West Midlands Police

Officers said Nicholas Avey, aged 25, joined Ratcliffe in the cell and both the Telford men set about their victim. They kicked and punched him to the floor, leaving him with three fractures to the jaw and other bruising. 

The pair, police said, were found guilty after a five-day trial.

Headlines: Ambulance service merger possible; Shropshire gets £1m for pothole repairs

Andy Giddings

BBC Local Live

These are our headlines this lunchtime:

- Ambulance service considers merger

- Shropshire gets £1m to fix potholes

- Cycle ride in memory of Georgia Williams

Shrewsbury man creates 'zombie bus'

Sean Fogarty

Producer, BBC Shropshire

Have you spotted this vehicle in Shrewsbury?

It's the creation of local man Paul McKissick (pictured) who converted an air cadet minibus after seeing someone else driving around with a single zombie sticker - he thought he could do something better.

Paul and his van

Paul tells us the van gets a great reaction everywhere he goes and it once stopped the traffic in Liverpool when people wanted to take photos

He now wants fake blood sprayed onto the bonnet and says zombies "just sort of appealed to me".

Paul's van

Weather: Cloudy with a chance of showers this afternoon

Charlie Slater

BBC Weather presenter

The weather will be cloudy this afternoon and there is a chance of more showers across Shropshire.

Council says library decision saved taxpayers money

Andy Giddings

BBC Local Live

Shropshire Council says that by agreeing to drop proposals to move Church Stretton library before they went before a judge, it has saved taxpayers money.

The plans were withdrawn after last-minute discussions between lawyers.

It also says that it wants to "improve facilities for all its residents" and has "exciting plans and vision for how this is to be achieved", but hasn't said yet what this means for the future of the library.


County to get over £1m to fix potholes

More than £5m pounds is being invested to repair potholes across the West Midlands. 

Fourteen councils in the region will receive a share of the government cash.

Data pic

Ambulance merger: 'Complicated, expensive, lengthy processes'

A Health economist has expressed doubts over proposals to merge two Midlands ambulance services. 

A possible merger between the West and East Midlands ambulance Services would lead to an organisation that would serve more than 10 million people. 

While talks are at an early stage, Dr Iestyn Williams from the Health Services Management Centre in Birmingham says a possible merger may not deliver the benefits expected.

Football: Striker can fire club to League One safety

BBC Sport

Stand-in captain Abu Ogogo says in-form striker Sullay Kaikai will play a key role in Shrewsbury Town's bid to avoid relegation from League One.

Sullay Kaikai
Getty Images

Kaikai, 20, is back with Town for a second spell from Premier League Crystal Palace and has scored six goals in his last five appearances to lift the club two points clear of trouble.

He's got the quality and can score goals out of nothing."

Abu OgogoCaptain, Shrewsbury Town FC

Masters: Ian Woosnam relives Augusta triumph 25 years on

BBC Sport Wales

The putt, the fist-pump, the red chequered trousers. Ian Woosnam's 1991 win at the Masters was as memorable as it was historic.  

Ian Woosnam
Getty Images

It is 25 years since the diminutive golfer from Oswestry became the first - and still only - Welshman to win one of golf's major tournaments.

Woosnam will be making his 28th appearance at Augusta National this week. 

It's like going to heaven. This is the kind of course you want when you pass away."

Ian Woosnam

Carol Vorderman visits county RAF base

Julia Morgan

Journalist, BBC Shropshire

Carol Vorderman's paid a visit to RAF Shawbury. 

The former Countdown presenter is an Honorary Ambassador of the the Air Cadet Organisation and spent the day training alongside two of our county's cadets.  

Carol Vorderman
RAF Shawbury

We had a flight in a Griffin helicopter... that'll take me a fortnight before I stop beaming."

Carol Vorderman

Headlines: Proposed ambulance merger; £1m to fix potholes

Carlie Swain

BBC Local Live

Our top stories this morning:

- The West and East Midlands ambulance services "have held merger talks", the BBC understands

- Shropshire to get over £1m to repair potholes

- Church Stretton library campaigners win legal fight

Ambulance merger: How the services compare

West Midlands Ambulance Service

Serves population of 5.6 million

Area: More than 5,000 sq miles covering Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Coventry, Birmingham and Black Country

Number of calls a day: 3,000

Number of staff: 4,000


East Midlands Ambulance Service

Serves population of: 4.8 million

Area: 6,425 square miles covering Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire

Number of calls a day: 2,000

Number of staff: 2,700

Sister of Telford man who died after taking legal highs welcomes ban

Shropshire Star

New laws banning so-called "legal highs" may not stem their tide, Europe’s drugs agency has warned.

Church Stretton Library move legal fight is won

Campaigners fighting plans to move Church Stretton Library have won a key legal battle against Shropshire Council.

A judicial review was scheduled at Birmingham's High Court amid claims of "unfairness" and "serious breaches of the law" by council officials.


But the authority decided not to defend the matter and a judge ordered the plan to move the library to Church Stretton School to be quashed.

We are still awaiting a response from the council.

Midlands ambulance services 'in merger talks'

Michele Paduano

Health correspondent, BBC Midlands Today

Exploratory talks have taken place that could lead to a merger of the ambulance services in the East and West Midlands. 

The East Midlands service is struggling financially and has some of the worst response times in the country.   


Both trusts said discussions on a "range of options" had taken place but talks were at an early stage.

If the merger goes ahead, the new service would cover a population of 10.4 million people and cover 11,500 sq miles.

Headlines: Ambulance services 'in merger talks'; campaigners win legal battle

Carlie Swain

BBC Local Live

Our top stories this morning:

- Two ambulance services have held talks about a possible merger

- Church Stretton Library move legal fight is won

- Telford and Wrekin Council seek meeting with business secretary

Travel: Lane blocked on M54

BBC Travel

On the M54 westbound there is a lane blocked between junction two and junction three because of a shed load.  

Weather: Cloudy with rain

BBC Weather

A cloudy start with some showers, heavy rain later. Charlie Slater has the forecast.