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  1. Updates on Friday 12 August
  2. News, sport, travel and weather updates to resume at 08:00 on Monday

Live Reporting

By Andy Giddings

All times stated are UK

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Stories we're working on: BBC Midlands Today

BBC Midlands Today

Have you been gripped by The Archers this week? Millions have and even if you’re not one of them we’ve been behind the scenes to bring you the latest on the long running Radio 4 soap’s darkest plot – carefully scripted by writers and producers of the programme.

The trial of Helen Titchener, accused of attempted murder after a long running storyline about domestic violence, is attracting big audiences and headlines around the world and raising tens of thousands of pounds for the charity Women’s Aid. 

Helen finally makes public the extent of Rob’s abuse.

Watch Midlands Today on BBC One at 18.30.

On Midlands Today from 13:30: Cutting knife crime and a gripping radio trial

BBC Midlands Today

This lunchtime on BBC Midlands Today, we'll cover how police in one part of the region are trying to cut knife crime by employing prisoners and ex-offenders. 

Recording of The Archers

And how a fictional radio trial, recorded in the Midlands, has gripped listeners across the country. 

Those and more stories plus your weekend weather, on BBC One from 13:30.

Big drop in the number of people with mental health issues who end up in police cells

There's been a big drop in the number of people going into police custody as a result of mental health issues, according to West Mercia's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).

Although the number of people detained as a result of mental health issues has risen between 2015 and 2016, the number who ended up in police cells fell by 59%.

The figures show out of a total of 911 people detained, only 15 were taken into police custody - the rest were taken to "a more appropriate designated place of safety, run by health professionals", the PCC said.  

Cell door

It is a better result for people suffering from mental health crises, who now have better access to proper, specialist help in an appropriate setting."

John CampionPolice and Crime Commissioner

On Midlands Today from 18:30: The rise of city bees

David Gregory-Kumar

Science correspondent, BBC Midlands Today

On Midlands Today this evening, beekeepers are starting their harvest at the moment and overall it looks like this year will be pretty good. 

Bees being revealed in hive

However one owner of hives in the West Midlands has noticed a startling difference in the amount of honey his bees are producing. 

I've been investigating why and you'll see more from 18:30 on BBC One in Midlands Today.

Giraffe arrivals are already taller than their keepers
Two rare Rothschild's giraffes have given birth within days of each other at West Midlands Safari Park.

New £5.5m communication centre to be built

Work is due to start next month on a new £5,5m operations communications centre to be shared by West Mercia and Warwickshire Police. 

The hub will be built at the West Mercia Police HQ, just outside Worcester. 

Call handlers at the hub will deal with all emergency and non-emergency calls to both forces. 

The hub will be shared with the local fire service.

Babies whose ashes were not returned to their families

New regulations governing cremations in England and Wales will come into effect next month, the government confirms.

Read more
Anuko the dog makes a fortune by being grumpy
A dog who looks like he's unimpressed has earned thousands of pounds for his owner after becoming famous on the internet.

Stories we're working on: BBC Midlands Today

BBC Midlands Today

Hilary McConnell, Producer

Midlands Today will be looking at the issue of organ donation today - we meet a man from Worcestershire who needs a new kidney but faces up to 15 years on the waiting list. He’s hoping to find a living donor match. And we’re meeting a young girl from Warwickshire who’s just returned to school after a liver transplant.

David Gregory-Kumar will be finding out more about this year’s honey harvest. It turns out urban bees are producing more honey than rural hives because there's more diversity of plants and flowers in the town as opposed to the monoculture of the agricultural landscape.

And Jaguar goes back to motor racing, but will Formula E - which is electric car racing - have all the glamour of Formula 1? Dan Pallet finds out. 

Formula E racing

We'll also have an update on how our local Paralympics athletes are doing in the Games which start today.

Join us on BBC One from 13:30, 18:30 and 22:30.

Almost 80,000 on zero-hours contracts

Daniel Wainwright

Data unit - English regions

Almost 80,000 people in the West Midlands are on zero-hours contracts, according to the latest official figures.

That number, covering April to June, has stayed roughly the same as the previous year.

Across the UK, the number of those whose main job did not guarantee a minimum number of hours increased to 903,000, a rise of 21% on last year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Zero hours figures

In the West Midlands there were 79,000 people on zero hours contracts between April and June, representing 3.0% of people in employment.

For the same period in 2015, there were also 79,000 but they made up 3.1% of people in employment.

Woman kitchen Saltley

A charity is trying to trace children who were photographed in the post-war slums of Britain.

Read more

On Midlands Today from 13:30: Children's wards closure

Michele Paduano

Health correspondent, BBC Midlands Today

We hear this lunchtime how a health trust is defending a decision to stop children being brought to a West Midlands A&E department by ambulance. 


They say it's better for paramedics to treat youngsters while taking them to specialist care - unions say that longer journey could take 40 minutes. 

I'll have more from 13:30 on BBC One in Midlands Today.

West Midlands parks 'at risk of decline'

BBC Midlands Today

Public parks in the Midlands are at risk of decline and some of the facilities in them could close, according to a new report by the Heritage Lottery Fund. 

Findings showed that 78% of councils across the region anticipate budget reductions of 10% or more over the next three years with nearly half their parks expected to deteriorate. 

Fallen gates at a park
London Midland Trains

Peter Plisner

BBC Midlands Transport Correspondent

Bidders for the West Midlands rail franchise are being given permission to remove seats and create more standing room to fit more passengers in.

Read more
Amport House, Andover

A total of 13 Ministry of Defence sites will be sold to provide land for up to 17,017 homes and raise £225m, the government says.

Read more

Coming up on Midlands Today: Standing room only

Peter Plisner

BBC Midlands Today

More commuters could have to stand under plans for rail services across the West Midlands.

Seats could be removed to fit more people onto services on trains currently run by London Midland.

Two groups are bidding to take on the franchise from October next year.

London Midland

The services include the cross city lines, and trains out of Birmingham to Hereford, Shrewsbury, Stoke-on-Trent, Liverpool, Stratford, Leamington, and down to London.

I'll have more on the Midlands Today on BBC One at 18:30.


Shrewsbury cast aside their early-season troubles by grabbing a victory at Oldham, who end the game with 10 men.

Read more
Two police officers using Taser guns

Police forces are criticised for a "complete lack of consistency" over whether officers armed with Tasers are deployed with body cameras.

Read more

Our live coverage across the day

We'll be back with our usual mix of news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Monday, but keep an eye out here for more updates this evening.

West Mercia Police car generic

Five people are arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a man is found with multiple injuries in Telford.

Read more

Amelia and Muhammad are the most popular baby names in the West Midlands

Daniel Wainwright

Data unit - English regions

Amelia is the most popular girls name in the West Midlands while Muhammad is the most popular for boys, according to the Office for National Statistics. 

Only London had Muhammad as the most popular choice in 2014 but the new figures show the West Midlands has joined the capital in 2015 for having the most babies with that name. Oliver was most popular overall across England and Wales.

There were 649 Muhammads born in the West Midlands in 2015 compared with 622 Olivers. An alternative spelling - Mohammed - is also in the top 10.

chart showing most popular boys' names

For girls regionally, the top choice, Amelia, was the same as the overall favourite in England and Wales.

The data also shows the West Midlands to have a higher proportion of girls named Jessica than anywhere else. It ranks third for popularity in the region.

Chart showing most popular girl's names

Our live coverage across the day

We'll be back with our usual mix of news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 tomorrow, but keep an eye out here for more updates this evening and into the morning.

On Midlands Today from 18:30: Disappeared hotelier case and a new harvest crop

Nick Owen

Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

On Midlands Today this evening we'll hear about developments in the case of a missing hotelier from the region and his family's search for answers.


We'll also hear about one of the last crops to be gathered in this summer's farming harvest is also one of the newest. 

Those stories and much more, include the latest sports news and weather forecast, all on BBC Midlands Today from 18:30 on BBC One.

CCTV image

A man accused of being involved in a street stabbing is found not guilty of attempted murder.

Read more
Jack Grimmer

League One side Shrewsbury Town sign Fulham defender Jack Grimmer and Chesterfield striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake on loan.

Read more

Our live coverage across the day

We'll be back with our usual mix of news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 tomorrow, but keep an eye out here for more updates this evening and into the morning. 

Man behind two train sex attacks wanted by police

Chris King

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

A man sexually assaulted two women on a train between Shrewsbury and Crewe, and left one of them "cowering in the corner", police say. 

British Transport Police say the attacks happened on the 12:51 Arriva Train Wales service on 7 August - they've released a CCTV image of a man they want to speak to in connection with the incidents, who may have vital information.

CCTV image
British Transport Police

They say the first victim was sitting next to a man when he lunged at her and grabbed her twice. 

Officers say he touched the chest of the second as she passed through the carriage. 

Shrewsbury make-up artist's transformation in 30 seconds
Make-up artist Charlotte Cashmore, from Shrewsbury, demonstrates how to change your image.
Swimmer Nick Thomas warned of open water danger before his death
A man who died after trying to swim across the English Channel warned of the dangers of open water swimming just days before his death.
Nick Thomas

A swimmer who died while trying to swim across the English Channel is described as "an inspiration" and a "kind, brave family man".

Read more

Tom Robinson talks about his music career and how to break it as a new musician

BBC Introducing's Jolon spoke to 6Music's Tom Robinson about music.

It's official, BBC 6Music's Tom Robinson LOVES Shropshire's AKA George

"It was a main stage performance on small BBC side stage" - Tom Robinson on AKA George
"It was a main stage performance on small BBC side stage" - Tom Robinson on the Glastonbury performance of Shropshire's AKA George.

Rick Astley reviews BBC Introducing in Shropshire artists... Because why not!

Producer Adam met Rick Astley and got him to review BBC Introducing artists.

Max Ehmer scores an injury-time winner as Gillingham come from 2-0 down to beat Shrewsbury in League One.

Read more

Our live coverage across the day

We'll be back with our usual mix of news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Tuesday, after the bank holiday, but keep an eye out here for more updates this evening and into the morning. 

On Midlands Today from 18:30: Preparing for the bank holiday getaway

Sarah Falkland

BBC Midlands Today

It's the great bank holiday getaway and for once it's looking good. 

Things were running smoothly at Birmingham Airport this morning, despite a record number of passengers. 

Montage of getaway shots

And on the roads, there's encouraging news at some of the West Midland's main bottlenecks. 

Will it last? I'll have the latest on Midlands Today from 18:30 on BBC One.