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  1. Updates on Thursday 14 April 2016
  2. News, sport, travel and weather updates to resume at 08:00 on Friday

Live Reporting

By Allen Cook

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage across the day

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

Watch: Stoke and Staffordshire's weather forecast for tonight and tomorrow

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

Football: Stoke boss says moved on from defender spat

Matt Sandoz

Stoke City commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Stoke City's manager Mark Hughes insists that he and defender Erik Pieters have put a brusque exchange of views - after which the Dutchman was substituted - at Anfield behind them.  

Erik Pieters
Getty Images

He told reporters at his weekly press conference that he'd spoken to the defender and it wasn't an issue, Hughes had just been concerned with his level of performance.

It's one of those moments. He understands my position. I understand what he was saying. We move on. It's not an issue.

Mark HughesStoke City manager

Cancer drug company relocates to Cheshire

Emma Stanley

Reporter, BBC News Online

A pharmaceutical company is to move almost 100 jobs from Liverpool to Alderley Park in Cheshire. 

Alderley Park in Cheshire
David Dixon/Geograph

Redx Pharma, which develops anti-cancer drugs, is currently based in the Royal Liverpool Hospital's Duncan Building, which is due to be demolished next year. 

They already employ about 100 people at Alderley Park and another 88 jobs will relocate from Merseyside.

Dog returned after being taken in Staffordshire burglary

Alice Bentley

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

We have good news for you on the story we brought you earlier about a dog being stolen in a burglary in Staffordshire. 

Well Staffordshire Police say Sooty, the West Highland Terrier which was taken on Monday in Iverley, has been returned safe and well. 

Officers say she was spotted wandering near Kidderminster and, "despite a 'ruff' couple of days" was unharmed.

Football: Crewe fans urged to protest legally by police

Graham McGarry

Crewe Alexandra commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Fans of Crewe Alexandra are being urged to be peaceful if they take part in any protests this season.

The club were relegated at the weekend from League One - Cheshire Police say they've spoken to the organiser of the protest this weekend who says it will be a legal one.

View more on twitter

Watch: Stoke-on-Trent school gets new £4m facilities

Chris King

Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

New sixth form facilities are going to be built at St Joseph's College in Stoke-on-Trent.  

The new buildings are set to cost £4m and should be open by 2018. 

The money has come from the government and the city council.

News: Councillor resigns from Cheshire cabinet; five arrests over armed robberies; £4m spend on new sixth form

Jack Dowling

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

The main headlines for Staffordshire and Cheshire this afternoon include:

- A senior Cheshire East councillor has resigned, after newly released legal documents show a company he ran 'misused' charity donations

- Five men have been arrested in connection with two robberies in the east of Staffordshire

- New sixth form facilities are going to be built at St Joseph's College in Stoke-on-Trent  

Councillor resigns from Cheshire East Council's cabinet

Phil McCann

Political reporter, Cheshire

A senior Cheshire East councillor has resigned, after newly released legal documents show a company he ran "misused" charity donations.

Sam Gardner says he "very much regrets" his decision. 

Cheshire East Council flag

The records show he was disqualified as a company director three years ago, after a music festival he helped organise collected over £4,000 for a charity, but didn't hand it over. 

It's not known what day-to-day role he had with the firm that ran it, but he was responsible for leisure and previously finance on Cheshire East Council's ruling cabinet. 

The disqualification means he can't be involved in the running of a company. Mr Gardner says he doesn't want to risk the council's reputation.

Watch: New group aims to get Cheadle flourishing

Ros Chimes

Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

A new group has been set up in the Staffordshire Moorlands with the aim of helping Cheadle  to flourish. 

Team Cheadle is made up of businesses, community groups and residents, including trader Dave Sergeant (pictured below), who want to see the market town on the up again.   

They're hoping to encourage shoppers back into the town, including tackling parking concerns.

Staffordshire Moorlands District Council says there are plans to increase parking charges in Leek, Cheadle and Biddulph this year but that would be the first rise for four years.  

Football: Palmer in Burton squad against Barnsley

Owen Bradley

BBC Radio Derby Sport

Nigel Clough believes Matty Palmer could have a big part to play in Burton Albion's final five matches of the season. 

The midfielder was recalled from his loan stay at Oldham this week and goes straight into the squad for Saturday's game with Barnsley.

Matty Palmer
Getty Images

Your pictures: Stafford's setting sun and Stoke Minster

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

A stunning view of Stoke Minster in Stoke-on-Trent and it's come from Duncan Richardson.

Stoke Minster
Duncan Richardson

While this picture of the sun setting in Stafford was shared by Tim Ball.

Got a picture to share? Send it to me on email, tweet @BBCRadioStoke or use Instagram.

Tim Ball

Five arrests after firearms robberies in Staffordshire

Emma Thomas

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

Five men have been arrested in connection with two robberies in the east of Staffordshire

In the first, Staffordshire Police say three men went into the Tesco Express on Tuesday on Stanton Road, Burton, threatened staff with a suspected firearm and took cash.

Tesco Express, Stanton Road

In the second, officers say three men again went into the Post Office in Draycott-in-the-Clay yesterday morning, with a suspected firearm and stole cash and cigarettes. 

The five men arrested are being held on suspicion of conspiracy to commit robbery.

Watch: Port Vale defender pleased with Crewe win

Graham McGarry

BBC Radio Stoke Sport

Port Vale defender Ben Purkiss has told me he was pleased with their win over Crewe Alexandra, saying they "put them to the sword".  

'A dark day for district' as council releases its proposed housing sites

Leek Post and Times

Campaigners have reacted with disbelief after the district council revealed its preferred housing sites.

BBC Weather Watcher pictures: Jodrell Bank and blooming Stafford

Monica Rimmer

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

If you haven't signed up to be a BBC Weather Watcher, why not? It's very simple to do on the website and we love getting your updates and pictures.

These photos for instance are from Jodrell Bank, Cheshire and Stafford.

Jodrell Bank

Watch: Proposals for thousands of new homes 'not finalised'

James Bovill

Political reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

The leader of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council has told BBC Radio Stoke this morning that plans to build 4,000 new homes in the area have not yet been finalised.   

Land which could be used, including greenbelt areas, has been identified and approved by the authority last night.

But which of those sites will end up being built on is still to face public consultation.  

There were complaints at a meeting last night that some of the development locations are completely unacceptable and residents had been ignored.

News: Councillor revealed to have company ban; wrong way M6 Toll driver jailed; cat shot in Staffordshire

Jack Dowling

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

The main headlines this afternoon for Staffordshire and Cheshire

- There are calls for a change to the rules after it was revealed a senior Cheshire East councillor has been banned from running a company    

- A lorry driver has been jailed for drunkenly reversing among oncoming traffic on the M6 Toll in Staffordshire

- A cat's been shot in Staffordshire and it's a "miracle" he's still alive, says the RSPCA

East Staffordshire UKIP councillor resigns

Chris Doidge

BBC Radio Derby political reporter

UKIP's only councillor in East Staffordshire Borough Council has resigned. 

Stapenhill's Steven Dyche was elected in 2015. 

Steven Dyche
East Staffordshire Borough Council

A by-election's likely to be held in late May. 

Football: Garratt wants Crewe promoted at first attempt

Graham McGarry

Crewe Alexandra commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Crewe Alexandra's goalkeeper Ben Garratt says the players have their sights set on returning to League One at the first opportunity.

Ben Garratt

The Alex have been relegated with five games of the season still to go. 

Garratt told BBC Radio Stoke the focus has to be on making a quick return. 

We've got to look forward and build and hopefully have a much more positive season next year."

Ben GarrattCrewe Alexandra goalkeeper

Dancing gorilla at Twycross Zoo goes viral

Tamworth Herald

A video of a gorilla dancing like a ballerina at a zoo near Tamworth has been capturing the hearts of the nation and has gone viral on the internet.

The dancing gorilla
Tamworth Herald

A&E delays reach new record level

Nick Triggle

Health Correspondent

A&E performance in England sank to a new low in February for the second month in a row, official figures show.

Doctors by a trolley

Hospitals are meant to see 95% of patients in four hours, but just 87.8% were, NHS England data revealed.

That is a drop of nearly one percentage point since January, which was the worst month since the target was introduced in 2004.

The figures show 89.3% were seen in four hours in February at Burton Hospitals NHS Trust, 77.7% at the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust and 90.1% at the Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

Tim Peake's space seeds on their way to schools

Pallab Ghosh

Science correspondent, BBC News

A school in Stafford is one of the first in the country to receive seeds that have been in space with Tim Peake.

Tim Peake with seeds

The British astronaut has launched a mass experiment to grow the seeds of the salad leaf rocket.  

They want to compare them with seeds that have not been in space to see if there are any differences.  

Year 7 science pupils at Walton High School, in Stafford, are among thousands taking part.

On Midlands Today this lunchtime:Trolls target Midlands model

BBC Midlands Today

This lunchtime on Midlands Today, hear from a West Midlands model, who campaigns for positive body images of women, who says she's determined to carry on despite becoming a target for internet trolls. 


We'll have the full story on BBC One from 13:30.

Watch: Wrong way M6 Toll motorway driver

Video of a lorry driving dangerously on the M6 Toll in Staffordshire has been released by police.

It shows a lorry reversing and veering across the northbound carriageway near Norton Canes, as other drivers swerve to avoid it.

Frantisek Formanek, 56, from the Czech Republic admitted driving a motor vehicle dangerously and drink driving and was jailed for six months.

He was also banned from driving for a year. 

Councillor running leisure services despite company ban

Phil McCann

Political reporter, Cheshire

There are calls for a change to the rules after it was revealed a senior Cheshire East councillor has been banned from running a company. 

Sam Gardner, who is responsible for leisure services, insists he's still fit to do his job. Before that he was responsible for finance. 

Councillor Sam Gardner
Cheshire East Council

Official records show three years ago he was disqualified as a company director, after an events firm called Fomfest went bust. It means he can't legally have any involvement with running a company. 

There was no obligation for him to reveal any of this when he became a senior councillor. He says he's always been open about his past, and insists it isn't "incompatible" with his council role.

Labour say the rules should change so disqualified directors can't run multimillion-pound council services.

News: Cat shot in Staffordshire; rail hub 'could create' 8,500 jobs; referee changed for Stoke City game

Jack Dowling

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

These are among this afternoon's top stories:

- There are calls for a change to the rules after it was revealed a senior Cheshire East councillor has been banned from running a company  

- A cat's been shot in Staffordshire and it's a "miracle" he's still alive, says the RSPCA

- Developers claim up to 8,500 new jobs could be created with a proposed new rail freight interchange in Staffordshire

Cat shot in Staffordshire

Phil Bowers

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

A cat's been shot in Staffordshire and it's a "miracle" he's still alive, says the RSPCA


The organisation says the animal, one-year-old Mukka, returned to his Newcastle-under-Lyme home on Tuesday and collapsed in front of his owner. 

The RSPCA says the shot had punctured his kidney and lung and he needed emergency surgery. 

The vets have said he is not out of the woods yet, but we are desperately hoping he will pull through."

Jamie WhittinghamMukka’s owner

Watch: This afternoon's Stoke and Staffordshire weather forecast

Charlie Slater

BBC Weather presenter

You can also get your latest weather forecast from the BBC website at any time.

Football: Leicester-based referee taken off Stoke's Tottenham game

BBC Sport

There's a change in the man in the middle for Stoke City's game at home to Tottenham Hotspur on Monday.

The Premier League has removed referee Kevin Friend from the match because he supports top-of-the-table Leicester.  

Kevin Friend
Getty Images

Spurs are the Foxes' closest rivals, seven points behind with five games left.

The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL) do not pick Friend, who lives in Leicester and has attended games in a personal capacity, to referee matches involving Leicester.

Dog taken in Staffordshire burglary

Sarah Robertson

Producer, BBC Radio Stoke

A dog's been stolen in a burglary in south Staffordshire. 

Iverley sign in Staffordshire

Staffordshire Police say two people stole two drums of red diesel from an outbuilding in Iverley on Monday night and also tried to take two West Highland white terriers. 

One of the dogs, say officers, slipped its lead and ran away but the offenders made off with the other.

Heavy showers weather warning for Midlands

Charlie Slater

BBC Weather presenter

A yellow weather warning's been issued by the Met Office for heavy showers this afternoon across the West Midlands.

They say some places could see hail and lightning with the rain producing standing water on roads.

View more on twitter

Travel: Vehicle fire on High Street in Burntwood

BBC Travel

High Street in Chasetown is shut both ways between the A5190 Bridge Cross Road junction and the junction with Hill Street because of a vehicle fire.

Your pictures: Stoke-on-Trent's mining history

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

There must be quite a few talented photographers in Staffordshire and Cheshire, given the pictures I get sent to me.

Lee Millward shared this lovely shot of the former Chatterley Whitfield colliery.

Former Chatterley Whitfield colliery
Lee Millward

If you want to send in a picture you can email, tweet @BBCRadioStoke or use Instagram.

Thousands of jobs could come from planned rail hub

Peter Plisner

BBC Midlands Today

Thousands of jobs could be created at a new rail hub in Staffordshire.

Plans have been submitted for the site at Gailey just off junction 12 of the M6. 

Developers suggested photos for the interchange
Four Ashes Limited

It would allow freight to be moved from rail to lorries and include large areas for warehouses. 

The proposals are supported by Network Rail, but would need the approval of the secretary of state to go ahead. 

News: Rail hub set to create jobs; family missing for almost a week; burglars steal dog

Lee Blakeman

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

The main headlines this morning include:

- Thousands of jobs could be created at a new rail hub in Gailey  

- Concern is growing for a family from Stoke-on-Trent who've been missing for nearly a week

- A dog's been stolen in a burglary in south Staffordshire

Football: Stoke City skipper says injuries causing defensive headache

Matt Sandoz

Stoke City commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Stoke City captain Ryan Shawcross has admitted that injuries to the side's defence this season have had a big impact on the team.

Injured Ryan Shawcross in January
Getty Images

During the current Premier League campaign, the Potters have had up to five defenders receiving treatment at the same time, leaving them struggling for cover. 

Shawcross says it's been a tough situation which has stretched the squad.

It doesn't help when you are chopping and changing, you'd rather keep a consistent back four but these things happen in football and we've got a very good squad and that's why the chairman's put so much money into all these players."

Ryan ShawcrossStoke City captain

Travel: M6 exit slip road blocked in Staffordshire

BBC Travel

A lane on the M6 exit slip road southbound at junction 12 is blocked.