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  1. Updates on Wednesday 20 April 2016
  2. News, sport, travel and weather updates to resume at 08:00 on Thursday

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 Thursday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather.

On BBC Midlands Today this evening: Building to Burton's big finish

Ian Winter

BBC Midlands Today Sport

Seven years ago, they were playing non-league football. 

Now they're just three games away from playing in the Championship.

Burton Albion flag

Burton Albion could be playing Aston Villa next season and we'll have more from 18:30 on BBC One in Midlands Today

Bat concerns halt Staffordshire pub revamp

Emma Thomas

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

The renovation of a historic Staffordshire pub has had to be put on hold because bats are thought to be living in its roof. 

Red Lion pub

The 17th Century Red Lion in Bradley was taken over by the Stafford-based Lewis Partnership in November. 

But refurbishment plans have been delayed as an environmental survey has discovered evidence of the protected species hibernating in the Grade II listed building.   

Shrinking products cost same or more, says Which?

Kevin Peachey

Online personal finance reporter

A consumer group has revealed its latest list of shrinking supermarket items that still cost the same, or more.

Toilet roll, chocolate biscuits, orange juice and antibacterial wipes were all on the list of shrinking items reported by Which?. 

McVitie's Digestives dark chocolate biscuits

The latest list includes:  

- An Andrex pack of four toilet rolls has reduced from 240 to 221 sheets, yet the price has remained at about £2

- McVitie's Digestives dark chocolate biscuits went down in weight from 332g to 300g, yet were sold for 10p more than previously at Tesco

- A packet of Dettol Power and Pure Bathroom Wipes had 32 wipes rather than the previous 36, but remained at £2 in Tesco and increased to £2.03 at Ocado

Watch: Man to run London Marathon for charity dressed as plant

Monica Rimmer

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

A Stoke-on-Trent man is planning to run the London Marathon this Sunday dressed as plant to raise money for charity. 

Lee Goodwin told BBC Radio Stoke he's doing it in aid of the Forget Me Not Rooms at the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust's maternity unit. 

Your pictures: Sunshine through grass and Kinver's treeline

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

More great pictures come in to me every day, taken by you of Staffordshire and Cheshire.

This scenic one of the sun through grass has come from Vickie Whitaker in Chesterton, Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Sun through grass
Vickie Whitaker

While this one of some pretty huge looking trees in Kinver, Staffordshire was taken by Shelley Nutting.

if you've got a great picture of the area and would like to see it featured, send it in on email, tweet it to @BBCRadioStoke or put it on Instagram

Shelley Nutting

Truck painted with Stoke-on-Trent advert to 'promote city'

Stuart George

Presenter, BBC Radio Stoke

An advert painted on a truck is going to be used to promote Stoke-on-Trent across the UK.  

The city council says haulier Danny Pool has painted up one of his trailers to encourage businesses to move to the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone.  

He's told me it will travel the length and breadth of the country.

Discoloured water in Stafford 'harmless'

Emma Thomas

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

People living in parts of Stafford are being reassured by Severn Trent that a discoloured water supply is harmless and temporary. 

Hand turning on tap

The company sent out a message to homes and businesses in ST16 and ST17 postcode areas this morning to say a cloudy effect is due to tiny air bubbles in the water. 

The firm says it's following engineering work to the distribution network and should return to normal within 24 hours. 

Watch: Tonight and tomorrow's weather for Stoke and Staffordshire

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

If you want a weather forecast at any other time for your part of Staffordshire or Cheshire, head to the BBC website.

News: Child deaths highest in region; no investigation into former leader; large hole opens in Stoke road

Chris King

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

This evening's top stories include:

- The biggest number of child deaths occur in the West Midlands, new figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal

- A former leader of Stafford Borough Council won't be investigated over claims of misconduct  

- Drivers and pedestrians are being warned that a large hole has opened up on a Stoke-on-Trent road

Comedian Victoria Wood dies aged 62 - your reactions

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

You've been sending your reaction in on the BBC Radio Stoke Facebook page to the news that comedian Victoria Wood has died aged 62.

Victoria Wood

Kerry Fender summed it up for many people by saying: "How sad, such a funny, clever lady - and not at all old."

Sarah Jane Bailey Simpson added: "We will never see your like again such a talented lady."

And Anna Stanyer commented: "I have such fond memories of watching her as a family when I was young on a Saturday night."

Hole opens up on Stoke-on-Trent road

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

Drivers and pedestrians are being warned that a large hole has opened up on a Stoke-on-Trent road.

Staffordshire Police say it's on Keelings Road near Northwood Stadium.

The hole in the road
Staffordshire Police

No investigation into former Stafford Borough Council leader

Emma Thomas

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

A former leader of Stafford Borough Council won't be investigated over claims of misconduct. 

Mike Heenan
Stafford Borough Council

In 2014 Mike Heenan apologised after it was revealed he hadn't declared that he was the secretary of three private companies. 

Staffordshire Police has confirmed no crime was committed. Now the borough council's own standards committee say no rules were broken.

Seven marathon challenge for Tamworth runner

Tamworth Herald

Seven marathons in seven days in a morph suit is the challenge a Tamworth runner has set himself, as he looks to raise money for the Birmingham Children's Hospital.

Steve Darlaston
Tamworth Herald

BBC Weather Watcher pictures: Sunshine in Burton and Leek

Monica Rimmer

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

The sun's been out these past couple of days in Staffordshire and Cheshire and our BBC Weather Watchers have been capturing some great pictures.

This one from Burton was taken by Winshill boy.

Lake in Burton-upon-Trent
Winshill boy

And this next one was taken by user Videoman in the Leek area.


Doubling of free childcare 'could force nurseries to close'

Judith Burns

Education reporter

Nearly 750 childcare providers say they fear being put out of business by government plans to double free hours, says the Pre-school Learning Alliance.  

Children playing

In 2017, free care for three and four-year-olds will rise from 15 to 30 hours in each term-time week.

But childcare providers say the scheme is underfunded, and 49% of 1,500 who chose to respond to an online survey said they could be forced to close.

Ministers say many providers are keen to take part in the scheme.

Stafford warehouse blaze: Agency worked to contain it

Emma Thomas

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

We told you earlier that the Environment Agency is still cleaning-up after a major industrial fire in Stafford, weeks after the blaze. 

The fire itself at Global Hygiene in Astonfields Industrial Estate involved up to 40,000 litres of oil and took around 70 firefighters to battle it at its height - the Express and Star newspaper captured in this video of an explosion during the blaze. 

After the fire, several watercourses and the Rivers Sow and Trent became polluted with oil and since then the agency has been using booms and absorbents to try to contain that. 

They've also worked with contractors to remove the oil from local brooks and the RSPCA's been involved after some reports of wildlife seen in distress. 

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has said an official report on the fire and its cause is due soon.

BreakingComedian Victoria Wood dies aged 62

BBC Entertainment and Arts

Comedian Victoria Wood has died aged 62 after a short battle with cancer, her publicist has said.  

She found fame in the 1980s with her TV series Victoria Wood As Seen On TV.

The actress, singer and songwriter was awarded an CBE in 2008.

In photos: Historic abbey reopens to the public

Lamont Howie

Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

The owner of the 12th Century Combermere Abbey in Cheshire has reopened the house to the public.

Combermere Abbey
Combermere Abbey

Sarah Callander Beckett has spent almost 25 years restoring the Grade I listed building which she inherited in the early 1990s. 

She says she's ensured the Abbey has a sustainable future and now employs 29 people.  

Combermere Abbey
Combermere Abbey

Highest number of child deaths occur in the West Midlands

BBC News England

The biggest number of child deaths occur in the West Midlands, new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal.

This goes against the national trend, which has seen the number of babies dying before their first birthday in England and Wales fall to its lowest ever rate

Infant mortality figures

News: Boy dies days after car hit; Ayeeshia case highlighted over social worker vacancies; amnesty sees 100+ guns handed over

Chris King

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

This afternoon's headlines include:

- A seven-year-old boy dies in hospital five days after he was hit by a car in Stoke-on-Trent

- Media coverage of the death of Ayeeshia Jane Smith in Burton is being cited as one reason why almost a fifth of all children's social worker jobs in England are vacant

- More than 100 guns have been handed in say police, during a firearms amnesty in Cheshire  

Travel: M6 traffic slow after earlier crash

BBC Travel

There's slow traffic on the M6 northbound around junction 13 near Stafford because of an earlier accident.

All lanes have been reopened. Congestion is back to junction 12.

UK unemployment rises to 1.7m


UK unemployment rose by 21,000 to 1.7 million between December and February, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) says.

That is the first increase since the May-July period of last year.

Unemployment and claimant count in the UK, millions

Football: Stoke boss worried by defensive 'slump'

Matt Sandoz

Stoke City commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Stoke City's manager Mark Hughes says his team's defensive slump is a big concern. 

Stoke City players after conceding against Spurs
Getty Images

They've conceded 10 goals in their last three games and have kept just one clean sheet in their last 12. 

Hughes told BBC Radio Stoke it's a problem that they're trying to address.

When we are chasing games we are not strong enough or we're not allowing ourselves that base or platform to enable us to get positive results at the moment. We'll try and keep on probing at the top end but we're struggling to be resolute at the back."

Mark HughesStoke City manager

Quarry falcons return leads to police protection pledge

Alice Bentley

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

Signs, grease, CCTV and Smartwater pipe bombs are all going to be used by police to try and protect nesting peregrine falcons at a quarry site in Staffordshire.

Saredon Quarry entrance

Staffordshire Police say the birds have returned to Saredon Quarry, Shareshill to lay eggs and raise their chicks.

The force says in previous years they've had reports of egg thefts, damage and evidence of nests being deliberately destroyed.

Council review may see 'privatisation' of Uttoxeter Leisure Centre

Uttoxeter Advertiser

Uttoxeter Leisure Centre could soon be run by a private company after the facility's bosses launched a review into its future.

Adam Peaty opening the leisure centre
Uttoxeter Advertiser

In photos: Baby moorhen chicks in Staffordshire

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust has released some pictures of new baby moorhen chicks at their headquarters in Staffordshire.

View more on twitter

On Midlands Today this lunchtime: Social worker vacancies high in region

BBC Midlands Today

This lunchtime on BBC Midlands Today we'll be looking at the number of vacancies for children's social workers in the West Midlands. 

Ayeeshia Jane Smith

Social workers say high profile cases such as the death of Ayeeshia Jane Smith from Staffordshire has put them under huge pressure. There'll be more from 13:30 on BBC One.

Watch: Saunders targeting long Crewe comeback

Graham McGarry

Crewe Alexandra commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Callum Saunders told me he's concentrating on earning a place in Crewe Alexandra's first team next season after an injury. 

He scored a late equaliser in their latest game at home to Colchester.  

Firearms amnesty see more than 100 guns handed in

Lamont Howie

Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

More than 100 guns have been handed in say police, during a firearms amnesty in Cheshire. 

Cheshire Police Sign

Cheshire Police say a total of 127 were surrendered over the two-week campaign, ranging from rifles to shotguns. 

The force says the majority of them were antique weapons. All of them will now be deactivated and destroyed.

News: Boy dies after car crash; Stafford fire clean-up still ongoing; over 100 guns handed in during amnesty

Chris King

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

The main headlines for Staffordshire and Cheshire this lunchtime include:

- A seven-year-old boy who was hit by a car in Stoke-on-Trent has died

- The Environment Agency says it's not sure when work to deal with pollution following a major fire in Stafford will be completed  

- More than 100 guns have been handed in say police, during a firearms amnesty in Cheshire  

England children's social worker posts almost 20% vacant

Daniel Wainwright

Data unit - English regions

Almost a fifth of all children's social worker jobs in England are vacant, despite a rise in recruitment.  

Councils are relying on agency workers to cover nearly 4,000 out of 5,500 otherwise-empty posts.  

Ayeeshia Smith
Family handout

Social workers say they are under constant pressure because of media coverage and criticism of their role in high profile cases such as the death of Ayeeshia Jane Smith, who was murdered in Burton in 2014.

Local authorities say social workers leave for better pay as agency staff.

Weather: Temperatures set to reach high teens

Tracey Higgins

BBC Local Live

Good advice from the Environment Agency's Dave Throup to make the most of the nice weather today.   

View more on twitter

Travel: Delays on M6 in Cheshire after 'sheep on the road'

BBC Travel

There's queuing traffic and long delays on the the M6 northbound at junction 19 because of an earlier incident of sheep on the road.

Congestion is back to junction 18.

Watch: This afternoon's weather for Stoke and Staffordshire

Sara Blizzard

BBC Weather

The BBC website also has the latest weather forecast for your area at any time.

Watch: Supermarket depot blockaded by farmers in Cheshire

BBC North West Tonight

Dairy farmers from across the North West mounted a blockade of a supermarket depot in Cheshire overnight.   

They were protesting at the site near Middlewich about the amount of milk they say is being brought into Britain. 

The campaign group Farmers for Action says this is at the expense of UK producers.

The supermarkets have previously said there is no link between the price of milk on the shelves and what farmers are paid.  

Have your say on BBC Radio Stoke: Lessons from your grandparents

Perry Spiller

Presenter, BBC Radio Stoke

Today I want to know what have your grandparents taught you? 

It follows Prince William speaking to the BBC about what he's learnt from the Queen on the eve of her 90th birthday.

You can get involved on today's talking point by calling 01782 208008 until 13:00, tweet @BBCRadioStoke or email me

Clean-up after Stafford warehouse blaze 'still ongoing'

Emma Thomas

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

The Environment Agency says it's not sure when work to deal with pollution following a major fire in Stafford will be completed. 

The fire in Stafford
Ed Jephcott

Global Hygiene on Astonfields Industrial Estate went up in flames on 2 March, with the blaze involving up to 40,000 litres of oil. 

The cause of the fire's not yet been revealed by Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service. A number of watercourses and the River Sow and River Trent were affected. 

The clean-up is still ongoing, those booms and pads are still in the local waterways, protecting the River Sow and we're still continuing to tanker oil off those waterways."

Susan BowenEnvironment Agency spokesperson