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  1. Updates on Wednesday 4 May 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. 

Elderly woman victim of 'distraction theft'

Sarah Robertson

Producer, BBC Radio Stoke

A 90-year-old woman was a victim of an alleged distraction theft involving four men who took her bank card at a cashpoint in Cannock.

The victim entered the Natwest Bank, at Market Place, last Friday at 10:15 and was followed by four men (pictured), Staffordshire Police said.

The four suspects
Staffordshire Police

Officers said two men acted as lookouts, while another of the men tapped the female on the arm to distract her, while a fourth man, having seen the woman enter her PIN, swapped her card for a second card.

Tonight on BBC Midlands Today: Disabled boy takes funding bid to Downing Street

Michele Paduano

Health correspondent, BBC Midlands Today

Tonight we'll feature a Staffordshire boy whose operation was cancelled because of government funding cuts who has today delivered a letter to Downing Street. 

Ben delivering his letter

Ben Baddeley, who has cerebral palsy, had been due to have surgery through the NHS but ended up having it done privately after funding was pulled. 

The 11-year-old is hoping the letter will help his family get more financial support and we'll be featuring his journey to London, this evening on Midlands Today from 18:30 on BBC One.

Cheshire PCC Elections 2016: From badger baiting to drugs crime

Phil McCann

Cheshire Political Reporter, BBC News

The geography of Cheshire might make it seem like a hard place to win an election.

Those trying to become the next police and crime commissioner (PCC) must discuss badger baiting and speeding on country lanes alongside drugs and anti-social behaviour.

Cheshire Police car

The county is large physically and socially diverse.

It means votes are needed from corners of the county that might not appear to have much in common with each other.

I've been looking on the BBC website at the challenges facing all the candidates battling to be Cheshire's next PCC after this week's election.

Teenager hit by coach near Tamworth

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

A teenager has been airlifted to hospital after suffering serious leg injuries after a coach ran over his leg outside Kingsbury School in Tamworth Road, in Kingsbury, the ambulance service say.

Entrance to Kingsbury School

West Midlands Ambulance Service said the boy had just arrived at school by coach before he "suffered serious traumatic injuries to his right foot and leg".

The driver was "very shaken but uninjured", said a spokesman.

Watch: 'Invisible fencing' for wildlife site

Ros Chimes

Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

An "invisible fencing system" has been installed across common land in Staffordshire to help contain cattle and keep footpaths clear. 

Staffordshire Moorlands District Council says cattle have been re-introduced onto Wetley Moor to help graze the land. 

They say the fencing system, which has been funded by Natural England, involves buried antenna wires and the cattle have been trained to recognise "cues" from it.  

Boy charged after knife threat in Staffordshire

Phil Bowers

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

A 12-year-old boy has been charged with threatening someone with a knife in Newcastle-under-Lyme, police say. 

Staffordshire Police say it relates to an incident on Ironmarket last month. The boy has been bailed to appear in court at a later date.   

Digger maker JCB lands £16.5m deal

Jack Dowling

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

Staffordshire digger maker JCB says it has had an order worth £16.5m from a UK plant hire company. 

JCB UK & Ireland Sales Director Dan Thompstone (left) seals the deal with Plant Hire UK (PHUK) MD Graham Jones. Looking on (centre) is Gunn JCB Sales Director John Dolphin.

The company says the order is for 300 telescopic handlers which will be made in Rocester, as well as dumper trucks.

Last year JCB announced several hundred job cuts due to a "dramatic" slowdown in world markets.

Latest: Women deny businesswoman murder; man slashed in park attack; JCB lands £16.5m deal

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

These are among this evening's top stories:

- Two Cheshire women have denied the murder of a businesswoman who was found stabbed at her Lancashire home  

- A man has been racially abused and slashed across the face while his children played in a Stoke-on-Trent park, police say  

- Staffordshire digger maker JCB says it has had an order worth £16.5m from a UK plant hire company

Football: Crewe manager looking to add experience to squad

Graham McGarry

Crewe Alexandra commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Crewe Alexandra's manager, Steve Davis, says pulling off the signing of Ryan Lowe would add valuable experience to his squad.

Ryan Lowe

The 37-year-old could leave Bury in the summer, although he has been offered a one-year deal by the Shakers. 

Davis says players like Lowe can influence others around him.

They set the right examples and they're great to have around because they are always positive about everything that they do and they have the experiences of playing at different levels."

Steve DavisCrewe Alexandra manager

Cheshire women deny businesswoman's murder

Emma Stanley

Reporter, BBC News Online

Two Cheshire women have denied the murder of a businesswoman who was found fatally stabbed at her Lancashire home.  

Sadie Hartley, who was 60, was discovered with multiple stab wounds at her house on Sunny Bank Road in Helmshore, Rossendale, on 14 January.  

Sadie Hartley
Lancashire Police

She was the director of her own medical communications business Hartley Taylor, based in Knutsford.

The two women, both from Chester, were remanded ahead of the next court hearing on 10 June. A trial date of 4 July was set by Judge Mark Brown.

Travel: Lorry fire on A5 near Lichfield

BBC Travel

A lane is blocked on the A5 westbound in Wall, Lichfield, because of a lorry fire.

It's on the roundabout and congestion is back to the Weeford Island.

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

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

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

Watch: Woman with replacement liver preparing for British Transplant Games

Emma Thomas

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

A Staffordshire woman is training to compete in the British Transplant Games, less than a year after a life-saving operation.   

Sue Bennett, who's 42 and from Ranton, had only weeks to live when she had a transplant operation, after a liver was donated from a young woman who'd died suddenly. 

The mother-of-three now hopes to win a medal in the 3km (1.86 mile) run to give to her donor's family in tribute.  

Allotment groups facing legal action in Crewe

Lamont Howie

Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

Legal action is going to be taken against groups who run three allotment sites in Crewe, the council says. 

Allotment holders who attended last night's council meeting

Crewe Town Council wanted to have 11 allotments in the area run by one federation, but three have refused to sign the lease which was offered by the authority, saying they wanted to manage things their own way. 

After a meeting held by the authority last night, the council is taking legal action to take control of the sites.

James Cunningham, who's chairman of the group running two of the allotments refusing to sign, says they'll continue their fight to get a "fair lease" and told me they want the town's MP, Edward Timpson, to investigate the behaviour of the council.  

BBC Weather Watcher pictures: Walking ducks and a Cheshire rainbow

Monica Rimmer

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

BBC Weather Watchers are volunteers who've signed up on our website to send updates from where they live about the weather in that area.

They also upload photos like these taken in Staffordshire and Cheshire.

Ducks on a park footpath in Stoke-on-Trent
Rainbow over Winsford

Latest: Father slashed in Hanley park; Stafford death case going to trial; Tamworth arrest over assault

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

The main stories this afternoon include

- A man has been racially abused and slashed across the face while his children played in a Stoke-on-Trent park, police say

- A judge has told a man accused of manslaughter after a death in Stafford that he will face trial

- A Tamworth woman has been arrested after a man suffered a serious head injury in an assault, police say

Man 'shocked' at tyre tracks over relatives' graves

Pete Morgan

Presenter, BBC Radio Stoke

A man from Stone has told BBC Radio Stoke he was shocked to find "huge tyre tracks" over his father and sister's graves during a visit to a Stoke-on-Trent cemetery.  

Smashed vase and (right) tyre tracks over graves
Paul Marsh

Paul Marsh says he had gone to tend the graves at Hartshill cemetery. He also says a vase on his mother's grave nearby had been driven over and smashed. 

Stoke-on-Trent City Council says the matter is being investigated.  

Watch: Pharmacy develops prescriptions app

Chris King

Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

A pharmacy based in Keele, Staffordshire, has developed a mobile phone app which allows people to order repeat prescriptions.

Once the order has been confirmed with the patient's GP, DIMEC posts the medicine out. 

The firm says it is already helping customers across the UK.    

One-handed pianist to play at Lichfield Cathedral

Lichfield Mercury

A superstar piano player who has dazzled audiences across the globe is to perform at Lichfield Cathedral.

Nicholas McCarthy behind a piano
Lichfield Mercury

Man racially abused and face slashed in Stoke-on-Trent park

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

A man has been racially abused and slashed across the face while his children played in a Stoke-on-Trent park, police say.

The victim's injuries to his face
Staffordshire Police

Staffordshire Police say the man's children - who are four and 10 - have been left "extremely distressed" by the attack, which happened in Hanley Park on Friday afternoon. 

Officers say two men interrupted the children's game of football and, when their 39-year-old father confronted them, they racially abused and punched him.

They then slashed his face several times before running off.

Broadband ads misleading and must change, says ASA

BBC Technology

From October, broadband providers must make sure adverts for their products are very clear about costs and contract lengths, the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled.

ASA research suggests many people find it difficult to make sense of current adverts.

TalkTalk broadband ad

More than 80% were unable to calculate the total cost of a broadband contract when asked to do so, the ASA found.

TalkTalk has said it will scrap separate line rental charges.

Woman arrested after serious attack in Tamworth

Alice Bentley

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

A Tamworth woman has been arrested after a man suffered a serious head injury in an assault, police say. 

Staffordshire Police say the 63-year-old victim was taken to Walsgrave Hospital after they were called to Greenheart last night.

Officers say they arrested a 50-year-old woman on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm.

On Midlands Today this lunchtime: The 400 new jobs set for Stoke-on-Trent

BBC Midlands Today

This lunchtime on Midlands Today - we'll have more on news that 400 new jobs are being created in Stoke-on-Trent.

Smithfield buildings in Stoke-on-Trent

The jobs will be created after two of Britain's largest water companies agreed to move to the Smithfield buildings in Hanley from the end of this month.

There'll be more on this story from 13:30 on BBC One.

Running water from a tap

Two of the UK's largest utility companies will create 400 jobs in a joint enterprise that will compete for business customers.

Read more

Football: Beavon is Burton's player of the season

Owen Bradley

BBC Radio Derby Sport

The hard work has paid off for Stuart Beavon as the striker has been voted Burton Albion's player of the season for the second year in a row.  

Stuart Beavon
Getty Images

Goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin was second in the voting, but had the consolation of collecting the Players' Player of the Season award.  

Carl Tindall death in Stafford: Man to go on trial in June

Emma Thomas

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

A judge has told a man accused of manslaughter after a death in Stafford that he will face trial.  

Cull Avenue, Stafford

Carl Tindall, who was 35, of Brocton, Stafford, was found in Cull Avenue in August. He died in hospital from head injuries he'd suffered. 

A 35-year-old man from Cannock denies a charge of manslaughter.

Today a judge at Stafford Crown Court ruled he will go on trial in June.

News: Pedestrian dies in lorry crash; 400 jobs from joint water firm; shock at tyre tracks on graves

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

The main headlines for Staffordshire and Cheshire this afternoon include:

- A pedestrian has died after being hit by a lorry on the A500 near Weston, Cheshire, last night, the ambulance service says

- Two of the UK's largest utility companies will create 400 jobs in a joint enterprise that will compete for business customers

A man from Stone has told BBC Radio Stoke he was shocked to find "huge tyre tracks" over his father and sister's graves during a visit to a Stoke-on-Trent cemetery

Villagers want council action over 'danger' from lorries

James Bovill

Political reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

People living in the village of Woodseaves say Staffordshire County Council is ignoring the danger being caused by hundreds of lorries passing through the village every day. 

A519 through Woodseaves

Villagers have told BBC Radio Stoke they've spent years claiming the lorries are causing accidents, putting pedestrians in danger and affecting house prices.

The council says the number of HGVs on the A519 is comparable to similar roads, but that a long term solution to deal with extra freight is needed. 

Council tax bailiffs should be called off, say charities

Kevin Peachey

Online personal finance reporter

Vulnerable residents with council tax debts should be given breathing space to repay arrears rather than face the threat of bailiffs, two charities say.  

Pile of pound coins on paper notes

Debt charities StepChange and the Money Advice Trust have reported rising levels of council tax debt.

They argue that increased use of bailiffs by councils could deepen these residents' financial problems.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said bailiffs were only used as a last resort.

Watch: This afternoon's Stoke and Staffordshire weather forecast

Sara Blizzard

BBC Weather

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

Your pictures: A sunset in Staffordshire and one colourful butterfly

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

You take some great pictures in Staffordshire and Cheshire - this first one's from Sare Spooner who took this sunset in the county.

Staffordshire sunset
Sare Spooner

While this stunning butterfly was photographed in Tamworth by Kath Harvey, who then shared the picture with us.

If you want to share a photo of Staffordshire or Cheshire and potentially see it featured on this page, you can do that via email, tweet @BBCRadioStoke or use Instagram.

Tamworth butterfly
Kath Harvey

Pedestrian dies after lorry crash in Cheshire

Lucy King

News Editor, BBC Radio Stoke

A pedestrian has died after being hit by a lorry on the A500 near Weston, Cheshire, last night, the ambulance service says. 

A500 near Weston

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called just after 21.30 but say paramedics could do nothing to save the victim. 

They say the lorry driver, a man, was checked over and found to be unhurt but suffering from shock.

Water Plus to create 400 jobs at Hanley's Smithfield site

Rebecca Woods

BBC News Online, Journalist

Two of the UK's largest utility companies will create 400 jobs in a joint enterprise in Stoke-on-Trent that will compete for business customers. 

Severn Trent Water and United Utilities have won permission from the Competition and Markets Authority to create Water Plus.

Flowing tap
Getty Images

The venture will fight to win business from companies and large organisations whennew competition rules are introduced from next year.  

The firm is the first private sector tenant for the city's Smithfield development, and will be based next to Stoke-on-Trent City Council's new headquarters. 

It will move into its new home by the end of May.

Latest: Joint water firm to create 400 jobs; government to be lobbied by disabled boy; airlift after man suffers crush injuries

Lee Blakeman

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

This morning's main stories include:

- Two of the UK's largest utility companies will create 400 jobs in a joint enterprise in Stoke-on-Trent that will compete for business customers

- A disabled Staffordshire boy, whose operation was cancelled because of government funding cuts, is delivering a letter to Downing Street today

- A Stafford building site worker has been airlifted to the Royal Stoke University Hospital after suffering serious crush injuries