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Summary

  1. Staffordshire raids find more than 118,000 illegal cigarettes
  2. Australia to deport Stoke-on-Trent mother-of-five to UK
  3. Bid to help Stafford boy with cerebral palsy walk to school
  4. Updates on Tuesday 24 May 2016

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All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

We're back at 08:00 tomorrow with our usual mix of news, sport, travel and weather, but keep an eye out here for updates through the evening and into the morning.  

On Midlands Today this evening: Bringing gaming tech into the courtroom

Mary Rhodes

Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

On Midlands Today this evening we'll show you how virtual reality technology, used in the gaming industry, could be adapted to recreate crime scenes for juries. 

One of the scientists involved
THE LAB BY VALVE CORPORATION

That's been claimed by researchers at Staffordshire University who are experimenting with technology and techniques to "transport" jurors to virtual crime scenes. 

See our full story on what's said to be the first project of its kind in Europe, on BBC One from 18:30.

Football: Port Vale midfielder taking 'right step' into coaching says Birchall

Ged Scott

BBC Sport

Port Vale winger Chris Birchall says the appointment of veteran teammate Michael Brown to the coaching staff was an obvious decision.

Port Vale midfielder Michael Brown tangles with Walsall's Kieron Morris
Empics

Much-travelled ex-Manchester City and Tottenham midfielder Brown will assist chairman Norman Smurthwaite's search for a new manager to replace Rob Page, following his exit for Northampton.

Browny's close to all the players. He knows their abilities and knows what is needed to come in and interact, and get the players playing for him. But he's still a great player himself. He still thinks he's got a lot to offer on the playing side."

Chris BirchallPort Vale winger

Raids find more than 118,000 illegal cigarettes

Jack Dowling

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

More than 118,000 illegal cigarettes were seized in an operation targeting 20 sites across Staffordshire. 

Some of the concealed fake cigarettes in Staffordshire
Staffordshire County Council

The county council said it joined other agencies in March to visit premises in Rugeley, Burton, Tamworth and Newcastle-under-Lyme, including shops and pubs. 

In addition to the cigarettes, it said 31.75kg in illegal, hand-rolling tobacco was found, with some items concealed in walls and under floorboards.

Virtual reality crime scenes: Lawyer sceptical on benefits of system

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

A Staffordshire barrister says he is "sceptical" about using virtual reality technology to recreate crime scenes for juries.

Researchers at Staffordshire University have been experimenting with technology and techniques to "transport" jurors to virtual crime scenes.

BBC reporter Sian Grzeszczyk trying virtual reality
BBC

However Jason Holt, from Steven Solicitors, is questioning whether it would make a real impact on cases: 

"I do wonder how much difference going to a crime scene in 3D will make, compared to a standard DVD and video cameras which are used at the moment to record similar information."  

News: Raids find more than 118,000 fake cigarettes; Australia to deport Stoke mother-of-five; disabled boy's bid to walk

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

This evening's Staffordshire and Cheshire headlines include:

- More than 118,000 illegal cigarettes were seized in an operation targeting 20 sites across Staffordshire  

- A widowed mother-of-five from Stoke-on-Trent, who has lived in Australia for most of her life, is facing deportation to the UK

- The mum of a three-year-old boy with cerebral palsy says she is trying to raise enough money so he can walk to his first day at school

Your pictures: Cheshire park after the rain and historic Rudyard

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

Some more of your pictures of Staffordshire and Cheshire...

This first one's from Jonathan White in Wistaston, Cheshire, who says it's of the Joey the Swan recreation ground at the weekend, when the sun came out after some rain.

Joey the Swan recreation ground in Wistaston
Jonathan White

While this is from Derek Knapper who took a picture of one of the historic buildings around Rudyard Lake in the Staffordshire Moorlands.

Building at Rudyard Lake
Derek Knapper

Australia to deport Stoke-on-Trent mother-of-five to UK for crimes

BBC World

A widowed mother-of-five from Stoke-on-Trent, who has lived in Australia for most of her life, is facing deportation to the UK.

Kelly Webb, 30, a recovering drug addict, has been in and out of prison and last April was given an 18-month sentence for aggravated burglary.

Kelly Webb
KELLY WEBB/FACEBOOK

Under Australian law, Webb's visa has been cancelled and she must now wait to hear if ministers will let her stay.  

Webb, who left Stoke-on-Trent when she was two, fears she and her children would end up living on the streets if deported.

If I end up in the UK, I'd have no housing, no family, no friends. I could not take the children - I could not be that selfish. I would be living on the streets with the poor little buggers."

Kelly Webb

Two hurt in car crash in Talke

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

A man's in hospital and a woman's been checked over at the scene following a two-car crash that closed the A34 in Talke this afternoon.

A34 in Talke
Google

West Midlands Ambulance Service says one of its crews came across the collision just before 14:00, near the Miller and Carter pub.

Staffordshire Police says a male driver was taken to Royal Stoke University Hospital with suspected facial and chest injuries and both cars were extensively damaged.  

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

Lucy Martin

BBC Weather

If you want to get a latest weather forecast at any other time, head to the BBC website.

Months of roadworks set to end

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

A road near Stone is due to reopen tomorrow the county council says, 12 months after being closed for roadworks. 

Meaford Road at junction with A34
Google

Staffordshire County Council says the layout of Meaford Road has been changed to prepare for construction of a new business park and gas-fired power station. 

The scheme has also included changes to part of the A34 where a new roundabout has been built.

Twitter revamps 140-character tweet length rules

BBC Technology

Big news if you use Twitter - the social media giant is overhauling some of its rules to try to make itself simpler to use and more attractive to newcomers. 

Members will be able to add multimedia to tweets - including pictures, links and videos - without eating into the 140-characters-a-post limit.  

The service is also changing the way it handles conversations between users.

Twitter co-founder and chief executive Jack Dorsey told the BBC his aim was to ensure that "when people tweet, it makes sense".

Watch: Bid to help boy with cerebral palsy walk to school

John Acres

BBC Radio Stoke

The mum of a three-year-old boy with cerebral palsy says she is trying to raise enough money so he can walk to his first day at school.  

Oliver Dempsey from Stafford can currently only crawl or walk with the help of a frame but his mother Abby wants to get him walking independently. 

His family has launched a campaign called "Stand Up 4 Ollie" to raise thousands of pounds for movement therapy and equipment he cannot get on the NHS. 

The Stafford and Surrounds Clinical Commissioning group is responsible for Oliver's healthcare and told BBC Radio Stoke it would be happy to work with the family on getting more NHS support.  

Travel: Signalling problem delays Crewe and Stafford trains

BBC Travel

There are delays to London Midland and Virgin Trains services between Crewe and Stafford this afternoon, because of signalling issues.

Keep up-to-date on the BBC Travel website.

View more on twitter

Latest: Enterprise scheme could 'create 20,000 jobs'; scepticism over courtroom virtual reality; 'fall' in Severn Trent complaints

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

These are among this afternoon's top stories:

- A new enterprise zone in Cheshire dubbed the "science corridor" will create about 20,000 new jobs, it has been claimed

- A Staffordshire barrister says he is "sceptical" about using virtual reality technology to recreate crime scenes for juries

Customer complaints to Staffordshire water supplier Severn Trent have fallen by more than a quarter, the firm says

Football: Crewe chairman facing up to financial impact of relegation

Graham McGarry

Crewe Alexandra commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Relegation to League Two will come at a cost, according to the Crewe Alexandra chairman John Bowler. 

Crewe Alexandra's ground
Getty Images

Some Alex fans have turned their backs on purchasing season tickets although the club reports healthy sales for an early bird offer. 

Bowler told BBC Radio Stoke the loss of revenue from visiting fans is where they will suffer.

It's costly because it means, from our experience, that away gates aren't as big as they are in League One. Central funds are not as great as in League One. We've just got to make sure that we get value for every pound that we've got.

John BowlerCrewe Alexandra chairman

Severn Trent claims customer complaints down by quarter

Lucy King

News Editor, BBC Radio Stoke

Customer complaints to Staffordshire water supplier Severn Trent have fallen by more than a quarter, the firm says.   

Tap running water
Getty Images

The group said it was "learning" from a recent chlorine contamination scare in Derbyshire which affected 3,700 homes and businesses and led to the water giant paying compensation to affected homeowners. 

Severn Trent's annual results showed customer complaints fell by 28% in the year to March 31.

BBC Weather Watcher pictures: Kidsgrove and Trentham

Monica Rimmer

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

We have a great team of BBC Weather Watcher volunteers in Staffordshire and Cheshire who keep us up-to-date with the weather where they are.

They also upload great pictures from their locations and here's a couple from today - Tracker1 in Kidsgrove and Jeff in Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent.

Kidsgrove field
Tracker1
Trentham
Jeff

Virtual reality crime scenes: What the technology feels like to use

Sian Grzeszczyk

Staffordshire Reporter, BBC Midlands Today

More now on our earlier story about researchers' claim that virtual reality technology could be adapted to recreate crime scenes for juries.

With the headset, I can "walk around" the "crime scene" and it feels incredibly real, even though I know it's not.    

Sian in virtual reality helmet
BBC

If a barrister could do this, he or she could easily show the jury the scene of the crime without any confusion. It's so detailed. It's not like putting on some 3D glasses - this is another level.

It might look expensive, but the headset costs £700, which Staffordshire Police say is affordable. However, the wheels of justice are slow and it is not clear how long it will take before we see this sort of kit adopted by the courts.  

Crewe caravan fire believed to be arson

Lamont Howie

Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

A caravan fire in Crewe last night is being treated as arson by the fire service. 

Warmingham Road, Crewe
Google

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service was called to Warmingham Road at 23:11 and said the vehicle was "well alight" when they got there. 

They say they had to remove four gas cylinders from the site as they tackled the blaze. Cheshire Police are now investigating.

This lunchtime on BBC Midlands Today: £20m expansion of a living museum

David Lumb

BBC Midlands Today

A £20m expansion plan for one of the West Midlands' biggest museums has been revealed.

Black Country Living Museum
BBC

Bosses at the Black Country Living Museum want to create a 1940s-style town and move the entrance so it links in with other attractions in the area.

I'll have more on their plans and what they say it could do for the region's economy on BBC One from 13:30 on Midlands Today.

News: 'Science corridor' could 'create 20,000 jobs'; Severn Trent customer complaints fall; caravan fire treated as arson

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

This afternoon's headlines for Staffordshire and Cheshire include:

- A new enterprise zone in Cheshire dubbed the "science corridor" will create about 20,000 new jobs, it has been claimed  

- Customer complaints to Staffordshire water supplier Severn Trent have fallen by more than a quarter, the firm says 

- A caravan fire in Crewe last night is being treated as arson by the fire service  

'Science corridor could create 20,000 jobs'

Phil McCann

Cheshire Political Reporter, BBC News

A new enterprise zone in Cheshire dubbed the "science corridor" will create about 20,000 new jobs, it has been claimed.  

Jodrell Bank's Lovell Telescope
PA

The Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) says businesses in sites including Daresbury, Birchwood Park and Jodrell Bank will be given financial incentives, more access to help and super-fast broadband. 

It's being officially launched today and the LEP says it hopes this will attract 500 new companies to the area, creating thousands of jobs.

'Vampire fish' numbers in River Trent and Derwent on the rise

Burton Mail

The number of fish known commonly as 'vampire fish' are on the rise in the River Trent and River Derwent, as swimmers are warned to be aware of the dangers of the blood-suckers.

Lampreys
Burton Mail

Cars smash into houses for second time in months in same location

Chris King

Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

The layout of a Stoke-on-Trent road is to be reviewed after cars crashed into houses there twice this year. 

The first smash (the aftermath of which is pictured) was in March when a car hit and damaged two homes on Scotia Road. 

Scotia Road crash in March
BBC

The latest was on Sunday evening when, Staffordshire Police said, a stolen car hit another vehicle and then "ploughed" into a house on the same road.

The force said in the latest case the biggest problem was speed, but added it would also work with the city council to see what could be done to stop it happening again. 

Watch: Stoke and Staffordshire's afternoon weather forecast

Lucy Martin

BBC Weather

The BBC website also has latest weather forecasts at any other time.

Train disruption to come on London Midland services

Train users in Staffordshire are being given an early warning of disruption this bank holiday weekend due to engineering work affecting London Midland services.

View more on twitter

Your pictures: A maple in the rain and a Stoke double rainbow

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

Our man at BBC Radio Stoke, Perry Spiller, sent what he called an "arty" picture - a Japanese Maple in the rain in Stoke-on-Trent.  

Japanese Maple in the rain
Perry Spiller

While this double rainbow was snapped by Julie Goodwin over her allotment in Abbey Hulton, Stoke-on-Trent.

Got a picture of the area and want a chance of it being featured? You can emailtweet @BBCRadioStoke or put them on Instagram with the tag #bbcstoke.

Double rainbow over our allotment in Abbey Hulton
Julie Goodwin

Latest: Virtual crime scenes could be recreated for jurors; car smashes into Stoke house; local winners at Chelsea Flower Show

Jodie Looker

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

This morning's top stories include:

- Gaming technology could transform the way juries are presented with evidence in court

- The layout of a Stoke-on-Trent road is to be reviewed after cars crash into houses there twice this year

- Gardeners from across Staffordshire and Cheshire are toasting success at this year's RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Football: Stoke City 'fine-tuning' summer transfer targets

Matt Sandoz

Stoke City commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Stoke City's chief executive Tony Scholes has admitted to BBC Radio Stoke that there aren't any imminent incoming player transfers to the club.

Giannelli Imbula
Getty Images

The Potters smashed their record transfer fee in January by bringing in Giannelli Imbula for £18m, something which Scholes said could happen again.

And he said they are working towards identifying targets. 

At the end of the day people are still dusting themselves down from the end of the season. A lot of the players will have disappeared for a few days break if not two or three weeks break at the moment. We are certainly fine-tuning what our targets will be."

Tony ScholesStoke City chief executive

Juries could enter virtual crime scenes

Sian Grzeszczyk

Staffordshire Reporter, BBC Midlands Today

Virtual reality technology used in the gaming industry could be adapted to recreate crime scenes for juries, researchers have claimed.

A Staffordshire University project has experimented with technology and techniques to "transport" jurors to virtual crime scenes.

Associate Prof of Forensics, Dr Caroline Sturdy Colls, said it was the first project of its kind in Europe.

Staffordshire Police said it was "a concept" that could become significant.

Local winners at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Gary Andrews

Editor, BBC Radio Stoke

Gardeners from across Staffordshire and Cheshire are toasting success at this year's RHS Chelsea Flower Show.  

In the Great Pavilion awards, Eagle Sweet Peas from Stafford, Harts Nursery in Stoke-on-Trent and Plantagogo from Crewe all won gold.

Hooksgreen Herbs of Stone and Cholmondeley Castle Gardens in Cheshire (see video) both won Silver-Gilts.

You can see more pictures of the gardens on the BBC Radio Stoke Facebook page.