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  1. Thousands of children being brought up by grandparents
  2. Stoke-on-Trent Councillor backs Jeremy Corbyn
  3. Gordon Banks backs Butland to be England keeper
  4. Updates on Wednesday 29 June 2016

Live Reporting

By Monica Rimmer

All times stated are UK

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Latest weather for the West Midlands

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Adam Shoalts tells Rhod what it's like to fall off a 40-feet high waterfall

Waterfall-chaser Adam Shoalts tells Rhod about discovering uncharted waterfalls in Canada
Waterfall-chaser Adam Shoalts tells Rhod about discovering - and falling off - uncharted waterfalls in Canada as part of his work for the Royal Canadian Geographical Society
Nikki Sinclaire

An MEP's claims for road journeys she never made would not have been paid if it was known she had travelled more cheaply by plane, a court is told.

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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.

Watch: Latest weather for the West Midlands

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

Any showers will soon die out this evening to leave a mainly dry but cloudy night with a low later of 10C (50F). 

A better day tomorrow - mainly dry, hazy sunshine, and just the odd shower in the afternoon, with a high of 17C (63F). 

Football: Magpies sign Vale midfielder O'Connor

BBC Sport

Notts County sign midfielder Michael O'Connor on a two-year deal, the third player to join from Port Vale this week.

Michael O'Connor
Getty Images

Cheshire East Council concerns over EU funding

Chris King

Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

Cheshire East Council says it wants assurances that any European investment funding in the area will be maintained in light of the vote to leave the EU. 

The authority says its own accounts are in a strong position, but it's warning it's going to become a challenge to deliver care to the elderly and vulnerable as its central government grant declines over the next four years.

Over 1,000 children in Staffordshire cared for by grandparents

Rebecca Bradshaw

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

It's claimed over 1,000 children in Staffordshire are being cared for by their grandparents. 

The figure is around 1,700 - the second highest number in the UK according to research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council

Across the West Midlands as a whole, there are thought to be 10,000 grandparents in this position - a record high.

The Economic and Sicial Research Council says problems like drug abuse, mental health issues and sudden death are stopping parents from being able to look after their own children.

Child and grand parent
Science Photo Library

Former MEP denies accusation she claimed for mileage to Europe when she flew instead

Former Ukip MEP Nikki Sinclaire is accused of submitting 10 expenses claims dishonestly between 2009 and 2010.

In six, Antonie Muller, prosecuting, said Sinclaire flew via Brussels, Basel in Switzerland or Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, despite allegedly signing claims stating she had driven.

Ms Sinclaire denies all the charges against her. The trial continues.

MEP 'claimed travel expenses for mileage and ferry trips when she drove more cheaply'

A former Ukip MEP's expenses claims for road journeys she never made would "certainly not" have been paid if it was known she had travelled more cheaply by plane, an EU bureaucrat in charge of expenses has told a court. 

Nikki Sinclaire, who represented the West Midlands until 2014, signed and submitted "significant" expenses "in excess of the flight costs", according to the prosecution. 

It is alleged Sinclaire wrongly claimed for thousands of euros in road and ferry travel expenses when she had travelled more cheaply by air, but she denies all charges against her.

Nikki Sinclaire

Francisco Estela Burriel, head of the European Parliament members' travel and subsistence expenses unit, said: "In the files and documentation presented for the member for the European Parliament there is no evidence of flying."

Latest: Asda in Crewe evacuated; Leighton Hospital in need of volunteers; arrests following JCB break in

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

The afternoon's headlines for Staffordshire and Cheshire: 

- A supermarket in Crewe has been evacuated this afternoon after a fire "false alarm"

- More patients in wards at Crewe's Leighton Hospital are going to be offered a befriending service - if volunteers can be found

Staffordshire Police have arrested three men in the early hours of the morning on suspicion of burglary in Stoke-on-Trent.

Travel: Disruption to train services

BBC Travel

Replacement bus services are running on East Midlands Trains between Stoke-on-Trent and Derby due to a broken-down train between Stoke-on-Trent and Uttoxeter. 

Tickets are also being accepted on London Midland services between Stoke-on-Trent and Crewe.  

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Football: Port Vale captain thinks new signing will need to adjust to British game

Lee Blakeman

Port Vale commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Port Vale are expected to make two further signings tomorrow, having made their first addition of the summer.

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Dutch central defender Kjell Knops signed a two-year deal at Vale Park yesterday.

Former Vale captain Phil Sproson says Knops will have to adjust quickly to life in England.  

The British game will be decidedly faster than anything he's been used to, because on the continent when you're playing at that level, it is very much a slow build up... that's the way they play. He won't be used to the physical element of the game."

Phil SprosonFormer Port Vale captain

Fire at Asda in Crewe 'false alarm'

Rebecca Bradshaw

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

There have been reports of a fire at an Asda store in Crewe, which was evacuated. 

Cheshire Fire have confirmed it was a false alarm. Firefighters used a thermal imaging camera but there was no sign of fire. 

Shoppers were soon allowed back into the store.  

Fire engines at Crewe Asda
Victoria Barker

Staffordshire Police investigating Newcastle attack

Lucy King

News Editor, BBC Radio Stoke

Staffordshire Police are investigating after a man was attacked in Newcastle on Saturday. 

A 25-year-old man was punched in the face after being approached by four men and a woman. 

They're described as white and all were wearing hoodies. The attacker is thought to be in his 20s and was wearing a blue hoodie.

Leighton Hospital needs more volunteers

Emma Thomas

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

More volunteers are needed to befriend patients on the wards at Crewe's Leighton Hospital.

Sixteen people currently offer practical and emotional support on three wards, but now the hospital wants the Royal Voluntary Service to expand the service to another two to meet demand.

Leighton Hospital sign

Stoke-on-Trent councillor backs Jeremy Corbyn

James Bovill

Staffordshire Political Reporter, BBC News

David Cameron has publicly challenged Jeremy Corbyn to resign after he was given an overwhelming vote of "no confidence" by his fellow Labour MPs. 

The Labour leader is refusing to go, despite about 50 of his front-bench team resigning over the last 72 hours.

But Stoke-on-Trent Labour Councillor Ruth Rosenau, who supports Mr Corbyn, says he's done lots to win back places like The Potteries.

I think we've engaged far more since Corbyn's been leader than we did previously. I think that's why Corbyn is the person to lead our party forward."

Ruth RosenauStoke-on-Trent Labour Councillor

Memorial in Staffordshire upgraded for Battle of Somme anniversary

BBC Radio Stoke

To mark 100 years since the Battle of the Somme, 15 memorials across the country, including one in Lichfield, Staffordshire, have been listed or upgraded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on the advice of Historic England.

The Lichfield War Memorial on Bird Street, has been upgraded to Grade II*.

Lichfield War Memorial
Historic England

The memorial, set in a Garden of Remembrance opened in 1920, honours the high casualties suffered by the city in one of the worst battles of World War One

The Renaissance-inspired screen features a statue of St George triumphant over a slain dragon – the classic story of good triumphing over evil. 

Arrests made following JCB break in

Phil Bowers

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

Staffordshire Police have arrested three men in the early hours of the morning on suspicion of burglary in Stoke-on-Trent.

Security systems at the Gunn JCB depot in Victoria Road were triggered and it was discovered that a number of men were on site.

Officers were dispatched straight away to the depot and three men from Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford, aged 39, 38 and 35, were arrested on suspicion of burglary. They remain in custody.

Watch: Latest weather forecast for West Midlands

Alexandra Hamilton

BBC Weather

There's heavy rain for most parts, with it brightening up later in the afternoon. Maximum temperature of 16C (61F).

Latest weather forecast for West Midlands

Coming up on Midlands Today: High numbers of children being brought up by grandparents

BBC Midlands Today

A record number of children in the West Midlands are being brought up by their grandparents.

It's not because their own parents are busy out at work, but because they're incapable of looking after them, due to problems ranging from alcohol and drug abuse to mental health issues. 

But what's it like parenting the second time around? Find out on BBC Midlands Today on BBC One from 13:30. 

Travel: Lane blocked on M6

BBC Travel

There are problems on the M6 northbound between J18, for the A54, and J19 for the A556. 

One lane is blocked due to a broken-down lorry.

Latest: Arrests following JCB break in; Staffordshire women join pension protest; Stoke City legend backs Butland for England

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

This afternoon's headlines for Staffordshire and Cheshire include: 

- Three men are arrested after trying to break into a JCB depot in Stoke-on-Trent this morning

- Women from Staffordshire are getting together - with local MP Tristram Hunt - to protest in London against the state pension age increasing

- Gordon Banks backs Stoke City's Jack Butland to be England keeper

Staffordshire women to take part in pensions protest in London

Alice Bentley

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

Women from Staffordshire are taking part in a march in London today to protest against changes being made to the state pension age.

It affects women born in the 1950s and it's claimed they could lose out on as much as £36,000.   

Members from Women Against State Pension Inequality are attending the demonstration in London, along with local MPs who are also backing the campaign.   

The Department for Work and Pensions says women retiring today can still expect to receive a higher state pension over their lifetime than any group of women before them.

Football: Crewe boss promises "quality not quantity"

Graham McGarry

Crewe Alexandra commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Crewe Alexandra boss Steve Davis is promising "quality not quantity" as he seeks to strengthen his squad this summer. 

The Alex are waiting on answers from two players, who've both played in the Championship.

Steve Davis

I'm happy to wait for people to come in if I think they're going to be better than what we've got. I don't just want to add numbers to the squad, I'm looking for quality.

Steve DavisCrewe Alexandra boss

Businesses sign up to crime alerts

More than 4,000 businesses across Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire are getting alerts and safety advice to help combat crime. 

The Staffordshire Smart Alert service has been set up by the county's Police and Crime Commissioner.

More than 100 alerts are currently sent to businesses every month using the service.

Your pictures: Sunrise over Wychnor

BBC Weather Watchers

BBC Weather Watcher Cuppa sent in this great picture from Wychnor in Staffordshire.

If you have some pictures you would like to share, you can become a BBC Weather Watcher by signing up on the website

Sunrise over Wychnor

Football: Stoke City legend Banks backs Butland

Matt Sandoz

Stoke City commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Stoke City and England legend Gordon Banks has backed Jack Butland to become the new number one for his country. 

The Stoke keeper is now fully fit again after breaking his ankle while playing for England in March. 

Jack Butland

Banks told BBC Radio Stoke he has the ability to displace Joe Hart.

He was so close to pushing Joe Hart out of the national team when the injury happened. I think (Jack Butland) is a top-class goalkeeper, if he keeps doing what he's doing... playing with confidence like he does for Stoke City, I think there's a big chance he can get into that England side."

Gordon BanksFormer Stoke City goalkeeper

More than 4,000 West Midlands drivers fill-up and run without paying

Amy Cole

BBC Midlands Today

The West Midlands has some of the highest number of "pump and run" incidents in the UK - that's where drivers fill up and then drive off without paying.

Petrol pump

Figures obtained by a Freedom of Information request reveal that more than 4,000 drivers made off without paying last year. 

West Midlands Police says it investigates around 20 fuel thefts each day.

Residents cross over crossing

People living on a housing estate say they are being "cut off" twice an hour when a rail line is in use.

Access to and from Coppice Road in Stone, Staffordshire, is impossible for 10 minutes each hour when level crossing barriers come down.

Some residents want to see another route built for cars and pedestrians.

Network Rail says the frequency of trains has recently returned to twice an hour, due to improvement works on alternative routes.

New youth project for Burton

Burton Mail

A new community project to help keep kids off the streets has been launched in Anglesey

Latest headlines: Businesses given advice on crime prevention; 'Butland has talent to become England's number one'

Phil Bowers

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

The top stories for Stoke and Staffordshire this morning include:

- More than 10,000 children across the West Midlands are being brought up by their grandparents

- Businesses across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire are getting alerts and safety advice to help combat crime, in a scheme launched by the police and crime commissioner

- Former Stoke City goalkeeper and World Cup winner Gordon Banks says the Potters' Jack Butland has the ability to displace Joe Hart as England's number one

Watch: Latest weather forecast for the West Midlands

Alexandra Hamilton

BBC Weather

A dry and bright start for many before rain quickly spreads from the west, turning heavy over the higher ground, although sheltered eastern spots will escape the worst of the rain. 

Turning generally brighter with isolated heavy showers later with highs of 18C (64F).