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Summary

  1. Man jailed after huge cocaine haul
  2. Inquiry after hospital power failure caused major incident
  3. Health commissioning body rated inadequate
  4. Updates from Friday 22 July 2016

Live Reporting

By Allen Cook

All times stated are UK

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Bird's Nest Stadium in Beijing, China

After Premier League teams clocked up more than 170,000 miles this pre-season, check how they got on with our full list of results.

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Joe Allen

Stoke City sign Wales midfielder Joe Allen from Premier League rivals Liverpool for £13m on a five-year deal.

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Voicu Razvan Florea

A man is jailed after a routine stop by police on the M6 motorway uncovers 16kg of cocaine in a suitcase in his car.

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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 on Monday, but keep an eye out here for more updates this evening. 

New arts and science festival under way in Cheshire

Tom Mullen

Reporter, BBC News Online

Today marks the first day of a new festival of arts, music and science at Jodrell Bank observatory in Cheshire.  

Professor Brian Cox
Getty Images

Over the next three days the Bluedot festival will showcase art by Brian Eno, music from Jean-Michel Jarre - alongside science discussions led by speakers including Professor Brian Cox (pictured).  

On Midlands Today at 18:30: Growing strawberries in towers

David Gregory-Kumar

Science correspondent, BBC Midlands Today

Farmers across the Midlands are experimenting with a new way to grow fruit and veg, with strawberries and lettuce planted not in the ground but packed into towers instead. 

Farmers experiment with a new way to grow fruit and veg

It's a system called hydroponic farming, created by a team in Birmingham and trialled in places including in Staffordshire. 

See more on BBC Midlands Today from 18:30 on BBC One.

Brexit one month on: Have your say

BBC Midlands Today

If you’re still feeling a little lost and confused about what Britain’s decision to Brexit means for you, you aren’t alone. 

A month on from the EU Referendum we’re calling in an expert to sort the facts from fiction, looking at what people said would happen and what actually happened and then make a best guess at what is likely to happen as we prepare to leave. 

We’ve also been interested in hearing from a range of voices from across the West Midlands to find out how Brexit has affected their daily lives – if at all. 

Today on the programme we meet the Sorge family - a French mum and German dad who weren't allowed to vote but were shocked by Brexit - and Sutton Coldfield window cleaner Roger Needle who wants to leave the EU.

Sorge family and Roger Needle
BBC

We’d love to hear your thoughts too, so share them with us here on Facebook or Twitter and we’ll try to read as many as we can on the programme tonight.  

Football: Johnson hoping to see old Liverpool team-mate at Stoke City

Dan Wheeler

BBC Sport

Full-back Glen Johnson says he would "love" Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen to sign for Stoke City.

The Potters had a £13m bid for Wales midfielder Allen, 26, accepted on Thursday by the Anfield club.

Glen Johnson (left) and Joe Allen (right)
Getty Images

And Johnson is excited about the prospect of his former team-mate coming to the Britannia Stadium.  

He's a fantastic player. He'd be brilliant for the squad - he's one of those players who gets the game going."

Glen JohnsonStoke City defender

Watch: Local Meals on Wheels marks 70th birthday

Chris King

Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

A special event's being held to mark the 70th anniversary of Stoke-on-Trent's Meals on Wheels service.   

Stoke-on-Trent's Meals on Wheels service marks 70th birthday.

Every day its volunteers - such as Ken and Pat Clewlow (featured in video) - deliver food to around a 120 people across the city. 

Tonight they're getting together in Burslem to celebrate the "birthday".  

Pokemon Go players warned over five Stoke-on-Trent locations

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

Pokemon Go fans are being warned to take precautions if searching for the game's digital creatures in five areas of Stoke-on-Trent. 

Staffordshire Police says it is currently aware of five locations in the city where they can be found and wants players to be aware of traffic safety issues and the potential of phone theft.

Pokemon Go app
EPA

The areas are Burslem Park, Central Forest Park, James Brindley Way traffic island, the John Baskeyfield statue roundabout on Festival Park and Royal Stoke University Hospital's A&E.

Health bosses have already warned players of the smartphone app not to enter the accident and emergency unit while they hunt 

Travel: Accident shuts A460 in Hednesford

BBC Travel

The A460 East Cannock Road in Hednesford is shut both ways at the B4154 Hill Street junction because of a crash and recovery work.

Watch: German children help tend war graves

Emma Thomas

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

School children from Germany have been in Staffordshire to visit the graves of German soldiers killed in World War Two.   

German children help tend Staffordshire war graves.

There are 5,000 men buried at the military cemetery on Cannock Chase.

Pupils from local schools helped the visitors to clean, paint and weed the site as part of a peace project dating back to the 1960s.  

News: Man jailed for £4.9m cocaine haul; hospital patients left in darkness; inadequate rating for health group

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

Let's get you up-to-date now with the headlines we're looking at this evening

A man has been jailed for six years after officers discovered what they described as a £4.9m haul of cocaine when he was stopped on the M6 near Crewe  

- A hospital in Stoke-on-Trent declared a major incident after a loss of power left patients lying in the dark and staff unable to access computer systems

- The body which oversees and pays for NHS services in south Cheshire has been rated inadequate

Four month road closure starts on Monday in Crewe

People planning to drive in Crewe on Monday are being warned by Cheshire East Council of a four-month road closure that'll start from Monday.

View more on twitter

Crewe BHS closure date confirmed

Lamont Howie

Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

British Home Stores has confirmed it will close its Crewe store on Saturday 30 July. 

BHS in Crewe
BBC

It's understood the 19 staff will be offered roles at other stores to support the wind down.

Football: Swansea could rival Stoke for Allen

BBC Sport

Swansea City are considering a bid for Liverpool's Wales midfielder Joe Allen.

Stoke have had a £13m bid accepted by the Reds for the 26-year-old, who played for the Swans until his 2012 switch to Anfield.

Joe Allen
Getty Images

Swansea's American takeover has been completed this week.

"Joe is one of our own players and if at all possible we would probably make that signing," Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins told BBC Sport.

Travel: Rail lines blocked between Tamworth and Birmingham

BBC Travel

Trains are being delayed between Tamworth and Birmingham because the lines are blocked both ways due to a points failure.

View more on twitter

Watch: Stoke and Staffordshire's weather forecast for the weekend

Rebecca Wood

BBC Midlands Today

You can see what the weather holds for the weekend and you can also keep up-to-date with the latest forecasts on the BBC website.

Rebecca Wood has the weekend forecast

Health commissioning body rated inadequate

Phil McCann

Cheshire Political Reporter, BBC News

The body which oversees and pays for NHS services in south Cheshire has been rated inadequate.   

A Cheshire health body is rated inadequate.

NHS England says South Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has problems with its leadership, finances and planning. 

The three CCGs in north Staffordshire fared better but officials say they still "require improvement".  

Cathedral gets £690,000 grant for 'urgent repairs'

Alice Bentley

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

Work to repair part of Lichfield Cathedral's been given a grant of £690,000.

Lichfield Cathedral Chapter House (External)
Will Fuller Photography

Lichfield Cathedral says the money's come from the First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund.

They say it'll go towards their efforts to repair its Chapter House which has been damaged by "serious water penetration and stone erosion".

Travel: Overturned lorry on A51 in Nantwich

BBC Travel

A lorry's overturned and is partially blocking the A51 Barony Road in Nantwich westbound, between the junctions of Reaseheath Roundabout and Bluestone Traffic Lights.

Congestion on the A530 Nantwich Road is back to Wistaston Green Road and on the A500 back to the A534 Crewe Road junction.

Football: Port Vale summer signings 'will adjust' says Brown

Lee Blakeman

Port Vale commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Port Vale's assistant manager Michael Brown says the club's new summer signings will adjust to English football. 

Vale Park
Port Vale FC

The majority of the Vale's pre-season signings have experience of playing in Europe but not in England. 

The pre-season games are going to bring out what to expect. I think they'll be a bit more realistic as to what's about to come [in League One]."

Michael BrownPort Vale's assistant manager

Pets at Home fire out in Stoke-on-Trent

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

Staffordshire Fire Service say it's not thought anyone was injured in a fire at the Pets at Home centre on Stanley Matthews Way, Stoke-on-Trent this morning.

They say the fire which started in an animal waste hopper is now out and they've left the scene - it's not yet been revealed what caused the blaze.

Man jailed after huge cocaine haul

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

A man has been jailed for six years after officers discovered what they described as a £4.9m haul of cocaine when he was stopped on the M6 near Crewe.  

Voicu Razvan Florea
Cheshire Police

Voicu Razvan Florea, 31, from Harrow, London, admitted one count of possession with intent to supply a class A drug at Chester Crown Court today. 

Cheshire Police say he was stopped on the motorway in April and officers found 16 blocks of cocaine in a suitcase in the car.

Crewe fans jailed for FA Cup violence

Lamont Howie

Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

Three Crewe Alexandra fans have been sent to prison for six months and given six-year football banning orders after violence at the end of an FA Cup game at Gresty Road last year.

Chester Crown Court
Geograph

A fourth supporter has been handed a suspended prison sentence by Chester Crown Court and two others given community orders - they've also been banned from games for four years.

The men are in their late teens and 20s and from Crewe and Kidsgrove - they were arrested after fighting following the Alex's 1-0 defeat to Eastleigh last November.

News: Guilty plea to murder; Romanian arrest over suspected ATM fraud; woman seriously hurt in crash

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

Our top stories this afternoon include:

- A man has admitted murdering a woman found stabbed at a house in Staffordshire  

- A Romanian man is arrested in Kent on suspicion of cash machine fraud at Cheshire supermarkets in 2012

- A woman's been seriously hurt in a crash in Staffordshire early this morning  

Football: Stoke City's Johnson backs Allardyce as England manager

Matt Sandoz

Stoke City commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

The Stoke City defender Glen Johnson says Sam Allardyce deserves a shot at managing England. 

Sam Allardyce
PA

Johnson who has 54 England caps told BBC Radio Stoke that the former Sunderland boss can be a success.

He deserves his chance, I'm sure he'll get the squad firing and pick the players that he wants to pick. I'm sure we'll know if it was the right decision in a couple of years time."

Glen JohnsonStoke City defender

Woman seriously hurt in crash

BBC Radio Stoke

A woman's been seriously hurt in a crash in Staffordshire early this morning. 

Ambulance crews were called to junction of the A515 and B5234 in Newborough just before 01:30. 

Junction of A515 and B5234
Google

They say a car had been involved in a crash and a passenger, a woman believed to be 17 years old, had suffered a serious chest injury. 

Paramedics say the driver suffered less serious injuries.

Romanian man arrested in £20m fraud investigation

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

Police have arrested a Romanian man wanted in connection with a £20m fraud investigation involving cash machines. 

Marius Anton, 31, was detained in Kent as he tried to leave the UK - police in Cheshire want him for allegedly committing multiple ATM fraud offences since early 2012.   

Credit cards
Thinkstock

He's suspected of attaching skimming devices to machines in supermarkets to try to copy people's cards. 

Mr Anton's now been remanded in custody by magistrates in Crewe charged with possessing criminal items and articles being used for fraud as well as a count of failing to appear in court.

Summer getaway: Top tips for motorway driving

If, like a lot of Midlanders, you're thinking about heading down to the South West, it might be worth checking out these top tips for motorway driving.

The big seasonal getaway is moving up a gear and today is one of the busiest days of the year for the motorway network. 

Highways England traffic officer Sandy Osborough gives his top driving tips for summer.
Glen Johnson

Stoke City defender Glen Johnson says he would "love" ex-Liverpool team-mate Joe Allen to join the club.

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On Midlands Today: Tracking the impact of Brexit in the West Midlands

Nicola Beckford

BBC Midlands Today

It's a month since the UK voted to leave the European Union.   

Stop sign in front of EU flags
AP

To mark that we're planning to follow more than 25 families, individuals and business owners over the next two years as the country grapples with the momentous decision.

This lunchtime we're going to introduce you to a few of the people we'll be following - join us from 13:30 on BBC One for Midlands Today.

News: Man admits murder; investigation into hospital power failure; cathedral gets £690k for repairs

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

This afternoon's headlines this lunchtime include:

- A man has admitted murdering a woman found stabbed at a house in Staffordshire

- The NHS trust running the Royal Stoke University Hospital says a full investigation is under way after a power surge left parts of the site without mains electricity for 90 minutes last night

- Work to repair part of Lichfield Cathedral's been given a grant of £690,000.  

Animal waste fire at Pets at Home centre

Lucy King

News Editor, BBC Radio Stoke

Five fire engines are tackling a blaze in an animal waste hopper at a pet supplies distribution centre in Stoke-on-Trent this afternoon. 

Pets at Home centre in Trentham
Google

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service says it was called to the Pets at Home centre at 10:38 and sent four pumps and their aerial ladder. 

The fire is still ongoing and has spread to a lorry trailer.

BreakingMan admits stabbing woman to death

Chris King

Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

A man has pleaded guilty to murdering a woman found stabbed at a house in Staffordshire. 

Fay Daniels
Staffordshire Police

Fay Daniels, 30, was discovered at a property on Victoria Street, in Chesterton, on 24 April. She had suffered multiple stab wounds, police said. 

Phillip Barlow, 36, of the same address, today pleaded guilty to her murder at Stafford Crown Court - he's due to be sentenced next month.

Michael Brown

Port Vale's foreign signings are learning what to expect from playing in England, says assistant boss Michael Brown.

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