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Summary

  1. House rammed by lorry: 'Sheer luck' family was unhurt
  2. Referee speaks of abuse and being head-butted ahead of strike
  3. Former pottery site set for almost 200 new homes
  4. 'Lucky escape' after 50ft fall from tree
  5. Paving scheme gets that sinking feeling
  6. Updates from Friday 3 March 2017

Live Reporting

By Allen Cook

All times stated are UK

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Lloyd Dyer

Bristol City slip into the Championship relegation zone as they are held to a goalless draw by fellow strugglers Burton.

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Marko Arnautovic

Alex Bysouth

BBC Sport

Marko Arnautovic's double helps Stoke to victory as Middlesbrough slip into the Premier League relegation zone.

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Severe disruption: M6 Staffordshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Staffordshire northbound severe disruption, between J12 for A5 and J13 for A449.

M6 Staffordshire - One lane closed on M6 northbound between J12, A5 (Gailey) and J13, A449 (Stafford South), because of a broken down vehicle. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe accident: A38 Staffordshire westbound

BBC News Travel

A38 Staffordshire westbound severe accident, between A513 Alrewas and A5127.

A38 Staffordshire - A38 in Fradley closed westbound between Alrewas and Streethay, because of a serious accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe accident: A50 Staffordshire westbound

BBC News Travel

A50 Staffordshire westbound severe accident, between A522 Uttoxeter and A521 Blythe Bridge Roundabout.

A50 Staffordshire - A50 closed westbound between Uttoxeter and Blythe Bridge Roundabout in Saverley Green, because of an accident involving a lorry carrying around 12'000 litres of pressurised glass bottles earlier on and recovery work.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe accident: A50 Staffordshire westbound

BBC News Travel

A50 Staffordshire westbound severe accident, between A522 Uttoxeter and A521 Blythe Bridge Roundabout.

A50 Staffordshire - A50 closed westbound between Uttoxeter and Blythe Bridge Roundabout in Saverley Green, because of an accident involving lorry and a car. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: M6 Staffordshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Staffordshire northbound severe disruption, between J12 for A5 and J13 for A449.

M6 Staffordshire - One lane closed on M6 northbound between J12, A5 (Gailey) and J13, A449 (Stafford South), because of debris on the road. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: M6 Staffordshire southbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Staffordshire southbound severe disruption, between J15 for A500 and J14 for A34.

M6 Staffordshire - One lane closed and slow traffic on M6 southbound between J15, A500 (Stoke-On-Trent) and J14, A34 (Stafford North), because of a broken down vehicle.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

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. 

NHS shortage of key surgery staff

Sian Grzeszczyk

Staffordshire Reporter, BBC Midlands Today

A shortage of key workers in operating theatres is being faced by the NHS in Staffordshire.

Operating department practitioners are the people who make sure the operating room is safe as well as delivering aftercare to patients. 

Students practising in operating theatre
BBC

Staffordshire University says it can't get enough students trained to meet local demand. 

A trust running hospitals in Staffordshire says it's been forced to pay £200,000 to fund 12 students through university to try and meet demand. 

Football: Berahino 'in thoughts' of Stoke manager for Middlesbrough game

Matt Sandoz

Stoke City commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Stoke City have just one injury concern ahead of this weekend's game with Middlesbrough.

Xherdan Shaqiri (pictured) is back in training, but unlikely to play following six weeks out with a calf injury.  

Xherdan Shaqiri
Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Jon Walters and Glen Johnson are fit again and in contention, while Saido Berahino is pushing for a first start.  

Stoke go into the match off the back of a third successive 4-0 beating by Tottenham Hotspur, which came off the back of a return from "warm weather" training.

(Berahino) is doing extra work over and above the main group, on sharpness and finishing. He's clearly very much in my thoughts."

Mark HughesStoke City manager

Watch: Weather for the evening and the weekend

Rebecca Wood

BBC Weather

Outbreaks of rain will continue for many this evening and for a time overnight, but there will be some drier interludes too

Rain will clear during the early hours. 

Cloudy skies will keep temperatures up overnight, preventing an overnight frost.  Lows of 6C (43F).

Weather for the West Midlands.

On Midlands Today from 18:30: Taxi row and a 'most-wanted' woman

Nick Owen

Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

On Midlands Today this evening - why a partially-sighted man in the region says he's repeatedly been refused taxis operated by Uber. 

Wallet containing £1,600 picked up by driver

Plus we'll be hearing about the woman who was seen on CCTV picking up a businessman's wallet containing £1,600. 

We'll also look ahead to a busy weekend of sport and have your crucial weather update, all on BBC One from 18:30.

80,000 illegal cigarettes found in Burton raids

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

More than 84,000 illegal cigarettes, worth more than £28,000 in duty and VAT, have been seized by customs officers in Burton. 

Seized goods in Burton
HMRC

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) say they checked 43 retailers in the town and Derby this week and made seizures from 18 of them. 

As well as the cigarettes, they also found 6.3kg of tobacco and 150g of shisha in Burton, worth almost £2,000.

Pub crawl team complete 20,000th ale house

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

A team of devoted charity pub-crawlers have reached their 20,000th ale house in Stafford, after three decades of touring pubs. 

The West Bromwich-based Black Country Ale Tairsters - Black Country dialect for tasters - began visiting establishments listed on a map, issued by Wolverhampton brewer Banks's, in 1984.

The Black Country Ale Tairsters pictured in 2013
Peter Hill

They arrived to complete their latest milestone in a minibus at the Knot and Plough in Stafford. 

Several veterans of the group, including co-founder Peter Hill, went to the event where they were given free beer.

Man found next to moped and a wall dies

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

A man has  died after being found lying next to a moped and a wall. 

West Midlands Ambulance Service say they were called to Main Street, Clifton Campville in Tamworth, this morning . 

They say they found a moped stuck between a lamppost and a wall. 

Paramedics found the man lying on the other side of the wall, trapped, but he died at the scene.

British Basketball League live

BBC Sport

British Basketball returns to BBC Sport this evening for the BBL league fixture between Cheshire Phoenix and Leeds Force. 

Both sides languish in the bottom four, with only two points separating them. 

Coverage is live from 19:30 across the BBC Sport website, app and selected Connected TVs. To watch online   click here   and to learn more about the BBC's coverage of the BBL and WBBL  click here.

Cheshire Phoenix v Leeds Rhinos
BBC Sport

Magic moments from FA People's Cup

Cheeky chips, celebrations and managerial sackings - watch 10 magic moments from the first round of the  FA People's Cup...... 

FA People's Cup: Top 10 magic moments

You'll be able to watch a highlights programme from the first round of the  nationwide five-a-side competition  on the  iPlayer from 06:00 Saturday, 4 March  and on the red button from 14:10 on Saturday and throughout the weekend.    

Former pottery site set for almost 200 new homes

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

A former pottery factory site in Stoke-on-Trent is going to be turned into 193 new homes.

Churchill China's former site off Waterloo Road
Google

The city council has approved Barratt Homes' plan for the 10-acre old Churchill pottery site, off Waterloo Road, Cobridge. 

The land's one of the city's Housing Zone areas which means government loans are available to speed up building homes on large developments.

Paving scheme gets that sinking feeling

Chris King

Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

Just under three years since it was laid, slabs on pavements and roads in the centre of Stoke-on-Trent have started to sink and crack again. 

The scheme, which is being funded by the council and the European Regional Development Fund and started in 2012, aimed to improve streets and squares in Hanley. 

But in 2015, the authority admitted some of the new paving on Stafford Street had "moved", leading to cracks, blaming it on "soil conditions".

Sunken paving on Stafford Street
BBC

Two years later, more of the paving in a similar area looks to have started sinking.

The city council says it is looking into this latest problem.

Referee speaks of abuse and being head-butted ahead of strike

Jack Dowling

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

A referee who officiates in Staffordshire has told BBC Radio Stoke he's been verbally abused and head-butted while taking charge of a game. 

Neil Proctor was speaking as thousands of amateur referees are planning a strike in protest over the treatment they receive on the pitch.

Ryan Hampson, far right
BBC

Ryan Hampson (pictured, far right), who has organised the walk-out, says "more than 2,000 people up and down the country" will be taking part on 4 and 5 March. 

The FA said it has "been in dialogue" and "spoken at length with Ryan" about the strikes. 

Mr Proctor, from Congleton, officiates in the Leek and District Sunday League and says one coach told him "I hope you die of cancer". 

The Staffordshire FA says it has a development officer in position for any referee who has issues or needs extra support.

House rammed by lorry: 'Sheer luck' family was unhurt

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

Police officers investigating after a lorry was rammed into a Stoke-on-Trent house seven times say it was "sheer luck" no-one was hurt. 

The incident, in November 2015, caved in the ground floor of the house on Broadfield Road and several parked cars were also damaged.

Damage caused to inside and outside of house
Staffordshire Police

At the time, a family and three children were asleep in the home - Staffordshire Police say they were deliberately targeted as part of an "ongoing feud". 

Three men were jailed yesterday for their part in the attack while another man and a woman were given suspended sentences at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court. 

Today a sixth man was sentenced to a 12-month community order after pleading guilty to conspiracy to steal motor vehicles.

Watch: Anti-speeding call 'before someone killed'

Russell Truran

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

Motorists are using a Stoke-on-Trent housing estate as a rat run, according to campaigners who want the city council to install traffic-calming measures.   

City Councillor Candi Chetwynd

People living on the Norton Heights estate submitted a petition to the council six months ago, complaining of speeding.

They're being backed by local councillor, Candi Chetwynd (featured in video), who says it's only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or killed. 

The city council says it has carried out three separate surveys and the results didn't show any excessive speeding.  

'Lucky escape' after 50ft fall from tree

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

A man's had a "lucky escape" say paramedics after he fell around 50ft (15m) from a tree into the garden of a house in Cannock. 

West Midlands Ambulance Service say it happened this morning on Watling Street, near the OK Diner. 

OK Diner, Watling Street
Google

They say the man, thought in his 30s, suffered injuries to his left arm, lower back and head and was taken to hospital.

Paramedics say he was wearing a helmet and protective equipment without which he could have been more seriously hurt.

Football: New Port Vale goalkeeper playing waiting game on debut

Lee Blakeman

Port Vale commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Port Vale's new goalkeeper, Deniz Mehmet , is waiting to find out if he'll make his first-team debut for the club in tomorrow's game at Southend.

Deniz Mehmet
SNS

The 24-year-old ex-West Ham United youth team player and Falkirk goalkeeper played a full game for the reserves on Wednesday, having joined the club this week.  

He's signed a short-term deal until the end of the season and will wear the number one shirt.

Watch: Stunning photos of Staffordshire and Cheshire

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

Here are five of the best that I've picked out from the photos you've sent in.

You can share your photos of Staffordshire or Cheshire on email or, if you use Instagram, put them there, adding the tag #bbcstoke to show you agree to share them.

Your pictures

Officials deny reports of hospital's closure

Chris King

Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

Health bosses have denied reports that Leek Hospital is set to close in September. 

In a joint statement, Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) say no final decision has yet been made on its future.

Leek hospital
Google

They say that they're commenting after media coverage of a "misconception" that the hospital is shutting. 

The CCGs say that nothing will be decided without a full public consultation, which is due to take place in May, once it's approved by NHS England.

Proposed deputy police chief's suitability queried

Phil McCann

Cheshire Political Reporter, BBC News

A proposed new deputy police and crime commissioner "failed to demonstrate an adequate knowledge and understanding" of the role, councillors said.  

Sareda Dirir
Sareda Dirir

Labour councillor, Sareda Dirir, has been nominated by Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Keane to become his £50,000-a-year deputy.

Members of the county's police and crime panel were not impressed by her performance in a confirmation hearing.

But she meets the "minimum standard", the advisory panel concluded.

Mr Keane is due to make a final decision about whether to appoint Ms Dirir next week.

On Midlands Today from 13:30: Uber in guide dog row and NHS key worker shortage fear

BBC Midlands Today

This lunchtime on Midlands Today - how a blind man from the region says he's been repeatedly refused taxis operated by private hire firm Uber because he travels with a guide dog. 

Saleh Ahmed claims it's happened 14 times in the past two years. Uber said it has barred the drivers involved. 

Saleh Ahmed
BBC

We'll also have the story of why the NHS in Staffordshire is facing a shortage of key workers in operating theatres. 

Get both those stories and more, including your weather for the weekend, on BBC One from 13:30.

Wilfried Bony

Stoke striker Wilfried Bony says his exclusion from the team is a "crazy situation", after he turned down a lucrative move to China last month.

Read more

Severe accident: M6 Cheshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Cheshire northbound severe accident, between J16 for A500 Crewe and J17 for A534 Sandbach.

M6 Cheshire - Two lanes closed, queuing traffic and delays on M6 northbound between J16, A500 (Crewe) and J17, A534 (Sandbach), because of an accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

'Mad idea' prompts pub purchase by Army veterans

Sarah Portlock

BBC News Online

Veterans of an Army regiment say a "mad idea" led to them buying the lease of a pub where it was founded.

The Staffordshire Regiment Association said it paid £64,000 to buy a 10-year lease on The King's Head in Lichfield. 

Plaque on wall of pub marking its history
Google

The regiment was founded in 1705 when Col Luke Lillingston raised a force which later became the Staffords. 

Capt Dave Donnelly said: "It's brilliant. We believe we have bought a piece of history." 

He said the purchase was prompted by a "mad idea" by ex-Warrant Officer Derek Watts, from Wolverhampton, who went on social media to drum up support.

Travel: Trains slowed down as 'cow on the line' between Crewe and Stafford

BBC Travel

For an unusual reason, trains are running at reduced speeds between Crewe and Stafford, say Virgin Trains.

View more on twitter

Liverpool Lime Street 'should reopen on Thursday'

Lucy King

News Editor, BBC Radio Stoke

Train passengers going from Stoke-on-Trent and Crewe to Liverpool Lime Street should see the Merseyside station reopen on Thursday, Network Rail says. 

A train carrying 150 passengers  was "seconds away" from crashing into a huge pile of debris , the RMT union said.  

Debris after the collapse
Network Rail

An  estimated 200 tonnes of rubble  fell on to the line when a wall collapsed just outside Liverpool Lime Street station at 17:45 on Tuesday.

Northern Rail confirmed the driver of its Manchester Airport to Liverpool service hit the emergency brake after a red signal was triggered.

London Midland, which operates services from Crewe and Stoke-on-Trent to Liverpool Lime Street, says passengers should check before they travel.