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  1. Police dismiss claims parts of Stoke-on-Trent like "a war zone"
  2. Burton and Crewe get slice of £100m A&E cash
  3. Blocked driveway note met with anger
  4. Hidden 19th Century washroom set to open to public
  5. Updates from Friday 21 April 2017

Live Reporting

By Allen Cook

All times stated are UK

Get involved

General election 2017: How do I register to vote?

Don't get left outside on polling day. Here are details of what you need and where you need to go to register for the general election on 8 June:

The deadline to register is 22 May

Watch: The London Marathon finish line

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

Do you know someone who ran the London Marathon yesterday or maybe you ran it yourself?

You can watch a feed of the finish line, showing everyone who finished between 2hrs 30mins and 6hrs.

Find out their time and you can catch the moment they crossed the line.

From tears of joy, limping over the line, through to some rather tired faces - watch six hours (or skip forward) and see friends/family/loved ones cross the finish line via the BBC iPlayer.

Football: National League winners aiming to follow Burton promotion blueprint

BBC Sport

A football club which secured promotion to the English Football League at the weekend is using Burton Albion as an inspiration to get from non-league football to the Championship

Lincoln City won the National League title on Saturday, eight years after Burton began their ascent up the Football League.

Lincoln City players celebrating promotion

"I think it's realistic [to reach the Championship]," managing director Kevin Cooke told BBC Radio Lincolnshire.

"I don't see why we can't do that, as long as you put good foundations down."

Burton were fighting to gain Football League status in 2008 but eight years later, in 2016,  were promoted to the second tier for the first time in their history.  

Watch: Monday's selection of your pictures of Staffordshire and Cheshire

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

It's one of my toughest but best jobs, sorting through the many great pictures you send in of Staffordshire and Cheshire - here are five for today.

If you've got a photo to share, you can send it in on email or put it on Instagram, adding #bbcstoke to your post's description so I know you agree to share it.

Your pictures

General election 2017: How do I register to vote?

Don't get left outside on polling day. Here are details of what you need and where you need to go to register for the general election on 8 June:  

The deadline to register is 22 May

Weather: A chance of snow overnight

Charlie Slater

BBC Weather presenter

It seems a bit late in the year for snow, but with chilly temperatures forecast overnight, there's a chance we might see some in Staffordshire.

The rest of us will have a cold night, with showers in places.

Charlie Slater has your forecast

Watch: Passions revealed for Staffordshire oatcakes

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

The passion for Staffordshire oatcakes appears to be never-ending judging by the number of you wanting to chip-in on the BBC News Facebook page.   

The passion for Staffordshire oatcakes

We brought you the news at the weekend that this mighty "food of the gods" has travelled from Aberdeen to Arizona, well outside the Potteries.

Many people wanted to reveal their memories of Staffordshire oatcakes, from their favourite toppings to growing up eating them.  

Sofas, toys and roof waste fly-tipped in villages

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

Sofas, children's toys and building waste have been dumped in two villages in Staffordshire since the start of the month. 

Stafford Borough Council says bitumen flat roofing waste was found in early April on Church Eaton Road between Church Eaton and Bromstead Heath.

The bitumen flat roofing waste
Stafford Borough Council

Then, over a couple of weekends, toys, household waste and sofas were discovered in Hanchurch Hills.

The authority's appealing for help to find out who dumped the rubbish, saying in 2015 fly-tipping cost them around £25,000 to clean up.

Stafford Borough Council
Port Vale caretaker-manager Michael Brown

Port Vale caretaker manager Michael Brown says his side have to win their last two games, starting at Walsall on Tuesday.

Read more

Free parking to boost town centre shopping

Daz Hale


Free parking is being offered by a council as a way to get more people shopping on the high street.

From today, if you're visiting Sedgley, Dudley, Brierley Hill and Halesowen you could park for up to two hours for free.

Free parking for two hours - signs

The trial will run until the 2 July at 16 car parks across the four areas. 

Drivers will still need to get a ticket from the machine but it won't cost them a penny.

Some of our residents and traders have expressed a belief that reduced parking charges could help to boost trade here in Dudley borough. The two-hour free parking scheme trial is being piloted in different types of retail centres across the borough and we are keen to see how this could affect the numbers of shoppers coming into the areas."

Alan LuntDudley Borough Council

Arrest after lorry and car crash near health centre

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

A man's been arrested after a crash between a lorry and car this morning in Stoke-on-Trent which shut the A520 for several hours. 

Staffordshire Police say they were called after the crash between the HGV and a Ford Focus on Weston Road near the health centre on Broadway, Meir. 

They say the man was arrested on suspicion of driving while unfit due to drink or drugs. 

London Marathon: Photo of fastest nun on the run

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

We told you earlier how Daniel Jordan from Stoke-on-Trent had set a new world record in the London Marathon for fastest marathon dressed as a nun. 

Well he has now shared a photo of himself, dressed up for the run, and says he was running to raise money for the Chelsea Burley Trust.

Daniel Jordan in nun costume
Daniel Jordan

Man charged after Stoke-on-Trent fights

Sarah Robertson

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

Five of the six men who were arrested after two reports of men fighting in the street in Stoke-on-Trent have been released under investigation. 

Police say they were called on Thursday to first Nelson Street and then Rochester Road, Sandford Hill and seized weapons including a machete and hammer.

Cordoned off house

They said they'd arrested six men, aged between 18-23, on suspicion of affray and say five of them have now been released under investigation. 

The force says the sixth man, a 19-year-old from Stoke-on-Trent, has been charged with possession of cannabis.

People urged to be more aware of signs of stalking

Lucy King

News Editor, BBC Radio Stoke

People in Staffordshire are being urged by police to be more aware of the signs that someone's being stalked. 

Shadow of man standing on pavement after dark

The force says a new campaign warns that even minor or seemingly insignificant actions can cause people serious distress. 

Officers say it can include damaging property, leaving abusive messages and following someone to work. 

'State of shock' for family over biker's death

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

The family of a biker who died in a crash on the A523 between Bosley and Leek says they are in a "state of shock". 

Staffordshire Police say Mark Duncan Oarton died after his motorbike collided with a lorry in the Rudyard area.

Mark Duncan Oarton
Staffordshire Police

The 56-year-old, of Astbury Lane Ends, Congleton was pronounced dead at the scene. 

In a statement his family say they are "devastated" and "cannot begin to express our feelings of sadness".

Swindon Town

James Law

BBC Sport

An unreported relegation and a Huddersfield striker with the birthday blues are among five things you might have missed from the EFL.

Read more

Wyre Forest Lib Dems name their parliamentary candidate

The Liberal Democrats have announced that Councillor Shazu Miah will be their candidate for the Wyre Forest constituency in the general election. 

Mr Miah says he will be campaigning against a hard Brexit and for keeping Britain in the single market.

Shazu Miah
Wyre Forest Liberal Democrats

Thirty six percent of Wyre Forest residents voted to remain in the EU and many more oppose the reckless decision of this hard-right Conservative government to pursue a 'hard Brexit'. Only the Lib Dems here in Wyre Forest are truly fighting her plans and fought to Remain."

Shazu MiahLib Dem parliamentary candidate

The deadline for nominating candidates is 11 May, but most parties will want their representatives in place well before that. 

We'll bring you the latest on the election campaign as we get it.

Football: No celebrations for Crewe boss on avoiding relegation

Graham McGarry

Crewe Alexandra commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

The Crewe Alexandra manager David Artell says he won't be celebrating, despite his side securing their status in the Football League for another season.

Crewe in action against Leyton Orient
Rex Features

The 3-0 win at home to Leyton Orient means the Alex are now mathematically safe from relegation with two games to play in League Two. 

But Artell says he was more pleased with not conceding any goals in Saturday's game.

We've had good 45 minutes of football before on more than one occasion and we've ended up either scraping a win or drawing or losing. So to keep a clean sheet, that's always the aim in every game and that's another one."

David ArtellCrewe Alexandra manager

Burton warning after rise in Black Mamba 'zombies'

Burton Mail

The increasing number of people taking a former legal high, known as Black Mamba, which leaves users in a zombie-like trance, is a worrying trend which has come to Burton, according to the founder of the town's addiction centre.

Police caught these men suspected of taking Black Mamba which leaves them in a zombie like stance
Burton Mail/Derbyshire Police

Three hurt as car hits stationary vehicle

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

Three people have been hurt after a car crashed into a stationary vehicle in Tamworth. 

It was last night on the A5 in Fazeley says West Midlands Ambulance Service.

A5 in Fazeley

They say there were two people in the stationary car and the passenger had climbed out of the window to get out.

Paramedics say the two drivers both got out themselves and all three were treated for injuries at the scene and then taken to hospital. 

Shredder and wood shavings destroyed in blaze

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

A shredder and a huge pile of wood shavings have been destroyed in a fire in Cheshire. 

Five fire engines had to be called to the blaze on Green Lane, Wardle near Nantwich on Saturday morning. 

Fire crews at the scene of the blaze
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service says crews had to use a digger to shift piles of debris as they fought the blaze. 

They add that everyone at the site was accounted for and no-one was hurt by the fire.

Cricket player breaks 125-year-old record

BBC Sport

A South African batsman who also plays for a Stoke-on-Trent cricket side has hit the highest score in the 125-year history of the Lancashire League. 

On Sunday, Kelly Smuts made 211 out of a total of 323-6 for Todmorden against Enfield.

Kelly Smuts
Mark Clayton

That was the day after he played as substitute professional for Hem Heath and taken four wickets. 

The 27-year-old, who is his amateur team's paid professional, also surpassed ex-Australia captain Michael Clarke's unbeaten 200 for Ramsbottom in an abandoned match in 2002.

Clarke, who is currently commentating on the Indian Premier League, tweeted Smuts his congratulations and joked: "This means I need to have another year with Rammy."

Why Staffordshire oatcakes are being eaten in Arizona

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

In case you missed it at the weekend, we brought you news that the Staffordshire oatcake has gone global.

The unique "oat pancake" is enjoyed not just in the Potteries but in places ranging from Ottawa, Canada, Arizona, New Zealand and Dubai. 

Larraine Eastwood told us how she "smuggled" them overseas to her expat family in the early 1970s. 

Vanessa Carroll and her oatcakes
Vanessa Carroll

While Vanessa Carroll (pictured) now just turns on the hob in her USA home and makes her own. 

All those stories and more, including facts on oatcakes and even a recipe, here on the BBC website.

Four arrests after crowd clashes at Port Vale game

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

Four arrests were made by police during Port Vale's game at the weekend against Bolton which was marred by crowd trouble.

Bolton's fans brought play to a halt with a pitch invasion following their first goal in a 2-0 win over the Vale. 

Then in the second-half, the referee took the players off the pitch for 10 minutes after clashes broke out between both sets of fans.

General shot of Port Vale FC
Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Staffordshire Police say four men, two from Bolton and two from Stoke-on-Trent, were arrested for public order offences. 

They say a fifth man, aged 20, was given a community resolution and evicted from the match for pitch disorder. 

The force says there was also trouble before the game as a 20-year-old from Manchester was arrested for criminal damage after reports that a flare went off on a bus, causing around £2,000 of damage.

Severe accident: M6 Cheshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Cheshire northbound severe accident, at J16 for A500 Crewe.

M6 Cheshire - M6 lane closed on entry slip road northbound at J16, A500 (Crewe), because of an accident involving lorry and car. Traffic is coping well.

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

Burton Albion one point off escaping relegation

BBC Derby Sport

Have Burton Albion done it? 

Manager Nigel Clough will be reminding his players they still need one point to ensure the keep playing their football in the Championship next season. 

The 2-1 victory over Leeds means that's all they require.

Burton v Leeds
Rex Features

To be one point away, as it stands, we won't be celebrating or anything until we get that point, hopefully at Barnsley. The dressing room is euphoric right now but tinged with an element of disappointment that it is not done yet. We thought we might do it today but it hasn't worked out that way so we keep battling on."

Nigel CloughBurton Albion manager

Turner watercolour goes on display

BBC Midlands Today

Art lovers can discover work by Joseph Turner as an exhibition of paintings opens in the region today. 

Mr Turner comes to Lichfield is at the Cathedral until 11 June and shows how artists have portrayed the building over five centuries. 

Mr Turner comes to Lichfield

The centrepiece is a watercolour painted in 1832, which has been in a private collection.

Lichfield Cathedral

Rock band 'bemused' as confusion sees JLS boyband fans buying tickets

Liz Ellis

Presenter, BBC Radio Stoke

A Cheshire band says they've been left bemused after a muddle-up led to fans of the boyband JLS mistakenly buying tickets for their acoustic rock gig, thinking it was a reunion. 

Guitarist Jim Kirkpatrick from Nantwich says in 2008, before the boyband formed, he set up JLS with his friends Les and Steve - naming the band after their three initials.

The boyband JLS

But last week, ahead of a gig in Warrington, he told BBC Radio Stoke that the venue started "getting inundated with calls" from fans of the boyband who thought they were reuniting. 

The X-Factor finalists JLS split in 2013, but Mr Kirkpatrick says the confusion came after their tickets were advertised on major music websites. 

He says the venue did have to do returns and it all looked to have been sorted out ahead of last night's event - but they did play 10 seconds of a song by the other JLS "for a laugh".

The venue started getting inundated with calls about 'is this the real JLS?' Are they reforming, is this a reunion gig?"

Jim KirkpatrickGuitarist in JLS

Runner sets record for 'fastest marathon dressed as a nun'

Jodie Looker

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

A Stoke-on-Trent man's set a new world record for running the fastest marathon dressed as a nun. 

Daniel Jordan from Trentham Running Club finished the London Marathon in just over three hours and seventeen minutes. 

Runners in the marathon

A record number of competitors took part in yesterday's event with organisers saying 40,382 people were on the gruelling 26.2-mile run. 

After the race, Guinness World Records confirmed Mr Jordan now held the record for "fastest marathon dressed as a nun", among 39 official world records which were broken in the event.

Football: Joe Allen apologises for Stoke's 'stuttering' away form

Awaiting quote pic

Matt Sandoz

Stoke City commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

The Stoke City midfielder Joe Allen says his side must turn around their stuttering away form. 

Joe Allen quote
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Following their 2-0 defeat at Swansea, the Potters have now gone six games without scoring away from home. 

Allen told BBC Radio Stoke that the away performances are causing concern for everyone.

Little-seen JMW Turner painting goes on show

BBC Midlands Today

Art lovers can discover work by the early 19th Century artist JMW Turner as an exhibition of paintings opens in Staffordshire today.

Painting by JMW Turner
Lichfield Cathedral

"Mr Turner comes to Lichfield" is at the cathedral until 11 June and the exhibition shows how a range of artists have portrayed the building over five centuries. 

The centrepiece will be a watercolour painted by Turner in 1832 and is the first time it's been seen by the public, having been part of a private collection.

Public meeting to be held after Stoke-on-Trent fights

John Acres

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

A public meeting is going to be held to discuss problems on a Stoke-on-Trent housing estate, according to a community leader in the city. 

Last week armed police were called to two reports of men fighting in the street, some said to be armed with bats, poles and what was described as a gun.

Police on streets after fighting

Police say they'd happened on Nelson Street, Fenton and Rochester Road, Sandford Hill and they arrested six men, aged between 18-23, on suspicion of affray. 

They say they seized "a machete and hammer along with a red Mercedes" and were linking both incidents.

There's an increased police presence around the area of late and that's what we need, we need greater investment in policing, we need greater investment in social care and that will hopefully bring about an end to these sort of problems."

Glen ParkesChairman of Great Fenton Community Association

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 - One lane blocked and slow traffic on M6 northbound between J16, A500 (Crewe) and J17, A534 (Sandbach), because of an accident. In the roadworks area.

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

Watch: What's the weather doing today?

Charlie Slater

BBC Weather presenter

After a cloudy start with some light showers, it should be a dry and bright day with highs of 12C (54F).

You can find a detailed forecast for your area on the BBC Weather site.

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Severe disruption: M6 Cheshire both ways

BBC News Travel

M6 Cheshire both ways severe disruption, between J17 for A534 Sandbach and J16 for A500 Crewe.

M6 Cheshire - One lane blocked and slow traffic on M6 in both directions between J17, A534 (Sandbach) in Bradwall Green and J16, A500 (Crewe) in Cheshire, because of a broken down car. In the roadworks area.

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

Severe accident: A5 Staffordshire eastbound

BBC News Travel

A5 Staffordshire eastbound severe accident, between A453 and A51.

A5 Staffordshire - A5 in Tamworth blocked eastbound between the A453 junction and the A51 junction, because of an accident.

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

Severe disruption: A500 Staffordshire southbound

BBC News Travel

A500 Staffordshire southbound severe disruption, between A50 and A34 Stone Road.

A500 Staffordshire - A500 Queensway in Hanford closed southbound between Sideway Roundabout and Hanford Interchange, because of a police incident.

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