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Summary

  1. Biker's death leaves 'a big void that will never be filled'
  2. Arson warning after Cannock Chase 'targeted'
  3. 'Significant job losses' expected by union over campus closure
  4. Michael Brown: Port Vale name caretaker boss as manager
  5. Updates from Wednesday 3 May 2017

Live Reporting

By Allen Cook

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage across the day

We'll be back with our usual mix of news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 tomorrow.

Hundreds of plants found in suspected cannabis farm

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

A suspected cannabis farm has been found in Crewe.

Prunus Road
Google

Cheshire Police say they believe they've found hundreds of plants during a raid at an address on Prunus Road yesterday afternoon.

Officers say two men, aged 17 and 31, were arrested at the scene on suspicion of cannabis production and have been released under investigation.

Wednesday's selection of audience photos of Staffordshire and Cheshire

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

The photos have kept coming in over the bank holiday, showing off Staffordshire and Cheshire and here are six I've picked out.

To send your recent pictures in, put them on an email or put them on Instagram, adding the tag there of #bbcstoke to show you agree to share them.

Your pictures

On Midlands Today from 18:30: Major trauma centre rated 'best in country'

Nick Owen

Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

On Midlands Today this evening, we'll have more on the news that a major trauma centre in Stoke-on-Trent has been rated the best in the country for saving patients' lives.  

View more on twitter

Plus, as Port Vale appoint their caretaker manager Michael Brown to the post full-time, we'll hear from the man himself.

Both those stories and more on BBC One from 18:30.

Weather: A cloudy night and more sunshine tomorrow

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

It's going to be overcast again tonight, but we should see some sunshine across the region tomorrow.

Shefali Oza has your forecast

Football: Berahino targeting Stoke goals before England return

Matt Sandoz

Stoke City commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

The Stoke City striker Saido Berahino said he wasn't fazed by having the England manager Gareth Southgate watch him during Saturday's 0-0 draw against West Ham. 

Berahino quote
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Berahino is the third highest goalscorer in the England Under-21s' history, in a team that was managed by the current England boss. 

Despite not scoring for Stoke since his £12m switch from West Brom in January, Berahino says he's not thinking about a return to international football just yet.

Spandau Ballet singer agrees to be festival patron

BBC Midlands Today

The singer Tony Hadley has agreed to become patron of the Lichfield Festival. 

Tony Hadley
Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

Festival organisers say it's the first arts charity which the Spandau Ballet singer has been asked to support. 

They added that a third of the tickets for this year's event, taking place from 7 July, have already been sold in just a few weeks.

BBC Weather Watcher pictures: Sunshine blooms in Staffordshire

BBC Weather Watchers

Today's sunshine has encouraged more BBC Weather Watchers to take pictures of flowers across Staffordshire being in bloom.

These two are from users Ukjay in Longton and Thornhill Watch in Hednesford.

Longton
Ukjay
Hednesford
Thornhill Watch

Biker's death leaves 'a big void that will never be filled'

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

The family of a motorbiker who died in a crash with a car says his death has left a "big void, that will never be filled". 

Conna Stewart, 24, from Norton Canes, was riding on the A5 at Watling Street, Weston-under-Lizard, when the collision happened, police said.

Conna Stewart
Staffordshire Police

He was pronounced dead at the scene. 

In a statement, his family says their "world fell apart" at the news, adding that Mr Stewart had "lived life to the maximum".

Your say: Views as trauma centre named best for saving lives

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

You've been having your say on the news that a major trauma centre in Stoke-on-Trent has been rated the best in the country for saving the lives of patients. 

The University Hospitals of North Midlands Major Trauma Centre has the best total rolling survival rates of any adult major trauma single site centre since 2013.

Royal Stoke University Hospital
BBC

On the BBC Radio Stoke Facebook page, Frank Darlington posted: "They saved my live on 1 April, my heart did stop. Thanking all the staff at the hospital." 

While Joan Hudson wrote: "So good to hear positive news about our local hospital. Well done to everyone working there." 

And Vince Thompson added: "They do a great job keep up the good work."

Arson warning after Cannock Chase 'targeted'

BBC Midlands Today

Firefighters have issued a warning after dozens of fires have been deliberately started on grassland in Staffordshire since March.  

Fires on Cannock Chase

The county's fire service says areas of Cannock Chase including Gentleshaw Common have been targeted. 

It says dry vegetation in the area is increasing the risk.  

Football: Burton midfielder gets trio of awards

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

Burton Albion midfielder Jackson Irvine has picked up a trio of awards in the club's end of season awards.

Jackson Irvine of Burton Albion celebrates after scoring.
Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

He was named Players' Player of the Year, the fans' Player of the Season and got the side's Top Goal Scorer Award. 

The Goal of the Season Award went to Michael Kightly for his finish against Norwich.

Travel: M6 delays after crash near Stoke-on-Trent

A two-vehicle crash on the M6 northbound between junctions 15 and 16 is already causing delays back to junction 15 near Stoke-on-Trent, Highways England says.

View more on twitter

Football: Michael Brown confirmed as Port Vale's permanent manager

Lee Blakeman

Port Vale commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Port Vale have confirmed this afternoon that caretaker manager Michael Brown has been confirmed as their permanent first-team manager.

Michael Brown
Gareth Copley/Getty Images

He had become the Vale's caretaker manager after Bruno Ribeiro's resignation on 26 December.

The club says Chris Morgan and Ned Kelly have been appointed as his assistant managers.

Severe disruption: A50 Staffordshire westbound

BBC News Travel

A50 Staffordshire westbound severe disruption, at A5007 Victoria Place Fenton Heron Cross affecting Railway Road.

A50 Staffordshire - One lane closed and slow traffic on A50 westbound in Heron Cross, Stoke-On-Trent at Heron Cross, because of a broken down vehicle. Congestion to the Railway Road junction.

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

Severe accident: M6 Staffordshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Staffordshire northbound severe accident, between Keele Services and J16 for A500 Crewe.

M6 Staffordshire - One lane closed and queuing traffic on M6 northbound between Keele Services and J16, A500 (Crewe), because of an accident involving two cars.

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

University launches new partnership with brewery

Calum McKenzie

BBC Local Live

A new partnership means a brewery will be funding part of students' degree fees at the University of Nottingham.

Pint glass
Science Photo Library

Molson Coors, which produces drinks including Carling, Cobra and Rekorderlig, has agreed to fund 50% of two students' tuition fees who are studying on the brewing science postgraduate masters degree. 

This partnership, which is in place for three years, will also see the students take part in a placement at the company's base in Burton.   

Anyone thirsty yet? 

Severe disruption: M6 Cheshire northbound

BBC News Travel

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

M6 Cheshire - One lane closed and heavy traffic on M6 northbound between J16, A500 (Crewe) and J17, A534 (Sandbach), because of a broken down lorry. In the roadworks area.

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

Severe disruption: M6 Cheshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Cheshire northbound severe disruption, at J16 for A500 Crewe affecting Keele Services.

M6 Cheshire - One lane closed and very slow traffic on M6 northbound at J16, A500 (Crewe), because of a broken down lorry. Congestion to Keele Services.

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

'Significant job losses' expected by union over campus closure

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

A union says it's been left "shocked" at the news South Staffordshire College is shutting its Cannock Campus. 

The college revealed the decision yesterday, just four years after a £6m revamp of the site

South Staffordshire College's Cannock Campus
Google

It comes after a proposed merge with Walsall College fell through and the college admits "financial pressures" have forced it to relocate services and provision to neighbouring campuses. 

The college hasn't said what jobs are affected but Unison says it is expecting a "potentially significant number of job losses" when the site shuts at the end of this summer. 

Suspicious package revealed to be 'just a bag of rubbish'

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

A suspicious package which led to a McDonalds being cordoned off and bomb disposal experts being called out has turned out to be a bag of rubbish. 

Staffordshire Police and firefighters were called this morning to Station Street after reports of the package inside the restaurant. 

The force has since tweeted that there was no risk to the public as it turns out it was "just a bag of rubbish".

Severe disruption: M6 Staffordshire southbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Staffordshire southbound severe disruption, between J10A for M54 and J10 for A454.

M6 Staffordshire - One lane closed on M6 southbound between J10a M54 and J10, A454 (Wolverhampton), because of a broken down vehicle. Traffic is coping well.

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

Three arrests after armed police called to 'wildlife shooting'

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

Three teenagers have been arrested after police say they had reports of people shooting at wildlife with a gun. 

Staffordshire Police say armed police were called yesterday evening to Borrow Pit Lake next to Tamworth Snowdome. 

They say they've also recovered an air gun, adding that the three teenagers have now been released from custody and remain under investigation.

Your questions: Yam Yams in Cannock

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

Robert asked on Your Questions: "Why do my workmates call people from Hednesford and Cannock 'yammies'?".

Well, it's generally thought people from Cannock and the surrounding area are known as Yam Yams, because of the phrase with which they reply to the question "how are you?".

They'll say: "'yam orite, yam" (think about it!).

Centre of Cannock
Google

Yam Yams is more often used as a term for people from Wolverhampton, Walsall and Dudley - but if anyone's calling people in Cannock or Hednesford Yam Yams, that's why.

If you've got a question about Stoke-on-Trent or Staffordshire to pose, ask us here and your question could be making the news.

Bomb disposal team called to suspicious package report in a McDonalds

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

Bomb disposal experts have been called out after a suspicious package was found inside a McDonalds in Burton. 

Staffordshire Police say they and the fire service were called just before 11:40 to Station Street. 

The force says no-one's been hurt but the immediate surrounding area's been evacuated and they've cordoned off the restaurant.

A50 set for five night closures for bridge work

Jennie Aitken

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

Building work on a new bridge over the A50 in Staffordshire means the road will have to close overnight for five nights from next month. 

The county council says it means shutting the westbound A50 between the B5030 roundabout at Uttoxeter and the A521 roundabout at Blythe Bridge.

A50 westbound at the junction with B5030
Google

They say it'll be for five consecutive nights from Monday 5 June to Friday 9 June and the eastbound carriageway won't be affected. 

It's all part of the council's overall plan to upgrade the junction with the A522.

On Midlands Today from 13:30: Local elections and railway development

BBC Midlands Today

On Midlands Today this lunchtime, as voters prepare to go to the polls tomorrow in Staffordshire, we've been speaking to candidates ahead of the county council elections. 

Front of Staffordshire County Council headquarters
BBC

Plus news of a major new railway development project and your lunchtime weather update, all on BBC One from 13:30.

No joy for peregrine falcon spotters at Staffordshire beauty spot

Ros Chimes

Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

Peregrine falcons are not nesting at a Staffordshire beauty spot, despite a charity having new kit and cameras to track their progress.

The usual peregrine falcon nesting spot at The Roaches
Staffordshire Wildlife Trust

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust was given £10,000 to set up web cameras, new telescopes and a shed to shelter volunteers.

Today though, the trust says it's extremely disappointed that the peregrine pair aren't nesting on the Roaches this year and the equipment will now be stored until next year. 

Cricket: Stoke-on-Trent player gets first Warwickshire contract

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

A cricketer from Stoke-on-Trent has been offered a first deal by county side Warwickshire. 

General view of Warwickshire's Edgbaston ground
Dave Thompson/Getty Images

The club says seam-bowler Mitchell Spencer, 24, has been given a three-month contract after impressing in 2nd XI games last year along with a pre-season tour in the winter.  

Stoke-on-Trent named best city for 4G mobile download speeds

BBC News UK

Stoke-on-Trent is the fastest city for average 4G mobile download speeds across the UK, a report says. 

Consumer group Which? and analyst OpenSignal have measured data from mobile phones across 20 cities in the UK.

Teenager on phone
AFP

They've named Middlesbrough as the best city in the country for mobile 4G coverage and Bournemouth the worst. 

But they also named the Potteries as the best for average 4G download speeds.

Football: Port Vale 'expected to confirm Brown as permanent manager'

BBC Radio Stoke

Port Vale are widely expected to confirm caretaker manager Michael Brown as their permanent manager at a press conference this afternoon. 

The club has only revealed that the press conference will be held at 14:00 and added "further information to follow accordingly".

Michael Brown
Gareth Copley/Getty Images

However BBC Radio Stoke's Port Vale commentator Lee Blakemen says he would be "amazed" if it wasn't to name Brown as permanent manager.

He took charge as caretaker manager after Bruno Ribeiro's departure on Boxing Day - Vale have won just four times in 22 league matches in 2017.

Politicians woo voters ahead of 4 May poll

BBC Politics

Political parties are taking to the streets in the last day of campaigning ahead of Thursday's local elections.

A total of 4,851 council seats are up for grabs across England, Wales and Scotland on 4 May.

Polling station sign
Getty Images

They include all 62 at Staffordshire County Council and there are also two borough council by-elections in Stafford.

The poll will give voters a chance to deliver verdicts on the major parties before the general election, which is being held on 8 June.  

Footballer's wife set on dispelling the WAG tag

BBC Radio Derby

The wife of former Derby County captain Shaun Barker has said she wants to change perceptions of footballer's wives.

Rebecca and Shaun Barker
Getty Images/BBC

Rebecca Barker, who enjoyed baking in her spare time, is celebrating six months running her own cafe in Quarndon, near Allestree. 

"I'm often judged before I'm met because people expect a certain thing and I'm a surprise which Shaun loves," she told BBC Radio Derby.

"We kind of sat down and had a conversation and said it is my time now to have a job and a career." 

Shaun Barker has spent this season playing for Burton Albion.

The 34-year-old centre back has also played for Blackpool and Rotherham in a 16-year professional career.

Cakes
BBC