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  1. Five killed on M6 in Staffordshire named
  2. Undercover officer accused of 'planting bomb' described as 'absolutely professional'
  3. 'High demand' for bee tattoos after Manchester attack
  4. Olympic winner sparks surge in interest in canoeing
  5. Updates from Friday 26 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 on Tuesday.

Enjoy the bank holiday.

'High demand' for bee tattoos after Manchester attack

John Acres

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

A tattoo artist in Kidsgrove says she's been fully booked up by people wanting to get bee inkings in a show of solidarity after Monday's attack in Manchester.

A tattoo artist says she's had high demand for bee inkings after Manchester attack.

The Manchester Tattoo Appeal was launched by Stalybridge-based tattoo artist Sam Barber, with those taking part donating £50 to help the families of those killed or injured.

Tattoo parlours across the UK are now taking part.

Among them is Jodie Bear Eardley in Kidsgrove, who says interest has been "absolutely massive" and she's fully booked this weekend with dozens of people.

More armed police patrols for Cheshire

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

Cheshire Police say they're increasing the number of patrols of armed officers at different places and events across the county this weekend.

The force says it's in response to the increase in the UK terror threat level following Monday's attack in Manchester and is aimed at reassuring people.

Elaine McIver
Family handout

It adds that it has also opened books of condolence for people to reflect as one of the victims of the attack was off-duty Cheshire Police officer Elaine McIver.

Dog found abandoned 'sitting in own urine'

Jack Dowling

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

A dog's been found abandoned and sitting in her own urine at a petrol station in Stafford.

Susie the lurcher

The RSPCA says Susie the female lurcher was discovered at the site on Lammascote Road early on 20 May after a man heard her barking.

They say she was tied to a traffic cone and is now getting care from their staff.

Olympic winner sparks surge in interest in canoeing

Nick Clitheroe

BBC Midlands Today

A Staffordshire canoe club's seen a rise in the number of people wanting to take up the sport since Joe Clarke's gold medal at the Rio Olympics.

Olympic winner Joe Clarke's success has sparked a surge in interest in canoeing.

He learnt to paddle at the Stafford and Stone club at Westbridge Park.

The club says it's been inundated with interest, especially from youngsters, and are now looking for more coaches to help train them.

You can see more on this story on BBC Midlands Today this evening from 18:30 on BBC One.

Washing-up liquid appeal for oil-covered swans

John Acres

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

A Cheshire animal rescue centre says it needs donations of washing-up liquid so it can keep cleaning oil off swans.

An animal centre that deals with swans caught in oil spills appeals for washing-up liquid

The RSPCA at Stapeley Grange says it sees between 20 and 50 a year from places like the docks at Liverpool and canals.

The charity says it needs the washing-up liquid to safely clean them as, without that, they can die because their waterproofing is damaged.

BBC Weather Watcher pictures: Sunshine over Staffordshire

BBC Weather Watchers

A gorgeous day for much of Staffordshire and Cheshire in the sunshine today and our BBC Weather Watchers have been making the most of it.

Here's two of their local snaps today, from users Videoman in Leek and Sue Snaps in Codsall.

Sue Snaps

Travel: One lane shut on M6 near Stoke-on-Trent after overturned lorry

Just one lane is now closed on the M6 near Stoke-on-Trent after a lorry overturned on to the embankment between junctions 16 and 15.

View more on twitter

BBC Election Panel: Your thoughts on housing

The BBC is running an election panel, asking voters for their thoughts ahead of 8 June.

We wanted to know: What should we be doing to address the need for more low cost housing? Does any party have policies you think would help?

Getty Images

Tarz, Birmingham: "Use up all avaliable brownfield sites. If landowners do no build within three years of purchase, then the councils should buy them back at the price that was paid. The council then gets houses built on the sites. This stops land-hoarding. Trouble is, each individual is responsible for his/hers situation, and should not rely on others to house them. All parties talk the talk then do sod all when in power."

Beatrice, Shrewsbury: "Use greenbelt areas to build more houses, decrease demand."

Carol, Stoke: "I think derelict buildings could be used. They could be renovated and either rented or sold at a reduced rate to people who would benefit from low cost houses. There are some old derelict factory buildings near where I live, they have been unused for years now, but could be put to good used if turned into flats."

'We rely on migrants for your food' - farmer on net migration fall

BBC Newsbeat

A Staffordshire farmer says he couldn't run his business without the help of migrant workers.

Richard Bower's view comes as, for the first time in three years, net migration has fallen below 250,000.

Richard Bower (left) with migrant worker Fifi from Bulgaria

In partnership with another farm, the 31-year-old employs hundreds of seasonal workers on his Lower Drayton Farm, Penkridge.

Around 90% of them are migrants who help with the strawberry harvest, cereal crops and cattle.

He says that British people could do these jobs but from his experience, migrant employees want the work more.

We find they're very hard working and do a very good job. Without them we probably wouldn't be able to do what we do. When the strawberries have to be harvested on a Sunday at four o'clock in the morning, we need a reliable workforce that's going to be able to do that for us."

Richard BowerStaffordshire farmer

Severe disruption: M6 Cheshire southbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Cheshire southbound severe disruption, between J16 for A500 Crewe and J15 for A500.

M6 Cheshire - M6 closed southbound between J16, A500 (Crewe) and J15, A500 (Stoke-On-Trent), because of recovery work.

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

Plans for 200 homes to be submitted for Stoke City's old ground

Jennie Aitken

Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

Stoke City's old ground looks set to be turned into 200 new homes, a park and school sports fields.

Old Victoria Ground

The club left the Victoria Ground in 1997 to move to their current site and it's been vacant since then.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council says the current owner, developer St Modwen, is now going to formally submit the plans before the end of the month.

Football: Relegation woes for Port Vale boss over signings

Lee Blakeman

Port Vale commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

The Port Vale manager Michael Brown says being relegated to League Two will have a knock-on effect when it comes to signing new players.

Tom Pope
Port Vale FC

Fans' favourite Tom Pope (pictured) is the only new face to have arrived at Vale Park so far this summer and Brown says the players he's targeting may look to try and play at a higher level first.

There's players who want to play in League One. All we can do as a football club is offer them fantastic offers, you can't actually do any more than that."

Michael BrownPort Vale manager

Bank holiday getaways: Busiest roads for four years

Highways England have suspended 150 miles of roadworks across the West Midlands in anticipation of today's Bank Holiday getaway.

The RAC are warning drivers to expect the busiest spring bank holiday weekend for traffic in four years.

It estimates that 16.5m leisure journeys will be taken between today and Monday because of soaring temperatures.

Data picture

Road to close for brewery drum delivery

Amy Woodfield

BBC Local Live

A stretch of the A38 will be closed next week as police escort an abnormal load through South Derbyshire and into Staffordshire .

The load is a number of huge brewery drums destined for the Molson Coors site in Burton.

At about 20:00 on Thursday evening the delivery will travel along the A50 from Doveridge, then along the A516 towards the A38.

The northbound carriageway will be closed from Egginton to Clay Mills so the convoy can use it to travel south.

Undercover officer accused of 'planting bomb' described as 'absolutely professional'

An undercover officer accused of planting a pipe bomb to frame the alleged "Three Musketeers" terror cell has been described in court by his friend and colleague as "absolutely professional, honest and committed".

The anonymous officer, known only as Vincent, was cross-examined for days over his role in the discovery of an explosive device in the car of convicted terrorist Naweed Ali.

Naweed Ali, Khobaib Hussain, Mohibur Rahman and Tahir Aziz
Naweed Ali, Khobaib Hussain, Mohibur Rahman and Tahir Aziz (L-R) deny preparing terrorist acts

Vincent has repeatedly denied the allegation of Mr Ali's defence team that he planted the incriminating evidence in the car before MI5 arrived to bug it.

The officer, who has around 35 years of experience in law enforcement, told jurors he had never been involved in any impropriety or had any disciplinary findings against him.

Mr Ali and Mr Hussain, 25, both of Sparkhill in Birmingham, and Mohibur Rahman, 32, and Tahir Aziz, 38, of Stoke-on-Trent, deny preparing terrorist acts. The trial continues.

Stoke-on-Trent statue of writer Arnold Bennett set for unveiling

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

A statue of the Stoke-on-Trent writer Arnold Bennett is set to be unveiled this weekend outside the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery.

The monument is currently wrapped up on a new plinth outside the museum before it's revealed at noon on 27 May.

Boarding surrounding statute in Hanley

It's been commissioned by the Arnold Bennett Society to mark the 150th anniversary of his birth.

Bennett's been described as the JK Rowling of his day with his books selling in huge numbers and his novels immortalised the Potteries.

Wrapped up statue

Surprise arrival of bees for Stoke City

Matt Sandoz

Stoke City commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

On a day of new contracts at Stoke City, one new arrival which Mark Hughes probably wasn't planning on - a swarm of bees looks to have temporarily taken up residency outside the ticket office:

View more on twitter

Call for internet firms to do more to tackle online extremism

Lee Blakeman

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

A Muslim woman working on the government's counter-terrorism strategy in Staffordshire says internet companies could do more to help.

Hifsa Haroon-Iqbal works as the West Midlands Regional Lead for Prevent, which has faced criticism following Monday's attack in Manchester.

Fingers on keyboard
Science Photo Library

Critics have called for it to be strengthened and have questioned its effectiveness after 22 people were killed at the Manchester Arena.

Hifsa Haroon-Iqbal told BBC Radio Stoke she believes the strategy has stopped radicalisation in some cases but says more needs to be done to tackle extremism online.

I do believe, on a very personal level, that a lot of the information that people are lapping up is coming from the internet. I don't think it's happening face-to-face, I don't think it's happening on street corners or in mosques, I do believe that it is happening via the internet."

Hifsa Haroon-IqbalWest Midlands Regional Lead for Prevent

Football: Crewe move to sign experienced defender

Graham McGarry

Crewe Alexandra commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Crewe Alexandra have signed the central defender Michael Raynes from Carlisle United.

The 29-year-old becomes manager David Artell's second signing this week.

Michael Raynes
Pete Norton/Getty Images

Raynes comes with a wealth of experience having played nearly 500 games.

The former Rotherham Oxford and Scunthorpe defender was part of Carlisle United's side that reached the League Two play-off semi-finals this season.

He was offered a new contract by the Cumbrians.

Michael Raynes

Crewe Alexandra sign Michael Raynes on a two-year deal after the defender rejected an offer to stay at Carlisle.

Read more

Severe disruption: M6 Staffordshire southbound

BBC News Travel

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

M6 Staffordshire - One lane closed and heavy traffic on M6 southbound between J13, A449 (Stafford South) and J12, A5 (Gailey), because of a broken down vehicle.

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, between J16 for A500 Crewe and J17 for A534 Sandbach.

M6 Cheshire - Queuing traffic, long delays and one lane blocked on M6 northbound between J16, A500 (Crewe) and J17, A534 (Sandbach), because of a broken down car.

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

Prayers to be said at mosque for Manchester attack victims

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

Leaders at the City Central Mosque in Stoke-on-Trent say the victims of the Manchester terror attack will be in their thoughts today, when they gather for Friday prayers.

City Central Mosque

Special prayers will be said for the victims, ahead of a minute's silence in memory of those who died.

We as Muslims have been taught by the messenger of God that, when you go to a non-Muslim society, people of different faiths, you have to show them love, you have to show them honour, you have to show them respect."

Mohammad AmirImam at City Central Mosque

On Midlands Today from 13:30: Gold medal winner's impact on his sport

Nick Clitheroe

BBC Midlands Today

On Midlands Today this lunchtime, we've been speaking to Stone's Olympic gold medal-winning kayaker about the impact his win last year's had on his sport.

Joe Clarke after getting his gold medal
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

We've been down to his canoe club in the town and heard from children just starting off in the sport.

See more from 13:30 on BBC One.

Shay Given won 134 caps for the Republic of Ireland in a 20-year international career

Ex-Republic of Ireland keeper Shay Given is released by Stoke City, having made just five league appearances in 2016/17.

Read more

The four women and a man, from Romania, were in the same car when it was in collision with a lorry.

Read more

The Stanley Matthews football revolution made in Ghana

BBC World

As any Stoke City fan should know, Sir Stanley Matthews remains one of England's most famous footballers and was known as the Wizard of Dribble.

When he retired in 1965, aged 50, he had made nearly 700 League appearances for Stoke City and Blackpool.

Stanley Matthews in action
The Stanley Matthews Foundation/John D Cross

But he was also arguably the first global icon, paving the way for superstars such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

And, as Scott Anthony's been finding out, it all began in Ghana - read the full story here.

BreakingFive killed on M6 in Staffordshire named by police

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

The five people killed in a crash involving a lorry and a car on the M6 in Staffordshire have been named by police.

Four women and a man in a Nissan Micra died in the crash between junction 15 for Stoke-on-Trent and 14 for Stafford on Wednesday.

The scene of the crash

The five, all Romanian nationals, were:

  • Marius Zevian, 45 (male)
  • Cucoana Zevian, 49
  • Gheorghita Radu, 56
  • Nicoleta-Marinela Florea, 42
  • Marcela Sandu, 34

Staffordshire Police says all of them lived in the Stoke-on-Trent area and their families have been told.

The force adds that a 37-year-old front passenger of the car, who was seriously hurt in the crash, is still in a stable condition in hospital.

Severe disruption: M6 Cheshire southbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Cheshire southbound severe disruption, at J17 for A534 Sandbach.

M6 Cheshire - Delays, stop-start traffic and one lane closed on M6 southbound at J17, A534 (Sandbach), because of a broken down vehicle.

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

Bank holiday: Thunderstorm warning for Saturday

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

It wouldn't be a bank holiday in England if there weren't warnings over heavy rain.

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather alert for thundery showers on Saturday afternoon and their affected area covers most of Staffordshire and north Shropshire.

They say the rain could bring "localised flooding, hail and frequent lightning".

Cricketer missed being caught up in Manchester attack 'by five minutes'

Matt Sandoz

BBC Radio Stoke Sport

The Stoke-on-Trent-born cricketer Danielle Wyatt says she missed being caught up in Monday's attack at the Manchester Arena "by five minutes".

Powerful stories from people who were at Manchester Arena

Twenty-two people were killed and 116 injured in a suicide bombing as the audience left after a performance by US singer Ariana Grande.

Wyatt, an England international, told BBC Radio Stoke she and her friend were at the concert but decided to leave one song early and didn't hear about the attack before getting home.

I missed out probably by five minutes, I probably walked past the idiot who did it as far as I know. It's not left my head since it happened, I'm trying to keep busy."

Danielle WyattEngland cricketer

Football: Bardsley gets contract extension from Stoke

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

The news keeps coming out of Stoke City - the club says it has triggered a 12-month contract extension to keep full back Phil Bardsley.

It comes as the Potters have submitted their retained list to the Premier League.

Phil Bardsley
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Bardsley, 31, has made 63 appearances in all competitions for Stoke since arriving in 2014.

There's also a new deal for Stephen Ireland as he recovers from a double leg break, suffered in training last year.

But goalkeeper Shay Given's among six players leaving the club when their deals run out on 30 June.

Football: Two-year extension agreed for Stoke's Geoff Cameron

Matt Sandoz

Stoke City commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Stoke City player Geoff Cameron has agreed a two-year contract extension with the club which will keep him there until the summer of 2020.

Geoff Cameron
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Injury restricted him to just 19 league outings in the last season but, with a year still to go on his existing deal, Stoke say they moved "swiftly to tie him down".

The 31-year-old USA international has made 165 appearances in all competitions for the Potters since arriving four years ago.

Severe disruption: M6 Staffordshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Staffordshire northbound severe disruption, at J14 for A34.

M6 Staffordshire - M6 lane closed on exit slip road northbound at J14, A34 (Stafford North), because of a broken down lorry. Traffic is coping well.

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

Bank Holiday: Journeys on parts of M6 set to 'more than triple'

BBC News England

Journey times on the M6 through Staffordshire and Cheshire are expected to more than triple due to bank holiday traffic this afternoon, a traffic company says.

More than 15 million "leisure" car journeys are expected to be made over the weekend with road expected to be at their busiest between 13:00 and 20:00.

Traffic on motorway
Getty Images

Traffic information company Inrix warned some journeys could take up to four times longer and flagged the M6 between junctions 15 and 19 as one of the busiest routes.

The RAC was expecting the busiest late May bank holiday on the roads in four years with "bumper-to-bumper" congestion.