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Summary

  1. Man jailed for 'child-like' sex doll import bid
  2. Crewe crane collapse: Killed men identified
  3. Hugh Grant offers £1,000 for return of WW2 veteran's medals
  4. World Transplant Games competitor 'didn't expect to be here'
  5. Updates from Friday 23 June 2017

Live Reporting

By Allen Cook

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Watch: Your 50-second weather forecast

Lucy Martin

BBC Weather

A dry, bright day with some sunny intervals and highs of 21C (70F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Travel: Trains disrupted between Rugeley and Birmingham New Street

BBC News Travel

Trains between Rugeley Trent Valley and Birmingham New Street are being disrupted this morning.

National Rail Enquiries say it's likely to continue until 08:30.

View more on twitter

Severe accident: M6 Cheshire southbound

BBC News Travel

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

M6 Cheshire - One lane blocked on M6 southbound between J16, A500 (Crewe) and J15, A500 (Stoke-On-Trent), because of an accident.

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 J13 for A449 and J12 for A5.

M6 Staffordshire - One lane closed on M6 southbound between J13, A449 (Stafford South) and J12, A5 (Gailey), 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: M6 Toll Warwickshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Toll Warwickshire northbound severe accident, between J3T for A38 Tamworth and J4T for A5.

M6 Toll Warwickshire - Two lanes closed and slow traffic on M6 Toll northbound between J3t, A38 (Tamworth) and J4t, A5 (Weeford Island), because of an accident involving an overturned vehicle.

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

Severe accident: A34 Staffordshire northbound

BBC News Travel

A34 Staffordshire northbound severe accident, between A51 and Tittensor Road.

A34 Staffordshire - A34 in Barlaston closed and slow traffic northbound between Darlaston Island and the Tittensor Road junction, because of an accident involving a abnormal load.

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

Severe accident: A50 Derbyshire eastbound

BBC News Travel

A50 Derbyshire eastbound severe accident, between A515 and J6 A511 Scropton.

A50 Derbyshire - A50 in Sudbury closed eastbound between Sudbury Roundabout and J6, A511 (Scropton), because of an accident. Traffic is coping well.

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

Severe accident: M6 Cheshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Cheshire northbound severe accident, between J17 for A534 Sandbach and J18 for A54 Middlewich.

M6 Cheshire - Two lanes closed and very slow traffic on M6 northbound between J17, A534 (Sandbach) and J18, A54 (Middlewich), because of an accident.

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 - One lane closed on M6 northbound between J16, A500 (Crewe) and J17, A534 (Sandbach), because of a broken down vehicle. 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 a broken down vehicle. Traffic is coping well.

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

Severe accident: M6 Cheshire southbound

BBC News Travel

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

M6 Cheshire - One lane closed on M6 southbound between J17, A534 (Sandbach) and J16, A500 (Crewe), because of an accident. Traffic is coping well. In the roadworks area.

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.

No Staffordshire high-rises 'thought to have similar cladding to Grenfell Tower'

BBC Radio Stoke

There aren't thought to be any tower blocks in Staffordshire with cladding similar to that used in Grenfell Tower, according to the fire service today.

The charred remains inside a flat at the Grenfell Tower
Met Police

A national operation has been under way following the fatal blaze on 14 June to identify buildings that raise safety concerns.

Today, councils, housing associations and the fire service in Staffordshire met to discuss high-rise blocks in the county.

Tests are being carried out on around 600 tower blocks across England but Staffordshire Fire Service says it doesn't believed any in the county have similar cladding to the Grenfell Tower.

Fatal crane collapse: Fundraising for teenager memorial

Jennifer Harby

BBC News Online

A fundraising campaign has been launched to pay for a memorial bench in memory of a teenager who died in Wednesday's fatal crane collapse.

Flowers in Crewe at crane collapse site
BBC

Rhys Barker, 18, from Castleford was named alongside David Newall, 36, from Bradford as the two building site workers who died on Dunwoody Way on Wednesday.

Mr Barker's former school's principal said one of his friends was fundraising for money for a memorial bench in the school grounds and students had organised a balloon release in his memory.

On Midlands Today from 18:30: A jet-powered scooter

Ben Sidwell

BBC Midlands Today

This evening on BBC Midlands Today, something you won't see everyday - a jet-powered mobility scooter.

The scooter in action
BBC

It's been built by Staffordshire inventor Tom Bagnall in his garage in Cheadle and it's being featured in a BBC TV programme tonight.

I'll be with this mighty machine in our programme from 18:30 on BBC One.

Search for two men after 'suspicious incident' at school

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

Two men are being hunted after police were called this afternoon to reports of them "acting suspiciously" outside a school.

Staffordshire Police says the men had arrived at Trentham High School just before 15:00 in a blue Ford Fiesta with the numberplate taped over.

Trentham High School
Google

They say the pair, thought to be aged around 17, were wearing hooded tops with the hoods up and the vehicle was then spotted heading from Allerton Road towards New Inn Lane.

Officers have checked the surrounding area and say they're still at the school to reassure parents, staff and pupils.

Small business owners' homes burgled in Tamworth, police say

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

Masked men are thought to be behind a string of burglaries in Tamworth which have seen jewellery and large amounts of cash stolen.

Skye Close, Wilnecote
Google

The group of men, Staffordshire Police says, have targeted the homes of small business owners in several roads between 16 June and 21 June.

In all cases, the force says they've worn face coverings or balaclavas, got in through doors and windows and then escaped in a white Audi.

Watch: Your weekend weather forecast

Rebecca Wood

BBC Midlands Today

After a mainly cloudy day, here's what's in store for the start of this weekend across the West Midlands.

You can stay updated over the next couple of days through the BBC Weather website.

Rebecca Wood

World Transplant Games competitor 'didn't expect to be here'

Emma Thomas

BBC Radio Stoke

A Staffordshire woman whose life was saved by a liver transplant two years ago says she can't believe she'll be competing at the World Transplant Games in Spain next week.

Sue Bennett with her Team GB kit
BBC

Sue Bennett from Ranton had planned her own funeral when a rare autoimmune disease left her with weeks to live.

But the mother-of-three has been training three times a day to compete in swimming, cycling and running events, in the hope of winning a medal to give to her organ donor's family.

I was doing my funeral arrangements, my time was running out, I was getting too sick and my chances of getting a transplant were getting slimmer. I didn't expect to be here at all, never mind wearing Team GB kit and putting on trainers and going for hot runs."

Sue BennettWorld Transplant Games competitor

Extra security for mosques as Ramadan nears end

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

City Central Mosque in Stoke-on-Trent
BBC

There'll be extra police patrols around Staffordshire's mosques this weekend, as Eid celebrations begin to mark the end of Ramadan.

Staffordshire Police says it wants to provide reassurance after a van was driven into worshippers near a mosque in north London on Monday.

Sex doll

Police described the doll - ordered online from Hong Kong and intercepted at East Midlands Airport - as "obscene".

Read more

Snapchat map update raises child safety worries

BBC News Technology

An update to Snapchat that shows publicly posted images on a searchable map has raised safety concerns among parents.

A message to parents posted by St Peter's Academy in Stoke-on-Trent warned that the location-sharing feature lets people "locate exactly where you are, which building you are in and exact whereabouts within the building".

A phone showing Snap Map
Snap

Snap Map lets people search for places such as schools and see videos and pictures posted by children inside.

It also lets people locate their "friends" on a map that is accurate enough to determine where people live.

Snap, the company behind Snapchat, stressed to the BBC that location sharing was an opt-in feature.

BBC Weather Watcher photos: Deers and farming in Staffordshire

BBC Weather Watchers

The weather might have spent most of the day threatening to rain but our BBC Weather Watchers haven't been put off from taking photos.

These two are from users Terry Eyre in Rugeley and AppyIppy in Ipstones.

Rugeley
Terry Eyre
Ipstones
AppyIppy

Man jailed for trying to import 'child-like sex doll'

Monica Rimmer

Journalist, BBC Online

A man who attempted to import a child-like sex doll into the country has been jailed in what Cheshire Constabulary say is the first case of its kind in the UK.

Andrew Dobson, pleaded guilty at Chester Crown Court to one count of importing an indecent object, one count of possessing indecent images of children and two counts of making indecent images of children.

Andrew Dobson
Cheshire Police

Dobson, 49, of Merrivale Road, Wistaston has been sentenced to two years and eight months in jail and will be put on the sex offenders register for life.

Cheshire Police says border forces seized a parcel from Hong Kong at East Midlands Airport and found inside an "obscene" child-like doll.

The force says they then searched Dobson's house and indecent images of children were found on his computer.

The sex doll
Cheshire Police

Hugh Grant offers £1,000 for return of WW2 veteran's medals

BBC News England

Hugh Grant has offered a £1,000 reward for the return of a blind WW2 veteran's medals which went missing at a motorway service station in Staffordshire.

Hugh Grant and Alfred Barlow
BBC/Blind Veterans UK

Alfred Barlow, 95, of Stockport, Greater Manchester, was returning from a pilgrimage to Normandy, France, on 8 June when he noticed they were missing.

He was at Norton Canes Services on the M6 Toll.

The Love Actually and Bridget Jones's Diary star tweeted that anonymity was "guaranteed" for whoever returned them.

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 on M6 southbound between J13, A449 (Stafford South) and J12, A5 (Gailey), because of a broken down vehicle. Traffic is coping well.

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

Government urged to scrap council tax cap to fund police

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

The government's been urged to scrap a cap on how much the police can ask for from council taxpayers, in order to be prepared for potential future terrorist attacks.

Staffordshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Matthew Ellis, says ministers should consider removing or raising the current 2% cap.

Armed police at the recent Potters Arf marathon in Stoke-on-Trent
BBC

Following the recent terrorist attacks in London and Manchester, he says it's not realistic to expect current budgets to pay for the increased levels of police required.

It comes as concerns have been raised by police in England and Wales over budget cuts, with a national spokesman saying the "strain is showing" after multiple terror attacks.

The Home Secretary Amber Rudd has admitted that police resources are "very tight" but added that she would not rush to release extra money.

Staffordshire showcases in audience photos

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

After a break yesterday, here are six of the latest photos of Staffordshire and Cheshire which have been sent in by you.

If you want to send your pictures of the area in you can do that on email or put them on Instagram, adding the tag #bbcstoke to the description to show you agree to share them.

Audience photos of the area

Blind WW2 veteran wants to find missing medals 'to make his birthday'

BBC News England

A blind veteran says it would make his birthday to get four World War Two medals back which he lost at a motorway service station in Staffordshire.

Alfred Barlow, 95, of Stockport, Greater Manchester, was returning from a pilgrimage to Normandy, France, on 8 June when he noticed they were missing.

The missing medals
Blind Veterans UK/PA

He was at Norton Canes Services on the M6 Toll but they couldn't be found despite a search.

Mr Barlow, who turns 96 on 25 June, said their loss was "very distressing" and he wanted to pass them on to his grandson "which makes it even more upsetting".

These medals are worth very little to sell, but to me they are priceless. It would make my birthday if I was able to have them back again."

Alfred BarlowWorld War Two veteran

Fatal crane collapse: Floral tributes continue to be laid at site

John Acres

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

Floral tributes have continued to be laid at the site where a crane crashed in Crewe, killing two men.

Floral tributes

Local councils, a union and staff at the nearby Bombardier Transport factory have been among those laying flowers.

Meanwhile Steven Hogben, a Labour councillor on Cheshire East Council, said he drove past the site a few minutes before the accident.

He said he had thought the crane looked "amazingly high".

"It was a tall crane which only appeared a few days ago," he said. "I'm not aware of any concerns having been raised about it."

Facebook plea floods Lee Rigby charity with volunteers

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

Lee Rigby House sign
Keith Lawson

A man who pleaded for volunteers to help finish setting up a retreat for bereaved families says he's "overwhelmed" at the response he's had.

The Lee Rigby Foundation, set up in memory of the soldier killed outside his barracks in May 2013, is looking to open a first centre in Oakamoor, Staffordshire.

Keith Lawson's post
Facebook

Keith Lawson, from Rugby, Warwickshire posted on Facebook yesterday that he'd visited the site to fit blinds for free, saw they were struggling to finish the place and asked on the social media site for more volunteer help.

His post was then shared around 60,000 times and told the BBC his phone has "been ringing off the hook" with offers to help from tradespeople.

Roz MacDonald, a trustee of the foundation, says it's been tremendous and "the most welcome deluge".

Football: Stoke's former England striker still hungry for goals at the age of 36

BBC Sport

Stoke City striker Peter Crouch insists he still has a big role to play at the age of 36.

The former England international, who will turn 37 halfway through next season, is the oldest striker playing in the Premier League.

Peter Crouch's winner at former club Southampton in May
Press Association

But Crouch is confident that he can go beyond the end of his current two-year deal, which expires in June 2018.

Getting to a certain age where people are supposed to be retiring has made me hungrier. I want to stay around for a lot longer yet. I love what I do."

Peter CrouchStoke City striker
Norman Smurthwaite

Port Vale chairman Tony Fradley is to meet with owner Norman Smurthwaite to discuss any potential sale of the club.

Read more

Man seriously hurt in attack by gang of men

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

A man's suffered serious injuries to his face after he was attacked by a gang of up to nine men in a park in Crewe.

Joey the Swan park
Google

Cheshire Police says the 18-year-old was assaulted as he walked with a friend through the Joey the Swan Park in Wistaston on Saturday night.

The force says, as well as his injuries, the victim's been left extremely shaken.