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Summary

  1. Legionnaires' deaths: JTF admits health and safety breach
  2. MP to 'bang heads together' over replacing closed sports centre
  3. 'Dirty' cafe fined after customer 'became ill' eating there
  4. Updates on Friday 30 June 2017

Live Reporting

By Allen Cook

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Severe disruption: M6 West Midlands northbound

BBC News Travel

M6 West Midlands northbound severe disruption, between J10 for A454 and J11 for A460.

M6 West Midlands - One lane closed on M6 northbound between J10, A454 (Wolverhampton) and J11, A460 (Cannock), 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 southbound

BBC News Travel

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

M6 Staffordshire - One lane closed and traffic congestion 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 Staffordshire both ways

BBC News Travel

M6 Staffordshire both ways severe disruption, at J15 for A500.

M6 Staffordshire - M6 exit slip road blocked at J15, A500 (Stoke-On-Trent), 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 J15 for A500 and J16 for A500 Crewe.

M6 Staffordshire - Two lanes blocked and slow traffic on M6 northbound between J15, A500 (Stoke-On-Trent) and J16, A500 (Crewe), because of debris on the road.

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

Severe disruption: M6 Cheshire southbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Cheshire southbound severe disruption, between J18 for A54 Middlewich and J17 for A534 Sandbach.

M6 Cheshire - One lane closed and slow traffic on M6 southbound between J18, A54 (Middlewich) and J17, A534 (Sandbach).

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

Severe accident: M6 Staffordshire southbound

BBC News Travel

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

M6 Staffordshire - One lane blocked and queuing traffic on M6 southbound between J10a M54 and J10, A454 (Wolverhampton), because of an accident.

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

Severe accident: A530 Cheshire both ways

BBC News Travel

A530 Cheshire both ways severe accident, between Slaughterhouse Lane and Cock Lane.

A530 Cheshire - A530 Whitchurch Road in Sound closed in both directions between the Slaughterhouse Lane junction and the Cock Lane junction, because of a serious accident. Diversion in operation - Local diversions in place, however these are unsuitable for HGVs, which are asked to avoid the area. 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 J18 for A54 Middlewich and J17 for A534 Sandbach.

M6 Cheshire - Very slow traffic on M6 southbound between J18, A54 (Middlewich) and J17, A534 (Sandbach), because of an accident earlier on.

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.

'Near misses and speeding' prompt pedestrianised crackdown

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

Drivers ignoring pedestrianised rules in Stafford town centre are facing a crackdown after reports of near misses and speeding.

Stafford's Gaolgate Street
Google

Staffordshire Police says vehicles are using Gaolgate Street, Greengate Street and Martin Street, as well as surrounding roads, despite them being marked as pedestrian only.

The force says they'll start the clampdown in "the coming days", adding that drivers are only allowed for loading and unloading goods.

Thousands expect for dirty charity race

John Acres

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

Thousands are due to take part this weekend in one of the dirtiest charity runs in Staffordshire. It's the sixth annual JCB Mud Run in Rocester.

The NSPCC is again named as their chosen charity with £55,000 raised for them in 2016.

The course

On Midlands Today from 18:30: The social media hunt for sheep rustlers

Louisa Currie, BBC Midlands Today

We'll have more on the news that a Staffordshire farmer, who's had more than 200 ewes and lambs stolen in the last month, is offering a reward to help catch the thieves who took them.

Some of the remaining sheep
BBC

Furious after the latest raid, Lorna Sidebottom took to Facebook to warn other farms about the rustlers and news soon spread around the country.

I've been speaking to her and I'll bring you my report from 18:30 on BBC One.

MP to 'bang heads together' over replacing closed sports centre

John Acres

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

The MP for Kidsgrove says she'll do whatever she can to get a new sports centre for the town.

Kidsgrove Sports Centre today

The current site is now closed after Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council said it couldn't afford to run the Staffordshire County Council-owned building.

Protestors gathered outside the centre today after it was shut a day early by the authority over what it called fears of people acting in an unsafe manner.

The Stoke North Labour MP Ruth Smeeth told the rally she would "bang many heads together" to get a replacement facility.

Watch: Your weekend weather forecast for the West Midlands

Rebecca Wood

BBC Midlands Today

Here's how your weekend's going to start in the West Midlands on the weather front.

Keep yourself updated over the next two days with the BBC Weather website.

Rebecca Wood

Police station attacked with 'metal bar'

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

A man's been arrested after a window at Longton police station was damaged with a metal bar last night.

Staffordshire Police says a 34-year-old is still in custody on suspicion of causing criminal damage and being in possession of an offensive weapon.

Football: George Ray urged to reach 'full potential' after new Crewe deal

Graham McGarry

Crewe Alexandra commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Crewe Alexandra's assistant manager Kenny Lunt says the club want to see defender George Ray reach his full potential.

George Ray signing yesterday
crewealex.net

The 23-year-old signed a new two-year deal yesterday and Lunt says Ray can now focus on getting on with his job.

We've been waiting for him to sign, it's been a bit of a drag, but we got to where we wanted to in the end. We're happy, he's happy and we can move on and concentrate on the football side of it now."

Kenny LuntCrewe Alexandra's assistant manager

'Dirty' cafe fined after customer 'became ill' eating there

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

A café near Stafford has been fined for being dirty after an investigation was launched when a customer who ate there said it made them ill.

The cafe on Airfield Industrial Estate in Hixon
Stafford Borough Council

Stafford Borough Council says it found issues including dirty chopping boards and a mouldy fridge at the café on the Airfield Industrial Estate in Hixon.

Owner Jacqueline Hall, 54, admitted three offences at North Staffordshire Justice Centre relating to the cleanliness of the premises and equipment and was fined a total of £1,900.

Man cut free from car after hitting bridge

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

A man's been cut free from a car after it hit a bridge near Alsager this morning.

Bridge on Chells Hill near Chells Hill Farm
Google

Cheshire Fire Service says it happened on Chells Hill near Chells Hill Farm and firefighters had to remove the car's roof.

North West Ambulance Service says the local man, who's in his 20s, was taken to hospital with a serious neck injury.

Dumped cat's body pulled from water

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

The body of a cat has been pulled out of a pool of water in the Newcastle-under-Lyme area after being found dumped there in a pet carrier.

The RSPCA says the find was made yesterday at a man-made lagoon on a worksite in Sutton Avenue, Silverdale.

The cat carrier and the water it was pulled out from
RSPCA

The charity says whoever dumped the cat would have had to climb a fence to get in or throw the carrier over.

They say they don't know if the cat was alive or dead before going into the water but wasn't very old and was in good condition.

BBC Weather Watcher photos: Scenery and wildlife in Staffordshire

BBC Weather Watchers

Our BBC Weather Watchers don't just update us with the forecasts in their area, they also upload great photos of things like the local scenery and wildlife.

Here are two from Staffordshire users Videoman in Leek and Terry Eyre in Alton.

Leek
Videoman
Alton
Terry Eyre

Football: Relegation impact for Port Vale on keeping Eagles and Taylor

Lee Blakeman

Port Vale commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Port Vale's manager Michael Brown says relegation to League Two has had a huge impact in trying to keep Chris Eagles and Ryan Taylor (pictured).

Ryan Taylor
Port Vale FC

Both players were on loan at Vale Park last season and were available on a free transfer.

However, Brown told BBC Radio Stoke the midfielders are pursuing other options.

They want to be in, whether it's the Scottish Premier League or whether it be the Championship, League One, that's where they want to be, they want to be as high as they can. We've got to accept that, if they can get those opportunities, we can't compete with that."

Michael BrownPort Vale manager
Farmer's Facebook appeal over 200 missing sheep
Farmer Lorna Sidebottom has taken to social media over the 200 sheep she believes to have been stolen.

Nursery free hours extra cash 'not sufficient'

BBC News Education

The funding increase offered to nurseries in England to cover extra free childcare is not sufficient, according to the owner of several Staffordshire nurseries.

From September, three and four-year-olds will be eligible for 30 hours' free nursery education if both parents work.

General view of a nursery
Thinkstock

The National Day Nurseries Association says the average extra 40p an hour offered to providers falls short of what they need.

The government says the amount it has allocated should be enough.

They haven't funded it sufficiently. In our case it's only gone up by 19p an hour. To illustrate that, the cost of a day's childcare in our nursery, a 10-hour day is £54 so that's £5.40 for an hour and we actually only get paid £3.85 for that so you can see there's a 29% difference."

Philip SiddellOwner of Humpty Dumpty Day Nurseries in Staffordshire

Armed forces support from new Cheshire hub

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

Current and former military personnel in Cheshire are being promised more support in the future through a new centre in the county.

Army boots
Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Cheshire East Council says the Cheshire Armed Forces Hub will help them get access to essential services as well as emotional and family support when they need it.

The authority says £20,000 has come from the Ministry of Defence towards paying for the centre which will run from Warrington and work with a new charity called Shoulder to Soldier.

Animal markings flagged up in hunt for 200 stolen sheep

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

People are being urged to contact police if they saw anyone acting suspiciously near a field in Staffordshire where 200 sheep were reportedly stolen by rustlers.

Staffordshire Police says officers were called on 22 June by Lorna Sidebottom who reported the animals were believed to have been stolen at some point in the previous fortnight.

She posted on Facebook that she had been on holiday at the time when they were taken from a gated field on the Harrowby Estate in Sandon.

The police say all the sheep have a red mark on their hip and specific markings in their ears.

Severe disruption: M6 Staffordshire southbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Staffordshire southbound severe disruption, between J11 for A460 and J10 for A454.

M6 Staffordshire - One lane closed and slow traffic on M6 southbound between J11, A460 (Cannock) and J10, A454 (Wolverhampton), because of a broken down vehicle.

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

Families of Victoria Cross heroes hunted over paving honour

Stuart George

Presenter, BBC Radio Stoke

Relatives of two men from Stoke-on-Trent who won the Victoria Cross in World War One are being urged to contact the city council, which wants to celebrate their heroism.

World War One At Home: Ernest Egerton

The authority says it wants to install two special paving stones for Ernest Egerton and John Rhodes who won Britain's highest award for gallantry in action during the conflict.

So far, the council says it's been unable to track down surviving family members and wants to hear from them about where would be best to put the honour.

Severe accident: M6 Cheshire southbound

BBC News Travel

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

M6 Cheshire - One lane blocked, queuing traffic and delays on M6 southbound between J18, A54 (Middlewich) 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

On Midlands Today from 13:30: Facebook plea over 200 stolen sheep

Louisa Currie, BBC Midlands Today

On Midlands Today this lunchtime, I'll be live with the story of the farmer who's using Facebook to appeal over the alleged theft of around 200 sheep.

The field near Sandon
Lorna SIdebottom

Lorna Sidebottom's post on the social media site's been shared thousands of times as she says the animals were taken from a field near Sandon.

I'll have the latest from 13:30 on BBC Midlands Today.

Velo Birmingham: 100-mile bike ride route changes

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

A 100-mile bike ride starting in Birmingham city centre is now taking in part of Staffordshire after changes to the route.

Yesterday organisers met with officials from Worcestershire County Council and it was decided to remove a section going into the area after concerns were raised.

Orangisers of Velo Birmingham, CSM Active, says the route across the West Midlands will now take 15,000 cyclists into villages such Kinver, Wombourne and Trysull on Sunday 24 September.

Velo Birmingham 2017 route
Velo Birmingham

We are delighted that 20 miles of the route will go through Staffordshire, providing us with a brilliant opportunity to showcase our beautiful county to over 15,000 riders from right across the UK and further afield. There may be an impact on surrounding roads so we’d ask people to plan journeys in advance if they’re in that area on the day."

Mark DeavilleStaffordshire County Council, highways leader

Worcestershire County Council says a number of road closures have been reduced after concerns from local residents.

Firm admits health and safety breach after Legionnaires' deaths

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

A firm has admitted failing to ensure the safety of employees and customers after a fatal outbreak of Legionnaires' disease.

Richard Griffin, 64 and William Hammersley, 79, died in the summer of 2012 while many others were affected.

JTF sign
BBC

A hot tub on display at the JTF warehouse in Stoke-on-Trent was the "probable source" of the outbreak, the Health Protection Agency said after an investigation.

The firm pleaded guilty at Stafford Crown Court to "failing to ensure the safety of persons other than employees" under the Health and Safety at Work Act and are set to be sentenced on Monday.

The court accepted not guilty verdicts on two corporate manslaughter charges and left three other health and safety charges to lie on file.

JTF Wholesale Limited said it would not comment on the case until after Monday's sentencing.

Land Rover used to try to smash into ATM

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

A stolen Land Rover was used by thieves to try and smash into a cashpoint in Tamworth this morning.

Tesco on High Street, Dosthill
Google

Staffordshire Police says they were called at 00:30 to High Street, Dosthill and found the vehicle damaged along with the front of the Tesco.

Officers say nothing appears to have been stolen from the supermarket and the ATM was still in place.

MPs want timescale for sprinkler plan for tower blocks

Lee Blakeman

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

Stoke-on-Trent's two Labour MPs are demanding to know the timings for when sprinklers will be installed in the city's tower blocks.

Last week, the city council said they would be fitted in all 16 of their high-rise buildings, along with improvements to fire alarms and the installation of CCTV.

Tower blocks off Hamil Road, Burslem
Google

Stoke Central MP Gareth Snell has written a joint letter to officials with Stoke North's Ruth Smeeth, saying they want to know the timescale for the work.

The council says it has received the letter and will be replying in due course and that people's safety is always its primary concern.

The city council have said that they will get together a work plan and bring together a project plan etc, what they haven't actually said is when will there be workmen in the buildings, fitting the sprinklers."

Gareth SnellStoke-on-Trent Central Labour MP

Football: Stoke urged to give youth a chance by former defender

Matt Sandoz

Stoke City commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Former Stoke City defender Mike Pejic says he wants to see more academy players break into the first team this season.

Julien Ngoy of Stoke City in action
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

In the last 12 months, Julien Ngoy (pictured), Tom Edwards and Thibaud Verlinden have all made the match-day squad but haven't become regulars.

Pejic, who came through the Stoke City youth ranks himself, says it's good to have youngsters pushing for a first-team place.

It's competition for places, younger kids threatening you and that's what should be happening, but I'm not sure if it is happening because, when you see Stoke signing two right-backs, 30-odd years of age, what chance has a young kid of coming through?"

Mike PejicFormer Stoke City defender

Armed police called to reports of people with weapons 'including gun'

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

Armed police had to be called out in Stoke-on-Trent after reports of a number of people armed with weapons, including a small gun.

Staffordshire Police says, when officers arrived on Scott Lidgett Road last night, they didn't find anyone on the street.

Scott Lidgett Road
Google

However, they say that, after investigations, they arrested three people in the area and a fourth in Wolverhampton this morning.

All four have been arrested on suspicion of affray with the three in Stoke-on-Trent released under investigation.