Black Country scrapyard fires 'could be linked'

CCTV images Police have released CCTV images of three men they want to speak to

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Three suspicious scrapyard fires in the Black Country in the past week could have been started by the same people, police say.

About 50 vehicles were destroyed in the latest fire at A&A Auto Express in Smethwick, on Friday night.

On Tuesday night, 100 vehicles were destroyed in Saltbrook Scrapyard in Cradley and Black Country Car Spares in Wolverhampton was also targeted.

Police have released CCTV images of three men they want to speak to.

The pictures show three men, who were seen running away from Saltbrook Scrapyard as the fire took hold.

Det Sgt Shaun Egan said the damage would cost the three scrapyards "hundreds of thousands of pounds".

He said police were "keeping an open mind" about whether they were linked but said the circumstances of the arson attacks were "very similar".

"Nobody has been injured in any of these attacks but that's only through luck alone - if it happens again, someone could be seriously hurt," said Det Sgt Egan.

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  1.  
    18:00: Good evening

    That's all from Local Live for today.

    Join us again tomorrow for more updates from Birmingham and the Black Country.

     
  2.  
    17:52: Frost patches Shefali Oza BBC Midlands Today Weather

    Tonight's weather will be mainly dry, however cloud will gradually increase from the northwest from the early hours.

    shefali oza

    Further south and east, clearer skies may lead to some localised frost patches.

     
  3.  
    17:39: What a win means for Villa fans Paul Franks Presenter, BBC WM

    These fans coming out of Villa Park after the team's 2-1 win over West Brom last night were overjoyed the result's moved them out of the relegation zone.

    Villa fans

    One fan told the BBC, "It's one of the best games I've ever been to, we haven't had an atmosphere like that for ages. We fully deserved the win."

    Villa and Baggies fans, have your say on the Football Phone-in tonight from 18:00.

     
  4.  
    17:27: Brick thrown

    Police say they are investigating after objects were thrown from bridges along the Black Country Route.

    The first incident took place at around 21:00 on 25 February in Bradley where an unknown object was thrown from the bridge at the Vulcan Road Island and came smashing through a lorry driver's window.

    A second attack took place the following evening, on 26 Februar near Bilston Fire Station when a house brick was thrown from the pedestrian walkway above the road, damaging a lorry windscreen.

    Neither driver was hurt.

     
  5.  
    17:12: Postman strikes gold

    Martyn Siviter, the postman who found Kelly Sotherton's gold medal, said he was "just doing his job" when he discovered it in a Sutton Coldfield post box.

    Martyn Siviter

    "I told my boss and we decided the best thing was to take them straight to the police station and hand them in," he said.

     
  6.  
    16:58: News on the hour BBC WM

    Coming up at 17:00 - campaigners for the victims of the Birmingham pub bombings say they had a positive meeting with the Home Secretary Theresa May in London this morning.

     
  7.  
    16:49: M42 severe delays BBC Travel BBC Travel

    There is very slow traffic on A45 eastbound in Bickenhill at Birmingham Airport because of an accident earlier on.

    It is at the M42 junction 6, with congestion to the B4438 Catherine De Barnes Lane Junction.

    Stay up to date on the BBC travel page.

     
  8.  
    16:42: Landslide works ahead of schedule

    Chiltern Railways say they have progressed quicker than expected with the work on the line between Leamington Spa and Banbury, which closed because of a landslip.

    Aerial view of the landslide

    "We have had Network Rail on site round the clock," the company said.

    The line connects Birmingham and London and will reopen next week.

     
  9.  
    16:29: 'Scary experience'

    Northfield mum, Katie Camplin, says she and her daughter have been left "devastated" after a car crashed through her living room at full speed on Saturday.

    Katie and Faye

    She said: "It's been quite a scary experience for all of us. I heard an almighty noise none of us can erase from our minds."

    Read more about her story here.

     
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    16:18: Feedback Jennifer Harby Journalist, BBC Local Live

    BBC Local Live brings news, sport, travel and weather together in one place. What do you think of it?

     
  11.  
    16:09: Landslip rail line to reopen

    A major rail route closed by a 350,000-tonne landslip will reopen on 13 March, operator Chiltern Railways has announced.

    Aerial view of the landslide

    It was previously thought the section of the Chiltern Mainline between Leamington Spa and Banbury, which closed on 31 January after the landslip near the Harbury Tunnel, would open in April.

     
  12.  
    16:00: News on the hour Chris Blakemore News editor, BBC WM

    Campaigners for the victims of the Birmingham pub bombings say they have had a positive meeting with the Home Secretary Theresa May in London this morning. Find out more at 16:00

     
  13.  
    15:52: Villa-West Brom battle BBC Sport

    Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood has warned West Brom they will have to improve when the teams play each other in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.

    Tim Sherwood

    The sides face an FA Cup rematch after Villa's dramatic 2-1 Premier League win last night.

    Sherwood says: "Now the cup is the most important one as it's the next one and we want to get to Wembley. West Brom will have to improve to stop us getting there."

     
  14.  
    15:39: 'Investigation continues'

    Police have said it's "fantastic" Kelly Sotherton's gold Commonwealth medal turned up so soon after the Crimewatch appeal.

    The medal

    However, Det Con Mindy Mahil added: "Many more medals remain outstanding, though, along with electrical equipment taken during the burglary so our investigation continues."

     
  15.  
    15:27: Birmingham the best?

    What do you think about Birmingham being ranked as the best regional city in the UK for its quality of life?

    Stuart Broad Stuart Broad

    Council leader Sir Albert Bore says he thinks 2015 will be an "exceptional year" for the city, with the opening of John Lewis and the arrival of sporting events like The Ashes (above) and the Rugby World Cup.

    He hopes that means Birmingham can hold on to its status.

     
  16.  
    15:12: Pub bombing meeting
    Bombed pub exterior

    Families of the victims of the Birmingham pub bombings have met the home secretary to call for an inquest into the deaths.

    Julie Hambleton, part of the Justice 4 the 21 campaign group, said the meeting with Home Secretary Theresa May and Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers had gone well.

     
  17.  
    14:56: News on the hour BBC WM

    A police officer has been awarded £80,000 damages after Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell lost a court case over the "plebgate" scandal. Hear more in the news at 15:00

     
  18.  
    14:51: Watch: Horrific housewarming

    Watch this video of the devastation at the house in Northfield which had a car crash into it at full speed, narrowly missing Katie Camplin's seven-year-old daughter Faye.

    Katie and Faye

    The crash happened just hours after the family had moved in.

     
  19.  
    14:50: Watch: Pulis stands by Ben Foster BBC Sport

    West Bromwich Albion boss Tony Pulis says goalkeeper Ben Foster will not be criticised after conceding a last-minute penalty in their 2-1 loss away to Aston Villa.

    Tony Pulis

    Watch his post-match interview here.

     
  20.  
    14:40: Mitchell pay-out

    A judge ruled last year Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell probably called PC Toby Rowland (pictured), an officer on duty at Downing Street's gates, a "pleb".

    Toby Rowland

    Mr Mitchell accepted using bad language but said he had not used that word.

    The ex-chief whip has already paid £300,000 in legal costs to the Sun newspaper and the Police Federation.

     
  21.  
    14:28: Disused Wolverhampton eye infirmary costing NHS £320k Express and Star

    Hospital bosses have shelled out £320,000 on the former eye infirmary in Wolverhampton since it closed in 2007, it can be revealed.

    The cash has been spent on security costs alone, with chiefs admitting the site has become a 'big burden'.

     
  22.  
    14:22: Medal-finding postman

    The postman who discovered Kelly Sotherton's stolen gold medal in a Sutton Coldfield postbox is due to speak to the media later.

    A postbox

    Martyn Siviter, 46, was out collecting mail yesterday afternoon when he found the medals.

    Martyn said: "It is definitely one of the most unusual items I have found in a postbox and I am just pleased that Kelly will have her treasured gold medal back in her hands again."

     
  23.  
    14:10: Pub bombings meeting Peter Wilson West Midlands Home Affairs Correspondent, BBC News

    Peter Wilson tweets: Campaigners say today's hour long meeting with the Home Secretary was a "Monumental Moment" @Justice4the21 @bbcmtd

    The home office
     
  24.  
    13:59: News on the hour Chris Blakemore News editor, BBC WM

    A Commonwealth gold medal, stolen from the home of Birmingham heptathlete Kelly Sotherton, has been found.

    We'll have more on this story at 14:00.

     
  25.  
    13:48: Snooker with the men

    Reanne Evans, from Gornal, says she is "thrilled" to be just three games away from qualifying to play against the men in the World Snooker Championship.

    Reanne Evans

    "I might wake up soon - it might be just a dream," she said. "I'm thrilled to bits."

     
  26.  
    13:39: Birmingham's tourism

    The Mercer Quality of Living report is not the first time Birmingham's appeal has been recognised.

    A man buys a bratwurst at the Christmas market

    In 2012, it was one of the New York Times' "places to go", while in December it was one of the Rough Guide's "top 10 cities in the world".

    And in February, it was revealed the city's German market had seen a record number of visitors.

     
  27.  
    13:29: Millions for museums Birmingham Mail
    Scale model of how the New Place will look

    Museums across the West Midlands, including the Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings in Bromsgrove, the Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon and The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford are to share £3m from Arts Council England.

     
  28.  
    13:14: Aston Expressway BBC Travel BBC Travel

    There are delays on the A38 Aston Expressway between the Spaghetti Junction on the M6 and the A4540 Dartmouth Circus, BBC Travel News reports.

     
  29.  
    12:59: News on the hour Chris Blakemore News editor, BBC WM

    A Birmingham mother says her daughter is lucky to be alive after a car ploughed into their house.

    You can hear more on this story in my 13:00 bulletin.

     
  30.  
    12:49: Black Country competes

    Organisers of the first-ever Black Country Festival are travelling to London today to see if the event has won an award.

    The Black Country Festival

    The festival, which was organised in July 2014 by Dudley Council, is competing against commercial organisations like Aldi and Barclays for the PRMoments "Community engagement campaign of the year" award.

     
  31.  
    12:38: Special delivery

    A Royal Mail delivery driver found Kelly Sotherton's Commonwealth gold on his rounds while emptying a pillar box at the junction of Springfield Road and Fowler Road in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands Police have said.

    Kelly Sotherton

    A gold English Schools 'AA' medal was also recovered.

    Det Con Mindy Mahil said: "I've been in contact with Kelly and told her of the find…she's absolutely thrilled as she feared the medal was lost forever."

     
  32.  
    12:28: Campaigners in London Peter Wilson West Midlands Home Affairs Correspondent, BBC News

    I'm travelling down to London with the Justice For The 21 the campaigners who are calling for a new inquest into the Birmingham Pub Bombings.

    The Hambletons on the train

    Julie Hambleton, whose 18-year-old sister Maxine was killed in 1974, has a meeting with Theresa May the Home Secretary.

    "I'll talk to her, woman to woman," she said. "It's time the victims had their day."

     
  33.  
    12:11: Suspected people smugglers arrested

    Two men wanted by the Belgian authorities in connection with a suspected people smuggling network have been arrested, the National Crime Agency has said.

    The NCA

    One of the men, who are aged 25 and 28 and are both of Syrian origin, was arrested in Sparkbrook, while the other was detained at an address in Wembley, London.

    They later appeared before Westminster Magistrates Court where extradition proceedings began. They were remanded into custody until their full extradition hearing on 18 June.

     
  34.  
    12:00: News on the hour Steve Hermon Journalist, BBC WM

    A Birmingham mum is calling for bollards to be placed outside her house after a car crashed through her living room at full speed. Hear more at 12:00.

     
  35.  
    11:46: Have your say

    What do you think of BBC Local Live? We'd like your feedback about this service.

     
  36.  
    11:40: Kelly's medals are found

    Heptathlete Kelly Sotherton is celebrating after her stolen medals were found in a postbox.

    Kelly Sotherton

    It follows a Crimewatch appeal for information about a burglary at her Sutton Coldfield home in February.

     
  37.  
    11:31: MP Andrew Mitchell in 'plebgate payout'

    The police officer at the centre of the "plebgate" row has accepted £80,000 in damages from Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell.

    Andrew Mitchell

    A judge ruled last year the MP probably had called PC Toby Rowland, an officer on duty at Downing Street's gates, a "pleb".

    Mr Mitchell accepts he used bad language but says he hadn't used that word.

     
  38.  
    11:19: Cities suffer low donor rates Steve Hermon Journalist, BBC WM

    Birmingham and Wolverhampton have some of the lowest percentages of organ donors in the country.

    In Wolverhampton, just over 18% of people are on the organ donor register and it's a little over 19% in Birmingham. The national average is 32%.

     
  39.  
    11:09: Watch: Sherwood reaction to Villa's win BBC Sport

    Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood jokes he would "try anything" for a win and says "someone shined down on" his side in their 2-1 victory over West Brom at Villa Park.

    Tim sherwood

    Watch his post-match interview here.

     
  40.  
    11:01: 'Plebgate' damages
    Andrew Mitchell and his wife outside the High Court

    The Sutton Coldfield MP at the centre of the Downing Street "plebgate" row has paid £80,000 damages to a police officer, a court has heard.

    Andrew Mitchell, the former Government chief whip, made the settlement with PC Toby Rowland, following a High Court libel action.

     
  41.  
    10:57: News on the hour Steve Hermon Journalist, BBC WM

    A Birmingham mum is calling for bollards to be placed outside her house after a car crashed through her living room, narrowly missing her seven-year-old daughter.

    Hear more details in the news at 11:00

     
  42.  
    10:47: Sex offender jailed
    Gary Jukes

    A Birmingham sex offender, who subjected three young girls to years of abuse, has been sentenced to 17 years in jail for a string of historic offences, West Midlands Police have said.

    Gary Jukes, 52, of Highters Road, Warstock was sentenced after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing at Birmingham Crown Court to sexually abusing children between 1976 and 1997.

     
  43.  
    10:33: Quality living
    Birmingham's canals

    Birmingham has been ranked jointly with Rome for its quality of life, in a new survey.

    The city was the best of any UK city outside London, according to the Mercer Quality of Living Report 2015.

    The city council welcomed the news, with leader Sir Albert Bore saying the city was "vibrant" and "attractive".

     
  44.  
    10:22: 'Near miss'
    The wall the car was crashed through

    A young mother from Northfield is calling for bollards to be placed outside her house, after a car crashed through her living room at full speed, narrowly missing her seven-year-old daughter.

    It happened on Saturday morning, less than 24 hours after Katie Camplin had moved into the brand-new house.

     
  45.  
    10:12: Taking on the men
    Reanne Evans

    A female snooker champion from Gornal has accepted an invitation to take on the men in qualifying for the World Snooker Championship.

    The 10-times ladies' winner Reanne Evans is now three victories away from being the first woman to play in the tournament's main televised stages.

    She told BBC WM: "It's a challenge - it's something not many women will get to do but hopefully in the future they will. It's an honour and I'm thrilled to accept it."

     
  46.  
    10:00: News on the hour BBC WM

    Birmingham and Wolverhampton are among the lowest organ donors in UK.

    Hear more details in the news at 10:00

     
  47.  
    09:45: 'Massive hole' Richie Anderson BBC WM reporter

    I've been visiting the home of the Northfield family who saw a car crash through their room on Saturday - and I've never seen anything like it.

    In the living room, where the window is meant to be, there is a massive, gaping hole in the wall.

    There's rubble on the floor, there are bricks hanging off and you can feel the cold coming in - there's daylight coming through.

     
  48.  
    09:28: Villa 'still alive' as they move out of relegation Phil McNulty Chief football writer

    Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood says his side are "still alive" after Christian Benteke's late penalty secured a 2-1 win over West Brom, lifting them out of the relegation zone.

    Tim Sherwood

    It was Sherwood's first win since he took charge of the club in February and he celebrated after the final whistle by checking his pulse on the pitch.

     
  49.  
    09:15: Hammer attack teen still critical Birmingham Mail

    The devastated sister of a teenager who remains in a critical condition after being attacked with a hammer in the street has urged people to "please pray for my brother."

     
  50.  
    08:57: News on the hour Steve Hermon Journalist, BBC WM

    Birmingham and Wolverhampton are among the lowest organ donors in UK.

    Hear more details in the news at 09:00

     
  51.  
    08:44: Call for pub bombings inquest

    Families of the victims of the Birmingham pub bombings are due to meet the home secretary later to call for an inquest into the deaths.

    Pub bombings aftermath

    The explosions, on 21 November 1974, killed 21 people and injured 182 at two pubs in the city centre.

     
  52.  
    08:29: Broken traffic lights BBC Travel

    Traffic lights have failed at the junction of Ivyhouse Lane and the A4123 Birmingham New Road in Coseley.

     
  53.  
    08:15: Villa's late winner BBC Sport

    Aston Villa have climbed out of the relegation zone after a last-gasp penalty from Christian Benteke (pictured) saw them beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1 last night.

    Christian Benteke

    A crowd of 31,272 were at Villa Park to see the dramatic win, which also featured goals from Gabriel Agbonlahor to put Villa ahead, while Saido Berahino scored for West Brom.

     
  54.  
    08:04: Fine later Sara Blizzard BBC Weather

    A cold start with a few showers through the morning.

    Sara Blizzard

    Showers will gradually clear through the day leaving everywhere fine with highs of 7C (45F).

     
  55.  
    08:00: Good morning

    Hello and welcome to Wednesday's Local Live updates for Birmingham and the Black Country.

    We'd love you to get involved by emailing or tweeting us your comments on today's events or any good photos you've taken.

     

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