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Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

  1. Hill End probe: Information came from 'a number of sources'

    Katy Lewis

    BBC Local Live

    Following the news that Hertfordshire Police had received reports of physical and sexual abuse of child patients at the former Hill End Hospital Adolescent Unit in St Albans, the officer leading the investigation has said that "sometimes you just get a feeling" about things and need to probe further.

    Hill End flats
    Image caption: Some of the Hill End wards have been converted into flats

    The force went public on Thursday with its investigation into the alleged abuse at the unit between 1969 and 1995.

    Assistant Chief Constable Bill Jephson said the investigation had been running for sometime, but it wasn't a particular report that set it off.

    He said information had come from a number of different sources, so they began to review the information they had and look at records from the 1970s and 1980s. It was then decided that it "needed a proper look".

    "It was prompted by a number of bits of intelligence so we have gone back and looked at if we joined the dots," he said.

    "Sometimes you just get a feeling that we need to lift the lid and have a proper look at it with a dedicated team."

    Those who believe they have been a victim of this type of abuse are encouraged to contact the police. There is a special online reporting option on the force's Operation Meadow web pages.

    No arrests have been made but Mr Jephson said if anyone was found to be currently at risk, mechanisms were in place to respond.

    Hill End Hospital no longer exists and a housing estate was built on the site in Hertfordshire.

  2. A421 'still blocked'

    Bedfordshire police have asked motorists to "bear with us" as they try to reopen the A421 in both directions by the Black Cat Roundabout.

    An accident between three lorries shut the road at 15:00.

    They hope it will re-open by about 18:45.

    View more on twitter
  3. Is it 'gender pay gap day' where you live?

    Daniel Wainwright

    Data unit - English regions

    Campaigners for equal pay for men and women highlight today as the point in 2017 when a woman on an average wage stops being paid relative to their male counterparts.

    But it's not the same across all areas of the UK.

    In some areas the gender pay gap is so wide, it is as though women work unpaid from September, BBC News reports.

    The clickable map shows the gap is not that wide in Cambridgeshire, where the gender pay gap of 8.5% is the equivalent of women working unpaid from 29 November.

    Map showing rates of pay for men and women in the UK

    However, the gap in Peterborough is significantly higher than the rest of the county.

    At 19%, it effectively means women in the city are working unpaid from 22 October.

    Vivienne Hayes, chief executive of charity the Women's Resource Centre, said: "Even though we have had a law since 1970 outlawing the practice of sex discrimination in pay, our progress is probably not even at a snail's pace."

  4. Decision on incinerator to be made in 'due course'

    There's still no date on when the decision will be made to see if the green light can be given to build an incinerator in Bedfordshire.

    The consulation period has now ended to see if a permit can be given to the company, Covanta, to build a site, at Rookery Pits close to Stewartby.

    If it goes ahead it will burn 500,000 tonnes of waste a year.

    The Environment Agency says it is now "assessing" the many comments it has received and "a decision will be made and communicated in due course.”

    Artists impression of incinerator

    The Mayor of Bedford, Dave Hodgson says the fight to stop the plant being built is "far from over".

    He states Bedford Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Councils have submitted a "joint response" that the permit is "rejected".

    Planning permission has already been given for the plant to be built, but it can't operate without the permit.

  5. Watford pet rabbit death 'linked to Croydon cat killer'

    Stuart Bailey

    BBC News

    An animal charity helping police investigate the violent killing of hundreds of cats and rabbits across the UK has said the death of a rabbit in Watford is being linked to the case.

    The animal was mutilated and its body left in a garden in Silver Dell on Monday or Tuesday. Hertfordshire Police said its possible link to the wider investigation is a line of enquiry.

    Tony Jenkins from charity Snarl said: "It is clear these animals were killed by a human" but added it was difficult to say how many people were responsible for the attacks and whether they were working together.

    Other recent incidents considered to be linked include the deaths of a cat and another rabbit in Hertfordshire as well as two cats in Northampton.

  6. Cars stuck by Black Cat roundabout for 'hours'

    Drivers stuck on the A421 by the Black Cat roundabout say they haven't moved for "hours".

    Lisa Roerig has been stationary for several hours and says: "Looks like I won’t be going to the England vs Germany game. "Stuck on #A421".

    She added: "If you are on the #A421 towards Black Cat Roundabout, get off if you can."

    Highways England says the road remains closed westbound between the A1 (Black Cat Roundabout) and hte A4280 because of an accident between three lorries.

    Drivers are being asked to exit the A1 at the Black Cat roundabout and continue southbound on the A1 to its junction with the A603.

    Then continue westbound along the A603 via Moggerhanger to re-join the A421 at the Cardington Cross Roundabout.

    View more on twitter
  7. A421 to be 'closed for some time'

    Bedfordshire police say the A421 by the Black Cat Roundabout will remain closed for "some time" after an accident involving three lorries.

    They were called at 14:45 and closed the road at 15:00.

    View more on twitter
  8. Long delays due to crash by Black Cat roundabout

    There are long delays near the Black Cat roundabout at Wyboston in Bedfordshire because of a crash between three lorries.

    Police have confirmed the A421 has been closed.

    There are reports that four fire engines and the police are in attendance.

    The East of England Ambulance Service says "two rapid response vehicles, an ambulance and a unit from our Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) are at the scene".

    It's affecting traffic between Bedford and St Neots just over the border in Cambridgeshire.

    Drivers have taken to social media to say they've been stuck for more than an hour and are not moving.

    View more on twitter
  9. Funeral held for Luton man killed in Syria

    Thousands of people have attended the funeral of a Luton man who was killed by so-called Islamic State militants in Syria.

    Crowds gather for Mehmet Aksoy

    Mehmet Aksoy, 32, had been working as a film-maker alongside a Kurdish militant group. He died in September.

    Mehmet Aksoy

    His funeral was held at the Kurdish Community Centre in Harringay, London, followed by a procession to Highgate Cemetery.

    Funeral of Mehmet Aksoy
  10. #Rickshawchallenge in Buckinghamshire

    Laura Devlin

    BBC News

    Pudsey and friends have been winding their way through Buckinghamshire as the annual #rickshawchallenge completes its second day of an epic 500-mile ride to Glasgow.

    Led by The One Show's Matt Baker, a team of six riders are braving the elements over nine days to raise money for Children in Need.

    It had a fanfare send-off at BBC's New Broadcasting House on Thursday and is hoping for plenty of support along the route from North London to Banbury, Oxfordshire.

    Earlier, Duncan Gauld, headteacher at Chorleywood Church of England Academy, tweeted: "Look who popped in this morning!"

    Matt Baker with pupils and staff/parents at Chorleywood CofE Academy

    Rider Sabba, who is 18 and awaiting a kidney transplant, was pictured by David James as the convoy passed through Aston Clinton...

    Children in Need tweeted that the show of support on Friday had been incredible...

    According to the team's live updates, they are now in the Marsh Gibbon area and close to the county border.

  11. Petition to save Hertfordshire zoo gets public support

    An online petition to save a Hertfordshire zoo from closure has been supported by more than 1,000 people in a week.

    Ventura Wildlife Park

    East Herts District Council has served two enforcement notices on Ventura Wildlife Park near Ware, saying it has never had the correct planning permission.

    Ventura is a community-based wildlife park in the grounds of the Van Hage Garden Centre in Great Amwell.

    It is home to more than 45 different species of wild animals, including a number that have been rescued and rehomed. This includes species that cannot be seen in any other UK zoo or wildlife park, including the Cuban Hutia and Red Rumped Agouti.

    Since it opened in July 2016 - on land which previously formed part of the Van Hage Garden Centre's existing zoo - it has had 45,000 visitors. The zoo licence was transferred over to Ventura Wildlife Park in June 2016 after inspection by East Herts Council.

    Since being told it needed to close, it has had all retrospective planning applications turned down, but it is still looking for ways to fight the council's decision.

    It said a petition had been created to demonstrate "the overwhelming support" which exists for the park and its importance within the local community, because if it is forced to close it would have "devastating consequences".

    The wildlife park said the shrubs and trees planted, bird and bat boxes and the education centre would have to be demolished, and animals may need to be euthanised if homes cannot be found.

    The BBC has approached East Herts District Council for a response.

  12. Offenders pay for good causes

    Convicted criminals are quite literally paying for their crimes in Hertfordshire - so far to the tune of more than £100,000.

    David Lloyd

    In March, police and crime commissioner David Lloyd (pictured) unveiled a £120,000 community fund, generated through offender confiscations under the Proceeds of Crime Act, to help organisations deliver projects that reduce crime.

    Grants of up to £5,000 are provided for successful applications, which can cover a range of activities such as research projects, equipment and materials or training. So far, it has supported 24 initiatives to the value of £103,636.

    For example, Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue received £5,000 for its Think Safe project - an evening course for adults with learning difficulties to learn how to keep themselves safe from abuse, fires and crime.

    The Watford Community Safety Partnership received £4,700 for its Rough Sleepers Campaign, and Citizens Advice in Stevenage was awarded £4,987 for a dedicated adviser to work with its domestic abuse unit.

    "It's a great example of offender pays," Mr Lloyd said.

    The deadline for the next round of applications is 12 January 2018.

  13. Decision delayed on 'bite dog' Muppet's future

    Stuart Bailey

    BBC News

    A decision on whether a dog will be destroyed for biting four people after it escaped from a garden during Storm Doris has been delayed until the New Year.

    Northamptonshire Police applied for a Civil Destruction Order for Muppet - seized from Ingleborough Way, Duston, Northampton, on 23 February.

    The force announced the move on its Facebook page and has had 420 comments to date, most attacking the decision.

    Muppet the dog.

    The dog's owner refused to sign a destruction order and a hearing due at Wellingborough Magistrates' Court on 10 October was adjourned.

    A Northamptonshire Police spokeswoman said: "We haven't been given a date for the next hearing but believe it could be in January or early next year."

  14. Number of rough sleepers 'vastly underestimated'

    Stuart Bailey

    BBC News

    The number of people sleeping rough in Northamptonshire is "vastly underestimated", according to the manager of a homeless shelter in Wellingborough.

    Last year 39 people were recorded as sleeping on the streets in Northamptonshire, but Paul Adams from the Daylight Centre said the true number could be more than 10 times that.

    "The way that it's counted is at a specific time, once a year, and the reality is likely to be a very different picture," he said.

    Rough sleeper in Northampton.

    Local authorities are required to submit an annual number of rough sleepers to the government and a count happened across Northamptonshire last night.

    This data will be combined with information from external agencies, such as homeless centres and the police, to arrive at a figure.

  15. Flying Scotsman steams through the East - again

    Flying Scotsman will be steaming through the east of England on Saturday, much to the delight of locomotive fans.

    Its journey was cut short last month after it broke down in Peterborough.

    Flying Scotsman in Peterborough
    Image caption: A fault with the hot axle box on the right-hand driving wheel caused Flying Scotsman to break down last month

    The famous locomotive will make its way from Norwich to Ely, then on to London via Cambridge.

    British Transport Police is warning fans to stay off the tracks and only watch or take photographs "from a safe vantage point".

    The company that operates the locomotive stopped publishing exact timetables for Flying Scotsman's journeys after several incidents involving trespassers on the tracks.

    View more on twitter

    Flying Scotsman was built in Doncaster in 1923 for the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER).

    In its time the locomotive set two world records for steam traction.

    It became the first steam locomotive to be officially authenticated at reaching 100mph (160.9km/h) on 30 November 1934, and then set a record for the longest non-stop run by a steam locomotive when it ran 422 miles (679 km) on 8 August 1989 while in Australia.

    It was retired from regular service in 1963 after covering 2,076,000 miles (3,341,000 km).

  16. Rushden Lakes congestion to be discussed

    Stuart Bailey

    BBC News

    A meeting will be held later to discuss traffic problems around Rushden Lakes.

    Cars arriving at the shopping centre often have to queue to get off the A45 at peak times.

    Developers LXB announced plans on Wednesday for a new access road.

    Waitrose is hosting today's forum, which will involve representatives from Highways England, LXB, Stagecoach buses and local councillors.

    They'll be talking about how traffic flows can be improved and how the impact of nearby roadworks can be reduced.

  17. Murrow fatal crash victim named

    A woman who died in a two-vehicle crash in Murrow, near Wisbech, has been named by police as Jade Green.

    The 24-year-old, of Beechwood Road, Wisbech, died when the Vauxhall Astra she was driving crashed with a Ford Transit van on Black Drove at about 07:10 on Thursday.

    Miss Green's family has described her as "a much-loved sister and daughter" who would be "sadly missed by all who knew her".

    Jade Green

    Two passengers in the car - a man and a woman - were taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge where they remain in a "critical, but stable condition".

    The male driver of the van sustained minor injuries.

    Officers investigating the crash are trying to trace a fourth person who was believed to be in the Astra, but left the scene. The man is described as white, in his 20s, with dark curly hair and a beard.

  18. Air ambulance called to Northampton gym

    An air ambulance was called to a gym in Northampton town centre this morning after a man collapsed, reports the Northampton Chronicle and Echo.

    The helicopter landed inside the purple hoardings on Marefair, off Horsemarket, at about 09:40, the paper reports.

  19. New boss for EasyJet announced

    Luton-based budget airline EasyJet has appointed a new chief executive.

    Johan Lundgren replaces Carolyn McCall, who left the company to join ITV after seven years at the helm.

    Mr Lundgren, a travel executive, has most recently spent 12 years at fellow Luton firm TUI Travel.

    He will take over on 1 December.

    Johan Lundgren