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Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

All services parade builds up to Armed Forces Day

Kim Riley

BBC Look East

As part of the build-up to Armed Forces Day on Saturday a special military parade took place in Suffolk last night.

Servicemen and women from the Army, Royal Navy and RAF were joined by American forces personnel.

Apache helicopters fly-past over Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds

The line up came to a climax with a fly past of eight Apache helicopters based at the Army's Wattisham Airfield.

The aim was to celebrate the close links between the military with bases across the county and the local communities.

This will lead up to Saturday when there will be a free open day at the Abbey Gardens with a Battle of Britain Hurricane flypast and in the evening a concert by the Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra at the Apex

Gritters out to 'cool' tarmac

If you see gritters on Norfolk's roads, it doesn't mean we're about to have a cold snap.

They've not been out since the Beast from the East hit us in Feruary and March, but the county's highways teams are monitoring roads for tarmac blistering in the heatwave.

They say they've been out to "dust" some routes in west Norfolk with salt where problems have been spotted and will act to protect the roads from "melting" under high temperatures.

"Generally, we tend to get 'bleeding roads' when daytime and nighttime temperatures are both high over several days so the road doesn't cool down before being heated again by the sun on the next day," a council spokesman said.

He added luckily, recent overnight temperatures have been cooler, combined with mist and fog in many areas.

Girl, 14, charged with wounding teenager with knife

A 14-year-old girl has been charged with possession of a knife and wounding with intent after another teenager, aged 16, suffered a slash wound to her nose.

Police were called to Vineyard Street in Colchester town centre at about 17:00 on Tuesday.

The girl, who cannot be named because of her age, was remanded in custody and is due to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

MK Windrush man refused British citizenship

A 82-year-old Milton Keynes man, from the Windrush generation, who spent more than 50 years in this country has had his request for British citizenship turned down.

The Home Office rejected Clayton Barnes's case saying he had been out of the country for eight years - having gone to Jamaica in 2010, only to find his re-entry blocked when he tried to return in 2013.

In May this year he was allowed to return and is free to travel abroad again, but he has been told he will have to wait five years to get citizenship.

His Conservative MP, Ian Stewart, has said he will take his case up with the Home Secretary.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "Mr Barnes was supported by our dedicated taskforce to return to the UK as a returning resident and was granted a biometric residence permit, confirming his right to remain in the UK indefinitely, on 18 May 2018."

We're really saying something, AmpRocks will rock!

I Heard A Rumour that it's not going to be a Cruel Summer, but we are Really Saying Something that Ampthill will be rocking tonight.

Thousand of music lovers will be heading to the Bedfordshire market town to see the ultimate girl band of the 80s, Bananarama, along with Reef and Example at AmpRocks.

Ian Scarr, festival chairman, said: "This is our ninth year, and each year we just seem to get bigger and better acts coming along as our reputation increases across the country."


Car crashes at Bedfordshire car wash

A car has collided with a car wash in Shefford near Biggleswade.

Police said they were called at about 09:30 and two other vehicles were also damaged.

No-one was injured, but they said a structural engineer has been called to assess the building.

A commet on Twitter said "That might not polish out..."

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Essex and Suffolk Water advise people to reduce usage

Essex and Suffolk Water has seen demand peaking at 25% above expected volumes this week because of the hot weather.

The company said its water supplies are looking healthy so far, but they're keeping a close eye on levels.

A dog playing in a sprinkler
Getty Images

Martin Lunn, head of technical strategy said: "As always, we're asking customers to use water wisely to help us manage supplies.

"Even small changes can make a big difference like remembering to turn the tap off when brushing your teeth and trying to cut a minute off your morning shower."

Anglian Water has also urged customers to conserve supplies during the heatwave.

Elderly woman found 'trapped under a car' in Brentwood

A woman, in her 80s, was airlifted to hospital with potentially life-changing injuries after being found "trapped under a car", police have said.

Emergency services were called to Brocksparkwood, just off Hanging Hill Lane in Brentwood, at about 09:50 on Tuesday.

Brocksparkwood, Brentwood

An Essex Police spokesman said: "We need to speak to anyone who was in the area and saw what happened or anyone who has any dashcam or CCTV footage of the incident."

Govia Thameslink declassifies first class train carriages

Govia Thameslink has announced that from today, first class carriages on Thameslink and Great Northern routes will be declassified during peak times until 15 July when a new interim timetable is introduced.

Commuters on a railway station platform

Trains on the Thameslink and Great Northern network have been subject to delays and cancellations since new timetables were introduced on 20 May, and the training of drivers on the new routes and trains continues.

The decision comes after a letter sent to Secretary for Transport Chris Grayling from several MPs whose constituents have been affected including Gavin Shuker (Labour, Luton South), Bim Afolami, (Conservative, Hitchin & Harpenden) and Alistair Burt (Conservative, North East Bedfordshire).

Mr Burt said he was "delighted" about the "sensible decision".

"Pleased to have at least achieved this small concession for my constituents struggling through this awful disruption," he said.

Fin whale in River Great Ouse swims back out to sea

A fin whale, spotted in the River Great Ouse near King's Lynn yesterday, is believed to have swum back out to sea, according to the Seawatch Foundation.

Fin Whale in River Ouse
Dan Horsepool

The injured young whale was filmed in the river.

According to the Foundation's Carl Chapman, it's not that unusual to see fin whales in river systems in the UK.

He added "we prefer to see them out in open water though" and the whale had probably got separated from its mother.

Busy motorists cause Bucks road repair delays

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Motorists have been blamed for the delay in roads being repaired in Buckinghamshire.

David Coupe, from the county council's Transport for Bucks (TfB) department, said "The increased traffic in the county's roads makes it more difficult to carry out the repairs."

Last year, TfB fixed a 38,000 potholes, but this year it is expected to increase to 44,000.

In April councillors agreed to release £1.2m from reserves and invest a total of £20m into the county's roads.

Road in Hardwick, Buckinghamshire
David Howard/Geograph

Investigation into suspended Tory councillors 'ongoing'

Jasmine Rapson

Buckinghamshire Local Democracy Reporter

Conservative chiefs have remained tight-lipped over the reasons for the suspension of three local councillors from the group in April during an investigation.

Councillors Roger Reed, Jacquetta Lowen-Cooper and Barry Harding were told to step aside from the Conservative group which sits on South Bucks District Council (SBDC), pending investigation.

This week SBDC confirmed that an investigation, led by the Conservative group, was ongoing.

South Bucks District Council

In April, "twin-hat" councillors, who also serve on the county council, including Mr Reed, left a district council meeting after receiving an email which suggested those who supported plans for a single unitary "super council" for Buckinghamshire were not allowed to take part in a major debate.

It is not clear if the suspensions are related to unitary discussions.

Residents 'demanding CCTV for months' before shooting

A spokesman for a residents group living near a Norwich park where a man was shot says he's been asking the council to install CCTV cameras for months to try to stamp out anti-social behaviour and drug-dealing.

Simon Crawford

Simon Crawford of Russell Street Resident's Association says he was told by Norwich City Council that there was no money to fund cameras at Waddington Park.

"I've been asking the council for CCTV in the area. I keep getting a knock-back," he said.

He believes the police would welcome the cameras in "such a high-crime and anti-social behaviour area".

The city council has been asked for its response to the demand.

A 19-year-old man was shot in the back on Wednesday and two people were arrested overnight.

Aylesbury Vale council leader resigns

Local Democracy Reporting Service

One of the leading figures behind the campaign to create two councils in Bucks as part of a major authority shake-up has resigned as leader of his district council.

An email was sent to Aylesbury Vale district councillors on Thursday announcing that Neil Blake had stepped down.

Mr Blake joined other district leaders across the county in formulating plans for two unitary authorities for Buckinghamshire, in a bid to modernise the "outdated" two-tier local government structure.

The proposals rivaled Buckinghamshire County Council's plans to scrap all district councils in favour of one unitary authority.

Deputy leader Angela Macpherson will now take on the role until a new leader is elected, while a final decision on council reorganisation is expected to be announced by the government over the summer.

Police search for van in suspected hit and run

Police in Watford are trying to trace the driver of a white van involved in a collision on Thursday in which two pedestrians suffered serious injuries.

The men were injured at about 12.15 in Hampermill Lane, Oxhey Hall and taken to hospital.

The vehicle, believed to have ladders on the top, was not at the scene when police arrived and they are trying to trace it and the driver.

Sgt Paul Stanbridge said: "I would also like to hear from anyone who has information about the vehicle involved or may have come across a white van in the area with damage to the nearside."

Thousands of empty Bedford homes back in use

More than 1,300 empty properties have been brought back into use in the borough of Bedford since 2006, according to the local authority.

In August 2014, there were 143 properties that had been empty for five years or more, but by February 2018 that number had reduced to 97, said Bedford Borough Council.

A spokesman said it was a result of "direct intervention" where owners fail to take action and the council has £2.89m to fund the compulsory purchase of empty properties, .

The money raised from the resultant sale of these properties is then re-invested, so they can buy more.

County Hall, home of Bedford Borough Council
David Howard/Geograph

Man charged with kidnap of boy

A man has been charged with kidnap after an incident in Milton Keynes on Sunday.

The 31-year-old, of no fixed address, was arrested on Monday in connection with the kidnap of a five-year-old boy at the One Stop store in Springfield.

A member of the public intervened and contacted police.

Police patrols in the area were increased following the incident.

More than 100 residents evacuated due to high-rise flat fire

An investigation is under way in Basildon after a fire in a flat on the sixth floor of a high-rise block on Thursday evening.

About 130 people were evacuated from the fifth, sixth and seventh floors of the building on Southernhay at about 18:45.

The fire was extinguished by 19:35 and there were no reported casualties.

Officer in charge, Martyn Hare, said: "Firefighters have worked extremely hard in very hot conditions to extinguish this fire quickly."

The residents were able to return to their homes at about 20:30.

Residents near park shooting meet to discuss drug crime

Residents living near a park in Norwich where a 19-year-old man was shot on Wednesday are holding a meeting tonight to discuss anti-social behaviour and illegal drug-use.

Police who are investigating a possible link to London drug gangs have been invited, along with local councillors, to the Russell Street Community Centre.

Park search

Drug-use in the area has increased and people are frightened, according to Simon Crawford from Russell Street Residents Association.

He said he was not shocked over the shooting of the man from London as he had seen an increase of people injecting behind garages and in the park over the past year.

"Unless we put a lid on it it's only going to get worse," he said.

Some residents said they wanted to see the park's overgrown bushes and trees trimmed and open areas created to deter criminal activities and make the area more family-friendly.

New Essex Police chief constable appointed

The Essex Police, Fire and Crime Panel has unanimously appointed BJ Harrington as Essex Police's new chief constable.

He was described as the "outstanding candidate" for the role by Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, Roger Hirst.

Deputy chief constable Harrington (pictured) will replace Stephen Kavanagh who announced his retirement from the role in April.

Ben-Julian Harrington who has been named Essex Police's new chief constable
Essex Police

Knifeman jailed for attempted robbery in St Ives

A man who attempted to rob a convenience store in Cambridgeshire at knife-point has been jailed for two years and eight months.

VG food store, St Ives

Owen Taylor, 20, threatened a shop assistant with a knife at the VG Food Store in Lorna Court, St Ives before trying to access the till. He left through the back after another member of staff blocked the door.

Taylor, of Laburnum Way, St Ives, admitted attempted robbery, possession of a bladed article and possession of cocaine at Peterborough Crown Court.

His DNA was found at the scene and he was identified on CCTV, police said.

Sinkhole gives Cambridge street that sinking feeling

Highways officers are looking in to a sinkhole which appeared on Mill Road in Cambridge this morning.

Sinkhole in Mill Road in Cambridge

The hole, on the the junction with Hope Street is about 20cm (8in) in diameter, and the road surface around it is beginning to dip and a large void can be seen beneath.

The northbound part of the road is currently blocked off.

Sinkhole on Mill Road, Cambridge

A Cambridgeshire County Council spokesman said they were working with local water companies to identify the cause.

Four-way temporary traffic lights and a temporary pedestrian crossing are to be put in place on Friday and the problem was likely to continue into the weekend, he said.

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Man threatened by knife gang in Buckhurst Hill robbery

Police are hunting four men who threatened a man with a knife on a street in south Essex.

It happened in Hornbeam Close, Buckhurst Hill near Epping at about 21:30 on 20 June.

The men, described by police as black, got out of a black Mercedes car and approached a man in his 20s as he was parking his car.

Police say the men stole his sat-nav device before slashing one of his tyres.

The victim was not injured.

hornbeam close, buckhurst hill

Park search looks for link between shooting and drugs

Police are carrying out a "thorough search" of a park in Norwich where a 19-year-old man was shot on Wednesday.

They believe the incident may be linked with a so-called "county lines" drug dealing chain connecting Norfolk to a gang in the capital.

The man, from London, is now stable in hospital with a gunshot wound to his back.

Park search

Norfolk's Chief Constable Simon Bailey was at the park in West End Street and said the police could not fight the drugs war alone.

He said he wanted to see the city council and social services organisations playing a role.

Simon Bailey

"We need to find ways to engage and show young people there were other ways than getting involved in criminality," he said.

Local resident Gavin Goldsmith said his eldest child could walk through the park to and from school but now chooses to go round because of needles and evidence of drug taking.

"Also some of the people in there are not too pleasant," he said.

Half of social workers recruited in 2017 leave

James Averill

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Almost half the number of social workers that Conservative-controlled Northamptonshire County Council recruited last year have already left their jobs.

During an update on Ofsted's latest findings on children's services in the county at a meeting of the children, learning and communities scrutiny committee, councillors were told the authority had hired 172 social workers last year, but that 82 had already left.

County Hall

Cabinet member for children, families and education, Councillor Victoria Perry, said: "Our workers are not badly paid compared to other places, but it's the working environment that is causing them to leave.

"We are looking at ways in which to work on that. You don't go into social working for the money, you do it for the love it."

Councillors were told that there are around 400 social worker posts and the current vacancy rate is 23%.

Car on fire partially blocks A14 near Exning

The A14 near Newmarket was partially blocked this morning after a car fire off the edge of the eastbound carriageway between junction 36 for Six Mile Bottom in Cambridgeshire and 37 for Exning in Suffolk..

Car on fire on A14
Passenger @Gigikins captured the blazing car on video from the opposite carriageway

Police said the vehicle was a blue Jaguar estate car, but the driver was nowhere to be seen.

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"We’re trying to trace the driver," a spokesman said.

"Highways have arranged recovery of the vehicle and the lanes now running again."

First time stop and search powers reveal no weapons

Eleven young people were stopped and searched by police in St Albans last weekend using temporary extended powers used for the first time in the city.

Verulamium Park

The powers, known as a section 60 authority, were brought in as a response to an incident in Verulamium Park on 15 June when a teenage boy was injured following a stabbing which led to three arrests and one teenage boy being charged with assault.

Ch Insp Stuart Cheek said the section 60 was being used as a deterrent tactic and he was "pleased to report that no-one was arrested and no weapons were found".

"We wanted to make it clear to anyone that we will use whatever powers we can to protect young people and make St Albans a safer place for all residents and visitors," he said.

Young fin whale in River Ouse may be injured and parted from adult

A young fin whale, believed to be injured, has been spotted swimming in the River Great Ouse near King's Lynn.

Carl Chapman of the Norfolk Cetaceans group, which gathers information about whales, dolphins and porpoises around the county's coast, said he had seen evidence of blood on the dorsal side of the animal in pictures he had received.

Fin whale in Ouse
Gavin Ball

"The whale appears to be under four metres (13ft) in length, which means it is a young animal and would normally be accompanied by an adult," he said.

"In this case the adult may be out at sea and the turning tide may take the calf out to her."

Adult fin whales grow to become the second largest animal on the planet and are sometimes seen in the North Sea.

Amur tiger gives birth to four cubs

Amur tiger gives birth to four cubs at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

An Amur tiger has given birth to four cubs at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

Amurs, also known as Siberian tigers, are endangered in the wild and were on the edge of extinction in the 1930s, when only about 30 remained.

As of last year, according to the WWF, there were an estimated 600 Amur tigers in the wilds of Siberia.

Two knife attacks in Biggleswade

Two people have been threatened with knives, in seperate incidents in Biggleswade.

Police said the first victim was pulled into an alleyway near the railway station by two men, forced at knifepoint to hand over money and had their bike tyres slashed. It happened at about midnight on 18 June.

Biggleswade railway station
J Thomas/Geograph

Then on 21 June, a man was stopped by two men in South Walk with what is believed to be a knife and told to hand over money and his phone.

He got away, without anything being taken, but suffered minor injuries.

Sgt Rachael Welch said: "Please be vigilant when out and about.

"If you think someone is following you, go to the nearest busy area and call police."

‘Dangerous’ verdict of Great Northern staff on overcrowding

The Comet

“Dangerous” – that was the word used in a conversation between two members of Great Northern rail staff amid overcrowding at Hitchin this morning, commuters have said.

Farm apprentice of the year award at Royal Norfolk Show

It's the second day of the Royal Norfolk Show at Costessey and thousands of visitors are expecting to enjoy the spectacle under blue skies again.

One of the highlights this morning has been the award of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association Apprentice of the Year to George Lenihan, a Level 3 student at Easton and Otley College, who works for Robert Alston of Silfield Farms.

Royal Norfolk Show

Mr Alston said: "George's standard of work is brilliant, he follows instruction well and, being mechanically-minded, is good at looking after the machinery and equipment he is using."

He works on an arable farm, a dominant area of agriculture in the eastern counties, under pressure this year because of a late spring and lack of rainfall in June.

Our picture shows some of the livestock on show yesterday.

Visitors today can look forward to events from pig racing to dog agility plus the sight of big farm machines.

Call for Leighton Buzzard bypass to be dualled

Leighton Buzzard Observer

The possibility of the Leighton Buzzard southern bypass being expanded into a dual carriageway stretch of road to cope with population growth is being suggested by Leighton-Linslade Town Council.

Four Essex care homes to close over funding

A chief executive who runs six care homes in Essex says he is shutting four of them because "poor" county council funding is bringing his business "to its knees".

Dr Dave Vive-Kananda, chief executive of Essex County Care, has already closed Scarletts care home in Colchester - and is planning to close three more - Trippier House in Colchester, Well House in Brightlingsea and Poplars in Walton-on-the-Naze.

He says the closures will mean 200 fewer beds.

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Essex County Council terminated its contract after Scarletts failed to meet the requirements of its action plan for improvement, while the Care Quality Commission standards agency also suspended admissions to the home.

"It is inaccurate to claim a lack of fees, investment or training is responsible for homes closing," a council spokesman said, adding that it would work with residents and their families to find suitable, alternative accommodation "of their choice".

Man charged with Southend rape

Temple Farm industrial estate

Police investigating a sexual assault on a woman in Southend have charged a man with rape.

The woman was attacked on the Temple Farm industrial estate at about 23:20 on Saturday, 9 June.

A 28-year-old man from Leigh-on-Sea has been remanded in custody and will appear at Basildon Crown Court next month.

Herts Fire Service plans 'flawed', county council says

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Hertfordshire County Council has told the Home Office that revised plans by the Conservative police and crime commissioner David Lloyd to take over the fire and rescue service are "flawed" - financially, operationally and democratically - and should not go ahead.

Hertford fire station

Mr Lloyd has said that bringing both emergency services under the same umbrella would save some £9m-£16.6m by co-locating fire and police officers at community safety hubs while selling off un-needed premises, enable better joint working and improve public safety.

Conservative council leader David Williams has written to policing and fire service minister Nick Hurd to oppose the plans which he says have been "driven purely by financial savings" and there was no evidence that the estimates of income from the sales of sites are either realistic or achievable.

Councillor Williams has told the minister that keeping the fire service under the control of the council is the best solution and would continue to prioritise the safety of residents.

Mr Lloyd said: "A quick resolution to this is in the best interest of the police and fire services of Hertfordshire and both I and the county council hope this can be made as soon as possible."

Fire at Essex scrap yard

Firefighters have spent the night dealing with a fire at a scrapyard in south Essex.

Essex Fire Service was called to Foster Street in North Weald Bassett near Epping at about 18:30.

They said the fire involved a number of scrap cars, cylinders and a diesel tank and smoke could be seen from the M11.

Crews are still at the scene damping down.

There are no reports of any injuries.

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Skype to be used in Hertfordshire custody cells

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Police in Hertfordshire are installing new technology to ensure suspects held in custody cells are dealt with as quickly as possible.

Hatfield Police Station
Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner

Custody suites in Hatfield and Stevenage have been fitted with video screens which means senior police officers will be able to speak to detainees by Skype.

They hope it could speed up procedures and prevent delays when important information has to be passed on, such as when reviewing the amount of time spent in custody.

In the draft annual report of the Independent Custody Visitors Scheme, Ch Insp Mike Todd said the "innovative and creative project" was the "first of its kind in the country" and funded by the Police Transformation Fund.

The technology is still at the testing stage, but the force hopes to introduce it for use in the "very near future".

It was hoped that the system could eventually provide additional services such as interpreters and legal consultation.

Further arrests in Haverhill stabbing investigation

Police have made a further three arrests after a man was stabbed in Haverhill on Saturday.

car park

Police arrested a 25-year-old man and two 21-year-old men in the Nottinghamshire area on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and are in custody.

The incident took place at about 18:10 in the car park near to the entrance to Haverhill Rugby Club on School Lane.

The victim, a man in his 30s, was with a friend in a white Vauxhall Astra. But when they got out of the car they were approached by a group of men and one stabbed him in the chest - puncturing his lung and damaging his heart.

The man is now in a stable condition in hospital.

Two people arrested on Sunday - an 18-year-old man and a teenage girl - have been released under investigation.

Public meeting to discuss children's home closure

A public meeting is taking place tonight regarding plans to close a home for severely autistic children in Milton Keynes.

More than 900 people have signed a petition calling on Milton Keynes Council to reconsider its proposal to shut Walnuts Children's home, near Shenley Church End.

The council said the changes would enable The Walnuts School to move from three sites to two, providing improved facilities for sixth form pupils.

Lead member for children and families at Milton Keynes Council, Labour councillor Zoe Nolan, said the home was "not a good use of money" as it is "quite a big building with five children in it".