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  1. Updates for Friday, 2 June, 2017
  2. Luton terror and kidnap gang jailed
  3. A1M reopened after fatal crash
  4. Hole death firm accused of 'negligence'
  5. Fundraising effort for family of man found dead in hole
  6. Man charged with betting shop robberies
  7. Graham Taylor train engine unveiled

Live Reporting

By Stuart Bailey

All times stated are UK

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  1. Our live coverage across the week

    Stuart Bailey

    BBC News

    Regular updates for Beds, Herts & Bucks have now ended for the day, and week, but we'll be back at 08:00 on Monday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather.

    You can of course scroll down to read anything you may have missed.

    Have a great weekend.

  2. Kidnap victim 'burned, bruised and beaten' and ends up with 68 injuries

    A kidnapped man was "burned, bruised and beaten" as part of a 30-hour ordeal, a court has heard.

    Gun used against victim

    As we've been reporting, six men have been jailed for kidnapping a 20-year-old man on Downs Road, Luton, on 20 June 2016.

    Luton Crown Court heard the victim had a live shotgun put in his mouth, had his knees beaten with a mallet, had cigarettes stubbed out on his arm.

    He was also stunned with a Taser-like weapon and gagged and beaten with a knife. One defendant also threatened to rape him.

    Here is a transcript of part of the ransom call:

    Offender: "Don’t mug me off. It’s gonna get really bad now innit cuz this kid’s no use to me, so I might as well put him out of his misery. Know what I’m saying?”

    Relative of victim: "Listen don’t hurt him, he’s not done anything wrong.”

    Offender: "Listen, I’m going to lay it down to you straight, get the gear and I’ll give you a call back, else you’re losing him, and I’m coming for you next.

    "Forget this kid, you should be worried what I’m going to do after this kid.”

    Shotgun used against victim

    The court heard their victim had 68 separate injuries, although none were described as individually serious.

    Det Ch Insp Adam Gallop said: "These six men were part of an organised crime group, and I’m pleased that they are now facing such a lengthy stint behind bars for their violent and unacceptable actions last June.

    "This was a completely terrifying experience for the victim, a completely innocent young man who was just going about his day to day business when he got dragged off the streets of Luton. "Fortunately he was not seriously harmed and I hope that today’s sentencing will allow him to move on from this ordeal.

    "The strong sentences delivered today send a very clear message – offend in this way, and you risk spending a very long time locked up away from your family and loved ones for many of the best years of your life."

  3. Gang's sentences in full

    As we've been reporting, six men have been jailed for kidnapping a man at gun point.

    Here is a full list of sentences:

    • Mohammed Yousaf, 22, of Lyndhurst Road, Luton, pleaded guilty to kidnap, false imprisonment and blackmail. He was sentenced to 12 years.
    • Muhammed Hussain, 25, of Belmont Road, Luton, pleaded guilty to kidnap, false imprisonment, blackmail and a firearms offence. He was sentenced to 20 years.
    • Saqib Rehman, 20, of Belmont Road, Luton, pleaded guilty to false imprisonment. He was sentenced to three and a half years.
    • Jalil Uddin,40, of Chatsworth Road, Luton, pleaded guilty to false imprisonment. He was sentenced to eight years and three months.
    • Mitchell Malik, 21, of Hillside Road, Dudley, was found guilty of false imprisonment, blackmail, and a firearms offence, but was found not guilty of kidnap. He was jailed for 15 years.
    • A 17-year-old boy from Luton pleaded guilty to kidnap, false imprisonment and blackmail. He was jailed for five years.
  4. Row breaks out in dock as gang is jailed

    Scenes of anger broke out in the dock as a gang leader was jailed for 20 years.

    Muhammed Hussain
    Image caption: Muhammed Hussain

    As we've reported, Mohammed Yousaf, 22, Muhammed Hussain, 25, Jalil Uddin, 40, Saqib Rehman, 20, Mitchell Malik, 21, and a 17-year-old boy were sentenced at Luton Crown Court today.

    They were imprisoned for a number of offences including kidnap, false imprisonment and blackmail after a man was kidnapped from Downs Road, Luton, on 20 June 2016.

    Hussain was the first to be sentenced. When Judge Philip Bartle QC sentenced him to two decades behind bars, he reacted angrily and the judge had to temporarily leave court.

    Mohammed Yousef
    Image caption: Mohammed Yousef

    Sentencing the gang, the judge said: "This young man was being held hostage and being treated with such violence and contempt. These defendants were wholly indifferent to the suffering they were inflicting on him.

    "It is impossible to exaggerate the effect this has had on him."

    The court heard the gang believed two brothers had stolen cannabis worth £60,000 from them. The victim was the boyfriend of the two brothers' sister.

    The victim's captors, said to be led by Hussain and Yousaf, made six calls to the alleged thieves during which the victim could be heard screaming and crying and pleading for his life, the court heard.

  5. Gang jailed for kidnapping man at gun point

    Six men have been jailed for up to 20 years each after a man was kidnapped at gun point in a "gang-related" incident.

    From top left, Jalil Uddin, Mitchell Malik, Muhammed Hussain, from bottom left, Saqib Rehman, Mohammed Yousaf
    Image caption: From top left - Jalil Uddin, Mitchell Malik, Muhammed Hussain; from bottom left - Saqib Rehman, Mohammed Yousaf

    Jalil Uddin, 40, Mitchell Malik, 21, Muhammed Hussain, 25, Saqib Rehman, 20, Mohammed Yousaf, 22, and a 17-year-old boy were sentenced at Luton Crown Court today.

    They were imprisoned for a number of offences including kidnap, false imprisonment and blackmail, after a man was kidnapped from Downs Road, Luton, on 20 June 2016.

    The group bundled the victim into the back of a car in the early hours of the morning, before taking him to an address in Ashburnham Road where he was held against his will for about 30 hours.

    The gate to which the victim was tied

    Calls were made to the victim's friend and threats were made to harm him and other family members.

    The following morning, the victim was abandoned and left tied to the metal gate of a farm near Kensworth, at which point he was able to free himself and make his way home.

    Hussain was sentenced to 20 years behind bars, Malik to 15 years, Yousaf to 12 years, Uddin to eight years and three months, Rehman to three and a half years, and the 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, to five years imprisonment.

  6. Rookie cop helped people escape Bedford fire

    Police say one of their new recruits was first on the scene at a fire in Harpur Street in Bedford yesterday afternoon.

    It broke out in a fourth floor flat at about 13:45.

    Bedfordshire Police said PCs Lesha Martin and Karen Jarman arrived by accident when they followed a vehicle being driven erratically. PC Martin was only in her eighth week of duty as they forced entry to the flat.

    She said: "We helped around five people to get out, as well as the family dog. It was the first time I have ever had to break in a door on duty.

    "I have quickly come to realise that policing is about far more than fighting crime, it’s also about protecting the public and doing all we can to keep people safe."

    PC Jarman added: "Within moments the smoke became thick and black, and we couldn’t see past our noses. I dread to think what could have happened in that situation, but fortunately along with our emergency services partners we could ensure that everyone, including the dog, was safe."

    Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue Service said the flat was 100% destroyed by fire and there was smoke damage to the first and second floors of the building.

    The fire service's station commander Paul Goddard said: "It is thought that an electrical fault was the likely cause of the fire."

    View more on twitter
  7. Michal Kisiel remanded after escaping from custody while in hospital

    Michal Kisiel

    A prisoner who went on the run while being treated for a head injury has appeared before magistrates.

    Michal Kisiel, 30, is charged with escaping lawful custody, common assault and threatening an individual with a bladed article.

    He was arrested on Wednesday after he was seen in Nunton, Wiltshire, some five miles from Salisbury Hospital.

    Kisiel, originally from Poland, was remanded in custody to appear before the city's crown court on 6 July.

    Kisiel, who is also known as Michal Kisier, who lived in Luton, is serving a five-year sentence at HMP Erlestoke near Devizes.

  8. Slimmers' battles for loose skin surgery on the NHS

    Stuart Bailey

    BBC News

    We reported earlier about Sharon Wells from Dunstable and her battle for surgery to have excess skin removed, having lost 16 stone (102kg) - half her body weight - over three years.

    She says the NHS has refused to carry out the operation on three occasions, because her weight hasn't remained stable for two years.

    "I think that's a cop-out. It's just excuses," she said.

    "I'll get to two years and they'll say no because my body mass index has gone up and down."

    The NHS Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Groups told the BBC they were unable to comment on individual cases.

    Sharon Wells

    But Sharon's not alone in having faced a problem like this.

    Paul Mason from Ipswich flew to New York in 2015 for surgery to remove excess skin.

    He used to weigh 70 stone (440kg) and lost about 45 stone (285kg). He was also told it would be at least two years before he could have his loose skin removed on the NHS.

    Sharon is now hoping a fundraising web page will help her find the £6,500 she needs for the surgery.

    Paul Mason
  9. Your pictures: Hazy sunshine

    BBC Weather Watchers

    OK, so it's not quite as sunny or warm as yesterday across Beds, Herts & Bucks but our BBC Weather Watchers have captured some hazy sunshine breaking through the cloud.

    Skyline in Goffs Oak
    Image caption: Goffs Oak
    Flowers in Westoning
    Image caption: Westoning
    Great Brickhill
    Image caption: Field in Great Brickhill
    Field in Stevenage
    Image caption: Stevenage
  10. Envelope update

    Severe accident: M4 Berkshire westbound

    BBC News Travel

    M4 Berkshire westbound severe accident, between J5 for A4 and J6 for A355 Slough.

    M4 Berkshire - Queuing traffic and two lanes closed on M4 westbound between J5, A4 (Langley) and J6, A355 (Slough), because of an accident.

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

  11. Hertfordshire's Inflatable Planetarium Goes on Tour

    The University of Hertfordshire is offering the knowledge of the universe to parks and festivals by loaning out its inflatable planetarium.

    It usually lives at the University's Bayfordbury Observatory, and takes trips out to schools to teach children about space.

    But this summer it's planning to travel further afield with its next stop being the Letchworth Festival later this month.

    Inflatable Dome erected on a field

    The planetarium has a six-metre high (19.5 feet) inflatable dome, a high definition projector and 360 degree sound to simulate the wonders of the universe, from our solar system to the rest of the Milky Way galaxy and beyond.

  12. Envelope update

    Severe disruption: M1 Hertfordshire northbound

    BBC News Travel

    M1 Hertfordshire northbound severe disruption, between J9 for A5 and J10 for M1 affecting J6A for M25.

    M1 Hertfordshire - One lane closed and very slow traffic on M1 northbound between J9, A5 (Redbourn) and J10, M1 (Luton Airport Spur Road), because of a broken down vehicle and recovery work. Congestion to J6a M25.

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

  13. Envelope update

    Severe accident: M25 Hertfordshire anti-clockwise

    BBC News Travel

    M25 Hertfordshire anti-clockwise severe accident, between J24 for A111 and J23 for A1.

    M25 Hertfordshire - Queuing traffic on M25 anticlockwise between J24, A111 (Potters Bar) and J23 A1(M), because of an accident, which is now on the hard shoulder.

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

  14. A1 fully reopened after fatal crash

    Stuart Bailey

    BBC News

    The A1(M) through Hertfordshire is slowly returning to normal after a crash this morning in which a motorcyclist died.

    View more on twitter
  15. Graham Taylor train engine unveiled

    Stuart Bailey

    BBC News

    A London Midland engine named after the former Watford and England manager, Graham Taylor, embarks on its maiden voyage at 13:36.

    It's after a commemorative plaque on the side of a Class 350 model was officially unveiled by Taylor's widow, Rita, on platform 10 of Watford Junction station.

    Rita Taylor, Graham Taylor’s widow

    The naming ceremony included speeches and music from a string quartet before football memorabilia was auctioned off for charity.

    Football shirts

    The train engine will retain its new name for the rest of its working life.

    It will be used on the West Coast Main Line, which passes through stations serving some of the places where Taylor was a manager, including Watford, Aston Villa, Wolverhampton and Wembley.

  16. Motorcylist dead after crash on A1 - dash-cam appeal

    Stuart Bailey

    BBC News

    Police have confirmed that a man died in a crash which closed part of the A1(M) in Hertfordshire this morning.

    They received reports that a motorcyclist had collided with the central reservation on the northbound carriageway close to junction six for Welwyn just before 07:30

    The air ambulance was called, but the rider was pronounced dead at the scene.

    Both carriageways were closed, but it is gradually being reopened.

    View more on twitter

    PC Andy Ralph from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Forensic Collision Investigation team, said: "It is very important that we fully investigate the incident to try to establish the circumstances that led to the collision.

    "In order to do this I am asking anyone who witnessed the collision, or the events leading up to it to contact me.

    "Additionally, a lot of motorists have dash-cams installed in their vehicles now and it’s possible the incident may have been captured on video.

    "If this is the case, again please contact me."

  17. Envelope update

    Severe accident: A1(M) Hertfordshire southbound

    BBC News Travel

    A1(M) Hertfordshire southbound severe accident, at J7 for A602.

    A1(M) Hertfordshire - A1(M) lane closed on exit slip road and slow traffic southbound at J7, A602 (Stevenage), because of an accident.

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

  18. Woman refused excess skin surgery after losing 16 stone

    Stuart Bailey

    BBC News

    A Dunstable woman who lost 16 stone (102kg) has been told she can't have her excess skin removed on the NHS.

    Sharon Wells weighed 28 stone (178kg) and couldn't tie her own shoelaces - but lost about half her body weight over three years through dieting and exercise.

    She wants to have excess skin on her arms and stomach removed, but says that the NHS has refused to approve the surgery because she hasn't yet kept the weight off for at least two years.

    Sharon Wells

    She said: "If I hold my arms out, it looks like sagging skin. But it's not just a cosmetic issue.

    "I suffer from sores and if they get infected it'll cost the NHS money.

    "My doctor first said about applying for surgery, saying I deserved the help, but I've been turned down three times.

    "It's an ongoing battle and I'm absolutely devastated."

    The BBC contacted the NHS Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Groups for a response, but they say they are unable to comment on individual cases.

    Sharon is now hoping to have the surgery carried out privately and has set up a fundraising page to try and raise the £6,500 cost.

  19. Envelope update

    Severe disruption: M4 Berkshire eastbound

    BBC News Travel

    M4 Berkshire eastbound severe disruption, between J6 for A355 Slough and J5 for A4.

    M4 Berkshire - One lane closed and slow traffic on M4 London-bound between J6, A355 (Slough) and J5, A4 (Langley), because of a broken down vehicle.

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