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  1. Updates for Friday, 5 January 2018

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Jack King volleys the ball towards goal under pressure from Reading defender Paul McShane

League Two club Stevenage increase the pressure on Reading boss Jaap Stam as they earn an FA Cup third round replay.

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Preston goal

Championship side Preston North End ease into the fourth round of the FA Cup with a big win at League Two Wycombe Wanderers.

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Newcastle celebrate

Ayoze Perez finds the net twice as Newcastle score three first-half goals to defeat League Two leaders Luton Town.

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Andre Carrillo (right)

Tom Garry

BBC Sport

Premier League club Watford comfortably beat a second-string Bristol City side to reach the fourth round of the FA Cup.

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Ousseynou Cisse

League One side MK Dons produce a battling performance to knock Championship club Queens Park Rangers out of the FA Cup.

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Watford defender Brandon Mason

Watford's Brandon Mason joins Dundee United on loan as the Terrors also recruit former Denmark Under-21 striker Emil Lyng.

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Albion's game called off due to 'waterlogged pitch'

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

Saturday's Plymouth Albion game against Bishop's Stortford has been called off due to a "waterlogged pitch", the club has said.

It will be re-arranged for later in the season.

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Severe disruption: M4 Greater London eastbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Greater London eastbound severe disruption, at J3 for A312 affecting J4B for M25.

M4 Greater London - M4 exit slip road partially blocked and queuing traffic eastbound at J3, A312 (Hayes), because of a broken down car. Congestion to J4b M25.

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

Theodore Johnson

Johnson met his third victim, Angela Best, while on unescorted leave from a secure mental hospital.

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Severe accident: M25 Buckinghamshire anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Buckinghamshire anti-clockwise severe accident, between J16 for M40 and J15 for M4.

M25 Buckinghamshire - Stationary traffic on M25 anticlockwise between J16 M40 and J15 M4, because of all traffic being temporarily held and an accident involving lorry and car.

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

Milton Keynes Council's rough sleepers plan activated

Milton Keynes Council has initiated The Severe Weather Emergency Protocol, which provides rough sleepers with shelter during severe weather.

The protocol is normally put in place when there is a forecast of three nights below freezing.

View more on twitter

Milton Keynes Council documents on the protocol say the aim of the policy is "to ensure no one dies on the street due to extreme weather and that every effort is made to engage with individuals during the extreme weather period so they can access appropriate services".

The protocol will be in place until Wednesday, 10 January.

Kevin De Bruyne

Garth Crooks

Football analyst

Garth Crooks gets whimsical over one player's magnificence and includes three from one north London club in his team of the week.

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Body of man found in Milton Keynes

The Milton Keynes Coachway near Junction 14 of the M1 has been sealed off after the body of a man was discovered.

Thames Valley Police say the death is currently being treated as unexplained and formal identification is yet to take place.

The Coachway, Milton Keynes sealed off by police
James Clifton

A spokesperson for Thames Valley Police said: "A mandatory referral has been made to the Independent Police Complaints Commission due to the death occurring following police contact."

The man's next-of-kin have been informed and are being supported by specially trained officers.

England trio challenge you to sign up!


Consider yourself a great five-a-side footballer or willing to give it a go?

Fancy something fun to get 2018 off to a great start?

Want a chance to play at St George's Park and go to the FA Cup final?

Sign up is now available for the FA People's Cup - the free five-a-side competition that's back and even bigger than before. Don't take our word for it, listen to these three......

Find out all the details about the competition here - and you'll be able to see Jesse Lingard, Jack Butland and Harry Maguire try our five-a-side challenge on the BBC Sport website on Saturday.

Motorist critical after A6 crash

A motorist is in a critical condition in hospital after a crash on the A6 yesterday.

Police say there was a three-vehicle collision by Clophill at the Warren Lane junction at about 15:30.

It was between a silver Mercedes A-Class, a Vauxhall Vivaro and a Fiat 500.

A6 by Clophill

Thousands of 'illicit' cigarettes seized in Bedford

About 70,000 "illicit" cigarettes have been seized in a series of raids in Bedford.

Officers from Bedford Borough Council’s Trading Standards team and Bedfordshire Police visited three shops in the town looking for illicit tobacco and counterfeit alcohol.

They found "large quantities" of the items, which are either counterfeit or smuggled to evade tax, stored in vehicles associated with the premises, a Trading Standards spokesman said.

The businesses now face further enforcement action by the council.

Seized cigarettes
Bedford Borough Council

Police deal with increased hare coursing threat

There will be an increased presence in the rural parts of East Hertfordshire starting from today, to deal with the increased threat of hare coursing.

Hertfordshire Police say they have "received intelligence" which suggests there may be illegal events taking place.

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Ch Insp Gerry McDonald said: "Officers will be out patrolling on our quad bikes and in our 4x4s.

"We are also grateful that members of the local community are keeping a watchful eye and reporting any suspicious behaviour to us."

Police across the country believe a large-scale hare coursing competition, The Fir Cup, is due to take place today, but the location of the illegal event is unknown.

‘Inadequate’ Royston school declares safeguarding issues resolved

Royston Crow

A Royston school says it has resolved safeguarding issues that led inspectors to brand it inadequate.

Staff tied up as cash stolen from Cranfield store

Staff at a Bedfordshire supermarket have been tied up by robbers after a raid on Wednesday at about 21:30.

Police say two men demanded a significant amount of cash from the safe at Budgens in Cranfield.

CCTV image
Bedfordshire Police

They have released this CCTV image of two men who they believe may have information which could help their investigation.

Woe for Marston Vale, joy for Aspley Guise in local housing plan

Bedford Today

There are winners and losers in the latest edition of Central Beds Council’s local plan.

Marston Vale has still been allocated 5,000 homes, in two villages instead of the initial four, but planned villages around Aspley Guise have been put on hold.

Armed robbery outside Chesham bank

A security guard was forced to hand over a cash box outside a Chesham bank.

Thames Valley Police say he was threatened by a masked man, who appeared to have a handgun, outside the Nationwide on the The Broadway on Wednesday at about 22:22.

The offender is described as white, of large build, about 5ft 8ins tall and wearing an orange Puffa-style jacket.

No-one was injured.

Nationwide in Chesham

Easyjet passenger numbers rise in December

BBC Business News

Luton-based airline Easyjet says its passenger numbers increased in December by 5.5% to 5,884,304.

It's load factor, which is how many seats it managed to fill on flights, rose from 89.9% to 91.4%.

Read about this and more on the BBC Business Live page.

Easyjet wing
Getty Images

Severe accident: A418 Buckinghamshire both ways

BBC News Travel

A418 Buckinghamshire both ways severe accident, around Wingrave Road.

A418 Buckinghamshire - A418 Wingrave Cross Roads in Aston Abbotts closed and very slow traffic in both directions around Wingrave Crossroads, because of an accident.

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

Alex Davey

Boreham Wood sign ex-Chelsea defender Alex Davey on an 18-month contract from Cheltenham Town.

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Driver jailed after leading police on high-speed chase

A driver who led the police on a high speed chase through Bedfordshire has been jailed for a year.

Danny Mortimer, 21, of Buckwood Road, Markyate, reached speeds of more than 100mph as he drove from Shortstown to Leighton Buzzard where he hit a kerb and stopped.

Luton Crown Court heard that Mortimer went the wrong way around two roundabouts and drove through road works while being pursued in his Ford Fiesta by police cars and a helicopter.

Mortimer was arrested after leaving the car when he hit the kerb on 17 February.

He initially denied being the driver, but today Mortimer changed his plea and admitted to dangerous driving and having no insurance.

Severe accident: A6 Bedfordshire both ways

BBC News Travel

A6 Bedfordshire both ways severe accident, between Barton Road and A507.

A6 Bedfordshire - A6 in Silsoe closed and queuing traffic in both directions between the Barton Road junction and the A507 junction, because of an accident involving three vehicles.

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

Tom King

Millwall goalkeeper Tom King signs a new 18-month deal with the Lions before joining League Two side Stevenage on loan.

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Severe disruption: M25 Greater London anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Greater London anti-clockwise severe disruption, between J25 for A10 and J24 for A111 affecting J26 for A121.

M25 Greater London - One lane closed and slow traffic on M25 anticlockwise between J25, A10 (Enfield) and J24, A111 (Potters Bar), because of a broken down crane. Congestion to J26, A121 (Waltham Abbey).

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

Severe congestion: M1 Bedfordshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M1 Bedfordshire northbound severe congestion, before J13 for A421 affecting Toddington Services.

M1 Bedfordshire - Very slow traffic on M1 northbound before J13, A421 (Bedford). Congestion to Toddington Services.

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

Harry Beautyman runs forward looking for the ball

National League side Sutton United have re-sign midfielder Harry Beautyman from Stevenage for an undisclosed fee.

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Ike Ugbo started half of his 18 games for Barnsley

Chelsea striker Ike Ugbo joins MK Dons on loan for the rest of the season after having his stay at Barnsley cut short.

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Rise in ambulance delays at A&E in the East of England

Stuart Bailey

BBC News

Nearly 3,000 ambulance patients had to wait more than half an hour outside hospitals in the East of England between Christmas and New Year's Day, figures show.

Of those, about a third were delayed for over an hour, waiting for A&E staff to become available, and preventing paramedics from attending other emergencies.

Essex was the worst-affected county in the region with 827 ambulances having to queue outside hospitals, while there were 500 cases in Norfolk and 422 in Cambridgeshire.

The worst individual hospitals were Broomfield in Essex with 243 delayed ambulances waiting to offload patients, Kettering General with 240 over the same period and Colchester with 233.

Ambulance in transit.

Across England as a whole there has been a sharp rise in the number of A&E patients facing delays on arrival in ambulances. Theresa May has apologised for the problem.

How Stevenage inspired a Dutch cycling town
It was the basis for a Dutch town's cycle network but Stevenage's bike paths are far from busy.

Hospital clarifies position on discharging patients

Bedford Hospital has said reports that it was discharging elderly patients and asking families to collect them to "free up beds" were "inaccurate and misleading".

It said it only meant that families of "medically well patients", that were "ready leave hospital, to help us by ensuring a smooth discharge process for the patient to their normal residency."

They "will only discharge patients if they are medically well to do so and not before," a spokesperson said.

Bedford Hospital

Bosses are also asking patients to only attend A&E if "they are seriously unwell".

Milton Keynes founding father Luing Cowley dies aged 95

Milton Keynes Citizen

A founding father of Milton Keynes who was so respected that a hospital building was named after him has died peacefully at the age of 95.

Sydney seaplane: Berkhamsted School 'deeply shocked' at former pupils' deaths

Berkhamsted School has paid tribute to two former pupils who were part of the British family killed in a seaplane crash near Sydney, Australia on New Year's Eve.

Richard Cousins, Emma Bowden, Will Cousins, Gareth Morgan, Heather Bowden, Ed Cousins (clockwise from top left)
PA and Facebook

Old Berkhamstedians William and Edward Cousins died in the crash, along with their father Richard Cousins, his partner Emma Bowden and her 11-year-old daughter Heather.

In a statement on the school's website, it said the Berkhamsted School community was "deeply shocked and saddened" by the news.

"William (25) and Edward (23) attended Berkhamsted School from the age of 11-18 and are fondly remembered, by staff and their peers," it said.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends at this extremely difficult time."

Buckinghamshire pub to open in Beijing

The first of a chain of pubs in the Far East inspired by a Buckinghamshire establishment is set to open in Beijing in March.

In 2015, the then Prime Minister David Cameron took Chinese President Xi Jinping to The Plough at Cadsden during a state visit.

David Cameron and the President of China at The Plough
Getty Images

A year later, Chinese firm SinoFortone bought the pub with plans to open 50 similar venues across the Far East within three years.

Speaking about the first opening in March, Managing Director of SinoFortone, Peter Zhang, said: "We believe we have the best location in central Beijing and the British pub concept will work well in China."

Refurbishment of the soon-to-be pub is currently under way and staff training is also taking place.