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  1. Updates for Thursday 22 January 2015
  2. News, sport, travel and weather updates return at 08:00 Friday

Live Reporting

By Caroline Gall

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Good evening

    Our updates have now finished for today. The service will start again at 08:00 on Friday.

  2. Dry but cold night

    Shefali Oza

    BBC Midlands Today Weather

    Staying dry through the night with clear spells developing.

    Weather chart

    A sharp frost and patchy fog is expected across most parts with lows of -1C (30F).

  3. Video: Kraftwerk guest no-show

    The world's first academic conference on the German group Kraftwerk is currently taking place at Aston University.

    Kraftwerk conference

    But which crucial speaker was a no-show at the event?

  4. Birmingham City's missing funds

    Dan Pallett

    Sports presenter, BBC Midlands Today

    The company that owns Birmingham City says more money may have gone missing than first first thought.

    Birmingham City - St Andrews

    On Monday, Birmingham International Holdings said it believed a former employee may have "misappropriated" £2.5m.

    Now, the owners say they think the amount is about £3.16m.

    A 33-year-old man was arrested and bailed earlier this week in connection with the missing funds.

  5. Crash causes delays

    BBC Travel

    A two-car accident has led to delays on the A457 Dudley Road in Rotton Park, Birmingham.

  6. Sako: Wolves to wait on winger's future

    BBC Sport

    Wolves head coach Kenny Jackett says Bakary Sako's future will not be decided until the end of the season, when his present contract expires.

    Bakary Sako

    The 26-year-old winger, currently away on African Cup of Nations duty with Mali, signed a three-year deal when he arrived from St Etienne in August 2012.

  7. News on the Hour

    Jo Tidman

    Journalist, BBC WM

    A conference is being held in Birmingham for patients who want cannabis legalised on medical grounds.

    It has been organised by the United Patients Alliance which was set up to represent people who use the drug to relieve pain.

    Hear more at 17:00.

  8. Video: Manhole explosion

    Caroline Gall

    BBC News

    West Midlands Fire Service says it understands a mains box near to where a manhole exploded was smoking prior to an explosion in a manhole in Birmingham.

    The manhole exploding

    A child and her family had just walked over the manhole when two covers flew into the air, narrowly avoiding injuring them at around 12:20.

    National Grid is investigating and says such explosions did happen, but were "not common".

    Watch the video here.

  9. Manhole explosion: Deep hole in road

    West Midlands Fire Service has revealed more details about a manhole explosion in Birmingham earlier.

    Two manhole covers became dislodged in Warwick Road, Acocks Green, just after a child and her family walked over them.

    The explosion left a one metre deep hole in the road, the fire service tweeted.

  10. News on the hour

    Jo Tidman

    Journalist, BBC WM

    A conference is being held in Birmingham for patients who want cannabis legalised on medical grounds.

    It has been organised by the United Patients Alliance which was set up to represent people who use the drug to relieve pain.

    Professor David Nutt, chairman of drug science, says patients should not have the added stress of knowing they are doing something illegal. Hear more at 16:00.

  11. M6 disruption

    BBC Travel

    A broken down car on the M6 northbound carriageway is causing congestion and delays for drivers between junction 6 at the A38 Aston Expressway and junction 7 at Great Barr.

  12. Ikon celebrates 50th year

    David Lumb

    BBC News, West Midlands

    I've been hearing what the Ikon Gallery has got planned for 2015.

    Ikon Gallery in the 1980s

    The venue in Brindley Place is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary.

    It says its programme will continue to showcase the best in British and international contemporary art.

  13. Manhole explosion

    A child has narrowly avoided being crushed by a manhole cover when it exploded on a Birmingham road.

    West Midlands Fire Service tweeted the underground explosion happened on Warwick Road in Acocks Green.

    The cover flew up into the air just after the child had walked over it with two adults.

  14. Post update

  15. News on the hour

    Jo Tidman

    Journalist, BBC WM

    Official figures show levels of violence and sexual offences recorded by the police in the West Midlands have increased substantially. Listen for more details in the news at 15:00

  16. Factory fire

    Police and firefighters say they have been at a fire caused by a cannabis factory in Smethwick.

    The fire

    The fire started just after midnight in the basement of a house in Gladys Road which was used for cultivation, say West Midlands Police.

    No-one was injured, the force tweeted.

  17. 'No wholesale changes' for Blues

    BBC WM Sport

    Birmingham City manager Gary Rowett says he won't be making big changes to the team on Saturday when they meet local rivals West Brom in the FA Cup.

    Club press conference

    The clubs will meet at St Andrew's in the fourth round.

    Rowett, who has been speaking to the press prior to the game, says Lloyd Dyer is an "excellent addition" and the club "had to compete with a number of good sized Championship clubs" for him.

  18. Library cuts criticised

    Birmingham Mail

    Birmingham's great industrial and scientific pioneers would be 'turning in their graves' if they saw the Library of Birmingham facing drastic cuts just 18 months after opening to global acclaim, says the city's prestigious Lunar Society.

    View of Library of Birmingham from the amphitheatre

    Group chairman Waheed Saleem has called on Birmingham City Council to abandon plans to cut £1.5 million from the Library's budget, cut 100 jobs and slash the opening hours by almost half.

  19. News on the hour

    Jo Tidman

    Journalist, BBC WM

    Levels of violence and sexual offences recorded by the police in the West Midlands have increased substantially, figures show.

    Nine per cent more crimes of violence and 17% more sexual offences in the year to the end of September were recorded than in the previous 12 months.

    More in the news at 14:00

  20. Axe set to fall on Halesowen speech therapy unit

    Halesowen News

    A specialist education unit for children with speech problems in Halesowen is set to be axed.

    Under controversial plans the Language Unit at St Margaret's of Hasbury Primary School will be closed down and pupils either relocated to another unit in Dudley or placed in mainstream schools.

  21. Birmingham City v West Brom

    BBC WM Sport

    BBC WM Sport is at West Bromwich Albion's press conference ahead of their FA Cup clash with Birmingham City this weekend.

    The press conference

    Tony Pulis is about to address the waiting media before the two teams meet in the fourth round tie at St Andrew's on Saturday.

  22. Baggies fans 'blocked' Sir Jack tribute

    Express and Star

    A West Bromwich Albion banner in honour of Sir Jack Hayward never appeared at a match due to pressure from some die-hard Baggies fans, it was claimed today.

    Sir Jack Hayward celebrates promotion to the Premiership, Millennium Stadium, 2003

    Kitman Pat Frost posted the image on Twitter on Saturday - saying he was taking it to the Everton match on Monday night.

    However, the banner never made the trip to Merseyside and it was said today that criticism from some Albion fans led to the decision.

  23. News on the hour

    Jo Tidman

    Journalist, BBC WM

    Health bosses in Birmingham say creating plain cigarette packaging will help reduce the number of smokers. More details in the news at 13:00

  24. PC cleared over fatal crash

    A police officer has been cleared of causing the death of a student hit by his unmarked police car.

    Xuan Wei Zhang, 24, from China, was struck outside Newtown shopping centre in Birmingham in April 2012.

    PC Vaughan Lowe, 43, had been responding to reports of a stolen vehicle at the time of the crash. He could still be disciplined, according to the police watchdog, because he faces accusations of gross misconduct over the standard of his driving.

  25. Council backs packaging plans

    Department of Health images of how standardised packaging may look

    Birmingham City Council says it welcomes the government's plans for plain packaging on cigarettes.

    The authority said about a third of 16-24 year olds in Birmingham are actively smoking and shockingly, nine Birmingham children take up smoking every single day.

  26. News on the hour

    Steve Hermon

    Journalist, BBC WM

    Health bosses in Birmingham say they support the government's decision to press ahead with plans for plain cigarette packaging.

    If approved by Parliament by May, a new law could be in force by 2016.

    Birmingham Director of Public Health, Dr Adrian Phillips, said about one in five adults smoke in Birmingham, equating to around 185,000 smokers.

    Hear more at 12:00

  27. Rise in sexual offences

    The latest crime figures are out for England and Wales and although the total number recorded in the West Midlands is the same as last year at 320,000, there's been a rise in sexual offences.

    There were almost 7,000 recorded in West Midlands region, that's up 17% on the year before, and equates to about 1,200 more sexual offences.

    Nationally, the official crime survey found there were seven million incidents in the year to September 2014 - down 11% on the previous 12 months.

  28. Via Twitter

    West Midlands Police tweeted to say a thief who targeted elderly women before Christmas has been jailed for 18 months.

    He was convicted of seven offences in total.

  29. More time to work on Dudley Hippodrome

    Andrew Dawkins

    BBC News

    An entertainment company has been given two more months to work on its business plan for the 1930s Dudley Hippodrome site.

    Dudley Hippodrome

    A 35,000-strong petition was gathered against Dudley council's proposal to demolish the building, as part of a £10m revamp of the area.

    The authority said talks with ROK Group, which wants to run the venue, were continuing but said "commercial factors would have to stack up".

  30. Ikon calls for new gallery

    David Lumb

    BBC News, West Midlands

    Ikon Gallery in the 1980s

    A new multi-million pound modern art gallery "the size of the Tate Modern in London" could still be built in Birmingham, the BBC has been told.

    Plans by the Ikon Gallery, in Brindley Place, to build a new museum near the old station in Curzon Street were scrapped after proposals to open an HS2 station there.

    But Jonathan Watkins, director of the Ikon, said a new gallery was essential if Birmingham was to keep pace with other big cities.

  31. M6 delays

    Drivers are being warned about delays on the M6 after two incidents this morning.

    Northbound lanes were closed at junction 10 for Wolverhampton and Walsall after reports of a pedestrian on the motorway. Police said a man in his 20s was detained.

    One lane is now closed southbound at the same junction after a collision between a lorry and a car.

    BBC Travel has all the details.

  32. News on the hour

    Steve Hermon

    Journalist, BBC WM

    Parents are calling for a fresh investigation over claims children were locked in a cupboard for misbehaving at a Wolverhampton school.

    It's alleged to have happened at Woodthorne Primary in Tettenhall in 2012 - but both Wolverhampton City council and West Midlands Police found no evidence of wrong doing.

    Hear more at 11:00

  33. Armed officers make arrest

    Birmingham Mail

    The paper shows the dramatic moment armed police arrested a man in Bordesley Green on Wednesday afternoon in front of astonished onlookers.

    Pictures taken by a retired cop show plainclothes police wrestling a man to the ground and one officer then points a gun at the suspect.

  34. Caught in the act

    The West Midlands-based Central Motorway policing group tweeted this image of a van whose driver was spotted on his mobile while driving alongside a truck warning motorists not to use their phones at the wheel.

    Still from dashboard camera

    They wrote: "Van driver using his phone on motorway... If only he'd seen the irony of the HGV next to him! Driver reported #irony"

  35. Death crash PC's suspension reviewed

    Steve Hermon

    Journalist, BBC WM

    A suspension given to a policeman whose unmarked car hit and killed a pedestrian while responding to an emergency call will be reviewed after he was cleared of causing death by dangerous driving.

    PC Vaughn Lowe had his lights and sirens on when 24-year-old Xan Wei Zhang stepped in to Newtown Row in Birmingham in April 2012.

    The 43-year-old officer was suspended before the trial back in November 2013.

  36. Demarai Gray: unaffected by speculation

    BBC Sport

    Birmingham City's exciting teenage winger Demarai Gray has made headlines with his form this season but he is unconcerned by transfer speculation linking him with bigger clubs.

    Demarai Gray

    Championship leaders Bournemouth have reportedly had two bids turned down for the 18-year-old, who has scored four times in 22 appearances this season, while a number of Premier League clubs have also been linked.

  37. News on the hour

    Steve Hermon

    Journalist, BBC WM

    Parents are calling for a fresh investigation over claims children were locked in a cupboard for misbehaving at a Wolverhampton school.

    Hear more in the news at 10:00

  38. Record Christmas for Poundland

    Express and Star

    Poundland enjoyed a record festive season, overcoming 'tough' trading conditions to pull in more than seven million customers during Christmas week.

    The Black Country-based chain posted a record sales figure for the last three months of 2014, up 9.8 per cent to £328.4 million.

  39. Kraftwerk konvention

    The first ever international conference on influential German band Kraftwerk is being held in Birmingham.


    Professors, fans and contributors from the US and Europe have gathered in a small room at Aston University for two days to discuss and dissect the group's music and outlook.

  40. Longer train journeys

    Commuters travelling into Birmingham face longer journeys if a peak-time direct service is cut, a rail users group has claimed.

    Shrewsbury railway station

    The 07:47 train from Wrexham to Birmingham has been omitted from a draft timetable for May published online, according to the Shrewsbury to Chester Rail Users Association (SCRUA).

    If the service is axed commuters face waits of half an hour for a connection at Shrewsbury station (pictured), the group said.

    Arriva Trains Wales said "nothing has been finalised" on their May timetable.

  41. News on the hour

    Steve Hermon

    Journalist, BBC WM

    Parents are calling for a fresh investigation over claims children were locked in a cupboard for misbehaving at a Wolverhampton school.

    Hear more in the news at 09:00

  42. Samaras speculation

    BBC Sport

    In today's BBC football gossip column, West Brom's Greek striker Georgios Samaras is linked with a move to Saudi Arabia.

    Georgios Samaras
  43. Good morning

    Caroline Gall

    BBC News

    I am in the BBC WM newsroom bringing you today's news, sport, travel and weather.

    If you spot something you think we should know about, get in touch with us during the day over email, Twitter or Facebook.