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  1. News, sport, weather and travel updates from across the West of England on Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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  1. Goodnight from us

    Video content

    Video caption: Watch: "A dry day with some seeing sunnier weather," says Ian Fergusson

    That's all from BBC Local Live - we'll be back at 7am tomorrow with more news, sport, travel and weather updates from across the West of England. 

  2. 'Ruthless' robbery gang convicted

    Men blowing up cash machine

    A gang blew up cash machines at banks and supermarkets across England and Scotland stealing hundreds of thousands of pounds, a court has heard .

    Some machines were blown up using "powerful explosives", while others were dragged outside and attacked with high-powered saws to access the cash.

    The seven men were convicted of conspiracy to cause an explosion and burglary at Liverpool Crown Court.

    The gang, mostly from Merseyside, was caught after a covert police operation.

    Attacks included cash machines in Hucclecote and Swindon.

  3. What would you do if you came across someone trying to kill themselves?

    It's a terrible prospect but it happened recently to BBC Somerset's Jack Murley.

    Here's a recording of part of the 999 call he made to Avon & Somerset Police after he helped stop a man from taking his own life.

    Video content

    Video caption: Listen: Hear part of Jack Murley's 999 call

    If you find yourself in in the same situation, always phone the emergency services. 

    However, engaging with the person might be the most powerful thing you can do, according to Andy Pritchard, chief executive of MIND Taunton and West Somerset.

  4. Newspaper editor 'worried' voters unaware of 'metro mayor's power'

    Video content

    Video caption: Watch: Mike Norton said the field of candidates was "underwhelming"

    A publicity drive is under way to tell 900,000 people in parts of the West they're about to get a new leader. 

    Today it was confirmed six candidates will be on the ballot paper for the so-called metro mayor, covering Bristol, South Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset.

    But getting voters interested, let alone excited, is a challenge.

    Bristol Post editor Mike Norton said he was "worried that not enough people realise the person who wins this election will have a lot of power".

  5. Dog lands starring role on new television show

    Video content

    Video caption: Watch: Zuri's taking part in 'Me and My Dog' on BBC Two

    A dog from Bridgwater, and its owner Daisy, have been chosen to take part in a new animal competition which starts tonight on BBC2. 

    " Me and My Dog " sees eight pets and their owners from across the UK compete in a contest set in the Lake District.

  6. Search for 'vulnerable' missing woman continues

    Video content

    Video caption: Watch: A search is under way

    The search for a missing woman in Gloucestershire is being strengthened with help from the Severn Area Rescue Association. 

    Hazel Denham, 71, from Minchinhampton, disappeared with her black poodle Bertie.  

    Police say she has memory problems and is considered to be vulnerable. 

    Hazel Denham

    Hazel is white, 5ft 6ins tall, with short red hair. She was wearing a black bomber jacket and brown walking shoes. 

    Bertie has a red collar and has a red lead. 

  7. Broadway station: Appeal passes £1.25m target

    A heritage railway has passed its £1.25m fundraising target to reopen the station in Broadway four weeks ahead of schedule.

    The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) hopes to lay the final section of track to the Worcestershire station in March 2018.

    It will be the first time since 1960 that Broadway will be linked with Cheltenham, 15 miles (24km) away.

    Broadway station

    GWSR says the money will also allow it to carry out stabilising work on a high embankment just south of Broadway station site.

    Quote Message: It was only a year ago that the Offer was launched by our president, Pete Waterman and it means that completion of the project, on time, is assured.” from Chris Bristow Voluntary finance director
    Chris BristowVoluntary finance director
  8. Envelope update

    Severe disruption: M5 Gloucestershire northbound

    BBC News Travel

    M5 Gloucestershire northbound severe disruption, before J11 for A40 Golden Valley Bypass Gloucester.

    M5 Gloucestershire - One lane blocked and slow traffic on M5 northbound before J11, A40 (Gloucester), because of debris on the road.

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

  9. A rare look inside GCHQ's operations centre

    Video content

    Video caption: Watch: BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera has had a rare tour of GCHQ's operation centre

    The operations centre sits on one of the upper floors of GCHQ, in Cheltenham, and runs 24/7. 

    At any one time, a team of analysts might be monitoring the kidnap of a British citizen abroad or an ongoing counter-terrorist operation run jointly with MI5.  

    BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera has had a rare tour inside the centre.

    Click here if you want to read more.

  10. Eco Park criticised by locals and countryside campaigners

    Video content

    Video caption: Watch: Local resident Mark Campbell says there's no need for Eco Park

    Plans for a £100m business park near Stroud were shown to businesses this morning. 

    But not everybody's happy about it. 

    Local resident Mark Campbell, who's against the proposals, said there was "enough pre-planned development space for all the businesses we should need into the future".

    The proposals were unveiled by businessman Dale Vince, ahead of the outline planning application which his company aims to submit in July.   

    The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) said it had "objected strongly to this planning application".

    Quote Message: Stroud District Council has an up-to-date Local Plan prepared through a rigorous process of consultation. The planning application for a football stadium and Eco Park was submitted almost before the ink on the newly adopted plan was dry and the proposals are clearly contrary to the plan's policies in most respects. from Richard Lloyd CPRE
    Richard LloydCPRE

    Click here if you want to read more.

  11. Families left with 50p housing benefit per week


    Dozens of families across the West have been left with 50p a week in Housing Benefit to pay their rent, a BBC investigation has discovered

    The families have been affected by the new benefit cap, which was introduced by the government last November and limits the total amount of benefits a family can receive. 

    In Bristol, 96 families were affected, while in North Somerset 17 were affected, and in both Banes and South Gloucestershire six families were affected, according to figures obtained by BBC Panorama.

    Across the country 67,000 families have been capped, with 11% of these left with just 50p per week. 

    The government says the cap is intended to encourage people back to work, and that help is available for those who face losing their homes. 

    See the full Panorama investigation on BBC one tonight at 9pm.

  12. BMW workers planning strike action

    Video content

    Video caption: Watch: Workers concerned over changes to their pension scheme

    A demonstration has been held at Mini in Swindon as workers prepare to go on strike.

    Members of the Unite union have been balloted for action because of a dispute over the end of the car maker's final salary pension scheme. 

    Some 800 people are employed at their panel making factory off Bridge End Road. 

    Parent company BMW say they need to make the changes to protect pensions in the future.

  13. Green businessman unveils design for Eco Park

    Video content

    Video caption: Watch: Dale Vince talks about his Eco Park proposal

    The businessman behind a proposal to build a £100m business park near Stroud says the development would include "the most sustainable buildings built yet". 

    Dale Vince, who also founded green energy company Ecotricity, wants to create a "green technology hub" comprising a new football stadium, a new dual-carriageway on the A419 and a footbridge linking the two main sides of the development. 

    The plans were shown to local businesses earlier today.

  14. Travel: Disruption at Bath Spa railway station from Saturday

    Bath Spa railway station

    From this Saturday (until Sunday 23rd April) there will be a lot of disruption at Bath Spa railway station due to modernisation work.

    Network Rail is preparing the station for new, longer trains.

    GWR has listed much of the disruption on its website , including:

    • Some weekday journey times may change and some routes will have a reduced service
    • Across three weekends no trains will stop at Bath Spa station  
    • The car park is currently closed and will remain shut until 30th April
    • If you’re travelling by rail to Twickenham to watch The Clash between Bath Rugby and Leicester Tigers on 8 April you'll need to use Bristol Temple Meads, Chippenham, Bristol Parkway, Swindon or Westbury
  15. Jenson Button disqualified from Ironman competition for speeding

    Jenson Button

    He's always been fast but now ex-Formula 1 racer Jenson Button, from Frome, has been banned for it.

    Out of the car, the grand prix star's passion is triathlons and he originally came third in his latest Ironman challenge in California.

    It was only when the F1 driver crossed over the line he discovered he'd been speeding in the bike section and was disqualified.

    The race included a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile cycle and a half marathon.

    Click here for more.

  16. How might Eco Park look from the road?

    Video content

    Video caption: Watch: An artists' impression of how Eco Park and the new stadium might look

    The founder of the green energy company, Ecotricity, says the proposed Eco Park near Stroud will push the boundaries of sustainable development and pump £300m-a-year into the local economy. 

    Dale Vince was speaking to businesses interested in his plan at Junction 13 of the M5

    But critics say it would cause huge traffic problems and is in the wrong place.

  17. Envelope update

    Severe accident: M5 Bristol southbound

    BBC News Travel

    M5 Bristol southbound severe accident, between J19 for A369 and J20 for B3133 affecting J18A for M49.

    M5 Bristol - Very slow traffic on M5 southbound between J19, A369 (Portishead) and J20, B3133 (Clevedon), because of an accident earlier on. All lanes have been re-opened. Congestion to J18a M49.

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

  18. Pride in 'little town's respect' for repatriated soldiers

    Video content

    Video caption: Watch: Town councillor Chris Wannell remembers the repatriations

    Between April 2007 and August 2011, 345 men and women of the British armed forces were repatriated through Royal Wootton Bassett.  

    Ten years on, town councillor Chris Wannell said the townspeople had "wanted to pay their respects to the troops".

    "It was at a time when respect in our armed services was extremely low - and what I'm most proud of, is that our little town put respect back into our armed forces," he added.

  19. Lloyds names locations for branch closures

    A Lloyds Bank branch

    Lloyds Bank has announced the locations of 100 branches that it plans to close between July and October. 

    There will also be a net reduction of 325 staff, who were told about the plan on Wednesday morning. 

    Across the West region, the branches to close are

    Lloyds Bank 

    • Bourton-on-the-Water
    • Clifton Village, Bristol
    • Corsham
    • Mere
    • Montpellier, Cheltenham
    • Pewsey
    • Tetbury
    • Tidworth
    • Wincanton
    • Yatton


    West Swindon

  20. Attacked asylum boy fundraiser exceeds target

    Reker Ahmed
    Image caption: Reker Ahmed was beaten and kicked by a gang while waiting at a bus stop

    A crowdfunder for a teenage asylum seeker who was "brutally attacked"  in Croydon has raised more than £45,000. 

    Reker Ahmed, a Kurdish-Iranian boy, was beaten and kicked by a gang while waiting at a bus stop on Friday night. 

    Fundraisers Robin Adlem, from Bristol, and Bridey Watson set a target of £3,500 and have said they are "humbled by the response". 

    Thirteen people, all aged between 15 and 24, have been charged with violent disorder in relation to the attack. 

    Fundraiser page