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  1. News, sport, travel and weather updates from across the West of England on Tuesday, 9th May

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Goodnight from Local Live

Well that's it for today from your Local Live team in the West of England.

Join us from 7:00 am tomorrow for all the latest news, travel, weather and sport from across the region.

To see us out, here's Ian Fergusson with sunny forecast for Wednesday...

Encounters film festival returns to Bristol

Bristol's Encounters Film Festival returns to the city this Autumn. In 22 years the festival has helped to launch the career of many hundreds of filmmakers.

Some of the events taking place this year will focus on helping black, minority and ethnic filmmakers start out in the industry.

Watch: some of the events this year will help BAME filmmakers

BBC Points West will be running a special project with the film festival, and they want you to get involved. 

There will be more details here tomorrow.

Dry weather affecting farmers in the West Country

Farmers in some parts of Somerset have been anxiously watching the skies for signs of rain. 

With rainfall levels much lower than expected, some crops are now weeks behind schedule. If the dry spell continues, crops like this barley might have to be scrapped, costing the farmer thousands of pounds. 

Watch: this barley crop could be scrapped if it doesn't get enough rain.

Bristol Rovers sign Ghassan Abu Hassan

Ghassan Abu Hassan
Bristol Rovers FC
Ghassan Abu Hassan with Bristol Rovers president Wael Al-Qadi

Bristol Rovers have signed Jordan under-19 international defender Ghassan Abu Hassan for the club's under-23 side.

Abu Hassan, 18, is believed to be the first Jordanian player to sign a professional contract with a UK club.

Read the full story here.

Ghassan Abu Hassan

Bristol Rovers sign Ghassan Abu Hassan

Bristol Rovers sign Jordan under-19 international defender Ghassan Abu Hassan for the club's under-23 side.

Read more

Wincanton racing abandoned due to lack of rain

Earlier this evening (7:31pm) we told you how parts of the West have received much less rain than they were expecting.

At Wincanton Racecourse in Somerset, they've called off their next fixture - scheduled for the 16th May - because they used too much of their water reserves to water the course after their last event in April.

Now, organisers say there isn't enough left for them to water the grass and the ground is too hard as a result.

These will take place at Warwick Racecourse instead.

Watch: The racecourse is too hard because there hasn't been enough rain to water it.

Veterans restoring canals in Wiltshire

This week is mental health week, and Wiltshire-based charity Help for Heroes have teamed up with The Canal and Rivers Trust to get former soldiers outside and socialising.

Many of the people involved in this project have suffered with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other mental health illnesses. 

Some of the veterans taking part have gone from being virtually housebound to getting out and restoring parts of the Kennet & Avon canal. 

Watch: these veterans are restoring canals to boost their mental wellbeing.

Curlew numbers monitored in West Sedgemoor, Somerset

Watch: the RSPB is monitoring the birds' nests, eggs and chicks on West Sedgemoor

Curlews are endangered birds in the UK, so the RSPB in Somerset has started monitoring the population at West Sedgemoor.

They are looking at how many eggs survive to adulthood. The chicks they find are being radio tagged so their movements can be monitored.

Although populations of curlews across the country have declined, West Sedgemoor population levels have remained constant because the traditional hay meadows there provide a good nesting habitat for the birds.

Police arrest man after assault in Bristol

Avon & Somerset Police have arrested a man on suspicion of rape, after an assault near Bristol Hippodrome at the weekend.

An alleyway on Denmark Street was cordoned off at the weekend as a result.

Denmark St

A spokesperson for Avon & Somerset Police said:

We can confirm that a 20-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of rape and released under investigation.

Is a dry summer on the cards for Bristol's water reservoir?

Chew Valley Lake
Getty Images

After a dry winter, could a dry summer be on the cards as well?

Bristol Water have said that the area they supply received just 13% of the rain they were expecting for April, which means they are taking steps to ensure their reservoir at Chew Valley stays high. 

Our current reservoir levels are only slightly below normal (95% full compared to 99% last year) for this time of year. Currently there are no restrictions in place for water usage. However, as we approach the summer months demand for water will increase. We are encouraging our customers to use water sensibly.

Trowbridge 'shoplifter' died after fall on bottles

Kieren Church
Family photo

A suspected shoplifter bled to death after bottles he was carrying broke as he was tackled by a security guard, an inquest heard.

Kieran Church, 30, died at The Shires shopping centre, Trowbridge, having suffered a "catastrophic haemorrhage".

Read the full story here.

Kieren Church

'Shoplifter' died after fall on bottles

Kieran Church suffered a "catastrophic haemorrhage" in a fall on the bottles, an inquest hears.

Read more

Veterans are working hard to restore the Kennet & Avon canal in Devizes

New Banksy mural vandalised

Well that didn't take long. As with most Banksy artworks, his latest piece painted on a wall in Dover has been vandalised.


The Bristol artist's latest work, believed to be a comment on Brexit, appeared on Sunday morning.

Since then, somebody has scrawled "The Clash" in the rungs of the workman's ladder.

Dover District Council said it would be monitoring the artwork using CCTV. 

You can read more about the story here.

Vandalised artwork
David Joseph Wright

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron campaigning in Burnham-on-Sea

Burnham on sea
Getty Images

The upcoming general election means that politicians are out and about trying to win our votes.

These events often involve a prop of sorts. Today, Tim Farron's choice was a hovercraft in Burnham-on-Sea.

The Liberal Democrat leader and Tessa Munt, the MP for Wells posed for photos on a search and rescue boat on Burnham beach. 

Tim Farron in a Hovercraft
Getty Images

Severe accident: A38 Bristol both ways

BBC News Travel

A38 Bristol both ways severe accident, near B4057 Gloucester Road.

A38 Bristol - A38 Gloucester Road in Patchway blocked and very slow traffic in both directions near Petrol Station, because of an accident.

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

Diversions at Junction 25 on M5 northbound in Somerset tonight

Alexander Blackman: 'Only those present know the full story'

Marine A: Only those who were there know the full story

Alexander Blackman - also known as Marine A - received a life sentence in 2013 for killing a wounded Taliban fighter. But his murder conviction was later reduced to manslaughter.

He gave his first TV interview to Points West's Clinton Rogers earlier today. 

Severe accident: A370 Somerset both ways

BBC News Travel

A370 Somerset both ways severe accident, at B3133 High Street.

A370 Somerset - A370 Bristol Road in Congresbury blocked and very slow traffic in both directions at the B3133 High Street junction, because of an accident.

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

M4 traffic improves as incident is cleared

Virgin Care misses key health target for children

Virgin Care's contract in Wiltshire is the subject of a special report on Points West tonight.

Matthew Hill will look at criticisms lodged by Karen Tilley about the care her daughter received.

View more on twitter

Severe accident: M4 Bristol westbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Bristol westbound severe accident, between J19 for M32 and J20 for M5.

M4 Bristol - One lane closed and very slow traffic on M4 westbound between J19, M32 (Bristol) and J20, M5 (Almondsbury Interchange), because of an accident.

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

Twitcher with 'half a haircut' rushes to Dorset to spot rare bird

A twitcher headed to Dorset's Jurassic Coast with only "half a haircut" as he went in search of a rare bird.

View more on twitter

Cliff Smith, from Frome, Somerset, said he was having his locks trimmed when the "mega alert" for the spectacled warbler went off.

Spectacled warbler
Lee Fuller

It was recorded on Portland Bill on Monday afternoon - a first for Dorset and only the ninth time the species has been recorded in the UK.

Having confused the barber as he "legged it out of the door" with only the back and sides of his hair cut, he said he would return today to have the top done.

Mother of severely disabled child criticises Virgin Care

Watch: Karen Tilley on Virgin Care for her disabled daughter

A mother says her severely disabled daughter was left without overnight medical care for three months, after Virgin Care took over community children's health in Wiltshire.

Karen Tilley, from Westbury, said 11-year-old Josselin - who is blind and deaf - needs help to eat and breathe at night.

While she praises staff, she has said she isn't happy with how her daughter's care was dealt with when Virgin Care took over community children's health in Wiltshire a year ago.

Having inherited historically long waits, over the past year we have reduced waiting times across all services we provide in Wiltshire and 97% of families said they would recommend the care or support they received to their friends or family. While it is not possible to comment on the details of an individual case, when concerns are raised we work to resolve these as quickly as possible.

Virgin Care

Police arrest Gloucester man on suspicion of attempted murder after hit and run collision

Winnycroft lane
The collision took place on Winnycroft Lane in Matson, Gloucester.

Gloucestershire Police have arrested a 42-year-old man on suspicion of attempted murder after a hit and run collision in the Matson area of Gloucester yesterday morning.

A 54-year-old woman was hit by a car which failed to stop. She received serious injuries to her leg, back and head as a result.

Police are appealing for witnesses who saw a dark VW Golf with the numberplate WL05 JVU as it left Gloucestershire. 

They believe it was in Burford and High Wycombe before being found abandoned near J6 of the A40.

'Shoplifter' bled to death when bottles smashed after security guard fall

Kieren Church,
Wiltshire Police

A suspected shoplifter bled to death after bottles he was hiding broke when he was tackled by a store guard in a shopping centre in Trowbridge, an inquest heard. 

Kieren Church, 30, died in the car park of The Shires shopping centre having suffered a "catastrophic haemorrhage". 

Security officer Jordan Rose, 20, who was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter was later told he would face "no further police action".

A conclusion of accidental death was recorded by coroner David Ridley. 

Summing up, at Wiltshire and Swindon Coroner's Court, Mr Ridley said: "The most appropriate conclusion is sadly Kieran died as the result of the unintended consequence of a deliberate act.

Rare handkerchief tree blooms at Dunster Castle

Handkerchief tree
National Trust, John Millar

What do these remind you of? A rare handkerchief tree from China has bloomed several weeks early at Dunster Castle in Somerset. The National Trust, which looks after the castle, says the recent warm weather is behind the premature flowers. 

The tree was planted in the 1900s by former lady of the castle and keen gardener Alys Luttrell. Apparently she bought it over in her handbag directly from China.

It'll flower for another three weeks until the end of May.

Competition-winning bodybuilder lost nine stone

Watch: Wayne Martin's story

Five years ago Wayne Martin, 39, from Minehead, was morbidly obese. 

He weighed over 21 stone (133kg) and was living a hedonistic lifestyle of alcohol, fast-food and zero exercise. 

Then he had two suspected heart attacks. 

Wayne decided to get fit and change his diet. He has since lost 9 stone and won a top UK fitness modelling competition in the Body Transformation class, as well as picking up two 3rd place trophies in other categories. 

He says standing on the stage for the first time in only his show pants was the most liberating experience ever - and is now training every day in preparation for the World Championships in October.

BBC local radio headlines this lunchtime


BBC Radio Gloucestershire: A victim of hate crime says more needs to be done to tackle the issue in Gloucestershire. A campaigns been launched in the county by Police aimed at encouraging those affected to come forward.

BBC Somerset: A former Royal Marine from Taunton jailed for killing a wounded Taliban fighter in Afghanistan in 2011 has given his first broadcast interview since leaving prison. 

BBC Radio Bristol: There will be a 50th anniversary St Pauls Carnival in 2018. The announcement comes after a new Community Interest Company was created in February.

BBC Wiltshire: An inquest has found a shoplifter died accidentally after being tackled by a security guard in Trowbridge. Kieren Church suffered what paramedics described as a "catastrophic haemorrhage" from glass bottles hidden under his top after he fell to the ground with the guard on top of him.

Severe disruption: M5 Gloucestershire southbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Gloucestershire southbound severe disruption, at J11 for A40 Golden Valley Bypass Gloucester.

M5 Gloucestershire - One lane closed on M5 southbound at J11, A40 (Gloucester), because of a broken down vehicle. Traffic is coping well.

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

And it's a green light for lift-off

View more on twitter

Drivers using the Elmbridge roundabout on the A40 in Gloucester have been warned of further delays this week. 

The current traffic light signals are being removed before new ones are installed. 

These won't be turned on till the whole junction is complete later this year, but in the meantime new road markings will be in place.

Twenty teens ill after taking drug

Salisbury, Wiltshire
Getty Images

Up to 20 teenagers in Wiltshire have needed medical treatment after taking the prescription drug Xanax in the last week, police have said. The young people - aged 15 and 16 - have been "deliberately risking their health", Wiltshire Police added.

Xanax is prescribed by doctors to treat severe anxiety or panic disorder.

Parents and guardians in Salisbury are being urged to talk to their children about the risks of taking drugs that have not been prescribed for them.

Click here to read more.

What next for ex-Marine after prison?

Watch: Blackman tells Clinton Rogers he "has had lots of kind offers of employment"

Alexander Blackman says he‘s had “lots of kind offers of employment” since his release from prison.

The former Plymouth-based marine was freed 11 days ago after serving seven years for killing a Taliban insurgent.

He says the “most important" thing for him is to "be useful" while his wife Claire says she’s “got a great long list of jobs” for him.

The couple also say they “haven’t talked to anybody” about a possible film based on his story but “nothing’s been ruled out”.

Taliban fighter death a 'moment of madness'

Watch: Alexander Blackman speaking to BBC Points West's Clinton Rogers

Alexander Blackman says he "doesn't know why exactly" he did it, and called it a "moment of madness".

The former Plymouth-based Royal Marine, from Taunton, was released from prison at the end of last month after having his murder conviction reduced to manslaughter following an appeal.  

In his first television interview since being released, he said it was "not exactly the proudest moment" of his life.

Click here to read more.

Football: Cheltenham Town release 11 players

Gary Johnson

Cheltenham Town have released 11 players following the conclusion of their League Two campaign.

  1. Asa Hall
  2. James Jennings
  3. Amari Morgan-Smith
  4. Daniel Parslow
  5. James Dayton
  6. Jack Munns
  7. Calum Kitscha
  8. Liam Davis
  9. Jack Barthram
  10. James Rowe
  11. Jordan Lymn

Harry Pell, Dan Holman, Will Boyle, Carl Winchester and Matt Bower remain under contract, while youngster Josh Thomas recently signed a first professional contract.

Click here for more.

Blackman offered wife chance to walk away from marriage

Watch: Ex-Marine Alexander Blackman said he offered his wife the chance to walk away

The Plymouth-based Royal Marine who killed a wounded Taliban fighter said he told his wife at the time he was jailed that he would understand if she "didn't want to stick around".

Alexander Blackman, from Taunton, was released from prison 11 days ago, after serving more than three years of a seven-year sentence.

His wife Claire led the campaign to free him alongside author Frederick Forsyth and the Daily Mail.

He said he told her that this was not "anything anybody would agree to" when they got married and he would understand "if she wanted to part company".

Click here to read more.

Marine A: "Freedom's a really good feeling"

Watch: Alexander and Claire Blackman talking to BBC Points West's Clinton Rogers

The Royal Marine jailed for shooting dead a wounded Taliban fighter says freedom feels "very good" - 11 days after being released from prison. Alexander Blackman received a life term for murder in 2013, but his conviction was reduced to manslaughter last month. In his first television interview, the 42-year-old - from Taunton, but who served in Plymouth - said the "freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want" was a "really good feeling".

Rugby: Bristol 'underestimated' Premiership, admits owner

Steve Lansdown

Relegated Bristol "underestimated the Premiership", the club's owner Steve Lansdown has admitted. 

The Ashton Gate club, back in the top tier for the first time since 2009, won just three league games as they made an immediate return to the Championship. 

"We thought we were ready, with a squad that could compete, but we were wrong," Lansdown told BBC Radio Bristol. 

"We've learnt a lot of hard lessons. No excuses, we got it wrong. I should have recognised the danger signs sooner."

Click here for more.

Children treated after taking a prescription drug

View more on twitter

In the last week 20 children in Wiltshire have taken the prescription drug Xanax, according to police.

It has led to a warning to parents and guardians in Salisbury.

The young people, all aged 15 and 16, have received medical treatment and are recovering.

We are concerned about these incidents in which young people are deliberately risking their health. The effects of taking any drugs which haven't been specifically prescribed for you can have serious or even fatal consequences and we urge parents/guardians to talk to their children about the dangers. We are investigating where the supply to these young people has come from and ask that anyone with information comes forward.

Inspector Pete SparrowWiltshire Police

A few of the local newspaper headlines

Avon Fire and Rescue in recruitment drive

Watch: The fire service is encouraging more women to apply

Avon Fire and Rescue service is recruiting - with 16 jobs up for grabs.

The service has said it wants more women and people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds to apply to help increase the diversity of its workforce.

St Pauls Carnival is one of the biggest of its kind in Europe

Watch: Archive film of St Pauls Carnival

The new organisers of the event have announced it will return in 2018 - the carnival's 50th year.

Community events, fundraising activities and oral history projects will start the countdown this summer.

Some members of the St Pauls community have voiced their distrust towards the newly set-up managing group.