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  1. News, sport, weather and travel updates from across the West of England on Monday, 17 July 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Another day done - goodnight from us

Watch: Expect a dry day, ending with "a crash and a wallop"

That's it for BBC Local Live in the West of England.

We'll be back tomorrow from 7am with more live news, sport, travel and weather updates.

Expect a hot day ending with thunderstorms.

Anti-Brexit OAP declares home a republic

William Riches

A retired university lecturer has declared his Gloucestershire home an independent republic in a bid to defy Brexit.

Dr William Riches, 77, from Newnham on Severn, said he is making a stand because he disagrees with the UK withdrawing from the European Union.

He lives in the Forest of Dean where 59% of people voted to leave.

The staunch Remainer says he cannot see a future for the country.

Click here to read more.

Remembering the Hartcliffe Riots: a former techie remembers

Ian Parker

BBC News

One of the things I'll always remember was the sight of one of our cameramen coming back to the BBC Points West studio covered in blood from a head wound.

He'd been out filming and had been struck with a piece of scaffold pole during the disturbance.

The camera was a write-off but luckily it had taken much of the impact.

He said he had lots of good pictures on the tape but that was jammed inside the camera.

Thinking there was nothing to lose I started dismantling a rather expensive camera using a big screwdriver as a crowbar.

We managed to get the tape out and transferred it in to an unbroken cassette in a record-breaking time.

Remarkably it played and was used minutes later in the news bulletin with pictures right up to the moment the camera was destroyed and the picture turned to snow.

'Sickie' PC claims work environment was 'toxic'

Quiet Reflection at Royal Ascot in June 2016
Getty Images

A police officer accused of pulling "sickies" to go horse racing has told a misconduct hearing the police station in Gloucester was "toxic".

PC Jonathan Adams, a probationary officer, said working at Barton Street was "horrible" and he dreaded going into work.

He told the panel he suffered stomach cramps and migraines and had not lied about being sick on the three occasions he went to the races.

"It was the worst time I ever had, the worst. I didn't want to let the team down but I didn't want to go into that environment because it was toxic," he said.

"I saw it as getting myself better for a day, get out of that environment, get myself better."

Click here to read more.

Memories of covering the Hartcliffe story

Steph Marshall

Former BBC Radio Bristol reporter

Hatcliffe riots

July 17th 1992

I remember it was a hot day – the same as it is today, 25 years on. Sticky and humid.

We knew there had been a crash involving the police in Hartcliffe but we couldn’t guess the consequences. With hindsight we should have seen what was coming – after all, these were economically troubled times – unemployment was rising and by the end of that year three million would be out of work - with the official rate around 10.6%.

Black Wednesday wasn’t far away. Negative equity was about to enter our vocabulary. We were all feeling the pinch but in Hartcliffe it was worse. Lots of shops had shut: there was nowhere to go, nothing to do and no money. Hartcliffe was restless and broke.

I was dispatched in the conspicuous BBC radio car with a giant reel-to-reel tape recorder, in the post-riot calm of the day after the night before. Shops had broken windows, the library had been set on fire, there was a lot of clearing up. Police cars were on corners. There weren’t many people around and those that were didn’t want to talk to a young reporter with a great big microphone.

Suspicion and anger hung in the air. It seemed the only people up and about that morning were heading for the butchers and mostly to buy strings of chitterling. I joined the queue hoping that somebody or even the busy butcher himself would finally talk to me. I couldn’t go back empty-handed.

What had they seen? Why did it happen? Would there be more?

When I made it to the front and the shop had quietened down after the lunch rush I was finally given an interview. For the butcher and the rest of the queue what had happened the night before came as no real surprise: Hartcliffe was dying, felt forgotten and people living there were fed up.

The butcher shop was one of the few surviving business - but for how much longer? They all told me it was never going to take much for Hartcliffe to explode – everything was gone and there was nothing to lose. It was only a question of time.

Serious sexual assault - witness appeal

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Gloucestershire Constabulary says a 39-year-old woman was assaulted in Charles Street, Gloucester, in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The offender spoke with a foreign accent and is described by police as white, of medium to large build with short dark hair and he was wearing a white top.

Remembering the Hartcliffe riots of 1992

Sharon Alcock

BBC News

Tower block, Hartcliffe
Bristol City Council

I must have moved on to try to find my interviewees, because I know I went into one of the tower blocks further down the estate and knocked on doors.

One young single mum spoke to me. She was very anxious that she should remain anonymous and that no-one saw me enter or leave her flat. She had known, from a distance, one of the men who died. She had watched the fires and running men and women from her window overnight.

Now she, too, felt unsafe.

She told me she thought the riots would have happened with or without the men’s deaths, because everyone was so fed up of not being helped or listened to.

There were small pockets of unrest still happening across the estate. Walking back to my radio car I remember, at one point, a group of agitated teenagers running around the corner towards me, shouting.

For a few seconds I wasn’t sure whether they were running at me: I was carrying a very visible BBC tape recorder and microphone - but the group passed on. In a parting shot, one of them threw a brick at the car as I drove away. I was quite lucky. Some of my colleagues did not fare as well.

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Burst water main in Yeovil

Watch: See the flooding caused by the burst pipe

A burst water main has resulted in "large amounts of water" flooding a road in Somerset.

Fire crews tweeted that Lyde Road in Yeovil was flooded and road closures were being put in place.

Wessex Water said it was working to repair the leak and apologised to customers who are without water.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Solar powered hot air balloon drops in on primary school

Watch: The balloon uses renewable energy to help it fly

A solar hot air balloon - billed as a world first - has been put through its paces at a primary school in Bristol.

Ahead of this year’s Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, the hybrid solar powered balloon was at Hannah More Primary School demonstrating how the pioneering balloon works.

Developed by Cameron Balloons, the black side of the balloon absorbs the sun's rays to make the air inside hotter than the ambient temperature while the silver side prevents heat from escaping.

Simon Proctor, from Bristol Energy, said: “It’s this kind of very simple science that gets people, young and old, excited about green energy."

PC 'pulled a sickie' to go to the races

Gloucestershire Police HQ

A police officer threw a "sickie" three times in order to watch horse racing, a misconduct hearing has been told.

PC Jonathan Adams part-owns a horse with a racing syndicate and on one of the occasions was seen celebrating a win on television, the panel heard.

He faces three allegations of gross misconduct under "honesty and integrity" but denies lying.

Click here to read more.

Severe disruption: M32 Bristol northbound

BBC News Travel

M32 Bristol northbound severe disruption, at J3 for A4320 Easton Way.

M32 Bristol - The main road is closed, with traffic being routed around the junction and back on again, on M32 northbound at J3, A4320 (St Pauls). Between 20:00 and 6:00 until 19th July

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

Remembering the Hartcliffe riots of 1992

Sharon Alcock

BBC News

I parked my BBC Radio Bristol car near to Symes Avenue – a central row of shops on the estate. Many of the shops and the local library had been looted and burned out overnight and were smouldering acrid black smoke.

I remember picking my way across broken glass along the row of ruined shops and talking to a shopkeeper trying to pick out anything of worth still remaining.

This was a riot of the masses against what they perceived as the establishment – the have-nots against those who had more – and their local shops had fallen into the latter group in the rioters’ minds.

Burning shops on Symes Avenue, Hartcliffe
Burning shops on Symes Avenue

Hardly anyone was willing to speak to the BBC, for the same reasons. I mostly got waved away by young and old alike.

But the shopkeeper talked to me: he was shocked at what he saw as a personal attack on him and his family’s livelihood, after being a local resource for many years.

One elderly woman was very tearful about where she was now going to buy what she needed.

But the passions of a group of young men I spoke to were clearly still running high and I instinctively did not press them to talk to me.

More follows...

Travel: M32 closed overnight

Severe disruption: A432 Bristol both ways

BBC News Travel

A432 Bristol both ways severe disruption, between Channon's Hill and Manor Road.

A432 Bristol - A432 Fishponds Road in Fishponds closed and very slow traffic in both directions between the Channon's Hill junction and the Manor Road junction.

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

What is this 'huge' wasp-like thing?

A wasp-like creature

What is this?

Claire in Cheltenham sent in the picture, taken this afternoon, saying it was "huge".

"It looked too big to be a wasp. It flew towards me and I was like 'woah, what on earth is that?!'," she said.

"Definitely seemed more like a bumble bee in size than a wasp."

Tweet your answers to @BBCBristol.

A tape measure
A wasp-like insect

Police advise against 'taking matters into own hands'

Jenni Morton-Humphreys

Police are advising people not to take "matters into their own hands" after a Bristol woman stole her own bike back from thieves.

Jenni Morton-Humphreys spotted her stolen bike for sale on Facebook.

Posing as a prospective buyer, she arranged to take the bike for a "test drive" and sped off with it instead.

We’d advise against people taking matters into their own hands due to the risks involved and the fact it provides criminals with an opportunity to destroy evidence before we can investigate them. In this case we’ve carried out a full investigation into the theft of the bike and exhausted all current possible lines of enquiry pending new information.

SpokespersonAvon and Somerset Police

Train station cracking down on abandoned bikes

Watch: Abandoned bikes will be removed and donated to charity

Staff at Bristol Temple Meads are having a clear-out of bikes.

Any bikes that have been abandoned are going to be removed from the platform and put in storage for 28 days before being donated to charity.

Illegal detectorists targeting farmland

A reconstruction of a "nighthawker" at work

So-called "nighthawkers" who hunt for buried ancient artefacts are targeting farmland in Gloucestershire.

The illegal practice involves people using metal detectors at night to hunt for valuable objects.

Gloucestershire Police Sgt Garrett Gloyne said: "It happens at a particular time of year after farmers have harvested crops and fields have been ploughed."

He warned if someone is found using a metal detector on a scheduled ancient monument they could be arrested, and also urged the public to notify the force of any suspicious activity.

Click here if you'd like to read more.

Severe disruption: M5 Gloucestershire southbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Gloucestershire southbound severe disruption, between J14 for B4509 Thornbury and J15 for M4.

M5 Gloucestershire - Slow traffic and one lane closed on M5 southbound between J14, B4509 (Thornbury) and J15, M4 (Almondsbury Interchange), because of debris on the road.

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

RAF Fairford exit almost complete following air tattoo

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More people than ever before went to this weekend's Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford.

Some 160,000 made the event which marked the 70th anniversary of the US Air Force.

Highlights included the Red Arrows performing alongside their American equivalents The Thunderbirds.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Remembering the Hartcliffe riots of 1992: a BBC reporter

Sharon Alcock

BBC News

In July 1992, I was three years into my job as a reporter on BBC Radio Bristol when I was sent, early in the morning, to cover the ‘unrest’ in Hartcliffe on Thursday 16th July. Two men - Shaun Star and Keith Buck - had been killed in a police chase, after stealing an unmarked police motorbike the evening beforehand. An inexperienced police driver had used his car to block the speeding bike’s progress and both Hartcliffe men had lost their lives.

Hartcliffe riots

I was one of a several BBC reporters sent to Hartcliffe over the following 48 hours. It seems remarkably stupid, now, that we drove – alone – in a marked radio car, complete with hydraulic 40 foot radio mast, onto the estate to try to reflect what was happening and what local people had to say. Today’s risk assessments would never allow it.

It was a hot day and it had been a hot week. Hartcliffe was a deprived area, with one of the highest rates of unemployment in the UK, as well as the living conditions and frustrations that go hand-in-hand with that statistic. A bid for a multi-million-pound government development grant had been rejected the week before; the death of the two men was a trigger for simmering unhappiness to boil over.

More to follow...

Severe disruption: M4 Wiltshire westbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Wiltshire westbound severe disruption, between J16 for A3102 and J17 for A350.

M4 Wiltshire - One lane closed on M4 westbound between J16, A3102 (Swindon West) and J17, A350 (Chippenham), because of vehicle tyre change. Traffic is coping well.

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

Tribute to an 'exceptional man' by wife of light aircraft victim

Paul Gunnell
Wiltshire Police
Paul Gunnell was 57-years-old and lived in Guernsey

The wife of one of the men who died in a light aircraft collision near Marlborough has paid tribute to her "best friend, a natural-born leader and aviator" husband Paul Gunnell.

Mr Gunnell, who lived in Guernsey, has been identified as one of two victims of the fatal crash, near Marlborough, last week.

Kirsty Boazman said: "My precious and outrageously talented husband, Paul (PG to most) died in a light aircraft accident just outside Marlborough."

This cruel and unexpected departure has ripped a hole in my heart and existence.

Kirsty BoazmanWife of crash victim
Emergency services at the site of the crash

She described her husband as an experienced flier with many hour's private and commercial experience in the cockpit.

In a statement, released by Wiltshire Police, Ms Boazman explained Mr Gunnell had joined the RAF in 1982 and picked up many prizes and a posting to the Harrier fast jets. He became a Harrier Weapons Instructor and ended his RAF service testing and introducing night capability. Subsequently piloting for Cathay Pacific for 23 years, he flew the Airbus from Hong Kong and B777s from Heathrow.

The circumstances of last Thursday’s crash remain under investigation.

Severe disruption: M5 Somerset southbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Somerset southbound severe disruption, at J25 for A358.

M5 Somerset - M5 lane closed on exit slip road southbound at J25, A358 (Taunton), because of a broken down vehicle. Traffic is coping well.

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

Cyclist steals back own bike in sting

Jenni Morton Humphreys

Police are warning victims of crime not to take the law into their own hands after a cyclist successfully reclaimed her stolen bike in a sting.

Jenni Morton-Humphreys, from Bristol, found her bike on social media. She met and tricked the culprit to get it back.

She said: "I cycled on the pavement, fell off a couple of times, then I saw a corner, took it and cycled as fast as I could and didn't look back."

Police say such actions gives suspects a head start in destroying evidence.

Read the full story here.

Motorcyclist seriously injured in crash

Westonzoyland Road in Bridgwater

A man has been taken to hospital after a collision involving a motorbike and a car in Somerset.

The incident happened on Westonzoyland Road in Bridgwater at about 15:30 BST on Sunday.

The motorcyclist "suffered serious injuries" and was taken to Southmead Hospital.

The driver of the car, a woman, was taken to Musgrove Park Hospital with minor injuries.

Police are appealing for witnesses.

Fire destroys home while family on holiday

No one was hurt in the fire but the damage is extensive.

People are organising a collection for a "popular couple" whose Wiltshire home was destroyed by fire on Saturday.

"Any support in this time of need would be appreciated to help them get their lives back together," said a post on the JustGiving website.

"Cash and furniture donations are also welcome at The Hollies Inn, Westbury Leigh."

The blaze broke out at a detached house at around midday.

Nobody was hurt during the blaze which saw the first floor and roof of the property were completely destroyed.

Behind the scenes at Cirque Bijou’s new show, Khoj

Watch: Multi-sensory event promised.

We've been behind the scenes to see rehearsals for Cirque Bijou’s show Khoj, which will be shown for the very first time in Bristol at the city's Harbour Festival.

Khoj is described as a beautiful and memorable aerial, dance and music performance, told in Hindi, Urdu and English

It telling the story of two friends who get lost in the midst of a mela.

Police warn of risks of taking law into your own hands

Jenni Morton-Humphreys and her bike
Jenni Morton-Humphreys/BBC

Earlier we told you about Bristol woman Jenni Morton-Humphreys who managed to snatch back her stolen bike in an elaborate sting.

She thought she'd left the bike in a "safe and busy location" down on the Harbourside but when she returned five hours later it had gone.

Jenni had reported the theft to police but decided to act quickly fearing her precious bike might vanish forever.

Avon and Somerset Police said while it is grateful for any information it warned about people taking matters into their own hands.

A force spokesman said this was because it provises criminals with an opportunity "to destroy evidence before we can investigate them".

In this case we’ve carried out a full investigation into the theft of the bike... We have exhausted all current possible lines of inquiry pending new information

Avon and Somerset Police

Read the full story here.

Boxer's million punches in memory of mother

Watch: Boxer's emotional punchbag challenge seems him strike one-million blows

A former professional boxer from Bristol has completed a charity challenge to hit a punchbag a million times.

Darren Dorrington set himself the task over 50 days to raise money for St Peter's Hospice where his mother was treated before she died from cancer earlier this year.

He says he wanted to give something back to the community.

Football: Nichols swaps Posh for Bristol Rovers

Tom Nichols
Getty Images

Bristol Rovers have signed Peterborough striker Tom Nichols for an undisclosed fee.

The 23-year-old striker has signed a undisclosed-length contract deal with the League One club.

Nichols joined Posh from Exeter City on a four-and-a-half year deal in February 2016, scoring 13 goals last season.

Read the full story here.

Shotgun dog Molly is 'starting to come out of herself a little'


Molly has had a stable weekend and RSPCA staff are pleased that she is starting to come out of herself a little.

Last week we reported that a member of the public found the jack russell with a shotgun wound to her head near Bristol Airport and called the RSPCA.

X-Ray of Molly's injuries
X-Ray of Molly's injuries

She’s using her voice every now and then, and even gave us a small wag of her tail! She is eating well and her drip was removed over the weekend. She is out of intensive care and has been moved to a larger kennel in our Clinic. Our staff continue to make her as comfortable as possible. We are still awaiting some crucial blood test results that will determine Molly’s future treatment."

RSPCA Bristol

Bike 'thief' sees owner ride off during test ride

A woman who had her bike stolen has managed to get it back after arranging an elaborate sting.

Jenni Morton-Humphreys thought she'd left the bike in a "safe and busy location" down on the Harbourside but when she returned five hours later it had gone.

She posted a picture of it on a Bristol-based cycling group and within 10 minutes one of her friends spotted it for sale for £100.

She told BBC Radio Bristol she arranged to met up with the man in Stapleton Road the next day but said he was holding on tightly to it.

"I asked if it was a girl's bike because the saddle was a bit high and told him I wasn't sure if I could get on it.

"I thrust some keys and an empty packet of cigarettes into his hands so he let go.

"! cycled along the pavement a bit, fell off a couple of times, and then I saw a corner, I turned it and cycled as hard as I could without looking back."

Here she is on the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme earlier this morning.

Woman steals her own bike back.

Severe disruption: M50 Gloucestershire westbound

BBC News Travel

M50 Gloucestershire westbound severe disruption, between J1 for A38 and J2 for A417.

M50 Gloucestershire - One lane closed on M50 westbound between J1, A38 (Tewkesbury) and J2, A417 (Ledbury), because of a broken down vehicle. Traffic is coping well.

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

Points West at 60: Gloucestershire beat Kent

Watch: BBC Points West at 60 - Gloucestershire's remarkable victory

On 16 July 1977 a Gloucestershire CCC team made up of many players still considered "juniors" beat Kent by 64 runs.

On the team was a young David Graveney - aged only 23 - who went on to be the chairman of the English test selectors.

Collection for fire family 'who lost everything'

House fire

People are organising a collection for a "popular couple" whose Wiltshire home was destroyed by fire on Saturday.

"Any support in this time of need would be appreciated to help them get their lives back together," said a post on the JustGiving website.

"Cash and furniture donations are also welcome at The Hollies Inn, Westbury Leigh."

The blaze broke out at a detached house at around midday.

Nobody was hurt during the blaze which saw the first floor and roof of the property were completely destroyed.

'I will remember his cheerful smile'

The family of the Bristol student Ben Pocock who died when the plane he was travelling in was shot down over Ukraine in July 2014 are attending the unveiling of a memorial to the victims today.

The ceremony near Schiphol airport in Holland will remember the 298 passengers and crew of MH17 who died in the crash exactly three years ago today.

Watch: Ben's father, Jeremy Pocock, talks here about how the family have dealt with their loss.

In pictures: Royal International Air Tattoo highlights

Crown Copyright

A record crowd of 160,000 people went to RAF Fairford over the weekend for the Royal International Air Tattoo.

Among the 246 aircraft on display were the Red Arrows, their American equivalents The Thunderbirds, and a Battle of Britain fly-past by a Lancaster bomber flanked by Spitfires

Red Arrows
Crown Copyright
Red Arrows
Crown Copyright
Stealth fighter

'I'm confident we will get the truth. But will we get justice?'

Watch: "It's very difficult to say what the outcome's going to be".

The family of the Bristol student Ben Pocock who died when the plane he was travelling in was shot down over Ukraine in July 2014 are attending the unveiling of a memorial to the victims today.

Ben's father, Jeremy Pocock says while he is confident the family will get the truth about what happened - he is not sure that they will ever see justice for their son.

Last September, a Dutch-led criminal investigation reported that Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was downed over eastern Ukraine in 2014 by a Buk missile that had come from Russia.

Everyone on board was killed when it broke apart in mid-air flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. Russia says it cannot accept the findings as the final truth, saying no Russian weapons were taken to Ukraine.

Firefighters get medical training to aid terror attack victims

Simon Hall, Home Affairs Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

Firefighters in Devon and Somerset are being trained to give emergency medical treatment to victims of a terror attack, the BBC can reveal.


Their role would be to provide back up to paramedics at the scene.

A team of 42 volunteers have been taught how to deal with bullet wounds, shock, and injuries caused from being hit by fast-moving vehicles. They’re also being given bulletproof vests and helmets, and have been trained in terrorist tactics with police firearms teams.

The move is in response to the changing terror threat and marauding attacks using vehicles and guns, such as those carried out in Paris and at London Bridge.