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Summary

  1. Job threat at historic Hereford firm
  2. Worcester City Council bans releasing of lanterns
  3. Evesham United win their league transfer appeal
  4. Updates on Wednesday 15 June 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Lorry and a rose

Bethan Bell

BBC News

Bin lorries, art installations and roses have all emerged as victims of political "purdah" - the 28-day moratorium before a vote. "Purdah" guidelines mean council staff cannot campaign for one party to win - but which councils have taken it to the extreme?

Read more

Our live coverage across the day

We'll be back from 08:00 tomorrow with the usual mix of news, sport, travel, your pictures and weather - but keep an eye out here for more updates this evening and into the morning.   

Weather: The latest forecast for Herefordshire and Worcestershire

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

Watch the latest forecast from BBC Midlands Today.

Worcester batsman 'desperate' for first-team call up

Batsman Tom Fell is "desperate" to earn a recall to the Worcestershire first-team squad after getting the all clear from testicular cancer, says director of cricket Steve Rhodes.

Tom Fell
Rex Features

Fell, 22, was diagnosed at the end of last summer and missed the start of this season after undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

"He's a quality cricketer and one of our best bats," Rhodes added. "He's recovered from a serious illness and we're all delighted to have him back playing.  

Led Zeppelin singer gives evidence in copyright case

Worcestershire's Robert Plant (pictured), along with guitarist Jimmy Page, has given evidence at their copyright trial in Los Angeles.

Robert Plant
BBC

The Led Zeppelin pair are accused of lifting the opening notes to Stairway to Heaven from Taurus, a 1967 track by the band Spirit.

Lane blocked on M5 northbound

BBC Travel

On the M5 in Worcestershire, one lane is blocked and there's very slow traffic northbound between J6, for the A449 (Worcester) and J5, at the A38 (Droitwich), because of a broken down vehicle.

On Midlands Today this evening: Getting the Midlands' mood on EU referendum

Patrick Burns

Political editor, Midlands

In just over a week, thousands of us will take to the polls to vote on whether to leave or stay in the European Union.  

View more on twitter

And all this week I've been taking a road trip through the heart of Britain to gauge the mood on the streets.

Find out what I've found in my latest stop on Midlands Today this evening on BBC One - at the slightly earlier time of 18:25.

Patient taken to hospital following collision on A465 Hereford to Bromyard road

Hereford Times

One person has been taken to hospital following a collision on a county road.  

Funnel cloud above Stourport

BBC Midlands Today viewer Flic tweeted these images of grey skies and what appears to be a small funnel cloud over Stourport in Worcestershire.

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Heavy rain disrupting traffic

BBC Travel

Torrential rain has been causing problems on Worcestershire's roads, with thunder and lightning reported over Hereford.

There's delays on the M42 near junctions one and two southbound. 

New Road
BBC

New Road, outside Worcestershire County Cricket Club, is down to one lane due to flooding.

Earlier, Worcestershire Rapids' Royal London Cup clash with Leicestershire Foxes was abandoned because of the rain.

The Environment Agency has also issued a flood alert for the River Stour.

Job threat at historic Painter Brothers

Up to 17 jobs could go at one of Hereford's most historic firms, it's emerged.

Painter Brothers has confirmed that formal 30-day consultation with staff is under way.

The firm, now part of the Balfour Beatty group, was founded in the city in the 1920s and built the famous cigar-shaped 300ft Skylon - the centerpiece of the 1951 Festival of Britain - pictured below.

Skylon
BBC

Balfour Beatty says it's proposing to reduce the workforce due to reduced demand in the market and an increase in competition. 

Heavy rain 'pasting' Hereford

Drivers are warned about surface water flooding on the city's roads.

View more on twitter

Council ban on releasing lanterns

Worcester City Council becomes latest authority to ban lanterns and the releasing of helium balloons.

The decision has been branded "utter nonsense" by critics which affects residents living authority-owned properties.

Lanterns being released
Getty Images

 Anyone leaving remnants of balloons or lanterns could also face fines of £80.  

Herefordshire Council 'ran car park without having permission to do so for years'

Hereford Times

Herefordshire Council has come under fire after it was revealed the authority ran a town car park for years without ever having planning permission to do so.

Wet New Road

Worcestershire's One-Day Cup match against Leicestershire at New Road is abandoned after heavy rain.

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All clear on Hereford's roads

BBC Travel

There are currently no reported incidents on the roads in Herefordashire.

WATCH: Tornado-like shapes in Midlands skies

Tornado-like shapes called funnel clouds have been forming in skies above the West Midlands.

These images were captured yesterday by Matthew Lee Hancox in Shrewsbury, Helen Vann in north Rugby and Robert Brooker, east of Coventry. And earlier today, Jason Mason Burns, near Droitwich, spotted the same meteorological phenomenon.  

Funnel clouds: Tornado-like shapes form in West Midlands skies

Man 'acted suspiciously then followed woman home'

Police say a man followed a woman home, verbally threatening her, after she saw him acting suspiciously near Perry Wood, in Worcester last weekend.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the force.

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What risks do lanterns pose?

Caroline Gall

BBC News Online

In light of Worcester City Council's ban on people releasing lanterns and helium balloons from authority-owned properties, here's what other organisations have said about them:

Lantern
BBC
  • According to civil aviation authorities, there is a danger of lanterns being sucked into engines while airborne
  • False alarms at sea for both the Coastguard and RNLI, after lanterns were mistaken for flares
  • The Chief Fire Officers' Association called for an "urgent review" on lanterns after one sparked a huge fire at a factory unit in Smethwick, West Midlands in July 2013
  • Lanterns have become increasingly popular at weddings, music festivals and other celebrations, with tens of thousands sold in the UK every year

Father and son jailed for stealing 17 caravans

A father and son have been jailed for stealing 17 caravans and transit vans from locations across the Midlands including Warwickshire, Staffordshire and Worcestershire, police say.

The haul, amassed by Coventry men Seamus and David McDonagh, was part of a criminal operation that stole vehicles worth £250,000. Police said investigating officers, using street cameras, saw 16 occasions when a vehicle owned by Seamus McDonagh was in a motorway convoy with stolen caravans. 

Seamus and David McDonagh along with Seamus McGuire
Warwickshire Police
Clockwise from left: Seamus McDonagh, David McDonagh and Seamus McGuire

Seamus McDonagh, 57, was sentenced to six years imprisonment for conspiracy to steal caravans, along with conspiracy to steal from motor vehicles while on court bail. His son David McDonagh, 36, was given a nine-year prison sentence for conspiracy to steal caravans, conspiracy to steal motor vehicles, robbery, plus conspiracy to steal from motor vehicles - also while on court bail.

Another Coventry man who was part of the group, Seamus McGuire, aged 25, was sentenced to eight years for conspiracy to steal motor vehicles and robbery. All three - found guilty after a two-and-a-half-week trial - were sentenced last Friday. 

Unemployment rises in West Midlands

Daniel Wainwright

Data unit - English regions

Unemployment in the West Midlands rose in the past three months, according to official figures.

Regional unemployment
BBC

The total increased to 159,000 in the February-to-April period, up by 7,000 from the previous quarter, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Football: Evesham United win their appeal against league transfer

Trevor Owens

Sports Editor, BBC Hereford & Worcester

Evesham United have won their appeal against plans to transfer the club to the Northern Premier League for the 2016-17 season.

Evesham United FC
BBC

The Robins were told they would have to move after Cinderford Town turned down the promotion place they had earned by winning the Southern League Division One South and West last season.

But the Football Association's Leagues Committee ruled in favour of Evesham; and so they will take their place in Division One South and West next season as planned.

Cinderford have been told they will have to accept the promotion to the Premier Division.

Latest: Job threat at Hereford firm; Council bans releasing of lanterns; a win for Evesham United over league appeal

BBC Hereford and Worcester

Here's the latest from the newsroom at midday:

- Up to 17 jobs could go at one of Hereford's most historic firms, Painter Brothers 

- Worcester City Council bans the release of lanterns and helium balloons on land and properties it owns

- Evesham United Football Club officials are celebrating after they won their appeal against a transfer to the Northern Premier League for next season

Flooding problems on the A449

BBC Travel

Flooding is causing problems on the A449 in Worcester, in both directions on Malvern Road, between Manor Farm Island and Powick roundabout.

Could you give up bottled water for a month?

With a 25% rise in sales of bottled water in the UK over the past five years, a Herefordshire charity is asking people to give it up throughout June.

The Marine Conservation Society, based in Ross-on-Wye, and a water filter firm says the environmental impact is increasing and are urging people to stop buying single-use bottles.

A survey of 2,000 people by the water filter firm in April and May suggested in the West Midlands, 51% of respondents used bottled water at home.

Council approves fines for releasing balloons

If you live in a property owned by Worcester City Council, you can now be fined £80 if you release a helium balloons or lanterns.

The authority approved the ban, which also covers land it owns, at a meeting on Tuesday.

Lanterns
BBC

Opponents claim the idea is "flawed", "costly and unenforceable".

But Jabba Riaz, from the council's leisure services, said when the lanterns land on farmland, animals can be hurt by treading on the wire.

Football: Evesham United will learn their fate later

Trevor Owens

Sports Editor, BBC Hereford & Worcester

Evesham United Football Club are set to find out at 12:00 if they have been successful in their appeal against the planned transfer of the club to the Northern Premier League for the 2016-17 season.

Evesham Utd ground
BBC

The club sent a delegation to Wembley Stadium to formally appeal against the decision, as they feel it would increase their costs due to extra travelling, as well as reducing their income as they would miss out on derby matches.

Evesham face being transferred to the Northern Premier League after Southern League Division One South and West champions Cinderford Town declined to take their promotion place, as they claim they would be unable to afford it.

Worcestershire renters 'most at risk of eviction'

Caroline Gall

BBC News Online

People living in rented accommodation in Kidderminster, Bewdley and Stourport are most at risk of being evicted in the West Midlands, according to national charity Shelter. 

Wyre Forest tops the list - along with Birmingham - with one in 47 rented homes under threat of eviction. 

More than 13,000 renting households in the Midlands were put at risk of losing their home in the past year, the charity says.

Charity's plea over use of bottled water

A Herefordshire charity is asking people to give up plastic bottled water for a month, because of the environmental impact. 

Person drinking water
BBC

The Marine Conservation Society, based in Ross-on-Wye, says across the UK there's been a 25% increase in sales over the past five years.   

Led Zeppelin in court over copyright

Members of the rock band Led Zeppelin have appeared in court to deny borrowing from another song for their 1971 hit Stairway To Heaven.

Guitarist Jimmy Page and singer Robert Plant, who has a home in Worcestershire, are expected to give evidence at the civil case in Los Angeles.

Jimmy Page and Robert Plant
Reuters

Basketball: Worcester Wolves may struggle to keep forward says Paul James

BBC Sport

Worcester Wolves might find it "difficult" to keep key forward Perris Blackwell at the club next season, says director of basketball Paul James.  

Perris Blackwel
Getty Images

Blackwell scored 590 points in 34 appearances in his rookie season in the British Basketball League last term.

The 6ft 9in (2m) tall Californian has been offered a new deal by Wolves, but is yet to confirm whether he is going to sign.

We're desperate to get him back but it might be difficult to do that. There will certainly be other clubs from other leagues looking at him

Paul JamesWorcester Wolves director of basketball

News: Charity claims renters at eviction risk; cycle track plans secure funding; blind man calls for change in attitudes

BBC Hereford and Worcester

This morning's top stories include:

- People living in rented accommodation in Kidderminster, Bewdley and Stourport are more at risk of being evicted compared to the rest of the West Midlands, according to Shelter 

- Plans to bring a cycling track to Hereford are a step closer, according to the city's mayor 

- A blind man from Worcester has called on employers to change their attitudes towards hiring people with disabilities

Weather: Latest forecast for Herefordshire and Worcestershire

Charlie Slater

BBC Weather presenter

Get the latest forecast for Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

The weather for the West Midlands.

Good morning from today's Herefordshire and Worcestershire live page

Welcome to the Local Live service for Herefordshire and Worcestershire on Wednesday morning. 

We'll be bringing you all the news, sport, travel and weather as it happens. 

If you'd like to get in touch you can email, tweet us on @bbchw or message via Facebook.