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  1. Updates from the past week

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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  1. Has Hereford got what it takes to be the UK's City of Culture?

    It's deadline time to put in a pitch to be the 2021 City of Culture - and Hereford is one of 11 contenders.

    The council says it would put on a year-long party of "amazing events and festivals in our communities for everyone to access", and would ensure every town, village and hamlet is included in its plans.

    But are the county's rolling hills and abundant hedgerows making it stand out against other cities for the wrong or the right reasons?

    Read what the BBC's Nick Higham discovered when he visited to find out more.

    There's also be more on tonight's Midlands Today at 18:30 with Abigail Appleton, a member of the bid team, and representatives from other cities taking part.

    Herefordshire countryside
  2. On Midlands Today from 13:30: The rise in tool thefts from vans

    Nicola Beckford

    Reporter, BBC Midlands Today

    On Midlands Today this lunchtime, we'll hear how the number of incidents of tools being stolen from vans in the Midlands has almost doubled in the last three years, a BBC investigation's found. 

    Tool thefts

    It's thought criminals are buying locksmith tools from the internet and using them to get into vans.

    We'll have more from 13:30 on BBC One.

  3. Call for hospital protest banner to be replaced

    Phil Maiden

    Reporter, BBC Hereford & Worcester

    People in Redditch say a sign on the side of the town hall, which had a message of support for the local hospital, should be replaced.


    It's believed the banner, which read "'Say No To Cuts At The Alex" was taken down so the council wouldn't appear to be taking political sides so close to elections. 

    The banner has been in place since 2012. 

    We have approached Redditch Borough Council for comment, but haven't heard anything back yet.

  4. Canines to flock to Crufts qualifier

    More than 8,000 dogs will be on show at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern this weekend, all competing for a place at next year's Crufts.

    The West of England Ladies Kennel Society Championship Dog Show judges pets on fitness, health and temperament. 

    A dog

    Organiser Helen Wayman says: "There'll about about 8,500 dogs and hopefully they're bringing their owners so we're expecting about 4,500 people."

  5. Four treated in two-car crash

    Four people have been treated by paramedics following a crash between two cars near Leominster in Herefordshire. 

    It happened at just after 5:30 at Stretford Bridge - one woman had to be released from a car by firefighters. 

    None of the four people needed hospital treatment, West Midlands Ambulance Service said.

  6. Will Hereford be the UK's City of Culture in 2021?

    It's in the running with 11 other towns and cities around the country which must submit their bids by this Sunday.

    To be successful, the 2021 winner will have to prove its bid is centred around heritage, and that it will build on existing investment it gets from the lottery fund.  

    The chosen place will succeed Hull, which is the City of Culture for this year.

    Here's what the city council says about its pitch: "Our bid is unique because it’s for all of Herefordshire, not just Hereford City itself – every town, village and hamlet in the county is included, and the programme has something for residents of all ages, backgrounds and locations." 


    The city is up against: Perth, Paisley, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, Coventry, Warrington, Portsmouth, Wells, Swansea and the smallest city in Britain, St Davids.

    The shortlist will be announced in July and the winning city named in December.

  7. Large increase in tool thefts

    Alex Seftel


    Figures obtained by the BBC suggest a van is broken into and tools are stolen, every 25 minutes across the UK. 

    Reports of this kind of crime have risen by almost 75% in the last two years alone.

    Nearly 700 incidents have been reported across the West Mercia Police area in the last 12 months, up from less than 500 two years ago.

  8. The power of non-voters

    Daniel Wainwright

    Data unit - English regions

    Non-voters would play a pivotal role in the general election if they were to use their vote, analysis suggests.

    The number of non-voters exceeded the number of votes cast for the winning party in more than half of UK constituencies in 2015.

    In Wyre Forest, 27,967 failed to vote (including spoiled ballots), compared with 22,394 who voted for the current MP, Conservative Mark Garnier.


    The Electoral Reform Society said many people felt their vote did not count.  

    See the figures for your constituency on this interactive map

  9. Video: What's the weather doing today?

    Charlie Slater

    BBC Weather presenter

    A generally dry day with occasional sunny spells and the risk of a couple of isolated showers - highs of 12C (54F).

    Video content

    Video caption: Latest weather for the West Midlands
  10. Children's hospice receives grant

    A Worcester children's hospice is to receive another grant of £1m from NHS England. 

    The grant to Acorns, which supports life-limited and life-threatened children and their families, represents 10% of its running costs. 

    The hospice receives a further 20% from other NHS sources, with the vast majority coming from public donations. 

  11. Woman sexually assaulted in Hereford

    A woman in her 20s has been sexually assaulted while walking in Hereford. 

    Police say a man inappropriately touched her while she was heading along St Martin's Street towards the river at around 19:00 last night. 

    The police are appealing for witnesses. 

    St Martin's street
  12. Anti-cuts banner taken down by council

    Jerry Chester

    BBC News Online

    Campaigners against cuts to the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch say they're furious the borough council has taken down a banner in support of the campaign from the side of the town hall. 

    The sign, which was put up in 2012 with the backing of council leader Bill Hartnett, read: "Say No to Cuts at the Alex". 


    It's understood the decision was made because of the upcoming elections, with the council not wanting to appear to be taking sides.

  13. Bogus charity scam warning after two incidents

    Police are warning people to be vigilant following a spate of bogus charity scams. 

    Earlier this month, on the high street in Pershore, a couple in their 60s say they were approached by two women requesting them to sign a petition for disabled and blind children. 

    For confirmation, the women asked to see identification and a signature. They then placed a form over the victim's wallet to allow them to remove cash unseen

    The two offenders were described as Asian, around 5ft and in their early 20s. 

    A similar event happened on Wednesday at the Riverside Shopping Centre in Evesham.

    Two elderly women were approached by two women believed to be Eastern European and in their early 20s, who carried out the same scheme as in Pershore and money was taken. 

  14. Richard Johnson: Champion jump jockey salutes predecessor AP McCoy

    Cornelius Lysaght

    BBC horse racing correspondent

    As he celebrates his second successive jump jockeys' championship, Richard Johnson says his admiration for one-time arch-rival AP McCoy is greater than ever.

    Johnson, 39, from Hereford has dominated the riding ranks since the record-breaking McCoy's retirement two seasons ago; he had been runner-up to the 20-time champion on no fewer than 16 occasions.

    Richard Johnson

    "Some people seem to think it's going to be easy to do it again, but it's very, very difficult because there are an awful lot of lads who're very keen to try to get in front of me," said Johnson.  

    "I think it shows AP's dedication that he was able to keep on doing it for 20 years running.

    "It really was an amazing achievement when you consider I was chasing him hard and lots of other eager young lads were too."

  15. Weather: A cloudy end to the week

    Shefali Oza

    BBC Midlands Today

    It's looking like being a cloudy end to the week, with some showers forecast tomorrow.

    Video content

    Video caption: Shefali Oza has your forecast
  16. Video content

    Video caption: Motorists had faced 40-minute detour after collapse of river crossing

    A school minibus driver who reversed off a bridge moments before it collapsed was guest of honour at its re-opening.