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  1. Updates on Thursday 23 June 2016
  2. News, sport, travel and weather updates to resume at 06:00

Live Reporting

By Andy Giddings

All times stated are UK

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Charlie Colkett in action for Vitesse

Shrewsbury Town sign Charlie Colkett on a season loan from Chelsea and fellow midfielder Doug Loft on a one-year deal.

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Severe disruption: M54 Shropshire eastbound

BBC News Travel

M54 Shropshire eastbound severe disruption, at J5 for .

M54 Shropshire - M54 lane closed on exit slip road eastbound at J5, Telford Central, because of a broken down vehicle. Traffic is coping well.

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

Big diesel spill on M54

BBC News Travel

Two hundred litres of diesel has spilled on to the M54 eastbounds, between J5 and J4 near Telford.

Highways England says one lane is closed while it's cleared up and queues are currently about three miles long.

What is Monkey Dust?

Public Health England says Monkey Dust is the street name for Methylenedioxy-α-pyrrolidinohexiophenone or MDPHP.

It is a stimulant known as a cathinone and it is similar to another drug, MDPV or Methylenedioxypyrovalerone.

The government classifies synthetic cathinones as Class B drugs.

The drugs charity Mentor said it can make people who use it and their clothes smell of urine.

Police say use of Monkey Dust becoming more widespread

West Mercia Police says the use of the drug known as Monkey Dust is becoming more common in the region.

Det Insp Lee Holehouse said it can cause numbness and intoxications at low doses, but hallucinations, violent behaviour and cardiac arrest in extreme cases.

Monkey Dust
Getty Images

Det Insp Holehouse compared it with other drugs such as MKat and described it as an "extreme high".

Two people who are thought to have taken the drug in Telford have died and a third is seriously ill in hospital.

Severe disruption: M54 Shropshire eastbound

BBC News Travel

M54 Shropshire eastbound severe disruption, between M54 J5 and J4 for A464 Castle Farm Interchange.

M54 Shropshire - Heavy traffic and one lane closed on M54 eastbound between M54 J5, Telford Central and J4, A464 (Shifnal), because of a shed load.

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

Princess to visit teddy bear factory

The Merrythought teddy bear factory in Ironbridge, which has made bears for a number of royals in its 88-year history, is getting a visit from Princess Alexandra today.

Most recently, it made a bear for Prince Louis, the son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Managing director Sarah Holmes will be taking the Queen's cousin on a tour of the site this afternoon.

The Merrythought factory has made bears for a number of royals in its 88-year history.

BreakingWarning over Monkey Dust drug after two deaths

Police have issuing a warning about the dangers of taking an illegal drug known as Monkey Dust after the deaths of two Telford men.

A third man is in a serious condition in hospital and, while West Mercia Police says it's not clear if they had taken the drug, there are concerns there may be a connection.

Det Insp Lee Holehouse said "there may be a bad batch of Monkey Dust circulating" and urged anyone who felt ill after taking the drug to seek medical help.

MP seeks urgent meeting with factory owners

Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski says he is planning to meet the managing director of Magna, owners of Stadco, to understand why the Shrewsbury factory is closing down.

Almost 200 staff work at the plant and have been told they will be able to transfer to other sites.


Mr Kawczynski said he wanted to find out "why these restructuring moves are necessary and what steps are being put in place to help people find alternative employment".

He urged workers with concerns to get in touch with his office

Plant closure will mark end of 100 years in town

The closure of Stadco's factory in Shrewsbury, revealed yesterday evening, would bring an end to a plant that can trace its roots in the town back almost 100 years.

About 190 workers at the site on Battlefield Way have been told their jobs could see their jobs transfer to sites in Telford, Castle Bromwich and Powys by mid-2019.


Yesterday, parent company Magna, based in Canada, said the plans were in response to "challenging market conditions", and after introducing "increased operational efficiencies and decreased costs across all its operations".

The Chatwood Safe Company moved to Shrewsbury in 1925 and built a factory and model village alongside it to house employees.

Today the firm specialises in metal stampings, particularly for the automotive industry.

STADCO in Shrewsbury

If approved the plan would see about 190 jobs move to Telford, Castle Bromwich or Powys by mid-2019.

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Thousands of litres of water pumped into pool

Around 20,000 litres of water has is been pumped out of the River Severn into an ornamental pool in Shrewsbury's Quarry park, to help distressed fish.

The fire service and Environment Agency were called in to help because water levels in the Dingle were reportedly up to three feet lower than usual.

Mark Harris from the council said the low levels meant machines designed to aerate the water weren't working properly, but they wanted to avoid moving the fish if possible.

Water from the River Severn used to top up pool.

BreakingPoundworld to disappear from high street

The administrators of Poundworld have announced the closure of its remaining stores, some of them in the West Midlands.

Another 78 stores are to close by Sunday 29 July and another 112 stores by 10 August.

That will result in 2,339 job losses.

Administrators have been closing the firm's 335 stores since it went into administration in June.

Town revamp attempting to 'minimise impact on trade'

The contractor carrying out work in Shrewsbury Town centre had responded to criticism from the town's MP.

Daniel Kawczynski has complained the work, which includes the resurfacing of the pavement on Pride Hill is taking too long.

He said he had been informed the work would not be finished until October 2019.

Chris Casey, managing director of Casey Group said the contract "experienced some initial delays" and the firm was "working closely with the council’s appointed team to carry out this important regeneration of Shrewsbury town centre".

Pride Hill

Mr Casey didn't respond to the reported delays directly, but said the team were "adhering to the strict guide lines as stipulated by the council in order to minimise the impact on local businesses".

Shropshire Council said it was "extremely dissatisfied with their performance" and said it "has been in ongoing dialogue with Casey" since the works began.

And it added "This should be a positive story of the council thinking ahead to avoid digging up new paving, but we are being let down".

Severe disruption: M54 Shropshire westbound

BBC News Travel

M54 Shropshire westbound severe disruption, between J3 for A41 Newport Road and J4 for A464 Castle Farm Interchange.

M54 Shropshire - One lane closed and queuing traffic on M54 westbound between J3, A41 (Albrighton) and J4, A464 (Shifnal), because of a broken down vehicle.

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

Work on new-look maternity unit to be complete by autumn

A £400,000 revamp of Shrewsbury's maternity unit should be complete by late autumn, the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust has said.

The maternity-led unit is currently closed, because heavy snowfall in February damaged the roof, with services relocated to other parts of the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.

Nurse and builder

The hospital trust said the refurbishment would introduce natural lighting to the birthing rooms, new birthing couches and alterations, to make it more of a "home from home" for mums and their families.

In the papers: Pair deny taxi driver attack

Shropshire Star

Here are three headlines from the Shropshire Star today:

Steam trains return after embankment fires

Steam trains are returning to the Severn Valley Railway after being taken out of service over fire safety concerns.

The fire service was called out on 8 July to attend a number of small blazes which broke out along the line.

Steam train

Today, the heritage railway said it had carried out a "detailed fire risk review" and concluded it was safe to run two of its locomotives.

They will go back into service from today and the railway said it would be "carrying out daily monitoring and fire risk assessments" to see if the rest of its fleet could return to the rails soon.

BreakingFormer Toys 'R' Us stores sold to mystery retailer

The former Toys 'R' Us store in Shrewsbury has been sold to an unnamed retailer.

FI Real Estate Management said it was one of six properties belonging to the chain, sold off in a £30.5m deal.

Three of them - Shrewsbury, Cardiff and Liverpool - have been bought by one firm.

Toys R us

The asset and property management company said "the six properties sold to date reflect the healthy appetite for prime sites".

TNS owner hits out at council over 'grant' repayment

The New Saints owner Mike Harris has taken to Twitter to call for an apology from Shropshire Council after it admitted mistakes were made in relation to a £80,000 grant made to the football club.

In a tweet, which has since been deleted from his personal account, he also insisted the money was not a loan and "not repayable if its terms are met".

Shropshire Council has said a condition of the "legacy grant" being issued was that TNS was, in return, "required to deliver a grant of £16,000 each year, over a five-year period" and that "TNS’ compliance with the terms of the grant is in dispute".

And the authority went on to say: "The council believes that the grant arrangements were legal and in compliance State Aid Rules."

Mike Harris

Mr Harris also criticised the council investigation into the grant, saying it "never gained all the facts never came to our offices for copies of the council staffs emails that have possibly been left out".

And he went on to say "The damage to Oswestry in terms of attracting investment and jobs will be uncountable will think twice before creating any more business in area".

BreakingWater pumped into park pool to save endangered fish

Andy Giddings

BBC News

Water is being pumped out of the River Severn into the pool at The Dingle in Shrewsbury, because low water levels are putting fish in danger.

It's being carried out by Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, which says the operation could take several hours and it is working with Shrewsbury Town Council.

Dingle pool

Over the past few weeks the Environment Agency has rescued hundreds of fish from rivers in Shropshire and Herefordshire and says it is also concerned about high water temperatures, which reduces the oxygen content.

Power plant tattoo for woman 'heartbroken' over demolition

A woman from Telford has had an image of the Ironbridge power station cooling towers tattooed on her ankle, because she was "heartbroken" over plans for the towers' demolition.

Sophie Anderson

The decommissioned power plant, in Buildwas, has been a feature of the Shropshire landscape since the 1960s, has been sold to a regeneration company, and is set to be demolished.

Sophie Anderson, from Ketley said when she heard of the plans "it broke my heart".

"When I was younger and I couldn't sleep, or if I'd been naughty I'd always ask my mum to go and see the chimneys, so it's always been a memory for me.

"It's going to be a childhood memory that's gone.

"At least when they're gone I can look at my leg and see they're still there."

Castle's 'lost' kitchen revealed in heatwave

A "lost" kitchen has been found at Stokesay Castle in Shropshire after the recent heatwave revealed its outline.

The long, dry spell caused grass immediately on top of the foundations to discolour more than the surrounding lawn.

Stokesay Castle
English Heritage

Much of the 13th Centurty fortified manor is intact, with English Heritage describing it as "the finest and best-preserved fortified medieval manor house in England".

However, it's unclear why and when the kitchen disappeared.

Georgina Bishop, from English Heritage, said staff had always known there was a kitchen in the area thanks to a sketch by local woman Francis Stackhouse Acton in the 19th Century.

We've got the great hall quite near the kitchen block and next to it we have a room where it might have been used fro food prep... erady to bring the food out to the people feasting."

Georgina BishopEnglish Heritage

Housing estate clock to be replaced after nearly 40 years

A clock tower in Telford which was erected when the Priorslee estate was built in the early 1980s is going to be dismantled and replaced.

St Georges and Priorslee Parish Council said the work would be carried out next week and a "replacement clock feature" will take its place next spring.

Priorslee Clock

The council said the tower, which has been fenced off in February because of safety concerns, "was constructed out of low grade building materials that had a limited lifetime" and that it is now beyond repair.

Although previously maintained, the passage of time and weather have eventually taken their toll, with both the horizontal and vertical beams of the main frame and the clock housing beyond repair."

St Georges and Priorslee Parish Council

Lentil farm believed to be a UK first

Ben Godfrey

BBC Midlands Today

Lentils could be grown commercially in the UK for the first time, if a trial in Shropshire proves successful.

The pulse is traditionally grown in India and North Africa, but this long spell of very warm, humid weather has brought near-perfect conditions to develop the crop on farmland in Ellesmere.

A farm in Shropshire is experimenting with growing lentils.

Trapped horse winched to safety

Firefighters have removed the roof from a lorry to rescue a trapped horse.

They were called to Bicton, near Shrewsbury, at 08:43 and it took them nearly two hours to lift the animal out.

Horse rescue
Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service
Horse rescue
Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service

Money to be spent on school road safety measures

An extra £600,000 will be spent on road safety schemes around 35 schools in Telford.

Telford and Wrekin Council says it will spend the money on projects including traffic-calming measures, 20-mile-an-hour zones and efforts to reduce the number of cars used to take children to school.

20mph zone

The authority says it hopes to have the measures in place by the end of next summer.

It is also working on plans to take over parking-enforcement powers from the police next year, saying those new powers will help it target problem-parking around schools more effectively.

Street parking charges 'must be delayed'

Faith Page

Reporter, BBC Shropshire

A south Shropshire councillor is calling on the local authority to abandon plans to charge for on-street parking in Ludlow until 20:00 in the evening.


Liberal Democrat Andy Boddington says the market town's been "shafted".

Councillor Boddington wants the plans to be delayed until further talks happen.

Cannabis plants seized in raid

Cannabis plants with a street value put at £150,000 have been found by police who raided a property in Wellington, Shropshire, this morning.

West Mercia Police said between 200 and 300 plants had been seized along with a "substantial amount of dried cannabis".

Cannabis plants
West Mercia Police
Cannabis plants
West Mercia Police

First chamber of modern-day burial mound complete

The first of four stone chambers is now complete at the site of a modern-day long barrow at Soulton Hall near Wem.

It has stone pillars, shelves and a domed roof, and will house people's cremated ashes as an alternative to modern memorials and cemeteries.

The chamber is aligned to be lit by sunrise on the summer solstice and the sunset on the winter solstice and the first chamber is already 40% reserved.

The first chamber in a modern day long barrow is complete.

BreakingTwo more charged over Telford death

Two men have been charged with affray in connection with the death of 42-year-old Derek Whyteside in Telford last month.

He died after being assaulted in Withywood Drive in Malinslee.

Derek Whyteside
Whyteside family

A 16-year-old has been charged with murder and previously appeared at Stafford Crown Court where he was remanded in custody.

Man airlifted to hospital after barbeque flares up

Andrew Hewkin

Newsreader, BBC Shropshire

Three people have been injured, one seriously, after a barbeque flared up at Hopton Wafers in Shropshire last night.

An elderly man was flown to hospital in Birmingham with what were described as "very serious burns".

Fire engine

It has prompted the ambulance service to issue a warning about the dangers of using accelerants on barbecues.

In the papers: Man burnt in barbeque flare up

Shropshire Star

Here are three of the main stories on the Shropshire Star website today:

Firefighgters to remain at scene of woodland fire

Firefighters expect to be at the scene of a large woodland fire in Shropshire for the rest of the day.

More than 50 were called out last night and managed to bring the blaze near Minsterley under control.

Fire engine
Fire engine

Station Manager Ian Lee, from Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, said the site had been difficult to get to and difficult to get water to, but that his crews were "were well drilled and well versed" in dealing with fires of this type.

The New Saints' Aeron Edwards (C) battles for the ball with Shkendija's Stenio Junior (L)

Aled Williams

BBC Wales Sport

The New Saints stage an extraordinary second-leg comeback against Shkendija in their Champions League qualifier but fall agonisingly short.

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