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Summary

  1. Rare Chinese cup sells for £3m at auction
  2. Stoke council criticised for rejecting refugee resettlement plan
  3. Tamworth has only one public toilet, BBC figures show
  4. Updates on Tuesday 31 May 2016

Live Reporting

By Allen Cook

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage across the day

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

Tree to be cut down due to fungus, decay and vandalism

Emma Thomas

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

Five trees in part of Stafford are going to be cut down as the council says they've been found to be "unsafe". 

One of the cherry trees and, inset, the damage on the trunk
Stafford Borough Council

Stafford Borough Council says three cherry trees in St Peter's Gardens, Rickerscote, are suffering from decay and fungal infection. 

It says an infection is also affecting a maple and a smaller sorbus tree has been vandalised.

This evening on BBC Midlands Today: University sells rare cup and the aphid mystery

Nick Owen

Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

On Midlands Today this evening we'll be looking at what the sale of a rare Chinese cup means for Staffordshire University. 

Plus how you could help solve a wildlife mystery for scientists - all involving an aphid. 

See both these stories and all the region's latest news, sport and weather from 18:30 on BBC One.

Football: Leitch-Smith leaves Port Vale

Lee Blakeman

Port Vale commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Port Vale's chairman Norman Smurthwaite has told BBC Radio Stoke that top scorer AJ Leitch-Smith is leaving the club. 

AJ Leitch-Smith
Port Vale FC

The striker was one of 13 players offered a new contract earlier this month, but Smurthwaite says he won't be staying.

His agent emailed today to say that they are rejecting the offer and he wishes to terminate his contract and be paid up which is what we're going to be doing.

Norman SmurthwaitePort Vale's chairman

Crewe road staying shut overnight due to collapsed sewer

A road in Crewe remains shut, the local council says, because of a collapsed sewer.

Cheshire East Council says repairs will start tomorrow with both Ruskin Road and Yates Street affected. 

View more on twitter

Watch: 'Delight' at university after Ming cup makes £3m at auction

Jennifer Meierhans

BBC News Online

A professor at Staffordshire University says she's delighted that a "dusty old cup" found in a university cabinet has sold for £3m.

The cup, thought to have been made for an emperor in 1425, was among a collection of antiques discovered by chance at the university.  

Valued at £2m, an unknown buyer paid £3.17m at auction in Hong Kong.

Professor Flavia Swann said it was a "fantastic sale" and would fund a national ceramics centre.

Cannock Chase’s hidden history to be uncovered without digging up beauty spot

Cannock Mercury

Thousands of years of history could be uncovered in a new project at one of Staffordshire's natural treasures – without a piece of heathland or tree being unearthed.  

Stephen Dean from council with shots of the chase
Cannock Mercury

Derelict golf club on fire in Staffordshire

Fire crews are tackling a fire in a derelict golf club in Stretton, Staffordshire.

View more on twitter

News: Rare Chinese cup sold for £3m; criticism over rejection of Syrian resettlement plan; public toilets' decline

Chris King

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

This evening's main headlines include:

- A rare Chinese cup, which was donated to Staffordshire University, has been sold today at auction for just over £3m

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is being criticised for not working with a charity to resettle a Syrian family of refugees in the city

- Tamworth is among a number of councils to now only have one public toilet, the BBC learns  

Average-speed camera coverage in UK 'doubles' in three years

Lauren Turner

BBC News

They'll be familiar to anyone travelling through the M6 roadworks recently in Staffordshire and Cheshire - average-speed cameras.

Now, new figures have revealed that the length of the UK road network covered by permanent average-speed cameras has more than doubled since 2013.

Average speed cameras over a motorway
PA

Research obtained by the BBC's The One Show found 51 stretches of road are permanently managed by the cameras, covering 263 miles in total.  

In March, the House of Commons Transport Committee recommended further use of average-speed cameras on British roads, as they "are generally better received by motorists than traditional fixed-speed cameras".  

Your pictures: Crewe carnival and horses in the countryside

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

A couple of bank holiday weekend pictures that I've been sent now, from across Staffordshire and Cheshire.

Jonathan White took this at "The Lost Carnival" which took place at Queens Park in Crewe and included musicians, aerial performers and a trampoline acrobat.

Lost Carnival pic
Jonathan White

While BBC Radio Stoke's Perry Spiller took this at the weekend of some horse in Denford, Staffordshire.

Horses at Denford
Perry Spiller

Watch: Football - new Crewe signing Ryan Lowe 'still got a lot to give'

Graham McGarry

Crewe Alexandra commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

The Crewe Alexandra manager Steve Davis says new signing Ryan Lowe still has ''a lot to give". 

The 37-year-old signed a one-year contract with the Alex last week.  

Decades-old tree given council protection despite complaints

Ros Chimes

Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

A protection order has been put on an 80-year-old ash tree in Stoke-on-Trent despite some residents saying they want it chopped down.

The ash tree today
BBC

A number of them living on John Wallace Close, Fegg Hayes, have told BBC Radio Stoke that falling branches, muck from pigeons and blocked satellite signals are all due to the tree.

But the city council says the common ash is "unique" in the area and "makes an important contribution to the local street scene" - and has put a tree preservation order on it.

Watch: Tonight and tomorrow's weather forecast for Stoke and Staffordshire

Charlie Slater

BBC Weather presenter

If you want a weather forecast at any other time for your part of Staffordshire or Cheshire, you can get one from the BBC website.

Diabetes: Children 'not getting recommended checks'

BBC News Health

Almost 75% of older children in England and Wales with diabetes are not getting key health checks, a study suggests.  

Diabetes injection
Science Photo Library

Data from 27,682 children and young people showed 25.4% of those aged 12 and older had all seven recommended annual checks, such as eye screenings.

However, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, which carried out the audit, says the overall picture is one of improving care.

Diabetes UK said missed health checks for children was "very worrying".

BBC Weather Watcher pictures: Wynbunbury and Hanbury

Monica Rimmer

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

Some cracking pictures have been uploaded today and over the weekend from our BBC Weather Watchers in Staffordshire and Cheshire.

Here's a couple from user Sky Watcher in Wynbunbury, Cheshire, and Ianhrp in Hanbury, Staffordshire.

Wynbunbury, Cheshire
Sky Watcher
Hanbury
Ianhrp

News: Ming Dynasty cup makes £3m at auction; call to help power station clubs; Stoke look for youth loans

Chris King

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

The top stories for Staffordshire and Cheshire include:

- A rare Chinese cup, which was donated to Staffordshire University, has been sold today at auction for just over £3m

- There are calls for help to re-home sports clubs and community groups who are currently based at Rugeley B Power Station  

- Stoke City's chief executive Tony Scholes says they will consider loaning out some of their young players next season

Football: Crewe facing up to Inman loss

Graham McGarry

Crewe Alexandra commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Crewe Alexandra's Brad Inman says he is hoping his involvement with Australia's international squad will lead to him moving to a Championship club next season.

Brad Inman
crewealex.net

Inman has almost certainly played his last game for Crewe and will become a free agent next month when his contract expires. 

The Alex boss Steve Davis says he'll have no problem finding a new club.

He'll be of interest - he's got some talent, some pace, he can get goals. I'd love to have kept him, we had him here for three years. Had we stayed in the league, maybe we would have had a better chance.

Steve DavisCrewe Alexandra manager

Rare Chinese cup sells for £3m at auction

Sian Grzeszczyk

Staffordshire Reporter, BBC Midlands Today

A rare Chinese cup, which was donated to Staffordshire University, has been sold today at auction for just over £3m.

The cup
Auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull

The ornament, which dates back to the Ming dynasty, was given to the university during World War Two as part of a collection. 

The university says the proceeds will be used to fund a new national ceramics centre based in Staffordshire.

Can you solve an insect mystery that scientists can't?

David Gregory-Kumar

Science correspondent, BBC Midlands Today

One of the great things about my job is you discover just how little we actually know about the natural world. And because as humans we tend to focus on the furry and (to a lesser extent) feathered bits of that world, most of the really big gaps in our knowledge are to do with insects.

Take the giant willow aphid or Tuberolachnus salignus. As you can see, it's a pretty large aphid with a shark-style fin on its back.

Giant willow aphid
BBC

But after 15 years of studying them and two PhD students having a really close look, we still don't know what the shark fin is for - and we also don't know where the aphids disappear to every November.

It's about this time of year that the aphids re-emerge and start to appear on willow trees so head to the BBC website to find out how you could help solve this mystery.

Consultation over allocation of council homes ends

James Bovill

Staffordshire Political Reporter, BBC News

Consultation ends today on changes to the way council houses are allocated in Stoke on Trent.  

Stoke-on-Trent City Council's HQ, the Civic Centre
BBC

The city council is proposing prioritising rough sleepers and families with children as well as offering shared tenancies to single people under 35.

The authority owns and manages more than 19,000 properties in Stoke-on-Trent.

Public toilets 'wiped out in parts of UK'

BBC News UK

Some UK High Streets and public spaces no longer have any council-run public toilets, the BBC has learned.  

At least 1,782 facilities have closed across the UK in the last decade, Freedom of Information requests found.  

Gentlemen sign
BBC

Ten areas now have no council-run public toilets at all, data showed. A total of 22 councils now only have one public toilet, including Tamworth.

The Local Government Association said councils were trying to keep toilets open but faced squeezed budgets.  

This lunchtime on Midlands Today: The sale of a rare '£2m' Chinese cup

Sian Grzeszczyk

Staffordshire Reporter, BBC Midlands Today

An auction is under way in Hong Kong of a rare Chinese cup which was donated to Staffordshire University.

The cup
Auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull

The antique from the Ming dynasty is valued at £2m and was only discovered by chance - but will it sell and for how much? 

I'll have more on Midlands Today on BBC One from 13:30 including what the money could be spent on.  

Latest: Power station's 'homeless' leisure groups; Syrian resettlement bid turned down; public toilet decline in Tamworth

Chris King

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

This afternoon's top stories include:

- There are calls for help to re-home sports clubs and community groups who are currently based at Rugeley B Power Station

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has turned down a request from a local charity to resettle a Syrian refugee family  

- Tamworth is among a number of councils to now only have one public toilet, the BBC learns

Call for power station community groups to be saved

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

There are calls for help to re-home sports clubs and community groups who are currently based at Rugeley B Power Station. 

Rugeley Power Station
Google

This month it was confirmed the power station will close at the end of June with the loss of 120 jobs. 

The MP for Cannock Chase, Amanda Milling, is calling for new facilities to be found for the 2,000 members of sports and activity groups which are based there.  

I am calling on any community centre, sports centre and local authority to come forward and help the clubs find a new home"

Amanda MillingMP for Cannock Chase

Council rejects charity request to resettle Syrian family

James Bovill

Staffordshire Political Reporter, BBC News

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has turned down a request from a local charity to resettle a Syrian refugee family.

Sanctus applied to a Home Office pilot scheme to rehome a family, possibly in a disused vicarage.

Syrian children among several migrants
Getty Images

The scheme allows charities and other groups to help reach the government's target of resettling 20,000 refugees by 2020. 

But Stoke-on-Trent City Council has to sign off the request which it declined, saying it had genuine concerns about how the scheme would be run.   

Football: Youth players to get loan time from Stoke City

Matt Sandoz

Stoke City commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Stoke City's chief executive Tony Scholes says they will consider loaning out some of their young players next season.

Stoke City's Britannia Stadium
Getty Images

Since the club won promotion to the Premier League, there has been a lack of academy players reaching the first team set-up. 

But Scholes told BBC Radio Stoke their current crop of youngsters could benefit from a spell at another club.

It [their development plans] includes time out on loan to other clubs, whether or not they're in the Championship, League One or League Two or even abroad at times.

Tony ScholesStoke City's chief executive

Watch: Stoke and Staffordshire's afternoon weather forecast

Charlie Slater

BBC Weather presenter

The BBC website also has a latest forecast for your part of Staffordshire or Cheshire at any time.

In photos: Hole on Crewe road

This is the "large hole" which was reported earlier to Cheshire Police on Ruskin Road in Crewe.

View more on twitter

Ming dynasty cup valued at £2m set for auction today

Sian Grzeszczyk

Staffordshire Reporter, BBC Midlands Today

A rare Chinese cup from the Ming dynasty, valued at £2m and donated to Staffordshire University, is being auctioned in Hong Kong this morning.

The cup, thought to have been made for an emperor in 1425, was among a collection of antiques discovered by chance at the university.     

This cup thought to be made in 1425 is being auctioned in Hong Kong
Auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull

The collection of more than 270 pieces was donated to the university during World War Two and then forgotten.

Prof Flavia Swann said the antiques were rediscovered last year after a conversation with the head of the Ceramic Technology Department.  

They were just in unlocked cabinets - sliding doors that when you slide them back [the pieces] literally fell out to the floor. Nothing broke fortunately."

Prof Flavia Swann

Latest: Charity's refugee plan turned down; university auctions off rare Chinese cup; Battle of Jutland centenary marked

Phil Bowers

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

These are among Staffordshire and Cheshire's top stories:

A charity's plan to resettle a family of Syrian refugees in Stoke-on-Trent has been turned down by the city council

- A rare Chinese cup from the Ming dynasty, valued at £2m and donated to Staffordshire University, is being auctioned in Hong Kong.

- A service is taking place this morning at the National Memorial Aboretum in Staffordshire to mark the centenary of the Battle of Jutland  

Your pictures: Rugeley Power Station and a bird at take-off

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

I come back after a bank holiday and find some stunning pictures you've sent in.

Jon Kelso took this photo of Rugeley Power Station.

Rugeley power station
Jon Kelso

And this great wildlife snap's come from Villager Jim in the Peak District.

If you've got a picture to send in of the area, you can do that on email, tweet it to @BBCRadioStoke or put it on Instagram with the tag #bbcstoke.

Bird taking off from tree
Villager Jim

Staffordshire marks Battle of Jutland centenary

Emma Thomas

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

A service is taking place this morning at the National Memorial Aboretum in Staffordshire to mark the centenary of the Battle of Jutland. 

HMS Lion (L) is shelled and HMS Queen Mary is blown up by German shells
Getty Images

The biggest naval engagement of World War One, 250 ships were involved in the 36-hour long battle - 8,648 sailors died.