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  1. Updates for Tuesday, 26 July 2016
  2. Man shocked to find mystery snake in garden
  3. 'Super council' for east Suffolk moves a step closer
  4. McCarthy to give players 90 mins at Charlton tonight
  5. Hockey pair on plane to Rio Olympics
  6. Suffolk's cricket captain to retire

Live Reporting

By Philippa Taylor

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

That's it from the Suffolk Live team until 08:00 on Wednesday. 

Following on from the story about the Ipswich man who found a 4ft snake in his garden, we'll leave you with this advice from the RSPCA if the same thing happens to you.

Exotics specialist Nicola White says there are a number of native reptiles in Great Britain. 

"Releasing a non-native species into the countryside, or allowing it to escape, is an offence under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981," she said.

"This is to prevent threats to our native wildlife by introduced species.

"If the snake is an exotic pet that has escaped, or been deliberately released, we would be concerned for its welfare, as if it is a non-native species then it is unlikely to be able to survive long-term in our climate.   

"If anyone does come across a stray exotic pet snake our advice is to keep a safe distance, monitor the snake and call us."

Overnight weather: Mainly dry with the chance of some patchy rain

Alex Dolan

BBC Look East weather

Cloudy across most parts of the region this evening, but mainly dry with a chance of patchy rain by the end of the night. Lows of 12C (54F).

Wednesday's weather map

Wednesday will start cloudy, with some drizzle, with some sunshine breaking through later and further showers possible as it peaks at 23C (73F).

Get the full forecast where you are from BBC Weather.

Anniversary of Sutton Hoo ship burial discovery

Today is the 77th anniversary of the unearthing of the Sutton Hoo ship burial site near Woodbridge. It is still one of the most significant archaeological discoveries ever made in the UK.

Getty Images

The British Museum is marking the anniversary, offering people the chance to explore the Sutton Hoo gallery after hours via its Facebook page.

Cancer charity boss visits newly-opened treatment centre

Jon Wright

BBC Radio Suffolk

The head of the Macmillan Cancer Support charity Lynda Thomas has been visiting the £4.7m Woolverstone Ward at Ipswich Hospital. 

Chief executive of MacMillan chatting to patient

Lindsey, who was receiving chemotherapy this afternoon, said: "I'm very impressed that they take the time to come down and chat to people and find out how we all feel about it."

Money for the ward came through local fundraising, NHS investment and from the charity itself.  

Road remains closed after Sudbury crash

Kate Arkell

BBC Radio Suffolk

Two people have been taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge with serious injuries, after a collision involving two vehicles in Sudbury in south Suffolk.

The A134 is likely to remain closed between Newton Road and Valley Road for some time, say police.

It's understood that recovery vehicles are on their way to the scene, and that a diversion is in place.

Visit BBC Travel for Suffolk for the latest updates.

Hockey players begin their journey to Rio 2012

Suffolk hockey players George Pinner and Harry Martin are en route to Rio:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Shake-up is a 'reshuffling of the deck, not a cutting exercise' says council leader

Philippa Taylor

BBC Local Live

The leader of Ipswich Borough Council says he's not expecting any job losses as they carry out a reshuffle of staff.

Responding to an article in today's East Anglian Daily Times which said there would be 30 posts cut, David Ellesmere said, in fact, that he anticipated they'll "employ more staff at the end than at the beginning, but they'll be in different roles".

Ipswich Borough Council offices

Mr Ellesmere added that they're looking to increase property investments and focusing on the marketing of council services to try to increase income.

Russell Williams, chief executive, said: "The restructure that is being consulted on is designed to make the council better able to focus on delivering its priorities, including major capital projects. 

“This restructure proposal is not about saving money – it is about the council being able to deliver better on its priorities.”

Ipswich Town unveil new squad numbers

Town have unveiled their squad numbers for the upcoming 2016-17 Championship season.

Midfielder Teddy Bishop has switched to number seven, having previously worn 27, in the most significant change.

New signing Adam Webster has taken the vacant number 15 shirt, whilst Paul Digby has moved to number 14 following his permanent switch from Barnsley.

Andre Dozzell will wear the number 23 shirt this term, whilst fellow youngsters James Blanchfield and Shane McLoughlin will wear numbers 24 and 25 respectively.

Speedway: Chairman not so jolly about points deduction

Brenner Woolley

BBC Radio Suffolk sport

Mildenhall Fen Tigers chairman Kevin Jolly says he feels more sorry for his riders than himself after the club was punished further by the Speedway Control Bureau (SCB).

Kevin Jolly
Jeff Higgott

After an appeal the SCB's increased his fine from £250 to £1,250 pounds -  £1,000 of which was suspended - and deducted the club points for last month's controversial postponement against Cradley.

"The thing that hurts more than anything is they're deducting us three league points. 

"That hurts me more than the fine. The boys have now got to dig deeper to make up for my mistake which isn't good."

Travel: Delays on A14, A12 and A1092

BBC Travel

As well as the problems we mentioned earlier on the A134 in Sudbury, there are delays for drivers on a number of routes in the county this afternoon:

  • A14 eastbound - one lane closed and queuing traffic on Orwell Bridge between J56 (A137) and J 57 (A1189) because of two-vehicle collision
  • A12 southbound - exit slip road partially blocked at Copdock J33 because of a broken down lorry
  • A1092 Cavendish Road in Clare partially blocked between B1063 and B1064 by a broken down lorry

Hockey: Pinner aiming to be the best in the world

Brenner Woolley

BBC Radio Suffolk sport

Suffolk hockey player George Pinner has told BBC Suffolk Sport of his lofty ambitions ahead of the Olympic Games. 

George Pinner
Getty Images

The goalkeeper, and fellow Suffolk-born player Harry Martin, are part of the Great Britain squad that flies to Rio today, ahead of their opening game a week on Saturday.

"I have ambitions to be the best in the world," said Pinner. "I enjoy going out and playing hockey and trying to be the best in the world and I can't wait to do it on, basically, the biggest stage."  

Ipswich Town: Dozzell improving all the time - Chambers

Brenner Woolley

BBC Radio Suffolk sport

Ipswich Town captain Luke Chambers believes teenage midfielder Andre Dozzell (pictured right) will get better and better as he plays more Championship football.

Andre Dozzell

The England youth international burst onto the scene last season with a goal on his senior debut at Sheffield Wednesday, aged just 16.

"The Championship is like no other, physically it's very demanding," said Chambers. "He's graceful on the ball, he's got some brilliant touches and he's got that awareness on the ball. I can't speak highly enough of him." 

Emperor dragonfly emerges from two year existence under water

Philippa Taylor

BBC Local Live

A warden at the RSPB reserve at Lakenheath Fen has captured the process of an emperor dragonfly emerging, having lived under the water as larva for the last two years.

Having crawled out of the pond and up the stem, the images show the dragonfly with its head and legs peeling out of the larval case:

Dragonfly on stem
Katherine Puttick
Head and legs appear from larval case
Katherine Puttick

Once the legs have hardened, it does an impressive sit-up like manoeuvre and flicks the rest of its abdomen out of the larval case:  

Sit-up manoeuvre
Katherine Puttick

After pumping fluid into its wings it will sit a while longer before taking its maiden flight:  

Resting with wings tucked in
Katherine Puttick
Ready for flight
Katherine Puttick

Travel: Accident blocks A134 eastbound near Sudbury

BBC Travel

The A134 in Sudbury is blocked eastbound at the A131 Newton Road junction, because of an accident on the roundabout involving a single vehicle.

Opponent to council merger says 'local should be local'

Vikki Irwin

BBC Radio Suffolk political reporter

There are concerns that plans for a new 'super' council in east Suffolk are too big.

Council meeting

Liberal Democrat councillor John Kelso is one of five opposition councillors at Conservative-run Suffolk Coastal. 

He said: “A local council should be a local council.” 

He’s worried councillors will have bigger wards to deal with.

Merger of councils will 'improve democracy' says leader

Vikki Irwin

BBC Radio Suffolk political reporter

Creating the largest district council in the country in Suffolk “will improve democracy”, says  the leader of Waveney District Council, Colin Law.

Colin Law

The business case for a political merger of Waveney and Suffolk Coastal district councils was approved last night and means it will now go out to public consultation.

Mr Law said he understood concerns there was a feeling of a loss of democracy, but he didn’t believe that was the case.  

He said: “We want to improve democracy in east Suffolk and bring together a new council that is more representative of the area”.

Business case for council merger gets approval from members

Vikki Irwin

BBC Radio Suffolk political reporter

The business case for a new super district council for east Suffolk, stretching from Felixstowe to Corton, has been approved.

Suffolk Coastal council HQ
Suffolk Coastal Council

It means the plans to have a political merger of Waveney and Suffolk Coastal, which are currently separate district councils, will go to public consultation.

It's claimed the merger would save £1.3m a year, have assets worth £170m and create the largest district council in the country.

Both cabinets met in Suffolk Coastal District Council's offices last night to vote on the business case.

Reduced Rail Service After Charlton Friendly

Fans taking the train to tonight’s pre-season friendly at Charlton Athletic should note that there will be a reduced service from Liverpool Street following the match. 

Ipswich Town gearing up for their penultimate pre-season friendly

Brenner Woolley

BBC Radio Suffolk sport

With just 11 days to go before the start of the new season, Ipswich Town step up their preparations with a trip to League One Charlton tonight.

Ipswich Town training

Manager Mick McCarthy's confirmed he plans to start giving players a full 90 minutes, rather than just part of a match.

Town then round off their summer fixtures at home to Belgian side Royale Union Saint-Gilloise on Saturday.

Cricket: Suffolk captain Huggins 'sad' to be standing down

Brenner Woolley

BBC Radio Suffolk sport

Tom Huggins admits he's been left with a heavy heart after deciding to quit as Suffolk's three-day skipper, and it's been a "privilege" leading the county.

Tom Huggins
Getty Images

The 33-year-old will take on a coaching role at Essex after lining up for his final game against Staffordshire on Sunday.

“I am sad that I'm finishing playing three-day cricket for the county, as I have thoroughly enjoyed the eleven years I have played, but life evolves and coaching is my future.

"Having the opportunity to be involved in a first-class county is a step in the right direction." 

Huggins will continue to play club cricket for Sudbury and hasn't ruled out appearing for Suffolk in one-day matches in the future.

'In hindsight we maybe should not have picked it up' says snake man

Mark Sampson has told BBC Suffolk that having discovered the mystery snake in his garden, two of his friends came round and volunteered to collect it and they put it into a pillowcase.

He said: "We'd all come to the conclusion it was pretty definitely a grass snake [although] I have heard differently since, it may be a Mexican kingsnake which is completely harmless. 

"In hindsight we maybe should have not picked it up."

Snake on the move
Sampson family

Asked where the snake is now, Mark added: "It was taken somewhere quite far away, somewhere far away from people and everything. 

"I won't say where it is but it's a long way away."

Video: Mystery snake pays visit to Ipswich back garden

Returning now to the story of Mark Sampson, who found a mystery black snake in his Ipswich garden at the weekend.

He said: "I've no idea where it came from, it was just sitting on my Astroturf."

Here's a video that was shot by the family:

A family capture a mystery snake in their Ipswich garden

Company that's found filming locations for Star Wars selected to promote Suffolk

Philippa Taylor

BBC Local Live

A company that has worked on films including The BFG and Star Wars as well as The Apprentice on television has been selected to promote Suffolk as a film location.  

Babergh Council

Film Fixer UK has been provisionally awarded the contract, which it's hoped will increase the level of film activity in the county.  

Previous films that have shot sequences in Suffolk include Iris in Southwold, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 in Lavenham (pictured).

'Snakes alive!'

Ipswich Star

Here's the front page of today's Ipswich Star:

Front page of Ipswich Star
Ipswich Star

McCarthy delighted with "prodigious kids"

Town boss Mick McCarthy says the impact made by a number of youngsters during pre-season has been an upside of the Blues’ lack of success in the transfer market this summer. 

James Blanchfield

Hockey: Suffolk pair set for Rio

Brenner Woolley

BBC Radio Suffolk sport

Suffolk hockey players George Pinner (pictured) and Harry Martin are part of the Great Britain men's hockey squad that flies to Brazil today ahead of the Olympic Games.

George Pinner
Getty Images

Team GB start their group matches against Belgium on Saturday, 6 August.

They'll then face New Zealand, Brazil, Australia and Spain in Pool A, with the top four sides progressing to the quarter-finals.

Cricket: Captain to leave Suffolk

Brenner Woolley

BBC Radio Suffolk sport

It's been confirmed that Suffolk captain Tom Huggins will play his last three-day game for the county in the Unicorns Championship at the weekend.

Tom Huggins
Suffolk County Cricket Board

The 33-year-old, who has skippered the side for the last two seasons, is joining the coaching staff at Essex.

His 63rd and final appearance will be against Staffordshire at Ipswich School from Sunday. 

Last year Huggins scored twin centuries and took five wickets on the ground.

Fascinating facts about Mexican kingsnakes

Philippa Taylor

BBC Local Live

If like me, today's news about Ipswich man Mark Sampson finding what's thought to be a Mexican kingsnake in his garden is the first time you've heard of this particular breed, you might be interested in these fascinating facts:

  • They live in the Sonora and Sinaloa deserts as far north as Arizona, USA
  • They're nocturnal to avoid the desert sun
  • Mexican black kingsnakes will rattle their tails, hiss and bite perceived threats 
  • If a predator picks the snake up, the snake may expel a foul-smelling musk or defecate to dissuade the predator 

How common is it to find a Mexican kingsnake on the loose?

If Mark Sampson's slippery visitor does turn out to be a Mexican kingsnake, it won't be the first time one's got loose in this country.

In 2013 this one (pictured) was found slithering through a drainpipe in Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire.

The baby reptile was found living in sewers until it was spotted by locals and returned to its owner.

Snake near drainpipe

Ipswich caretaker resolves to keep his garden tidier in future

Philippa Taylor

BBC Local Live

The Ipswich caretaker who discovered a 4ft black snake in his garden on Sunday says: "My lesson is to keep my garden trimmed back."

The snake, which has yet to be formally identified but could be a Mexican kingsnake, was given the nickname of "Bob" by Mark Sampson's daughter Savannah.

If it is a Mexican kingsnake there's good news and bad news: they're not poisonous, but they kill their prey by asphyxiation.

Terrified father finds 4ft snake in garden

Philippa Taylor

BBC Local Live

For a man who admits to being "terrified of snakes", this wasn't exactly what Mark Sampson wanted to find when he was working outside his Ipswich home on Sunday afternoon.


The 44-year-old caretaker admitted: "I was shaking and terrified. I was too shaky to photograph it and went indoors in a panic attack."

Mr Sampson issued a cry for help on his Facebook page, and also contacted his friend Kevin Wallace, a zoologist at Easton and Otley College.

Mr Wallace went round immediately to rescue the snake, lifting it into a sack with the help of friend Katy Hackett, a children's nurse who has no experience of snakes.

Tuesday's weather: Turning cloudier after a bright start

Kate Kinsella

BBC Look East weather

This morning will start mainly dry with bright and sunny spells. Cloud will thicken into the afternoon allowing one or two showers to develop, but most will stay dry.

Top temperature: 22C (72F).

Cloud will continue to thicken overnight with further outbreaks of showery rain at times. Lows of 15C (59F).

You can get a detailed forecast for where you live from BBC Weather.

Good morning and welcome to Tuesday's live coverage

Philippa Taylor

BBC Local Live

Today we're going to start the day with the story of a man who had a "near hiss", when he discovered a 4ft (1.2m) black snake in his back garden.

Mark Sampson was working outside his home in St John's Road, Ipswich, when he spotted the slithery visitor under a railway sleeper on Sunday afternoon.

We'll be back soon with a photograph of this uninvited guest, as well as the tale of how Mark dealt with it.