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Dozens of arrests in county lines crackdown

Allen Cook

BBC News

Dozens of arrests have been made by Staffordshire Police and West Mercia Police as part of a national campaign in the past week targeting so-called county lines drugs gangs.

The practice sees gangs moving out of their usual urban territory and into rural areas, often coercing children and vulnerable adults to help.

Join police officers as they raid an address in Hastings

Nationally, police forces led by the National County Lines Coordination Centre made a total of 586 arrests, and seized cocaine worth £176,780, plus £312,649 in cash and 46 weapons.

Both Staffordshire Police and West Mercia Police said in addition to their arrests, they visited several "cuckoo" addresses, where drug runners commandeer homes to use as a base.

They said that 13 people in need of support were helped after their visits.


Meeting ambulance target in county 'would cost £45m'

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Andrew Morris

An ambulance service has said the chances of meeting response times for the most critically injured patients in a county would cost an extra £45m a year.

Side of an ambulance

West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) currently has 38 vehicles on the road in Shropshire.

In England, ambulance services are expected to reach patients within an average of seven minutes but, in the county, the average time was 10 minutes 44 seconds.

At a Shropshire Council health meeting, WMAS spokesman Mark Docherty said it would need another 75 ambulances to meet the target, costing £45m.

He said instead, it wanted to see more people trained in using defibrillators with more of the machines on street corners as "this is going to help save lives more than more ambulances".

Dry weather continues - here's the full forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

The dry weather's expected to continue this morning across the West Midlands with some sunshine around, here's the full forecast for today:

Alex Hamilton

If you want a latest forecast at any other time for your part of the West Midlands, head to the BBC Weather website.

Cause of man's death 'will take months to find out'

Allen Cook

BBC News

It could take police up to six months to work out how a man died after being detained by members of the public.

Christopher Walters
Staffordshire Police

Staffordshire Police has named the man today as Christopher Walters, 25, from Bentilee, Stoke-on-Trent.

He was detained on Wood Street in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, on 15 May following reports of criminal damage.

Three men held on suspicion of murder were released under investigation.

Police said an initial post-mortem examination was inconclusive and more tests would take place which could take three to six months to reveal the cause of death.

Video: What's the weekend weather got in store?

Rebecca Wood

BBC Midlands Today

It will be a cloudy night with some patchy rain and lows of 8C (46F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Rail users group unhappy with timetable changes

BBC Radio Stoke

A Staffordshire rail users group says timetable changes being introduced this weekend are bad news for passengers wanting to travel to London.

While some routes are getting more trains, the North Staffs Rail Promotion Group says people using West Midlands Railways services from Stoke-on-Trent will have to change at Stafford or face a much longer journey.

Stoke train station

The rail operator says increased demand on the Trent Valley lines, and an inability to have more than four carriages per train, have partly caused this new timetable and it's working to fix any issues passenger groups have.

Clock ticking for children's services commissioner

A commissioner appointed by the government to oversee improvements to children's services in Stoke-on-Trent says changes are being made to provide more support for social workers and that she won't tolerate delays.

Eleanor Brazil is due report back on progress made in September, after an Ofsted report in February identified social workers' caseloads as one of four areas that were inadequate.

Sad looking boy
Getty Images

Ms Brazil said: "You always find people who haven’t been doing a good job because they haven’t been well managed and when you change those things they step up."

She also said the clock was ticking, adding, "I’m not very tolerant of delay and I’m very intolerant of people who say they’ll do something and then don’t actually do it."

Rail timetable changes set to come in

Rail timetable changes are set to be introduced across the West Midlands from Sunday.

West Midlands Railway is bringing in a number of new services, including one extra train an hour between Shropshire and Birmingham on weekdays and Saturdays and more trains on Sundays, additional evening services from Worcester and Hereford to Birmingham and an extra evening service between Kidderminster and Worcester.

It is also adding more carriages to services between Coventry and London and new direct trains to destinations such as Liverpool, Stoke-on-Trent and Crewe.

West Midlands Railway train
West Midlands Railway

Chiltern Railways is creating a new direct service from Stratford-upon-Avon to London, doubling the number of weekday trains it runs to the capital.

Cross Country trains, which stop in Birmingham, have also made some changes to their timetable.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

It will be a cool day with lots of cloud and highs of 16C (61F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

It will be a cloudy night with some light showers and lows of 6C (43F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

In the papers: Man died after being 'detained' by public

Stoke-on-Trent Live

Here are three headlines from the Stoke-on-Trent Live website:

2019 European elections: How many new MEPs might you get?

BBC News

Half of the existing MEPs in the West Midlands are not contesting the upcoming European Parliament elections.

European parliament
Getty Images

There are 72 UK MEPs currently serving, with one seat vacant. Of those, 43 are seeking re-election and there are 548 other new candidates.

That means at least 30 of those elected from 23-26 May might either never take their seats or serve only a few months if the UK leaves the European Union by the end of October.

Here are some facts and figures about the choice voters have about who represents them in Brussels and Strasbourg.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

After a fine start it will a dry sunny day with some cloud and highs of 17C (63F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

More dry weather on the way tonight

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

The dry, fine weather's set to continue tonight in the West Midlands - here's the full forecast for the night and tomorrow:

Shefali Oza

To get a latest forecast for your area at any other time, head to the BBC Weather website.

Couple 'heartbroken' after dog 'killed in hit-and-run'

John Acres

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

A couple are appealing for help to trace a driver after their dog was killed before their eyes as a car hit her and drove off.

Mark Hall

Mark Hall and Tina Johnson's pet Tia died on Noblett Road, Sneyd Green, on Saturday afternoon.

They've appealed on Facebook for anyone who know what happened or might have recorded footage to help them.

Staffordshire Police said it's investigating and anyone with information should call their 101 number.

We're just heartbroken really, we just hope we can find somebody who's got some information about our little girl."

Tina JohnsonDog owner

Four arrests after Stoke-on-Trent stabbing

Allen Cook

BBC News

Four arrests have been made by police after a man was stabbed in Stoke-on-Trent this morning.

Woolrich Street, Stoke-on-Trent

Staffordshire Police said it had reports the 29-year-old victim was attacked in Woolrich Street, Middleport, although officers now believe the assault happened elsewhere.

They arrested a 51-year-old man from Stoke-on-Trent on suspicion of assault Grievous Bodily Harm with intent, possession of an offensive weapon and possession of a controlled drug.

A 33-year-old woman and a 17-year-old boy, both from the city, were also arrested on suspicion of assault GBH.

A 31-year-old woman, also from Stoke-on-Trent, was arrested after a warrant was issued for failing to appear at court.

Conservatives to lead city council coalition

Sophie Calvert

Political Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is set to have a Conservative leader and be run by a coalition.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council HQ

The authority remained under no overall control after the local elections, despite the Labour party targeting it.

Now, the City Independents and the Conservatives have agreed to run it again as a coalition, as they did for the last four years.

The difference is there are more Tories after they gained seven seats in the elections so Conservative councillor Abi Brown's expected to be officially confirmed as council leader next week.

Another dry, sunny day

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

Any early patches of mist should soon clear away leaving a dry and fine, sunny day.

Here's the full forecast for the West Midlands for Wednesday:

Alex Hamilton

You can get a latest forecast for your part of the region at any other time by going to the BBC Weather website.

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a dry night with mainly clear skies and lows of 3C (37F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Pottery firm Portmeirion's sales slump

BBC Business News

Ceramics maker Portmeirion Group has warned its pre-tax profits for the full year would be “significantly below market expectations”.

Stuff made by the Portmeirion Group

The Stoke-on-Trent-based firm, famed for its country garden-inspired pottery, has today revealed a steep drop in export sales, especially in Korea.

In its trading update, the company said total sales for the first four months of the year were down 10% on the same time in 2018.

Commissioner to oversee 'inadequate' children's services

A commissioner has been appointed to oversee improvements to children's services at Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

Council house

Ofsted has rated the council's services inadequate, saying it had failed "on the most basic of levels" to safeguard children.

The authority said it was taking immediate action to make improvements.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We have appointed Eleanor Brazil as the commissioner for Stoke-on-Trent and its improvement plan is being taken forward as a matter of urgency.”

Boy hit by ambulance responding to 999 call

A teenage boy suffered potentially serious injuries when he was hit by an ambulance responding to an emergency call.


It happened in Lichfield Street, Walsall, just after 17:30 on Monday.

The teenager was treated at the scene before being airlifted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

No-one in the ambulance was injured, though they were badly shaken.

The ambulance service will be working with collision investigators to establish what happened, the West Midlands trust said.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a dry fine day with sunshine and highs of 19C (66F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a dry night with largely clear skies and lows of 2C (36F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Theft arrest over money raised in memory of Megan Newton

A teenager has been arrested on suspicion of theft and fraud, police say, after reports money was being collected online on behalf of the family of an 18-year-old found dead in a flat.

Megan Newton
Family handout

Megan Newton was found at the property in Fletcher Road, Stoke-on-Trent, last month.

Staffordshire Police said an 18-year-old man was arrested on Friday and released under investigation.

The force has urged people not to speculate about the case and not to take matters into their own hands.

Joseph Trevor, from Trentham and also 18, has been charged with Ms Newton's murder and is due to appear at Stafford Crown Court later this week.

Hospitals £56m in the red

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Kerry Ashdown

An NHS hospital trust is being offered £32m by the government if it avoids going more than £32m into the red by April 2020.

Royal Stoke University Hospital

The University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust runs the Royal Stoke University Hospital and Stafford's County Hospital.

At its latest board meeting, it revealed it's expecting to end this financial year with a £56m deficit although that will be a fall on last year's £69m.

But its acting chief financial officer, Jonathan Tringham, told the board that if they met a target of £32m for the next financial year, they'd receive the same figure in funding from the government and therefore "break even" that year.

Hundreds turnout for city's Sikh festival

BBC Radio Stoke

Hundreds of Sikhs brought colour to the streets of Stoke-on-Trent at the weekend for a religious event.

The procession

The annual Nagar Kirtan festival saw them hold a procession from Fenton through roads across the city over six hours.

The crowds dressed in orange or blue and sung devotional hymns as they passed through the streets.

The procession

Youths charged with child sex offences

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

Two men and two teenage boys from Stoke-on-Trent have been charged with serious sexual offences involving children.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court

Staffordshire Police said the accusations against the quartet, all from Stoke-on-Trent and aged from 15 to 20, include rape and inciting the sexual exploitation of a child.

All four were arrested on Thursday and appeared before magistrates on Friday and Saturday.

They've been remanded in custody to appear before the city's crown court next month.

M6 crash: Slip road reopens after 16-mile tailbacks

A slip road's been reopened by Highways England after a lorry crash this morning had seen the whole southbound carriageway shut in Staffordshire.

Queues on M6
Highways England

The collision between J15 and J14 saw bales of paper spill across the motorway.

Highways England had previously kept the slip road closed at J15, near Stoke-on-Trent, while congestion eased, following 16-mile tailbacks.

Crash leaves paper strewn across M6

Crews are working to clear three tonne paper bales shed from a lorry on the M6 in Staffordshire.

Scene of crash
Highways England

A crash involving two lorries has closed the southbound carriageway between J15 and J14.

A diversion is in place with about four miles of queuing traffic in the area.

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