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Two charged with drug supply

Two men have been charged with drug supply offences after an investigation into the alleged movement of drugs from Wolverhampton into Worcestershire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire.

The two, both 26 and from Wolverhampton, have been charged with three counts of conspiring to supply heroin and three counts of conspiring to supply crack cocaine.

They have also been charged with facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploitation, said Warwickshire Police.

They're both due to appear at Warwick Magistrates' Court on 31 July.

Auditors placed in special measures

Local Democracy Reporting Service

An auditing firm which inspects council accounts has been put under special measures for its poor performance last year after it was revealed half of its inspected audits needed 'significant' improvement.

Grant Thornton has inspected the accounts of Worcestershire County Council since 2015 and is set to do so until 2023.

The firm also audits the accounts for the Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority and the chief constable and the police and crime commissioner for West Mercia Police as well as Wyre Forest, Redditch and Bromsgrove district councils,

The Financial Reporting Council has put a new improvement plan in place for the company.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It should be a dry day with sunny periods and highs of 21C (70F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It should be a dry and clear night with lows of 7C (45F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Handcuffed man sprayed with incapacitant spray while on the toilet

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Carmelo Garcia

Two West Mercia Police officers have been given written warnings a handcuffed man was sprayed with an incapacitant spray while he was partially naked and on the toilet.

Police officer
BBC

The officers discharged the spray at close range on a man in Baschurch in July last year after responding to a call he was threatening to kill a family member, the hearing heard.

The hearing also hear PC Philips sprayed the man again while he was being walked barefoot to the police van.

PC Sharon Phillips and PC Simon Wilkey were found to have breached the force's professional standards at a public misconduct hearing last week.

Both officers were found to have breached the standards of professional behaviour relating to authority, respect and courtesy, use of force, orders and instructions and discreditable conduct.

Teenager's social service care criticised by judge

A council's social services department has been criticised in the High Court for the way it handled the case of a 14-year-old boy who's spent much of his life in care.

County Hall
Google

Worcestershire County Council's failings were described as "egregious in the extreme".

The boy who's said to have "complex needs", and who can't be identified for legal reasons - left his mother's home nearly nine years ago.

In a written ruling published today, Mr Justice Keehan said 22 social workers had been involved but there had been no "consistent planning" for the boy's care, and neither he nor his foster parents had been given enough support.

The boy's mother died two years ago and the identity of his father isn't known.

The council - which is being sued by lawyers for the boy - has accepted liability and is trying to ensure there's no repeat.

The judge praised his foster parents and said the boy should remain living with them.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a dry and fine day with light winds and highs of 22C (72F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Self-service libraries proposed to save council £800k

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Christian Barnett

Several libraries in Worcestershire could become self-service, with staff numbers cut under plans to save £800,000.

Books on shelves
Getty Images

Worcestershire County Council has pledged that no branches will close but is looking to save money.

Almost £4m has been cut from the library budget since 2011 and the plan is to save another £800,000 by 2021.

The authority's plan would see some of the county's smaller libraries become self-service during certain periods of the day, with visitors letting themselves in and out.

Clear and dry start to the weekend

Rebecca Wood

BBC Midlands Today

Starting off dry with clear spells tonight, here's the rest of the forecast for the West Midlands:

Rebecca Wood with Friday night's West Midlands weather

You can get the latest forecast for your area at any other time by heading to the BBC Weather website.

Firefighters' strike threat 'a complete surprise'

Allen Cook

BBC News

"A complete surprise" is how Hereford and Worcester Fire Service has described a threat of strike action from its crews.

Fire engines in Leominster
Google

The Fire Brigade Union (FBU) has said it'll consider the move if firefighters in Herefordshire and Worcestershire aren't put back on their old contracts.

It claim the fire service has forced crews to do work outside their contracts and put new recruits on new contracts without discussions.

But the fire service said it had been trying to make changes since 2017 to make more firefighters available for work such as crewing fire engines.

It's blaming the FBU for failing to reach agreements and is urging them to not strike but refer the issues to the independent arbitration service Acas.

Frustrations over Rory the Robot NHS campaign

BBC Hereford and Worcester

Campaigners say they feel let down over efforts to bring a surgical robot to the county's hospitals.

Fundraising for Rory the Robot
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

In 2014, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust launched the £1m Rory the Robot appeal to get the equipment, primarily to treat prostate cancer.

But, after five years and with more than £450,000 raised, there's no prospect from NHS managers of the robotic surgery arriving soon.

The trust's admitted it's frustrated at the delays, blaming changes in NHS guidelines, but is still committed to getting it and promises the money is ring-fenced.

It's joe public that have actually put the money in and we've been telling them all along that we're raising money for a surgical robot. At the end of the day, we could be accused of raising money under false pretences because we haven't got what we set out to achieve."

Paul MarkallKidderminster and Worcestershire Prostate Cancer Support Group

Firefighters 'could strike' in contracts row

BBC Hereford and Worcester

Firefighters in Herefordshire and Worcestershire are threatening to strike over their new working conditions.

Worcester fire station
Google

The row centres on the introduction of a new 10-hour-day shift system.

The Fire Brigade Union (FBU) claims Hereford and Worcester Fire Service has forced crews to do duties outside of their contract.

They also say new recruits have been put on new contracts without discussions with the union.

The FBU says it'll consider industrial action unless there's an immediate return to the old contracts, shift systems and employment conditions.

The fire service has been approached for its response.

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

There will be some sunny intervals this evening but also some showers which may be heavy.

It should be a dry night with some clear spells with highs of 13C (55F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands
Worcester woman's joy as Ugandan court grants adoption
Emilie Larter has spent three years trying to adopt an orphan she met while working for a charity.

Thunderstorms warning issued

Parts of the West Midlands could be affected by thunderstorms later, with some disruption to travel expected.

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The Met Office has issued a yellow warning which is in place from 13:00 to 21:00.

Wet night ahead for West Midlands

Sara Blizzard

BBC Weather

After a pretty dry day, we're in for some rain tonight in the West Midlands, here's the full forecast:

Sara Blizzard

Head to the BBC Weather website at any other time for a latest forecast for your area.

PM's tribute to student paramedic in fatal crash

BBC Midlands Today

The prime minister's paid tribute to a student paramedic who died after the ambulance she was in was involved in a crash with a car.

Tammy Minshall
Staffordshire Police/Family handout

Tammy Minshall, 31, was airlifted to hospital and later died after the crash in Needwood, near Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, last week.

Ms Minshall, from Stretton, Burton-upon-Trent, was a first year student at Staffordshire University and was travelling in the back of the ambulance.

The whole house will want to join me in sending our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Tammy Minshall, the student paramedic who was killed in a traffic accident last week while on duty. This is a reminder of the members of all our emergencies services who risk their lives each day on our behalf."

Theresa MayPrime Minister

Wednesday's weather forecast

Sara Blizzard

BBC Weather

Any patches of rain this morning should clear away leaving a mostly dry rest of the day.

Here's the full West Midlands weather forecast.

Sara Blizzard

You can get a latest forecast for your area at any other time by heading to the BBC Weather website.

Steam railway gets 'fantastic' filming opportunity

Andy Giddings

BBC News

Part of the Severn Valley Railway is going to be closed to visitors early next week to allow filming to take place.

The railway isn't saying what the filming is for, but is describing it as "a fantastic contract opportunity" and "a significant opportunity to contribute to the railway’s future".

It says talks have been going on for some while, but the deal has only been confirmed this month.

Steam train
BBC

It will mean the stations in Kidderminster, Arley and Bewdley will be closed between Monday and Wednesday, but trains will still run between Highley and Bridgnorth.

Police catch driver speeding at 140mph

A vehicle was clocked travelling at 140mph on the M5 last night, police say.

Eleven people were arrested in a cross-border crackdown on people driving dangerously.

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Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a mainly dry day with some brightness but the odd chance of showers with highs of 20C (68F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Rebecca Wood

BBC Midlands Today

It will be a dry night with long clear spells and lows of 11C (52F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Sara Blizzard

BBC Weather

It will be a dry day with long sunny spells with highs of 25C (77F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands
'Hero' police dog and handler to get bravery award
Bacca the dog was slashed in the head eight times and PC Mike Davey suffered a deep cut to his hand.

Thursday night's weather forecast

Sara Blizzard

BBC Weather

A sunny end to the day and then a dry night with long, clear spells.

Here's the full forecast for tonight and tomorrow in the West Midlands:

Sara Blizzard

You can stay up to date with the latest forecast for your area at any time by heading to the BBC Weather website.

BreakingPolice name paramedic killed in ambulance crash

A trainee paramedic killed in an ambulance crash in Burton-upon-Trent yesterday was 31-year-old Tammy Minshall from Stretton, Staffordshire, police say.

She died after the ambulance collided with a BMW at the junction of Belmot Road and Anslow Road.

Tammy Minshall
Family photo
Student paramedic dies in Burton ambulance crash
The woman is understood to have been in the back of the ambulance, which was involved in a crash with a car.

'Huge condolences' after paramedic dies in ambulance crash

Allen Cook

BBC News

Condolences are being sent by emergency services teams across the West Midlands after the death of a student paramedic in an ambulance crash.

Ambulance being removed after crash
Snapper SK

The 31-year-old died in hospital after a collision in Needwood, near Burton-upon-Trent, on Wednesday evening.

West Midlands Ambulance Service's chief executive Anthony Marsh described the death as "tragic" and said all staff would be affected by the loss of a colleague.

Ambulance on side after crash
Snapper SK

Emergency service teams in the region expressed their condolences this morning:

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View more on twitter

The ambulance in which the student paramedic was travelling crashed with a car, police said.