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Millions of cigarettes seized

More than seven million illegal cigarettes and almost 500 kilograms of hand rolling tobacco have been seized across the West Midlands by trading standards in the last year.

Illegal cigarettes

Officers say as the illegal tobacco trade has strong links with crime and criminal gangs, seizing these goods has become a priority and anyone being offered cheap tobacco or any other types of illicit goods should report it.

Talks to continue over mayor taking on police role

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Tom Dare

The West Midlands Combined Authority has reached a compromise over the future of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) during a tense board meeting today.

Birmingham Council House

Council leaders from the seven constituent authorities had been asked to agree a process for combining the position of the PCC with that of the mayor in time for the 2020 elections.

However they were unable to reach an agreement on the proposals in front of them, debating over the best way to proceed.

Eventually, following a five-minute adjournment called by Wolverhampton Council leader Roger Lawrence, an agreement was reached to continue discussions through the summer, with a goal of reconvening to reach a final agreement in September.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

After a dry start today bands of showery rain will push through the region, which could be heavy at times.

It will feel a bit cooler today with highs of 25C (77F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

What's the weather got in store?

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

There should be plenty of late sunshine around this evening, before a dry and largely clear night with lows of 12C (54F).

Here's your forecast:

The forecast for the West Midlands

New look for region's transport

Buses, trams and trains will share the same logo and corporate design, in a rebranding exercise by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM).


Transport bosses hope the changes - similar to London's famous Roundal - will make it simpler to use public transport.

New branding

The branding will be rolled-out over a number of months.

Mayor could take over police role

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Tom Dare

A vote on whether the mayor in the West Midlands should take on the role of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) will be held tomorrow.

The board of the West Midlands Combined Authority will vote on the first phase of combining the two positions.

West Midlands Police badge

The proposals were first laid out in the West Midlands’ second devolution deal earlier this year, and would see the mayor take on the powers of the PCC in time for the 2020 mayoral election.

A similar process is currently under way to bring the powers of the West Midlands Fire Authority under the mayor.

An agreement on Friday would see the proposals put to an eight-week public consultation in November - people would then be asked their views on combining the two positions.

In the most recent respective elections (2016 and 2017), more people voted for the current PCC than the mayor.

Weapons seized in string of armed incidents

Five people were arrested, and weapons recovered, in separate incidents across the West Midlands yesterday, police said.

Almost 2,300 emergency calls were made to West Midlands Police yesterday, which has seen record numbers of 999 calls in recent weeks.

West Midlands Police

A sawn-off shotgun was seized after armed police responded to reports of a man threatening to shoot open his front door, in Chelmsley Wood.

Two people were arrested.

Two 16-year-olds were also arrested in Coventry, on suspicion of possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, after a caller suggested youths had pointed a "handgun" at staff.

Responding to reports of a man armed with a knife, a 20-year-old was detained in Brierley Hill, and a knife recovered.

Bid to hear WW1 bells ring out again

A campaign is under way to recruit a new generation of bell ringers in the West Midlands in time for Armistice Day.

Bell ringers

About 1,400 ringers were killed during World War One.

It is hoped a similar number can be recruited in 2018 to allow allow silent bell towers to ring out again on 11 November, which marks the centenary of he end of the war.

PC due in court charged with assault

A police officer is due in court today charged with assault after two women were arrested by a bus station.

PC Kevin McClenaghan, from the West Midlands force, faces two charges of assault followig the arrest after a disturbance near Halesowen bus station on 22 December.

He is also accused of attempting to pervert the course of justice in relation to a witness statement about the incident, the police watchdog said.

He is due at Birmingham Magistrates' Court.

Watch: Your 50-second weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

After a misty start for some, it should be a fine day with plenty of sunshine and highs of 27C (81F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Your West Midlands weather forecast

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

Some of us have seen showers through the morning, mainly to the west and north of the region.

It will be dry overnight, with temperatures slowly increasing over the next few days.

Latest weather forecast for the West Midlands

'I survived 25,000 volts after trespassing on the railway'

In the past four years there have been almost 700 incidents of teenagers trespassing on railway lines across the West Midlands, according to new figures.

Tom Hubbard, 20, suffered life-changing injuries in 2014 when he received an electric shock from overhead power cables at Birmingham New Street.

Tom Hubbard suffered life-changing injuries after being struck by 25,000 volts
British Transport Police

Four years on I'm still affected by the events of that day and every time I look in the mirror I'm reminded by that one decision to go on the railway. The accident has made me more of an introvert and cautious of trying new things, often opting to stay in during the day to avoid people, and wear hoodies and long-sleeved tops to hide my scars, even on hot days."

Tom Hubbard

A film re-enacting Tom's story will be shown in cinemas over the summer.

Your 50-second weather forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

A mainly dry and partly cloudy day, with sunny spells. Just a small risk of the odd shower in the afternoon.

Feeling warm with highs of 25C (77F)

Latest weather forecast for the West Midlands

The latest forecast: What's the weather got in store?

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

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

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Cycle helmet warning after boy injured

West Midlands Ambulance Service says a boy who was taken to hospital with head injuries could have had a "different outcome" if he'd been wearing a cycle helmet.

He was taken to Birmingham Children's Hospital after crashing on a slope in Perry Wood nature reserve in Worcestershire.

Boy with cycling helmet

The ambulance service said: "While it is clearly a matter for the individual or their parent/guardian, our view is that a cycle helmet can help prevent injury."

Police chief slams £80,000 force review

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Tom Dare

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner has questioned the need for a review which saw the force’s ability to protect vulnerable people rated poorly.

David Jamieson
West Midlands PCC

The Force Management Statement gives ratings to several areas of the West Midlands Police force, including investigations and wellbeing.

Speaking at today’s strategic policing and crime board, PCC David Jamieson said that the money spent producing the report could have been better spent elsewhere.

Eighteen West Midlands officers and staff were taken from other duties to produce the document, costing at least £80,000. The documents reveal what was already widely known, that demand is huge, resources scarce and there are particular struggles with vulnerabilities.

David JamiesonWest Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner

Water companies report 'healthy' reservoirs

Severn Trent Water said its reservoirs were in a "healthy position", despite others around the country facing a hosepipe ban.

Water from a hopsepipe

The water company, which serves more than 4.2 million homes and businesses in the Midlands, has faced issues with pumping enough water to meet demand since the dry weather started.

However, a spokesperson said they have no plans for a ban, but they are asking customers to remain "water wise".

Meanwhile South Staffs Water, which supplies more than a million customers in the Midlands, also said it had "no issues".

Rain today but here's how the weekend's looking

Rebecca Wood

BBC Midlands Today

The rain's finally arrived today for parts of the West Midlands after the long heatwave - here's how your weekend is looking:

Rebecca Wood

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

'Apology welcomed over officers' sleeping conditions

The West Midlands Police Federation has welcomed an apology after it was revealed some officers deployed to work on the US president's visit had to sleep in conditions described as "an absolute disgrace".

West Midlands PCC

Pictures posted on social media showed rows of camp beds in a gymnasium, to be used for officers after 12-hour shifts policing Donald Trump's visit.

Essex Police's Assistant Chief Constable Pippa Mills has said sorry.

Steve Grange, of the Police Federation, said: "Of course, we appreciate the apology and the acknowledgement that they got this wrong but I still question how anyone could really have looked at the set-up of the sports halls and thought that it was suitable accommodation for police officers?”

Thundery weather 'could cause flooding'

A weather warning for thunderstorms comes into effect across the West Midlands from 11:00 today.

Weather warning map
Met Office

Heavy showers and thunderstorms could could some localised flooding, said the Met Office.

Police are warning that road surfaces are likely to be slippery after the recent hot spell of weather.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a mainly dry day with the risk of some showers, which could turn thundery, and highs of 24C (75F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands
Armed robber at Harborne jewellers warns 'step back'
Footage shot in the street shows an armed, masked man outside a ram-raided jewellers.

Ram raid scene safe after fuel spill

Fire crews have been working to make the site of a jewellers safe, after a ram raid robbery in the Harborne area of Birmingham.

car outside jewellers

Firefighters were called shortly after 11:00 to reports of a car crashing into a shop, said West Midlands Fire.

Crews also had to deal with petrol that had spilled from the crashed car.

The area, on Harborne High Street, remains cordoned off.

Police working 'at speed' to resolve accommodation issues

Work is being carried out to resolve the issue of "disgraceful" accommodation offered to police officers deployed to cover the visit of Donald Trump, which starts later today.

The Police Federation in the West Midlands has complained of the conditions, saying officers are expected to sleep in gymnasiums with no hot water and restricted access to hot foood.

View more on twitter

A National Police Chiefs Council spokeswoman said Essex Police were working "at speed" to resolve the issue.

"Some of the accommodation pictured today for officers supporting the major operation for the US presidential visit is not acceptable and below the standard of other accommodation for this operation," she added.

Car 'surfing' and assaults among 999 calls after defeat

A man "surfing" on top of a moving car, people jumping into a canal and a large fight were some of the bigger incidents ambulance crews say they were sent to after the England defeat last night.

Canal swimming
Simon Hunter
Ambulance on street
West Midlands Ambulance Service

West Midlands Ambulance Service says that, as soon as the final whistle was blown, "the phone lines lit up".

They say the number of calls rose by 15% compared with the same time last week - with 1,100 calls between 21:30 and 04:30.

Overall, paramedics say they were called to more than 40 reports of assaults, several road crashes and drink-fuelled cases of "bravado leading to injuries".

BreakingJewellers 'ram-raided by three armed men'

Allen Cook

BBC News

A jewellers shop has been robbed after thieves are believed to have ram-raided it with a car.

Police say it happened this morning on Harborne High Street, Birmingham.

The cordoned off jewellers

They say they think three men, armed with weapons, then made off with items from the store.

A police officer's been pictured on social media removing an axe from the scene.

Police officer placing axe in a bag

Armed police were called to the road and are still there while officers say no-one's thought to have been hurt.

Police officers head to London for Trump visit

Convoys of police officers from the West Midlands have been making their way down to London today, to assist with the visit of President Trump.

This photo was taken by Staffordshire Police Inspector Mark Joynson this lunchtime.

Staffordshire Police

Staffordshire Chief Constable Gareth Morgan tweeted: "Many thanks for your service representing Staffordshire Police. Know that you’ll make a brilliant contribution to this national effort. Take care and look out for each other."

The force won't say how many officers are travelling to London for the visit.

Trump visit to 'put police under pressure'

Donald Trump arrives in the UK this afternoon for a two-day visit.

Extra security has been put in place as large-scale protests are expected and police forces across the country have been asked to send officers to assist the Metropolitan Police.

Theresa May and Donald Trump

Last week, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said the visit would have a "major impact on policing" in his area.

He said about 1,000 rest days had been cancelled so his officers can be sent to London to police the visit.

Mr Jamieson also said the knock-on effects would be felt for months as his officers try to catch up on leave owed to them.

Increase in 999 calls recorded after England match

The ambulance service said it dealt with a large number of 999 calls across the West Midlands last night after England's World Cup exit against Croatia.

There was a big increase in reports of assaults and other alcohol-related incidents, West Midlands Ambulance Service said.

It fielded 240 calls in the hour after the match compared with 120 while England were playing.

View more on twitter

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Sara Blizzard

BBC Weather

Early cloud will break leaving a mainly dry and fine day with long spells of sunshine and highs of 25C (77F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Council powerless to stop academy conversion

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Carl Jackson

Council bosses declared they are powerless to stop a failing school becoming an academy despite protests from teachers and parents.

Addressing the ongoing concerns around Springfield Primary, Birmingham City Council leader Ian Ward stated that education throughout the country had become "fragmented" by academisation and the failed introduction of free schools.

The Secretary of State for Education issued a directive for Springfield Primary in Sparkhill to become an academy after failing an Ofsted inspection in 2015 when it was placed in special measures.

Springfield Primary School

The school, which is reportedly struggling financially, has also been prioritised for redevelopment to be funded by the government.

Cllr Ward clarified that it was the government’s "legally binding" policy for failing schools to become academies stating it was something the council had no control over.

PC handed final written warning for racist comments

A police officer has received a final written warning following an IOPC investigating into allegations that offensive and racist comments were made.

The West Midlands constable was recorded on a mobile phone while searching a property in Coventry on 24 August saying to a man who was a visitor to the flat: "Are you going to go Black Lives Matter on us are you?"

And then telling him "You would be the first one I’d shoot if I had a gun, definitely."

Police logo

The interaction was posted on social media.

A misconduct hearing was held in June and the officer was given a final written warning.

The officer said he regretted making the comments and, while he accepted they had been unprofessional and clumsy, he had not meant them to be racist, offensive or threatening.

Video: Will it be any cooler tonight?

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be mainly dry tonight with clear spells and lows of 11C (52F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: Any change in the weather?

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

A mainly dry day with sunny periods but feeling cooler with highs of 24C (75F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Watch: Will the hot weather continue?

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

Tonight will be dry with clear spells and patchy cloud with lows of 12C (54F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands
Coventry University is being urged to do more to tackle rubbish left by students.
Residents are complaining that students are just dumping their rubbish when they leave for the holidays.