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Police commander suspended by force

Vicky Norton

BBC Radio Stoke

A senior police officer's been suspended for what his force has described as allegations "which amount to gross misconduct".

Staffordshire Police has refused to reveal the nature of the allegations.

Chief Insp John Owen
BBC

The force said it had decided to take the action over Chief Insp John Owen, its police commander for Stoke-on-Trent North.

It added that it had referred the allegations to its watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct, which assessed them and referred the issue back to the force for an internal investigation.

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Rebecca Wood

BBC Midlands Today

Can we expect the rain to dry up over the next few days?

Here's the weekend forecast.

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Flood alerts updated

Roads closed due to flooding

BBC News Travel

The A38 Kingsbury Road remains closed northbound in Castle Vale between Forge Lane and Midpoint Boulevard roundabout.

The southbound carriageway was also initially blocked, but is now passable with care.

The B4101 is also closed in both directions in Bradnocks Marsh, Solihull between Magpie Lane and Fen End Road West.

In Staffordshire the B5066 Sandon Road is completely closed from Astonfields Road to Peel Terrace.

New Street in Upton upon Severn in Worcestershire is closed between Hanley Road and Upper Hook Road.

Wrinehill Road in Nantwich, Cheshire remains closed from B5071 Bridge Street to Cobbs Lane.

Latest update on flood warnings issued

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

Rain will gradually ease and clear with some sunny spells later and highs of 17C (63F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

More rain on the way

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

There's some respite on the way from the rain in the latest weather forecast for the West Midlands.

But the wet weather is due to return tomorrow morning:

Alex Hamilton

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

Travel disruption expected from more flooding

Drivers are being warned there could be more flooding and disruption this morning.

River Teme, Ludlow on Wednesday
Shropshire Lass

After several days of rain and more overnight, the forecast is for further wet weather through today.

The Environment Agency has flood warnings in place for parts of Shropshire, Warwickshire and Staffordshire, as well as flood alerts across the West Midlands.

The Met Office has a yellow weather warning in place until midday which covers Cheshire, including around Crewe and Nantwich.

Yesterday, the bad weather caused disruption to trains as flood water blocked railway lines and several roads were under water.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

It will be a cloudy day with outbreaks of rain, with some of it heavy, and highs of 15C (59F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands
Marvel and DC comics: Man sells £350k collection
Martin Morris amassed 36,000 Marvel and DC comics over decades, with one probably worth £10,000.

Counties braced for more flooding

Allen Cook

BBC News

The number of flood alerts in Shropshire and Cheshire have increased as the Met Office is warning there could be more flooding over the next 24 hours.

Fast-flowing brook in Shropshire at Longnor
STFC goose

It has a yellow weather warning in place for most of the West Midlands until midnight and then the warning moves to cover a smaller area until midday tomorrow, but does include Cheshire.

The Environment Agency has two flood warnings in place in Shropshire along with five flood alerts in the county.

There are also four flood alerts in Staffordshire and one covering Crewe and Nantwich in Cheshire.

Flooding fears increase with rising river levels

Allen Cook

BBC News

River levels are continuing to rise in parts of the West Midlands as more rain's forecast for the next 24 hours.

Shrewsbury town centre, near the River Severn
Eric Bullock

The Environment Agency still has two flood warnings on the River Vyrnwy near Oswestry, which mean flooding is expected.

There are also nearly a dozen flood alerts - meaning flooding is possible - across the West Midlands, including in Shropshire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire.

The agency says it expects some river levels to peak this evening but that could change with more rain on the way.

Meanwhile, Cheshire Police has warned of severe flooding in parts of Crewe and Nantwich:

Flooding in Crewe
Cheshire Police

Flood warnings with more rain forecast

Allen Cook

BBC News

There are two flood warnings covering parts of Shropshire this morning and nearly a dozen flood alerts across the West Midlands.

View more on twitter

The Environment Agency said the warnings covered the River Vyrnwy at Maesbrook and Melverley, near Oswestry.

The flood alerts include five in Shropshire and four in Staffordshire, meaning flooding is possible.

The agency's said rivers levels are continuing to rise with more rain forecast and they are fast-flowing.

A number of roads in the county are also blocked by floods.

View more on twitter

Mixed employment figures for West Midlands

BBC Business News

The unemployment rate in the West Midlands in the three months to April fell to 5.0%, according to new data.

Job centre sign
PA

The Office for National Statistics said 145,000 were out of work in the region, down 4,000 on the previous quarter.

But its figures also showed 11,000 fewer people were employed over the period, compared to the previous three months.

Overall, the UK’s unemployment rate remained at 3.8%, and has not been lower since the October to December 1974 period.

Severe weather warnings extended

Severe weather warnings for rain have been extended across most of the West Midlands with flooding and travel disruption expected to continue throughout the week.

View more on twitter

Fallen trees across Warwickshire and Worcestershire have caused disruption with more rain forecast throughout the day.

Officer in Shipston
Warwickshire Police

Fallen trees affected Metro services between Birmingham and Wolverhampton and the A34 at Monks' Heath in Cheshire was partially blocked near the Capesthorne Hall turn

Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said the UK was in for "some treacherous weather".

The yellow warnings are in place until 12:00 on Thursday.

Rain set to cause disruption 'throughout week'

A severe weather warning for rain remains in place for parts of the West Midlands, with travel likely to be disrupted.

Weather warning map
Met Office

The Met Office said parts of Warwickshire, Staffordshire and Birmingham and the Black Country are set to be most affected, with rain and thunderstorms likely to continue throughout the week.

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

It will be wet with spells of heavy rain tonight with lows of 9C (12C ).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

M6 congestion warning

BBC News Travel

A warning if you're heading on the M6 in Staffordshire this morning.

View more on twitter

Severe weather warnings issued

Heavy rain could cause travel disruption to parts of the West Midlands later.

Some areas could see a month's worth of rainfall in a single day, with wet weather to last well into the week.

View more on twitter

The first of four severe weather warnings is set to affect parts of Warwickshire and Staffordshire, with heavy rain also expected to sweep through Birmingham and the Black Country, Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire through Monday.

Areas most affected could see local flooding and disruption to transport.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

It will be a cloudy and wet day with heavy rain spreading through the area and highs of 13C (55F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Rebecca Wood

BBC Midlands Today

There will be some heavy and potentially thundery showers into the evening with high winds and lows of 9C (48F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Heavy rain and thunderstorms likely to disrupt travel

Parts of the West Midlands are already seeing heavy rain showers, but it's set to get worse.

A Met Office is warning is in place for most of the West Midlands until 23:00, with Warwickshire and Worcestershire expected to face the worse of the weather.

Some flooding of homes and businesses is likely, the Met Office said, with spray and flooding on roads likely to disrupt travel.

View more on twitter

Arson attack close to university site

A fire in woodland close to Keele University in Staffordshire is being treated as arson, said the fire service.

Crews were called to the scene at 10:15 today, and pumped water from a nearby pond to fight the blaze.

About 20 firefighters have now left the scene.

Weather warning extended

A weather warning for heavy rain and thunderstorms has been extended across much of the the West Midlands.

Weather warning picture
Met Office

Some flooding is likely with wet roads set to affect travel, said the Met Office.

The yellow warning is in place from 14:00 to 23:00.

Heads meet as budgets 'at breaking point'

About 100 head teachers from Staffordshire are meeting today to discuss their concerns over school funding.

Many have blamed rising costs, with the National Association of Head Teachers saying school budgets are at "breaking point".

School
BBC

One primary head from Stoke-on-Trent said she had had to ask parents to raise money to pay for a classroom.

Emily Proffitt, from Titensor First School said schools were "feeling the pinch, and it's getting harder and harder to forecast budgets for futures and give children what they deserve and what they need".

Last month, she revealed she had taken on jobs like tiling and fitting sinks in a bid to save money.

The Department for Education said: “Under the national funding formula, funding for schools in Staffordshire has increased by 3.8% per pupil, compared to 2017-18.

"This is above the national average of 3.2%, and is equivalent to an extra £27.7 million in total, when rising pupil numbers are taken into account."

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

After a cloudy start, rain will move in from the south - some of it heavy at times - with top temperatures of 15C (59F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

It should be a mainly dry night with clear spells before rain moves in with lows of 7C (45F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Police officer who failed to give breath sample is sacked

A police officer who was convicted of a driving offence has been sacked by Staffordshire Police.

The force said 38-year-old Sergeant Karl Breen, who worked in the Stoke North Neighbourhood Policing Team, had been found guilty of gross misconduct by a hearing in front of the Chief Constable.

Staffordshire Police logo
Staffordshire Police

On 7 May Breen was given a 29-month driving ban by Derby magistrates, fined £100, given a community order and told to carry out 300 hours unpaid work.

He had been convicted for failing to provide a specimen of breath following a road traffic collision in Stoke-on-Trent while he was off-duty.

Prince William at National Memorial Arboretum for D-Day service
The Duke of Cambridge visits the National Memorial Arboretum to mark the 75th anniversary of the landings.

After the Lara show at Edgbaston

Durham 556-8 dec, Warwickshire 810-4 dec (Lara 501*)

Apart from the privilege of being there 25 years ago today to see Brian Lara make his record 501, BBC Sport's Pat Murphy also remembers well all the post-match palaver.

"Two things stand out in the post-match frenzy," said Murphy, "A chaotic press conference, led off by yours truly, with hundreds of fans pressing their noses and ears against the dining-room window pane.

"And the sheer fatigue on Lara's face. Somehow, he allowed the club's marketing department to drag him over to the other side of the ground to have endless photographs taken alongside the scoreboard.

Brian Lara's record-breaking boundary
Rex Features

"And then he still had the good manners to sign many scorecards specially printed, with the final score, before leaving Edgbaston.

"Then he had to travel down to South London, to prepare for a crucial Benson and Hedges Cup semi-final against Surrey, starting at 10.30 the following morning.

"Lara's 70 that day, against a strong Surrey attack, to book a place in the final, was his greatest innings of a remarkable summer, given the events of 6th June and what they must have taken out of him."

BBC's Pat Murphy on Brian Lara's 501

Durham 556-8 dec, Warwickshire 810-4 dec (Lara 501*)

Long-serving BBC reporter Pat Murphy has been looking after sport in the Midlands for longer than he perhaps cares to remember - as well as covering England's cricket team, initially for Radio 2, before sport was transferred to Radio 5 Live.

He has recently taken a lot of time and trouble to chronicle the events of Warwickshire's Brian Lara-inspired treble-winning campaign of 1994 in a new book.

And, like many cricket fans, he can remember where he was the day Lara got his 501.

At Edgbaston, of course. Although not to start with . . .

Pat Murphy, author of The Greatest Season
BBC Sport

"My cricket reporting day began at Trent Bridge, where England took just 90 minutes to wrap up a comfortable victory over New Zealand. But, after consulting with the Five Live sports desk, digesting the fact that Lara was 285 not out at lunch, I hotfooted it to Edgbaston.

"He was past his triple hundred by then, looking masterful, profiting from a very short boundary on the Members' Bar side. As a cricket nerd, I knew all about Archie MacLaren's 424 (the previous highest score in English cricket) and the only question was 'Would Warwickshire bat on so Lara could surpass that?

"A hurried visit to the Durham dressing-room confirmed that we were on the cusp of history as I consulted two of my best friends in the game.

"David Graveney was sheepishly watching, not bowling, having been injured in the Sunday League game a day earlier (when he had actually taken Lara's wicket).

"The director of cricket, Geoff Cook, confirmed there had been lunchtime discussions about a declaration. But Durham, lacking the injured Graveney and Mark Saxelby, knew they'd lose in a run chase if they set a target, so they were content to see out the day, accepting the draw. 'So you might see some history later', Cook told me.

"I rang my sports desk, told them the likely scenario and settled back to enjoy Lara's untroubled progress.

"By now, he could have batted with a toothpick, such was his command. I never had a doubt he'd pass MacLaren, then Hanif Mohammad's 499. Time was his only enemy."

Tonight's weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

We could see the odd spot of rain tonight in the West Midlands although it should be mainly dry.

Here's the full forecast for the night and tomorrow:

Rich Davis

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

Road reopens after 'unsafe' building demolished

Allen Cook

BBC News

A road in Stoke-on-Trent has reopened, more than six weeks after it was shut so an unsafe building could be demolished.

The road and building after demolition
Stoke-on-Trent City Council

Newcastle Street was cordoned off on 22 April after the fire service said it had reports of bricks falling on to the pavement from the first floor of a property.

The city council decided it needed to be demolished, closing the road to traffic until today.

First images released of possible HS2 trains

Gavin Bevis

BBC News

One of the groups bidding to build the trains for the HS2 high-speed rail line has released this image to show what they might look like.

Derby train maker Bombardier and Japanese firm Hitachi said their "Great British" train, designed to reach speeds of up to 225mph, would be "the most advanced, customer-oriented train ever to run in the UK".

HS2 train
Bombardier/Hitachi

Bombardier and Hitachi are competing with Alstom Transport, CAF, Patentes Talgo and Siemens for the £2.75bn contract to build and maintain 54 trains.

Phase one of HS2 will eventually take passengers between Birmingham and London.

Ambulance fleet makeover in £40m deal

Three hundred new ambulances have been ordered at a cost of £40m by West Midlands Ambulance Service.

The first will arrived in August with the rest being delivered over the next three years.

The service's said they will replace existing vehicles and it means all its fleet will be no older than five years old.

An Ambulance
West Midlands Ambulance Service

They'll come with the latest equipment and WMAS said they will be lighter and produce less CO2 emissions, as well as costing less in fuel.

The trust said the plans would make the fleet the "most technologically advanced in service anywhere in the world".

The service, which recently featured in BBC series Ambulance, is rated outstanding by the Care Quality Commission and earlier this year it increased its number of vehicles by 25, to 480.

Wednesday's weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

Mainly dry this morning with more sunshine expected, here's the full weather forecast for the West Midlands:

Rich Davis

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

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a dry morning with some outbreaks of rain expected this afternoon with highs of 18C (64F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a dry and cool night with clear periods and lows of 8C (46F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a mostly dry day with sunny spells and highs of 18C (64F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands