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Man arrested over armed robberies

A man has been arrested over a series of armed robberies at businesses in Liverpool.

McDonalds in Jennifer Street, Liverpool
Google

Detectives believe six incidents - including one at a McDonalds restaurant in Jennifer Street - between 4 and 16 June are linked after staff were threatened with a double-barrelled shotgun.

Merseyside Police said a man, aged 40, from Anfield is being held on suspicion of robbery.

Liverpool teenagers 'paid money to stab other youths'

Teenagers are being offered up to £1,000 by gang leaders in Liverpool to stab other youngsters, the BBC has learned.

Forensic scientist
Getty Images

They told the BBC Beyond Today podcast bounties were being offered by "elders" who wanted to avoid carrying out the attacks themselves.

The claims have been linked to at least one recent stabbing.

Merseyside Police said it was aware organised crime groups used violence to settle disputes.

Last year, Merseyside Police had one of the biggest increases in knife crime with a 35% rise, according to official statistics.

The force recorded 1,231 offences involving a knife in 2018.

Severe disruption: A580 Merseyside both ways

BBC News Travel

A580 Merseyside both ways severe disruption, between B5187 Stopgate Lane and Lower House Lane.

A580 Merseyside - A580 East Lancashire Road in Norris Green closed and it's slow in both directions between Crown Crossroads and the Lower House Lane junction, because of a police investigation.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

The Beatles' first contract with Brian Epstein to be auctioned

The Beatles' first contract with manager Brian Epstein is expected to sell for about £300,000 at auction.

The Beatles
Getty Images

Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and their first drummer Pete Best signed the document on 24 January 1962, before achieving worldwide fame.

"[Epstein] stopped them eating on stage," Gabriel Heaton, a specialist at the Sotheby's auction house, said.

"He made sure they played the songs properly and coherently, and he got them bowing at the end of a set."

Liverpool Youth Offending Service receives 'good' rating

Liverpool's Youth Offending Service (YOS) has been rated "good" with some "outstanding" areas following an official inspection.

Liverpool YOS
Liverpool City Council

But the HM Inspector of Probation report found its out-of-court processes were "inadequate" and required improvement.

The YOS offers support to young offenders aged between 10 and 18 as well as the victims of their crimes.

A team of inspectors examined every aspect of the team's work in March.

Robbie Williams invests in Liverpool arts school LMA

Robbie Williams has bought a stake in Liverpool performing arts academy, LMA.

Robbie Williams and LMA students
PA

The ex-Take That star, who mentored the centre's LMA Choir during his time as an X Factor judge, will help the academy to expand globally, starting with the launch of a London campus.

He said he hoped to "motivate the next generation of pop stars".

Williams will hold a 20% stake, becoming a co-owner alongside founders Richard and Simon Wallace, and former Tesco chief executive Terry Leahy.

Freddie Starr fans say farewell at comedian's funeral

Ian Youngs

Entertainment and Arts Reporter, BBC News

Comedian Freddie Starr is being laid to rest on Merseyside, a month after his death at the age of 76.

Freddie Starr funeral handout
PA

Family and fans gathered at Prescot Parish Church, Prescot to attend the service.

His coffin was carried into the church to the strains of Starr's rendition of Elvis Presley's song Don't, and was applauded as it was carried back out to another Elvis cover, Trouble.

His coffin has the words "Liverpool legend" engraved on one side and "Return to sender" on the other.

Freddie Starr impersonating Elvis
BBC

There were fears Starr would have a pauper's funeral in Spain where he lived at the end of his life.

However, a funeral director stepped in and paid £20,000 for repatriating his body and organised the service in Prescot, close to where the entertainer grew up in Huyton.

Severe accident: M56 Cheshire eastbound

BBC News Travel

M56 Cheshire eastbound severe accident, at J15 for M53.

M56 Cheshire - One lane closed and queues on M56 eastbound at J15 M53, because of an accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Six arrested in Merseyside shooting murder probe

Six men have been arrested on suspicion of murdering a man who was shot dead in Netherton last June.

Miguel Reynolds
Family photograph

Miguel Reynolds, 21, from Manchester, was found with gunshot wounds in Assissian Crescent.

Two men were arrested after searches in Sefton earlier while four men were produced from prisons in Merseyside and the West Midlands, Merseyside Police said.

The men, aged between 20 and 30, were all from Sefton and were also held on suspicion of conspiracy to commit robbery.

Police doing 'everything possible' in baby murder inquiry

Detectives investigating the deaths of babies at Countess of Chester Hospital have said they are doing "everything possible" to find out what happened to the infants.

Lucy Letby
SWNS

It follows the release on bail of 29-year-old nurse Lucy Letby, who was re-arrested on Monday on suspicion of murdering eight babies between July 2015 and July 2016.

She was also held on suspicion of the attempted murder of nine others.

Cheshire Constabulary is also looking into 16 non-fatal collapses between March 2015 and July 2016.

Det Insp Paul Hughes said it was an "extremely challenging" investigation, adding:

I want to reassure people that we are doing everything we can, as quickly as we can, to identify what has led to these baby deaths and collapses.

There are no set timescales for this and ask people to bear with us while we continue with our inquiries.

Homes flooded and travel disrupted by rain

Homes have been evacuated, motorists stranded and trains cancelled as flooding has hit the North West and other parts of England.

Firefighters in flood water
Warwickshire Fire and Rescure Service

The Environment Agency has issued 25 flood warnings and 64 alerts across the country.

The majority are across the Midlands and North West, although warnings are also in place near Whitby and in south-east London.

The Met Office has given yellow warnings for rain across Manchester, Liverpool and the North East.

Liverpool to host Norwich in Premier League opener

BBC Sport

The 2019-20 Premier League season will start with Champions League winners Liverpool hosting promoted Norwich City on Friday 9 August.

Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk with team holding trophy
Getty Images

Champions Manchester City will open the defence of their title the following day with a trip to West Ham, while Burnley host Southampton and Everton travel to Crystal Palace.

For the first time in Premier League history, the clubs will get a short mid-season break in February.

The opening weekend will also see Manchester United hosting Chelsea on 11 August.

Endangered snails helped by Chester Zoo

BBC Science and Environment

Chester Zoo has helped rescue thousands of critically endangered snails from Bermuda and released them back into the wild.

The greater Bermuda land snail was thought to have disappeared for many years until an empty shell turned up in the territory's capital city, Hamilton.

Live snails were then found among litter in a nearby alleyway.

Some were flown to the zoo for a unique breeding programme, and now 4,000 snails have been taken back to the island and released.

Wirral hospital warns of motorway flooding

Patients and visitors attending a hospital in Wirral have been warned to avoid a motorway junction due to flooding.

Wirral NHS Hospitals Trust, which runs Arrowe Park Hospital, has warned patients to avoid Junction 3 of the M53.

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BreakingNurse held on suspicion of Chester baby murders is bailed

A nurse arrested in an investigation into the suspected murder of babies at Countess of Chester Hospital has been released on bail.

Lucy Letby
SWNS

Lucy Letby was held on suspicion of murdering eight babies and the attempted murder of another nine.

She was first arrested in July last year over the deaths of infants between 2015 and 2016.

Cheshire Police are also investigating 16 non-fatal collapses at the neonatal unit during the same period of March 2015 to July 2016.

Ms Letby, originally from Hereford, has been bailed pending further inquiries, the force said.

Flooding causes rail disruption in Wirral

More trains have been cancelled this morning due to overnight flooding in Wirral.

Standing water on railway tracks
Merseyrail

Merseyrail said water had to be pumped away from the tracks at Hooton last night, but heavy rain overnight has affected Chester and Ellesmere Port services again.

The company has published an amended timetable.

It means rail replacement buses are running to Rock Ferry, resulting in delays and cancellations into Liverpool.

Standing water is also causing problems on many of the region's roads.

Parkgate Road in Chester remains closed due to a flood and it is also causing problems on the M53.

View more on twitter

Severe disruption: A5104 Flintshire both ways

BBC News Travel

A5104 Flintshire both ways severe disruption, from Stryt Isa to A550.

A5104 Flintshire - A5104 in Penyffordd blocked and it's slow in both directions from the Stryt Isa junction to the A550 junction.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

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.

Severe accident: A55 Cheshire westbound

BBC News Travel

A55 Cheshire westbound severe accident, from J38 A483 Wrexham Road to J36 A5104 Mold Road.

A55 Cheshire - A55 closed westbound from J38, A483 (Posthouse Roundabout) to J36, A5104 (Warren Bank Interchange), because of an accident involving two cars.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: A540 Cheshire both ways

BBC News Travel

A540 Cheshire both ways severe disruption, from A5480 Countess Way to Townfield Lane.

A540 Cheshire - A540 Parkgate Road in Upton, Chester closed and it's slow in both directions from Blacon Roundabout to the Townfield Lane junction, because of flooding. Diversion in operation - via Countess Way and Liverpool Road.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Deeside flooding: People battle to protect homes from water
Houses in Deeside are flooded after almost one month's worth of rain fall overnight.