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Police officer run over by thieves backs 'Andrew's Law'

Phil Mackie

Midlands correspondent, BBC News

A police officer who nearly died after being run over by car thieves has added his support for mandatory life sentences for anyone who kills a member of the emergency services.

PC Gaz Phillips

A campaign was launched by Lissie Harper, the widow of PC Andrew Harper who died in Berkshire in August 2019.

PC Gaz Phillips, 43, was critically injured in Birmingham a few days earlier.

He has made a remarkable recovery and on the first anniversary of the incident has just returned to work.

Weather: Mainly sunny before the showers

BBC Weather

We might see the odd shower this morning but mainly there will be sunny spells today and it will continue to feel very warm and muggy. High: 30C/86F.

This morning in Upton upon Severn, Worcestershire
This morning in Upton upon Severn, Worcestershire

Then turning cloudy this evening with showers starting to appear which could be sharp and possibly thundery. Low: 17C/63F.

You can keep up-to-date on the latest forecast for your area by going to the BBC Weather website.

Police officer run over by thieves backs 'Andrew's Law'
PC Gaz Phillips who nearly died just days before PC Andrew Harper is supporting his widow's campaign for tougher sentences.

Coventry City Council: £400k pay-off for departing manager


One of Coventry City Council' s top officials was paid a settlement of nearly £400,000 to leave the organisation, BBC CWR has learnt.

Coventry's council house

Martin Yardley, the former deputy chief executive, took early retirement this year after 12 years at the council and has since taken up a new role with the University of Warwick.

Conservative opposition leader councillor Gary Ridley said the money could have been better spent.

“It is very difficult to justify especially when the council is pleading poverty."

The city council said the settlement would result in long-term savings as his position has been made redundant and the local authority restructured.

Thunderstorms warning for next week

People in the West Midlands should be prepared for severe thunderstorms early next week, the Met Office said.

Area covered
Met Office

It has put out a yellow warning from 00:00 on Monday until 00:00 on Wednesday.

However, the alert covers the whole country as the Met Office said there was "significant uncertainty in location and timing".

Weather: A warm and sunny Friday

BBC Weather

Plenty of sunshine around and it will be mainly dry and fine with just the chance of a few showers this afternoon. High: 28C (82F).

BBC Weather Watcher Sue Snaps
This morning in Codsall, Staffordshire

Warm and muggy tonight with any lingering showers clearing away to leave it dry with clear spells. Low: 16C (61F).

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

Motorcyclist dies and woman critical after crash

Allen Cook

BBC News

A motorcyclist has died and a woman's in a critical condition in hospital after a crash in Coventry this morning.

Coundon Road at level crossing

The pair were believed to be on the bike on Coundon Road when it lost control near the level crossing, came off the road and hit a parked car and a lamppost, West Midlands Police said.

Bystanders gave the man who was riding the bike CPR before paramedic arrived, but the ambulance service said, nothing could be done and he died at the scene.

The woman was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

Road shut after motorbike crash


A road's shut this morning after a crash involving a motorbike in Coventry.

The ambulance service said it was called just after 06:30 and sent four ambulances and a car to Barker Butts Lane, near the level crossing.

The road is expected to stay closed for some time, West Midlands Police tweeted.

Weather: A dry and warm Thursday

BBC Weather

Today's going to be very warm and mainly dry with just the chance of the odd shower this morning. High: 25C/77F.

This morning in Moreton on Lugg, Herefordshire
BBC Weather Watcher Mightyship
This morning in Moreton on Lugg, Herefordshire

It will stay dry tonight with clear spells, feeling humid and mild with a low of 15C/59F.

Keep up-to-date on the forecast for your area by going to the BBC Weather website.

Guard of honour at funeral of special constable

A funeral has been held today for a special constable who died months after he was hit by a car.

Special Constable Resham Singh Nahal pictured in 2017 at Pride with Chief Constable Dave Thompson
West Midlands Police

Resham Singh Nahal (left) was hit by a car while attending the scene of a separate collision in Oldbury, on 8 November.

Last month, West Midlands Chief Constable Dave Thompson confirmed his death and the force said tests would determine if his death related to the injuries he suffered on duty.

West Midlands Ambulance Service said Mr Nahal was also part of its Patient Transport Service and colleagues formed a guard of honour at Perry Barr Crematorium.

Colleagues at the funeral
West Midlands Ambulance Service

Coronavirus: How many cases are there in your area?

The number of people testing positive for coronavirus in Sandwell has fallen, according to new figures.

A test sample is held at a COVID-19 testing centre

The borough was named as an area of concern by Public Health England last month after a rise in cases.

But data from Public Health England shows there were 66 new cases in the week up to 31 July. Figures for the seven days to 24 July showed 96 cases.

That means 20.2 people tested positive for every for every 100,000 population (up to 31 July), down from 29.3 a week earlier.

Here are the rate of infections (per 100,000 people) for all local authorities in the West Midlands - for the seven days up to 31 July, compared with the previous week.

  • Birmingham down to 12.7 from from 13.4
  • Bromsgrove down to 6.1 from 7.1
  • Cheshire East up to 6.6 from 1.3
  • Coventry up to 14.7 from 8.7
  • Dudley up to 4.7 from 3.4
  • East Staffordshire up to 9.3 from 8.4
  • Herefordshire remains at 5.7
  • Lichfield up to 6.7 from 2.9
  • Newcastle-under-Lyme up to 7.0 from 3.1
  • North Warwickshire is down to 6.2 from 9.3
  • Nuneaton and Bedworth up to 17.8 from 8.5
  • Redditch remains at 1.2
  • Rugby up to 6.5 from 1.9
  • Sandwell down to 20.2 from 29.3
  • Shropshire up to 6.2 from 5.0
  • Solihull up to 7.0 from 4.2
  • South Staffordshire down to 3.6 from 6.2
  • Staffordshire Moorlands up to 6.1 from 1.0
  • Stoke-on-Trent down to 3.1 from 4.3
  • Stratford-on-Avon up to 3.1 from 0.8
  • Tamworth up to 2.6 from 1.3
  • Telford and Wrekin remains at 3.9
  • Walsall remains at 8.1
  • Warwick remains at 4.2
  • Wolverhampton up to 16.8 from 14.5
  • Worcester down to 3.9 from 7.9
  • Wychavon down to 4.7 from 7.9

Tesco staff test positive for Covid-19


A number of staff at the biggest Tesco store in Coventry have tested positive for coronavirus.

The Coventry Arena Tesco store

The supermarket said it was a small number at the shop at the Arena Park Shopping Centre but didn't reveal the exact figure.

Public Health England is advising and "all the relevant precautions" are being taken, the firm added.

English hockey has an issue of 'endemic racism'

BBC Sport

Hockey in England has an issue with "endemic racism" and not enough is being done by the governing body to tackle it, according to several clubs.

Sam Quek
Getty Images
Sam Quek, who is from an ethnic minority background, was the only BAME athlete in the central Great Britain programme for the Rio Olympics cycle

Eight clubs, including ones in the West Midlands, have signed a letter accusing England Hockey of presiding over a system that is "biased" against ethnic minority players.

"It is out of touch with modern-day Britain," wrote Barford Tigers Hockey Club chairman Gurmej Singh Pawar.

England Hockey said it wants the sport to be "a force for good in diversity".

The clubs include Barford Tigers, Birmingham and Sikh Union Coventry.

Appeal over Land Rover Defender trademark fails

An attempt by Jaguar Land Rover to trademark the shape of the Defender has been rejected by the High Court.

The UK Intellectual Property Office refused the applications last year after an official decided that the shapes of the Defender 90 and 110 lacked "distinctiveness".

The High Court had been asked to rule on an appeal by JLR.

Land Rover Defender
Jaguar Land Rover

The firm stopped making the defender in 2016 and has since announced plans to make a replacement.

But a rival company, Ineos Automotive, has said it plans to make a similar vehicle "inspired" by the classic design at a factory in Bridgend.

More ambition urged over cycling and walking plans

Allen Cook

BBC News

The UK’s first city bicycle mayor is urging Warwickshire County Council to be more ambitious as it bids for government funding for new cycling and walking schemes.

Adam Tranter
Adam Tranter

Adam Tranter is Coventry’s bicycle mayor and has written to Warwickshire County Council saying he's concerned the local authority won't get as much money from ministers as it could.

The government is offering £180m to councils for long-term schemes to get more people cycling and walking after the coronavirus lockdown.

But Mr Tranter says he feared the county council's "lack of ambition" would see other local authorities get a bigger share of the cash.

Warwickshire County Council has been approached for a response.

Covid-19: 'We hope people will overcome their nervousness'

Cafe, pub and restaurant owners across the West Midlands have told the BBC they are hoping the new Eat Out To Help Out scheme does encourage more customers to enjoy a meal out.

A sign for the scheme

Diners can now get up to 50% off their bill under the government initiative which runs all day Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 3 to 31 August across the UK.

Darren Dunn from Heavenly Desserts in Coventry said he hoped the benefits extended beyond this month.

"It's not only putting money in our tills now and allowing us to continue to operate at the levels we are operating at but it also means down the line we've gained new customers we might not have without this incentive."

While Ann Ager, from the Bakehouse Cafe, Stafford, said staff had seen trade fall off last week after a Covid-19 outbreak in nearby Stone.

"We're hoping this week people will overcome their nervousness and appreciate most establishments if not all establishments are now safe."

Barbecue blamed for garden fire

A garden fire which spread to a shed and neighbouring gardens was caused by a barbecue which had been left to cool down.

Burnt out shed after fire
West Midlands Fire Service

West Midlands Fire Service said they were called to the scene in Coventry earlier.

They warned barbecues should not be left unattended until they have fully cooled down.

Burnt out garden and fence
West Midlands Fire Service

Weather: Mainly dry and sunny today

BBC Weather

Monday will be mainly dry with sunny spells although there could be some more cloud around this afternoon with a few light showers. High: 19C/66F.

Leek this morning
Tammys Pics
This morning near Leek, Staffordshire

Then although there'll be some patchy cloud with the odd shower tonight, it will generally turn dry with clear spells through the night. Low: 8C/46F.

You can keep up-to-date on the latest forecast for your area by going to the BBC Weather website.

Muslims gather for park prayers

Worshipers have gathered in Coventry to celebrate Eid al-Adha, coinciding with the end of Hajj- the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

Eid prayers
Haroon Mota
Eid Prayers
Haroon Mota

Haroon Mota tweeted he had been part of the socially distanced prayers at Stoke Heath park in the city, saying "What a beautiful day for it."

People are being asked to not to gather indoors for large family meetings and to carry out social distancing.

How hot is it going to get today?

BBC Weather

It will be a dry and hot day for most of the West Midlands with plenty of sunshine.

Later in the afternoon, some patchy cloud will build up, with the small chance of catching a sharp shower but temperatures could reach 32°C (90°F).

This was the scene in Eckington, Worcestershire, this morning and taken by BBC Weather Watcher Jo.

BBC Weather Watchers/Jo
Paramedic on struggle to recover mentally from stabbing
Deena Evans and her colleague Michael Hipgrave were stabbed while attending a patient in Wolverhampton.

Warning against anti-social behaviour issued ahed of Eid

Muslims across the West Midlands will be celebrating the festival of Eid al-Adha on Friday.

Worshipers are being asked celebrate virtually due to social-distancing measures brought in during the coronavirus pandemic, and not gather in large family groups.

West Midlands Police is also asking people not to gather this evening causing anti-social behaviour including "revving engines and blowing horns into the early hours."

"Police ANPR operations and officers [will be] on duty until the early hours of the morning to deal with this problem should it arise," the force said.

'Ride out racism' campaign launched by rider

Kevin Reide

Reporter, Midlands Today

An aspiring horse rider from Coventry has launched a campaign against racism in equestrian sports after suffering abuse, he said.

Reece McCook

Reece McCook, 18, said he was verbally abused for several weeks whilst on work placement from a college course, "because obviously I don't look like your stereotypical rider".

He nearly dropped out, but decided to tackle the issue himself with his initiative called "ride out racism".

"I feel like horses could be a prime opportunity for those who are involved in gang activity to have a new way to express themselves without having to go on the streets," he said.

Drive-through testing centre set up in city car park

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Tom Dare

A new drive-through Covid-19 testing centre is to open in a Coventry city centre car park next week.

Car park

The mobile unit will operate in Moat Street car park, close to the Sky Dome, as part of a national drive to improve accessibility for coronavirus testing for local communities.

The new facility will be on site for a fortnight between from 3-16 August when a decision will be taken to determine whether the unit should be moved elsewhere.

People are being asked not to turn up without a booking.