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Watch: Cumbria's top tweeting shepherd is back on line

Martin Lewes


For the social media fans out there, the Cumbrian hill farmer James Rebanks has started tweeting to his 114,000 followers again.

He's put out a selection of highlights from his year of abstaining from Twitter, of which this is one of the best.

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Police welcome sentence on child abuser

Police have welcomed a 10-year jail sentence handed down at Carlisle Crown Court to a man who abused two children a number of years ago.

Svenn Richard Norendal, 66, was found guilty after a trial of eight charges yesterday.

Sgt Nick Oliver, the investigating officer, said: "He put his victims through vile abuse.

"Hopefully the sentence will go some way to giving the victims the justice they deserve."

Svenn Norendal

Hedgehog signs 'need a touch of humour'

There's been a welcome in Cumbria for new signs featuring a picture of a hedgehog that are going to appear on roads to warn motorists of the likely presence of wildlife.

Hedgehohg road sign
Department for Transport

They'll be placed in areas where there are large number of hedgehogs, otters and badgers.

Some roads in Cumbria already have specific signs warning of red squirrels or rare toads.

George Scott from the Knoxwood Wildlife Rescue Trust near Wigton says the signs will have more chance of working if an element of humour is used in the design.

Wouldn't it be nice to involve the kids and let them design the signs ... and hopefully the parents will take more notice of it."

George Scott

Ex-partner is jailed again for eighth breach of order

A man's been jailed for 14 months at Carlisle Crown Court after admitting breaching a restraining order, banning him from approaching his ex-partner, for the eighth time.

Elijah Ali, 29, is homeless and was sent to prison in January after he breached the order for the seventh time.

This time he was found by police in the woman's back garden in Carlisle, having climbed over a 6ft high locked gate.

Anthony Parkinson, defending, said: "It is a nuisance-type breach, as opposed to anything more sinister," but Judge James Adkin said a breach of the licence meant prison.

Barber who drove after smoking drug is banned

A hairdresser who breached a suspended sentence by driving under the influence of cannabis has been fined £600 and lost his licence for a year.

Christian Newland, 20, of Greystoke, near Penrith, had been given the suspended sentence in 2017 for possessing an imitation firearm in public.

Last November, Newland was stopped after police saw him driving erratically in Penrith, and a roadside test proved positive.

He admitted drug-driving and being in breach of the suspended sentence, and appeared at Carlisle Crown Court for sentence.

Judge Andrew Jeffries was told Newland had done everything asked of him under the previous court decision, and was due to start work as a barber in London next month.

Borderlands growth deal 'on track' for July

Local Democracy Reporting Service

John Connell

The multimillion-pound Borderlands Growth deal is “very much on track” despite a small delay, Carlisle City Council chiefs have insisted.

The Borderlands Partnership, which includes five Scottish and English local authorities including Carlisle City Council and Cumbria County Council, submitted a number of projects to the UK and Scottish Governments at the end of last September.

Carlisle station approach

The plans include the redevelopment of the area around Carlisle station, with a strategic project to investigate the possibility of extending the Borders Railway from Tweedbank to Carlisle.

Asked about the time it was taking to get the projects approved for funding, Garry Legg, Carlisle City Council's head of investment, said there had been "slippage" but he was now hoping for an announcement in July.

We have a clear commitment on both sides of the Border from the two Governments to meet the target set by the people are working very hard to hit that deadline.”

Garry Legg

Third man held as police probe Whitehaven attack

Cumbria Police have made a third arrest after a man was found with serious head injuries in Whitehaven last week.

Scenes of Crime tent in College Street

Officers say the 30-year-old man from West Yorkshire is still in the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, where his condition is said to be "stable".

Now a 23-year-old man from Whitehaven has been arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm.

Two other men - aged 44 and 35 - who were arrested last week, have been released under investigation.

Changes made to city 'power from waste' incinerator scheme

Local Democracy Reporting Service

John Connell

Energy generated by a controversial incinerator planned for a Carlisle industrial estate will go straight into the National Grid and not directly to nearby businesses.

Permission has already been granted for an £80m “energy from waste” processing facility at Kingmoor Park despite objections from those living on the Lowry Hill housing estate, and earlier this year changes were made to the design.

A meeting this week of the city authority’s Economic Growth Scrutiny committee was told the development presented an “opportunity for a large advanced manufacturing company to benefit from the excess heat” created by the 230ft high chimney stack.

Bungalow badly damaged in fire

Firefighters from Brampton, Lazonby and Carlisle were called in when a bungalow caught fire at Newbiggin yesterday afternoon.

Firefighters tackle blaze
Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service

No one was hurt, but the home was badly damaged by the blaze, which started just before 14:00, and firefighters spent much of the afternoon dealing with it.

Illegal migrants found in city cannabis farm are jailed

Two Albanian illegal immigrants found caring for a cannabis farm on a Carlisle industrial estate have been jailed.

Elidon Hajdarmataj, 24, and 26-year-old Rafael Hysaj were found by police at the unit in Rosehill, inside which were 330 cannabis plants with a street value between £99,000 and £247,000.

Cannabis farm
Cumbria Police

Hajdarmataj and Hysaj, who had been living at the unit, told police they had been brought there from London and put to work.

They admitted cannabis production, and were each jailed for two years.

Judge Andrew Jefferies QC told the pair, both of no fixed address: "I accept you are highly unlikely to have been the organisers of this, but you were actively producing that cannabis, no doubt under direction."

Flood gear goes to help storm-hit eastern counties

The Environment Agency keeps some of the country's most powerful portable flood defences in Cumbria, but when the rain falls somewhere else, it goes where it is needed most.

It has barely stopped raining for a week in Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire, and a burst dyke cause serious flooding in some areas.

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Carer who stole £3,440 from pensioner is jailed for a year

A carer who stole thousands of pounds from a vulnerable pensioner she was employed to look after has been jailed for a year.

Laura Elizabeth Brunskill
Cumbria Police

Laura Brunskill, 23, of Lady Anne Drive, Brough, stole a total of £3,440 from the 71-year-old vascular dementia and Alzheimer's sufferer, often withdrawing hundreds of pounds at a time from ATMs without her permission, and spending the money on show tickets and a holiday.

Brunskill admitted four theft charges and her lawyer, Brian Williams, said she was remorseful over the offences which were "completely and utterly baffling" and "out of character".

Jailing Brunskill, Judge Andrew Jefferies QC spoke of a "remarkable breach of trust", telling her: "Only immediate custody is appropriate in this case to punish you for what is a terribly mean offence."

Council calls for better signs to Carlisle's attractions

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Leading city councillors are ramping up pressure on Highways England to improve “poor” motorway signage in a bid to draw more visitors into Carlisle.

Members of the Economic Growth Scrutiny Panel agreed that more needed to be done by Highways England to advertise the “Gateway City” to motorists, particularly on the M6.

Carlisle motorway sign

Former city council leader Colin Glover, who raised the issue, said: “One of the great difficulties we have had in the past is with Highways England and getting them to sign the city better off the motorway."

Paul Nedved, who is now the executive member for the economy and enterprise, said he endorsed Mr Glover’s comments, adding: “It is critical that we draw people into the city and the single best way to do that is to sell ourselves and market ourselves at strategic points."

We need to be seen as a gateway and as a tourist destination and I think the signage at present is very poor.”

Councillor Paul Nedved

Police to target Cumbria's worst drivers

Cumbria police has started an operation to identify the county's most dangerous drivers and target them.

Newly-qualified drivers who show signs of developing bad habits will be advised, so they know police are watching them, but officers say experienced drivers who regularly break the law will be taken to court.

Cumbria Police

Drivers who regularly get behind the wheel when drunk or high on drugs, or who use cars for crime, will be among those classified as medium or high risk under Operation Dreadnought.

I expect firm education for low-risk drivers, and robust action to be taken against offenders who just don’t get the message and think they are above the law.”

Peter McCallPolice and Crime Commissioner

Ambulance crews battled to save man who fell into lake

Police say the man who died after falling into Windermere earlier this week was 57 and from Heversham, near Milnthorpe.

Emergency services were called to Glebe Road, one of the busiest tourist areas in the Lake District, just before 13:00 on Wednesday, and medical staff from the ambulance and air ambulance tried in vain to save the man's life.

Police say the coroner has been informed, and they have no reason to be suspicious about the man's death.

Cumbrian schools need extra money, researchers say

Researchers say eight schools in Cumbria should be among those getting extra funding under recent proposals.

A report from the think tank, the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, says young people in the north from poorer families do not do as well as they should, and the organisation has identified schools around the country that have a high proportion of children from poor backgrounds.

Henri Murison from the partnership says an extra £1bn should be channeled towards such schools in the north.

Anonymous school stock picture
Getty Images

Police say Appleby Fair hotline 'had positive response'

Police say 450 people called a special hotline set up for the Appleby Horse Fair, and it may become a fixture for future years.

Bowtop caravans and police car

People calling the police non-emergency line on 101 were given an option to speak directly to officers dealing with horse fair issues, and were put through on average in 75 seconds, a spokesman said.

Temporary Ch Supt Rob O'Connor, who was in charge of operations for the horse fair, said local residents had asked for a dedicated telephone line, and the response had been positive.

We always look to learn lessons from every fair and will look at whether we can continue to put this resource in place for future Appleby Horse Fairs.”

Ch Supt Rob O'Connor

Two arrested after man badly hurt in Whitehaven attack

Two people have been arrested after a man was attacked in Whitehaven early this morning.

Police say they found the 30-year-old with serious head injuries in College Street at 03:20.

College Street, Whitehaven

He was taken to the west Cumberland Hospital and was being transferred to the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle this morning.

Police say two men, aged 44 and 35, have been arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm.

The force has appealed for anyone who saw the attack or knows anything about the circumstances to come forward.

City leader speaks of 'optimism' over derelict hotel

Local Democracy Reporting Service

John Connell

The leader of Carlisle City Council remains “optimistic” that the derelict Central Plaza Hotel site can be brought back into use.

Plaza Hotel

The crumbling Grade II-listed building in the city centre has proved a major headache for the council, with the authority forced spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on public safety grounds even though it does not own the building.

But John Mallinson told a meeting “I don’t wish to give people false hope, but we do have a developer that has been interested in the site for some time and they have visited it and are doing their calculations.

“We are optimistic we can bring some closure to this, but we don’t really know what is salvageable – and even whether the building itself is at all salvageable is open to speculation.”

Police ask for help after girl, 12, robbed

A 12-year-old girl in Barrow was hit with a crowbar by two teenage boys who then stole her mobile phone, police say.

Officers have just appealed for witnesses to the robbery which they say happened on Wednesday 5 June at about 19:30 in the field behind Lesh Lane Stores.

Head teacher says schools will have to make cuts

A Cumbrian head teacher and prominent campaigner for more spending on schools says his school is one of a number that has posted a negative budget for the first time.

The Department for Education says it is trying to help schools with their budgeting challenges, and ministers say more money is going into schools than ever before.

But Clem Coady from Stoneraise School, a primary school near Carlisle, says it is not keeping up with increasing pupil numbers.

Stoneraise school

The decisions we'll be making are which areas of the curriculum will need to be cut and which areas of staff will need to be reduced to balance the books."

Clem Coady

June is busiest year in county, says RSPCA

The RSPCA says June is shaping up to be its busiest month of the year again.

It is the height of the breeding season and many of the calls are about young animals.

Off the 1,489 calls to the charity's inspectors last year, 273 were in June.


Councillors want parking stewards, not lollipop patrols

Jennie Dennett

BBC Cumbria

Swapping lollipop men and women for parking stewards is one move being considered by county councillors, in response to a shortage of recruits.

Five of the eight established school crossings in the area are struggling to find a new patrol, and in some more rural schools, members of the county council's South Lakeland committee are considering using the money its not spending on vacant crossings to perhaps employ parking stewards instead to improve safety.

Lollipop person

Anima shelter blames slug pellets for hedgehogs influx

Mark McAlindon

BBC Look North

Gardeners are being asked not to use slug pellets, after a rise in the number of hedgehogs being taken to an animal sanctury in North Cumbria.

Staff at Knoxwood, near Wigton, say they are receiving record numbers of poorly hedgehogs for this time of year; and some of them show symptoms of poisoning.

The Government announced last year that the pesticide metaldehyde, which is often found in slug pellets, would be banned by 2020 because of the risk it poses to wildlife.


Usually at this time of year we have very few hedgehogs other than injured ones that have been picked up on the roadside, but for some reason we've got babies, we've got mothers, dads, we've got the whole shebang."

George ScottFounder of Knoxood

Cumbria's weather: Rain easing, then returning

BBC Weather

Rain will continue to ease this evening and it should become largely dry for a time.

Another area of rain is likely to arrive after midnight, with a cloudy and wet end to the night expected, with minimum temperatures from 3C to 6C (37F to 43F).

Weather graphic

You can always find the latest BBC weather forecast for where you are, here.

Date set for Princess Royal to visit West Cumbria

Cumbria will have another royal visit next month.

On 2 July, the Princess Royal will be in West Cumbria, to officially open Campus Whitehaven, on Red Lonning in the town.

Also, at Lillyhall, in her role as president of the City and Guilds of London Institute, Princess Anne will open the Gen2 Head Office on Blackwood Road.

She follows the Earl of Wessex who's visiting the Furness area today, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge who were in the county earlier this week and who, after all the high-profile engagements, enjoyed a walk guided by senior staff from the Cumbria Wildlife Trust.

Caterine and William with Cumbria Wildlife trust staff

Library facelift 'could hit other services'

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Ellis Butcher

Windermere Library could shut for months for major refurbishment works, raising fears about services to residents.

Windermere Library entrance

As well as the library and the displays of the Lake District Holocaust Project, South Lakes Citizens Advice and South Lakes Housing operate from the building, a meeting heard.

The Ellerthwaite Road building belongs to Cumbria County Council, which has held talks with a charitable trust about taking it over on a long term lease, and the trust, the Lake District Paradise Project, wants to make improvements.

The county council meeting was told temporary arrangements would be made for the library and the Lake District Holocaust Project would remain, but members were concerned about the other services.

People like CAB can’t go away for six months”

Councillor Shirley Evans

Cross-country rail services resume after disruption

Rail services between England and Scotland have resumed after a fallen tree closed the west coast main line north of Carlisle.

Passengers had faced lengthy delays and cancellations while Network Rail sent engineers to the site attempting to repair the damage.

Virgin Trains said it was impossible to use the east coast main line as an alternative due to disruption caused by damage to overhead lines and a fatality near Newcastle.

Network Rail have since confirmed both main lines are up and running.

Man walking past Virgin train
Getty Images

Nick swings close to his best to qualify for Tokyo Olympics

BBC Cumbria Sport

Cumbrian hammer-thrower Nick Miller recorded the second-best throw of his career in Poland yesterday to reach the qualification mark for next year's Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The 26-year-old Commonwealth gold medallist from 2018 threw 78.39 metres in the Bydgoszsz Cup event.

Nick Miller

Supermarket chain brings in new car park chargers

More charging points for electric cars are being made available in Cumbria.

The regional supermarket chain, Booths, will have chargers at four of its stores in Kirkby Lonsdale, Ulverston, Keswick and Windemere.

Eight new points are also being introduced by the Lake District National Park Authority in Coniston, Glenridding and Grasmere.

Car charging stock picture

Numbers of women taking cancer test reach 20-year-low

Sara Dumbell

Journalist, BBC Radio Cumbria

The number of people accepting cervical smear screening in parts of Cumbria and it is now at a 20-year low.

Health officials in Morecambe Bay say three in 10 women are not turning up for smear tests, although cervical cancer is the most common form affecting women under the age of 35.

Nurse with smear test tool
Science Picture Library

Advances in treatment mean the prospects for woman whose cancer is picked up early are good, and Jay Clark, whose wife Susan died after a late diagnosis, says it is worth the embarrassment or inconvenience of the test.

My kids have lost their mam, I've lost my wife, we thought we were going to have all our lives ahead of us, but it was just a bit too late for us."

Jay Clark

Travel news: Weekend roadworks will close A65

BBC News Travel

Some advance warning: The short stretch of dual carriageway between junction 36 on the M6 and the roundabout at Crooklands by the auction mart will be closed for resurfacing from 16:00 on Saturday 15 June and 18:00 16 June.

It will mean traffic heading for Kirkby Lonsdale and Yorkshire down the A65 from the M6 or the Lake District, or heading west from Kirkby Lonsdale towards the M6, will have to find another route.

Man dies after Windermere emergency

A man in his 50s died after getting into difficulties in Windermere, police say.

Paramedics and an air ambulance were called in just before 13:00 yesterday, and a road was closed while they tried to revive him.

Armed police draw blank in 'man with gun' search

Armed police officers were deployed to the area between Whitehaven and Sandwith yesterday evening after people said they'd seen a man with a firearm.

Officers were told he was in the Wilson Pit Road area, but following an extensive search, nothing was found.

Police logo
Cumbria Police

Cumbria's weather: Cloudy and wet

BBC Weather

It will be cloudy with rain for much of the day.

The rain will be particularly widespread this morning with some heavy rain locally, but it should then start to ease in some areas. Highest temperatures will be from 9C to 12C (48F to 54F).

Weather graphic

You can always find the latest detailed BBC weather forecast for where you are, here.

Carlisle Sands Centre development passes major hurdle

The £25m redevelopment of the Sands Centre has cleared a major hurdle after Carlisle City Council’s new executive voted the scheme through to the last stage.

The project, developed under the previous Labour administration, has been recommended for approval with the plans due to go before the full council at the end of the month for final consideration with Conservatives now in charge.

Sands centre artist's impression
Carlisle CC

Darren Crossley, the council’s deputy chief executive, told last night’s meeting of the executive that the project was the “cornerstone” of the authority’s mission to improve health in the city, adding that it was a “necessity” because of the ageing leisure facilities.

The new council leader John Mallinson said: “We are starting off from a position where the pools are dreadfully out of date and the cost of not doing this would be very significant and this is perhaps a one-off opportunity for a development of this kind."

BreakingWest Coast Main Line blocked by falling tree

Press Association

Rail passengers are being advised not to attempt to travel between England and Scotland.

All lines are blocked on the West Coast Main Line between Carlisle and Lockerbie due to a tree falling on overhead line equipment in Floriston.

Network Rail, which manages Britain's rail infrastructure, is attempting to repair the damage.

Virgin Trains said it is not possible for passengers to use the East Coast Main Line as an alternative route due to disruption caused by a person being hit by a train.

A spokesman for the operator said: "The closure of our route to Scotland is causing significant disruption and we want to apologise to all our customers affected by this.

"We're doing our best to help people complete their journeys but would advise anyone who has not set off on their journey to either wait until the disruption has cleared, travel tomorrow or get a refund."