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Thames Valley knife crime at record level, crime data reveals

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Serious knife crime in the Thames Valley has hit its highest level since 2010, latest crime data shows.

Thames Valley Police recorded a total of 1,483 serious crimes involving knives in 2018.

That is up 19 percent on the previous year and the highest since 2010-11.

The crimes included eight homicides, 48 rape and sexual assault offences and 117 threats to kill across the policing area last year.

Thames Valley Police covers Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

Man handling a knife
PA
Knife crime in Thames Valley has reached record levels since 2010

Children as young as 10 targeted by drug dealers

Children as young as 10 are being targeted by county lines drug gangs in Oxfordshire, it has been revealed.

Oxfordshire County Council says it's supporting young people who are exploited by dealers looking sell drugs in small towns and rural areas.

Karen Hulston, a social worker, says there clear warning signs when a child is vulnerable to exploitation.

She added a sign was "changes in behaviour" where young people become "disruptive, because they are scare or upset".

Councillor elected to second seat in different county

Local Democracy Reporting Service

An Oxfordshire county councillor was also elected as as borough and parish councillor in Hampshire earlier this month, it has emerged.

Tim Bearder was elected to represent Wheatley in November and won a seat on Eastleigh Borough Council on 2 May.

The Liberal Democrat claimed his recent election was "not relevant" to his work in Oxfordshire. The seat is more than 70 miles away.

Mr Bearder, a former BBC Radio Oxford presenter, said he lived in both Oxford and Hampshire, spent half his time in both places and is able to carry out his duties as a councillor.

Tim Bearder
BBC

More trains on Stratford-upon-Avon - London Marylebone line

The number of direct trains between Stratford-upon-Avon and London Marylebone has more than doubled following the launch of the new Chiltern Railways timetable.

The number of direct trains in the week between London and Stratford, through Oxfordshire has now increased in both directions from three to six. There are also additional services on the weekend.

Chiltern train
Geoff Thompson

Weather: 'Cloudier and cooler'

Bee Tucker

BBC Weather

New council leader elected

The new leader for Vale of White Horse Council has been elected at its annual meeting today.

Emily Smith has represented Botley ward for four years and was previously the opposition group leader.

It comes after the Lib Dems took control of the council from the Conservatives in the recent local elections.

They overturned a 20-seat Tory majority to turn the Oxfordshire council orange for the first time since 2007.

The Lib Dems also became the largest party on neighbouring South Oxfordshire District Council, where the Conservatives previously had an 18-seat majority.

Weather: Dry and sunny, but breezy

Alex Osborne

BBC Weather

Wednesday will be dry and fine with a brisk east-southeasterly breeze making it feel less warm in coastal areas.

A change in the weather is on the way from Thursday, bringing a risk of showers.

Tuesday's weather forecast: Chilly start but dry and bright day

Today there will be some chance of clouds but generally clear skies.

Temperatures will range from low single figures to highs of 20°C.

South weather: Chilly start but dry and bright day

Elementary, my dear Watson - new police dog welcomed

Thames Valley, Hampshire & IoW Dog Section has welcomed a new recruit to its crew, and he looks like a keeper.

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Weather: 'Sunny spells and heavy showers'

Dan Downs

Weather Forecaster

Cleaning work to shut waste recycling centres

Six of Oxfordshire's household waste recycling centres will be closed for cleaning this month.

Only one of the sites - including those at Alkerton, Ardley and Drayton - will be shut at any one time during the maintenence work which the county council said was essential to keep them safe and looking fresh.

Lasting for two days, the closures will take place mid-week when demand is lower.

Alkerton
Google

Studios open for Oxfordshire Artweeks

This year's Oxfordshire Artweeks festival is under way, with artists across the county opening up their studios and staging pop-up exhibitions.

The event has been running since 1981, to promote the work of local artists.

Among the exhibitors this year is artist David Goode whose pieces are all made of bronze and feature characters based on fantasy or folklore.

"It’s all about allowing my work to be seen. To open the gates once a year and let people come in and have a look round is really nice," he said.

David Goode sculpture
BBC

Weather: A mostly dry day ahead

Expect highs of 15C

Ed Vaizey 'sad' at loss of Conservative seats

Ed Vaizey, the Conservative MP for Wantage & Didcot, has given his thoughts on the results for the Vale of White Horse District and South Oxfordshire District councils.

He said: "Over the last few months [our candidates] have delivered the Conservative message of strong local services to thousands of local residents.

"However we see today that their efforts have not translated into electoral success; The Conservatives have lost control of both councils in my constituency and I’m sad to see hard working councillors who care deeply about their local communities lose their seats.

"We must start our efforts now to restore faith in the Conservative Party, both locally and nationally, and I look forward to working with the new councils to continue to deliver excellent services to the residents of Wantage & Didcot."

Former Vale leader: 'Not the best of nights for the Tories'

Matthew Barber, former leader of the Vale of White Horse, has said it was "not the best of nights" for the Conservative Party after it lost control of South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse councils.

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BreakingLib Dems win Vale of White Horse from Tories

Bethan Nimmo

Political reporter, BBC Radio Oxford

The Liberal Democrats have won control of Vale of White Horse District Council from the Conservatives.

The party overturned a 20 seat Tory majority to turn the Oxfordshire council orange for the first time since 2007.

The Lib Dems now have an overall majority in a huge swing away from the Conservatives.

View more on twitter

Greens make gains in Oxfordshire

Bethan Nimmo

Political reporter, BBC Radio Oxford

The count in Abingdon
BBC

We are still waiting for the final results for South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils, but we already know one party that will be happy with tonight: The Greens.

They have gained one seat on each council - and Robin Bennett has won Berinsfield in South Oxfordshire, a former Tory stronghold held by council leader John Cotton until he stood down recently.

Counting underway at Vale of the White Horse

All the seats are up for grabs in the Vale of the White Horse and the Lib Dems are confident of making gains.

Roundup of council elections in Oxfordshire

On the bus catching mobile phone drivers

Police officers are riding on buses to catch drivers using their mobile phones.

Road Safety Officers from Hampshire and the Thames Valley are taking part in a joint operation, using the height of a bus as a vantage point to spot wrongdoing.

Police are using buses to catch drivers on mobile phones
Police officers in Hampshire and the Thames Valley are riding on buses to catch drivers who are using their mobile phones.

Weather: Mainly dry, sunny spells

Dan Downs

Weather Forecaster

Monday will be largely fine and dry, with a chance of a few showers in Dorset.

Tuesday should be the warmest day of the week with temperatures possibly up to 19C.

More RSPCA calls about monkeys and exotic pets

RSPCA exotics officer Phil Hamilton with an escaped boa constrictor
RSPCA
RSPCA exotics officer Phil Hamilton with an escaped boa constrictor

RSPCA inspectors in Oxfordshire have reported an increase in calls about monkeys, as well as from parents asking them to take care of long-living exotic pets when their children go off to university.

In August the charity was also called to an address in Faringdon because an 8ft boa constrictor had escaped from its enclosure and was hiding behind a wardrobe.

Senior scientific officer Stephanie Jayson said: “Although their numbers are small compared to more common pets, we have real concerns about the plight of reptiles and other exotics kept as pets or entertainment in this country.

"Some species can grow very large, [and] live for a long time."