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  1. Updates for Thursday, 4 February 2016
  2. News, sport, weather and travel updates resume at 08:00 on Friday

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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  1. Our live coverage across the day

    Jane Killick

    BBC Three Counties Radio

    Thanks for joining us today. We'll be back at 08:00 tomorrow for ten whole hours of rolling news.

    Meanwhile, scroll down for all the highlights from today.

  2. Weather: Mild and breezy tonight, turning cloudy and windy tomorrow

    This evening and overnight will remain rather cloudy, mild and breezy, with some patchy rain or drizzle in places. Minimum temperature: 9C (48F).

    Friday will stay rather cloudy with winds gradually strengthening throughout the day. Maximum temperature: 11C (52F).

    Temperatures at 9C (48F) at midnight
  3. Increase in 999 ambulance calls in January

    There was a 14% rise in the number of emergency calls to the ambulance service in Hertfordshire last month compared to the same time last year - with 14,443 people dialling 999.

    In Bedfordshire, 8,637 people called out an ambulance in January, an increase of 12%.

    ambulance call handler in front of computer displays

    Head of Emergency Operation Centres at The East of England Ambulance service, Gary Morgan, said it was their busiest ever January: "The majority of patients do not always require an immediate response, or in some cases, any form of physical response."

  4. Evening headlines: Five charged over Luton murder... Repairs to Leighton landslip nearly complete

    Tony Fisher

    BBC Three Counties Radio

    The top stories this evening:

    • Five people have been charged with the murder of Atul Shah in Luton
    • A 77-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage after vehicles were vandalised in Bedford
    • Trains on the West Coast mainline are due to start returning normally tomorrow morning after a landslip near Leighton Buzzard
  5. Leighton landslip: Rail line will re-open tomorrow

    Stuart Ratcliffe

    BBC Look East

    The rail line at Leighton Buzzard is set to re-open tomorrow morning after a landslip caused disruption for travellers.

    Rachel Groves, from Network Rail, says a temporary access road had to be built across nearby fields to enable 2,200 tonnes of stone and other material to be delivered to fix the embankment.

    Video content

    Video caption: The rail line at Leighton Buzzard is set to re-open after a landslip.

    The line has been shut since Saturday, causing an emergency timetable to be put in place.

  6. HS2 headquarters opened

    The headquarters of the controversial £42.6bn HS2 high-speed rail project, which will run through Buckinghamshire, have been officially opened.

    The site was opened in Birmingham by transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin - ten years ahead of the projected completion date for the line's first phase.

    In this conceptual image, an HS2 train travels on the Birmingham and Fazeley viaduct

    It comes as the Woodland Trust said it told the HS2 Select Committee HS2 Ltd had done a "woeful job" in planning the first phase of the route. 

  7. Pensioner accused of damaging cars

    A 77-year-old man has been charged with criminal damage after vehicles were damaged in Bedford. 

    There were 42 incidents in Castle Road last year and even more in other streets this year, particularly in Denmark Street.

    Castle Road in Bedford

    The man has been bailed by police while their investigations continue.

  8. Herts PCC 'welcomes' police funding for next year

    Hertfordshire Police's increase in funding for the next financial year "supports our prudent financial management which is allowing me to invest in resources to tackle new emerging areas of crime."

    That's according to the county's police and crime commissioner, David Lloyd.

    The force could have a budget of almost £183m, but is looking to reduce the amount of money it raises through council tax in 2016/17.

    David Lloyd

    "[This announcement allows] me to make a small reduction to the policing precept in Hertfordshire so that I only charge the public what is required for policing in the year ahead," said Mr Lloyd.

  9. Afternoon headlines: Five arrested over Luton murder... Pensioner arrested over vehicle vandalism

    Tony Fisher

    BBC Three Counties Radio

    The top stories this afternoob:

    • Five people have been charged with the murder of Atul Shah in Luton
    • Luton Borough councillor, Mohammed Ashraf, accused of committing fraud at the travel agents he owns in the town, will stand trial in the Summer
    • A 77-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage after vehicles were vandalised in Bedford
  10. Police funding confirmed for Beds, Herts and Bucks

    Lee Agnew

    BBC Three Counties Radio

    A £100m funding package for Bedfordshire Police means the force will get the same level of funding in the next financial year, despite Beds Police Commissioner Olly Martins previously saying that amount isn't enough to police the county effectively.

    Hertfordshire Police could raise nearly £183m - an increase - but they're not expected to ask for the full amount they're entitled to from council tax.

    The back of a police officer in a hi-viz jacket

    Thames Valley Police, which covers Buckinghamshire, will also get more - around £370m. It is one of the largest forces in England and Wales.

  11. June trial date set for Luton councillor

    A Luton Borough councillor accused of committing fraud at the travel agents he owns in the town will stand trial in the Summer.

    Mohammed Ashraf is accused of pretending Luton Travel Services in Dunstable Road provided ATOL protection when it didn't.

    Mohammed Ashraf

    He's also accused of claiming his company was affiliated to Pakistan International Airlines, and providing false documents to Trading Standards. Mr Ashraf denied all the charges.

  12. U-turn on GCSE drama decision

    Ben Nye

    BBC Three Counties Radio

    A Leighton Buzzard school is believed to have reversed plans to scrap GCSE drama from its curriculum after protests from parents.

    On Tuesday, the Leighton Buzzard Observer reported that Vandyke Upper School proposed dropping the subject at GCSE and A-level, due to "severe financial pressures".

    Parents set up a Facebook campaign, and according to their page last night, they have received a letter which says the GCSE course is staying. There is no mention, as yet, about what will happen to the A-level class.

  13. Five charged with Luton murder

    Four men and a woman have been charged with the murder of Atul Shah in Luton.

    Mr Shah, 47, was found dead at his home in Crescent Road on Wednesday, 6 January.

    Atul Shah

    The five are: Kyle Pitchford-Price, 22, of Dovehouse Hill; Luke West, 23, of Abbots Wood Road; Callum Holton 19, of Milton Road; Brian Edge, 56, of Harthill Drive; and Corrina Armstrong, 21, also of Dovehouse Hill. They also face a charge of conspiracy to rob.

  14. Buckinghamshire couple: ‘Our loss can help save lives’

    Hemel Gazette

    A couple whose son took his own life are sharing their story in schools to help young people who might be in a similar position.

  15. Weather: a mostly cloudy afternoon

    BBC Weather

    This afternoon will remain rather cloudy, with perhaps the odd spot of rain and drizzle in places. 

    A few brighter spells may also develop at times, and where these occur it will feel very mild for the time of year.

    Temperature at 11 celcius (52F) for most of this afternoon
  16. Attitudes harden towards refugees from Syria and Libya, BBC poll suggests

    BBC News UK

    Attitudes towards allowing refugees into Great Britain have hardened, a ComRes survey for BBC Local Radio suggests.

    Two in five (41%) of the 2,204 people interviewed say Britain should accept fewer refugees from Syria and Libya. The figure was 31% in September 2015.

    Here you can see where attitudes in the East stood in the survey compared to other regions.

    Regional attitudes to refugees graphic
  17. Lunctime headlines: Car crashes into cafe... Rural buses in Herts at risk

    Tony Fisher

    BBC Three Counties Radio

    The top stories:

    • A car's driven into the front of a cafe on Hitchin High Street
    • The Woodland Trust has been giving evidence to the HS2 Select Committee
    • Research suggests many rural bus services are at risk of being withdrawn because of council budget cuts, with Hertfordshire among the worst off
  18. Man witnesses Cafe Rouge crash

    A man in his 70s is being treated for minor injuries after apparently driving into the front of Café Rouge in Hitchin High Street.

    One witness, who was sitting in the café at the time, has confirmed no-one inside was hurt.

    View from inside cafe with nose of car through window

    Emergency services say it appears there has been no structural damage to the building.