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Summary

  1. The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry visit the set of the new Star Wars film at Pinewood Studios
  2. Police search the home of missing author Helen Bailey
  3. A house is seriously damaged in a fire in Chesham
  4. An Elvis impersonator's suit is stolen from a Dunstable theatre
  5. Updates for Tuesday, 19 April 2016
  6. News, sport, travel and weather updates resume on Wednesday at 08:00

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage for today

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We'll be back tomorrow to do it all over again!

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Weather: Cold overnight but sunny tomorrow

BBC Weather

Overnight it will be dry with clear skies and light winds. With temperatures dropping to 0C (32F), there will be a risk of frost and the odd mist and fog patch.

BBC Weather map
BBC Weather

Tomorrow will be a fine, dry day with sunny spells after the frost clears. 

BBC Weather has more local forecasts. 

Mother and partner deny murder of baby

Andrew Woodger

BBC News

A mother and her partner have pleaded not guilty to murdering her 13-month-old son and have been remanded in custody ahead of a trial in June. 

Crawley Road, Luton
Google

Hardeep Hunjan, 26, and Ronnie Tayler-Morrison, 21, both of Luton, were charged following the death of Noah Serra-Morrison and deny causing or allowing the death of a child and the assault, ill-treatment, neglect or abandonment of a child likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury.

The baby was taken from a property on Crawley Road in the early hours of 21 November and pronounced dead at Luton and Dunstable Hospital later that morning. 

Police hope search of author's house will reveal clues

Hertfordshire Police officers looking for missing author Helen Bailey have been searching in and around her house in Royston. 

Det Insp Julie Wheatley says the search is routine and may give them clues about why the 51-year-old disappeared eight days ago. 

She was last seen on Monday last week with her pet miniature Dachshund.

Cody the raccoon's fame 'unexpected', says owner

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

This is Cody the raccoon. He is nearly eight months old and has more than 10,000 "likes" on his Facebook page.

Cody lives in Stevenage with his owner Kasey Valentine who built him a large enclosure in her garden with swings and ladders - like "a playground," she says.

Cody the raccoon
Kasey Valentine

Miss Valentine, 24, says she didn't expect Cody's Facebook page to take off like it has, as she only started it "as somewhere to put his photos because friends were getting fed up" with them on her own page.

"Cheeky" Cody's been going on walks in Stevenage over the last three months, which he loves, but sometimes he does get nervous and "clings to my leg like a small child", says his owner.

Elvis impersonator issues plea after jumpsuit leaves the building

We told you earlier about the theft of an Elvis impersonator's costume after his performance in Dunstable's Grove Theatre on Friday night. 

Grove Theatre, Dunstable
Google

Lee Memphis King is appealing for help in finding it and put this post up on Facebook: "If anyone sees this suit for sale anywhere would you be kind enough to let me know."

The white jumpsuit is adorned with blue stones, and was specially made by Elvis's original costume designer.

MP calls for country-of-origin labelling for food

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

The Conservative MP for St Albans, Anne Main, is calling for all farm produce sold in the UK to be labelled with the country of origin

Anne Main MP
BBC

She introduced a bill in Parliament because she says British farmers are being undercut by EU competitors "dodging important animal welfare rules."

"If British consumers were made aware of the lower welfare standard operating in many European countries I believe they would be choosing to buy British and buy compassionately," said Ms Main.

Easyjet founder 'will oppose any plans to buy out rival'

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

The founder of Luton-based airline Easyjet says he will oppose any plans to buy out smaller rival company Monarch, after a report in the Sunday Times said the company was looking at making a bid.

Easyjet plane
PA

Stelios Haji-Ioannou started Easyjet in 1995 and his family still owns a 34% stake in the company. He told reporters he believes it should stay clear of takeovers. 

Monarch has just over 30 aircraft, compared to Easyjet's fleet of more than 240. Monarch was rescued by a private equity investor in 2014 and has been the subject of several recent stories, one of which suggested it was looking at buying other European airlines.

Easyjet declined to comment.

Two houses damaged by Chesham fire

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

Firefighters have today been at the scene of a fire in Chesham today, which severely damaged a detached home and affected a neighbouring property.

Chesham fire
Dan Thornton

Crews from Amersham and High Wycombe were called to Lowndes Avenue just after 10:15.

The two-storey house was very badly damaged, and the guttering and soffits on a house next door were damaged by the radiating heat. Everyone was accounted for, Bucks Fire and Rescue said.

Princes in lightsaber fight in Buckinghamshire film studios

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry have now visited the costume department on the Star Wars film set at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire - and it looks like they're very much enjoying their trip!

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

From the look of the photos, the princes really got into the lightsaber fight. Do we reckon they're fans of the series, by any chance?

Afternoon headlines: Police search house of missing author... Princes visit Star Wars film studios

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

The latest headlines:

  • Hertfordshire Police, looking for missing author Helen Bailey, are searching in and around her house in Royston
  • The founder of the Luton-based airline Easyjet says he will oppose any plans to buy out another company 
  • Princes William and Harry have been visiting Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire where the new Star Wars film is being made

Weather Watchers: Blue skies in Hoddesdon

BBC Weather Watchers

The blue skies are looking glorious across Beds, Herts and Bucks this afternoon, according to the photographs in our Weather Watchers inbox - like this one taken in Hoddesdon.

Blue sky over Hoddesdon
BBC/janjan

If you'd like to tell us what the weather's like where you live, sign up to become a Weather Watcher here.

Pet raccoon 'helps Stevenage woman with illness'

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

Last month, we told you about a raccoon in Stevenage who is helping a woman cope with her chronic illness.

Since then, Kasey Valentine's story has been picked up by Buzzfeed and the local media so we thought, what better time than to share some more photographs of the adorable Cody!

Kasey Valentine and Cody
Kasey Valentine
Cody the raccoon
Kasey Valentine

Miss Valentine, 24, who suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), says Cody has changed her life and she now feels more confident going out as people pay him attention rather than her.

Author disappearance 'out of character', says friend

Missing children's author Helen Bailey's disappearance is "totally out of character", a friend has said.

Helen Bailey on BBC TV in December 2015
BBC

Shelley Whitehead said of Ms Bailey, 51, (pictured), who was last seen over a week ago: "We're very concerned. We feel desperate and very distraught."

Police say they are keeping the situation under review and searches are continuing.

Ms Whitehead said: "There's just no information and it doesn't make sense. It's incredibly worrying and totally out of character."

Search of missing author's home 'routine', say police

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

Hertfordshire Police says that "specialist searches" in and around the home of a missing author are routine in this sort of case.

Police search author's home
BBC

Children's author Helen Bailey, known for the Electra Brown series, was last seen on Monday last week near her home in Royston.

Officers say they are keeping an "open mind on the circumstances" and are continuing to make inquiries.

Pictures: Police search home of missing Hertfordshire author

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

Police searches are going on in and around the home of missing children's author Helen Bailey.

Police searching author's home
BBC
Police searching author's home
BBC

The 51-year-old was last seen on Monday of last week walking her dog, a miniature Dachshund, near her home in Royston.

Police said yesterday Ms Bailey had stated she needed some time to herself before her disappearance.

Weather: Feeling warmer with sunny spells

BBC Weather

It will be fine and dry through the afternoon with plenty of sunny spells. The winds will stay light and it should feel warmer than of late. 

Maximum temperature: 14C (57F)

Weather graphic shows sunny spells
BBC

Police searching home of missing children's author

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

Hertfordshire Police has confirmed officers are searching in and around the home of missing children's author Helen Bailey in Royston.

Helen Bailey
Hertfordshire Police

Helen Bailey, 51, was last seen on Monday of last week walking her miniature Daschund.

She is known for the Electra Brown series for teenagers and for a blog which she began writing after her husband drowned while the couple were on holiday in Barbados in 2011. The blog, Planet Grief, was later turned into a book.

Duke and Prince Harry at Pinewood Studios

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry are visiting the Star Wars film set at Pinewood studios in Buckinghamshire.

View more on twitter

Kensington Palace has tweeted this photograph of William, who is president of Bafta, and Harry with a head cast from the film of actress Daisy Ridley.

The pair will also meet actor Mark Hamill who plays Luke Skywalker in the series.

Lunchtime headlines: Fire severely damages Chesham house... Elvis impersonator's suit stolen from Dunstable theatre

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

The headlines this lunchtime:

  • Fire has severely damaged a house in Chesham after breaking out at about 10:15 this morning 
  • An Elvis impersonator has had his made-to-measure white jumpsuit stolen from a Dunstable theatre
  • The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry are visiting the Star Wars film set at Pinewood studios in Buckinghamshire today

Listen: Milton Keynes-born Dele Alli misses open goal

BBC Radio 5 Live

BBC Radio 5 live's John Murray and Robbie Savage react to Milton Keynes-born Dele Alli's shocking miss during Tottenham Hotspur's 4-0 win over Stoke City.

Former MK Dons player Alli scored two on the night, but would have had a hat-trick if he'd put the ball into the open net after rounding Stoke goalkeeper Shay Given.

Elvis has left the building: Impersonator costume stolen from Dunstable theatre

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

One of Europe's most successful Elvis impersonators had his bejewelled white suit stolen after his performance in Dunstable on Friday.

Lee Memphis King and the white suit
Lee Memphis King

Lee Memphis King had performed at the Grove Theatre to a sell-out crowd, but at some point after the show, his made-to-measure white suit, created by Elvis's original jumpsuit designer, went missing.

Organisers believe the suit, which was in a carrier, was taken from the gated compound behind the building or left behind during a "frantic load process" and someone may have picked it up afterwards.

Chesham house fire latest: Severe damage but no injuries

Carol Abercrombie

BBC Three Counties Radio

Fire has severely damaged a house in Chesham which broke out at about 10:15 this morning but nobody has been injured. 

Chesham fire
Dan Thornton

A dozen firefighters are tackling the blaze in the two-storey detached house in Lowndes Avenue. Crews from Amersham and High Wycombe are at the scene. 

Bucks Fire and Rescue says the nearby station in Chesham itself is only a retained station, manned by on-call volunteers who are not always available.

Bedford launches consultation on dog orders

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

Bedford Borough Council is launching a consultation on plans to introduce a single order relating to dogs in the borough, which would cover dog exclusions, dog fouling, and keeping dogs on leads.

Bedford cemetery dog signs before and after
BBC

It say it aims to create a more consistent approach, and balance the needs of dog owners and other members of the community. 

It follows a case covered on The JVS Show, in which a dog walker had her fine overturned due to incorrect signage.

Watch: Crews tackle blaze at Chesham house

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

Fire crews have been tackling a fire at a two-storey detached home in Chesham this morning.

View more on instagram

Firefighters were called to the house in Lowndes Avenue just after 10:15 to reports of an electrical fire in a fuse box.

Three fire engines from Amersham and High Wycombe are at the scene with a dozen crew members. 

What are Tim Peake space seeds?

Pallab Ghosh

Science correspondent, BBC News

British astronaut Tim Peake has launched a mass experiment to grow seeds that have been in space to see if there are any differences with those that haven't.

The experiment is being run by the Royal Horticultural Society's campaign for school gardening and the UK Space Agency to learn more about the effects of weightlessness and radiation on seeds in order to develop plant varieties that can be grown on long space missions.

Salad leaf rocket seeds were returned to Earth in March after being in space for six months and have been carefully packed and sent to 8,500 schools, including Challney School for Boys in Luton; children's clubs and societies.

Luton school to plant seeds from space

Students at a Luton school will be planting seeds that have been into space, as part of a nationwide project. 

Packets of space seeds
RHS

As reported in Luton on Sunday, Challney High School for Boys has been given 100 seeds, which were taken to the International Space Station by British astronaut Tim Peake.

"We're in the process of debating what is going to happen and we're really excited to see the results of our experiment and to compare it with the rest of the nation," science teacher Dr Riccardo Porcari told the BBC.

School 'treating pupil as autistic', despite diagnosis delays

Justin Dealey

BBC Three Counties Radio

The secondary school attended by a 12-year-old boy whose father is desperate to get an autism diagnosis for him says staff are doing all they can to help.

A man we're calling Steve told us his son was constantly being suspended due to his bad behaviour but that the family had been unable to get a diagnosis for autism over the last seven years.

Stantonbury Campus
Google

Stantonbury Campus says it already treats the boy as if he has a diagnosis and uses special needs teachers but that some of their support is rejected by him. The school believes he should attend a specialist school and an application has been made for a permanent place. 

The school's SEND coordinator told us that funding for the mental health of teenagers was becoming a real problem.

Autism diagnoses 'complicated' and lengthy, says charity

Justin Dealey

BBC Three Counties Radio

The National Autistic Society says that the story of a Milton Keynes father desperate for help and a diagnosis of his son says the story is "all too common".

The man, who we're calling Steve, says his son, 12, struggles to communicate, has violent outbursts and is constantly being suspended from school. 

Olly Parker from the charity told me: "We hear stories like this every day". He said, according to research by Goldsmiths, children were having to wait on average 3.6 years for a diagnosis as each case was vastly different and could be complicated.

Father desperate for diagnosis for autistic son

Justin Dealey

BBC Three Counties Radio

A father from Milton Keynes says he is desperate for help for his autistic son. 

The man, we're simply calling Steve, says his 12-year-old son is constantly being suspended from school because of his bad behaviour. The family say they have been waiting seven years for a diagnosis and a specialist school place.  

Graphic of a brain - Individuals with autism have less activity in the amygdala (shown in red), which plays a key role in processing emotions
Science Photo Library

"You feel like you're letting him down that you're not helping him and you're trying everything but you're just failing him because nobody helps you to understand what's happening with him," Steve said.

His son attends Stantonbury Campus, which says it is doing all it can to help, but recognises a busy secondary school with many different teachers may not be the best place for someone with autism who may need routine.

Travel: Train delays through Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire

BBC Travel

London Midland trains are delayed between Watford Junction and Milton Keynes Central, as well as Watford and Tring, due to a broken-down train near Apsley.

Keep up-to-date here.

Dunstable nightclub death: Police warn against resorting to violence

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

Bedfordshire Police is warning people not to resort to violence, after a 22-year-old man was found guilty of killing a man who had flirted with his girlfriend at a Dunstable nightclub

Cortney Batchelor
South Beds News Agency

Luton Crown Court heard Cortney Batchelor, of Luton, killed Tomas Juska, 24, with a single punch outside Club Cookies near the Grove Theatre last August. He had pleaded not guilty to manslaughter, but has been told a custodial sentence is inevitable. 

Police say what may seem like an innocuous punch can have a devastating impact on those directly involved, and on their friends and families. The case will be featured in the new series of 24 hours in Police Custody, which starts tomorrow night on Channel Four.

Royal visit to Pinewood Studios

The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry are visiting the Star Wars film set at Pinewood Studios today. 

Pinewood Studios
Getty Images

William, who is president of BAFTA, and Harry will meet actor Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker in the film series. 

They are due to visit the production workshops and meet the specialist teams working behind the scenes. 

Weather: Dry day with sunny spells

Kate Kinsella

BBC Look East weather

After a chilly start, today will be fine and dry with plenty of sunny periods

Maximum temperature: 14C (57F).

Morning headlines: Beds Police warns against violence... Royal visit to Pinewood Studios

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

This morning's top stories:

  • Bedfordshire Police is warning people not to resort to violence, after a man was found guilty of the manslaughter of a man who had flirted with his girlfriend at a nightclub
  • A father from Milton Keynes says he is desperate for help for his autistic son 
  • The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry are visiting the Star Wars film set at Pinewood Studios today

Welcome to Local Live for the three counties

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

Good morning and welcome to today's live page for Beds, Herts and Bucks.

We'll be bringing you the latest news, sport, weather and travel for the area until 18:00.

If you'd like to get in touch you can tweet us or email us here.