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Summary

  1. Updates on Tuesday, 26 July 2016
  2. Film company in court over Harrison Ford's broken leg
  3. Teacher banned over 'nice pins' email
  4. Jury considers verdict in Luton baby death trial
  5. Trial hears dead man was naked from waist down
  6. Guide dog refused entry to race track
  7. Amazon to test out delivery-by-drone
  8. Weather: Sunny, but showers possible later

Live Reporting

By Dani Bailey

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage through the day

That's it from us today.

You can read more about the driver who was fined for carrying too much basmati rice.

Plus there's more on the new signing for Wycombe Wanderers on the BBC Sport website.

We'll be back tomorrow with all the news, weather, sport and travel for Beds, Hearts and Bucks from 08:00.

Weather: Chance of rain tonight and tomorrow

Alex Dolan

BBC Look East weather

Cloudy across most parts of the region this evening, but mainly dry with the chance of patchy rain by the end of the night and lows of 12C (54F).  

weather
BBC

A cloudy, drizzly start to Wednesday. Gradually clearing, but staying rather cloudy. Some sunshine breaking through, but there will be afternoon showers possible with highs of 23C (73F).

There are more details on the BBC Weather website.

The BFG beats Star Trek Beyond at UK and Ireland box office

BBC Entertainment and Arts

Still from the BFG film
Entertainment One

The BFG (Big Friendly Giant beat fellow new release Star Trek Beyond at the UK and Ireland box office in a weekend that also saw screenings of a classical concert make more money than Ghostbusters.

Roald Dahl wrote the BFG in his shed at Great Missenden, Bucks and Steven Spielberg's film adaptation has now taken £5.2m between Friday and Sunday, while the latest Star Trek film took £4.7m.

Scammers 'pretend to be police' in phone scams

Gail Sanderson

BBC Three Counties Radio

Police in Buckinghamshire say there's been a spate of phone scams where thieves have pretended to be police officers in order to get people to hand over money. 

An elderly woman in Chalfont St Peter handed over £5,000 and an 89-year-old man in Beaconsfield £10,000.

Woman on telephone
BBC

In both cases, the people on the phone claimed they were detectives investigating fraud involving counterfeit bank notes. 

To convince their victims, the fraudsters gave them a number to call to check their credentials, but they had left the line open. 

In a third case, an elderly woman from Beaconsfield refused to go to her bank when the caller claimed there was suspicious activity on her account, even when he offered to send over a taxi.

Injured police dog 'getting lots of rest'

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

We've heard from the Beds, Cambs and Herts Dog Unit that police dog Nero remains in a stable condition and is "getting a lot of rest" after breaking his neck chasing a suspect.

PD Nero
@BCHPoliceDogs

Sgt Cray Birch from the unit said they are supporting his handler "and wish Nero the fullest and speediest of recoveries".

The six-year-old German shepherd was injured jumping over railings in Watford, which had a 12ft (3.5m) drop the other side.

Nero will continue to need lots of rest "for the next few weeks at least," Sgt Birch said.

Scott Brown and Will de Havilland

Wycombe Wanderers sign goalkeeper Scott Brown and defender Will de Havilland on two-year deals.

Read more

Gomez new Luton coach

Phil Shepka

BBC Sport

Luton Town manager Nathan Jones has appointed a new first-team coach, a man he worked alongside at Brighton.

Spaniard Joaquin Gomez has moved to Kenilworth Road from Derby after the two clubs agreed a compensation package.

The 30-year-old has been coaching in England for the past six years since gaining his pro licence at the age of 24, spending five years at the Seagulls before joining the Rams as head of tactical analysis in 2015. 

Basmati booty lands rice man in pickle

Helen Burchell

BBC News

Buying basmati rice at a bargain price turned out to be false economy for one motorist.

Police spotted his vehicle heavily-laden with sacks of rice in Luton on Friday night. They advised him to split the load. However, he was spotted later on Dunstable Road still carrying too much and was fined £300.

The car police stopped full of rice, left, a bag of basmati rice, right
BCH Road Policing/Thinkstock

"The driver had found he could buy 20kg (44lb) bags of rice from a cash and carry for £15.49 so bought 40 bags totalling 800kg (1,764lb)," police said.

The cut-price rice coast £619.60, but the fine brought it up to a total of £920.

Noah Serra-Morrison murder trial: Jury sent home for the night

Kate Bradbrook

BBC Look East

The jury in the case of a baby from Luton who died last year has been sent home for the night. 

Mother Ronnie Tayler-Morrison, 22, and her partner Hardeep Hunjun, 27, deny murdering 13-month-old Noah Serra-Morrison at their flat in Crawley Road. 

Jurors at Luton Crown Court previously heard Noah suffered a catalogue of injuries in the weeks before he died from a "massive" fatal head injury last November.

Jury members will continue their deliberations tomorrow.

Police 'puppy' completes first shift on duty

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

Police dog Blade now, left, Blade as a puppy, right
@BCHPoliceDogs

Over the last year here on Local Live, we've followed the progress of police puppy Blade.

He started training in July with a handler from the Beds, Herts and Cambs Dog Unit, keeping us all entertained with his adventurous "tails" (okay, tales).

Earlier this month, Blade passed all of the tests needed to become an official police dog and yesterday he completed his first shift in the line of duty.

He was involved in searching for a person suspected of car theft as well as a missing man.

They grow up so fast!

Homeschooling: Council 'want best outcome for children'

Sophie Sulehria

BBC Three Counties Radio

We contacted Buckinghamshire County Council about the case of a High Wycombe couple having to educate their 10-year-old son at home... 

The council said they "cannot comment on specific details of ongoing cases" but that they "always work as closely as possible with families, schools and professionals to generate the best outcome for the child or young person concerned". 

Harminder and Kyle doing lessons at home
BBC

The local authority had offered Harminder and Gary Rann's son Kyle a place at Chiltern Gate Special School, but his parents said this would not be suitable.

You can see a video of Kyle being taught by his mum on our Facebook page here.

Couple 'forced' to homeschool son

Sophie Sulehria

BBC Three Counties Radio

A couple from High Wycombe say they've been forced to educate their son at home after the local authority failed to provide him with the education he needs.

Harminder and Gary Rann withdrew Kyle, 10, from school over two years ago, after they saw what they claim was a regression in his development. 

They now want him back in mainstream school with the right support for his language and auditory impairment.

Harminder and Gary Rann with son Kyle and their pet dog
BBC

"A lot of the children who go to special school have severe disabilities. Kyle just learns in a different way," Mrs Rann told me.

The family say they just want the "specialist support that [Kyle] needs within a mainstream school".

Six councils write to MPs over 'appalling' Govia service

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

Six local councils have written to MPs about the "appalling" passenger service offered by rail company Govia.

Hertfordshire County, Bedford Borough, East Herts District, Luton Borough, North Herts District, and Welwyn & Hatfield Borough councils are calling on the government to ensure that the rail company provides "a timetable that people can rely on".

The company has operated Thameslink and Great Northern services for the past two years.

Southern train
BBC

"We have urged Govia to improve their services for the benefit of the travelling public to little effect and now we want to see government take the side of the hard-pressed traveller and get our rail services back on track," said Derrick Ashley, cabinet member for transport at Herts County Council.

Govia recently hit the headlines after putting in place an emergency timetable after months of cancellations due to staff shortages and strike action

We've contacted Govia for their response.

Fire service to support police in Bedfordshire

Firefighters in Bedfordshire are to take over from police in forcing entry into properties in a medical emergency. 

They will take on the support role to ambulance staff, to free up police officers under an agreement reached between Beds Police, the county's fire and rescue service, and the East of England Ambulance Service.

Bedfordshire's police and crime commissioner has tweeted on the decision:

View more on twitter

Noah Serra-Morrison death: Jurors consider verdict

Kate Bradbrook

BBC Look East

The jury in the case of a baby from Luton who died last year has retired to consider its verdict. 

Mother Ronnie Tayler-Morrison, 22, and her partner Hardeep Hunjun, 27, deny murdering 13-month-old Noah Serra-Morrison at their flat in Crawley Road. 

Jurors at Luton Crown Court previously heard Noah suffered a catalogue of injuries in the weeks before he died from a "massive" fatal head injury last November.  

'Nice pins' teacher: Messages discovered by parent

A Biggleswade school was alerted to one of its teachers sending inappropriate messages to pupils by a parent who found exchanges on their daughter's Facebook account.

Richard Merrett, 30, sent messages to four girls at Stratton Upper School, one of which read: "A 9 men tent is huge!! How can they have sex knowing you guys are in the tent?"  

Facebook on a smartphone
BBC

It was then discovered he had emailed the girl and three others, and failed to report that one of them, "Pupil B", was self-harming.

He commented on her appearance, telling her she had "nice pins which many girls would die for", and a "beautiful body".

Mr Merrett, who was also a sixth form co-ordinator, admitted sending the inappropriate emails, failing to maintain professional boundaries and failing to report a safeguarding issue.  

He has been banned from teaching indefinitely. He was initially investigated by police, but the matter was not taken any further by them.

Teacher banned over inappropriate emails to pupils

A teacher who bombarded four female pupils with inappropriate messages, including "nice pins", has been banned from teaching in England.

Richard Merrett, 30, told a girl at Stratton Upper School in Bigglewade she had a "beautiful body", and discussed his marriage and personal life.

Stratton Upper School in Biggleswade
Google

The head of Year 13 told another pupil about a dream involving naked women.

A panel of the National College for Teaching and Leadership prohibited him from teaching indefinitely.

Weather: Cloud thickening but should stay dry

BBC Weather

Cloud will thicken this afternoon allowing one or two showers to develop, but it will mostly stay dry. 

Maximum temperature: 22C (72F)

Blues skies over a field in Datchworth
BBC

Check the latest on BBC Weather here.

Drones delivering goods 'could be worth billions'

A quadcopter DHL drone arrives with a small delivery at Deutsche Post headquarters in Bonn, Germany: Dec 2013
Getty Images

So why are Amazon testing their parcel-delivering drones in Britain?

Well, the company says it is conducting the trials here, because the regulations are more flexible than in other countries.

Amazon will be paying for the programme and the government will be discussing rules and regulations for the future, so that companies can take advantage of drone technology.

Ministers will still have to convince the public that having automated drones flying around is both safe and won't invade people's privacy.

It's an industry the government claims could eventually be worth billions. Read a BBC Business News story here.

Could drones delivering shopping really be reality?

Richard Westcott

Transport correspondent

Online retail giant Amazon, which has distribution centres in Dunstable and Hemel Hempstead, is exploring the possibility of using drones to deliver goods.

In this short video, I explore how it could become a reality across Britain:

Postal deliveries: A drones' eye view

Harrison Ford 'could have been killed' on Star Wars set

Lizo Mzimba

Entertainment correspondent

Harrison Ford could have been killed during the rehearsal on a set at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, the prosecution told magistrates' today.

Ford suffered broken bones as a result of a steel-rimmed door knocking him to the ground and pinning his pelvic area.

Harrison Ford at Star Wars premiere
Getty Images

The prosecution told Milton Keynes' Magistrates' Court the situation created "a risk of death" had an emergency stop button not been hit. 

The defence for Foodles Production (UK) Ltd agreed the incident was serious, but disagreed that the level of seriousness was as high as that claimed by the prosecution.

Jury in Atul Shah murder case hears 'catalogue of injuries'

The jury at Luton Crown Court has been hearing of the catalogue of injuries found on Atul Shah, who was beaten to death in his flat in the town.

Forensic pathologist Sr Alexander Kolar performed the post-mortem examination on the 47-year-old two days after his death on 6 January.

Atul Shah's Luton flat - exterior shows windows open
SBNA

Dr Kolar took the jury through a list of bruises and swelling to Mr Shah's face and head, along with cuts and lacerations. 

He had a black eye, broken nose and some of his teeth had been knocked out.

Bruises including "gripping" marks were found on his arms, Dr Kolar said, as well as bruising on his legs and cuts to his hands.

It's alleged that Kyle Pitchford-Price, 23, of Dovehouse Hill, Luton, and Luke West, 23, of Abbots Wood Road, Luton, on trial for murder, beat Mr Shah to death with an exercise dumbbell. 

They both plead not guilty, but Mr West has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

The trial continues.

Atul Shah: Body left 'for several hours'

The paramedic who was first on the scene after Luton man Atul Shah was beaten to death has told a court that it was clear his body "had been there for several hours".

Atul Shah
Bedfordshire Police

Paramedic Mark White told Luton Crown Court he could see "a dark-skinned man in his late 40s lying on the floor in a foetal position" and that there were no vital signs of life.

Mr White said he couldn't see any obvious injuries but recognised the "potential crime scene" and asked everyone to leave the building.

Atul Shah, 47, of Crescent Road, was pronounced dead at 21:25 on 6 January. 

Atul Shah murder: Jury see police video

A jury has been shown footage from a police bodycam of the moment the officer found the body of Atul Shah in his Luton flat.

Police at Luton home of Atul Shah
SBNA

Five people are on trial facing charges in connection with the death of the 47-year-old on 6 January - two are charged with his murder.

Sgt Sean Duignan was the first officer on the scene after paramedics, who had already recognised it was a crime scene and secured the home to prevent any contamination of evidence.

The officer said he discovered Mr Shah's body "naked" from the waist down with his ankles tied and checked there was no-one else was at the property.

Guide dog owner 'wants to work' with Santa Pod after refusal

David Smith, a registered blind man who was refused entry to Santa Pod raceway on Sunday because he had a guide dog, says he wants to work with the Bedfordshire venue. 

David Smith with guide dog Darcie, left, Santa Pod raceway, right
David Smith/BBC

Mr Smith, an experienced union equality adviser, says he understands Santa Pod's health and safety rules which are aimed at protecting animals, but guide dogs are different.

"Guide dogs don’t bolt when they hear strange noises or when they hear loud noises," he said.

"The Bug Jam event is different to a Santa Pod standard event, where most people hang around the race track.

"I do understand the comments about it being a noisy arena, so we have, for Darcie, ear muffs to help block the sounds so she doesn’t get startled."

Star Wars production company to be sentenced next month

Lizo Mzimba

Entertainment correspondent

Harrison Ford
PA

The production company behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens has pleaded guilty to two criminal charges after Harrison Ford broke his leg on set.

Milton Keynes Magistrates' Court
BBC

Foodles Production, a subsidiary of Disney, entered its plea at Milton Keynes Magistrates' Court today. Two other charges were withdrawn.

Actor Harrison Ford broke his left leg on the set of the Millennium Falcon spaceship at Pinewood Studios, Buckinghamshire, in June 2014.

The company will be sentenced at Aylesbury Crown Court on 22 August. 

Both offences can carry an unlimited fine. 

BreakingStar Wars firm pleads guilty over Ford injury

A production company behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens has pleaded guilty at Milton Keynes Mangistrates' Court over an incident in which Harrison Ford broke his leg

More on this shortly.

Fears over hurting guide dog

After a registered blind man was refused entry to Bedfordshire's Santa Pod because he had a guide dog, the raceway have said it would be "unforgivable" for them to have allowed an animal to have been hurt.

Santa Pod
BBC

Caroline Holden, commercial manager at Santa Pod Raceway said: "We are very sympathetic to those who need assistance dogs and we work very hard to address all equality and diversity issues.

"However, in relation to noise and fumes, drag-racing is a unique motor sport. 

"It would be unforgiveable for us to be responsible for hurting an animal which could ultimately lead to the disabled owner being left without the dog that is essential to, in some cases, their survival."

Star Wars production company in court over Harrison Ford injury

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

Harrison Ford was brought back into the Star Wars fold for Episode VII
AP

The production company behind the latest Star Wars film, The Force Awakens, is due to appear at Milton Keynes Magistrates' Court today over an incident in which Harrison Ford broke his leg

Ford, who was reprising his role as Han Solo, was struck by a heavy hydraulic metal door during filming on the set of the Millennium Falcon spaceship at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, in June 2014. 

Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill in original Star Wars
AP

The actor, who was 71 at the time, broke his left leg and had to be airlifted to hospital. 

The Health & Safety Executive has brought four charges against Foodles Production, a subsidiary of Disney. 

It said Foodles is responsible for managing the risks created during production.

Santa Pod says guide dog ban within health and safety law

Santa Pod
Chris Plunkett/Geograph

Following the story of a registered blind man being refused entry to Santa Pod raceway because he had a guide dog...

Robert Jinks, engagement officer with Guide Dogs, told the BBC: "It is illegal to refuse a guide dog entry to the event. 

"We aim to work with the organisations to ensure that they follow the legal requirements."

But Glenn Ramsden, event manager for UK Events Safety which was responsible for safety at Santa Pod on Sunday, said it had "taken a lot of advice" over its decision, and health and safety laws meant it "had to protect" animals from the noise and fumes.

He added: "Humans can make a choice, animals can't".

Guide dog refused entry to Santa Pod

Nic Rigby

BBC News

A registered blind man, who is also an equality officer with 20 years of experience with disability law, has been refused entry to Bedfordshire's Santa Pod raceway because he had a guide dog.   

David Smith and Darcey
David Smith

David Smith, 49, of Northampton, pointed out his concerns of a potential breach of the law at the Bedfordshire race track at a VW event on Sunday. 

But managers refused to allow him to enter with his dog Darcy. Santa Pod said it was concerned about the safety of the animal. 

Mr Smith, who is an equality and diversity officer for the union Unison, went with his family. 

The event included drag-racing, stunt displays, a funfair and stalls.  

Amazon to test parcel-delivering drones

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

Retail giant Amazon, which has major distribution centres at Hemel Hempstead, Dunstable and at junction 13 of the M1, is to start testing the use of drones to deliver parcels. 

Artists impression of delivery drones
Thinkstock

In partnership with the government, it'll look at the best way to allow hundreds of drones to buzz around Britain's skies safely. 

The company says it'll eventually mean small parcels will arrive within 30 minutes of being ordered online.

Weather: Mainly dry and bright, but cloud later

Kate Kinsella

BBC Look East weather

This morning will start mainly dry with bright and sunny spells. Cloud will thicken into the afternoon allowing one or two showers to develop, but most will stay dry. 

Maximum temperature: 22C (72F)

Get a more detailed forecast for where you live here.

Welcome to Local Live for the three counties

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

Good morning and thanks for joining us on today's live page for Beds, Herts and Bucks.

Stay with us until 18:00 for the latest news, sport, weather, travel and the best of social media.

We've got news that retail giant Amazon, which has major distribution centres in the region, is to start testing drone deliveries of goods. But first, we'll start with today's weather forecast.