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Summary

  1. Updates for Friday, 18 November 2016
  2. Homes in mid-Bedfordshire could soon have their gas reconnected following leak
  3. Speculation spreads on whether Steven Gerrard will come to MK Dons as their new manager
  4. Collins Canoes the Canals challenge enters its final day

Live Reporting

By Alex Pope

All times stated are UK

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Khianni Gordon, Kaneel Huggins, Antwon Clarke

Two men jailed for the fatal stabbing of a man in Slough have sentences increased by the Court of Appeal.

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Watford goal

Michael Emons

BBC Sport

Watford score inside 33 seconds, their fastest Premier League goal, on their way to a victory over champions Leicester City.

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James Hook of Gloucester Rugby (L) and Dan Robson of Wasps in action

Wasps miss the chance to go top of the Premiership as Gloucester get their first home league win of the season.

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Weather: Isolated showers and widespread frost

Julie Reinger

BBC Look East weather

A largely dry night with isolated showers and a fairly widespread frost, but a warning that some icy patches could develop as temperatures in some spots fall to freezing.

Weather chart
BBC

Saturday will be another cold day with sunny spells and perhaps an odd shower. 

It'll be less windy than today with the temperature peaking at 6C (43F).

More details from BBC Weather:

Severe accident: A505 Bedfordshire westbound

BBC Travel

A505 Bedfordshire westbound severe accident, at Harrowden Road affecting A5228 Hitchin Road.

A505 Bedfordshire - A505 Vauxhall Way in Luton closed and queuing traffic westbound at the Harrowden Road junction, because of an accident. Congestion to the A5228 Hitchin Road junction and to the A1081 Airport Way junction.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Strictly: Greg 'hopeful' for good dance in Blackpool

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

It was worrying times for MK's Greg Rutherford on Sunday night, as he was in his first dance-off on Strictly Come Dancing

Hopefully he's put that all behind him as he gets ready for Blackpool.

Pulling it out of the bag for Blackpool. There's no stopping our seven remaining couples!

CiN canoe challenge: Crew crosses the finish line

BBC Three Counties Radio presenter Andy Collins and his crew have completed their BBC Children in Need challenge!

Following 70-odd miles over five days, the Collins Canoes the Canals team finally passed the finish line earlier at Wolverton.

Cue the party poppers!

View more on twitter

Suspected drugs den shut in Luton

Lee Agnew

BBC Three Counties Radio

Police in Luton have closed down a suspected drugs den. 

Two men aged 19 and 37 were arrested as they shut the flat in Ruthin Close. 

It follows an application to magistrates about anti-social behaviour.

Map of Luton
BBC

Council starts petition to save railway service

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

A petition to save a railway route in Hertfordshire has been set up by Hertfordshire County Council.

It says the service between Watton-at-Stone and Stevenage is a vital link. 

Govia Thameslink is proposing replacing trains on that route with a shuttle bus for six years while a fifth platform is built at Stevenage railway station.

Watton-At-Stone railway station
Google

CiN Rickshaw Challenge: London calling

Children in Need

It's time to say goodbye to Hertfordshire and hello to London, as the CiN Rickshaw Challenge moves out of the shires and into the big smoke. 

Matt Baker and his team of six young riders have pedalled all day and are due at The One Show studios tonight. 

It's been a pleasure having you in our part of the world and keep going, you're doing an amazing job!

View more on twitter

Luton Town fans raise funds to pay club's fine

Geoff Doyle

BBC Three Counties Radio sport

Luton Town supporters have set up a crowdfunding page to pay a £15,000 fine posed on the club for fielding understrength teams in the EFL trophy. 

The Hatters argue the entire point of the trophy, which includes under-21 sides from the Premier League, is to give younger players the chance to play full games. 

So far supporters have raised about £3,000. 

Luton Town Football Club
Getty Images

Tesco warns global suppliers over price rises

BBC Business News

The chief executive of Hertfordshire-based Tesco, Dave Lewis, has warned global suppliers not to artificially inflate their prices because of the fall in the pound.

It is his first public comments since supplier Unilever tried to raise the cost of popular items, such as Marmite, due to a weaker currency.

It meant the UK's biggest retailer briefly halted online sales of Unilever's goods.

Mr Lewis said price rises needed to be "justified".

Jars on Marmite on a supermarket shelf
PA

CiN Rickshaw Challenge: Ware oh Ware are they now?

Children in Need

Another team making its way through our region is the CiN Rickshaw Challenge riders, being led by The One Show's Matt Baker. 

Earlier they came to Ware and the crowds came out in force to cheer them on. 

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

They've gone through Cheshunt and are now on their way to London. 

CiN canoe challenge: Up stream with a paddle

Children in Need

It's a tall task, but Andy Collins and his team of merry men need to paddle 16 miles on the final leg of their Collins Canoes the Canals challenge

They were already behind schedule, but the good news is they have finally caught up and look to be back on track to finish in Wolverton today at about 15:30... well, we hope anyway...

Andy Collins and Danny Fullbrook in a canoe
BBC

So far today they've gone through Simpson, Woolstone and by Willen Lake. 

You can help raise funds for the BBC charity. To donate £5, text LOCAL to 70705. See here for terms and conditions

CiN canoe challenge: 'The water is your enemy'

Children in Need

What do you get if you put grown men in a canoe and tell them they have to paddle 16 miles today? 

Apparently a lot of winging!

So Sean Dyche, the former Watford manager, decided to give radio presenter Andy Collins and his crew for Collins Canoes the Canals a bit of a pep talk.

View more on twitter

Gas being restored in Clophill

Kate Bradbrook

BBC Look East

Finally the good news people in Clophill have been waiting three days for.  

National Grid has started restoring gas supplies to the village after it was cut off on Tuesday when a builder severed a pipe in Ampthill. 

The process must be done in stages, and each of the 6,000 properties previously cut off now needs to be revisited so the gas can be turned back on. 

Once Clophill has gas again, engineers will then go to Maulden, then finishing off in Ampthill. 

Gas pipe in ground
BBC

National Grid is warning people not to switch on their own gas supplies, but wait for an engineer. 

It's hoped everyone will be reconnected over the weekend. 

Alex Neil

Nathan Middleton

BBC Sport

BBC Sport takes a look at some of the stories behind this weekend's Football League play-off finals.

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Gas should be slowly turned back on in Clophill later today

Kate Bradbrook

BBC Look East

I've just had it confirmed from James Harrison, from the National Grid, that there are 35 homes that engineers haven't been able to access to turn the gas off. 

So what they have done is gone to court this morning to get warrants to enter those properties with a locksmith to isolate the gas. 

No smoking sign
BBC

When this has been done, workers can then start turning the gas back on to the 6,000 buildings affected, and they will do Clophill first. 

He explained it's a complicated and slow process as they have to get the "sequence right" for safety purposes. 

Gerrard to end career at Inter Milan?

Latest gossip

Steven Gerrard
Rex Features

Inter Milan are interested in signing Steven Gerrard, giving him the chance to end his playing career at the club, according to the Independent.

The former England and Liverpool captain has been in contact with MK Dons over their vacant manager's job having announced he will leave MLS side LA Galaxy in December.

Inter appointed Stefano Pioli as their new head coach earlier this month but the Independent say the Italian club's board are interested in Gerrard.

A deal would reportedly be for six months until the end of the 2016-17 season.

However the paper also claims Gerrard's "ultimate ambition" is a return to Liverpool but a role that suits both player and club needs to be found.

Your choice Steven...

Milton Keynes
Rex Features
Milton Keynes
Rex Features

Dorries: 'I'm an MP and not a gas engineer'

Kate Bradbrook

BBC Look East

When I spoke to Nadine Dorries, the MP for Mid Bedfordshire, she was rather defensive when I questioned why she hadn't come sooner to talk to her constituents, who've been without gas since Tuesday afternoon. 

She told me her job is "an MP and not a gas engineer" and she didn't want to "hold up these guys" to get information. She said as everything is getting ready today to turn the gas back on, she felt it was the right time to come. 

She said her job was to "ensure everything was in place - I did that".

View more on twitter

Steven Gerrard: Eagerly awaiting news

Luke Ashmead

BBC Three Counties Radio sport

Clearly there is no smoke without fire and the possibility of Steven Gerrard being MK Dons manager is going to be big news. 

It is important to get things into perspective though. 

Nothing will happen on this front over the weekend and in truth Richie Barker is highly likely to be in charge for the next two games at least. 

Steven Gerrard becoming MK Dons manager will make all the headlines, but I think it's important fans don't pin their hopes on the former England captain ending up at Stadium:MK. 

I expect something to happen before they play Coventry away on 26 November, but it might take longer than that, especially if Gerrard decides his future lies elsewhere. 

Steven Gerrard
Getty Images

'You've got to start somewhere' says Dyche on Gerrard's possible move to MK Dons

Simon Oxley

BBC Three Counties Radio

Speculation is still swirling around whether former Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard will come to MK Dons to fill the vacant manager's job. 

It's thought further discussions are to take place between Gerrard and Dons chairman Pete Winkleman. 

Burnley and former Watford manager Sean Dyche told BBC Three Counties the move "could be an interesting one", adding "you've got to start somewhere". 

He said he should be given a chance and "it's fair to say he's certainly earned his spurs as a player without a doubt", but "whether he can take that into management is yet to be seen".

Andy Collins and Sean Dyche
BBC

MP Dorries visits affected gas leak homes

Kate Bradbrook

BBC Look East

The MP for Mid Bedfordshire, Nadine Dorries, has arrived at Maulden Village Hall to be briefed on what is going on in the area after Tuesday's gas leak. 

She has been told the gas could be switched back on in the Clophill area from today. 

She told me "something did happen that shouldn't have happened", but "now is not the right time to be asking those questions", adding the priority needs to be "making sure people's homes are warm again".

"We will get to the bottom of this," she said.

View more on twitter

'Too early to talk compensation' over gas leak

Justin Dealey

BBC Three Counties Radio

Feelings in the Ampthill area are running high right now, with residents telling me they are fed up.

It's now been three days since thousands of homes had their gas cut off and it's meant for some cold nights.

I would even go as far to say that some people are livid and annoyed that they haven't been given electric heaters, for example, to help them out.

While interviewing Richard Sarraff (pictured) from Bloor Homes, the company that accidentally severed the gas main, he told me he understood people's frustrations, but it was too early to talk compensation as the matter had yet to be fully investigated. 

Richard Sarraff
BBC

Homes still need to be accessed after gas leak

Kate Bradbrook

BBC Look East

It's a slow and difficult job to access 6,000 homes and businesses in Ampthill, Maulden and Clophill. 

Only when this has happened can the gas supply be reconnected.

National Grid says it is "doing all we can to restore gas supplies as soon as possible" and is hopeful it could be back by the weekend. 

What is holding things up is engineers can't currently get into 30 homes in Ampthill.

National grid vehicles
BBC

Once this has happened, engineers needs to go back into people's homes to switch it all back on. It's asked residents to make sure that someone is in or to contact them on 0845 835 1111 to make other arrangements. 

Severe disruption: M1 Bedfordshire northbound

BBC Travel

M1 Bedfordshire northbound severe disruption, after J10 for affecting J9 for A5.

M1 Bedfordshire - One lane closed and queuing traffic on M1 northbound after J10, Luton Airport, because of a broken down vehicle. Congestion to J9, A5 (Redbourn).

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Company 'deeply sorry' for causing loss of gas in central Bedfordshire

Justin Dealey

BBC Three Counties Radio

I've come to Abbey Lane in Ampthill where the gas main was severed on Tuesday afternoon by builders. 

Richard Sarraff from Bloor Homes - the company whose workers caused the leak - told me it's investigating the matter and while this takes place the building site has been shut down.

Gas pipe in ground
BBC

He apologised profusely and said the company is "deeply sorry", adding that nothing like this has ever happened to Bloor Homes before. 

He told me he can understand local people's frustration, but it's reacted as quickly as possible and is doing all it can to get gas back to everyone in Ampthill, Clophill and Maulden.

CiN canoe challenge: Highlights of day four

Children in Need

Meanwhile, things didn't quite go as planned on day four of the Collins Canoes the Canals challenge.

This week BBC Three Counties' breakfast presenter Andy Collins and his team have been travelling along the Grand Union canal and are due to finish today in Wolverton... but will they do it? 

Watch below to see the trials and tribulations of Thursday...

View more on twitter

Travel: Trains now running as normal into London

CiN Rickshaw Challenge: Goodbye Cambridgeshire, hello Hertfordshire

Children in Need

So it's now time for the Rickshaw Challenge to say goodbye to Cambridgeshire as the team pedals into Hertfordshire, heading towards Puckeridge on the final leg of their journey.

The sun is out today, which is a bonus, after they were beaten by relentless rain on the A10 just south of Ely yesterday.

Matt Baker said: "We had unbelievable, unprecedented storm weather and the hail hurt your face.

"Olivia was in the saddle and the green coat she was wearing under two other layers is still sodden - but you know what, she pushed through.

"There's a chilling wind today, but we've a spring in our step because it's our final day."

The team of young people riding with Matt are Andy, Ebony, Olivia, Phoebe, Ross and Salar - and so far they have raised £1.4m.

Just cheered on the #rickshawchallenge as they passed through Shaftenhoe End. Way to go guys - awesome achievement!
Just cheered on the #rickshawchallenge as they passed through Shaftenhoe End. Way to go guys - awesome achievement!
Just cheered on the #rickshawchallenge as they passed through Shaftenhoe End. Way to go guys - awesome achievement!

Just cheered on the #rickshawchallenge as they passed through Shaftenhoe End. Way to go guys - awesome achievement!

Travel: Train delays into London

CiN Rickshaw Challenge: Today's route

Below is the route of the final day of the CiN Rickshaw Challenge, which is seeing The One Show's Matt Baker riding with six young people to raise funds for the BBC charity. 

They have already set off from Duxford and will travel through Hertfordshire and end up at the BBC Studios in London tonight. 

Keep up-to-date with where they are on the live tracker.

View more on twitter

CiN Rickshaw Challenge: And they're off

Children in Need

They're back in the saddle. 

Matt Baker and his team of young riders have already set off from Duxford to finish their Rickshaw Challenge by the end of the day in London. 

We've been checking the online tracker and they're currently around Great Chishill on their way to Hertfordshire.

Rickshaw Challenge map
BBC

In total they'll have travelled 470 miles from Scotland to the capital. So far they've raised £1.4m.

Gerrard in contact with MK Dons

Football

~Steven Gerrard
Getty Images

The story dominating today's back pages was broken by BBC Sport's Phil Shepka yesterday afternoon and here is the latest.

Former England and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard and MK Dons have been in contact over the vacant manager's job at the League One club.

It is not clear whether the 36-year-old midfielder, who is set to leave MLS side LA Galaxy in December, will retire from playing should he land the role.

MK Dons are exploring a number of opportunities, and Gerrard is understood to be one of numerous candidates.

Gerrard is currently pursuing his Uefa A coaching licence - the second-highest qualification offered.

Read more on 'Why MK Dons?' and 'Why Steven Gerrard?' here.

Steven Gerrard: 'Amazing' if he came to MK Dons

Justin Dealey

BBC Three Counties Radio

This morning I've come to Milton Keynes to get reaction to the news the former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard could be coming to the club. 

MK Dons have been in contact with him over the vacant manager's role.

Fan Johnny thinks it would be "amazing" and that "hopefully he can bring in a couple of young players from Liverpool he knows which are good and push us up the league".

"He has to start somewhere and probably better starting in the lower leagues," he said.

Steven Gerrard
Getty

Meanwhile, another MK Dons fan, Simon, told me: "It could be a good thing. Obviously they need to bring a manager in as they can't go on as it is. 

"As long as it's right for him and the club I can't see there being any negatives. He can't be cheap, can he?"

Weather: Mainly dry with sunny spells, but chilly

Georgina Burnett

BBC Weather

Largely dry through the day with only isolated showers and sunny spells.

Watch my full regional forecast:

Mainly dry with sunny spells, isolated showers and a chilly breeze

However, it'll feel colder than yesterday in light south westerly winds. 

Maximum temperature: 6C (43F). There's more at BBC Weather.

Still no gas in Central Bedfordshire homes

Since Tuesday night no homes and businesses in Ampthill, Maulden and Clophill have had any gas after builders severed a gas main. 

National Grid says more than 100 engineers from across the country have been working to restore the supply.

The reason it's taking so long is every property has to be visited and the gas switched off, and they still can't get into some buildings to do this. 

Once this has happened, gas can be pumped back into the pipes and the gas at each property turned back on again. 

View more on twitter

Welcome back

Good morning and welcome back to our news, sport, travel and weather updates for Beds, Herts and Bucks. 

Shortly we'll have more updates on the lack of gas to thousands of homes and businesses in Ampthill, Maulden and Clophill. 

But first, it looks like Thameslink trains from Bedford and Luton are finally getting back to normal.

Services out of the capital were disrupted last night after a train broke down between Kentish Town and West Hampstead. Lines reopened at about 21:30, but there have been some delays and cancellations this morning. 

View more on twitter

Severe disruption: M40 Buckinghamshire southbound

BBC Travel

M40 Buckinghamshire southbound severe disruption, between J4 for A404 and J3 for A40.

M40 Buckinghamshire - Queuing traffic and one lane blocked on M40 London-bound between J4, A404 (High Wycombe Handy Cross Roundabout) and J3, A40 (High Wycombe East), because of a broken down vehicle.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Nathan Jones

Luton Town boss Nathan Jones accuses the EFL of "stunting young talent" with selection rules for EFL Trophy games.

Read more