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  1. Updates for Friday, 23 December 2016
  2. Luton airport expecting one of busiest Christmas periods ever
  3. Weather: Dry morning, becoming wet and very windy by this evening

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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  1. Goodbye for now and Merry Christmas

    Alex Pope

    BBC Local Live

    Well, that's it for the day from all the team here at Local Live for Beds, Herts and Bucks. 

    We're off to eat our bodyweight in mince pies and drink the odd Christmas tipple, but will be back with no Christmas hangover on Wednesday, 28 December from 08:00. 

    It's been a busy 2016 for us and one of the highlights of the day is finding out that Airlander 10 will be back flying over the skies of Cardington in the New Year. 

    Airlander 10 over the skies of Cardington

    We hope you have a fantastic festive time and that Santa brings you all healthy and happy Christmas. 

  2. Envelope update

    Severe accident: M1 Bedfordshire northbound

    BBC Travel

    M1 Bedfordshire northbound severe accident, between J11 for A505 Luton and J12 for A5120.

    M1 Bedfordshire - Two lanes closed and very slow traffic on M1 northbound between J11, A505 (Luton) and J12, A5120 (Flitwick), because of an accident involving a car.

    Check local traffic and travel reports for:

  3. Road changes in Bletchley cause confusion

    Justin Dealey

    BBC Three Counties Radio

    A new road layout is causing confusion for some motorists in Bletchley. 

    The town's High Street now has a one-way system, but it seems like not everyone has noticed. 

    Jo got in touch to let us know, so I've been to see what's been going on. 

    Road sign

    So far I've seen lots of people not following the new signage and have been told it's "nutty", "doesn't make sense", "no-one was notified" and that it "worked before" so why change it now.  

    I was even stopped by a few people who told me there had already been too many "near-misses".

    Road in Bletchely

    The BBC contacted the council for a response and has yet to hear from them. 

  4. Overnight weather: A dry night after heavy rain clears

    Chris Bell

    BBC Look East weather

    A brief period of heavy rain and gusty wind are possible at first, but clearing to the east by about 20:00, leaving a dry night with clear skies across the BBC East region.

    Overnight weather map

    Strong southwesterly winds at first with some gusts over 50mph (80 km/h)possible, but winds easing to moderate after the rain clears as the temperature dips to 2-4C (upper 30sF).

    Christmas Eve will be dry and long spells of sunshine, but turning cloudier later from the west, with the temperature peaking at 9-10C (upper 40sF).

    Visit BBC Weather for a more detailed forecast where you are.

  5. Workers threatened with knife at Luton post office

    Jane Killick

    BBC Three Counties Radio

    Staff at a shop in Luton have been threatened with a knife after two masked men "burst in" and stole cash. 

    Bedfordshire Police says one man was left with head injuries after "the nasty incident" in the Post Office on Culverhouse Road at about 07:10 today.

    The injured man was left "extremely shaken". 

    Culverhouse Road Post Office
  6. Travel: Fallen tree causing train delays

    A fallen tree has damaged overhead electric wires near Audley End, meaning trains are now running at a reduced speed. 

    There are currently up to 15 minutes delays to journeys running through the area. 

    This is expected to continue until approximately 19:30.

    Network Rail staff are working to remove the tree as quickly as possible. 

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
  7. Envelope update

    Severe accident: M25 Surrey anti-clockwise

    BBC Travel

    M25 Surrey anti-clockwise severe accident, at J12 for M3 affecting J13 for A30.

    M25 Surrey - Heavy traffic on M25 anticlockwise at J12 M3, because of an accident earlier on. Congestion to J13, A30 (Staines).

    Check local traffic and travel reports for:

  8. Travel: Car on fire causing hold-ups on M1 by J6

    BBC Travel

    One lane is currently closed on the M1 in Hertfordshire and there's queuing traffic northbound at J6, North Watford, because of a car fire. 

    Congestion goes back to J5, at Watford.  

    View more on twitter
  9. Travel: Fire crews attend accident in Stacey Bushes

    Bucks and MK Fire says three cars are involved in an accident in Stacey Bushes and firefighters are using hydraulic rescue equipment to release a casualty. 

    View more on twitter
  10. Airlander 10: 2017 is 'going to be exciting'

    Alex Pope

    BBC Local Live

    And here's how Hybrid Air Vehicles decided to share their happy news about Airlander 10 today. 

    Feeling festive yet?

    View more on twitter
  11. Mother and two children missing from Luton

    Police are growing concerned for the welfare of a missing Luton mother and her two children who have not been seen for over a week. 

    Angela Lambert, 45, from Winton Close, Luton and her children, six-year-old Cyrus and two-year-old Maryam have't been seen since 11:30 on 15 December. 

    A police spokesman said she went by a "number of aliases", adding: "If anyone sees a woman and two children matching their description I would encourage them to contact us.”

    Maryam. Angela Lambert and Cyrus
  12. Envelope update

    Severe disruption: M11 Essex northbound

    BBC Travel

    M11 Essex northbound severe disruption, at J8 for A120.

    M11 Essex - M11 exit slip road blocked and one lane closed northbound at J8, A120 (Bishops Stortford), because of a broken down vehicle.

    Check local traffic and travel reports for:

  13. Envelope update

    Severe disruption: M1 Hertfordshire northbound

    BBC Travel

    M1 Hertfordshire northbound severe disruption, at J6 for A405 North Watford affecting J5 for A41.

    M1 Hertfordshire - One lane closed and queuing traffic on M1 northbound at J6, A405 (North Watford), because of a car fire. Congestion to J5, A41 (Watford).

    Check local traffic and travel reports for:

  14. Airlander 10: What a year it's been

    It's been a year of mixed emotions for the team behind Airlander 10

    In August the crew, based at Hangar One at Cardington Airfield, saw the aircraft take off on its maiden flight.

    Just a few weeks later they witnessed a '"heavy landing", which put it out of action for the rest of the year, whilst it was repaired.  

    Airlander 10

    Here are some interesting facts and figures for you. 

    • 44,100 lb (20,000kg): The weight of the airship
    • 20,000ft (6,100m): The altitude it can reach
    • 80 knots (148km/h): Maximum speed
    • Five days: How long it can stay airborne during manned flights
    • 22,050 lb (10,000kg): Total payload - the weight the ship is able to carry
    • 128 people have worked on Airlander this year
    Airlander 10 by Cardington hangars
  15. Airlander 10: The sky's the limit

    Alex Pope

    BBC Local Live

    An early Christmas present has been revealed by the people behind the Airlander 10, the world's longest aircraft.

    Airlander 10

    It will be back in the Bedfordshire skies from next year.   

    Hybrid Air Vehicles says the undercarriage, damaged when the ship, named Martha Gwyn, "landed heavily" on only its second flight, has been repaired.  

    Airlander 10 on second landing

    Over the Christmas period the new cockpit will be painted and then the windscreens fitted. 

    Next will be a series of rigorous tests and then the aircraft can continue its flight test programme. 

  16. The Christmas take-off at Luton airport

    Mike Cartwright

    BBC Look East

    Today I've been in Luton seeing how the airport is coping with one of its busiest days. 

    In total about 45,000 passengers are expected in and out. 

    Luton airport

    So far things have been calm but busy, with everything running smoothly and I'm not aware of any delays. 

    Luton airport

    Passengers have told me they're very relieved that the planned baggage-handlers strike was called off.  

    Passengers at Luton Airport
  17. Stolen horse sculptor is award-winning artist

    Alex Pope

    BBC Local Live

    John W Mills, the artist who created the stolen statue, is one of Britain’s most distinguished sculptors

    He was made Fellow of the Royal British Society of Sculptors in 1982 and was awarded the Otto Beit medal in 1983 for his work on "Curved Neck Grace". 

    He's most famous for creating the "Monument to the Women of World II" in Whitehall. 

    Monument to the Women of World II

    He also created the National Firefighters' Memorial outside St Paul’s Cathedral, commemorating the firefighters who died in the Blitz.  

    National Firefighters Memorial
  18. Sculptor helps to identify stolen horse

    Alex Pope

    BBC Local Live

    The rightful owner of "Curved Neck Grace" purchased the sculpture in 1983 and displayed it in her garden in St Ipployts where it remained for 26 years before it was stolen in September 2009.

    It was made in the same year by John W Mills. He has described the work as a favourite piece, and says he's "amazed" it's been found again, as normally stolen items were "sold for scrap... taken out of the country or destroyed".

    Mr Mills has nothing but praise for the police as "they brought the horse here for me to identify."

    He added if it ever went up for auction again, he'd like the opportunity to work on it again and "make sure it's in good condition".

  19. Stolen statue found on caravan site in Dunstable

    Alex Pope

    BBC Local Live

    By the end of November the Operation Scorpion team at Herts Police made inquiries about the horse statue and liaised with the sculptor John W Mills, so he could identify it. 

    The statue was on display at a caravan site in Dunstable, and police say it was bought from an antique fair in Shepherd’s Bush, about seven years ago. 

    They added the new owner was "shocked" to discover it had been stolen, but "understood it needed to be returned".

    Horse behind trees

    As the statue was not found around the time of the original theft, the rightful owner was compensated by their insurance company, but has since died. 

    The sculpture, 'Curved Neck Grace', is now with the insurance company.