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Summary

  1. Cannabis farm found in Legoland house
  2. Newbury Weekly News marks 150th anniversary today
  3. Large fire in Reading motor garage at 04:00 GMT
  4. Bracknell Council to put council tax bills up by the maximum amount allowed

Live Reporting

By Toby Wadey, John Hudson and Emma Midgley

All times stated are UK

That's all for today

Toby Wadey

BBC South

Thank you for joining us again today. 

We'll be back tomorrow with all Berkshire's latest news, sport, travel and weather. 

Stay in touch via our Twitter and Facebook pages.  

Were patients at risk with hospitals at near full capacity?

The Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading was running at 92% capacity last month, against government advice.  

The number of occupied beds at the Frimley, Royal Berkshire and Hampshire trusts was above the level generally considered safe this winter.

The trusts say patients weren't at risk. 

Mary Sherry, Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer said:

"It's been a very busy winter so it's been the typical issues where patients tend to be sicker and things just slowed down during the winter which makes things more difficult.

"We've met with all our local authorities and we have to empathize because they've had cuts too but social services are also feeling the pressure.

"We're looking at how we're placing patients and making decisions that are the safest at the time."

Gang jailed for jeweller raid

Toby Wadey

BBC South

A gang who used sledgehammers and an axe to raid a Windsor jewellery shop before holding up staff with a knife have been jailed. 

The four men approached Robert Gatward Jewellers on motorbikes through pedestrianised King Edward Court prior to launching the attack. 

Three were wrestled to the ground, during which a member of the public was stabbed in the shoulder blade, and arrested. Police caught up with the fourth man two months later. 

Reece Corr, Laurence McLaughlin, Perry Eustace, Chuma Gumede
TVP

Twenty-year-old Reece Corr and Laurence McLaughlin, 26, were jailed for eight years for attempted robbery. 

Perry Eustace, 26, was sentenced to nine years for attempted robbery, GBH and possession of an offensive weapon. 

And Chuma Gumede, 26, was sent to prison for seven-and-a-half years for attempted robbery and resisting arrest.

They pleaded guilty to all of the offences at Reading Crown Court on Friday. 

Temple Lock in £1.3m refurb

View more on twitter

This is part of a £1.3m investment by the Environment Agency to refurbish Temple Lock. 

The project included replacing the lock gate sluice valves and timber fenders, as well as the installation of two new access ladders. 

Lloyds to review HBOS customer cases

BBC Business News

Lloyds Banking Group, owner of HBOS, is going to review the cases of customers affected by a fraud involving two ex-employees, who were jailed last week.

Six people, including former HBOS bankers based in Reading, were found guilty of a scam involving fraudulent loans.

Lynden Scourfield
TVP
Lynden Scourfield, a former senior manager at HBOS, was bribed with sex parties and luxury holidays

The bank has been under pressure to pay compensation after it was accused of reacting too slowly to complaints from victims of the scheme.

The fraud took place before Lloyds Banking Group took ownership of HBOS.

Slough stripper sentenced for rugby star threat

Emma Midgley

BBC South

Two strippers who admitted blackmailing rugby player Danny Cipriani, after one of them aborted his child, have received suspended sentences.

Lisa Murphy, 39, had a termination in the summer of 2015 after a relationship with Cipriani, 29, the court heard.

Danny Cipriani,
Dominic Lipinski

But when she was forced to miss work, due to complications, she asked him for money, which he did not pay.

Murphy enlisted her colleague, 29-year-old Violet Smith from Slough, for help and they threatened to go to the papers with the story.

"I'm hosting a 4th birthday party...help!"

BBC Radio Berkshire's Sarah Walker is hosting her son's 4th birthday party this weekend, and well, she's apprehensive to say the least.

She enlisted the help of Henley children's entertainer Bertie Slippers for some advice on how to host the ultimate kids birthday. He even brought in some props...

Couple take £1,500 to dump inside a slow cooker

Toby Wadey

BBC South

A married couple who hid their savings in a slow cooker disposed of it at a dump by accident. 

They discovered the mistake two days later after the husband asked his wife where their £1,500 in cash was so he could take it to the bank.

Workers at Bracknell Recycling Centre where they recovered £1,300 in lost cash
re3

The pair, who do not want to be named, rushed to Bracknell Recycling Centre where staff spent two hours picking through waste to retrieve the money "note by note". 

The centre revealed the story today, saying that workers managed to recover more than £1,300 of the lost cash. 

Wash Common library faces closure

Tara Maxwell

BBC Radio Berkshire newsreader

West Berkshire councillors will vote on whether to close Wash Common library later today.

Eight other libraries will remain open under the plans. 

Volunteers will work alongside library staff at each branch and one mobile library will be kept. 

library closure protest
BBC

The Newbury Weekly News celebrates 150 years in print

The newspaper was first printed in 1867, the year Canada was officially formed, and the foundation stone of the Royal Albert Hall was laid. 

It's still going strong, but in an increasingly competitive marketplace, is local print journalism going to last?

BBC Radio Berkshire's Andrew Peach was joined on the Breakfast show by Andy Murrill, the newspaper's current Editor. 

Listen as Andy Murrill talks about the future of local newspapers.

Rolf Harris jury given majority direction

The jury in the trial of former TV star Rolf Harris has been told it can consider majority verdicts.

Jurors, who began deliberating last Thursday at Southwark Crown Court, must agree 10-2 for a verdict to be reached.

Rolf Harris
JULIA QUENZLER

Mr Harris, who used to live in Bray, denies six indecent assaults and one sexual assault on victims aged 12 - 42, from 1971 to 2004.

Allegations include him touching girls inappropriately when asked to sign autographs.

Prosecutors told the court the 86-year-old had an "appetite" for groping women and girls in public places.

Weather latest: Bright afternoon ahead

After a cloudy start it is expected to become brighter as the afternoon progresses.

Conditions will remain largely dry and clear overnight, but there is a chance of frost developing by the morning as temperatures drop to around 3C. 

BBC weather for Berkshire
BBC

Cannabis farm found in Legoland house

Emma Midgley

BBC South

Legoland
Josie Campbell
The plants were found in a derelict cottage not accessible to the public

A cannabis farm has been discovered inside a derelict cottage on the grounds of Legoland theme park.  

The plants were found during "routine checks" by park staff on Monday.

It is thought the building - which is not usually accessible to the public - was accessed from nearby land owned by the Queen.

A 40-year-old man from Windsor and a 34-year-old man from Burnham have been arrested on suspicion of producing cannabis.

Legoland

Cannabis farm found at Legoland cottage

Staff uncover the plants during a routine check of a derelict building on land owned by the park.

Read more

BreakingChance of compensation for HBOS fraud victims

Sue Kinnear

BBC Radio Berkshire newsreader

Compensation for the people conned out of thousands of pounds by a former HBOS employee in Reading is being considered by the groups owner Lloyds Banking Group.

The review comes after six people were convicted of fraud and money laundering offences in a racket based at the HBOS offices in Reading. 

Struggling businesses who'd fallen victim to the scam lost out on 245 million pounds between 2002 and 2007.

'Average house price in Windsor and Maidenhead 12.5 times earnings', says councillor

Ministers have been saying England's housing market is 'broken' as they unveil plans to build more affordable homes.

The new housing strategy for England includes forcing councils to plan for their local housing needs and giving them powers to pressure developers to start building on land they own.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said people want a decent home not a "false choice" between renting and owning.

Labour accused the government of "seven years of failure" on housing.

View more on twitter

The Newbury Weekly News marks 150th anniversary today

The Newbury Weekly News is marking its 150th anniversary today. 

To mark the occasion, the independent paper is selling its own craft beer named after the founders, and reprinting the very first copy of the paper from back in 1867. 

The Editor Andy Murrill says all local newspapers are facing challenges in the digital world but they are due a renaissance. 

View more on twitter

Watch: BBC Berkshire at the scene of the Newtown fire

'Roaring flames' says Newtown resident who witnessed garage fire

I was shocked, I've never seen it in my life. There were roaring flames I could see from my garden.

Muhammad FidyanNewtown resident

Muhammad Fidyan witnessed the fire at the garage in Radstock Road, as he lives close by. 

Two PCSOs remain at Newtown fire

Watch: This morning's weather in the South

Aftermath of 'huge fire' at garage in Newtown

Nick Johnson

BBC Berkshire reporter

The doors of the garage look to have been peeled off by the heat of the fire, however the house next door seems to have escaped any damage.

Taxi's after fire
BBC
Taxi's after fire
BBC
Taxi's after fire
BBC
Taxi's after fire
BBC

'Truly shocking' say residents near Radstock Road fire

Nick Johnson

BBC Berkshire reporter

Radstock Road re-opened

Nick Johnson

BBC Berkshire reporter

Following the fire this morning, the emergency services have now left the scene. 

The burnt out garage remains cordoned off but Radstock Road has re-opened to traffic

Reading motor garage fire: Radstock road closed

Reading motor garage fire: 'No casualties'

We got the call at around 04:10am about a fire in Radstock Road, but there were no casualties so we did not attend.

South Central Ambulance ServiceSpokesperson

Heavy traffic causing delays to buses in Woodley

Cemetery Junction busy this morning

Mandy O'Neale

BBC Berkshire travel presenter

No traffic incidents to report so far today, but some very busy spots, particularly through Cemetery Junction and on the M4 approaching Junction 10 on the London-bound side

'Huge blaze' says man who witnessed fire

Imran Ghafoor, who filmed the fire which broke out in central Reading this morning, said his wife's car was being repaired at Newtown Motor Spares and was one of the vehicles destroyed. 

He said a taxi also caught fire at the blaze in Radstock Road.

"It was a huge blaze, pretty much the whole road was sealed off".

Imran GhafoorReading resident

Today's headlines: Fire, sewage, sinkholes and council tax

Sue Kinnear

BBC Radio Berkshire newsreader

  • Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue have been tackling a large fire at a car garage in Reading this morning
  • Families in Southcote have had their homes flooded with sewage because of a power failure at a Thames Water pumping station
  • After two months of inactivity to repair a huge sinkhole in Reading, people living there are ignoring a ban and driving on the road
  • Bracknell Council announces it is going to put council tax bills up by the maximum amount allowed

Car garage fire in video

Reports of fire in Reading

Reports are coming in of a large fire at a car garage on Radstock Road in Reading. Crews from a number of fire stations across Berkshire have been in attendance.

View more on twitter

Good morning!

Emma Midgley

BBC South

Good morning and welcome to today's BBC Local Live service for Berkshire. 

It's looking sunny out there, maybe spring could be around the corner. 

We will be bringing you all the latest news, travel, sport and weather until 18:00. 

Stay in touch via our Twitter and Facebook pages.