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Summary

  1. Soldier jailed for love rival attack in Windsor
  2. CCTV images released after £150k accordion theft
  3. Permission for 'pop-up pool' granted
  4. 'Reading and Slough are hotspots for FGM'
  5. Reading manager shortlisted for Championship Manager of the Month
  6. A Reading man in Ice Cream Man of the year finals

Live Reporting

By Toby Wadey, John Hudson and Adam Whitty

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 at 08:00 with all Berkshire's latest news, travel, sport and weather. 

Stay in touch via our Twitter and Facebook pages. 

Scott signs new deal with Reading Women FC

Jack Winstanley

BBC Berkshire Sport Reporter

Reading Women FC defender Harriet Scott has signed a new contract with the club.

23-year-old Scott, who joined the Royals aged just 8, has been on a professional contract with Kelly Chambers' side since last season, and her new deal runs until the end of the 2017-18 season.

Harriet Scott
Reading Women FC

She joins Kirsty McGee, Mary Earps, Lauren Burton, Becky Jane, Charlie Estcourt, and Melissa Fletcher in signing a new contract with the club in the off-season.

1,500 apply for chocolate taster job

Toby Wadey

BBC South

Woman tasting a chunk of Cadbury's chocolate
Getty Images
The job description said a "passion for confectionery and taste buds for detection" were required

A vacancy for a chocolate and cocoa beverage taster has received 1,500 applications. 

Confectionery company Mondelez, which owns brands including Cadbury and Oreo, started advertising the part-time role in Reading on Monday. 

The job description said a "passion for confectionery and taste buds for detection" were required. 

It said the successful candidate would work 7.5 hours a week in "discussion rooms and sensory booths".

They would also need to be "eager to try new inventive products" and be able to show "honesty when it comes to giving an opinion", the advert added. 

A company spokesman said the response had been "hugely encouraging". 

"We can't wait to see who makes the cut to join our other 4,000 chocolate-loving employees across the UK," the spokesman said. 

"Food science is an incredibly varied and exhilarating career path." 

Soldier jailed for love rival attack

Toby Wadey

BBC South

A soldier who abducted and stabbed his love rival has been jailed for a minimum of 16 years.

John Watson, 35, ambushed Pte James Dicks outside his ex-wife's home in Windsor because he believed they were in a relationship. 

He then tied Pte Dicks up, bundled him into a car and stabbed him before he was stopped by police. 

John Watson
TVP

Judge Angela Morris said Watson was a "danger to the public" as she sentenced him at Reading Crown Court. 

She said there were "two John Watsons" and that while one was "a devoted family man who served his country with honour", the other was "one of anger, jealousy and murderous intent". 

Former Royal Royston's... rap?

Adam Whitty

BBC South

Many Reading fans will remember winger Royston Drenthe.

Well, he appears to have found a new career as a musician. 

Royston Drenthe
Getty Images
Drenthe made 23 appearances for the Royals between June 2013 and January 2015.

He has just released his new rap record, titled 'Paranoia' on Youtube.

You can watch it here. It is in Dutch, but the naughty words translate rather well, so it most definitely features explicit content.

Royston Drenthe record
youtube/Roya2faces
The record was released on Wednesday

He was pretty excited about the whole thing.

He posted on social media - 'Wedneday is the day!

'Be ready because at 12:00 I drop my first single called Paranoia."

London Irish: De Chaves happy with a big result

Sebastian de Chaves says London Irish needed a strong performance against Nottingham.

Inside the Newbury Weekly News' first edition

Adam Whitty

BBC South

The Newbury Weekly News has released its 150th celebration issue today.

The paper have also printed their first ever edition inside their anniversary special, printed on February 7, 1867.

We took a look inside to see what our fellow 'Berkshire-ians' were getting up to a century and a half ago.

First edition of Newbury Weekly News
BBC
The first edition doesn't have the attention grabbing headline of today's papers

The first edition begins with a message to its readers, saying it offers "no apology" for creating the paper.

They then go on to say they are part of "the cheap press", which presumably was more of a compliment at the time.

Front page Newbury Weekly News
BBC
This is how the Newbury Weekly News introduced itself to readers for the first time

Among some national stories, including a women in Leeds who was shot in the head, and international stories from New York to Madrid, the paper began telling its readers their stories.

You can see below the main stories from local police courts, and below that, comes a rather dramatic story about a "family brawl" between two women, which revolved around simply, "a house".

Inside Newbury Weekly News
BBC
The paper went through the big developments in the local police courts

Waitrose to make 500 redundancies

Chris Browning

BBC Radio Berkshire

Waitrose, who has its headquarters in Bracknell, is to close five underperforming shops across the country, with almost 500 workers facing redundancy. 

Another 180 jobs will go in a restructuring of the company's management. 

But the supermarket chain says it is planning to open eight new stores this year, creating almost 600 new posts.

Waitrose
Getty Images

Parts of Berkshire at risk of bird flu

Sam Clayton

BBC Radio Berkshire newsreader

Large parts of Berkshire have been identified as being at higher risk for bird flu under new guidelines published by the government. 

Restrictions on keeping poultry and other birds outside have been in place since before Christmas after a number of cases of Avian flu. 

Chickens
AFP

There have been no cases locally, but new guidance from DEFRA says restrictions will remain in place in some parts of Berkshire.

You can see which areas are at the highest risk using DEFRA's interactive map here

Reading FC: Stam says every game is tough

The Royals' boss says each game is difficult, but that it's the same for their opponents.

Man sought after headbutt in Reading

Adam Whitty

BBC South

Thames Valley police have released images of a man they want to speak to after a man was headbutted in Reading.

The 19-year-old victim was in Q Club on Friar Street when he was approached by three other men.

Bar fight man
Thames Valley Police
Police believe the man may have vital information for the police investigation.

 A verbal altercation took place and the victim was then head-butted by one of the other men. He sustained a cut to his eyebrow which required stitches.

The incident happened in the early hours of 25 September last year.   

It's snowing!

Snow has started falling in the grounds of BBC Berkshire, and the wintry showers could continue into the afternoon. 

It will remain cold and cloudy throughout the day, with temperatures dropping to around 2C. 

BBC Berkshire weather
BBC

The richest handicap hurdle race of the season

Ady Williams

Sport presenter, BBC Radio Berkshire

Lambourn trainer Jamie Snowden has said that he is ready for the UK's richest handicap hurdle race of the season at Newbury this weekend.

The Betfair Hurdle is the 15:35 race at Newbury on Saturday, and is part of 'Betfair Super Saturday' at the racecourse.

It is seen as one of the last preparatory runs before the Cheltenham Festival next month.

Turns out they are doing more than training in Caversham...

Reading man whippying up a storm

Adam Whitty

BBC South

A Reading ice cream man could be crowned Ice Cream Man of the year next week.

Paul Field is down to the final three for the competition, with the winner decided at the Ice Cream Alliance conference on next Wednesday.

Paul spoke to BBC Radio Berkshire's Andrew Peach

"It's all about the quality of your ice cream, your van, yourself and your events" said Paul, who has been running Maurice’s Ice Cream for nearly 35 years.

He has a secret weapon, ready to wow the judges at the conference in Harrogate.

"I've taken a picture of Tony Blackburn, and I'm hoping that will win it for me." 

Although clearly a customer of many BBC Radio Berkshire presenters (see below), we are of course maintaining our complete objectivity on his huge competition.

Paul Field
BBC
Paul counts Radio Berkshire presenters Tony Blackburn and Debbie McGee as his customers

CCTV images released after £150k accordion theft

Lloyd Webber 'can hardly believe' his musical feat

Adam Whitty

BBC South

Andrew Lloyd Webber has become the first person in more than 60 years to have four shows running simultaneously on Broadway.

The composer - who lives in Sydmonton - matches the record set by Rodgers and Hammerstein in 1953.

Andrew Lloyd Webber is delighted to have four shows running simultaneously on Broadway.

A revival of his musical Sunset Boulevard opens in New York tonight - joining Cats, Phantom of The Opera and School of Rock.

"I can hardly believe this could possibly have happened," the 68-year-old told the BBC.  

Sport headlines: Reading FC injury news, Stam's shortlisted, and the richest jump race

Ady Williams

Sport presenter, BBC Radio Berkshire

  • Reading FC's Paul McShane, Tiago Ilori, and Joey van den Berg remained sidelined ahead of their game against Barnsley on Saturday
  • Stephen Quinn and Deniss Rakels are back training with the first squad
  • Reading FC manager Jaap Stam has been shortlisted for the January Championship Manager of the Month award
  • Jamie Snowden has said he is excited for the richest handicap hurdle race of the season at Newbury this weekend

Permission for 'pop-up pool' granted

Adam Whitty

BBC South

Planning permission has been granted for a demountable pool at Rivermead leisure centre.

It's part of a programme to build two new swimming pools in Reading to replace ageing and expensive-to-run facilities at Central Pool and Arthur Hill.

An artists impression of the new pool at the Rivermead
Reading Borough Council
An artists impression of the new pool at the Rivermead

The application was approved at a meeting of Reading Borough Council on Wednesday night.

Work should commence in May 2017 with the demountable, 'pop-up' pool expected to open by January 2018.

Traffic clearing up across Berkshire

Mandy O'Neale

BBC Berkshire travel presenter

It was a busy morning on the roads this morning, but congestion is now clearing.

Here are the areas to watch out for at the moment.

  • M4 London-bound: Earlier shed load in middle lane near Reading Services, between J12 (Calcot) & J11 (Reading). Now cleared & delays are easing
  • A33: Earlier delays both North & Southbound on A33 approaching Wellington Monument following an accident. Road all cleared and delays easing.

No more free bus travel to Reading games

From April, Reading fans with a concessionary bus pass will no longer be able to travel on match-day buses for free.

Reading Borough Council says "concessionary fares are no longer possible in the face of the severe, increasing and unprecedented Governments cuts."

Match-day buses
Oxford & Chiltern Buses
Buses like these will no longer be free for bus pass holders

Richard Langley from STAR, the Reading Supporters Trust said: "It would be ripping a large amount of the fan base out of the club.

"You look at the number of OAPs who use that service, it must be hundreds, if not thousands on every match day.

"People think I don’t want to spend money going to the football because I’ve had this service for so long and it’s been taken off me."

'Reading and Slough are hotspots for FGM'

Adam Whitty

BBC South

A case of female genital mutilation (FGM) is discovered or treated every hour in this country. 

Now Berkshire is to get the first centre of its kind to tackle FGM. 

Reading's Rose Centre will bring together professionals from law enforcement and the health service with teams working with local communities.

Hear Jennifer's story of living in a community in Reading that practices FGM

"Reading, and Slough, are regarded as hotspots for FGM in this country", says Victoria Hunter from the Alliance for Cohesion For Racial Equality, who are the group behind the centre.

"FGM is such a multi-faceted, secretive taboo that it’s very difficult to penetrate, and there’s an extreme amount of community pressure.

"There is a huge need here [in Reading] and a massive gap in service to look after women in a more holistic manner."

The desired time frame for the clinic's opening is April 2017.

Weather: Grey and cold, mainly dry

Bee Tucker has the forecast for the south.

Today's headlines: FGM, a love rival murder and Lloyd-Webber's feat

Sam Clayton

BBC Radio Berkshire newsreader

  • Berkshire is to get the first centre in the country to tackle female genital mutilation
  • Soldier John Watson will be sentenced after being found guilty of kidnapping and attempting to murder a love rival
  • Reading fans say they're "disappointed" after Reading Borough Council said they will be stopping free travel to the Madejski Stadium for free bus pass holders
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber, from Sydmonton, has become the first person in more than 60 years to have four shows running simultaneously on Broadway

Good morning

Adam Whitty

BBC South

Well hello there, and welcome to our live coverage of all things Berkshire.

Thursday looks like a bit of a cold one unfortunately, but it should be dry, at least.

Sunny but cold weather
Getty Images

We will be the only place to need to go to get your local fix until 18:00 GMT.

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