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Live Reporting

By Alex Homer

All times stated are UK

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  1. Good evening

    Local Live has finished for the day. We're back with more news, sport, travel and weather updates from 08:00 on Wednesday. Join us then.

  2. Tonight's forecast

    Mel Coles

    BBC Weather

    It will be a mostly cloudy and dry night across the region. However, where any breaks in the cloud do occur, the temperatures will drop accordingly and it will turn chilly.

    Temperatures showing in a table
  3. A45 delays warning

    BBC Travel

    BBC Travel

    There is slow traffic on the A45 Coventry Road eastbound in Elmdon between the Damson Parkway junction and the B4438 Catherine De Barnes Lane junction around the roadworks, drivers are warned.

  4. Doctors in running for awards

    Satnam Rana

    Arts reporter, BBC Midlands Today

    Fans of the BBC daytime soap Doctors are in for a treat later as I'm going on set to meet some potential award winners.

    Lorna Laidlaw and Laura Rollins

    I met up with Laura Rollins (right) and Lorna Laidlaw ahead of this weekend's Screen Nation TV and Film Awards, otherwise known as the "Black Oscars".

    Catch my full report at 18:30 on Midlands Today on BBC One.

  5. Your pictures

    Email us:

    Every day we use a different image as the background to our updates on Local Live.

    Today we kicked off with a picture showing the canals in Birmingham city centre, before changing it to the exterior metal lattice on the Library of Birmingham, after news of the reductions in its opening hours broke this morning.

    Canal in Birmingham city centre

    If you'd like to see your pictures on BBC Local Live please send them to us.

  6. 'Sadistic bully' teacher guilty of sex attacks

    A former Birmingham PE teacher is facing jail after being found guilty of carrying out a string of sex attacks on boys between 1957 and 1978.

    Marcus Marcussen, 91, described during a three-week trial as a "sadistic bully", was unanimously convicted by a jury of 23 counts of indecent assault relating to 12 victims.

    Marcus Marcussen

    Jurors at Birmingham Crown Court also found the pensioner guilty of indecently assaulting two other boys by majority 10-2 verdicts.

    Marcussen, of Rochford, near Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, had denied committing the offences while he was employed at Ilmington Road comprehensive school in Weoley Castle.

  7. Goal-grabber missing for Saddlers

    BBC Sport

    Walsall are still without top scorer Tom Bradshaw for tonight's visit of Rochdale because of a hamstring injury.

    Walsall striker Tom Bradshaw

    Midfielder Sam Mantom (knee) and defender James Chambers (cramp) could also miss the game.

  8. News on the hour

    Rob Mayor

    Journalist, BBC WM

    A 91-year-old man has been found guilty of sexual assaulting school boys when he was a teacher more than 40 years ago.

    We've more on this story in the 17:00 news.

  9. Handful of posts saved

    Tom Richardson

    BBC News Online

    Birmingham City Council announced this morning it would save a handful of jobs at the Library of Birmingham, after it originally proposed the removal of 100 posts in December.

    Birmingham City Council's budget report in December

    Penny Holbrook, cabinet member for skills, learning and culture, said the vast majority of feedback the council received during a consultation into its plans for the £189m building had concerned its photographic archives.

    She said a staff consultation was still ongoing but the council expected the number of lost jobs will decrease slightly.

    "We're not talking significant numbers of posts," she said. "It's less than 10."

  10. Villa goal 'turning point'

    BBC Sport

    Aston Villa defender Jores Okore says scoring the team's first Premier League goal for nearly 11 hours was a relief and hopes the side can now kick-on.

    Jores Okore (left)

    Okore's 48th-minute header - his first goal for the club - in their 2-1 home defeat by leaders Chelsea on Saturday was Villa's first for 659 minutes.

  11. News on the hour

    Rob Mayor

    Journalist, BBC WM

    Police are investigating an allegation of fraud in Birmingham involving funeral pre-paid plans.

    More on this and Birmingham City Council's budget proposals in the news at 16:00 on BBC WM.

  12. 100mph drink driver banned

    Birmingham Mail

    A drink-driver has been banned from the roads after he was caught speeding on the Aston Expressway at 100mph.

    Triston Hamilton, 30, was clocked at more than three times the 30mph limit through roadworks when he undertook officers on the A38 heading out of the city on 25 January.

  13. It's about what councillors have to do

    Susana Mendonca

    BBC West Midlands political reporter

    Local government has become about what you have to do, rather than what you want to do. That's the leader of Birmingham City Council's take on why the new library would not be spared from shorter opening hours and job cuts in this budget.

    Library of Birmingham

    Other things like protecting children and road safety are just more important, says Sir Albert Bore. But councillors also get a lot more criticism when they get those things wrong and Birmingham has got plenty wrong. Hence perhaps the incentive to spend what money it does have, on getting things like child protection right.

    As for lollipop ladies and gentlemen, a certain Eric Pickles MP slated Birmingham last week for planning to cut them and, hey presto, this week the city council's keeping 190 of busiest crossings patrolled.

  14. Relatives sought after death

    Relatives of a man who recently died are asked to get in touch with the City of Wolverhampton Council so that his funeral can be arranged.

    Roy Eaton, who lived in Penn Fields in Wolverhampton, was 63. He is believed to have been born in Wednesfield.

    Anyone who is related to Mr Eaton, or has any information which may help trace his relatives, is asked to email Elaine Thursfield.

  15. News on the hour

    Rob Mayor

    Journalist, BBC WM

    At 15:00 we hear from Birmingham Councillor Brigid Jones after school crossing patrols on busy roads were spared the axe.

    Listen live to BBC WM here.

  16. Why opening hours cuts

    Clare Lissaman

    BBC News Online

    Penny Holbrook, Birmingham City Council's cabinet member for skills, learning and culture, said most consultation responses relating to the library had focussed on the potential loss of its specialist photographic archives.

    Infographic about cuts

    She said the council had been able to "put some capacity back" into the service - saving jobs - following feedback from the public.

    "Unfortunately, the vast majority of spend we are going to have to cut is on the opening hours," she said.

  17. 'Wake up Brum'

    Bob Adams has been in touch over the cut to opening hours at the Library of Birmingham.

    He writes: "How much has been spent by the thousands of visitors who have just been [to Birmingham] to see the library and museum?

    "These cuts are stupid and short sighted. Why don't the people in charge make the library a charitable trust like the museum which, talking to people at the museum, has been a big success.

    "Wake up Brum, At the moment people in Scotland, Australia and other parts of the world think we are stupid to waste such a beautiful and useful resource."

  18. No new injuries for Wolves

    Mike Taylor

    BBC WM Sport

    Kenny Jackett says there are no new injuries in his squad in advance of tonight's game at Huddersfield, which is live on BBC WM on DAB and Freeview channel 722.

    Carl Ikeme

    Scott Golbourne is still troubled by his foot injury, but was on the bench on Saturday. Carl Ikeme (pictured) has broken the second metatarsal bone in his foot and could be out for up to eight weeks. Tomasz Kuszczak will take over in goal.

  19. Car drives into house

    Andrew Dawkins

    BBC News

    A car has hit a house in West Bromwich leaving two people in the vehicle with minor injuries.


    The car struck a wall outside the house in Francis Street, West Bromwich, at about 10:55 GMT.

    One person was taken by ambulance to Sandwell General Hospital, while the other was treated at the scene before being discharged.

  20. News on the hour

    Rob Mayor

    Journalist, BBC WM

    Birmingham City Council has announced most school crossing patrols on busy roads are to be saved, with talks to happen with schools on how they are funded in future.

    Lollipop crossing

    That's been welcomed by Avril Child, whose daughter was killed after being hit by a car on Walsall Road.

    We will hear from her on BBC WM on 14:00.

  21. M6 chase drink driver jailed

    Express and Star

    A drink driver who deliberately rammed a police car off the M6 Toll after a high-speed chase has been jailed for a total of 50 months.

    Video footage showed Mark Abraham smashing into the Staffordshire Police patrol vehicle, sending it careering up an embankment and back down, Stafford Crown Court heard.

  22. Pre-paid funeral scam allegations

    Daz Hale

    Presenter, BBC WM

    Det Con Ross Somerfield, from Birmingham Police, said investigating the alleged funeral plans fraud was proving "complex" as the owner of the company from which the plan was bought, has since died.

    "We've been speaking with the new undertakers, funeral industry regulators, banks and others to progress the investigation," he said.

    "At this time we have identified one victim, but if we prove that the plan was an elaborate fraud then I suspect that there may be other victims out there. Unfortunately many people will only discover too late that they or their loved ones been conned."

  23. Funeral plan: "No funeral records found"

    Daz Hale

    Presenter, BBC WM

    Detectives have said they were contacted in late November 2014 by undertakers after a grieving family approached them looking to access the pre-paid funeral fund of an 83-year-old ma from Four Oaks.

    It is alleged that his plan had been purchased in 2005 from the former owner - now deceased - of Samuel James and Sons, a funeral parlour on Fox Hollies Road.

    When his wife and son came to access the £3,900, no records of the scheme could be found by the industry's governing body.

    Det Con Ross Somerfield, from Birmingham Police, said: "The relatives of the man are finding the situation particularly distressing as it comes while they continue to mourn their loved one".

  24. Coming up on TV

    Qasa Alom

    Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

    An extra £1.6m is being put into child protection in Birmingham following criticism of the city council.

    The plans were announced this morning as the council set out its budget for the year ahead. The authority has also decided to keep most school crossing patrols.

    Susana Mendonça in front of GMB workers in front of the council house

    Hear more from BBC WM's political reporter Susana Mendonça on Midlands Today on BBC One at 13:40.

  25. News on the hour

    BBC WM

    In the news at 13:00, the Library of Birmingham's opening hours are going to be cut as part of the city council's budget plans.

    They'll drop from 73 to 40 hours a week, while council tax is also going up by nearly 2% for the second year in a row.

  26. Must-win game for Villa

    John Roder

    Match of the Day commentator

    Aston Villa head to fellow strugglers Hull City tonight knowing defeat could edge them closer to the bottom three.

    Aston Villa forward Christian Benteke could be recalled after being dropped to the bench against Chelsea.

    Ron Vlaar and Nikica Jelavic tussle for the ball

    Ron Vlaar (left) may play after five weeks out with a knee injury and loanee Scott Sinclair could make his first start.

  27. What went wrong?

    Tom Richardson

    BBC News Online

    At this morning's council briefing on this year's round of budget cuts, I asked councillor Penny Holbrook how the Library of Birmingham, which opened to much fanfare in 2013 at a cost of £189m, had ended up facing significantly reduced opening hours and cuts to its services.

    She said part of the problem was that no-one could have foreseen the scale of cuts local authorities would face when the library project was first commissioned in 2007.


    "When you lose £70m from your budget you have to make cuts somewhere," she said.

    "Unfortunately, the vast majority of spend we are going to have to cut is on the opening hours."

  28. Stratford-upon-Avon Swan Theatre restoration

    Midlands Today

    Work has begun to reinstate the Royal Shakespeare Company's studio theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.

    Swan Theatre

    Built in 1973, it was closed in 2006 to make way for the temporary Courtyard Theatre. "The Other Place" will open next year to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.

  29. Funeral plan 'fraud' investigated

    Daz Hale

    Presenter, BBC WM

    Police are investigating an allegation of fraud in Birmingham involving funeral plans.

    I've just been speaking to one of the victims who raised the alarm.

    Phyllis Whitburn discovered the funeral plan for her late husband Brian no longer existed after the 83-year-old died from cancer.

    He had paid his money to the former owners of Samuel James and Sons, a funeral parlour on Fox Hollies Road, but there was no record of Mr Whitburn's money being paid to a funeral plan provider, said police.

    You can listen back to the interview here.

  30. News on the hour

    Steve Hermon

    Journalist, BBC WM

    A campaign to help get more police officers back on our streets has been launched.

    West Midlands Police Federation has started it because they say the amount of bobbies on the beat has reduced by 17% since 2010.

    We'll have more on this in our headlines at 12:00.

  31. Opening hours cuts reaction

    BBC WM

    Lots of you are getting in touch about the news that opening hours will be cut at the Library of Birmingham.

    Library of Birmingham

    Chris Brown tweeted: "A building built for the public which is having public access reduced? Surely this hasn't just happened?"

    A.A. Abbott tweeted: "The @LibraryofBham is a tourist attraction+icon as well as an amenity. It should keep its hours.The coalition must reverse its cuts!"

    Keep your comments coming via email or Twitter.

  32. Children's funding 'not forthcoming'

    Tom Richardson

    BBC News Online

    At a Birmingham City Council budget briefing this morning Brigid Jones, ITS cabinet member for children and young people, said the authority had not received a response to its request for further government funding to improve its much-criticised social services department.

    In November she said the council was seeking £123m over the next three years - around £40m per year - in order to boost its children's services department, but the response "had not been forthcoming".

    The council, she said, has found £21.5m of the amount but still needed the extra cash to ensure it could meet increased demand for frontline social services.

  33. 'This is so shortsighted'

    Email us:

    Mary McHenry has emailed us about the opening hours cuts at the Library of Birmingham.

    She writes: "How can this be allowed to happen? The library is feted worldwide as an attraction to be visited and yet the hours are to be savagely cut. This is so short-sighted.

    "Are our leaders so unimaginative that they cannot find other revenues to finance the library? It is humiliating for the city."

    Have your say on the decision to cut opening hours at the library. Get in touch via email or Twitter.

  34. Lollipop patrols saved

    Tom Richardson

    BBC News Online

    On the day it's revealed opening hours are to be cut at the Library of Birmingham Ian Ward, deputy leader of Birmingham City Council , said the authority had reviewed its plans to cut school crossing patrols in response to sizeable opposition.

    Lollipop man in Erdington

    He said feedback from parents and a campaign co-ordinated by the Birmingham Mail had prompted "serious thought" about the issue from the council, which will now maintain patrols in 190 of the city's busiest locations.

    The council also plans to introduce more 20mph zones and increase its use of CCTV to enforce parking outside schools in a bid to increase road safety.

  35. News on the hour

    Steve Hermon

    Journalist, BBC WM

    Birmingham City Council says it will raise council tax by 1.99% for a second year in a row.

    It means that a Band D property that pays £1158.43 would pay an extra £22.61p a year or 43p a week.

    We'll hear from Sir Albert Bore, the leader of the council, in our 11:00 bulletin.

  36. Stories we're looking at

    Hilary McConnell

    Producer, BBC Midlands Today

    We've had our morning meeting to discuss the stories we're looking into for today's programme.

    We're gathering reaction to the latest on the budget proposals for Birmingham City Council. Hours are to be cut at the library, but school crossing patrols will not be affected and the city council will invest more into child protection services.

    We'll be following Aston Villa as they head up to Hull for a must-win game, and our arts reporter Satnam Rana has been meeting two actresses from Doctors who've been nominated for Screen Nation TV & Film awards.

  37. Library opening hours cut

    Clare Lissaman

    BBC News Online

    The opening hours for Birmingham's new £189m library are to be cut by nearly half to save money, the city council has confirmed.

    The authority said the opening hours of the library, which opened in September 2013, would fall from 73 to 40 a week.

    View of Library of Birmingham from the amphitheatre

    Plans to make redundant 100 of the 188 library staff are still being discussed, but the council expects at least 90 people will lose their jobs.

    The Labour-led council said it must cut nearly £113m from its 2015-16 budget.

  38. News on the hour

    Steve Hermon

    Journalist, BBC WM

    It has been announced in the last few minutes that the Library of Birmingham's opening hours are going to be cut.

    Library of Birmingham

    The city council has confirmed it is giving the go ahead for it to be reduced from 73 to 40 hours a week as part of its budget plans.

    We will have more on the announcement live on BBC WM from 10:00.

  39. Netherton house raid appeal

    West Midlands Police want to speak to these four men after jewellery and cash was stolen from a home in Netherton.

    the four suspects

    The force have released these CCTV stills as part of an appeal for information about the raid on Prince Street in the afternoon on 17 January.

    The suspects ran off when the home-owner returned.

  40. Busy route to close for widening

    Express and Star

    A busy stretch of road in Walsall is shutting for seven days from this weekend to widen the route as part of a £26m scheme.

    The works are being carried out along Bescot Road from Wallows Lane up to the junction of Wednesbury Road and Darlaston Road from Sunday.

  41. Centre rebuild on track

    Building work is on track at the Wednesbury Leisure Centre after it was hit in an arson attack last July.

    Picture from left to right of Sandwell councillors Steve Eling, Paul Moore and Elaine Costigan at the construction site

    The new £8.1m complex will have a 25-metre pool, a learner pool, two dance studios and a 100-station fitness suite and also includes a new sports hall.

    Wednesbury Leisure Centre (artists impression)

    The centre, on High Bullen, Wednesbury, is set to open in late autumn.

  42. News on the hour

    Steve Hermon

    Journalist, BBC WM

    Our top story at 09:00: We have seen figures which show that Birmingham City Council is one of a dozen local authorities using an online system for care homes to bid to look after older people - dubbed a "reverse auction".

    In more than nine out of 10 cases over six months the cheapest care home got the contract - with a quarter placed in a home rated poor by the council itself.

    We speak to Les Latcham, chair of the Birmingham Care Consortium, the organisation which first discovered this information. Listen live here.

  43. Former hospital site deal close

    Birmingham Post

    Persimmon is poised to acquire the entire former Selly Oak Hospital site and bring to life one of the city's key housing schemes.

    The housing group is set to acquire the 43-acre plot as it lodges plans to kickstart a major regeneration which will eventually comprise 650 dwellings.

  44. Mum's Valentine's Day mission

    Birmingham Mail

    A mum is on a mission to show that 'love is in the air' for Kathryn Cartwright, 24, from Sutton Coldfield - and rally the people of Birmingham to give her a Valentine's Day to remember.

    Kathryn, who needs a second live-saving liver transplant, knows she may only have months left to live.

  45. Today's forecast

    Mel Coles

    BBC Weather

    A chilly start with some early mist and fog patches slow to clear. It will be a dry day with variable amounts of cloud and some bright periods.

    Graphic: Weather forecast

    Winds will stay light throughout, although feeling cold where cloud persists. Highs of 3C (37F).

    More about the rest of the week is here.

  46. Delays near Birmingham Airport

    BBC Travel

    BBC Travel

    There is queuing traffic on the A45 Coventry Road eastbound in Elmdon between the Old Damson Lane junction and Birmingham Airport in the roadworks area, drivers are warned.

  47. Good morning

    Alex Homer

    BBC Local Live

    I'm back in the BBC WM newsroom bringing you today's news, sport, travel and weather.

    Get in touch with us throughout the day about our updates by email, Twitter or Facebook.