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  1. Updates from across the West of England on Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Cloudy with light rain tonight and tomorrow


Tonight has been dry with long clear periods making it great for viewing the "supermoon". 

However the sky will soon start to cloud over and this will keep things mild overnight. There will be outbreaks of light rain or drizzle in the early hours, with minimum temperatures of 6C.

Watch: West country weather forecast

That's all from Local Live for the West country. We're back tomorrow from 7am with all the latest news, sport, travel and weather.

Watch: Early morning drugs raids leads to 19 arrests

Police in Bath have carried out a series of early morning drugs raids across the city.

The operation led to 19 people being arrested on suspicion of drug-related offences and the recovery of a quantity of suspected Class A drugs.

It was the culmination of a four-month investigation to track down people selling cocaine and other Class A drugs.

Brain haemorrhage patient praises walking rugby sessions

Watch: The impact "walking rugby" can have on people's lives

For diehard rugby players the decision to hang up your boots when the aches and pains of older age kick in can be difficult to bear. 

Now Gloucester Rugby club is offering an alternative version of the game - that's less physical. 

It's called "walking rugby" and, whilst it may sound sedate, the health benefits for some players have been overwhelming. 

'More to do' to prevent and tackle homelessness

Katie Sobol

Earlier we told how 2,000 families from across the West will be in temporary accommodation over Christmas.

Katie Sobol and her family have been in their current house for nine years but now their landlord is selling and they can't afford to rent anywhere else. She says they will have to declare themselves homeless to receive council help. 

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said the number of people in temporary accommodation is "well below the 2004 peak".

However we know there is more to do, which is why we’ve invested £500m to prevent and tackle homelessness and set out the largest affordable housebuilding programme of any government since the 1970s."

Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman

Bertie the blue nosed reindeer has an unusual talent

Watch: Bertie has been created for Age UK Somerset and has an unusual way of delivering mince pies

You may think you know all there is to know about famous reindeer at Christmas, the red nose, the sleigh guiding but then you haven't met Bertie from Somerset.

With a tug of his ears he delivers a thank you gift in the shape of a box of mince pies. 

Bertie the blue-nosed reindeer will be in Taunton on Friday for an event celebrating the work of local charities.

Military Wives choir rehearse for radio Christmas celebration

Watch: Taunton Military Wives Choir in rehearsal

Taunton Military Wives Choir is getting ready for BBC Somerset's Christmas Celebration.

They will be singing Home For Christmas at St Mary Magdalene Church in Taunton along with Somerset County Youth Choirs.

We caught up with them as they rehearsed.

Severe disruption: M4 Berkshire westbound

BBC Travel

M4 Berkshire westbound severe disruption, between J14 for A338 and J15 for A346 Marlborough Road.

M4 Berkshire - One lane closed on M4 westbound between J14, A338 (Hungerford) and J15, A346 (Swindon East), because of a broken down vehicle.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Four-year-old girl saves family from house fire

Lily-Rose Cornford, four, was woken by a smoke alarm in the early hours of Sunday morning and managed to wake up her mum, dad and two older sisters, who all escaped unharmed.

The fire, which is believed to have started accidentally, completely gutted their home in Warmley.

Lily-Rose’s mum Tanya Cornford said: “My little girl was woken up by the smoke alarms and quickly ran into her sister’s room and woke her and then came downstairs to wake us up too."

Firefighters say smoke alarms can give people vital extra minutes to escape, especially at night.

Fire damaged house
Avon Fire & Rescue Service

Honorary fellowships for Glastonbury Festival organisers

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Michael and Emily Eavis have been awarded honorary fellowships by Goldsmiths University of London.

The father and daughter team behind the Glastonbury Festival are two of the 900 scholars graduating from the university this week.

The 'seven saints of St Pauls' takes shape

Watch: Michelle Curtis is painting seven murals telling the story of St Pauls residents

The first of seven murals celebrating the founders of the St Pauls Carnival in Bristol has been completed today.

The hope is by next year's 50th anniversary of the procession people will be able to go on a walking tour of the works and learn about the impact they had on the city using an app on their mobile phones.

Paraglider's 'near miss' with plane

Paramotor - library picture

A paraglider feared for her life during a near miss with a military transport aircraft, a report has said.

The woman, who has not been named, was operating a paramotor - a motorised paraglider - when she had a "very close encounter" with an Airbus A400M which was approaching Boscombe Down Airport in Wiltshire in July, the UK Airprox Board said.

She told investigators "she thought she was going to die".

The UKAB assessed the incident as having the most serious degree of risk.

Read more on this story.

Second man released over fatal fire

Andraya Lyons
Lyons family

A second man arrested in connection with a house fire in which a "devoted mum" died has been released on bail.

The body of Andraya Lyons, 39, was found in Drew Street, Swindon at 05:40 GMT on Saturday.

The 36-year-old man from the town was arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender following the fatal fire.

Anthony Porter, 32, who was charged with Ms Lyon's murder has been remanded in custody to stand trial next year.

Severe accident: M5 Bristol southbound

BBC Travel

M5 Bristol southbound severe accident, between J17 for A4018 and J18A for M49.

M5 Bristol - Very slow traffic and one lane blocked on M5 southbound between J17, A4018 (Cribbs Causeway) and J18a M49, because of an accident involving two vehicles.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Steroid abuse 'an epidemic' among young men

Watch: Personal trainer says steroid use is becoming "a bit of a fashion"

A Gloucestershire-based personal trainer who uses steroids says more young men are experimenting with the Class C drug. 

The fitness coach, who wishes to remain anonymous, says young men are using the drug to get the "perfect" body but many don't know what they are doing.

Anabolic steroids are used to enhance athletic performance and increase muscle mass but can cause heart and liver problems. It is a crime to make, advertise or sell the Class C drug.    

Truck driver tells court of moment brakes 'were not responding'

Phillip Potter arriving at Bristol Crown Court

A truck driver has been telling the jury about the moment he realised the brakes were not working as he drove down a steep hill in Bath, leading to the deaths of four people.

Phillip Potter (pictured above) said as soon as he saw the 20mph restriction sign he knew the brakes were not responding. He tried to get into third gear to slow the engine down and started honking the horn to warn people. 

He said everything happened so fast and that before he knew it the truck had hit the wall and it was on his side.  

Crashed lorry

Mr Potter told the court that he was in shock after the accident and a man took him to sit down in a driveway, where his boss Matthew Gordon found him. 

"I asked him to check my back as it was hurting. He grabbed hold of me and said 'Don't tell the police about the ABS light'," Mr Potter said. 

Phillip Potter, truck owner Matthew Gordon and mechanic Peter Wood all deny the charges against them. The trial at Bristol Crown Court continues.

Treating soldiers away from the battlefield

In the military town of Tidworth in Wiltshire, troops and their families have access to a medical centre which is dedicated to the Army. 

Here we meet one of the nurses who works there.

Watch: Sekai Viki says her job is satisfying and fulfilling

The reindeer with a unique way of delivering presents

Watch: A Somerset charity has built a reindeer with a unique ability

A Somerset charity has built a reindeer with a unique ability.   

"When you pull down on his ear, a gift comes out of his rear," they say - and the video above shows him in action.

A member of staff at Somerset Age UK built Bertie the reindeer for a charity event.

You'll be able to see him dispensing mince pies this Friday in Taunton.

He'll then be auctioned off to new owners next week.

Bath v Cardiff Blues: Team news

Taulupe Faletau
Huw Evans picture agency

Wales number eight Taulupe Faletau returns for Bath's European Challenge Cup game at home to Cardiff Blues on Thursday.

Faletau missed his side's 28-3 defeat at Cardiff Arms Park last Saturdaywhile flanker Francois Louw will make his first appearance of the season for Bath.

The half-back pairing George Ford and Kahn Fotuali'i also return.

Cardiff Blues have made three changes for the game at the Recreation Ground.

Click here to read more.

Early morning drugs raids leads to 19 arrests

Police raid

Police in Bath have carried out a series of early morning drugs raids across the city.

The operation led to 19 people being arrested on suspicion of drug-related offences and the recovery of a quantity of suspected Class A drugs.

It was the culmination of a four-month investigation to track down people selling cocaine and other Class A drugs.

Help spread Henry's smile

Watch: Help Henry's girlfriend spread his smile

The girlfriend of a student who drowned in the River Avon in Bath last month wants people to help her spread his smile in a video.  

Emma Comley has shared a video showing Henry Burke and herself saying it is "one of the happiest memories" she has left. 

Henry, 19, was last seen leaving Zero Zero nightclub in Bath last month.

Days later his body was recovered from a stretch of the river off Old Orchard.

Tipper truck crash driver gives evidence in court

Scene of the incident

The driver of the tipper truck which crashed in Bath last year, killing four people, says he told the truck's owner the ABS warning light was lit yellow continuously.

Phillip Potter, 20, who is giving evidence at Bristol Crown Court, had been driving for Grittenham Haulage for two weeks at the time of the crash.

He said Matthew Gordon, the truck's owner, told him "don't worry - carry on and drive it," the court heard. 

When asked by his barrister Mr Bridge if he was OK with this, Mr Potter replied "not really" but felt he'd had reassurance that "it was OK to drive it".

Phillip Potter, Matthew Gordon and mechanic Peter Wood deny all charges against them.

Watch: Ali Vowles reports from Bristol Crown Court

Severe disruption: M4 Bristol eastbound

BBC Travel

M4 Bristol eastbound severe disruption, between J21 for M48 and J20 for M5.

M4 Bristol - One lane closed on M4 eastbound between J21 M48 and J20, M5 (Almondsbury Interchange), because of a broken down vehicle.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Henry Slade

Brent Pilnick

BBC Sport

Exeter boss Rob Baxter says he and Henry Slade have laughed about rumours linking the England back with a move to Bath.

Read more

Marine A officers 'missed warnings'

Alexander Blackman

Senior officers missed signs that the unit of a now-jailed marine from Taunton was suffering from exhaustion, a Royal Navy review has found.

Sergeant Alexander Blackman - known as Marine A - was convicted by a military court of murdering a Taliban fighter while serving with Plymouth-based 42 Commando in Helmand province in 2011.

The internal Royal Navy review released by the Ministry of Defence said several factors contributed to the incident.

Blackman is serving a life sentence.

Click here for more.

Lunchtime headlines from your local newspapers

Rawlings Farm plans put on hold

Wiltshire Council's committee has voted to defer a decision about whether to allow 700 homes to be built over fields to the east of Chippenham. 

The controversial plans for Rawlings Farm have faced several protests and challenges since they were first proposed a year ago.

View more on twitter

Social workers 'must be questioning'

Somerset County Council

Social workers must be more questioning of parents and be better at recognising risks to children, a report has said.

The Serious Case Review was carried out by the Safeguarding Somerset Children Board (SSCB) after two baby girls were found to be injured.

The report said authorities should have shared more information with each other and been "respectfully sceptical" of the parents involved.

Somerset County Council has said it is committed to learning from the cases.

Click here for more.

Former Swindon Town player charged with fraud

Nile Ranger
Getty Images

Former Swindon Town striker Nile Ranger has been charged with fraud and money laundering offences. 

The 25-year-old - who left the Wiltshire club in 2014 - is due to appear at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court, in London, today. 

It's alleged the footballer - who now plays for Southend - tried to get hold of a vulnerable person's bank details in 2015 via telephone so that he could access their savings.

Read more here.

Bristol artist to begin painting 'seven saints of St Pauls'

Owen Henry

Bristol artist Michele Curtis is to begin painting huge murals of seven people from St Pauls to explore the history of the area.

The first one will be of Owen Henry (pictured), who was one of the founders of the St Pauls carnival. 

The murals are as part of a celebration of the carnival's 50th anniversary next year.

Stunning sunrise across the West

Here's a selection of photos from our BBC Weather Watchers this morning: 

Yatton, Bristol
Dave the Herb
Avonmouth, Bristol
Amesbury, Wiltshire
My Pink Knee
Newnham, Gloucestershire

Man bailed after fatal house fire in Swindon

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The 36-year-old was arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender following the fire.

Anthony Porter, 32, was charged with Ms Lyon's murder earlier in the week.

Somerset cave being explored by archaeologists

Archaeologist at work

Teams from the University of London have returned to a Somerset cave which they say is one of the best sites in western Europe for Ice Age fossils.

Evidence of human occupation has been found in the Mendips cave, so they have come back to uncover a lower entrance that early humans may have used. 

Bones from hyenas, bison and bears have already been found there.

Hospital 'may have made patient ill'

Gloucestershire Royal Hospital
The trust has "consistently failed" to meet the national waiting time target

A patient may have become infected with Legionnaires' disease while at a hospital's dialysis unit.

Legionella bacteria was found in a patient at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital in October.

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said the patient "may have acquired" it at the unit.

The hospital said no other patients were affected and "enhanced control measures" removed the risk of it spreading.

Network Rail set to be grilled by MPs over electrification delays

New GWR train

The firm blamed for the delays and billion pound overspend on the Great Western electrification project will today get a grilling from MPs including Labour's Karin Smyth of Bristol South.

Last month, plans to electrify the line between Bristol and Bath, and Parkway and Temple Meads, were put on hold. 

This afternoon the boss of Network Rail will appear before the Public Accounts Committee to answer questions. 

Man bailed after fatal crash in Taunton

Police tape

A man who was arrested after a crash in Somerset, which resulted in the death of a 15-year-old girl, has been released on police bail. 

Two teenagers were hit by a car on Greenway Road in Taunton on Monday evening.

One of the victim's died in hospital on Tuesday and a second girl, aged 16, received hospital treatment for an arm injury.

The man, aged in his 20s, was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving.

Football: Forest Green squad's desire 'outstanding'

Listen: "I thought we were brilliant," said Forest Green boss Mark Cooper

Forest Green Rovers are into the second round of the FA Trophy. 

A Darren Carter goal in extra time was enough to squeeze Rovers past a spirited Truro City last night and earn them a trip to Chester on 14th January.

The one negative note was the late dismissal of Dale Bennett for a second yellow card, but overall Mark Cooper was bullish about Rovers' performance.

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Goodbye fog, hello stunning morning

Golden red sky sun rise over #Marlborough this morning. @BBCWiltshire #livingthedream

Golden red sky sun rise over #Marlborough this morning. @BBCWiltshire #livingthedream

The morning headlines from your BBC Local radio stations

Radio studio
  • BBC Radio Bristol: The firm blamed for the delays and billion pound overspend on the Great Western electrification project will today get a grilling from MPs including Labour's Karin Smyth of Bristol South 
  • BBC Radio Gloucestershire: The BBC has learned a case of the potentially fatal Legionnaires' disease is being investigated at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital
  • BBC Somerset: A Serious Case Review has found that opportunities to protect two baby siblings in Somerset who suffered separate injuries were missed
  • BBC Wiltshire: An appeal to raise money in memory of Wiltshire schoolgirl Hannah Cubin, who died suddenly at the weekend, has now reached nearly £20,000

Gloucestershire's Dujardin & Valegro 'saved dressage'

Charlotte Dujardin riding Valegro in a demonstration during day one of the London International Horse Show at London Olympia

Olympic champions Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro have been hailed as a partnership that "turned dressage's fortunes around".

The Newent-based rider and her horse are the most successful combination in the sport's history and they are perform together for the final time later today. 

Carl Hester, Dujardin's Great Britain team-mate, mentor and trainer, described the pair as "special". 

Click here for more.

Air ambulance appeal raises almost £20,000 in 24 hours

Hannah Cubin
Andy Cubin

A fundraising appeal set up in memory of a teenager from Malmsbury has raised almost £20,000 for Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

Hannah Cubin, 14, died suddenly and unexpectedly at the weekend.

Her parents Dawn and Andy are raising money for the charity as the air ambulance was on standby while paramedics attended to Hannah. 

"These unsung heroes deserve our collective recognition and any spare money keeps this emergency service operational - any of us might need them at any time," they said.