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  1. News, sport, weather and travel updates from across the West of England on Monday, 20 March 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Sunny spells with showers over the West tomorrow

Watch: Sunny spells with showers over the West tomorrow, says Ian Fergusson.

That's it for today's Local Live - thank you for joining us.

We'll be back with the latest news, travel, sport and weather across the West tomorrow from 7am.

Bath bring in Rotherham hooker Graham

Joe Graham
Getty Images

Bath have signed Rotherham Titans hooker Joe Graham from the Championship outfit until the end of the season as injury cover.

Joe Graham

Bath bring in Rotherham hooker Graham

Bath sign Rotherham Titans hooker Joe Graham from the Championship outfit until the end of the season as injury cover.

Read more

Lines re-open between Bristol and Cheltenham

Appeal renewed over £2.5m of goods stolen in 2009 burglary

After Glow Taplow by Sir John Lavery
Avon and Somerset Police

The above is a painting by Sir John Lavery called 'After Glow Taplow'. It was stolen, along with 14 other paintings, during a burglary in Somerset in 2009.

All the others have since been found, but this one hasn't.

Police have issued a fresh appeal for information following the theft in Bruton, when valuable paintings and jewellery worth £2.5m were taken.

During the ordeal a woman was tied-up.

Jewellery stolen in the burglary
Avon and Somerset Police

Avon and Somerset Police arrested 11 men in connection with the burglary and all remain on police bail.

They want to hear from jewellers and antique dealers who may have been offered the jewellery and silverware.

Incident on line leads to rail disruption in Gloucestershire

More on those delays between Bristol Parkway and Cheltenham Spa:

Police and Network Rail are currently dealing with an incident at Cam & Dursley station in Gloucestershire.

Services between Birmingham and Bristol are disrupted.

A Network Rail spokesman said: "Staff were alerted to an incident at Cam & Dursley station at around 7.55pm this evening. 

"Staff are currently assisting officers from Gloucestershire and British Transport police to resolve the incident and reopen the line."

Cross Country Train
Geograph/ Stuart Wilding
View more on twitter

Somerset derailment: 'significant damage' to track

Train derailment
Network Rail

Network Rail says passengers expecting to travel between Westbury and Castle Cary should prepare themselves for 48 hours of delays .

A spokesman said “At 17.50 this evening a freight train became derailed at East Somerset Junction between Westbury and Castle Cary.  

"No injuries have been sustained but there is significant damage to track and equipment.  

"The derailment is significant with the line currently blocked and likely to remain out of use for at least the next 48 hours."

Married PC fired for affair with domestic abuse victim

A married police officer has been sacked for having a sexual relationship with a vulnerable victim of domestic abuse whose case he had worked on.

PC Christopher Lintern began the secret affair in 2015, six weeks after the police investigation ended, a force misconduct hearing was told.

It found he abused his position to establish an "improper relationship" which amounted to "serious corruption".

The victim said she was a "willing and equal partner in the relationship".

Actress playing domestic abuse victim

Brothers relanch father's stunt kite business

Watch: A Peter Powell stunt kite takes to the skies

If you liked flying kites in the 1970s then Peter Powell kites were the "must have" toy. 

Millions of the steerable stunt kites were sold worldwide and the Gloucester-born creator became a household name. 

But despite out-selling Lego and taking a Toy of the Year award, it all came crashing down in the '90s when the kitemaker put a match to his equipment. 

His son Mark said: "Dad had been round all the factories, collected all their jigs for making the kite, and he had a big bonfire and burnt everything to do with the kite.

"He said to me and Paul, whatever you do, do not start that business back up again." 

But they have. In Cheltenham.

BBC Inside Out spoke to the brothers for tonight's programme on BBC One at 7.30pm.

Somerset derailment: Replacement bus services running

A spokesman for Great Western Railway said: "We are diverting trains around the area and it is adding about 30 minutes to journey times.

"At the moment Network Rail are on-site and they will have to carry out a full inspection and repairs in daylight so services could be disrupted for 24-48 hours."

A bus replacement service is being run between Bruton and Frome while South West Trains are also accepting tickets on their services.

Passengers should check before they travel in the morning as it’s likely there will be some delays to their services.

Nobody was injured in the derailment.

View more on twitter

Disruption after derailment will last 24-48 hours

Bruton station
Nigel Thompson/Geograph

Rail travellers in Somerset could face delays for up to 48 hours as Network Rail works to clear the line after a derailment.

A freight train carrying stone and ballast partially derailed at the East Somerset junction between Castle Cary and Westbury earlier.

Great Western Railway is not able to run any trains between the two stations and services to Frome and Bruton are also affected.

BreakingFreight train derails

Inspectors are currently on the site of a freight train derailment in Somerset.

Services between Castle Cary and Westbury are disrupted.

A team of RAIB inspectors has deployed to a freight train derailment at East Somerset Junction to start gathering evidence on site .

View more on twitter

Benjamin King inquest: 'Insufficient evidence' against hospital

Claims that evidence at an inquest into a baby's death was deliberately falsified will not be pursued by police due to insufficient evidence.

Benjamin King died in May 2016 when he was five days old, after being starved of oxygen before birth.

The inquest heard claims  witness statements were changed  by the Royal United Hospital's (RUH) legal team.

Avon and Somerset Police said it had reviewed the matter and would not be taking the case any further.

Jamie King (left) and Tamara Podemski (right)
Jamie King has starred in The Tudors and Mad Men; his wife Tamara Podemski is a singer and actor

Rugby: Bristol sign Australian sevens player Luke Morahan

Luke Morahan
Getty Images

Bristol Rugby have announced the signing of Australia international back Luke Morahan for next season. 

The 26-year-old, who has won three caps, will offer Bristol options at full-back, wing and centre.

"Luke is an impressive player with excellent technical abilities and a lot of raw pace," interim head coach Mark Tainton told the club website.

Click here if you'd like to read more.

Joey takes first peek at the big wide world

Wendy the wallaby has given birth to a joey

A baby wallaby has been captured taking a sneak peek at the world outside his mother's pouch for the first time.

The seven-month-old was born to parents Wendy and Winston at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in Wraxall, Bristol.

He is expected to start emerging properly as the weather gets warmer.

Teen charged with murder of Jordan Taylor

Jordan Taylor
Wiltshire Police

An 18-year-old man has appeared in court charged with the murder of a man in Wiltshire.

Jordan Taylor, 25, from Hilperton (pictured), died from stab wounds after he and a friend were attacked near Trowbridge Community Hospital on 12 March.

Hayden Maslen, from Park Street in Trowbridge, was also charged with wounding Neil Vaughan, 24, with intent.

There was no application for bail and he was remanded in custody to appear at Bristol Crown Court on Wednesday.

Champion cyclist takes on England's steepest street

Watch: Cyclist Simon Richardson takes on England's steepest street

Last week we told you how Vale Street in Totterdown is officially England's steepest street - now here's a champion cyclist to try it out!  

This story was inspired by  nominations from BBC News Online readers.

We asked Ordnance Survey to work out the steepest gradients for the top five most frequently suggested hills.  

Cyclist Simon Richardson described part of it as being "like a wall".

Sally Ann John murder: 'I just want her found'

Watch: Lesley John says she wants her daughter found

The investigation into the murder of Sally Ann John is to feature tonight on the BBC's Crimewatch programme.

As part of the programme, her mother Lesley John describes how she has felt helpless for decades.

Sally Ann, whose body has never been found, went missing while working as a prostitute in Swindon in 1995.

Travel: A303 shut near Somerset/Devon border

Sally Ann John: Timeline of events

Sally Ann John
Wiltshire Police

Here's a recap of the key events in the Sally Ann John murder investigation:

  • 8 Sept 1995 - Sally Ann John is last seen on Aylesbury Street, Swindon, at 10:45am. Her disappearance is treated as a missing person inquiry
  • 17 Nov 2014 - Wiltshire Police launch a murder investigation following a review of the case and the discovery of "significant new information"
  • 14 Sept 2015 - Police search her last-known address in Kimmeridge Close in the Nythe area of Swindon
  • 17 Sept 2015 - Three men in their 50s are arrested on suspicion of Sally Ann's kidnap and murder
  • 18 Sept 2015 - All three men are released on bail
  • 20 March 2017 - Detectives announce the existence of a postcard purporting to have been sent by Sally Ann shortly after her disappearance - which they believe is a forgery

Eight projects to showcase Weston's heritage


The team behind the Heritage Action Zone will spend three years addressing the following projects in the town: 

  • Researching Weston’s heritage and urban development, to inform a new book
  • Reviewing Weston’s listed buildings
  • Bringing the town centre’s historic buildings back into use as high quality homes
  • Grant schemes to improve the public realm, shop signs and shopfronts
  • New, clear heritage routes across the town, plus new pedestrian access to Weston Museum, Weston Town Square, the seafront and side lanes
  • Improved design standards and quality in conservation areas and surrounding areas
  • A local listing project
  • Heritage health walks and a ‘Looking Up’ initiative to encourage appreciation of Weston’s heritage

New boss appointed at Government listening post


The current deputy director-general of MI5 is to become the new chief of GCHQ in Cheltenham.

Jeremy Fleming will succeed Robert Hannigan as director of the intelligence and security organisation, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has announced.

Twelve teams, one goal = raising money for Jamie Mines

Watch: A family football day was held to raise funds for Jamie

A football tournament has been held to raise funds for a scaffolder who had to have his leg and hands amputated after suffering an electric shock.

Jamie Mines from Frome was injured at the Kendrick Industrial Estate in Swindon before Christmas.

A fund to help him has raised £113,000 and he says he has been "completely overwhelmed" by the community support.

Click here if you'd like to read more .

A host of golden daffodils

Heritage funding 'complements town's bold vision'

Getty Images

Historic England is giving £600,000 to Weston-super-Mare to set up what's being called a Heritage Action Zone .

It says the town is "suffering from high levels of social deprivation, poor quality housing, a depressed retail offer and poor pedestrian links" and needs help to fulfil its future potential.

North Somerset Council says it will be working to bring historic places back to life to attract residents, tourists, businesses and investors, and create economic growth.

The creation of a Heritage Action Zone in Weston provides the opportunity to revitalise the town's historic buildings and public spaces as part of the wider regeneration work we have under way and complements our bold vision to create a lively university town where people want to live, learn and spend their leisure time.

Cllr Nigel Ashton Leader of North Somerset Council

Father of woman murdered by ex-boyfriend to speak at Poole conference

A father will speak at a conference in Poole today about the murder of his daughter by her ex-boyfriend.

Hollie Gazzard
Gazzard family

The event is to explore different aspects of domestic abuse focusing on coercive control and emotional abuse. 

Nick Gazzard's daughter Hollie, 20, was murdered in the hairdressers in Gloucester where she worked by Asher Maslin in February 2014.

An inquiry later found he had a long history of violence against women.

He isolated her from family and friends whilst they were in London, so he really had her to himself which was a golden opportunity for him to put that power and exercise that control over Hollie and make her do what he wanted her to do.

Nick Gazzard

Why is Bristol so great? We've got Banksy

Banksy signature on wall

Bristol has been named as the best place to live in the UK - so we're looking at the possible reasons why.

We'd love to hear why you love Bristol via Twitter .

One of the reasons has to be down to street artist Banksy who made his name in the city. He grew up in nearby Yate, and his subversive work has featured at exhibitions in the area twice.

Bristol also has the annual street art festival, Upfest.

Banksy mural
Banksy mobile lovers

Beauty spot to start charging for car park

Haresfield Beacon
National Trust

Dog walkers and hikers will soon have to start paying to park at Haresfield Beacon in Gloucestershire.

The car park is currently free but the National Trust has installed a pay-and-display machine. 

The trust said car parking would remain free for members. 

It said funds raised would be "used to maintain and improve facilities and footpaths". 

Ancient fishing rights up for auction

Severn estuary seen from Goldcliff
Getty Images

There's a rare chance to buy exclusive fishing rights to a section of the Severn Estuary off the North Somerset coast.

The rights to a three-mile stretch of the river, between Portishead and Newport, date back to the 6th Century when they were owned by ancient Welsh rulers. 

Because of its age, the so-called Free Fishery of the Severn pre-dates the Magna Carta of 1215, which protected public fishing rights and prevented the Crown giving them away to those it favoured. 

The current owner has asked to remain anonymous. The rights are due to be auctioned off either later this month or in April.

Click here to read more .

Families share personal experiences of knife crimes

Watch: BBC Inside Out West looks at possible reasons behind a rise in knife crime

A rise in knife crime in Gloucestershire has been linked to criminal gangs from large cities like London targeting vulnerable people, in order to set up drug dealing networks in the county. 

In the past year, more than 200 reports of knife crime were recorded by Gloucestershire Police - with nearly 700 over the past four years, 11 of which were fatal. 

BBC Inside Out West tonight features three stories from those whose lives have been impacted by knife crime.

Watch the programme on BBC One at 7.30pm or afterwards via the BBC iPlayer .

What a mess in Swindon! Or is it?

Watch: Everything from a baby bouncer to a traffic cone has been piled up

If you take a shopping trip to Swindon's town centre you may spot this unsightly pile of rubbish.

Don't worry though, it won't be there for long as the council did it themselves.

More than a tonne of waste has been deliberately dumped to highlight the almost 3,000 cases of fly-tipping that are reported in the town each year.

Wild boar damage to football pitch fixed

Watch: John Evans from Edge End talks about wild boar damage to football pitch

Villagers in the Forest of Dean are fed up with wild boar ripping up their football pitches and parks.

John Evans, from Edge End, has got together with other locals to repair their pitch. 

He said the local community are "flattening it all out so the kids can play again".

The Forestry Commission estimates there are more than 1,500 wild boars in the Forest of Dean.

Giant moon hung in Bristol University hall

Watch: The moon orb is seven metres in diameter

A huge 7m (23ft) diameter giant replica of the moon has been installed in the University of Bristol's Great Hall.

The giant orb, covered in detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface, was created by Bristol-based artist Luke Jerram.

Titled  Museum of the Moon , it has been hung temporarily in the Wills Memorial Building to welcome the university's  new chancellor Sir Paul Nurse .

Read the full story here .

Jordan Taylor

Hayden Maslen, from Trowbridge was remanded in custody to appear at Bristol Crown Court on Wednesday

Read more

Severe accident: M4 Bristol westbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Bristol westbound severe accident, between J22 for M49 and Toll Booths.

M4 Bristol - One lane closed and queuing traffic on M4 Second Severn Crossing westbound between J22 M49 and Toll Booths, because of an accident involving one car, perpendicular to the carriageway.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Bristol street named as England's steepest

Vale Street

Vale Street in Totterdown has a near 22 degree gradient.

The locals say if it snows and your car is parked there, it'll be trapped until the thaw. And the hill attracts crowds with its Easter Sunday egg rolling contest. 

Apparently some people use it to practise for skiing holidays in Les Arcs.

"Up and down we've had skiers, we had a unicyclist, lots of runners come and train here," said resident Helen Loney.

"Pushing a double buggy up was a bit tricky for me but I've never been so fit in my life."

Is Vale Street in Bristol England's steepest street?

Severe accident: A30 Somerset both ways

BBC News Travel

A30 Somerset both ways severe accident, between A357 Ash End and East Street.

A30 Somerset - A30 in Henstridge closed in both directions between the A357 Ash End junction and the East Street junction, because of an accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Lifeboat rescues woman trapped on 800-feet cliffs


A woman has been rescued after becoming stranded on cliffs near Porlock. 

The 25-year-old was reported missing from her home, in Taunton, on Saturday evening. She was discovered stuck in a waterfall partway up scrub-covered rock.

Coastguard teams from Watchet and Lynmouth tried to reach her from above but discovered it was too difficult to rescue her through the undergrowth. 

Lifeboat crews, from Minehead RNLI, managed to get her to the beach and took her back to Minehead harbour. 

This is possibly one of the most dangerous stretches of coastline in the entire Bristol Channel. Only a lifeboat crew with all the right skills and experience could ever get in to this location, where you have an almost sheer cliff with huge boulders at its feet.

Brian StonerMinehead RNLI

Spaces for women in refuges to be cut by half

Domestic abuse image
Science Photo Library

The number of spaces in women's refuges in Somerset is to be cut by more than half.

Somerset County Council has decided to close one of its two refuges, reducing the number of spaces from 23 to 11. 

The refuges are run by Knightstone Housing. It said there'd been lots of empty beds over two years, and wants to free up the staff and money to use on community domestic abuse services. 

Sonia Fursland, from Knightstone Housing, said safe-house accommodation can also be "more appropriate" for some victims.