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  1. Live news, sport, travel and weather updates from across the West of England on Monday, 24 April 2017.

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Goodnight from Local Live — we'll be back tomorrow at 7am

That's it from BBC Local Live for the West of England — we'll be back online with more live updates from 7am tomorrow.

Whatever you do, wrap up warmer when you head out tomorrow... BBC weather forecaster Ian Fergusson warns it'll be notably chillier...

West of England weather: Colder, sunny spells and risk of showers later.

Road verges 'last refuge' for UK's rarest plants

Grass verge

A Salisbury-based conservation charity is warning that roadside verges are becoming the last refuge for some of the UK's rarest wild flowers.

According to Dr Trevor Dines, nearly 100 threatened or near-threatened species are found on the country's verges.

Click here to read more.

Many of these were once more abundant in meadows, pastures and woodlands. But today, with these habitats gone or in poor condition, we’ve found that road verges now represent their last refuge.

Dr Trevor Dines

BreakingSecond Lib Dem general election candidate pulls out

A second Liberal Democrat has stood down as a prospective parliamentary candidate (PPC) in Somerset, the BBC understands.

Jay Risbridger — the candidate for Bath — has stood down this evening for business and personal reasons.

It follows fellow Lib Dem Daisy Benson's decision not to stand as MP for Yeovil.

View more on twitter

WW1 tunnels: 'So much remains to discover'

The "unique network" of World War One tunnels uncovered by archaeologists at Salisbury Plain are "part of the largest single investigation of First World War training trenches anywhere in the world". 

The tunnels, at Larkhill, were part of a WW1 battlefield used to train soldiers to fight in and under trenches in France and Belgium. 

Click here to read more.

Entrance to trench
Australian soldiers at Larkhill
Men from the Australian Third Division trained on Salisbury Plain in 1916
Australian toffee tin
Archaeologists found a tin that once held an Australian brand of toffees

This is the first time anyone has found and excavated training tunnels like these. We found them as part of the largest single investigation of First World War training trenches anywhere in the world. Our excavations have revealed this story for the first time. That we didn’t expect these underground remains shows that much remains left to discover, even from only a century ago.

Martin BrownArchaeological consultant to the Army Basing Programme

Stalking service to raise awareness of 'what it is'

The new Gloucestershire Stalking Support Service launched today.

A new service to support people who are the victims of stalking has been set up in Gloucestershire.

The Gloucestershire Stalking Support Service was set up by the Hollie Gazzard Trust, with police support.

Ms Gazzard, 20, was killed by her ex-boyfriend at the Gloucester beauty salon she worked in.

It's estimated as many as one in five women and one in 12 men in the county will experience stalking in their lifetime.

Dent's ton helps defy Durham at Bristol

Gloucestershire opener Chris Dent hit a century to save a draw against Durham at Nevil Road.

Resuming on 68 out of 175-3, with only a 59-run lead, Dent hit 101 to help Gloucestershire reach 320.

Keaton Jennings then made an unbeaten 30 as Durham got to 85-4 from 23 overs before hands were shaken.

Read the full report here.

Chris Dent completed the 12th first-class century of his career, five of which have come at Nevil Road
Getty Images
Chris Dent completed the 12th first-class century of his career
Chris Dent completed the 12th first-class century of his career, five of which have come at Nevil Road

Dent's ton helps defy Durham at Bristol

Gloucestershire opener Chris Dent hits a century as Durham fall short of victory at Nevil Road.

Read more

Easter crosses on landmark hill 'trashed'

Brent Knoll

A father from Brent Knoll has made an emotional plea to find those responsible for destroying a set of crosses, donated in memory of his late daughter. 

The three wooden Easter crosses were pulled down and damaged on Friday night. 

The tradition of erecting the 15ft crosses on top of the landmark hill has been running since the late 1970s.

Andrew Gilling said the crosses had been "removed from the ground and broken up".

It's mindless vandalism. The police have been contacted but how far they can take it, I've no idea.

Andrew Gilling

Swindon avoid relegation - after going down

Swindon Town
Rex Features

It was an afternoon when Swindon Town had to accept the reality of relegation... or did it?

It seems the club brought a whole new meaning to avoiding relegation, by completely glossing over their fall to League Two in their club website match report.

The Robins did eventually acknowledge that they were bound for League Two some two days later, updating the original report to reflect that the loss "confirmed the club's relegation".  

Click here to read more.

Swindon Town

Swindon avoid relegation - after going down

An unreported relegation and a Huddersfield striker with the birthday blues are among five things you might have missed from the EFL.

Read more

Bristol Zoo shows off new baby gorilla

View more on twitter

Bristol Zoo has shared a short film of its new baby gorilla.

The little Western lowland gorilla was born in the early hours of Saturday.

The sex of the infant is not yet known but keepers say it appears strong and has been seen suckling.

The new arrival takes the total number of gorillas living at Bristol Zoo to eight. 

'Anomaly' blamed for £10k railway ticket

A rail operator is blaming an IT problem after a train ticket between two towns just 64 miles apart was offered for £10,000 on its website.

The direct Taunton-to-Trowbridge trip was apparently advertised at the price by Great Western Railway (GWR), from 22 May through to 14 July.

"We are aware of an IT glitch which has published fares for a first-class journey that does not exist," the firm said.

Click here to read more.

Screen shot
Screen shot

'Anomaly' blamed for £10k railway ticket

The ticket is for a journey between towns 64 miles apart making the trip cost £156 per mile.

Read more

Salisbury Plain tunnels: Take a closer look

A hidden network of World War One tunnels and trenches has been unearthed on Salisbury Plain.

The chalk tunnels were used by the Army to train soldiers on how to cope with the trenches in France and Belgium, more than a century ago.

Will Glennon reports from Larkhill.

The network of tunnels were used to train WW1 servicemen to fight in the trenches in France

County Championship: Anderson sparks Somerset collapse to defeat

James Anderson has now taken 12 first-class wickets this season
Rex Features
England's leading wicket taker James Anderson struck twice in 10 balls

Somerset have suffered their second consecutive County Championship defeat after England's leading wicket taker sparked a second innings collapse at Lancashire. 

James Anderson struck twice in 10 balls as Somerset were bowled out for just 130 to lose by 164 runs.

Click here for the full report.

James Anderson

Somerset collapse hands Lancs victory

Lancashire pull off a surprise first win of the season as James Anderson triggers a Somerset collapse at Old Trafford.

Read more

Latest newspaper headlines across the West

Homer Simpson tattoos world record bid

Warminster man has 53 Homer Simpson tattoos

A Warminster man is hoping to smash the world record for the most tattoos of the same cartoon character on a single body.

Ricky Viner has devoted his right arm to the appreciation of Homer Simpson by having 53 tattoos done of the infamous bungling dad.

The homage to Homer took 14 hours to complete and cost about £500.

It now needs to be verified by Guinness World Records.

The current record holder is Lee Weir from New Zealand who has just 41 tattoos of Homer Simpson tattooed on his left arm.

Playground damaged in suspected arson attack

Playground fire Trowbridge
Caroline Morris

A fundraising campaign to rebuild a school play area damaged in a suspected arson attack has been launched.

Firefighters were called to the Oasis Academy Longmeadow, in Trowbridge, on Friday night. 

Wiltshire Police says initial investigations suggest the blaze was started deliberately by a "group of youths" and asks for anyone with information to contact them.

Trainline pulls 'most expensive train ticket ever'

If you were hoping to splash the cash on a £10,000 first class single from Taunton to Trowbridge, it seems you've missed your chance.

Trainline tweeted earlier it would be removing the £156-per-mile ticket. Now it seems it has...

View more on twitter

Swindon Town's Lee Power promises to get club back in League One

Listen: Swindon Town FC chairman Lee Power talks to BBC Wiltshire

Swindon Town chairman Lee Power said everyone at the club was "devastated" at being relegated to League Two, following their defeat to Scunthorpe United on Saturday

He promised to work as hard as he can to get the team back in League One next season.

Severe accident: A38 Gloucestershire westbound

BBC News Travel

A38 Gloucestershire westbound severe accident, between Epney Road and A430 Bristol Road.

A38 Gloucestershire - A38 Cole Avenue in Gloucester blocked and very slow traffic outbound between the Epney Road junction and the A430 Bristol Road junction, because of an accident involving a car and bicycle.

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

Severe accident: A39 Somerset both ways

BBC News Travel

A39 Somerset both ways severe accident, between Whitecross Lane and Old Lane.

A39 Somerset - A39 closed and slow traffic in both directions between the Whitecross Lane junction in Minehead and the Old Lane junction in Porlock, because of a serious accident involving two vehicles.

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

All power supplies due to be restored tonight

More than 800 homes have been affected by damage to an overhead line.

View more on twitter

'Cost neutral' ideas to raise funds for city's parks

Child in park

Ideas to raise money for Bristol's parks have been discussed by the city council. 

They include using land for commercial outdoor activities, increasing parking charges, offering sponsorship and selling bottled water from the Blaise Estate. 

The authority wants to make the budget for the parks "cost neutral" by 2020, saving more than £4m in the process. 

The plan's been called "impossible" by the Bristol Parks Forum. 

Salisbury Plain tunnels: Facebook Live

Graffiti written by World War One soldiers on tunnels under Salisbury Plain has been found by archaeologists.

The network of tunnels were used to train WW1 servicemen to fight in the trenches in France and Belgium. 

Will Glennon is live there now...

View more on facebook

Hundreds of homes without power

Bradford on Avon

A power cut is affecting areas around Bradford on Avon in Wiltshire.

SSE says households should have their supply switched back on later this afternoon. 

More than 800 homes were affected but the energy provider says just under half remain without electricity. 

The power cut is down to a damaged overhead line.

'Stay well clear' of £10k train tickets

A spokesman for says he would want his "own carriage" and entertainment "from someone royal" if he forked out £10,000 for a 30-minute train ride between Taunton and Trowbridge.

The £156-per-mile ticket was apparently advertised by Great Western Railway, from 22 May through to 14 July.

Martin Lewis says "these types of mistakes are very common" when using automated services or buying online.  

"I'd want a troop of dancing men and women to come along and entertain me, I'd want my feet massaged and probably a hair transplant," he said.

He also advised that "if it doesn't look sensible, stay well clear of it".

GWR website

'The journey continues': Yeovil Town Ladies striker back on the pitch after giving birth in February

Cathedral blesses Korean War book

Sam Mercer (private in the Glosters)
Sam Mercer survived with "determination, bloody-mindedness and a very large slice of Lady Luck"

A war veteran who fought at the Battle of the Imjin River has donated a book about the Korean War to the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum.

Sam Mercer was wounded in the epic stand of April 1951, in which many of his comrades died.

When he returned home to Gloucestershire, he was presented with the book, which lists those killed and imprisoned during the Korean War.

It was blessed at Gloucester Cathedral before being handed to the museum.

Sam Mercer (private in the Glosters)

Korean War book blessed at cathedral

The book has been donated to a museum by a survivor of one of the war's best known battles.

Read more

CCTV images released in missing Anna Lewis inquiry

Anna Lewis
Avon and Somerset Constabulary

Police have released CCTV images showing the last confirmed sighting of missing Bristol woman Anna Lewis.

Officers have now established that 27-year-old Anna, who lives in Fishponds, was last seen leaving Southmead Hospital at 12.15pm on Thursday 13 April.

Anna, a trainee nurse studying at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), was working at the hospital on placement.

"Her disappearance is out of character and we’re growing concerned for her welfare," says a Police spokesman. 

Anna Lewis
Avon and Somerset Constabulary

WW1 graffiti found in tunnels under Salisbury Plain

Graffiti at Larkhill

Graffiti written by World War One soldiers on tunnels under Salisbury Plain has been found by archaeologists.

The network of tunnels were used to train WW1 servicemen to fight in the trenches in France and Belgium. 

More than 100 inscriptions, written between 1915 and 1918, by soldiers have been uncovered at the site in Larkhill in Wiltshire.

The Ministry of Defence is building new homes on the land for service personnel returning to the UK from Germany in 2019.

Graffiti at Larkhill
Soot graffiti on roof

Over one hundred pieces of graffiti have been found written on the chalk of trenches, and tunnels. The names include decorated heroes and one deserter. The names come from Wiltshire men, from West Yorkshire coal miners, from the two Halls' brothers who signed their names and wrote “semper fidelis” (ever faithful) beneath.

Martin BrownArchaeological consultant to the Army Basing Programme

'We're looking to the future' - Cllr Sylvia Seal on Daisy Benson's decision not to stand as MP for Yeovil

Sylvia Seal on Daisy Benson

And Gloucestershire CCC are still in the lead in Durham

It's lunchtime at Old Trafford and Somerset need 266 runs to win

🍴 Lunch at Lancashire and Somerset have moved onto 29 for 0 loss, needing a further 266 runs from 67 overs for the win. #LANvSOM

£10,000 train ticket: No discount for 16-25 railcard holders

Keynsham aims to be country's first kind town


Keynsham is holding a Kindness Day today as it tries to become the country's first kind town. 

It's the idea of the Keynsham Action Network, who want people to be nicer to each other in everyday life. 

As part of the Kindness Day, children at a local primary school have recorded a "kindness song" and three yellow "kindness sofas" will tour the town, encouraging people to sit down and talk to each other.

£10,000 train ticket also appears on GWR’s' website - for May 25

GWR screenshot

That £10,000 trip from Taunton to Trowbridge is also available on May 25 through GWR, if you are interested in snapping up another bargain?

On quick investigation, the anomaly fare also appears on GWR’s own retailing channels so it would appear that this is a fare setting anomaly, rather than a Trainline tech issue. We are now working to block this fare from our channels whilst this is sorted with GWR.


GWR also won't charge you the 75p booking fee that you'd get on Trainline - if you book through them the cost would be £10,000.75!

Airport to ask councils for six-figure loan at emergency meeting

Gloucestershire Airport

An emergency meeting is due to take place tonight, behind closed doors, to discuss Gloucestershire Airport's financial situation. 

The airport at Staverton, between Gloucester and Cheltenham, is part-owned by Gloucester City Council and Cheltenham Borough Council.  

It's believed the airport could ask councillors for a loan of up to £750,000.  

In a statement, Gloucestershire Airport said it's "considering a number of options to help deliver its business plan".

"One of these has been a request to its shareholders for a loan that will be used to help grow the business even further".

£10,000 train ticket: What do you get for your money?

So for your £10,000 what do you get?

  • A CrossCountry train from Taunton to Bristol Temple Meads - time 33 minutes
  • A 13 minute wait in the luxury of Bristol Temple Meads station
  • A 39-minute Great Western Railway service to Trowbridge via Bath Spa, Freshford, Avoncliff and Bradford-on-Avon
  • The journey would cost you an eye-watering £138-per-minute

Oh and we think you'd have to go on one of these from Temple Meads too....

Train at platform

Work starts on new £5m air ambulance base

Wiltshire air ambulance
Chris Watkins Media

Work on the new £5m Wiltshire Air Ambulance base begins today. 

The purpose-built base in Semington, near Melksham, will bring together the air ambulance helicopter, aircrew and charity team on to one site for the first time.

Locating it in Semington will mean the air ambulance can reach all parts of Wiltshire within 11 minutes.

Most expensive train ticket ever? Taunton-Trowbridge £10,000

Travel: Protest over at Bristol Temple Meads

Local newspaper headlines across the West

Newspaper press
Getty Images