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  1. News, sport, weather and travel updates for the West of England on Thursday, 6th July 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Becoming cloudier and cooler

Watch: Sara Thornton with the weather forecast

It looks like tomorrow won't be quite as hot as it has been.

Here's Sara Thornton with the details.

And that's all from us for this evening.

We'll be back with more news, sport, travel and weather tomorrow from 7am.

Britain in Bloom volunteers 'devastated' by council's tree blunder

Volunteers who've spent months getting Melksham ready for the Britain in Bloom competition say they're devastated that a number of trees have been felled by council contractors - the day before the judges are due to visit the Wiltshire town.

Melksham Britain in Boom mistake

Balancing the seemingly impossible

Watch: Balancing stones on live TV

A sculptor who's become internationally famous for his work balancing the seemingly impossible has been showing off his skills in Gloucestershire.

Adrian Gray who balances stones has been at the Rococo Gardens in Painswick.

BBC Points West's Tracey Miller went to watch him in action.

New play area for the children's ward at Swindon hospital

The new play area for children admitted to Swindon's Great Western Hospital is now open.

After a huge fundraising effort £100,000 was raised to transform the Children's Ward outdoor space.

Outdoor play area for children admitted to Swindon's Great Western Hospital is now open.

New £270m investment for Oasis leisure scheme

Watch: North Star site plans had been under threat

A new £270m redevelopment of the North Star and Oasis leisure complex in Swindon has been confirmed.

It's hoped plans will be submitted in the next six months.

Investment firm Seven Capital is behind the new investment. The project has seen numerous changes in the last three years.

Previous developer Moirai is not involved in the new plans.

Paddington line re-opens - but limited service

Barbershop welcoming autistic children

Watch: Hear from barber Lucy Ray-Quance and Ruth Spiller

A barbershop in Bristol has joined a movement to make it easier for autistic children to get their hair cut.

RQ's in Redfield uses techniques to make the experience less stressful.

Yeovil Town players go cycling as part of pre-season training

The 24-mile ride was the idea of the Glovers manager Darren Way who regularly cycles.

He wanted to add a bit of variety to the team's pre-season schedule.

Michel Kisiel sentenced for escaping from lawful custody

Michel Kisiel
Wiltshire Police

A prisoner who went on the run while being treated for a head injury has had two years added to his sentence.

Michel Kisiel, who is serving a five-year sentence at HMP Erlestoke near Devizes, escaped from Salisbury District Hospital on 30 May.

Click here to read the full story.

Cathedral's orphan peregrine chick fledges

Peregrine chick

An orphaned peregrine chick - fostered by falcons nesting at Salisbury Cathedral - has successfully fledged.

The RSPB rescued three chicks from a nest in Shropshire, at the beginning of June, after their parents were illegally killed by poisoned bait.

A suitable nest was found in the Midlands for two of the orphaned birds while the third - "Wylie" - was installed in a nest box halfway up the cathedral's 123m (403ft) spire.

Following a "tense wait", the three-week-old chick was finally accepted and fed by the cathedral's peregrines and even "tolerated" by their own "surprised" chick Dene.

And now it has successfully fledged.

View more on twitter

Explorer's painting to hang in his home town

Antarctic Heritage Trust

The painting above, by the Cheltenham explorer Edward Wilson, was recently found in the Antarctic covered in mould and penguin poo.

He was a member of the ill-fated race to the South Pole led by Scott of the Antarctic, where he died in 1912.

Wilson's original painting has been restored and a copy is to go on display at the art gallery and museum in Cheltenham which bears his name - The Wilson.

Edward Wilson
Canterbury Museum

'Cheapest and worst' A358 option given

A358 sign

Highways England proposed the cheapest way to upgrade the A358 despite more costly options having more benefits, an investigation has found.

A local democracy campaigner obtained the Highways England documents using Freedom of Information (FOI) requests.

Campaigner Dave Orr said: "We now know it's been value engineered down because the budget is constrained."

Highways England says it will listen to all feedback from its current single option consultation for the upgrade.

You can read more about the story here.

Veterans help rebuild canal lock

Watch: Andy Howard reports for BBC Points West

Pewsham lock on the Wiltshire & Berkshire canal is being restored with the assistance of Help for Heroes veterans.

It's part of a recovery programme for wounded soldiers readjusting to civilian life.

The group featured above are four weeks into a six week course.

It's rather apt that the lock's being restored by soldiers as it was once used for military demolition practice before World War Two.

Recycling firm fined for dumping toxic waste

Lee Phelan and John Barcham

A recycling firm near Bristol has been found guilty of dumping 61,000 tonnes of hazardous waste into the foundations of a supermarket distribution centre.

Churngold Recycling Ltd was paid to remove and safely treat 31,000 tonnes of waste from a BMW plant in Oxford.

Instead the firm mixed it with more waste so it weighed 61,000 tonnes and then sold on as groundworks material.

Both directors were cleared for perverting the course of justice and for knowingly breaching permits.

Click here to read the full story.

Recognise anywhere you know? The West Country looking spectacular!

We've commissioned this film to show the best of the West. Do you recognise any places?

We love life here in the West Country, and there's no denying we have some beautiful spots that need a wider audience.

Points West have commissioned this film showing off the best of the West. Can you spot where it was filmed? We'd love to hear from you. There are 34 locations, so plenty to have a go at!

You can tweet us, or have a guess on Facebook

Major delays on trains into London Paddington

A signalling problem is causing major delays to trains into London Paddington.

Trains to and from the station may be cancelled or delayed by up to 60 minutes, according to National Rail.

Major disruption is expected to continue until 22:00.

Heathrow Connect and Heathrow Express services are currently suspended.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Wimbledump: Tennis ball flushed down the loo

Tennis ball
Severn Trent Water

The above tennis ball has been found at Hayden Sewage Works in Cheltenham - and Severn Trent Water is wondering how it got there.

We expect to see things turning up at the works that shouldn’t have been flushed, like baby wipes and cotton buds, but not tennis balls. How on earth someone has managed to flush a tennis ball down the loo, I don’t know, but this is just one example of the amazing things we find. These things will normally get stuck in the drains and sewers and cause blockages which then, if not identified and cleared can lead to sewers backing up and overflowing into people’s homes and gardens, which is a really horrible, but totally avoidable thing to happen.

Grant MitchellCommunity relationship advisor for Severn Trent in Gloucestershire

We hope Severn Trent doesn't keep a Lost Property box for things like this.

Investors take over leisure site scheme

North Star site
Swindon college

A new investor has been secured to take over a troubled scheme to build a large-scale leisure complex in Swindon.

Plans for a ski centre, hotel and cinema at the existing Oasis leisure centre stalled after previous developers Moirai failed to meet key targets.

Click here to read the full story.

Severe accident: A4013 Gloucestershire both ways

BBC News Travel

A4013 Gloucestershire both ways severe accident, between A4019 Tewkesbury Road and Grevil Road affecting Dowty Road.

A4013 Gloucestershire - A4013 Princess Elizabeth Way in Cheltenham blocked and very slow traffic in both directions between Car Dealership and the Grevil Road junction, because of an accident. Congestion to the Dowty Road junction.

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

The barber making haircuts easier for autistic youngsters

What's it like to have your haircut if you're autistic?

A barber shop in Bristol has joined a movement to make it easier for autistic children to get their hair cut.

RQ's in Redfield use techniques to make the experience less stressful.

BreakingMan arrested following assault

A 29-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of assault in connection with an incident in Cheltenham this lunchtime.

Man seriously injured after assault


A man's been left with serious head injuries after being assaulted in Cheltenham.

He was attacked this lunchtime on Clarence Street and is now being treated at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.

Police say they're working to find the offender and want to hear from any witnesses or anyone with information.


Counting down to RNAS Yeovilton International Air Day

Watch archive video of the Red Arrows at Yeovilton in 2015

There are just two days to go before the RNAS Yeovilton International Air Day 2017, and we're looking back at a spectacular Red Arrows display from 2015.

Today the Swiss Air Force Patrouille Suisse Display Team arrives, while the Royal Jordanian Falcons Display Team will be rehearsing.

Coastguard appeals for help to find missing man

Somerset beat Yorkshire for first win

Craig Overton

Somerset bowled out Yorkshire for 157 on the final day to register their first Championship win of 2017.

The visitors declared on 281-4 once James Hildreth (101 not out) had reached his century early on day four.

That left Yorkshire 337 to win, but four wickets fell in the first eight overs of their run chase.

Read the full story here.

Watch: Balloon astrobiology experiment shows stunning views over England

Maryam Qaiser

BBC Local Live

Physics students from the University of Leicester have flown a new high altitude balloon in an astrobiological experiment.

The flight - which lasted seven hours and 15 minutes - was launched near to Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, on 27 June, and reached a maximum height of 23.5km (14.6 miles) above Leicester before drifting and landing near the Humber estuary.

The students achieved a successful test of their descent system, which could help in the development of stratospheric flights in the future and may enable future balloons to be reused after recovery.

The balloon was also carrying a harmless strain of E.coli to test how life copes in extreme environments.

Bristol Rovers sign Smith and Slocombe

Adam Smith
Getty Images

Bristol Rovers have signed unattached goalkeepers Adam Smith and Sam Slocombe.

Smith, 24, made 86 league starts for Northampton before leaving at the end of last season.

Ex-Scunthorpe trainee Slocombe, 29, had a spell at Oxford and helped Blackpool to promotion to League One last term.

Click here to read the full story.

Adam Smith

Bristol Rovers sign Smith and Slocombe

Goalkeepers Adam Smith and Sam Slocombe join League One outfit Bristol Rovers on free transfers.

Read more

Heavy traffic at Bath Bridge roundabout

Severe accident: A419 Gloucestershire both ways

BBC News Travel

A419 Gloucestershire both ways severe accident, between Cirencester Road and Emmerson Lane.

A419 Gloucestershire - A419 Cowcombe Hill in Frampton Mansell blocked and very slow traffic in both directions between the Cirencester Road junction and the Emmerson Lane junction, because of an accident involving three vehicles.

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

Petrol station death trial: More on closing statements

Hengrove petrol station

The defence barrister said the jury could "not be sure (Mr Islam) was deliberately driving" at petrol station staff member Abu Sayem.

He said it was a "hopeless suggestion" that he deliberately drove his car at Mr Sayem to free his friend Kyle Clarke, who he had known for a few months.

"Surely driving near to Mr Sayem was to risk hitting Kyle?" he told the court.

"Mr Islam is not a psychopath, he is a head waiter at an Indian restaurant. Was he really going to risk hitting his friend?

"It is ludicrous to suggest he drove at Mr Sayem and therefore put his friend in mortal danger."

The judge is now summing up the evidence to the jury, and the trial continues.

Severe disruption: M5 Bristol northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Bristol northbound severe disruption, at J19 for A369.

M5 Bristol - One lane closed on M5 northbound at J19, A369 (Portishead), because of a jockey wheel in the road. Traffic is coping well.

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

Water main damaged in Bedminster

Bristol Water tweet:

View more on twitter

Closing statements at petrol station death trial

Court impression of Shakrul Islam and prison officer

Prosecution and defence barristers are delivering their closing statements in the trial of Shakrul Islam, accused of the manslaughter of his friend Kyle Clarke during a botched fuel theft from a Bristol petrol station.

Mr Islam, 31, denies manslaughter but had pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving at the Texaco petrol station on Hengrove Way on 10 January.

The prosecution barrister said today he had "used his car as a weapon" to scare off a member of staff who had tried to stop Mr Clarke from driving off without paying, having filled up petrol cans in the boot of his car.

She said Mr Islam's plan was "not rational" or one that would be successful, but it "didn't stop it being the plan that he had".

"He tried to rescue Kyle, but ended up killing him," she told the Bristol crown court. "Kyle's death was appalling and unintended, but it happened because of Mr Islam's actions."

The case continues.

Some lanes reopened after van fire in Bristol

View more on twitter

Two fire engines from Temple Fire Station and one from Bedminster Fire Station were called and once on scene found the van well alight. The driver and a passenger were out of the van when crews arrived and had managed to remove cylinders from the rear of the vehicle. It's thought a number of cylinders also remained in the van. Crews used jets and high pressure hose reels to bring the fire under control. As the cylinders had been involved in the fire firefighters began a cooling process to ensure they posed no risk. Regular checks were made of the temperature of the cylinders. Cooling continued until 12.30pm for safety reasons.

StatementAvon Fire & Rescue

Avon Fire & Rescue still examining van fire site

Severe accident: M5 Somerset northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Somerset northbound severe accident, at J24 for A38.

M5 Somerset - One lane closed and slow traffic on M5 northbound at J24, A38 (Bridgwater South), because of an accident.

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

Bus delays after van fire

View more on twitter

In case you were wondering, here's what the fire looked like earlier that's causing all these delays:

Van fire
Martin Robbins

Lung disease: What are the symptoms?

Lung cancer x-ray
Science Photo Library

Public Health England have started a campaign to make people more aware of the symptoms of lung disease, lung cancer and heart disease

They include:

1. A persistent cough that lasts three weeks or more2. Getting out of breath doing things that you used to be able to do, such as:

  • Vacuuming
  • Mowing the lawn
  • Walking at a normal pace (and struggling to keep up with friends)
  • Moving from the sofa to make a cup of tea
  • Dressing and undressing yourself
  • Climbing short flights of stairs

3. A cough that has got worse or changes4. Frequent chest infections5. Coughing up blood6. Chest pain or shoulder pain7. Wheezing8. Feeling more tired than usual for some time9. Losing weight for no obvious reason

If you have any of these symptoms, tell your doctor.

Update: Bristol van fire

Expect traffic delays in Bristol near Cabot Circus for at least another half an hour following a van fire.

View more on twitter