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  1. Customer care centre opens in Coventry
  2. Police issue warning over ecstasy after woman collapses in Rugby
  3. Updates on Monday 4 July 2016

Live Reporting

By Vanessa Pearce

All times stated are UK

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Latest weather for the West Midlands

Latest weather for the West Midlands
Nikki Sinclaire

A former MEP who denies making fake expense claims tells a court she would empty a handbag full of receipts and leave staff to deal with them.

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Warwickshire and New Zealand spinner Jeetan Patel

Jeetan Patel takes his second five-wicket haul of the match as Warwickshire go top by beating Surrey inside three days.

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Our coverage across the day

We'll be back tomorrow morning from 08:00 with our usual mix of live news, sport, travel and weather for Coventry and Warwickshire, but keep an eye out here for more updates this evening and into the morning. 

Watch: Latest weather for Coventry and Warwickshire

Alexandra Hamilton

BBC Weather

It will be fairly cloudy tonight with patchy intermittent rain moving eastwards overnight and lows of 13C (55F).

Consultation on elected mayor launched

The newly formed West Midlands Combined Authority has launched a consultation on powers that an elected mayor should have. 

It says the consultation is intended to survey businesses, community groups and residents for their feedback.

View more on twitter

Swindon sign midfielder Thomas

BBC Sport

Swindon Town have signed former Coventry City midfielder Conor Thomas on a three-year contract following a successful trial at the County Ground.  

Conor Thomas

Wasps confirm pre-season schedule

Wasps have today confirmed their 2016/17 pre-season schedule, which will see them face Yorkshire Carnegie and Bristol Rugby, as well as taking part in the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s.

The friendly against Championship side Yorkshire Carnegie is on 21 August at the Ricoh Arena.

Wasps fans at Ricoh Arena
Getty Images

City of Culture bid: 'Economic benefits could be huge'

The organisers of Coventry's bid to be come UK City of Culture in 2021 say events like the Godiva Festival help to highlight what the city is capable of.

Laura McMillan, one of those co-ordinating the bid, said it could be worth a huge amount for the local economy.

This is Coventry tent
Coventry City of Culture Bid

As well as the year itself, it brings in about £80m economic benefit, so that could be in transport, new hotels, restaurants and shops. And young schoolchildren could be those to benefit, they'll be late teenagers in 2021 so they could really see a change in a city

Laura McMillanCoordinator for Coventry's City of Culture bid

Foreign investment hub for West Midlands announced

The government has announced it's creating a foreign investment hub close to Birmingham Airport. 

When it's set up, the "Midlands Engine hub" will be expected to create 1,400 jobs and bring in £15m of investment over the next three years. 

Companies will also be able to bid for a share of a £2m "challenge fund" designed to boost the local economy.

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Cricket: Hants target Chopra, Stoneman, and Stone

BBC Sport

Hampshire have made 28-day approaches to Warwickshire's Varun Chopra as well as Mark Stoneman, and Olly Stone, reports BBC Radio Solent.

Openers Chopra, Stoneman (Durham) and injured Northants paceman Stone are all out of contract at the end of the season.

Durham opener Mark Stoneman

Godiva Festival 'a joy to police'

Vanessa Pearce

BBC Local Live

Three people were arrested over the weekend at the Godiva Festival, two for assault and the other for possession of cannabis, say police.

Ch Insp Kerry Blakeman, who led the policing operation this year, said: “I would like to thank all those who attended for their good-natured behaviour, it was once again a joy to police.

“It was especially great to see members of the public interacting with our officers and asking them for selfies, which just demonstrates the superb atmosphere."

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Former UKIP MEP breaks down in tears at fraud trial

Rob Mayor

Political Reporter, BBC WM

The former UKIP MEP Nikki Sinclaire has broken down in tears as she gave evidence at her fraud trial.

Ms Sinclaire, who denies misconduct in public office while a serving MEP, is on trial at Birmingham Crown Court.  

Nikki Sinclair

She was asked "the key allegation is that you abused the trust of those who elected you to represent them. Did you?" 

''No" she replied, adding "I wanted to be different, and show it was possible to positively represent people, no-one could accuse me of being motivated by money."

"Were you in it for the money?" asked the barrister.  Her reply was: "Absolutely not."

Latest news: MEP 'not surprised' at Farage resignation; record Godiva crowd

Vanessa Pearce

BBC Local Live

Some of our headlining stories today are:

- West Midlands UKIP MEP "not surprised" over Nigel Farage resignation

- Godiva Festival attracts record number of visitors

- New customer care centre opens in Coventry

New signing for Coventry City

BBC Coventry & Warwickshire Sport

The Sky Blues have signed former Colchester United Striker Martin Sordell. 

They say the 25-year-old has agreed a one-year deal after being released by Colchester United at the end of last season, and will report for pre season training this week.

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Coventry customer care centre opens with promise of new jobs

A new customer care centre is being officially opened in Coventry today, with the promise of creating even more jobs.

Since its launch eight years ago, First Utility has created more than 1,500 jobs, with 800 of them in the city, and they promise a further 170 positions this year.

The office was opened by Amber Rudd, MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. 

View more on twitter

Travel: Rail delays due to defective track

BBC Travel

London Midland is reporting rail delays of up to 15 minutes on its services between Milton Keynes Central and Rugby.

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Council leader hopeful new lease can be agreed to save Coventry Stadium

Coventry Observer

The leader of Rugby Borough Council has confirmed positive talks are still taking place regarding the future of motorsport at Coventry Stadium in an encouraging statement posted online.  

Councillor Michael Stokes, Leader of Rugby Borough Council
Coventry Observer

Watch: Latest weather for Coventry and Warwickshire

Alexandra Hamilton

BBC Weather

Some sunny spells possible this afternoon, but turning cloudy with the chance of isolated showers and highs of 20C (68F).

A ghoulish tour of medieval punishments

Bethan Bell

BBC News Online

As an English town considers bringing back the stocks, which other settlements have kept their instruments of medieval correction?

The tumbrel (the wagonny bit) of a ducking stool is in the crypt of the Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick.  

Stocks in Woodstock
Steve Daniels

Police issue warning over ecstasy after woman collapses

A woman has been treated in hospital after taking what's thought to have been an ecstasy tablet at a nightclub in Warwickshire. 

Police say the 20-year-old collapsed at the venue on Church Street, in Rugby, in the early hours of Saturday. 

They have warned other club-goers who took the tablet, described as purple in colour, to seek medical attention as soon as possible. 

Church Street Rugby

BBC Midlands Today: Stories we're working on

BBC Midlands Today

Hilary McConnell, Producer

Today on BBC Midlands Today, Bob Hockenhull has been finding out what it takes to be an Olympian and how researchers from the University of Birmingham are investigating this. 

We’re with Adrian Goldberg in Druids Heath. There’s growing concerns about the state of the area, as it’s losing its community facilities.

And more jobs are coming to Coventry with electric company First Utility.

Battle of the Somme remembered in Leamington

Leamington Observer

Those who fought at the Battle of the Somme were remembered in Leamington at the weekend.

Leamington war memorial
Leamington Observer

Coventry launches City of Culture bid

This weekend's Godiva Festival also saw the official launch of Coventry's bid for City of Culture 2021.

The competition, run by the Department of Culture Media and Sport, happens every four years. 

View more on twitter

Watch: Thousands visit Stratford River Festival

David Lumb

BBC News Online

More than 60,000 descended on Stratford-upon-Avon this weekend for the annual River Festival. 

Businesses say it contributes hundreds of thousands of pounds to the local economy

West Midlands MEP 'not surprised' over Farage resignation

UK Independence Party MEP for the West Midlands James Carver says he's not surprised Nigel Farage has stood down as party leader.

"He's still going to lead our group in the European Parliament, which is an extremely powerful position to be in.

"He's been a great leader but there's plenty of talent within UKIP."

James Carver

Bafta-nominated producers jailed for involvement in tax scam

Two Bafta-nominated film producers have been jailed for their part in a £2.2m tax scam.

Christopher Walsh Atkins, 40, from Gospel Oak, north London, and Christina Slater, 37, from Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, filed inflated invoices to take advantage of tax breaks.

Christopher Walsh Atkins and Christina Slater

They falsely claimed to have spent £5.7m and made significant losses on Starsuckers and Mercedes the Movie.

Atkins was jailed for five years and Slater for four.

Pollen levels 'very high'

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

If like me you suffer with hay fever, you've probably sneezed already this morning. 

Pollen levels are very high today - so tissues at the ready for watery eyes and a runny nose.

View more on twitter

Watch: Willis on 'surreal' Wimbledon fame

Membership inquiries have increased at the Warwick tennis club where Marcus Willis plays, after he reached round two at Wimbledon.

Travel: Vehicle fire on M42

BBC Travel

There's slow traffic on the M42 southbound between J3a, for the M40, and J3, for the A435 (Redditch), because of a vehicle fire.

More details on BBC Travel. 

County Championship: Jeetan Patel puts Warwickshire on top against Surrey

BBC Sport

Warwickshire enjoyed a successful day in the field at Guildford, despite Australian international Aaron Finch's stylish century on his Surrey debut.

Sparked by hitting his first ball for six, off Jeetan Patel, Finch raced to 110, slowed only by a brief rain delay.

Jeetan Patel
Rex Features

But Patel's five-wicket haul helped the Bears bowl out Surrey for 273, the last five wickets going down for just 30.

At the close, Warwickshire were 12-0 in reply with Varun Chopra seven not out and Andy Umeed unbeaten on three.

Conservative MP Craig Tracey backing Andrea Leadsom

North Warwickshire and Bedworth MP Craig Tracey has announced his support for Andrea Leadsom in the Conservative Party leadership race.

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News: Record crowds at Godiva Festival; warning over ecstasy in Rugby

Vanessa Pearce

BBC Local Live

These are some of our headlining stories today:

- Record crowds flock to Coventry's Godiva Festival

- Police issue warning over ecstasy after woman collapses in Rugby

- Warwick voted one of UK's best-loved castles

Record crowds flock to Godiva Festival

Organisers of the Godiva Festival say they had record crowds over the weekend.

On Sunday alone, Coventry's Memorial park welcomed 60,500 visitors throughout the day, taking in headliners Scouting for Girls, family field attractions and the public launch of the bid to become UK City of Culture in 2021.

View more on twitter

Travel: M6 congestion

BBC Travel

A broken down vehicle is blocking one lane of the M6 southbound between J6, for the A38(M) Spaghetti Junction, and J5, at the A452 (Castle Bromwich).

More details on BBC Travel.