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  1. Updates on Monday 6 February 2017

Live Reporting

By John Bowness

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

We've now finished posting news, travel reports and other nice things from around Cumbria for today. 

Before we go, here is a photo to make you smile... 

We don't know what joke Peter and Mechelle Richardson told to get this reaction on their walk round Buttermere this morning.

Horse that appears to be laughing
Peter and Mechelle Richardson

We'll be back to do it all again from 08:00 tomorrow. 

As always, we'd like to hear from you if you have a photograph you'd like to share or you've news you think we should know, you can email ustweet us or get in touch through our Facebook page.

Have a very good evening.

Search for cycleway volunteers in West Cumbria

Volunteers are being sought in West Cumbria to help with nature conservation work on the Sea to Sea cycle way. 

People on path

Sustrans said it was using a share of £400,000 of national funding to record and conserve wildlife on the sections from Whitehaven to Rowrah, and Seaton to Siddick. 

As part of its Greener Greenways project, the charity is looking for volunteers to help manage habitats to protect and attract a wide variety of plants and animals, and also run wildlife-themed events.

Wine scam victim lost more than £100,000

BBC Radio Cumbria

It has emerged that a resident in South Cumbria has lost more than £100,000 in a scam involving investing in non-existent wine production. 

The county's police and trading standard officers have warned people to be on their guard against bogus investment deals.

Glass of red wine splashing when poured

A senior trading standards officer told BBC Radio Cumbria that although the idea of the scam is not new, one person in the county has recently lost thousands of pounds, and another, more than £100,000. 

These investors aren't expecting a product for two to three years. And what happens after two or three years? They realise there's no wine being produced. The companies are fictitious; there was never any wine, and as a consequence of that, they've lost everything.

John GreenbankCounty manager, Cumbria Trading Standards

Figures show NHS at 'breaking point'

Liberal Democrat MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale Tim Farron says bed occupancy levels for Cumbrian hospitals "show that our NHS is at breaking point".

The figures analysed by the BBC, show the winter occupancy rate in North Cumbria, at Carlisle and Whitehaven, was 89.65%, and further south the Morecambe Bay health trust had a rate of 97.5%.

Both were above 85% which is internationally recognised as the safe level. 

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents hospitals, said the bed shortages were "extremely worrying".

Cumberland Infirmary visiting fully re-opens

Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle has re-opened for visiting after recent restrictions following an outbreak of norovirus.

Cumberland Infirmary

The North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust said a small number of individual rooms on the Willow Ward remain shut, but the rest of the hospital is open.

The trust is still appealing to anyone planning to visit to stay at home if they or their family members have had diarrhoea, vomiting or flu-like symptoms in the past two days.

Severe accident: A6 Cumbria both ways

BBC Travel

A6 Cumbria both ways severe accident, between Paradise Lane and B5282 Park Road.

A6 Cumbria - A6 Beetham Road in Milnthorpe closed and queuing traffic in both directions between the Paradise Lane junction and the B5282 Park Road junction, because of a serious accident.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Carlisle Crown Court

Carlton Taylor aroused suspicion when he landed with 50 electronic devices and very little else.

Read more

First drum of radioactive sludge prepared for long-term storage

The first drum of historical sludge
Sellafield Ltd

Radioactive sludge has been removed from the world's oldest nuclear storage pond at Sellafield and processed for the first time to prepare it for long-term storage. 

Sellafield Ltd said the material that is formed from decaying fuel, natural algae and other debris, is an unplanned by-product of the nuclear industry. 

It has built up in the Pile Fuel Storage Pond over 65 years and is now being removed so this can be decommissioned. 

The first batch has now been made safe by setting it in concrete, ready to keep it in a modern store until it can be disposed in one underground, if and when that is built.

It will take several years to remove all the sludge.  

Beatrix Potter letter fetches £1,800

A letter written by Beatrix Potter has sold for £1,800.

The 80-year-old handwritten letter had been sent to the Mayor of Kendal to reassure him that Beatrix Heelis (her married name) would take care of the town's last working loom, which she had just bought. 

Beatrix Potter letter
1818 Auctioneers

1818 Auctioneers at Crooklands near Kendal said it was expected to sell for between £1,500 and £2,000.

Snow proving 'neigh' problem in Cumbrian Pennines

The wintry start to the morning in some parts of the county encouraged those with an eye for a picture.

Horse looking over a snowy wall
Carolyn Farthing-Dunn

Carolyn Farthing-Dunn from County Durham took this photo during a visit to Nenthead.  

She said: "This big guy just popped his head over the wall to say hello!"

If you have a photo you would like to share with us, you can email ustweet us or get in touch through our Facebook page.

Rapist facing 'significant custodial sentence'

A man has been warned he faces a "significant custodial sentence" after being found guilty of the rape of a 16-year-old girl. 

Carlisle Crown Court heard the girl, who described how she was "terrified" and "shaking" as the ordeal unfolded in December 2015, said she repeatedly told Robert Long "no".

She told jurors: "He was pulling me about like a rag doll."

Long, 21, of Springfields, Wigton, denied one charge of rape, and claimed in his evidence the encounter had been consensual. 

Long was remanded in custody to be sentenced on 6 March.

Carlisle Crown Court

Festival 'sells out in record time'

Festival logo
Kendal Calling

The organisers of the Kendal Calling festival say all 25,000 tickets for this year's event have sold out after the line-up was announced one week ago.

Acts performing at Lowther Deer Park near Penrith at the end of July include Franz Ferdinand, Stereophonics, Manic Street Preachers and also the co-founder of the Beach Boys, Brian Wilson

Organisers said it was the 12th consecutive time the event had sold out. 

Ward to re-open following flu outbreak

A ward at the West Cumberland Hospital which closed to visitors on Thursday because of a flu outbreak is to re-open.

West Cumberland Hospital
North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust

The North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust said it had reviewed the situation in Whitehaven and visitors would be allowed back on ward four from Tuesday evening.

Wine scam warning

People in Cumbria are being warned to be on their guard against bogus investment deals after some residents lost thousands of pounds in wine scams.

The county's growing population of over-55s in particular are being targeted as criminals believe they are more likely to have money to invest, Cumbria Trading Standards said.

Cumbria Police said people have been tricked into investing large amounts of money in wine, pensions, watches and precious metals.

Red wine is poured into a glass

Hospital bed occupancy levels 'unsafe' over winter

Emily Unia

BBC reporter

Hospitals in Cumbria have been operating at unsafe levels of bed occupancy this Winter, according to figures analysed by the BBC.  

In North Cumbria, occupancy at hospitals in Carlisle and Whitehaven was 89.65%, with those run by the Morecambe Bay health trust in South Cumbria at 97.5%.

Both were above the 85% rate which is recommended as the safe level.

Graphic showing stats and hospital bed
BBC / Getty Images

The data also found there were 66 hospital trusts in England with average occupancy rates above 95%.  

NHS bosses said hospitals had major problems discharging frail patients.  

Better access to ancient Cumbrian landmark

It's hoped that improvements to the paths leading to Kendal Castle will encourage more people to visit it. 

Muddy path and bench on slopes of hill up to Kendal Castle

The steep grassy slopes approaching the picturesque ruins become muddy and slippery when it's been raining. So the paths are being resurfaced starting today, to make them easier and safer to walk on, benches like this one are being relocated, and the visitor information panels are being renewed. 

Tom Clare from Kendal Town Council has told the BBC that the work should also link the ancient site more easily to the middle of Kendal, to encourage tourists to climb the hill and enjoy spectacular views from the top. 

Severe disruption: M6 Cumbria northbound

BBC Travel

M6 Cumbria northbound severe disruption, at J43 for A69.

M6 Cumbria - M6 exit slip road closed and heavy traffic northbound at J43, A69 (Carlisle), because of a broken down vehicle.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Severe disruption: M6 Cumbria northbound

BBC Travel

M6 Cumbria northbound severe disruption, between J37 for A684 and J38 for A685.

M6 Cumbria - One lane closed on M6 northbound between J37, A684 (Kendal) and J38, A685 (Tebay), because of a broken down lorry. Traffic is coping well.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Little Mix gig reinforces Carlisle as an 'events city'

Carlisle City Council has welcomed today's news that girl band Little Mix will perform in the city's Bitts Park in July.  

The city council says it's delighted about the group's concert, as part of what it calls a "great summer of music planned" with diverse acts including Bryan Adams who'll be on stage the previous day.  

In recent years the park has also hosted an outdoor show by Tom Jones, while Rod Stewart and Elton John have played Carlisle United's Brunton Park ground. 

Little Mix

It reinforces Bitts Park as a popular outdoor music venue, and Carlisle as an events city. Come along and join in the fun.

Carlisle City Councillor Anne QuilterPortfolio holder for Culture, Heritage and Leisure

Beatrix Potter's letter going under the hammer

A letter written by the Cumbrian author and farmer Beatrix Potter almost 80 years ago is being sold today. 

She sent it to the Mayor of Kendal in 1937, to reassure him that she would take care of the town's last working loom, which she had just bought. 

Picture of letter written by Beatrix Potter (under her married name Beatrix Heelis)
1818 Auctioneers

Writing under her married name, Beatrix Heelis, she congratulates him on a speech he'd given about buying a prayer book for the town that had been owned by Katherine Parr, who's said to have been born in Kendal and who later became the sixth wife of Henry VIII.

It's being sold today by 1818 Auctioneers at Crooklands near Kendal.  

Little Mix to perform in Carlisle

Girl band Little Mix have just announced they'll be playing a show in Carlisle this summer.  

Members of Little Mix standing in front of a minibus
Little Mix

The outdoor concert will take place in Bitts Park on 16 July, the day after Bryan Adams performs there.  

The band say they'll include hits including Shout Out to My Ex, Black Magic, Hair and Wings, as well as tracks from their new album Glory Days. 

Tickets go on sale at 09:30 on Friday.  

Weather: Some patchy frost and fog to start with, sunny spells later

It will be a dry start to the day, with some patchy frost and fog at first. 

Fog will gradually clear through the morning with some sunny spells developing, but it will turn wet and windy from the west later. 

Maximum Temperature: 7C (45F).

weather graphic

Anger over long journey for specialised care

A woman from Barrow says she's "angry and upset" that her husband is being moved 140 miles away, to Durham, to receive the care he needs. 

Janet Taylor

Janet Taylor's 64-year-old husband Terry was left with a brain injury after an accident at work. He's been moved out of a mental health unit in the town. 

The Cumbria Partnership NHS Trust says when a patient requires specialist support it has to look further afield for the best place to meet their needs. 

But Mrs Taylor says she can only manage the six hour round trip once a week, and because he has memory problems, she is worried he will forget her.

Woman's death in Cumbria not suspicious

The death of a woman in Aspatria, which led to a man being arrested, is no longer being treated as suspicious, police say.

The 41-year-old was found dead at a property on Queen Street, shortly before 05:00 on Sunday.  

After a post-mortem examination, the pathologist said her death was due to natural causes. 

A 50-year-old man, who was arrested, has now been released, and no further action will be taken. 

Queen Street, Aspatria

Good morning. Welcome to our live coverage

We'll be posting news, travel reports, a regular weather forecast and a few other updates from around the county, until about 18:00.

As always, we'd like to hear from you if you have a photograph you'd like to share or you have news you think we should know.

You can email ustweet us or get in touch through our Facebook page.