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  1. New Forest naturalist Chris Packham cleared of assaulting bird trappers in Malta
  2. M&S to close Portsmouth store
  3. £250m redevelopment planned for three Sandbanks hotels
  4. First £1m raised towards new £4.8m children's A&E in Southampton
  5. Updates from Thursday 20 April

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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That's all for today

The BBC Local Live service for Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight will resume at 08:00 on Friday.

You can still get in touch by email, via our Hampshire and Dorset Facebook pages or on Twitter @BBC_Hampshire and @BBCDorset.

Fire fighters still at scene of Empress Road fire

Poundbury sarcophagus vandalism 'just awful'

A stone Roman coffin on display in Poundbury, which was vandalised at the weekend, was of "very great historical interest", the chair of the Trustees of Brownsword Hall has said.

The artefact had been placed between the columns of the community hall in August until a permanent home was found for it.

Stone coffin
Trustees of Brownsword Hall

Stuart Palmer said the coffin was one of several unearthed during work on a nearby industrial estate in the 1960s which were believed to be evidence of one the earliest Christian burial sites in Roman Britain. 

When discovered, the coffin contained human remains along with remnants of cloth which indicated it held the body of a senior official. 

Dorchester was the site of a significant Roman settlement known as Durnovaria and part of the town walls and foundations of a Roman house remain.

It's part of the history of the area - people are appalled that some lunatics decided to smash it up - it's just awful.

Stuart PalmerChair of the Trustees of Brownsword Hall

Man charged with children's home abuse

Police have charged a man with serious sexual offences against boys in relation to a former Romsey children's home.

Willy Gillham, 64, who has an address in France, is accused of 15 counts of indecent assault and other serious sexual offences against boys who were under the age of 16 during the 1980s.

Police said the charges relate to alleged offences at the former Palmerston House children's home in Botley Road.

Mr Gillham has been remanded in custody and is due before Southampton Crown Court on 19 May.

Alpacas pay visit to elderly care home

Residents at The Lawn care home in Holybourne had some woolly visitors as a herd of alpacas were brought to see them.

It was part of a project by the Friends of the Elderly charity to foster fun activities for animal-loving elderly residents of care homes. 

Friends of the Elderly
Friends of the Elderly

Burglary victim offers £10,000 reward

A burglary victim has offered rewards of up to £10,000 for the return of jewellery stolen from a property in Poole.

They include a diamond-encrusted cross necklace, a Boodle and Dunthorne diamond bracelet and a white and gold diamond ring with matching earrings.

Dorset Police

Police said a "large quantity of cash" was also taken from the address in Canford Cliffs Road, some time between 30 March and 2 April.

PC Steven Donaldson said the reward was only on offer for items returned before 1 June.

Empress Road Fire: Crews "scaling down"

Fire fighters are still at the scene of a large fire which broke out at four car workshops in Southampton at lunchtime. 

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service said the fire had been in a "complex building with difficult access". No-one was injured.

Fire in Empress Road
Colin Lee
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Images of proposed Sandbanks hotel development

Here are some images of the proposed £250m project to redevelop three hotels on the exclusive Sandbanks peninsula.

Developers want to demolish buildings on three sites to make way for a new hotel, holiday apartments and flats.

Under the plans, Haven Hotel - which marks the entrance to Poole Harbour - would be replaced by 196 flats in four blocks as well as a restaurant. Sandbanks Hotel, at the other end of the 1.5 mile-long peninsula, would be restyled as a 175-bedroom hotel.

Sandbanks hotel development
FJB Hotels
Sandbanks Hotel Development
FJB Hotels
Sandbanks hotel development
FJB Hotels
Chris Packham

The BBC Springwatch presenter appeared in court after an incident during filming for a documentary.

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Michael Eisner

American billionaire Michael Eisner is to make a personal pitch to Portsmouth shareholders and fans.

Read more

Aldershot MP to leave parliament

Sir Gerald Howarth has confirmed that he will not be seeking re-election in June.

The Conservative MP and former defence minister has represented Aldershot for the past 20 years.

In a statement on his website, he said: "I have every confidence in the outstanding leadership of Prime Minister Theresa May and have assured her of my fullest support from beyond the Palace of Westminster."

Gerald Howarth

WATCH: Aerial footage of Southampton fire

Thanks to Jack Pearce for this drone footage of the fire at four industrial units in Empress Road, Southampton.

View more on youtube

'Priceless' sarcophagus vandalised in Prince Charles's Poundbury development

A Roman sarcophagus on display in Prince Charles's urban development in Dorchester, has been badly damaged by vandals.

Dorset Police said the 1,600-year-old artefact in Pummery Square, Poundbury, was damaged sometime late on Saturday or early on Sunday morning. 

The lid of the empty sarcophagus was removed and damaged beyond repair. 

Vandalised sarcophagus
Dorset Police

Because of the age of the item, it was considered priceless and irreplaceable. Due to the weight of the lid, it is likely to have taken several people to remove it and I am appealing for anyone who has seen anything suspicious... to contact me.

PCSO Matt BartonDorset Police

Rail smartcard plan 'fails to deliver'

Paul Clifton

Transport correspondent, BBC South Today

A smartcard system for rail users in the south east of England has run over budget and failed to deliver on the government's aims, the National Audit Office (NAO) says.

The South East Flexible Ticketing Programme was set up in 2012 to "improve the experience for passengers and reduce costs to train operating companies of selling tickets", according to the NAO report.


But the government has spent £54m instead of the projected £45m, plus £60m to make London ticket machines compatible with railway smartcards.

The business case relied on 95% of season ticket holders switching, but only 8% have done so. 

Pompey duo make League Two team of the year

Portsmouth defenders Christian Burgess and Enda Stevens have been named in the League Two team of the year.

Fellow promoted clubs Doncaster and Plymouth also provide a number of players in the XI.


Rovers' James Coppinger and John Marquis (who has scored 26 this season) are in midfield and attack respectively, with Argyle's Luke McCormick in goal, along with team-mates Sonny Bradley (defence) and 14-goal Graham Carey (midfield).

The other players are Blackpool defender Kelvin Mellor, midfielders Nicky Adams and Luke Berry (of Carlisle and Cambridge respectively) and Luton forward Danny Hylton (21 goals).

WATCH: Southampton garage fire

The fire in Empress Road, Southampton, is now affecting four industrial units, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service says.

George Burke sent us this video of the fire, which has sent thick black smoke into the air.

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Southampton crews battle large fire

More than 30 firefighters are tackling a fire at a commercial garage in Empress Road, Southampton.

The service says the premises were unoccupied when the fire broke out just before midday.

The ambulance service has warned people nearby to close windows because of thick black smoke.

smoke over Southampton
Kevin Jelley
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Severe disruption: A335 Hampshire both ways

BBC News Travel

A335 Hampshire both ways severe disruption, between Thomas Lewis Way and Mount Pleasant Road.

A335 Hampshire - A335 Thomas Lewis Way in Southampton closed and queuing traffic in both directions between the Thomas Lewis Way junction and the Mount Pleasant Road junction, because of a building fire and visibility is reduced.

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

£1m raised for children's A&E in Southampton

A fundraising campaign to build a children's emergency and trauma department at Southampton Children's Hospital has reached the £1m mark.  

At present, children have to use the adult A&E department while the paediatric unit is four floors above.

Southampton General Hospital

Funding for the £4.8m unit will come from the government, the Southampton Hospital Charity and the Murray Parish Trust.

The trust was set up by Cutting It actors Jim Murray and Sarah Parish in memory of their late daughter Ella-Jayne, who was treated at the hospital but died of congenital heart failure.

TV presenter 'not guilty of assault'

New Forest naturalist Chris Packham says he has been found not guilty of assaulting two bird trappers in Malta.

The TV presenter appeared in court in Gozo this morning, following an incident during filming on the island.

View more on twitter

M&S to close Portsmouth store

M&S has announced it intends to close its outlet in the Cascades Shopping Centre in Portsmouth.

It says 100 staff will be offered jobs at nearby stores.

In November, the firm announced plans to close 30 UK premises after reporting falling sales and profits.

M&S, Cascades centre, Portsmouth

Ferry deal set for completion

Blue Funnel Cruises says it hopes to complete the purchase of Hythe ferry and pier today.

The boat hire firm is due to take over the running of the service tomorrow.

A campaign group had voiced fears for the future of the ferry and pier, after operator Hythe Ferry Ltd warned last year of a decline in passenger numbers and possible redundancies.

Hythe ferry

Fire-damaged van pictured in Hindhead Tunnel

Weather forecast for the South

Holly Green has the latest

Travel: Hindhead Tunnel reopens in both directions

The northbound A3 through Hindhead Tunnel has now reopened following an earlier van fire.

The fire service says no one was hurt.  

Three miles of tailbacks are reported northbound from Liphook. 

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Chris Packham faces assault charge

New Forest naturalist Chris Packham says he has been ordered to appear in court in Malta today to face a charge of "using force" against bird trappers.

Mr Packham says he is "completely innocent" and was himself the victim of being "pushed and jostled around".

The TV presenter is currently filming Maltese hunters engaged in what he says is "illegal trapping and shooting".

View more on twitter

Travel: Hindhead Tunnel reopens southbound

£250m redevelopment planned for three Sandbanks hotels

Planning permission for a £250m redevelopment of three hotels on Sandbanks has been submitted to Poole council.

The plan would see three hotels demolished to make way for two new hotels and nearly 200 residential flats. 

The Haven Hotel

Oyster project begins in the Solent

The first juvenile oysters will be transferred to the Solent later by a consortium working to restore oyster fishing in Hampshire.

The practice was banned in 2013 when annual harvests fell from 200 to 20 tonnes. 

Blue Marine Foundation

TV presenter and adventurer Ben Fogle has now backed the Blue Marine Foundation project and will help transfer the first 1,500 oysters. 

Olympic champion Sir Ben Ainslie has already supported the bid.

Headlines: Hindhead Tunnel closure

  • Long delays have built up around the A3 Hindhead Tunnel following reports of a vehicle fire
  • Campaigners have raised the first £1m towards a new £4.8m children's accident and emergency department at Southampton Children's Hospital
  • The first juvenile oysters will be transferred to the Solent by a consortium working to restore oyster fishing in Hampshire

Travel: Hindhead Tunnel delays

The Hindhead Tunnel is set to partially reopen after reports of a vehicle fire in the tunnel.

Surrey Fire and Rescue said five appliances were fighting a fire at about 07:45 BST.

Surrey Police said the southbound A3 would be opened soon while one lane will remain closed northbound.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Good morning

Welcome to the BBC Local Live service for Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight on Thursday.

We'll be bringing you the latest news and sport from across the three counties.

You can get in touch by email, on our Hampshire and Dorset Facebook pages or on Twitter @BBC_Hampshire and @BBCDorset.