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Summary

  1. Fugitive arrested during light aircraft return
  2. Merseyside Police face £12.7m budget cut
  3. Ellesmere Port firm fined £180k over forklift death
  4. Investigation as Woolton church destroys old trees
  5. Updates on Thursday 18 December 2014

Live Reporting

By Paul Burnell

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good night

That's all from Local Live today. We'll be back at 08:00 tomorrow to give you the day's news, sport, travel and weather updates.

If you'd like to get in touch in the meantime email merseyside.locallive@bbc.co.uk.

Coming up

Annabel Tiffin

Presenter, North West Tonight

A Liverpool man on the National Crime Agency's most wanted list has been caught after flying into the country in a light aircraft.

We will also be covering the £12.7m budget cuts Merseyside Police is facing next year on

North West Tonight.

Cloudy with rain

It will be cloudy with rain continuing, mainly affecting western facing hills,

BBC Weather reports.

BBC Weather forecast
BBC

This may clear allowing clearer, colder conditions to spread in from the north, reaching across the region by the early hours.

Church 'unaware' of old tree protection

Andy Gill

BBC North West Tonight

A church in Liverpool which cut down two ancient yew trees protected by preservation orders says it was "unaware" orders were in place.

St James' Methodist United Reformed Church in Woolton, Liverpool,
BBC

St James' Methodist United Reformed Church in Woolton, Liverpool, cut down the trees on Monday.

The church could face prosecution for illegally destroying them.

Budget cut blues

Cheshire Police

tweets: Our
@CheshirePolCC talking to
@BBCNWT about budget plans for the constabulary. 6.30pm tonight.

Cheshire Police interview
BBC

PC 'pressured' over disaster account

Tom Mullen

BBC News Online

A

police officer was put under "severe pressure" to accept changes to his statement about the Hillsborough disaster, the inquests have heard.

The Hillsborough disaster
Hillsborough inquests

Deletions to Michael Walpole's account were a "mixed bag", the jury heard, including comments critical of both the police operation and Liverpool fans.

He said he recalled how officers were "hounded out" and their lives made a "misery" until they retired.

But his original statement was finally sent to a public inquiry.

Fugitive in light aircraft arrest

Tom Airey

BBC News

One of the UK's most wanted fugitives has been arrested while attempting to return to Britain in a light aircraft.

Paul John Scott, from Liverpool, was arrested at East Winch Airfield, Norfolk on Tuesday.

It has emerged Mr Scott has since been charged with conspiracy to import cocaine and appeared at Liverpool Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.

He was remanded in custody to appear at Liverpool Crown Court on 2 January.

Strong winds slows M6

BBC Travel reports the matrix sign is set to 50mph on the M6 at the Thelwall Viaduct between junction 20 the Lymm Interchange and junction 21 Woolston, because of strong winds.

Fugitive in light aircraft arrest

Tom Airey

BBC News

Here is more on one of the UK's most wanted fugitives being arrested while attempting to return to Britain in a light aircraft.

Paul John Scott, 32, from Liverpool, is a suspected member of a drug-smuggling gang.

Hillsborough inquests extended

Ben Schofield

BBC Radio Merseyside

The coroner at the Hillsborough inquests has told the jury there is a "real risk" the inquests will not end until early 2016.

Lord Justice John Goldring said the evidence is not due to end until 6 November 2015.

The inquests into the deaths of 96 fans who died as a result of a crush at the Liverpool v Nottingham Forest in 1989 were due to end this year.

Airport's wrapping warning

Passengers using Liverpool John Lennon Airport over Christmas are being asked to have their presents unwrapped when they travel.

The airport said this will avoid long queues when security guards inspect hand luggage.

Tomfoolery in Chester

Paul Burnell

BBC News

Chester hands the city back to the Romans later as soldiers from the Deva Victrix 20th Legion celebrate the Roman Saturnalia festival.

Saturnalia in Chester 2013
Cheshire West Council

The parade begins at 18:30 from the Grosvenor Museum where torches are lit and the Emperor makes a proclamation before releasing the Lord of Misrule.

Cheshire West Council tell me Saturnalia was the most popular Roman festival which was marked by "tomfoolery and the reversal of roles with slaves and masters switching places."

News on the hour

Alex Dibble

BBC Radio Merseyside

Local councils across Merseyside and Cheshire are facing a funding cut of 1.8% in the next financial year.

Listen to the bulletin.

Waterfront vista

Paul Burnell

BBC News

From the other side of the River Mersey comes this wonderful shot of Liverpool's waterfront.

Liverpool Waterfront
wirralcam.com

Call me an old romantic but you could almost believe it was New York's Hudson River.

Many thanks to

Wirralcam.com for this shot.

Rudolph on the rails

Virgin Trains Liverpool

tweets: Traveling with us today on our 13:47 to Euston than you'll be travelling on #Traindeer.

Traindeer in Liverpool Lime Street
Virgin Trains

Miracle cat's award

St Helens The Reporter

A St. Helens pet owner has new hope after her miracle cat made the finals of competition to find

the nation's most remarkable survivor.

Protected yew trees investigation

Tom Mullen

BBC News Online

A church could face prosecution for illegally destroying two ancient yew trees

protected by preservation orders.

St James Methodist Church, Woolton
Chris Darnton

St James' Methodist United Reformed Church in Woolton, Liverpool, cut down the trees on Monday.

But a concerned resident contacted Liverpool City Council, who confirmed the trees were subject to tree preservation orders.

Picton drunks beware

Paul Burnell

BBC News

News that

Southport is to have its own "alcohol recovery centre" for those who have one too many in the festive season made me think of this landmark in Wavertree.

Picton lock-up
Google

According to the

Wavertree Historical Society, the Picton lock-up was built in 1796 for the accommodation of drunks and other prisoners overnight.

By 1845, the village' first police station made it redundant so it was used for other things, including as a home for cholera victims and temporary housing for Irish families who fled the potato famine. In 1952, it became a listed building.

News on the hour

Alex Dibble

BBC Radio Merseyside

A former South Yorkshire police officer says he feared he would be hounded out of the force if he did not accept changes to his statement about the Hillsborough disaster.

Listen to the bulletin.

Knocking spots off a record

Jimmy McCracken

BBC Radio Merseyside

The world record for most people dressed as Dalmatians has been broken at North Liverpool Academy.

Dalmations record bid
BBC

All 454 broke into 'ap-paws' at the end.

Marine 'can keep no relegation record'

Marine FC say manager Carl Macauley is the man to get them out of trouble and "retain our proud record" of never being relegated in their 120-year history.

Marine's Arriva Stadium
Bill Boaden/Geograph

The Crosby side currently lie 22nd in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League and are five points adrift of safety, but despite being near the bottom, chairman Paul Leary says Macauley has the club's "total support".

"Carl is our manager and whilst his objectives have changed as the season has progressed, he is the person that we want to be at the helm for a long time to come."

Hillsborough inquests latest

Ben Schofield

BBC Radio Merseyside

A former South Yorkshire PC was put under "severe pressure" to accept changes to his statement about the Hillsborough disaster, the inquests have heard.

The jury was told the deletions to Michael Walpole's statement were a "mixed bag", including comments critical of both Liverpool fans and the police operation.

Mr Walpole said he recalled how officers were "hounded out" of their jobs and their lives were made a "misery" until they retired.

But an unamended version of his statement was eventually put forward to a public inquiry into the disaster.

Degrees of excellence

Liverpool Hope University has recorded its highest ever research rating with more than a third of its research considered "world leading" or "internationally excellent".

Liverpool Hope University
Google

The university's rating is included in the national 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which examines every academic institution in the country.

Vice Chancellor and Rector of Liverpool Hope University Professor Gerald Pillay said: "We are attracting the best researchers from around the world, and their work is making an impact locally, nationally and internationally."

On air

Billy Butler

BBC Radio Merseyside

Hear the 12 Plays of Christmas from the Philharmonic after 15:15 as I visited their rehearsals for Rudolph on Hope Street last night.

Philharmonic rehearsals
BBC

Listen live on

BBC Radio Merseyside.

News on the hour

Alex Dibble

BBC Radio Merseyside

A senior Liverpool doctor has said the extreme pressure on A&E departments will only get worse as we go deeper into winter.

Listen to the bulletin.

Hut Group's Warrington shelter

Warrington Guardian

Online giants The Hut Group have finally been confirmed as the latest

big name to move to Omega in a £47.5m deal.

Sterling 'should stay a Red'

BBC Radio 5 live

Former Liverpool winger

John Barnes has told 5 live Breakfast Raheem Sterling should stay at the Reds for the next few years in order to develop his career.

Raheem Sterling
Getty Images

Sterling has been linked with Real Madrid and Bayern Munich but Barnes says it's too soon for the player to make such a move.

He said it was "equally important for Raheem Sterling to stay at Liverpool as it is for Liverpool to keep him".

Coming up

Annabel Tiffin

Presenter, North West Tonight

On North West Today we will be looking at the cuts facing the region's police forces.

There will be the latest from the Hillsborough inquests.

And we explain why a Liverpool church is facing prosecution for chopping down trees.

Listen live.

Church illegally chops down trees

Tom Mullen

BBC News

A Liverpool church could face prosecution for illegally destroying two ancient yew trees protected by preservation orders.

Yew trees
Chris Darnton

St James' Methodist United Reformed Church in Woolton cut down the trees on Monday. But a concerned resident contacted Liverpool City Council, who confirmed the trees were subject to Tree Preservation Orders.

The council has launched an investigation and a spokesman confirmed the church could be prosecuted, or forced to replace the trees.

News on the hour

Giulia Bould

BBC Radio Merseyside

Merseyside's chief constable has admitted some police forces may have to merge together to cope with the continuing loss of funding.

Listen live.

'Incredible' Naismith news

BBC Sport

Everton boss Roberto Martinez says he's very happy Steven Naismith has signed a new contract.

Steven Naismith
PA

Martinez told the press ahead of the Toffees' game against Southampton at the weekend that the Scottish striker was "in the best moment of his career".

"He is only going to get better. It is incredible news for us," he said.

Safety breach costs firm £180,000

Emma Stanley

BBC News

An Ellesmere Port firm has pleaded

guilty to a breach of Health and Safety laws at Liverpool Crown Court over the death of a worker.

Ian Aliski, 29, was using a forklift at Recresco Ltd's glass recycling plant when it overturned over and fatally crushed him on 26 April 2010.

The firm was fined £180,000 over the incident and has since started using alternative vehicles, suitable for all terrains.

Howard's way

BBC Sport

Goalkeeper Tim Howard has told BBC Breakfast how he has been able to forge a successful career, despite suffering from Tourette's syndrome.

Tim
BBC

"Growing up as a young kid in New Jersey, I started having these tics and twitches. They didn't know what it was but I went to the doctor and they found out it was Tourette's syndrome," he said.

"Since then I have been able to cope with it. I have the ability to concentrate on something else - the environment, the ball, the crowd, other players - which means I don't concentrate on the tics."

Promiscuous dormice wanted

A decade-long study by Chester Zoo and Natural Resources Wales has found

promiscuous female dormice are good for the species.

Dormouse
Reuters

The study in Denbighshire found dormice which have offspring with more than one father in the same litter can help ensure their survival.

It also found some dormice breed before they are one year old and others produce two litters in a year, which was known behaviour in continental European mice but had never been observed in the UK before.

News on the hour

Giulia Bould

BBC Radio Merseyside

The organisation which represents police officers on Merseyside says proposed cuts to the service could impact on how they're able to fight gun and gang crime.

Peter Singleton, the chairman of Merseyside's Police Federation, says the £12.7m budget cut could seriously affect their ability to take weapons off the streets.

Listen to the bulletin.

Roman roots recalled

Simon Moffatt

Reporter, BBC Radio Merseyside

Chester will celebrate its ancient past tonight for Saturnalia, a midwinter festival which celebrates Saturn, the god of plenty, wealth and agriculture.

Roman soldier from Chester
BBC

A parade of Roman soldiers will be marching through the streets this evening to mark the occasion.

I met one of the legionaries but unfortunately he could not answer my question - what have the Romans ever done for us?

Putting the brakes on scramblers

Merseyside Police has issued helicopter CCTV highlighting the dangers of nuisance scrambler bikes can cause.

Merseyside Police helicopter footage
Merseyside Police

Concerns have been raised in the Croxteth, West Derby and Fazakerley areas about large groups of bikes gathering in parks and being ridden dangerously across parts of Merseyside.

Ch Insp Jenny Sims said: "Anti-social use of the bikes blights many communities and is something people consistently tell us they are worried about."

Cruella record attempt

BBC Radio Merseyside

tweets: Good luck to
@NorthLivAcademy trying to break the world record for the number of people dressed as dalmations! The current record's 450.

'Sub-optimal care' apology

St Helens The Reporter

A top doctor at Whiston Hospital issued an unreserved apology to the family of a

St. Helens grandmother at an inquest yesterday.

Dr Julia Hendry admitted that Nora Peters, 74, who was erroneously administered an oxygen-driven nebuliser in the days before she died, had been given "sub-optimal care".