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  1. Report shows computer delays in child grooming inquiries in Greater Manchester
  2. Businesses in Wirral hope to be given chance to assess blast damage
  3. A sexual predator has been found guilty of breaking into women's homes in Colne and Nelson in order to assault them
  4. The funeral of a former Liverpool John Moores University student who was killed in Goa takes place in Donegal
  5. Police raid suspected cannabis farms across the region
  6. Updates on Thursday 30 March

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Updates from across the North West

That's it from us for another day - we'll be back on Friday morning from 08:00 with the latest news, sport, travel and weather updates from across the North West of England.  Whatever you're doing, have a lovely evening.

Weather: Cloudy with outbreaks of rain

BBC Weather

Remaining cloudy and mild with rain for some parts.

Highs of 15C.

More from BBC Weather

Accrington students visit CERN

BBC Radio Lancashire's mid-morning team have travelled to CERN in Geneva with students from Accrington for Women in Science Week.

View more on twitter

CERN is the home of the large Hadron Colider. The team will be exploring why only 10% of scientists are women.

Football: How well do you know Merseyside derby?

BBC Sport

It is the Merseyside derby on Saturday so test your knowledge of the men who have defined this fixture over the Premier League years.

Liverpool v Everton: How well do you the Merseyside derby?

Steven Gerrard and Duncan Ferguson

NHS abandons switching of Liverpool community health services provider

Plans to transfer Liverpool community health services to an underperforming trust have been scrapped .

Hospital ward
Science Photo Library

NHS Improvement, which monitors care providers, said it was "not continuing" the switching of services to Bridgewater Community Healthcare (BCH) from Liverpool Community Health Trust.

The former was rated as "requiring improvement" by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in 2016.

BCH chief executive Colin Scales said the news was "extremely disappointing".

Protesters walking in front of lorries

"Direct action" anti-fracking campaigners target haulage company depots over its links with Cuadrilla.

Read more

Jobs created in Merseyside as Scottish Power use aerial laser scanning

Scottish Power is spending £36m on managing trees next to power lines , in a bid to reduce damage during storms.

Scottish Power

The contracts, over the next three years, mean employment for 200 people across southern and central Scotland, north Wales and Merseyside.

The energy company has used aerial 3D laser mapping technology to assess the areas of most risk.

Scottish Power said that could help assess tree growth rates in order to plan maintenance.

Magistrate who lived with suspect fired

A magistrate who did not report the fact that a criminal suspect was living at his home has been sacked.

scales of justice

Dennis Barry, who heard cases in Greater Manchester, failed to disclose that the family acquaintance had been arrested on suspicion of harassment.

He also failed to report the individual was later sent to prison, the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office said.

Judicial heads ruled his behaviour had amounted to "serious misconduct" and removed him from the bench.

Violet Youens: Man arrested over four-year-old's death

A man, 23, has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving after a four-year-old girl was hit and killed by a car.

Violet Grace Youens
Merseyside Police

Violet Grace Youens  died after being struck  while walking through St Helens, Merseyside, on Friday.  

The BBC understands the 23-year-old arrested is Aidan McAteer who police were trying to trace. 

Liverpool v Everton: Bellew talks Merseyside rivalry

Evertonian boxer Tony Bellew says Liverpool and Everton are at a "very, very similar level" during a round-table discussion about the upcoming Merseyside derby on the Premier League Show.

Secretary of state visits Lancashire to discuss potential enterprise zones

Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid has been in Lancashire this afternoon to discuss potential new enterprise zones.

Sajid Javid
David Morris MP

Mr Javid attended a meeting in Morecambe with local MP David Morris and business leaders from across the district.

In January, the Prime Minister Theresa May suggested that the idea of an enterprise zone in north Lancashire should be "looked into".

Manchester nurse struck off over stuck sex toy op video

A nurse who laughed as he showed colleagues a "revolting" video of a woman having a sex toy removed  has been struck off .  

Sanjeev Varghese
Agency photograph

Sanjeev Varghese, 44, admitted showing the footage on WhatsApp to fellow workers at Manchester Royal Infirmary while on a shift in October 2014.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) found him guilty of misconduct in November, but a decision to strike him off was suspended pending an appeal.

A High Court judge ruled it was right.

Cricket: James Anderson says he has no plans to retire

BBC Sport

Lancashire's James Anderson says he does not intend to retire after next winter's Ashes series.

James Anderson
Getty Images

The swing bowler from Burnley, 34, said that he would be "over the moon" if the team won the Test series, and has "no interest" in stopping now.

Meanwhile, England Test captain Joe Root says having predecessor Alastair Cook in the side will be integral to both his and the team's future success.

Severe accident: M62 West Yorkshire westbound

BBC News Travel

M62 West Yorkshire westbound severe accident, between J23 for A640 and J22 for A672.

M62 West Yorkshire - Very slow traffic on M62 westbound between J23, A640 (Huddersfield) and J22, A672 (Rishworth Moor), because of an accident involving lorry earlier on.

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

Wirral explosion: Residents and businesses start to return

A number of residents and business owners are being allowed back to their properties following a suspected gas explosion.

          Emergency services work at the scene of a suspected gas explosion in New Ferry
Getty Images

Two people were seriously hurt and 31 others injured in the  blast in New Ferry, Wirral  on Saturday evening.

More than 100 people were evacuated from their homes, but those living further away from the blast can now return, Wirral Borough Council said.

More residents should be allowed access to their homes over the next 24 hours.

Bury police pursuit 'was necessary', says IPCC

A high-speed police chase in Bury was "necessary and proportionate", an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) found.

Bolton Road

A woman suffered serious injuries when a stolen Honda Civic, driving at more than 100mph, crashed into her on Bolton Road West in May last year. 

In-car video footage, and audio recordings of the two police constables in the police car, were examined by the IPCC investigator.

The final report can be found here .   

Latest headlines for the North West

Football: Fifa looks into Wales defender's leg-breaking challenge on Seamus Coleman

BBC Sport

Fifa has opened proceedings against Wales full-back Neil Taylor after his leg-breaking challenge on Republic of Ireland's Seamus Coleman.

          Wales captain Ashley Williams comforted Everton team-mate Seamus Coleman as he was taken off on a stretcher
Getty Images

The Everton player, 28, was taken off on a stretcher after the tackle, which saw Taylor sent off during last Friday's World Cup qualifier in Dublin.

Coleman was taken to hospital and required surgery on a double break.

Taylor, 28, will be suspended for the qualifier in Serbia in June, but could have his one-game ban extended by Fifa.

Plan to close Lancaster sixth form in 2018

A consultation over the planned closure of a sixth form in Lancaster will run until the end of May, Lancashire County Council has said.

Central Lancaster High School

Central Lancaster High School asked the council to begin a closure consultation due to concerns about the sixth form's financial and educational viability.

The council is proposing to permanently lower its age range from 11-18 years to 11-16, with effect from 31 August 2018.    

Funeral held for Goa murder victim

Hundreds of people have attended the funeral of an Irish woman who was raped and murdered in Goa.

          Danielle was described as a 'friendly, quiet girl who loved to travel'
McLaughlin Family

Danielle McLaughlin, 28, from County Donegal, was found dead in a field close to tourist resorts in the western state of Goa.

Family and friends presented four symbols of Ms McLaughlin's life, including a guitar, a holy medallion from one of Mother Teresa's care homes in India, a family photo and a poem.  

The former Liverpool John Moore student's remains arrived home in Donegal on Monday evening. 

She was disarmingly kind and forgiving; her warm nature and open heart drew people into her ever-widening, extensive and international circle of friends.

Father Francis BradleySt Mary's Church

Lancashire students learn about 'iron lung'

Students in the Ribble Valley have been learning about a ventilator, nicknamed the "iron lung" which was used mainly in the early 20th century to keep people who suffered from Polio, alive.  

Iron Lung

The machine is a small metal capsule equipped with pumps to help people who have damaged lungs to breathe. 

A model of an iron lung has been built by Clitheroe Rotary Club, and the club is currently touring schools around the country to highlight and help eradicate Polio.   

Boxing: Tony Bellew becomes cruiserweight Emeritus Champion

BBC Sport

Tony Bellew's WBC cruiserweight champion status has been changed as a result of potential ongoing involvement in the heavyweight division.

Tony Bellew
Getty Images

The Liverpool boxer, 34, has held the title since May but fought at heavyweight this month in a  shock win over David Haye.

As he is yet to make clear which weight he will fight at, the WBC has made him Emeritus Champion - so he can return to contest the title at any time.

Tony Bellew has become a major attraction in the heavyweight division and is, at this moment, uncertain of his next steps following his life changing victory.

The Emeritus Champion designation is a privilege, which has been successfully used by some of the great champions of the history of our organisation including Vitali Klitschko, Floyd Mayweather, Bernard Hopkins, Erik Morales and other greats.

WBC spokesman

Boy, 14, seriously injured after being stabbed in the back

Manchester Evening News

The 14-year-old boy was discovered with a stab wound to his back on McLean Drive, in Irlam, Salford.  

Missing family alert widened to Europe

The search for a woman who has gone missing with her two sons has been widened out to Europe, police said .

Samantha Baldwin and sons
Nottinghamshire Police

Samantha Baldwin, 42, from Newark, who has family connections in Manchester, was last seen in Nottingham on Monday and is believed to be with Louis Madge, 9, and Dylan Madge, 6.

Police said the case was being treated as abduction and confirmed Ms Baldwin did not have legal custody of the boys.

There have been several sightings and police are "open minded" over whether they had left the UK.

We've had eight sightings across the country, six of those we've discounted, two are still forming part of the live investigation.

Supt Rich FretwellNottinghamshire Police

CCTV footage released after Ormskirk arson attack

A family has been left "extremely upset and shaken" after an arson attack in Ormskirk earlier this month, Lancashire Police said. 

Lancashire Constabulary

Accelerant was poured over the bonnet of a Volkswagen car and set alight as it was parked on the driveway at the house on Yew Tree Road on 9 March,  

The front of the car was destroyed and another car was damaged.  

A man had parked on nearby Grimshaw Lane, approached the house via a pub car park, carried out the attack and then returned to his car, police said. 

Officers have released CCTV footage and are asking anyone with information to contact them.

Weather: Showers and bright spells

BBC Weather

A drizzly and showery afternoon. Some bright spells later. Highs of 17C.

More from BBC Weather

'Forgotten' Murdishaw receives £72,240 for regeneration

Runcorn and Widnes World

A "forgotten" housing estate in Runcorn  has been handed a major funding boost to help kick-start ambitious regeneration proposals.

Glastonbury reveals 88 more acts, including Katy Perry and Barry Gibb

Barry Gibb follows in the footsteps of Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers by taking Glastonbury's Sunday evening "legend slot", it has been announced .  

Chris Martin and Barry Gibb

The Bee Gees star, who grew up in Manchester, appeared at the festival last year, duetting with Chris Martin on Stayin' Alive and To Love Somebody during Coldplay's headline set (pictured).

Glastonbury  revealed 88 of the acts playing this year's event , including pop star Katy Perry who will make her debut at the festival.  

Severe disruption: M6 Cheshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Cheshire northbound severe disruption, between J18 for A54 Middlewich and J19 for A556.

M6 Cheshire - One lane blocked and slow traffic on M6 northbound between J18, A54 (Middlewich) and J19, A556 (Knutsford), because of a broken down car.

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

Grand National 2017: Twenty years since terrorist threats delayed race

BBC Sport

In 1997 the 150th Grand National was plunged into chaos by an IRA bomb threat minutes before the big race was about to start.

          Crowds filed on to the Aintree course after the IRA bomb scare in 1997

60,000 people were hurried away from Aintree as TV viewers witnessed scenes of racegoers clambering over fences trying to escape.  

Solicitors firm pays back £300,000 council grant

A controversial £300,000 council grant to a firm of solicitors in Bolton has been repaid after the authority threatened legal action to reclaim the money when the firm changed hands.


Council leader Cliff Morris said the use of public funds to refurbish the building used by Asons solicitors was a legitimate means to keep jobs in the town - but it led to protests by hundreds of local people and calls for his resignation. 

It was revealed at last night's council meeting  the money has now been returned. 

Latest headlines for the North West

Sexual predator who broke into houses guilty of sex assaults

A sexual predator has been found guilty of breaking into women's homes in order to assault them.

Zsolt Suhaj
Lancashire Police

Zsolt Suhaj, 25, who raped a 66-year-old, was branded every woman's "worst nightmare" by a judge.

He told Preston Crown Court the woman he raped had consented to sex and requested he enter through her bedroom window - a claim police said was "offensive".

Suhaj was convicted of a string of similar offences after a trial.

Football: Man City Women 'expect' quarter-final win

BBC Sport

Manchester City Women boss Nick Cushing says his side  "expect to win" their Champions League quarter-final second leg against Fortuna Hjorring after holding a 1-0 win from the first leg.  

Hillsborough runners set for 80-mile journey to Liverpool

A group of runners are setting off from Sheffield this morning to run back to Liverpool. 

View more on twitter

The Hillsborough to Anfield run first took place in 2012, and many Hillsborough families and survivors will be trekking the 80 miles. 

They are due back on Saturday morning - just before Liverpool take on Everton in the derby. 

Two arrested in Seacombe murder probe

Two people have been arrested on suspicion of murder after the death of a man in Wirral.

Jeremy Dickinson, 57, was found at a house in Seacombe on Tuesday. A post-mortem examination revealed he died from a head injury.

A 37-year-old woman from Tranmere and a 34-year-old man from Seacombe are being questioned by police. 

A 35 year old man from Tranmere, arrested on suspicion of murder earlier this week, remains in custody.

Anti-fracking protest held at Eddie Stobart depot

Anti-fracking demonstrators from Lancashire are blockading the entrance to a haulage depot in Warrington. 

Fracking demo

Protesters have been stopping Eddie Stobart lorries leaving since 03:00 this morning. 

Fracking protest

They hope it will encourage the firm to stop supplying companies involved with the UK's first horizontal fracking site in Little Plumpton.  

Former Lancashire soldier becomes Beefeater at the Tower of London

A former soldier from East Lancashire has become the latest Beefeater at the Tower of London.

Historic Royal Palaces

Amanda Clark from Burnley served 22 years with the Royal Logistics Corps and completed tours in Germany, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. 

She will now live and work at the Tower of London alongside 36 other Yeoman Warders and their families.

It's the most iconic uniform after my service dress that I've had the pleasure to wear.

Amanda ClarkYeoman Warder

Walking football tournament in Manchester today

The National Football Museum in Manchester is hosting a walking football tournament later. 

Walking Football

Walking football is a slower-paced version of the game , allowing senior people to play the beautiful game, or as part of injury rehabilitation.

There are over 60 walking football groups playing in Manchester every week and an estimated 700 regular participants nationwide.

The event takes place from 10:30 - 15:00.