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  1. Updates on Friday 26 February 2016
  2. News, sport, travel and weather updates to resume at 08:00 on Monday

Live Reporting

By John Newton

All times stated are UK

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  1. Our live coverage today

    That's it for live updates today.

    We'll be back at 08:00 on Monday with more news, sport, travel and weather from Stoke and Staffordshire.

    Have a great weekend, from all of us in the newsroom.

  2. Watch: Latest weather forecast for the West Midlands

    Rebecca Wood

    BBC Weather

    Find out what the weather has in store.

    Video content

    Video caption: Weather for the West Midlands
  3. Stoke v Villa: Team news

    BBC Sport

    Here's the team news ahead of Stoke City's league clash with struggling Midlands club, Aston Villa:

    Boss Mark Hughes can pick forward Marko Arnautovic, who has recovered from the illness that caused him to miss the win at Bournemouth, but Ryan Shawcross remains unavailable because of a back problem.

    Manager Mark Hughes
  4. HS2 'helping Britain' - decade before it launches

    The chairman of HS2 - the high speed rail line that will run from London to Birmingham and through Staffordshire and Cheshire to Manchester - claims the line "is already beginning to change Britain for the better".

    David Higgins made the comments despite it being 10 years before the first trains are due to run on the line - and a year before construction starts.

    David Higgins
  5. Leighton Hospital boss apologises for cancelled operations

    The chief executive of the trust that runs Leighton Hospital in Crewe has apologised to patients after operations were cancelled in the wake of pressures in A&E.

    Tracy Bullock said patient safety was the priority, meaning non-urgent procedures had to be postponed.

    She called on local residents to only visit A&E for serious and life-threatening conditions.

    Despite today's problems, the Mid Cheshire Trust said it had recently outperformed neighbouring trusts, with 93% of A&E patients seen within the four-hour target last month.

  6. Headlines: Congestion begins to ease following M6 crash; hospital apology over cancelled operations; Mark Hughes' price-freeze delight

    Here are some of the headlines from our newsroom this evening:

    - Congestion begins to ease following seven-vehicle crash on the M6 near Cannock

    - Hospital boss apologises for cancelled operations

    - Stoke City boss Mark Hughes delighted by season ticket price-freeze

  7. E-cigarette battery explodes in Tamworth man's pocket

    Tamworth Herald

    Firefighters are issuing a warning to e-cigarette users after a man from Tamworth was left with second and third degree burns when an e-cigarette battery exploded in his pocket.

    Victim of e-cigarette explosion
  8. Man 'forced' to phone 999 for care support for wife

    BBC Radio Stoke

    A man from from Newcastle has told BBC Radio Stoke he often feels "forced" to phone 999 for help caring for his disabled wife at home. 

    Stuart Macintosh, 52, from Clayton uses a wheelchair and struggles to care for his wife who has epilepsy.

    He says between the local authority and health service, care isn't available out of hours to support him when she has a seizure.

    Staffordshire County Council says Mrs Macintosh could contact Staffordshire Cares for a social care assessment and speak to her GP about a personal health budget to allow greater flexibility.

  9. Man taken to hospital following seven-vehicle crash on M6 near Cannock

    Cannock Mercury

    West Midlands Ambulance Service has said a man's decision to get out of his broken-down vehicle and await rescue on the safety of a motorway embankment has potentially saved him from serious injury.

    M6 crash
  10. Hughes has warm feeling over price freeze

    Stoke City manager Mark Hughes says he thinks it's "fantastic" the club has again frozen the price of its season tickets.

    At a press conference today, he said of ticket sales: "The demand is there, we're sold out nearly every home game."

    Mark Hughes
  11. Traffic delays worsen on M6 southbound following crash

    The traffic problems caused by the pile-up on the M6 this afternoon are getting worse.

    There's congestion between J15 and J12 now, Highways England says.

    Delays to free-flowing traffic had been lasting about 50 minutes. It now stands at one and a half hours.

    Highways England still predicts, however, that the situation will ease by 17:30. 

  12. Headlines: At least two more hours of M6 delays expected following crash; operations cancelled due to A&E pressures

    Here are some of the stories making the headlines in our newsroom this afternoon:

    - Delays expected into evening following multi-vehicle M6 crash near Cannock

    - A hospital in Crewe apologises for cancelling operations amid A&E pressures

    - Hospitals boss moves on

  13. Date for inquest into death of band members

    Lee Thomas

    BBC Radio Stoke

    The date has been set for the inquest into the deaths of members of the Cheshire band Viola Beach.

    The four-piece and their manager died after their car plunged from a bridge in Sweden earlier this month.

    The inquest is due to be opened in Warrington on 3 March.

  14. More pictures of M6 crash

    Here's some more pictures from the M6 crash we've been covering - this time from Central Motorway Police Group.

    CMPG reports minor injuries only in the multi-vehicle incident, adding the collision could have had far more serious consequences.

    Crashed lorry
  15. Fire service warns of burns danger of E-cigarettes

    Staffordshire firefighters are issuing a warning to e-cigarette users after a man from Tamworth was left with second and third-degree burns when an e-cigarette battery exploded in his pocket.

    Batteries can ignite when carried in a person’s pocket if they come into contact with spare change or keys which complete the positive and negative charges.

  16. Delays expected into evening following M6 smash

    Here's a traffic cam pic of the snarl-ups on M6 southbound we've been telling you about - they're taking motorists about 50 minutes to clear.

    It follows a multi-vehicle crash between Junctions 12 and 13 near Cannock.

    Two out of four junctions have been opened by traffic officers, who currently expect the delays to last until 17:30.

    M6 traffic
  17. No trapped motorists in multi-vehicle motorway crash, fire service believes

    Fire crews from Stafford & Penkridge are attending the multi-vehicle collision on the M6 southbound we reported minutes ago.

    No one is believed to be trapped.    

    The crash happened between Junctions 12 and 13 and drivers are warned to expect delays.