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Summary

  1. Updates on Tuesday 26 April 2016
  2. More news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 Wednesday

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage across the day

Live updates for Staffordshire and Cheshire have finished for the day but we'll be back from 08:00 Wednesday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather. 

Funding plans approved for Stoke's Macari homeless centre

James Bovill

Political reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

Plans for more funds for a homeless hostel in Stoke-on-Trent have this afternoon been approved by the city council's cabinet. 

Former Stoke City manager Lou Macari and Lord Mayor, Cllr Jean Bowers open The Macari Centre for the homeless.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council

The authority says the £195,000 would be met from savings from within existing budgets and would keep The Macari Centre running until the start of July. 

The former Stoke City manager Lou Macari, after whom the centre is named, is aiming to set up a charitable foundation to run it permanently from that point.

In its report on the centre, the council says "Mr Macari is known to be a passionate advocate for the homeless" and it adds that, given his connections within football, he is "in a position to attract considerable charitable funds in support of this cause".

On BBC Midlands Today this evening: The Midlands victims of Hillsborough disaster

BBC Midlands Today

Today an inquest into the deaths of the 96 people who lost their lives at Hillsborough returned a verdict of unlawful killing

The disaster and cover-up which followed touched hundreds of lives, including here in the Midlands. 

Tonight on BBC Midlands Today we'll be remembering three of those killed who were from this region, from 18:30 on BBC One.

Council pulling out of running Lichfield leisure centre

Emma Thomas

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

Lichfield District Council has announced it's pulling out from leasing a leisure centre in the city. 

King Edward VI leisure centre
Lichfield District Council

The authority's managed the King Edward VI centre since it was built in 1995 but has now given both the county council and King Edward VI School three years' notice that it intends withdrawing from the lease.

The council says it's part of a review into how it manages its leisure services and staff at the centre are aware of the plans.   

Football: Burton closing in on successive promotions

Ed Dawes

BBC Radio Derby Sport

Burton Albion can take a big step towards Championship football tonight without kicking a ball.

Walsall, in third place in League One, play their game in hand at home to Shrewsbury Town.

Brewers players celebrating last season's promotion
PA

If Walsall lose, Burton will only need a point at home to Gillingham on Saturday to seal back-to-back promotions.  

Your pictures: Sunset in Tamworth and a Stoke swan

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

You really are a talented bunch on the photography front.

Firstly, this sunset's come from Clive Fisher in Tamworth.

Tamworth
Clive Fisher

While this swan shaking itself in the water at Westport Lake, Stoke-on-Trent, was snapped by Chris Hollingworth.

If you want to see your picture potentially featured on future Stoke & Staffordshire Live pages, you can do that on email, Twitter and Instagram.

Swan at Westport Lake
Chris Hollingworth

News: Inquests say Hillsborough fans unlawfully killed; patient safety 'not compromised' in strike; communities benefit from cannabis raids

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

This evening's headlines:

- Ninety-six football fans who died as a result of a crush in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, including a Stoke-on-Trent teenager, were unlawfully killed, the inquests have concluded

- The clinical director of the Royal Stoke University Hospital says he doesn't think patient safety has been compromised during today's strike by junior doctors

Plastic plant pots and unused growbags found by police when they uncovered cannabis plants worth almost £1m have been used to brighten up communities in Stoke-on-Trent

In photos: Stoke-on-Trent gets a bout of snow

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

I said it was a bright and sunny start to the day in Stoke-on-Trent - things didn't last, though, as we had a bout of snow arrive briefly this afternoon.

Here's a couple of tweeted pictures from Gladstone Pottery Museum and Rich Holmes in Shelton, Stoke-on-Trent.

Snow at Gladstone Pottery Museum
Gladstone Pottery Museum
Snowing in Shelton, Stoke-on-Trent
Rich Holmes

Plan approved for council to set up its own housing firm

James Bovill

Political reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

Plans to buy up hundreds of new homes in Stoke-on-Trent and rent them out for a profit have been approved by the city council's cabinet today.

The authority wants to set up its own housing company to generate income as government funding continues to decline.  

Stoke-on-Trent
BBC

Its plan is to spend £250m over ten years. 

A development of 155 homes planned for the Bridgewater site in Hanley is first on the list.

Travel: Tree falls on A34 near Stone, Staffordshire

BBC Travel

Drivers heading south on the A34 between Stoke-on-Trent and Stone, Staffordshire, are being warned by police that a tree's fallen across part of the carriageway.

Keep up-to-date with the BBC Travel website.

View more on twitter

Drugs bust has unexpected benefit for green-fingered communities

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

Plastic plant pots and unused growbags found by police when they uncovered cannabis plants worth almost £1m have been used to brighten up communities in Stoke-on-Trent. 

Staffordshire Police revealed last week it found 1,500 plants valued at £715,000 in Fenton. Five days earlier, officers recovered plants valued at about £200,000 in nearby Longton. 

Cannabis plants
Staffordshire Police

The force says that instead of throwing away the plant pots and growbags, it has given them to the local community. 

Ch Insp Rob Taylor said: "Britain in Bloom will hopefully be even better this year as a result of our donations."

Football: Crewe make 'gentleman's agreement' over new signing

Graham McGarry

Crewe Alexandra commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Crewe Alexandra boss Steve Davis says he's reached a "gentleman's agreement" with a new signing. 

Ryan Lowe
crewealex.net

BBC Radio Stoke understands that could be the Bury striker Ryan Lowe who is due to become a free agent in the summer. 

Davis told BBC Radio Stoke at his press conference today he's in the market to add some experience to his squad for life in League Two next season. 

The old heads would certainly help in terms of situations in games when they need to learn how to win and find a way of winning.

Steve DavisCrewe Alexandra manager

Hillsborough inquests: The Stoke-on-Trent teenager among the victims

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

We told you earlier that inquests have concluded that 96 football fans who died as a result of a crush in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster were unlawfully killed.

Among their number was Paul Murray who, at the time, was a 14-year-old boy from Stoke-on-Trent.  

Paul Murray
Hillsborough Inquests

He had travelled to the match on a Liverpool Supporters' Club coach with his father, Anthony Murray, who survived. 

His ticket was a birthday present and the inquest heard how, when it arrived three days before the match, he said: "This is the best day of my life."

Read the full statement to the inquests from his mother, Edna Murray.

Needle-in-straw prank teenager released from jail after appeal

Tamworth Herald

A teenage waiter who put a needle in a work colleague's drinking straw as a 'wicked prank' has been freed from jail on appeal by top judges.

Brandon Walker was jailed for 18 months after he slipped a sewing needle inside a work colleague’s straw as a prank.
Tamworth Herald

News: Hillsborough fans unlawfully killed; operations cancelled by doctors' strike; council to set up housing firm

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

The main headlines this afternoon include

- Ninety-six football fans, including a Stoke-on-Trent teenager, who died as a result of a crush in the Hillsborough disaster were unlawfully killed, the inquests have concluded

- A man from Staffordshire says an operation to amputate his leg has been postponed because of this week's strike by junior doctors

- Plans to buy up hundreds of new homes in Stoke-on-Trent and rent them out for a profit have been approved by the city council's cabinet today  

Watch: Man's operation to remove leg postponed by doctors' strike

Michele Paduano

Health correspondent, BBC Midlands Today

A man from Staffordshire says an operation to amputate his leg has been postponed because of this week's strike by junior doctors

David Leech from Rugeley has written to his local MP, Michael Fabricant, saying he blames the "intransigence of the government". 

He says his operation's been rescheduled for next month but fears it could be delayed again by more walkouts. 

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says the government will not back down on imposing the new contract at the heart of the dispute.

Football: Uncertainty over Port Vale's squad for next season

Lee Blakeman

Port Vale commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Port Vale's assistant manager Paul Bodin says it's still hard to say whether they'll be able to keep most of this year's squad together. 

Paul Bodin
Port Vale FC

The club has only nine players under contract for next season and chairman Norman Smurthwaite says the budget could be cut by up to £800,000.

Bodin told BBC Radio Stoke he's still not sure what will happen.

Until we get a confirmed budget and we know exactly what we've got to work with, then it's still a little bit delicate.

Paul BodinPort Vale's assistant manager

BBC Weather Watcher pictures: Sunrises and sunny fields

Monica Rimmer

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

A sunrise in Barlaston, Staffordshire, and sunny fields in Sandbach - just two of the photos uploaded in the last few hours by our team of BBC Weather Watchers.

If you'd like to join their growing number, head to the website to sign up.

Sunrise in Barlaston
Jon
Fields in Sandbach
Daveduck

Watch: Skilled builders shortage 'holding up Midlands work'

BBC Midlands Today

A shortage of skilled builders is holding up work and pushing up prices according to the Midlands construction industry.   

Wages rose by six percent last year, ahead of the national average of two percent. 

Paul Morrissey (in video) from Staffordshire building firm Cameron Homes says it is looking at the issue by hiring more apprentices and has linked up with a new skills centre in Birmingham to recruit staff.  

Trader fears over Cheshire market

Phil McCann

Political reporter, Cheshire

The future of Sandbach as a market town could be under threat if plans to make big changes to the indoor market go ahead, according to traders who are against the proposals. 

Sandbach indoor market
BBC

Glass offices could be installed in the Victorian market hall, while stalls could be removed altogether or replaced with temporary tables. 

But the town council insists the venue is losing money and needs revitalising.

This lunchtime on BBC Midlands Today: Impact of junior doctors' strike

Michele Paduano

Health correspondent, BBC Midlands Today

Junior doctors at hospitals across the Midlands have joined an all-out strike, and for the first time in the history of the NHS, will not be providing emergency care.  

Junior doctors on strike
BBC

More than 300 operations and 3,000 out-patient appointments have been cancelled across the region as a result. 

We'll be looking at who's been affected and how our hospitals are coping from 13:30 on BBC One in Midlands Today.

Watch: Man in court over Staffordshire woman's murder

Chris King

Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

A man has appeared before magistrates accused of murdering a woman found stabbed at a house in Staffordshire.  

Fay Daniels, 30, was found at a property on Victoria Street, in Chesterton, at about 15:30 on Sunday. She had suffered stab wounds, police said.

Phillip Barlow, 36, of the same address was charged with murder on Monday.

He was remanded in custody by North Staffordshire magistrates to appear at Stafford Crown Court on Thursday.

News: Hillsborough fans unlawfully killed; man in court charged with murder; junior doctors on strike

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

The top stories this afternoon include:

- Ninety-six football fans, including a Stoke-on-Trent teenager, who died as a result of a crush in the Hillsborough disaster were unlawfully killed, the inquests have concluded

- A man has appeared before magistrates accused of murdering a woman found stabbed at a house in Staffordshire

- Hundreds of operations and appointments have been cancelled in Staffordshire and Cheshire because of the junior doctors' strike

Watch: Stoke and Staffordshire's weather this afternoon

Alexandra Hamilton

BBC Weather

If you want a weather update at any other time for your part of Staffordshire or Cheshire, head to the BBC website.

Hillsborough disaster: Fans unlawfully killed

Nafeesa Shan

Reporter, BBC News Online

Ninety-six football fans who died as a result of a crush in the Hillsborough disaster were unlawfully killed, the inquests have concluded.  

The jury also found police failures led to the deaths in 1989.  

Ambulance on pitch
BBC

Among the 96 who died was Paul Murray, 14, from Stoke-on-Trent - he was at the match as a birthday present.

Live reporting from the Hillsborough Inquests

Stoke-on-Trent homeless hostel could get more funds

James Bovill

Political reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

A homeless hostel in Stoke-on-Trent which was facing closure could be given more funding to stay open

The city council is expected this afternoon to recommend that the Lou Macari Centre stays open for a further three months. 

Named after the former Stoke City manager, the authority says it has already helped more than a hundred people. 

Further funding of £195,000 is expected to be given the go-ahead.

Watch: Hundreds of appointments and operations cancelled by doctors' strike

John Acres

BBC Radio Stoke

More than a thousand appointments have been cancelled across Staffordshire and Cheshire today because of the junior doctors' strike.

In their latest figures, the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust says it's made 931 cancellations. 

The total for today and tomorrow for Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is 342.

Signal problems 'fixed' at Stafford railway station

An update to our earlier report - National Rail Enquiries says the earlier signalling issue at Stafford has now been fixed. 

View more on twitter

Football: Players will leave Stoke City in the summer - Smith

Matt Sandoz

Stoke City commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Former Stoke City defender Denis Smith says he thinks there needs to be a number of changes made to the playing staff this summer.

Tunnel out of Britannia Stadium
Getty Images

The Potters have lost their last three games, conceding four goals in each match. 

Smith told BBC Radio Stoke that decisions needed to be made so it didn't continue into next season.

We will see players leaving in the summer and players coming in. It's not been a terrible season, we got through to the semi-final of the League Cup and we're in the top ten but it's just this at the moment hurts a great deal.

Denis SmithFormer Stoke City player

Your pictures: Peak District lambs and bird in flight

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

It's just great to see the range of pictures of Staffordshire and Cheshire you send us.

Take this one, from Villager Jim, of lambs in the Peak District.

Lambs
Villager Jim

Rachel Neill took this next photo of a bird about to take flight in Tamworth.

You can share your photos with me by sending them in on email,tweeting @BBCRadioStoke or adding them to Instagram with #bbcstoke in the description.

Bird in Tamworth
Rachel Neill

News: Strike forces hospital appointment cancellations; man charged with murder; homeless hostel set for more funds

Lee Blakeman

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

The main headlines this morning include:

- More than a thousand appointments have been cancelled across Staffordshire and Cheshire today because of the junior doctors' strike

- A man is due to appear in court today charged with the murder of a woman from Newcastle-under-Lyme

- A homeless hostel in Stoke-on-Trent which was facing closure could be given more funding to stay open

Man charged with murder after 30-year-old Fay Daniels found dead in house

The Sentinel

A man is due to appear in court this morning charged with the murder of a woman.

Forensics teams at the scene and inset, Fay Daniels
The Sentinel