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  1. The top stories on Tuesday 5 July 2016

Live Reporting

By Allen Cook

All times stated are UK

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Soldier death family prepare for Iraq war report

Matt Lee

Breakfast Producer, BBC Radio Stoke

The family of a Stoke-on-Trent soldier who was killed in Iraq in 2003 are in London this morning, to hear the findings of the Chilcot Report into the conflict.

Stephen Allbutt

Sir John Chilcot, who chaired the UK's inquiry, says he hopes future military action on such a scale will only be possible with more careful analysis and political judgement.

He also told the BBC it would criticise individuals and institutions.

Debi Allbutt's husband Stephen from Sneyd Green died in a "friendly fire" attack in Basra in 2003.  

I'm hoping that I can be able to get the truth or something. The perfect result would be that yes, they were negligent in sending the troops out, especially sending the troops out quickly and basically that someone will be accountable."

Debi Allbutt

Travel: Crash on A50 in Uttoxeter

BBC Travel

There's queuing traffic on the A50 eastbound in Uttoxeter at the Little Chef roundabout because of an accident.

Travel: Congestion on A5 near Lichfield

BBC Travel

There's queuing traffic on the A5 eastbound in Shenstone near Lichfield this morning.

The weather for the West Midlands

The weather for the West Midlands.

Our live coverage across the day

We'll be back with our usual mix of news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 tomorrow, but keep an eye out here for more updates this evening and into the morning. 

Bosley to remember anniversary of fatal mill blast

Tom Mullen

Reporter, BBC News Online

Religious services and a flower festival will be held to mark the first anniversary of a huge explosion that left four people dead at a wood flour mill in Bosley, Cheshire.  

The services, held at the village's Methodist church, will pay tribute to Derek Moore, Jason Shingler, William Banks and Dorothy Bailey, who all died at Bosley Mill on 17 July last year.  

Scene of Bosley explosion
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service

Sam Alston, chairman of Bosley Parish Council, said the anniversary would be a "difficult time" for people, and "emotions will be running high".

The flower festival begins on 15 July, and further details of timings for the services will be released next week.

Three warthog piglets make debut at Cheshire zoo

Jenny Coleman

Reporter, BBC Local Live

Three tiny warthog piglets, named after Harry Potter characters, have made their debuts at Chester Zoo, Cheshire.

The piglets, which have been revealed as two girls and one boy, have been called Hedwig, Nagini and Aragog in tribute to some of the animals at the famous school of witchcraft and wizardry.

The trio arrived to mum Tamzin and dad Magnum on 9 June after a six-month pregnancy.  

Football: Trio of Portugese signings for Port Vale

Mike Perkins

BBC Radio Stoke Sport

Port Vale have announced they've signed three Portuguese players this afternoon.

Paulo Tavares (l), Francisco Rosa (m), Carlos Saleiro (r)
Port Vale FC

Striker Carlos Saleiro, 30, has joined from Clube Oriental de Lisboa who play in Portugal's second division. 

He's been joined in Burslem by midfielder Paulo Tavares, 30, and left-back Francisco Rosa, 23, who've both played under Vale's new manager Bruno Ribeiro at Vitoria Setubal.

Latest: A&E 'not designed' for this summer's demand; hairdressers wanted to tackle abuse; sports stars on underpass mural

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

Let's get you the latest top stories in Staffordshire and Cheshire now:

- The NHS Trust behind two Staffordshire hospitals says their A&E service isn't designed for the level of demand they are currently seeing this summer

- Hairdressers are being recruited in the West Midlands to help uncover domestic abuse  

- Tamworth's sporting stars have been depicted on a town underpass

Watch: 'Salon saviours' to cut domestic abuse

Bob Hockenhull

BBC Midlands Today

Hairdressers are being recruited in the West Midlands to help uncover domestic abuse. 

The project, called Salon Saviours, is based on the idea that people will talk about their home lives while having their hair done.

Kathy Coe from Staffordshire (featured in video) endured seven years of domestic abuse. She now helps others and believes hairdressers are an underused asset.

West Midlands Police is launching the scheme and I'll have more on BBC One from 18:30 in Midlands Today.

BBC Weather Watchers: Pictures of this morning's skies

Monica Rimmer

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

It looked to be a varied picture on the weather front this morning judging by the look of the pictures our BBC Weather Watchers uploaded.

Some places were overcast, as in JonnyG's snap of Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, whereas other areas had blue skies, including Congleton, as photographed by Dawn Treader.

Longton, Stoke-on-Trent
Congleton, Cheshire
Dawn Treader

Your say: The careers advice you were given at school

Matt Lee

Breakfast Producer, BBC Radio Stoke

You've been having your say on the BBC Radio Stoke Facebook page about MPs today saying schools offering substandard careers advice should be downgraded in Ofsted inspections.

They say it could be harming the economy although head teachers' leaders said a "big stick" would not solve "severe problems".

Science being taught in classroom

In terms of the careers advice our audience has had, Julie Smith posted: "I got told to go and work in a shoe shop in town but instead became a chef - always wanted to be a nurse or hairdresser."

While Craig McKenzie wrote: "I was told I'd never amount to anything. I've travelled the world four times, worked on cruises and am now a successful businessman".

And John Cliffe added: "My careers adviser kept saying to get a job in the pit, they will always need coal and you will never be out of a job. Within 20 years, the coal industry had disappeared.I went into engineering and loved it."

Watch: Tonight and tomorrow's weather for Stoke and Staffordshire

Sara Blizzard

BBC Weather

You can also head to the BBC Weather website for the latest forecasts.

UKIP's Paul Nuttall 'interested' in becoming leader

Phil McCann

Cheshire Political Reporter, BBC News

The North West UKIP MEP Paul Nuttall says he is interested in becoming the party's leader following the resignation of Nigel Farage

Paul Nuttall

He had refused to be drawn on the issue yesterday, saying he needed time to consider. 

Mr Nuttall has been deputy leader of UKIP for six years.

Football: Crewe sign former Rochdale, Scunthorpe, Orient and Hibernian striker

Graham McGarry

Crewe Alexandra commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Crewe Alexandra have made their second signing of the summer by bringing in much-travelled striker Chris Dagnall.  

Chris Dagnall

The 30-year-old will form a new strike partnership with 37-year-old veteran Ryan Lowe, who returned to the club for a third time earlier this summer.  

We're getting another forward with a proven record, who has scored at this level and above. Him and [Ryan Lowe] will have scored more than 320 goals between them."

Steve DavisCrewe Alexandra manager

Tamworth's sporting stars revealed on underpass

BBC Radio Stoke

Tamworth's sporting stars have been depicted on a town underpass.

A section of the mural
Tamworth Borough Council

The artwork shows snowboarder Adam Gendle, footballer Marc Albrighton, athlete Meghan Beesley and boxer Ryan Hatton and was spray-painted by local artists on the underpass under River Drive bridge, between the SnowDome and the bowling alley.

Last year, the Ladybridge underpass was painted with a mural based on borough history, which included Second World War hero Colin Grazier, Sir Robert Peel, Tamworth Castle, swans, a Reliant Robin and a Tamworth pig.

Football: Potential Stoke target Nani joins Valencia

BBC Sport

Unlucky Stoke City fans - Valencia have signed Portuguese international Nani on a three-year deal. 

The Potters had been interested in signing the 29-year-old.

View more on twitter
Nikki Sinclaire

An ex-MEP urges jurors to consider why she would have falsely claimed expenses shortly after being warned of similar allegations about a colleague.

Read more

Football: New Port Vale signings urged by former star to adapt quickly

Lee Blakeman

Port Vale commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Former Port Vale star Robin Van Der Laan says it's essential that the club's new overseas signings adjust quickly to playing in England.

Vale Park
Getty Images

Five new players arrived at Vale Park last week with at least two more expected in the next few days. 

Van Der Laan told BBC Radio Stoke that they have to adapt straight away.

You don't have to be a 6ft 5in man mountain to adjust to the English game, there are small players who are just as comfortable with the English game - you just have to make sure that, if there is a tackle to be made, you're not going to shy away from it.

Robin Van Der LaanFormer Port Vale player

News: Warning of summer pressure on A&E; ambulance worker attacked; store creating 40 new jobs

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

This afternoon's top stories include:

- Staffordshire's two main hospitals have seen "unprecedented demand" at their A&E units this summer

- An ambulance technician has been assaulted by a patient in Cannock, the ambulance service says  

- Forty new jobs will be created in Stafford, according to Marks and Spencer, as the firm relocates to a new, larger store

'Rocketing summer demand' putting strain on Staffordshire A&E

Chris King

Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

Staffordshire's two main hospitals have seen "unprecedented demand" at their A&E units this summer, health bosses say.

Royal Stoke University Hospital

According to the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, which runs the sites, 600 people accessed A&E services yesterday - the fourth time it's happened this year. 

The trust says the figure covers Royal Stoke University Hospital plus County Hospital and Emergency Eye Clinic in Stafford. Managers, it adds, would normally expect to see 490 patients a day in their emergency departments.

It is clear that rocketing summer demand is placing the same strain on services to that of winter and we are asking the public for their help once again. "

Robert Courteney-HarrisUniversity Hospitals of North Midlands chief executive

Travel: Crash closes A533 in Sandbach, Cheshire

BBC Travel

The A533 The Hill in Sandbach, Cheshire is closed both ways between the junctions of Hassall Road and Colley Lane because of a crash.

Store to create 40 new jobs in Stafford

Lucy King

News Editor, BBC Radio Stoke

Forty new jobs will be created in Stafford, according to Marks and Spencer, as the firm relocates to a new, larger store. 

Riverside site under construction

It says it will shut its shop on Gaolgate Street in the town centre in August, the day before a branch opens at the new Riverside Shopping Centre.

M&S says all staff from the old store will be relocated to the new site.

News: 'Rocketing' demand for A&E; concern over maternity services review; ambulance worker 'attacked' by patient

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

This lunchtime's headlines:

- Staffordshire's two main hospitals have seen "unprecedented demand" at their A&E units this summer, health bosses say

- Campaigners calling for the return of a full maternity service to Stafford's hospital say a review into the matter should have happened much sooner  

- An ambulance technician has been assaulted by a patient in Cannock, the ambulance service says

Man hurt in Lichfield attack

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

A man's suffered injuries to his head and hands in an attack in Lichfield, police have revealed.

Stafford Road, Lichfield

Staffordshire Police say the assault happened on Sunday on Stafford Road and the 41-year-old needed hospital treatment.

The force says it's now trying to find suspects who were in two vehicles.

On Midlands Today this lunchtime: The schools affected by strikes

Amy Cole

BBC Midlands Today

Dozens of schools across the West Midlands are either closed or partly closed today because of strike action by teachers.

NUT members protesting

Members of the National Union of Teachers have walked out in a row over pay, pensions and conditions. 

We'll have the latest on Midlands Today from 13:30.

Football: Butland tipped by Stoke to become England's number one

Matt Sandoz

Stoke City commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Stoke City's assistant manager Mark Bowen has backed goalkeeper Jack Butland to become the first choice goalkeeper for England.

Jack Butland in training
Stoke City

Current number one Joe Hart was heavily criticised following a couple of errors at Euro 2016 this summer. 

Bowen told BBC Radio Stoke that he thinks Butland will have another great season after recovering from a broken ankle.

Ex-MEP says it 'defies sense' to claim fake expenses after warning over colleague

An ex-Ukip MEP has told jurors it defied sense to make fake expenses claims in the same month she was warned about a colleague later jailed over the alleged practice. 

Nikki Sinclaire, who represented the West Midlands until 2014, denies submitting "significant" expenses claims that she knew to be false. 

She said her expenses were submitted by her staff, and alleged that at least one claim was "deliberately corrupted" by a former aide who was acting as a spy for the Ukip hierarchy.

Nikki Sinclaire

She told Birmingham Crown Court today that it made no sense for her to start filing false claims from October 2009, as the prosecution suggests, as this was the same month Ukip briefed all its elected members about wrong-doing by then-MEP Tom Wise.

Wise admitted fiddling £36,000 of his Brussels travel expenses at his trial the following month.

Ambulance worker 'attacked' by patient in Cannock

Jack Dowling

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

An ambulance technician has been assaulted by a patient in Cannock, the ambulance service says. 

West Midlands Ambulance Service has highlighted several cases of abuse towards their staff in the past few days, saying it wants the public to "show their disgust" at people who attack them. 


In the Cannock case, the service says the technician was attacked on Friday and left with bruises and scratches.

Your pictures: Smallthorne sunset and scenic woodland

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

Some amazing colours in this sunset which was photographed by Andrew Hayward in Smallthorne, Stoke-on-Trent.

Andrew Hayward

This woodland scene in Barlaston was sent in by Jon Kelso.

If you want to send in a picture you've taken in Staffordshire or Cheshire, then email, tweet @BBCRadioStoke or use Instagram (with the tag #bbcstoke).

Jon Kelso

Concern over time taken for maternity services review

Emma Thomas

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

Campaigners calling for the return of a full maternity service to Stafford's hospital say a review into the matter should have happened much sooner. 

The government has asked NHS England to consider the issue - and whether the site can provide safe maternity care - after recommendations from administrators of the former Stafford Hospital (now County Hospital) trust that was at the centre of a major public inquiry into care failings.

Consultant-led services switched to the Royal Stoke University Hospital in January 2015, a move that many people criticised amid concerns over extra journey times and additional demand on the Stoke site.

Entrance to the County Hospital

Really we have to bring back the services. You look at Stafford at present, we've got the army families having returned, we've got increasing housing, the demand is getting higher."

Karen HowellFounder of the Support Stafford Hospital campaign

Watch: Stoke and Staffordshire's weather for this afternoon

Charlie Slater

BBC Weather presenter

Here's how the afternoon is looking, and remember, to get a forecast for your part of Staffordshire or Cheshire at any other time, head to the BBC Weather website.

Body discovery in Tamworth 'not suspicious'

Liam Barnes

BBC News Online

I can update you now on the story we told you about earlier - the discovery of a body in Fazeley Road, Tamworth.

Staffordshire Police says the circumstances surrounding the death are not believed to be suspicious and officers are not looking for anyone else in connection with it.

Conservative leadership race: Staffordshire MPs declare their support

James Bovill

Staffordshire Political Reporter, BBC News

Conservative MPs are beginning the process of choosing their next leader and UK prime minister, with the first round of voting under way today. 

Theresa May goes in to the ballot with a lead among Tory MPs but energy minister Andrea Leadsom, Michael Gove, Stephen Crabb and Liam Fox also hope to succeed David Cameron.  

Conservative leadership candidates

In Staffordshire, a number of the county's MPs have declared who they are supporting:

Michael Gove - Michael Fabricant (Lichfield)

Andrea Leadsom - Bill Cash (Stone)

Theresa May - Karen Bradley (Staffordshire Moorlands); Jeremy Lefroy (Stafford); Andrew Griffiths (Burton and Uttoxeter); Gavin Williamson (South Staffordshire)

Undeclared - Amanda Milling (Cannock Chase); Christopher Pincher (Tamworth)

Travel: Crash on M6 near Stoke-on-Trent

BBC Travel

There are two lanes closed on the M6 southbound between junctions 16 and 15 in Staffordshire because of a collision involving a car and a lorry.