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Summary

  1. Minute's applause in memory of ex-Port Vale captain Matt Carragher
  2. A&E waits of over eight hours as staff prepare for surge in demand
  3. Smoking numbers fall in city, according to health officials
  4. Wheelbarrow getaway for fowl thieves
  5. Updates from Friday 30 December

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Kasey Palmer

Huddersfield Town progress to the fourth round of the FA Cup with a comfortable win over Port Vale.

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Watford

Watford end a run of five games without a win by beating Championship side Burton Albion in the FA Cup.

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Matt Doherty

Helder Costa and Matt Doherty give Championship side Wolves victory over Premier League side Stoke in the FA Cup third round.

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Severe disruption: M6 Cheshire northbound

BBC Travel

M6 Cheshire northbound severe disruption, between J16 for A500 Crewe and J17 for A534 Sandbach.

M6 Cheshire - One lane blocked and very slow traffic on M6 northbound between J16, A500 (Crewe) and J17, A534 (Sandbach), because of a broken down vehicle. In the roadworks area.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Hay loft holes

You have been using Your Questions to ask about the West Midlands. Here are some of our answers.

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Win your way to the FA Cup Final

#PeoplesCup

Gary Lineker invites you to take part in the 2017 FA People's Cup

Sign up to the FA People's Cup and you could win your way on to the hallowed Wembley Stadium turf at half-time during the FA Cup Final.

Entries are now open and you can find out all the details here.

Football: Burton sign Leeds midfielder on loan

BBC Radio Derby

Burton Albion say they've signed the Leeds midfielder Luke Murphy on loan until the end of the season.

Luke Murphy
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The 27-year-old started at Crewe Alexandra before making the switch to Leeds in June 2013.

He's Burton's third January signing, after Will Miller's loan deal from Tottenham was extended and Luke Varney transferred from Ipswich Town.

Luke Murphy

Burton Albion sign midfielder Luke Murphy on loan from Championship rivals Leeds United until the end of the season.

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Where the BBC films in the Midlands: Interactive map

The BBC doesn't just film its shows in London, you know.

The corporation has pinpointed where its regional productions are filmed.

Check it out below...

View more on twitter
Cohen Bramall

Arsenal's new signing Cohen Bramall could have the same impact as England striker Jamie Vardy, after moving from non-league Hednesford.

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Flash Ley Community Primary School and Nursery

A primary school forced to close when a toxic chemical was discovered reopens.

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Cinema and Star Wars AT-ACT among amazing garden makeovers
From a giant Star Wars AT-ACT to a cinema and haunted chapel - these are the amazing garden makeovers.
Alex Jones

Bradford City sign Birmingham striker Alex Jones for an undisclosed fee following the end of his Port Vale loan.

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Cannabis plants

Two men are jailed for their involvement in a £1m cannabis factory at a farm, which was concealed behind hay in a barn.

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Non-league footballer moves from Hednesford Town to Arsenal
Non-league footballer Cohen Bramall has earned a dream move from Hednesford Town to Arsenal.

Severe accident: A500 Staffordshire southbound

BBC Travel

A500 Staffordshire southbound severe accident, between A34 Newcastle Road and Reginald Mitchell Way Kidsgrove.

A500 Staffordshire - A500 in Stoke-On-Trent closed southbound between Talke Roundabout and Kidsgrove, because of an accident involving two vehicles.

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Jill Saward

Jill Saward, who became a sex assault campaigner after she was raped at her father's vicarage, dies aged 51.

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Eleven winter lambs born after rams break into ewes' field
Eleven lambs have been born in winter at a farm in Staffordshire after rams broke through to the ewes.

Homes evacuated during cannabis factory raid

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

Houses on a street in Burton had to be evacuated during a police raid on a cannabis factory. 

Staffordshire Police say officers searched the site on Goodman Street early this morning and found 80 plants and drug production equipment.

Goodman Street
Google

They say while they were there, an unknown substance was found and several nearby homes were evacuated while it was checked - it turned out to be harmless. 

Officers say one man's been arrested after initially running away and a second man's also been arrested but is being treated in hospital for burns to his face, which the force say he suffered before they arrived.

Will Miller

Burton Albion extend Will Miller's loan deal from Premier League side Tottenham until the end of the season.

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Jill Saward: Rape victim helped change laws

Jill Saward, who's died aged 51, said she had first spoken out about being raped during a burglary at her father's vicarage in 1986 to help tighten rape laws and get better victim support.

In 1994, she set up a help group for victims and their families, and also became a counsellor.

Among the causes she successfully campaigned for was the barring of accused rapists from cross-examining victims while representing themselves in court.

Jill Saward taking part in a course on violent crime in 1994
PA

Ms Saward also believed forgiveness was "very important".

"They'd destroyed enough, I didn't want them to destroy anything else. Forgiveness gave me that liberation, that freedom, to move on," she said.

In 1998, she came face-to-face with a member of the gang who devastated her life - but did not rape her - and told him: "You don't need to say sorry."

BreakingEaling vicarage rape victim Jill Saward dies

Liam Barnes

BBC News Online

A woman who became a sexual assault campaigner after she was raped during a burglary at her father's vicarage in 1986 has died.

Jill Saward
BBC

Jill Saward, then 21, was sexually assaulted by two men in Ealing, west London. Her boyfriend and father Michael were severely beaten.

At the end of the trial of her rapists, the judge said her trauma "had not been so great", sparking outrage.

She was the first rape victim in the UK to waive her anonymity. 

Based in Hednesford, Staffordshire, in recent years, she went on to become a vocal campaigner on behalf of fellow victims.

Cash stolen as thieves burgle village post office

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

Thieves have burgled a Staffordshire village post office, stealing "a large quantity of cash".  

Post office in Stretton
Google

Staffordshire Police say the two burglars scaled a fence early on Monday morning to get into the building on Main Street, Stretton.

Officers say the pair were seen leaving in a silver-coloured vehicle and heading south on the A38.

Football: Non-league left-back tipped as 'great talent' as Arsenal deal looms

Ged Scott

BBC Sport

The director of football at Nantwich Town's told the BBC he's "proud" to have played a small part in developing Hednesford Town youngster Cohen Bramall, who's tipped to sign for Arsenal.

Cohen Bramall
Express and Star

The 20-year-old left-back looks set to leave the Staffordshire-based Northern Premier League side for North London in a deal worth £40,000. 

Bramall, from the South Cheshire area, worked full-time in the Bentley car factory in Crewe until being made redundant, before working in a clothes shop.

Cohen's a lovely lad. I'm not sure he was taking his football that seriously and he went around the area a bit, at Kidsgrove, Alsager, Market Drayton and Newcastle, before moving on to Hednesford. But sometimes it can take time. He played against us for Hednesford earlier in the season and he was man of the match."

Jon GoldNantwich director of football

Football: Crouch looking to hit scoring milestone with Stoke

Matt Sandoz

Stoke City commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

The Stoke City striker Peter Crouch says he's hopeful he can score his 100th Premier League goal before the end of the season.

Peter Crouch after scoring against Watford
Gareth Copley/Getty Images

If he does reach that target, he'll become only the 17th English player to score a century in the league.

For me, it's great playing again, I've really enjoyed the last three games, just playing again and hopefully I can have an impact towards the end of the season."

Peter CrouchStoke City striker

Your pictures: Frozen herb and the county power station

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

Now for some more of your pictures and this first one was shared via Instagram by Paul Guest who saw this "frozen willow herb" on a path near Bucknall, Stoke-on-Trent.

From Instagram in January, of frozen willow herb on path near Bucknall
Paul Guest

While the well known profile of Rugeley's power station was the background to this photo of bikers, taken by David Macleman.

You can send your pictures in of Staffordshire or Cheshire by email or put them on Instagram, using the tag #bbcstoke if you agree to share them.

Bikers going past Rugeley power station
David Macleman

Football: Burton manager pleased with 'experienced Championship' signing

BBC Sport

Burton Albion's manager Nigel Clough says the club have signed a "good, experienced Championship player" in Luke Varney. 

Luke Varney
Rex Features

The 34-year-old has moved to the Brewers from Ipswich Town on an 18-month deal, after Mick McCarthy's side agreed to cancel the remainder of his contract. 

He could play in Burton's FA Cup tie at Watford on Saturday.

He's a good, experienced Championship player. He's had a couple of knocks and injuries and things, but I don't think he's got anything to prove in the Championship."

Nigel CloughBurton Albion

Severe disruption: M6 Cheshire northbound

BBC Travel

M6 Cheshire northbound severe disruption, between J16 for A500 Crewe and J17 for A534 Sandbach.

M6 Cheshire - One lane closed on M6 northbound between J16, A500 (Crewe) and J17, A534 (Sandbach), because of a broken down vehicle.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Football: Non-league youngster expected to be Arsenal signing

Lee Blakeman

BBC Radio Stoke Sport

A non-league footballer from Cheshire could be about to see his dreams come true by signing for Premier League giants Arsenal. 

Arsenal badge
Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Cohen Bramall, 20, came through the youth system at Nantwich Town and has also played for Newcastle Town and Alsager Town. 

Bramall is reported to have trained with Arsenal's first team already, ahead of a move from Evo Stik Premier Division side Hednesford Town. 

The Alexandra Stadium

By Jim Reed, Louis Lee Ray and David Ornstein

BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme

The FA has suspended Paul McCann, a Crewe Alexandra coach in the 1980s and 90s, the BBC has learned.

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Kinver Edge beauty spot in centenary milestone
Centenary celebrations are being planned 100 years after Kinver Edge on the Staffordshire/Worcestershire border was donated to the National Trust.
Lee Grant

Stoke secure Lee Grant on a permanent basis after agreeing a £1.3m two-and-a-half-year deal with Derby County for the goalkeeper.

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Severe disruption: M6 Staffordshire northbound

BBC Travel

M6 Staffordshire northbound severe disruption, between J14 for A34 and J15 for A500.

M6 Staffordshire - One lane closed on M6 northbound between J14, A34 (Stafford North) and J15, A500 (Stoke-On-Trent), because of a broken down vehicle.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Luke Varney

Burton Albion sign forward Luke Varney from Championship rivals Ipswich Town on an 18-month contract.

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