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  1. New 24-hour emergency mental health team for Staffordshire
  2. Colleges complete merger with 11,000 students
  3. Football: Burton's Ben Turner banned for racial abuse
  4. Saido Berahino: Former manager Tony Pulis says 'life is too short' to dwell on the past
  5. Updates from Friday 31 March 2017

Live Reporting

By Allen Cook

All times stated are UK

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Severe disruption: M6 West Midlands northbound

BBC News Travel

M6 West Midlands northbound severe disruption, between J10 for A454 and J10A for M54.

M6 West Midlands - Two lanes closed and very slow traffic on M6 northbound between J10, A454 (Wolverhampton) and J10a M54, because of a broken down vehicle.

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

Severe accident: A38 Staffordshire southbound

BBC News Travel

A38 Staffordshire southbound severe accident, between A5121 and A5121.

A38 Staffordshire - A38 in Burton Upon Trent closed and queuing traffic southbound between Clay Mills and Branston Interchange, because of an accident.

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

Severe accident: A50 Staffordshire both ways

BBC News Travel

A50 Staffordshire both ways severe accident, between A522 Uttoxeter and A521 Blythe Bridge Roundabout.

A50 Staffordshire - A50 closed and slow traffic in both directions between Uttoxeter in Beamhurst and Blythe Bridge Roundabout in Saverley Green, because of an accident involving 2 vehicles.

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

Jamie Vardy & Christian Fuchs

Amy Lofthouse

BBC Sport

Wilfred Ndidi and Jamie Vardy score as Leicester City beat Stoke City and register their fourth consecutive Premier League win.

Read more
Leicester 2-0 Stoke: Potters lacked quality - Hughes
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes says his side lacked quality as the Potters slipped to a 2-0 defeat to Leicester City.

Luke Berry scored twice to help Cambridge United keep their slim play-off hopes alive with a victory at Crewe Alexandra.

Read more

Port Vale move out of the League One relegation zone with a vital home victory over Shrewsbury Town.

Read more
Leicester 2-0 Stoke: Foxes still not safe - Craig Shakespeare
Leicester City interim manager Craig Shakespeare insists the Foxes are still not safe from relegation despite a 2-0 home win to Stoke City to make it four consecutive victories.
Jackson Irvine

Jackson Irvine scores an injury-time goal as Burton beat 10-man promotion hopefuls Huddersfield Town.

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'One of the best'

Leicester 1-0 Stoke

Jason Roberts

Former West Brom striker on Final Score

It's an incredible goal. Absolutely one of the best goals I've seen! 

Wilfred Ndidi celebrates

Team news

Leicester v Stoke (15:00 BST)

Leicester name Demarai Gray in their starting line-up. He comes in for Marc Albrighton, who misses out through illness.   

Leicester XI: Schmeichel, Simpson, Huth, Benalouane, Fuchs, Ndidi, Drinkwater, Mahrez, Gray, Okazaki, Vardy  


Geoff Cameron isn't fit enough to start for Stoke after picking up an injury on international duty. Glenn Whelan comes back into central midfield and Glen Johnson replaces Phil Bardsley, who is suspended. 

Stoke XI:  Grant; Johnson, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Pieters; Arnautovic, Whelan, Allen, Ramadan; Walters; Berahino.  


Our live coverage across the day

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

On Midlands Today from 18:30: Stoke striker speaks out on drugs ban and leaving West Brom

Dan Pallett

BBC Midlands Today Sport

On Midlands Today this evening, we'll have reaction to the Stoke City striker Saido Berahino saying he failed a drugs test earlier this season because someone spiked his drink in a nightclub. 

Saido Berahino
Gareth Copley/Getty Images

The former West Brom player's also had some strong words to say about his previous club and why he joined the Potters. 

We'll have more and reaction to what he's said on BBC One from 18:30 .

Second phase of 'major road' works starting

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

The second part of work to resurface a road  in Congleton starts this weekend.

Manchester Road, Congleton

Over the next two days, Cheshire East Council says staff will be working to finish work on Manchester Road between Lower Heath and Macclesfield Road/Manchester Road junction

Earlier this month they resurfaced a stretch of Macclesfield Road and say they'll look to finish with a different part of that road next month.

Football: Injury concerns mount for Burton ahead of Huddersfield game

BBC Sport

The Burton Albion manager Nigel Clough will assess a returning international quartet of players ahead of their game tomorrow at Huddersfield Town. 

Jackson Irvine (pictured), Tom Flanagan, Cauley Woodrow and Lasse Vigen Christensen will be checked. 

Jackson Irvine
Getty Images

John Brayford, Kyle McFadzean and Luke Murphy suffered knocks in the loss to Brentford and will also be assessed. 

The Brewers have lost only one of their last seven league games while Huddersfield have won seven and lost just one of their last nine home league games.

Watch: Latest weather forecast

Rebecca Wood

BBC Weather

Find out what the weekend has in store.

You can also get latest forecasts at any other time from the  BBC Weather website .

Rebecca Wood has your forecast

'Contamination' warning over cost-cutting bin changes

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

People in parts of Staffordshire are being warned their garden waste bins will not be emptied after tomorrow if food rubbish is found in them.

East Staffordshire Borough Council's changed collections from 1 April in an attempt to save around £280,000 a year.

Bins being collected
East Staffordshire Borough Council

The authority says composting food waste is expensive so it wants residents to now put it in their main grey bin. 

If they don't, the council says its bin men will class it as "contamination" in the garden waste bin and they won't be collected.

Football: Crewe were 'punching well below' their weight this season - Callum Cooke

Graham McGarry

Crewe Alexandra commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Midfielder Callum Cooke says the Crewe Alexandra team has come along way since he made his debut for the club in January. 

Callum Cooke

The Middlesbrough loanee was part of the team that lost 4-0 at Exeter. 

Since then, the Alex have won six of the 10 games they've played.

When I came in the changing room, I looked around and I thought we've got some good players in here, we're punching well below our weight. I think it's starting to show now that we're creeping up the table a bit and rightly so."

Callum CookeCrewe Alexandra loanee
Ben Turner

Burton defender Ben Turner is banned for five games after a disciplinary panel finds him guilty of racially abusing an opponent.

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New 24-hour emergency mental health team for Staffordshire

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

A 24-hour mental health team is going to be introduced in Staffordshire as part of a £30m NHS England project. 

The health service says the team at the University Hospital of North Midlands will be available day and night in hospital to help with "urgent" mental health needs. 

NHS England Chief tells Today the service will do more but under constrained circumstances

It's been revealed as part of a progress report by NHS England boss Simon Stevens on his five-year strategy for the health service, launched in 2014 .

Overall, he's said NHS patients in England face longer waits for hospital operations such as knee and hip replacements in a "trade-off" for improved care in other areas. 

BreakingBrewers Ben Turner banned for racial abuse

BBC Derby Sport

Burton Albion defender Ben Turner has been banned for five games after being found guilty of using racially abusive language towards Brentford's Nico Yennaris by an independent panel.

Ben Turner
Getty Images

The 28-year-old has also been fined £8,000 and ordered to attend a Football Association education course.  

Saido Berahino: Former manager Tony Pulis says 'life is too short' to dwell on the past

BBC Sport

The West Brom boss Tony Pulis says "life is too short" to worry about what has gone on in the past with now-Stoke City striker Saido Berahino. 

The former Baggies player said the club offered him no support during an eight-week drugs ban, which came after  "his drink was spiked"  in a nightclub.  

Saido Berahino
Getty Images

But Pulis said there were no hard feelings towards the 23-year-old, who  joined Stoke in January .  

He's at a club that I've got a lot of good feeling for and a lot of passion for, and I hope they have a great time together."

Tony PulisStoke City manager

BBC Weather Watcher pictures: Ipstones and Madeley

BBC Weather Watchers

Appy ippy girl

The sunshine's returned today in Staffordshire and our BBC Weather Watchers  have been grabbing photos of the flowers which are in bloom already.

These two are from users Appy ippy girl in Ipstones and Young Ted in Madeley.

Young ted

Colleges complete merger with 11,000 students

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

Two colleges in Cheshire have formally completed a merger today , aimed at securing their futures.

South Cheshire College

The combined new organisation of South Cheshire College and West Cheshire College says it'll have an annual turnover of £40m and more than 11,000 students. 

The colleges say the move was first announced last summer and they've moved to assure students that it won't mean changes to their curriculum.

Shaqiri setback for Stoke

Stoke boss Mark Hughes with some team news regarding Xherdan Shaqiri, who has not featured for the Potters since January but played for Switzerland last weekend. 

"The only doubt for Saturday is Xherdan Shaqiri. He's had a bit of a setback with his calf tissue which we need to get to the bottom of," Hughes says. 

"We don't anticipate him being out for too long. Hopefully he'll be back for the Liverpool match."

Xherdan Shaqiri
Getty Images

Residents invited to air concerns about towns' 'dangerous' roads

Lichfield Mercury

Burton Albion v Huddersfield tomorrow

BBC Derby Sport

Burton Albion continue their fight against relegation  with a visit to Huddersfield tomorrow.

The Brewers are just a point above the Championship relegation zone.

League table

Watch: Friday's selection of your pictures of Staffordshire and Cheshire

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

I've picked out these four pictures from the ones you've sent in of the area.

If you want to share a photo you've taken of Staffordshire or Cheshire, you can send them in on email or, if you use Instagram, put them there with the tag #bbcstoke to show you agree to share them.

Your pictures

Football: Port Vale facing 'must-win' Wimbledon game

Lee Blakeman

Port Vale commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

The former Port Vale midfielder Chris Birchall has described tomorrow's game against AFC Wimbledon as an absolute must-win, if the Vale want to stay up.

Former Port Vale player Chris Birchall
Harry Trump/Getty Images

Vale have been boosted going into the fixture by the news that defender Remie Streete is expected to be fit enough to play. 

Michael Brown's side are a point away from safety with eight games to go .

It's getting tougher, games are running out and I think Saturday is a must-win against Wimbledon, one of the home games and then you look at the other home games against the top two, it's going to be difficult if they don't get a result on Saturday."

Chris BirchallFormer Port Vale midfielder

MP told future of Burton's A&E unit 'secure'

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

A Staffordshire MP says he's had assurances from NHS bosses that the future of the A&E department in Burton "is secure". 

Under plans revealed last year by health bosses to save £542m across five years , they said one of the three A&E units in Staffordshire could be downgraded.

Burton A&E unit at the hospital

Officials said any specific areas would go out to public consultation with decisions not being taken until the end of 2017. 

Today the Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant says he's met with officials at Burton Hospitals NHS Trust and been told the future of both Burton A&E and Lichfield's Minor Injuries Unit is secure. 

He's called the news encouraging - Burton Hospitals NHS Trust has yet to comment on his statement.

Facebook removes 'treasured' photo: Woman alters original picture to meet guidelines

Jack Dowling

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

We told you earlier that Facebook had removed a "treasured" photograph that a Stoke-on-Trent woman had put on the social media platform, after another user reported it for child nudity.

Samantha Potts has now shared with us an updated version of the picture, taken on holiday with her grandmother when she was six or seven years old.

Altered image of Samantha's photo
Samantha Potts

She says she's now uploaded the picture again, but altered it with a computer programme to "cover up" the torso of her younger self. 

Facebook say they will not be reinstating the original photo as it "violated our Community Standards around nudity of a minor" - even though that minor is now 22 years old.

Severe accident: M6 Staffordshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Staffordshire northbound severe accident, between J13 for A449 and J14 for A34 affecting J11A for M6 Toll.

M6 Staffordshire - Two lanes closed, queuing traffic and severe delays on M6 northbound between J13, A449 (Stafford South) and J14, A34 (Stafford North), because of an accident. Travel time is around 80 minutes. Congestion to J11a M6 Toll.

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

Your say: Inquiry into 12-hour M6 closure for emergency bridge repairs

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

You've been having your say on the news that MPs are set to examine why Highways England shut the M6 in Staffordshire a week ago more than 12 hours due to an "unsafe" bridge. 

The closure was between junctions 14 and 15 so concrete panels could be urgently removed from the A51 bridge.

The Stoke South Labour MP Rob Flello told the BBC that a committee he's part of, the Transport Select Committee, will look at why it was shut for several hours.

The closure caused hours of tailbacks on surrounding routes

In response to the news, Archie tweeted : "I was the third vehicle on the M6 when it opened. How it took 13 hours to remove the plates I'll never know, I was shocked." 

While Sharon McGreal commented on the BBC Radio Stoke Facebook page : "Was it best to be shut or face what could have happened? Lives could have been lost. Yes it is annoying if you are stuck in it."

Drivers given taxi licences despite criminal convictions

BBC Inside Out

Hundreds of taxi drivers have been granted licences despite declaring criminal convictions for sex offences, burglary and assault, figures show. 

Six councils in north-west England, including Cheshire East Council, granted or renewed permits for more than 300 convicted drivers since 2012.

They include a Cheshire East driver convicted of indecent exposure.

Top of a taxi
Getty Images

MP Andrew Gwynne has called for current legislation to be tightened. 

Five of the six councils, again including Cheshire East Council, who granted licences to convicted drivers defended their procedures and said a wide range of checking systems were in place.

Inside Out North West is on Friday 31 March at 19.30 BST on BBC One in the North West and later on BBC iPlayer for 30 days

Travel: Two-vehicle crash shuts two lanes on M6

A two-vehicle crash has shut two lanes on the M6 in Cheshire this afternoon.

Highways England say it's between junctions 18 and 17 near Middlewich and Sandbach.

Scene of crash
Highways England

Severe accident: M6 Cheshire southbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Cheshire southbound severe accident, at J17 for A534 Sandbach affecting J19 for A556.

M6 Cheshire - Severe delays, two lanes closed and queuing traffic on M6 southbound at J17, A534 (Sandbach), because of an accident involving lorry and car. In the roadworks area. Travel time is over 100 minutes. Congestion to J19, A556 (Knutsford).

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

Severe disruption: M6 Staffordshire southbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Staffordshire southbound severe disruption, at Stafford Services.

M6 Staffordshire - M6 lane closed on slip road into the services southbound at Stafford Services, because of a broken down vehicle. Traffic is coping well.

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

Severe disruption: M6 Cheshire southbound

BBC News Travel

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

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

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