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  1. Updates from the past week

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Jack Butland

Ellie Thomason

BBC Sport

Stoke and West Ham edge closer to Premier League safety after a goalless draw at the Bet365 Stadium.

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Cauley Woodrow

Substitute Luke Varney scores his first Burton goal to confirm the club's Championship status with a draw with Barnsley.

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Football: Former MP pledges local support for Port Vale in survival bid

Matt Sandoz

BBC Radio Stoke Sport

The big weekend is almost here for Port Vale fans, when their side need to win at Fleetwood Town to have any realistic chance of staying in League One.

Ahead of the match, their caretaker manager Michael Brown says if they do survive, it'll be a "great achievement" for his players. 

Port Vale caretaker manager Michael Brown

Meanwhile the former Stoke-on-Trent MP Joan Walley, a lifelong Port Vale fan, says the whole of Burslem is backing the side.

Former MP Joan Walley

Plane pulls banner over city as part of culture bid

John Acres

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

A plane with a banner flew above Stoke-on-Trent today to mark the city submitting its bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021.  

Plane pulling banner over Stoke-on-Trent

Today's the deadline for all towns and cities to submit the 30-page document.

It outlines the key elements of the bid and why each place believes it deserves the title.

New £400 fines for fly-tippers considered in Stafford

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

People caught fly-tipping in the Stafford area could be hit with £400 fines as the local authority looks to combat rising reports of rubbish being illegally dumped. 

Sofas dumped recently in Hanchurch Hills
Stafford Borough Council

The borough council's cabinet's meeting next week to look at giving the power to its officers as a deterrent to small-scale fly-tipping. 

The authority says reports of fly-tipping have risen from 352 in 2012-13 to 539 in 2015-16 but, in that last year, just seven cases led to people being charged and fined.

BBC Weather Watcher photos: Hednesford and Mow Cop

BBC Weather Watchers

Some flashes of colour and bright spells in the cloud today as our two picks show from the photos uploaded by the BBC Weather Watchers in Staffordshire.

These are from users Angus and me in Hednesford and Dave-Stoke in Mow Cop.

Angus and me
Mow Cop

The rugby team in a football final


You don't even need to be a football team to play in the FA People's Cup.

LBoro Rangers are a group of university students who are taking part in the Higher Education category......

LBoro Rangers will be in action in the Higher Education finals on Sunday

Catch up with what's been going on in the FA People's Cup so far - and follow live coverage of the FA People's Cup finals on Sunday, 30 April and Monday, 1 May.

Severe accident: A38 Staffordshire northbound

BBC News Travel

A38 Staffordshire northbound severe accident, between A5206 and A5192 Cappers Lane.

A38 Staffordshire - Heavy traffic on A38 northbound in Streethay between Swinfen Island and Lichfield, because of an accident earlier on and a fuel spillage. All lanes have been re-opened.

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

Politics: Stoke 'not among seats Nuttall could stand in'

BBC Politics

UKIP leader Paul Nuttall has repeatedly refused to answer where he will stand in the upcoming election, saying he will make the announcement "tomorrow".  

But according to the Daily Telegraph's chief political correspondent, Stoke-on-Trent Central is not among the listed options. Mr Nuttall came second in a by-election for the seat in February. 

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Victim feels 'pure hatred' to surgeon who needlessly harmed her

Rebecca Woods

BBC News Online, Journalist

A Staffordshire woman says she feels "pure hatred" to a breast surgeon who has today been convicted of intentionally wounding patients in "completely unnecessary" operations. 

Ian Paterson, 59, was found guilty of 17 counts of wounding with intent, relating to nine women and one man. 

Frances Perks
Gavin Dickson

Frances Perks from Burntwood was referred to him when a lump showed up on a mammogram and he urged her to have a double mastectomy or risk "full-blown cancer". 

She had her left breast removed and underwent eight other operations at the private Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull, West Midlands. However, she later learned that none had been necessary.

Mrs Perks says the effect on her life has been devastating as the stress caused her to leave her job and the financial hardship meant she had to sell her house.

Cricket: New cricket season gets under way

James Bond

Sports Producer, BBC Shropshire

It’s the start of the new cricket season this weekend, with the former Birmingham League champions Shrewsbury, hoping to move up from last year’s third-place finish.

Shifnal are looking to join them in the top flight. They were promoted from division two last season. County captain Steve Leach, who plays for Shifnal, says: “We’re an ambitious club with a premier division set-up.”

Cricket captains

In the Shropshire League, Worfield are the favourites for the title, after coming down from the Birmingham League last year, but captain James Parker knows it’ll be “a tough race,” while newcomers Market Drayton are hoping to spring a surprise.

Severe disruption: M6 Cheshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Cheshire northbound severe disruption, between J16 for A500 Crewe and J17 for A534 Sandbach affecting J15 for A500.

M6 Cheshire - One lane closed and slow traffic on M6 northbound between J16, A500 (Crewe) and J17, A534 (Sandbach), because of a broken down van. Congestion to J15, A500 (Stoke-On-Trent).

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

Football: The ways Port Vale can avoid relegation this weekend

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

This weekend is a massive one for fans of Port Vale as the club still have a slim chance of avoiding relegation from League One. 

As ever with football and these situations, it's a little complicated and not all in the Vale's hands - so we've run through all the scenarios:

Port Vale's chances of survival
Getty Images
Frances Perks

Rebecca Woods

BBC News

Victims of rogue breast surgeon Ian Paterson tell of the devastating impact he had on their lives.

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Bank defends itself against 'anti-homeless' claims

John Acres

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

A Stafford bank's been criticised for a lack of care after installing metal bars outside its front door.

The Co-op Bank in Stafford

The Co-op Bank on Greengate Street was criticised last week for installing large rocks outside to stop homeless people sleeping there and now bars have also been put up to block a covered area.

The Co-op Bank says the moves are part of measures taken to address anti-social behaviour issues.  

Football: Top-10 finish the aim for Stoke boss

BBC Sport

The Stoke City manager Mark Hughes says he wants the club to finish their season in the top 10. 

Mark Hughes quote

The Potters are currently 11th, a point behind Watford and Southampton.

Stoke's recent record though is patchy, with one win in seven matches as they head into their home game with West Ham.

Empty homes blamed for 'rat increase'

BBC Radio Stoke

A number of people in part of Stoke-on-Trent have told BBC Radio Stoke they're constantly having to deal with rats running around their streets.  

Boarded up houses in Middleport

People in Middleport say empty, boarded up homes are to blame for lots of fly-tipping which they say is encouraging vermin. 

Stoke-on-Trent City Council says it recognises the negative impact empty homes can have and have asked any concerned people in Middleport to call them.