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Drugged driver who fled police at 120mph is jailed

A driver who was chased across North Cumbria at speeds of up to 120mph has been jailed for 10 months for dangerous driving.

Rory Williams, 20, now living at Northleach Close in Redditch but originally from Carlisle, fled police who had smelled cannabis near his vehicle..

He travelled through Carlisle at up to 60mph, hit 100mph as he neared the M6, and then 120mph weaving through traffic on the motorway.

Williams, who was found hiding behind a wall near Plumpton, was not insured, had only a provisional licence, and had used cannabis.

He admitted dangerous driving and Recorder Tom Gilbart added a two-year driving ban with an extended test.

This was a shocking and quite appalling piece of driving."

Recorder Tom Gilbart

Cumbria's weather: Patchy rain and remaining cloudy

BBC Weather

It will remain rather cloudy this afternoon, as a band of mainly light and patchy rain moves northeastwards across the area.

There will be a moderate northeasterly breeze with highest temperatures from 16C to 19C (61F to 66F).

Weather graphic

You can always find the latest, detailed, BBC weather forecast for where you are, here.

Decision day looms on maternity services in West Cumbria

The future of maternity services in west Cumbria will be considered at a meeting next week, when the leading health service expert Dr Bill Kirkup will report on a lengthy review.

West Cumberland Infirmary sign

The North Cumbria Hospitals Trust and the area's clinical commissioning group have been wrestling for years with the problem of recruiting sufficient consultants, nurses and other specialists to run a safe service for mums and babies at the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven..

In March 2017 it was decided to keep a consultant-run service for a year, with Dr Kirkup reviewing progress, with the possible options after that being either to keep a full maternity department, or to have a midwife-led unit dealing only with straightforward births, and a third possibility being to have all births in Carlisle.

Because of the distances involved between west Cumbria and Carlisle, any reduction of services has always been very controversial, but health officials have always stressed that inadequately-staffed services are not safe.

Thieves steal £40,000 worth of cycles from Longtown shop

Police are appealing for information after thieves broke into a shop in Longtown and made off with bicycles worth £40,000.

Bikeseven shop

Officers say the break-in happened overnight between last Monday and Tuesday.

Inspiration comes from poet's words and redheads

The redheaded shepherdesss Hannah Jackson finds a quote from the poet J Iron Word, and one of today's better social network messages is born.

View more on twitter

Marine runs Three Peaks with rowing machine... as you do

Martin Lewes


This is Matthew Disney, a former Royal Marine who is currently on his way, on foot from Scafell Pike to Ben Nevis carrying a 26kg rowing machine.

Matthew Disney with rowing machine on shoulder

He started by going up and down Snowdon in his unique attempt on the Three Peaks challenge, and on top of each mountain, he is rowing the equivalent of its height above sea level, about 10,000ft (3,000m) in all.

The whole 700km journey is raising money for military charities, and Matthew says he is voluntarily putting himself through pain, to help people who do not have the choice.

I hate rowing, and with the philosophy of meeting your fears head on, turn what you hate into something you love.

Matthew Disney

I still don't love it but at least I gave it a good try."

Cumbrian hospital in study to find better cancer test

Neil Smith

South Cumbria journalist, BBC Cumbria

South Cumbria's hospitals are trialling what could lead to a cheaper, and less intrusive, way of checking people for bowel cancer, by looking at a "simple blood test" for the UK's third most common cancer.

Colorectal cancer
Getty Images

The blood test would replace the colonoscopy that currently follows suspicious symptoms found in the first screen test, and involved inserting a tube with a video camera looking for cancerous growths.

The Rosemere Cancer Foundation, based at the radiotherapy unit in Preston which serves South Cumbria, is funding the research into the blood test which could cut the cost of screening and avoid unnecessary colonoscopy procedures.

Colerectal surgeon Georgios Sgourakis, who works at Furness General Hospital and the Westmorland General Hospital, is carrying out the trials, which will run until next spring and will involve collaborating with the Biomedical and Life Sciences Department at Lancaster University

Cumbria's weather: Turning cloudier with showers

There will be a few brighter spells at first, but it will turn cloudier through the morning with scattered showers moving in. Highest temperatures will be around 16C to 19C (61 to 66°F).

Weather graphic

You can always find the latest detailed BBC weather forecast for where you are, here.

Cumbria's weather: Rain clearing leaving a cloudy night

BBC Weather

Lingering rain will clear to the northeast to leave it largely dry and cloudy overnight, with occasional clear spells and lowest temperatures from 10C to 13C (50F to 55F).

A weather warning for isolated thunderstorms remains in force until midnight.

Weather graphic

You can always find the latest detailed BBC weather forecast for where you are, from here.

Grant gives young farmers a chance to get started

An agricultural charity, The Farmer Network, has been awarded £45,000 over three years to encourage young people into the farming industry.

The Cumbria Community Foundation allocated the money from the Barker Fund, the Brian & Ann Clark Fund and the Evening Hill Grassroots Fund, to a programme offered to 18- 30 year olds who have a farm-related business idea but are limited by the resources or opportunities available to them.

It provides a course on business planning, one-to-one support from an experienced farm business adviser, the chance to apply for a low interest loan and training grant, and continuing support from a volunteer business mentor.


Third blade offence means jail for Whitehaven man

A man found carrying a knife in Whitehaven has been jailed for six months.

Lee Jefferson, 24, was arrested by police in Coach Road in February in relation to a different matter, and the knife was found when he was searched.

Jefferson, of no fixed address, admitted having a bladed article in public.

Carlisle Crown Court heard he had two previous convictions for carrying bladed itens on a record of more than 150 offences.

The third offence of carrying a blade triggered a minimum prison sentence for repeat offending.

Cumbria's weather: Showers, with a chance of thunder

BBC Weather

There will be showers this afternoon, some heavy with the chance of a few thunderstorms which could bring hail and gusty winds.

Highest temperatures will be from 19C to 22C (66F to 72F).

Weather graphic

You can always find the latest, detailed, BBC weather forecast for where you are, here.

Work starts to rebuild base of Kendal 'Batman bridge'

Work starts this week to make permanent repairs to the supports of a Victorian Bridge in Kendal, known locally as "Batman bridge" because of its distinctive metalwork.

Batman Bridge on the surface
Cumbria County Council
Underwater film of temporary supports
Cumbria County Council

The bridge, pictured above, had grout bags rammed underneath its supports in January 2016 after the damage was discovered following Storm Desmond.

A concrete base will now be installed for protection with an "invert" underneath to allow more water to flow after heavy rain.

Engineers hope the bridge can remain open during the work, which is due to end in autumn, but the Sandes Avenue car park will be closed until November.

Rugby League round-up: Barrow pluck Featherstone victory

BBC Cumbria Sport

Barrow Raiders boosted their chances of Rugby League Championship survival when a Luke Cresswell hat-trick helped them to a surprise 38-16 victory away at promotion chasing Featherstone.

The win leaves Raiders in the bottom two, but level on points with Dewsbury

Workington fell to a 16-26 defeat at home to Oldham.

There was also defeat for Whitehaven who went down to a 22-24 home defeat to North Wales Crusaders,

Mental health care for teenagers is focus of conference

About 70 people, including teachers, pupils and NHS staff, are meeting today to discuss mental health provision in west Cumbria after an initiative by young people in the area to increase the amount of help available.

Teenagers going into building

The group We Will, which trains mental health first-aiders in schools and was set up by young people, will be giving a talk at the gathering.

Councillor Rebecca Hanson, who chairs the newly-established West Cumbria Youth Mental Health Network, says self-harm, anxiety and depression are all on the rise, but it is hard for young people to get help because of the rural nature of the area and NHS staff shortages.

The Cumbria Partnership Trust, which provides mental health services in the county, says it is working to reduce waiting times for routine referrals, which are currently about 31 days.

Cumbria's weather: Mostly dry at first, wetter later

BBC Weather

It will be mostly cloudy but dry in the morning, but with showers and the chance of a few thunderstorms later.

There a yellow Met Office warning for the storms here.

Weather graphic

You can always find the latest, detailed, BBC weather forecast for where you are, here.

Investigators move in after microlight crash

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch is investigating how a microlight aircraft came down in Cumbria at the weekend.

Emergency services, including four fire engines, were called to Newby, near Penrith, on Saturday morning where the aircraft crash-landed in a field, the fire and rescue service said last night.

A statement said one person was taken to hospital by air ambulance, but the emergency services have given no word on their condition.

AAIB evidence markers stock picture

Cumbria's weather: Dry, clear and cool

BBC Weather

It will be dry tonight, with largely clear skies, light winds and perhaps one or two mist patches, with lowest temperatures from 3C to 6C (37F to 43F).

Weather graphic

You can always find the latest detailed BBC weather forecast for where you are, here.

There is a yellow Met Office weather warning for scattered thunderstorms and heavy showers from 15:00 on Sunday, although the worst are expected on Monday.

Police try to trace car after man, 18, attacked

Police are trying to trace the people who were in a blue Ford Fiesta after a man was attacked and left badly injured in Central Avenue, Carlisle.

The 18-year-old is now in the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle where his condition is said to be stable, but still critical.

The attack happened at about 19:15 on Wednesday evening.

Cumbria's weather: Continuing mostly dry and sunny

BBC Weather

There will be a good deal of dry weather with sunny spells today, with just a small chance of one or two light showers too and highest temperatures from 13C to 16C (55F to 61F).

There are severe weather warnings for thunderstorms from 15:00 on Sunday.

Weather graphic

You can always find the latest BBC weather forecast for where you are, here.

Thunderstorm warning lifted from part of county

The Met Office thunderstorm warning for the start of next week has been extended into Tuesday, although the worst of the weather is expected in the south east of England.

Up to 60mm (2.4in) of rain could fall in the heaviest downpours, with lightning, hail and strong winds.

Police link west Cumbria 'distraction' burglaries

Police in west Cumbria say incidents in Bootle and Millom are probably the latest in a series of burglaries where criminals are targeting elderly people with unsecured homes.

Det Sgt Sam Johnson said: “Offenders are actively targeting properties or using methods of distraction to steal from vulnerable members of the community."

Police have issued a list of precautions and asked people to look out for anyone acting suspiciously.

Police stock picture
Cumbria Police

Man, 28, in Barrow court on murder charge

A man from Barrow has appeared in court accused of murder.

Provincial Street showing evidence tent

Jonathan Macmillan, 28, faces the charge following an incident in Provincial Street on Tuesday evening.

Barrow magistrates were told that he is accused of murdering 70-year-old John MacMillan, who's also from the town.

Jonathan McMillan spoke only to confirm his personal details, and he was remanded to Preston Crown Court, where he will appear for a bail hearing on Monday.

Cumbria LEP cites airport as 'Powerhouse' beneficiary

Five years after the Government promised to attract more investment to the North of England, questions are raised today about how it has helped the area's economy.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, says the Government must honour its committment, after a report by the Institute of Public Policy Research said more households were living in poverty.

Carlisle airport
Stobart group

But Jo Lappin, the chief executive of Cumbria's Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), says the county has gained around £60m from the government's Growth Deal money, which was distributed by the Northern Powerhouse.

At Carlisle airport, we've invested £4.95m which has come by the Northern Powerhouse, ready for its opening on 4 July."

Jo Lappin

Tebay refused consent for M6 junction signs

Local Democracy Reporting Service

A plan to put signs on a roundabout at Tebay, where a link road to the M6 joins several other routes, has been refused permission.

Tebay roundabout

Tebay Parish Council had asked whether it could put six signs on the roundabout so local firms could sponsor improvements in the area in return for the publicity, but Eden council had refused consent twice since 2017.

The parish appealed and now a government inspector has supported the Eden decision.

Highways officers had said the junction was complex and signs might distract drivers, and the inspector, Laura Renaudon, said there was not enough detail on where the signs would go to conclude safety would not be adversely affected.

Cumbria's weather: Mainly dry and sunny

BBC Weather

There will be a good deal of dry weather with sunny spells today, and just a small chance of one or two light showers too, with highest temperatures from 13C to 16C (55F to 61F).

Weather graphic

You can always find the latest detailed BBC weather forecast for where you are, here.

There is also advance warning of thunderstorms from Sunday afternoon and particularly on Monday, which could bring up to 40mm (1.5in) of rain in a few hours.

Man due in court charged with murder after Barrow death

A 28-year-old man will appear in court today charged with the murder of 70-year-old John McMillan from Barrow.

Provincial Street

Jonathan Macmillan, whose address police have given only as from Barrow, was charged with murder after an incident in Provincial Street on Tuesday evening, in which the older man suffered chest and throat injuries.

Jonathan McMillan will appear before Furness Magistrates’ Court later.

Cumbria's weather: Mostly dry with long clear spells

BBC Weather

One or two showers are possible tonight, but in general most places should simply remain dry with lengthy clear spells.

There'll be a gentle to moderate breeze and lowest temperatures from 3C to 6C (37F to 43F).

Weather graphic

You can always find the latest, detailed, BBC weather forecast for where you are, here.

There is also advance warning of thunderstorms from Sunday afternoon through until Monday night.

Builder jailed for misleading clients on rights

A builder who tricked Cumbrian householders into signing away their rights relating to work on their homes has been jailed.

Kevin Doyle
Craig McGlasson

Kevin Doyle, 36, of Dunbeth Court, Coatbridge, in North Lanarkshire, admitted five counts of fraud by misrepresentation and two of aggressive commercial practices when he appeared at Carlisle Crown Court.

The court heard the improvements, in St Bees, Wigton, Maryport and Whitehaven, would ultimately have been worth a total of £30,600.

Doyle failed to tell the unsuspecting customers of their legal cancellation rights, and when one woman who'd instructed Doyle to work on her late mother's property decided she didn't want him to continue, he told her there was no way out of the agreement.

Jailing Doyle for 14 months, Judge Andrew Jefferies QC said: "Whether your behaviour is described as feckless or malicious, it has had a huge impact on those that have had dealings with you."

Couple (and wolves) celebrate planning victory

Jennie Dennett

BBC Cumbria

A south Cumbrian couple are celebrating a victory in a long-running battle with planners to develop a tourist attraction featuring hybrid wolves and birds of prey.

Dee and Daniel Ashman, with a hybrid wolf in a van

Predator Experience at Ayside near Cartmel was set up by Daniel and Dee Ashman, offering people the chance to "walk with wolves" and see golden eagles flying, but ran into opposition from neighbours who said it was out of place.

Plans to expand the operation, including one that would have added cheetahs to the predators on the land, were repeatedly refused by the Lake District National Park Authority.

Now, after a three-day public inquiry a planning inspector has allowed a range of new buildings, a family home, viewing areas and a wet-weather flying building, although with strict limits on the number of vehicle movements a day.

Silver came from the Middle East to Viking Beckermet

Some of the silver in a hoard of ingots found in Beckermet in 2014 had been made by melting down coins from Europe and the Middle East, scientists say.

Viking Ingots in Beacon Museum
Copeland BC

The scientists, from Oxford University, used equipment in Southampton to analyse the silver by studying the lead that is naturally found in it.

Dr Jane Kershaw, from the university said more detailed findings would follow, but the first results showed a mix of Carolingian coinage, from France or Germany, and Islamic Dirhams, buried some time just before 925AD.

The silver was found by two metal detectorists, and is now on permanent display at the Beacon Museum in Whitehaven.

BreakingPolice arrest bogus doctor in new probe

A bogus psychiatrist jailed for faking the will of a dementia patient to try to inherit her estate has been arrested on suspicion of fraud.

Zholia Alemi, 56, is understood to have been arrested two days ago by Cumbria police, the Times and Star says.

Zholia Alemi
Cumbria Police

A police statement said: "The woman, who was arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation, obtaining a pecuniary advantage and possession of criminal property has been questioned by officers and will be subject of further inquiries.

“Officers have also conducted searches of addresses in Burnley, Huddersfield and Omagh in Northern Ireland as part of this investigation."

It added it was working with a number of agencies, including the NHS Counter Fraud Authority and the General Medical Council.

Cumbria's weather: Lengthier sunny spells

BBC Weather

This afternoon will see lengthier dry and sunny spells, occasionally interrupted by showers, and highest temperatures from 12C to 15°C (54 to 59°F).

Weather graphic

You can always find the latest detailed BBC weather forecast for where you are, here.

Lakes park 'in dark over future funding'

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Ellis Butcher

The Lake District National Park Authority is in the dark over its future funding because of the turmoil at the top of British politics, its chairman says.

The national park receives 42% of its income in government grant, £5.49m, with another 35% from its commercial activities and the balance from various one-off grants and payments.

Mike McKinley, who had just been re-elected to the chair, said that with the Secretary of State with responsibility for parks, Michael Gove, in the leadership race, a change at the top of Defra was almost certain.

There is also a special review of national parks due in the autumn from the writer Julian Glover.

Will a new Secretary of State for the Environment want to be bothered with national parks if he or she is dealing with the aftermath of Brexit, Common Agricultural Policy and all the rest of the shenanigans?”

Mike McKinley

West Coast line to be closed for two weeks in July

Travellers to London will face longer rail journeys for more than two weeks in July while engineers replace a complete junction near Warrington.

Network Rail staff say trains from Carlisle to Euston will be diverted, and others will stop at Preston going south, and Crew going north.

The company says there is never a good time to close the railway, but it is a time of year when fewer people are travelling, and the work is essential.

We are tearing up old track, removing the track beds, we are putting up new bits of wire and other infrastructure, this is not the sort of job we could do in a few hours overnight where there are not any trains running."

Simon EvansNetwork Rail
Network Rail

Sunny weekend may go out with a bang (and a flash)

The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning for most of England for thunderstorms from late on Sunday and through Monday.

The warning says the storms will be scattered but up to 40mm (1.5in) of rain could fall in a few hours, creaing a slight risk of flooding and power cuts.

Weather warning map
Met Office

Map shows park boundary would skirt South Cumbrian towns

Martin Lewes


Here's a map showing the areas that would be brought within the Lake District National Park under proposals just published by the Friends of the Lake District.

Map in lurid shade of purple
Ordnance Survey/FoLD

The line would cut very close to the edges of towns such as Millom, and Ulverston, where the Hoad Monument would be within the park.

The last time the Lake District was extended, largely to the east, was only two years ago, but that followed a 15-year debate, many public meetings, and a lengthy public inquiry.

There was what you might call robust argument then, and there is again today, as you can see from the BBC Radio Cumbria Facebook page.

Fresh warning after Carlisle crews called to second fire involving a hob in a week

News and Star


A fresh warning has been issued after firefighters in Carlisle were called to a second fire involving a hob in less than a week.

Burned cooker hob
News and Star CFRS

Police get more time to question man in 'murder' probe

Police have been given another 36 hours to question a 28-year-old man on suspicion of murdering a pensioner found dead in Barrow.

John McMillan

Last night the police said the man found at a house in Provincial street was John McMillan, 70.

Severe accident: A595 Cumbria both ways

BBC News Travel

A595 Cumbria both ways severe accident, from Hillcrest Avenue to A5094 Inkerman Terrace.

A595 Cumbria - A595 in Whitehaven closed in both directions from the Hillcrest Avenue junction to the A5094 Inkerman Terrace junction, because of an accident involving two vehicles.

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

Cumbria coal mine: a well-paid job that's bad for the planet
Reopening of a coal mine in Cumbria will create around 500 well-paid jobs, but with an inevitable environmental impact will people jump at the opportunity?

Bid to extend Lake District National Park boundary

A request has been submitted to extend the boundary of the Lake District National Park.

Friends of the Lake District want it to include "the area of outstanding landscape" in south Cumbria - the area between Silecroft and Grange-over-Sands, the Millom Without, Furness and Cartmel peninsulas and the estuaries of the rivers Duddon, Leven and Kent.

The proposal, which has been sent to Natural England, would increase the size of the park by 155 sq km and by 6%.

Natural England and the Secretary of State for the Environment will make the final decision.

A number of consultation events are being held to give residents and businesses the chance to comment and the details can be found here.

£900,000 drive will give bees a boost in county

Hundreds of thousands of pounds is being spent improving life for pollinators such as honey bees in Cumbria, along the verges of some of the county's busiest roads.

Cumbria Wildlife Trust is starting a three-year restoration project at sites along the A66 and A595. It comes after the trust received just over £900,000 in National Lottery funding.

Bumble bee on cornflower
Getty Images

Cumbria's weather: Cloudy, with a chance of rain later

BBC Weather

It will be a cloudier evening, but it should remain largely dry, with lowest temperatures from 5C to 8C (41F to 46F).

However as the night progresses, there is a growing chance for showery rain to move in from the south.

Weather graphic

You can always find the latest, detailed, BBC weather forecast for where you are, here.