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'Hot chocolate' lorry fire road reopens

The A556 in Cheshire has fully reopened after a lorry carrying a load of chocolate burst into flames.

Lorry fire
Cheshire Fire Service
Lorry fire
Cheshire Fire Service

The road closed in both directions after fire broke out at about 20:00 on Thursday.

North West Motorway Police said the driver was "safe and well".

Lorry fire
Cheshire Fire Service

Some people tweeted their chocolate-related puns once it was clear the driver was safe, with the fire service describing the job as "hot chocolate".

Beechmere fire: Residents set to get £60k donated cash

Phil McCann

Cheshire Political Reporter, BBC News

Residents who lost their homes in a fire at a retirement complex in August are a step closer to getting a share of nearly £60,000 raised for them.

Remains of complex after fire
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service

Apartments at Beechmere, Crewe, were destroyed in a blaze which left 150 mainly older people homeless.

The donations are being held by the town council which last night voted to transfer the cash to landlord Your Housing.

The move will be subject to a written agreement which stipulates the cash will be divided equally between the residents.

Five men admit robbing a series of cash machines by blowing them up with gas cannisters
Five men are jailed for using bottled gas to blow cash machines from the wall in a series of raids.

Severe disruption: M56 Cheshire westbound

BBC News Travel

M56 Cheshire westbound severe disruption, from J14 for A5117 Chester Services to J15 for M53 J11.

M56 Cheshire - One lane closed and it's slow on M56 westbound from J14, A5117 (Chester Services) to J15 M53 J11, because of a lorry having a tyre changed.

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

BBC Children in Need: Rickshaw Challenge on the move

The BBC Children in Need Rickshaw Challenge is already on the move and has left Crewe.

View more on twitter

The One Show host Matt Baker and the young riders head into Staffordshire today via Kidsgrove, Biddulph and Flash.

BreakingManslaughter charges after deadly mill explosion

Allen Cook

BBC News

A firm's been charged with corporate manslaughter following an explosion at a wood processing mill where four workers died in 2015.

Bosley aftermath

Three men and a woman died at Wood Treatment Ltd in Cheshire when the four-storey building collapsed.

The Crown Prosecution Service says the company itself has been charged, while one of its directors, George Boden, 64, will also face charges on four counts of gross negligence manslaughter.

The CPS adds that Mr Boden and two other managers for the company have also been charged with health and safety offences.

Cheshire Police says all three are due to appear before magistrates on 2 December.

Flood warnings in Cheshire and Warwickshire

There's a high risk of flooding in parts of Warwickshire and south Cheshire today after the heavy rain in the past day.

Flood warnings are in place for the River Weaver near Nantwich and the River Dene at Walton, near Stratford-upon-Avon.

In both cases, the waterways are expected to stay high through the day with a risk of flooding to the surrounding areas.

Six arrests as police probe dozens of UK burglaries

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

Six men have been arrested today by detectives investigating dozens of burglaries at pubs, restaurants and shops across the UK.

Cheshire Police is looking at 39 offences across eight police force areas - in many cases safes were targeted.

They include 14 in Cheshire, 10 in Merseyside and others in places including Staffordshire, Cumbria and Wales.

The men, aged between 19 and 45, were all arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit burglary.

Trains disrupted by flooding 'for rest of today'

BBC News Travel

Trains aren't likely to run between Crewe and Chester for the rest of the day because of flooding, National Rail Enquiries says.

Railway lines underwater
Transport for Wales

Heavy rain today's resulted in some of the tracks being under water.

Some services are being diverted, but otherwise buses are running in both directions and National Rail Enquiries doesn't expect that to change for the rest of the day.

Rail lines closed between Hebden Bridge and Manchester Victoria

Flooding has closed the rail lines between Hebden Bridge and Manchester Victoria, with commuters urged to make alternative arrangements.

Flooding on railway

Heavy rain is causing disruption across the region and customers are advised to allow extra time for travel and to check ahead.

Other routes affected include:

  • Flooding at Walsden has blocked the line between Manchester Victoria and Leeds
  • Flooding at Culcheth Farm is causing delays and cancellations to services between Eccles and Earlestown. Northern tickets will be accepted on TransPennine Express services.
  • Due to flooding at Blackpool South there are currently no services travelling to and from St Annes. Replacement coaches will be in use

For the latest train information check National Rail Enquiries.

Railway tracks flooded between Chester and Crewe

There is rail disruption between Chester and Crewe due to heavy rain flooding the tracks.

Flooding on railway line

Disruption is expected until 16:00 and services running through these stations may be cancelled, said Transport for Wales Rail in a tweet.

There is a bus replacement service in operation.

Trains cancelled as railway lines flooded

BBC News Travel

Trains are now being cancelled between Crewe and Chester due to the railway lines being flooded.

National Rail Enquiries tweeted disruption would now last until at least 14:00 and buses were replacing services "where available".

Flooded railway lines delay trains

BBC News Travel

Train passengers are facing delays between Crewe and Chester this morning due to flooded railway lines.

Disruption's expected until at least 11:00, National Rail Enquiries tweeted, and added services could be delayed by up to 25 minutes.

Flooded railway lines
The Great North Rail Project

Praise for 'courageous' police officers after river rescue

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

A group of special constables have been praised for their "outstanding courage" in helping rescue a teenager who was up to his chin in flood water.

Emergency services at the river rescue
Cheshire Police

The officers were first on the scene at Waterlode, Nantwich, on 26 October, Cheshire Police said.

They spotted the 15-year-old clinging to a tree in the River Weaver and waded in with ropes to reassure and calm him until fire crews arrived.

One of the special constables, Stefan Williams, said: " I could hear him shouting ‘help me, I don’t want to die'."

The men's boss said they helped to save a young life.

“I have spoken to the Special Constabulary officers involved to convey to them, personally and on behalf of the constabulary, sincere gratitude for their outstanding courage and professionalism in helping to spare a family from the terrible loss of a child."

Special Supt Michael Mulqueen

Man burnt in horse stable fire

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

A man's suffered burns in a fire at a horse stables.

Firefighters fighting fire
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service

Fire crews were called to Newcastle Road, Willaston, near Crewe, Cheshire, on Sunday morning and found one end of the building alight.

The fire service said no horses were in the stable at the time and a 30-year-old man was taken to hospital with minor burns to his leg.

It added the blaze was thought to have started accidentally.

Firefighters fighting fire
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service

Death threats and 'disgrace' in 2019 as MP joins Lib Dems

Allen Cook

BBC News

Former Tory MP Antoinette Sandbach, who's announced she's joined the Liberal Democrats, has had a turbulent 2019, having reported being called a "disgrace" by a colleague and receiving death threats over her position on Brexit.

Antoinette Sandbach in 2015

Having been a Welsh assembly member, she first took the safe Conservative Cheshire seat of Eddisbury in 2015 with a majority of nearly 13,000 and was re-elected with a near similar margin in 2017.

Within months of her first election, she broke down in tears in the House of Commons as she told MPs about losing her five-day-old son to sudden infant death syndrome.

Conservative MP Antoinette Sandbach speaks during a rally in Parliament Square
Getty Images

A Remain-voter, Ms Sandbach reported death threats over her Brexit position in April and then last month, after losing a vote of confidence among her local party members.

While in June, in a now-deleted tweet, she shared a screenshot of messages saying she was a "disgrace" and telling her to quit the party, which she said were sent to her by a male Tory MP.

Ms Sandbach lost the Tory whip in October after voting against the government in a bid to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

Despite backing Remain in the referendum, since then she has consistently voted in favour of deals to leave the EU, backing Theresa May's deal three times - which would have seen the UK leave in March - and more recently backing Boris Johnson's own deal with the EU.

Ex-Tory MP 'subjected to abuse'

Former Conservative MP Antoinette Sandbach, who has joined the Liberal Democrats, said she had considered not standing for re-election.

Antoinette Sandbach,
UK Parliament

The Remain-voting Cheshire MP was among 21 rebels who lost the Tory whip after rebelling against Boris Johnson in a bid to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

She will stand as a Liberal Democrat candidate in her Eddisbury constituency in December's general election.

Speaking to Radio 4's Today programme, she said she had considered not standing for re-election.

"Like many of the MPs that have stood down, I have been subjected to abuse."

"It has been incredibly difficult for my family and for me. But this is a critical time in our nation's history," she said.

Flood fears with more heavy rain this weekend

Further flooding is being predicted in parts of Cheshire this weekend with more heavy rain on the way.

Area covered by weather warning
Met Office

The Met Office has a yellow weather warning covering much of the county on Saturday from 06:00 to 22:00.

It says there's a "small chance" homes and businesses could be flooded and transport disrupted.

BreakingBeechmere fire 'started accidentally on roof terrace'

Allen Cook

BBC News

A fire that destroyed a retirement homes complex in August is believed to have started accidentally on a roof terrace.

The destroyed complex
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service

Apartments at Beechmere, Crewe, were destroyed in a blaze which left 150 mainly older people homeless.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service today said they now believed it began on a patio or terrace area on the third floor and spread internally up the walls of the timber framed building and into the roof space.

However they are still trying to work out why it spread so fast and that work may take "many months".

No Tory return for Brexit rebel Antoinette Sandbach

BBC Breakfast

An MP who rebelled against Boris Johnson over Brexit says she doesn't expect to have the whip restored before the planned general election in December.

Antoinette Sandbach
UK Parliament

Eddisbury MP Antoinette Sandbach was expelled from the parliamentary Conservative Party along with 20 other Tory MPs after backing efforts to pass legislation to block a no-deal Brexit.

However, she backed Theresa May's Brexit deal with the EU in all three votes on the issue and voted for Boris Johnson's own deal earlier this month.

Yesterday, just before the vote on the prime minister's plan to hold an early general election, Boris Johnson restored the whip to 10 of the former rebels.

They didn't include Ms Sandbach and she's now planning to stand as an independent.

I will be standing in Eddisbury, I think it's very unlikely that I will have the whip returned but I have made a commitment to the local people in Eddisbury, I was elected to represent them but I do believe there should be a proper contest in Eddisbury."

Antoinette SandbachEddisbury MP