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Severe disruption: M180 Lincolnshire westbound

BBC News Travel

M180 Lincolnshire westbound severe disruption, from J5 for A15 to J4 for A15.

M180 Lincolnshire - Temporary closure and queues on M180 westbound from J5, A15 (Barnetby Top) in Barnetby to J4, A15 (Scawby) in Scawby, because of animals on the road.

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

The Red Arrows are back home after spending 11 weeks touring North America.
The aerobatic display team are back home after spending 11 weeks touring North America.

Lincolnshire arrests in op to tackle 'county lines' gangs

A total of 10 people from Lincolnshire have been detained as part of a national crackdown on so-called "county lines" gangs.

Police jacket
BBC

It's been part of a wider operation across the country, co-ordinated by the National Crime Agency (NCA)

"County lines" gangs are originally from big cities and often use violence and intimidation to expand into smaller towns, using mobile phones to take orders from drug users.

In total, over 700 people have been arrested as part of the recent crackdown, with more than £0.5m worth of drugs seized, according to the NCA.

'A lot of work to do' - Lincolnshire Hospitals boss

The man in charge of Lincolnshire's hospitals has admitted there is "a lot of work to do" after the trust was kept in special measures for a third year.

Google
Google

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust was given a "requires improvement" rating after Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors visited Boston and Lincoln hospitals.

The watchdog said there were "significant concerns" about urgent and emergency care at both hospitals.

We have got work to do on our finances. We've undoubtedly got work to do around filling our vacancies. We've also got a lot of work to do around engaging our own workforce and making this a great place to work."

Andrew MorganChief executive, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Lincolnshire's evening weather forecast

It should be a dry end to the day in Lincolnshire.

Here's the latest forecast:

Weather forecast
BBC

Largely sunny afternoon ahead for Lincolnshire

It should be a dry afternoon in Lincolnshire, though there's the slight chance of a shower in places.

Here's the latest forecast:

BBC
BBC

Special constables needed as numbers fall

More special constables are needed to join Humberside Police after the force said it had seen a drop in numbers over the last three years.

Police officers
Getty Images

Special constables are unpaid volunteers who have full police powers, uniforms and equipment.

Some of these trained volunteers have gone on to become full-time regular officers.

Assistant Chief Constable Paul Anderson said: "We have been actively recruiting over the past two years and I do not think it will be any surprise that of the pool of people that have joined the regulars, a large number have come from the specials."

Watch: Thursday's forecast for Lincolnshire

Abbie Dewhurst

Weather Presenter, BBC Look North

After a chilly start we're in for a mix of sunshine and showers, with temperatures getting up to 15C in places.

Overnight those showers will continue to move through, some of which could be quite heavy:

Watch: Thursday's forecast for Yorkshire and Lincolnshire

Abbie Dewhurst

Weather Presenter, BBC Look North

After a chilly start we're in for a mix of sunshine and showers, with temperatures getting up to 15C in places.

Overnight those showers will continue to move through, some of which could be quite heavy:

Union boss attacks council over health visitor pay row

Unite leader Len McCluskey has accused Lincolnshire County Council of "failing its public duty" to resolve an ongoing dispute about health visitors' pay.

Len McCluskey
BBC

Since July more than 70 health workers have walked out on numerous occasions for a total of 32 days.

They argue that since the county council took over their contracts from NHS two years ago they haven't had a pay increase, meaning they've lost £2,000 a year.

Speaking at the Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association, in Harrogate, earlier Mr McCluskey said the "cash-rich county council' was forcing through a "two-tier system to divide workers".

He said Lincolnshire families with young children are suffering the consequences of a reduced service.

Let me be clear to those council bosses sitting in Lincolnshire county hall. You are failing in your public duty to resolve the impasse and pay your health visitors what is theirs."

Len McCluskeyGeneral Secretary, Unite
Health visitors on strike
Unite

Lincolnshire County Council say they have always valued the work of health visitors, are committed to working collaboratively with the workforce and would welcome further constructive talks with Unite.

Train operator Northern's franchise under scrutiny

Train operator Northern, which runs services across Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, has been asked by the government to submit proposals suggesting how it can improve its service for passengers, or it faces being removed from the franchise.

Rail passengers
PA Media

During a Transport Committee session, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he had issued a “request for proposals” as Northern's service had been poor.

In a statement on Friday, Transport for the North said it believed the franchise should be taken into public hands, via what’s known as an Operator of Last Resort (OLR).

The OLR is, on behalf of the government, currently in charge of LNER, the East Coast Mainline intercity franchise.

Mr Shapps told MPs he has asked train operator Arriva and the OLR for a “list of proposals” because the franchise “cannot continue delivering in the current delivery method".

'Organised' lead thief gangs target Lincolnshire churches

At least 30 incidents of lead theft from church roofs have taken place in Lincolnshire so far this year.

Replacing stolen lead costs tens of thousands of pounds and historic buildings are often left without a proper roof for weeks following such thefts.

Police and insurers believe organised gangs are behind the attacks.

St Peter and St Paul’s in Gosberton had an estimated 12 tonnes of lead stripped from its roof in May - and, as this video shows, water is still coming into the building when it rains:

The Reverend Ian Walters, the vicar at St Peter and St Paul’s, says it's hit him and the congregation hard:

It has been very devastating and very depressing really, because every time it rains we go, 'Oh no'"

Reverend Ian WaltersVicar

Mental health absences rise among ambulance staff

The number of East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) staff taking sick leave due to poor mental health is on the rise, new figures suggest.

EMAS
BBC

The figures released to the BBC under the Freedom of Information Act show 431 members of EMAS staff took leave due to issues such as stress, anxiety and depression between 2014-19.

Ambulance service bosses say it's partly down to the level of abuse workers receive while doing their job.

The government say it's funding a number of initiatives for emergency workers to tackle stigma around mental health.

The Reverend Kev Charles, chaplain and staff support lead at EMAS, says support is in place:

We became the first ambulance service in the country to sign the 'Blue Light Pledge' which is to fight the stigma of mental health in the workplace. We also use a ambulance service charity which offers one-on-one counselling."

The Reverend Kev CharlesChaplain and staff support lead, EMAS

Children struggling to find adoptive families

Older children, children with disabilities, and those with brothers and sisters who need to be kept together, are struggling to find adoptive families in Lincolnshire, according to the county council.

Child with book
BBC

These children often end up waiting the longest time to find a home, the council says.

As a result, the authority's now running information events in Lincoln - one today and one on Thursday - for anyone interested in adopting.

Anne Johnson, adoption team manager at the county council, says the authority's looking for all sorts of different people to be adoptive parents:

Nobody is too old. You can adopt if you're single, you can adopt if you're gay and we have some really successful same-sex couples in Lincolnshire."

Anne JohnsonAdoption team manager, Lincolnshire County Council

Boring machine finishes £100m Humber tunnel dig

A huge tunnel-boring machine which has just completed a groundbreaking £100m project under the Humber Estuary is on its way back to Germany.

The tunnel-boring machine
BBC

The machine, called Mary after a schoolgirl who won a competition to name it, is the size of 11 double-decker buses.

It's spent the last 18 months linking Goxhill on the south side of the Humber Estuary to Paull on the north bank.

The tunnel is 3.3 miles (5.4km) long.

It's the first time a tunnel has been constructed underneath the River Humber and will house a replacement gas pipeline.

Fraud costs county council £1.3m in lost council tax

£1.3m is being claimed incorrectly in single-person discount on council tax in Lincolnshire, it's been revealed.

Council tax bill
Getty Images

It follows a review of 75,000 households across the county.

Lincolnshire County Council says it has a zero tolerance approach to council tax fraud, which it says "takes money away from local services and is unfair on the majority of people who pay the correct bill".

Lucy Pledge, head of internal audit and risk management, says the authority will now look into other types of fraud:

Over the coming months, our next focus will be on procurement fraud, financial mismanagement and identifying where business rates have not been paid."

Lucy PledgeLincolnshire County Council

Spot checks carried out to ensure welfare of workers

Officers investigating modern slavery say they have carried out a number of spot checks in Lincolnshire.

GLAA officer
GLAA

The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority visited a number of businesses in South Holland, Boston and East Lindsey last week.

Inspectors interviewed workers about their hours, pay and conditions.

Despite finding no problems, they say the checks should act as a deterrent.

Lincolnshire is regarded as a key region for inspectors because of the high levels of agricultural, food processing and packaging work, which is carried out by licensed labour providers.

If found guilty, unlicensed gangmasters can be given up to 10 years behind bars and unlimited fines.

Police probe messages to fire chief in Fireman Sam row

Police are investigating messages sent to Lincolnshire's Chief Fire officer over his decision to drop Fireman Sam as a mascot.

Fireman Sam
PA Media

Last month, Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue said it would no longer use the character to promote the service after complaints he was not 'inclusive' enough.

Lincolnshire Police said no arrests had been made, but confirmed officers had interviewed a 55-year-old man at a police station in Essex on Friday relating to a suspected offence of malicious communication.

Watch: Monday's weather forecast for Lincolnshire

Abbie Dewhurst

Weather Presenter, BBC Look North

After a chilly start we're going to see heavy and persistent rain pushing its way up from the south.

The MET Office has issued a yellow warning for rain.

Temperatures will get up to about 13C in places:

Severe disruption: M180 Lincolnshire both ways

BBC News Travel

M180 Lincolnshire both ways severe disruption, from J3 for M181 to J4 for A15.

M180 Lincolnshire - Temporary closure on M180 in both directions from J3, M181 (Scunthorpe) to J4, A15 (Scawby), because of a police investigation. Traffic is coping well.

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

Witness appeal after woman's Scunthorpe street attack

A woman was assaulted as she was walking in part of Scunthorpe earlier this week, police say.

Police jacket
BBC

The victim was attacked as she walked in the area around Scotter Road and South Park at about 20:30 on Monday.

Her attacker has been described as being in his 20s, of slim build and wearing a baseball cap.

Police are appealing for witnesses.

'Find a green space' for your mental health

People with anxiety, stress and depression should be prescribed contact with nature to ease the burden on the NHS, according to new research.

green volunteering
University of Essex

Lincolnshire's Wildlife Trust says that even "walking around your nearest green space" can be beneficial.

The University of Essex have released a study to mark World Mental Health day.

They found people reported feeling significantly better after taking part in outdoor projects.

It's just those little things like, in your lunch hour, going for a walk but not just walking around the shops and probably spending money. But finding your nearest green space, or if there's a river you can walk by.

Rachel ShawLincolnshire Wildlife Trust

Girl on bike dies in North Hykeham lorry crash

A 15-year-old girl has died after a bicycle she and another teenager were riding on collided with a lorry in North Hykeham.

Station Road
Google

It happened at about 17:10 yesterday evening on Station Road (pictured).

The girl was pronounced dead at the scene.

A 14-year-old boy was taken to hospital with serious injuries which aren't believed to be life-threatening.

Anyone who saw what happened is being asked to contact Lincolnshire Police on 101.

This devastating incident has not only had a major impact on the families of these teenagers, but it has shocked the community. It has been difficult for everyone involved and our thoughts are with the families."

Insp Ian RichardsonLincolnshire Police

Lincolnshire Police to get 50 new officers

Lincolnshire Police will be able to recruit 50 new officers in the next year, but the force says it still faces a funding challenge.

Police
BBC

It's part of the first wave of a previously announced 20,000 uplift in officers across the country.

Lincolnshire's Police and Crime Commisioner Marc Jones says it's a great start, but more needs to be done.

"Definitely 50 officers we could not have afforded to employ without this money. That said, we still have a budget deficit next year of £6,500.

"Ultimately people always say they want to see more of the police and to be honest, I welcome that," Mr Jones added.

The chief has done a great job of using the technology we have invested in to keep the police on the streets for longer - and we want to do more of that."

Hospital trust to bid for £150m for modernisation

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Health bosses are set to bid for £150m of government funding to modernise Scunthorpe Hospital.

Scunthorpe Hospital
LDRS

Officials at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust want to flatten half of the hospital site and rebuild it.

Dr Peter Reading, the trust's chief executive, said the investment would be “value for money” for the taxpayer. He added that some of the buildings on the site are decades old and designed for a different world and different health service.

The trust, which also runs Diana Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby, currently faces an estate maintenance bill of £72m.

The cost covers work such as water pipe maintenance, fire safety and upkeep of hospital buildings.

But, Dr Reading said paying for the maintenance would only “patch up old buildings” and would not deliver a modern hospital site.

The trust will now line up a bid for £150m of funding from the Department of Health and Social Care over the next five to 10 years for the work. It will also look to invest around £100m to help modernise its sites in Grimsby and Goole.

Tourism in Lincolnshire now worth over £1.5bn to county

The value of tourism in Lincolnshire has passed the £1.5bn mark for the first time.

Lincoln Cathedral
BBC

The latest industry figures show more than 20 million people visited the county last year.

The off-peak season between October and March is also seeing a rise in tourists coming Lincolnshire, according to the county council.

Councillor Colin Davie, who oversees tourism for the authority, says efforts are being made to attract more and more people.

"We've got direct trains coming to the city shortly, LNER are working with us closely to deliver a service that's going to bring a lot more international visitors to Lincolnshire," said Mr Davie.

"That's particularly as we look forward to the 400th anniversary of Mayflower next year and the history of the Pilgrim Fathers being traced by their ancestors in the US who are going to come in their droves to our county," he added.

Patients to be steered away from A&E to ease pressure

NHS call-takers in Lincolnshire are being asked to help steer more patients away from A&E if they could get treatment elsewhere.

A&E sign
Getty Images

Patients calling 999 or 111 could be offered treatment at home or at a GP surgery instead of a trip to a hospital.

It's hoped it could help relieve pressure on the county's emergency departments over the winter.

Dr Dan Boden, a Lincolnshire A&E consultant, said: "We're hopeful we can continue to increase the numbers of patients managed in a different setting away from A&E.

"We know our departments both at Lincoln and at Pilgrim are so small we haven't got the geographical space to see all the patients coming through the department currently."

Police warned about mental health response changes

Humberside Police is being warned against cutting back its response to people with mental health problems.

A person with their head in their hands
Getty Images

From next January, the force plans to reduce support to organisations like the ambulance service and hospitals dealing with people in mental health crisis, according to East Riding councillor Vanessa Walker.

Humberside Police says it would never make a decision which would put people in danger.

In a statement, the force said: “The skills and support that vulnerable people who are in crisis need are often not those of a police officer.

"We feel it is imperative that partners from policing, social care, mental health and other agencies each have a role to play."

Police say knife crime is taken seriously

Lincolnshire Police says it is taking knife crime seriously, after BBC research showed a 75% rise in serious knife crime over the last five years.

Man holding a knife
Press Association

Det Ch Insp Amy Whiffen said: "We do take knife crime seriously and we're working with our partners closely in relation to intervention with young people who commit crime involving knives. We look to re-educate them and make them aware of the dangers and consequences of carrying knives.

"There is an increase and that's why we continue to deal with the crimes robustly and work with our partners.

"We have police officers out there who are using their powers effectively at this moment in time. Lincolnshire is still one of the safest places to live in the country."

She said crimes were now recorded 'in a better way' which could be one reason for the rise.

Horses across Lincolnshire rescued amid equine crisis

The RSPCA has rescued 34 horses in Lincolnshire from neglect and suffering in the last year.

Rowan the horse
RSPCA

The animal charity has more than 850 horses needing new homes after rescuing 1,071 across the country.

Over-breeding, the high costs of vet bills, the rising cost of hay and feed and falling demand for some types of horses have all contributed to what the RSPCA calls "the horse crisis".

The charity's centres are full with hundreds of rescued horses and ponies, and many more are being cared for in private boarding stables or looked after by foster carers.

It is continuing "Adoptober" rehoming campaign, looking for loving homes for horses of all breeds, ages and sizes in their care in Lincolnshire.

Lincolnshire health visitors balloted over strike action

More than 70 Lincolnshire health visitors are being balloted for strike action in their long-running pay dispute with the county council.

NHS logo
PA Media

The Unite union said the dispute had now escalated from the first bout of strike action in July.

That centred on claims health visitors have lost more than £2,000 a year since they were transferred from the NHS to the council.

The union argues that as all health visitors have the same community nurse qualifications and training, it believes all health visitors should therefore be graded and paid accordingly.

The authority has previously said it has a "competitive pay structure in place" and values the health visitors' work.

The ballot opens on Friday and closes on 25 October.

I hope all our members fully support this ballot, because, if they don’t vote to take action, they will be accepting the division of the role and for those that don’t move onto a grade 10 it will mean a loss of £4,000 per year, which is totally unacceptable.”

Steve SysonUnite regional officer

Everyone needs to tackle knife crime - Murdered teen's mum

A campaigner against knife crime in Lincolnshire says everyone needs to play their part in tackling the problem.

Man holding a knife
Getty Images

Caroline Shearer's 17-year-old son, Jay Whiston, was murdered seven years ago and now she runs the Only Cowards Carry charity.

BBC research has found serious knife crime in Lincolnshire has risen by 75% over the last five years.

Ms Shearer said: "The police are out there, They are doing whatever they possibly can. However, the number of crimes are rising – they are rising beyond what the police can physically tackle.

"This is why it’s got to be down to the community, it’s got to be down to everyone keeping an eye out and helping each other. If not, we will be overtaken by it.

"Seven years ago, my son was murdered. We teach our kids to swim, we teach them to ride a bike. Now we need to teach them there are kids out there with weapons."

Big rise in knife crime in Lincolnshire

Serious knife crime in Lincolnshire has increased by 75% over the past five years, BBC analysis of police figures suggests.

Knife
Getty Images

Under Freedom of Information Law, the BBC asked all 43 regional police forces in England and Wales for details of serious knife crime in their area.

Serious knife crime is defined as any assault, robbery, threat to kill, murder, attempted murder or sexual offence involving a knife or sharp instrument.

Despite the rise in Lincolnshire, the statistics also show the percentage of people being charged in the county is falling.

Last year, 16% of knife crime offences led to charges, compared to 35% in 2014.

All crimes involving knives are thoroughly investigated, according to Lincolnshire Police.

The figures don't include any charges for murders, and sometimes young people are given cautions or rehabilitation to avoid unnecessarily criminalising them, the force adds.

Chapter 10 - Tug Of War

James and Galaxon have their final showdown.
James and Freya may be trapped on Galaxon's home planet with no way of escape, but their task is far from over. Facing Galaxon and his friends, will they be able to save the ring?