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Teens in care 'abandoned to crime gangs'

BBC Newsnight

Thousands of teenagers in care are being "dumped" in unregulated homes and "abandoned to organised crime gangs", the BBC has been told.

The number of looked-after children aged 16 and over living in unregistered accommodation in England has increased 70% in a decade, Newsnight has found.

Young person
Getty

The West Midlands has seen a big increase in the use of unregulated accommodation - up from 280 in 2009 to 610 children in 2018.

Police forces have raised concerns, saying criminals see the premises as an easy target for recruitment.

Video: What's the weekend weather got in store?

Rebecca Wood

BBC Midlands Today

It will be a cloudy night with some patchy rain and lows of 8C (46F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Police cleared over chase that ended in fatal crash

An inquiry has concluded police were not for blame for a crash that killed a young woman in Birmingham last July.

Sarah Giles (pictured below) died and her boyfriend was seriously injured when Branden Daniels lost control of a stolen Audi A3 and crashed into their vehicle.

He had been pursued by West Midlands Police officers, but the Independent Office for Police Conduct said the chase had been "authorised, proportionate and carried out in accordance with local and national policy".

Sarah Giles
West Midlands Police

The IOPC also said: "The police officers drove a safe distance behind the stolen vehicle and ultimately it was the manner in which the Audi was driven which led to such tragic consequences."

Rail delays expected until 15:00 as line blocked

BBC News Travel

An incident between Birmingham Moor Street and Solihull, which is blocking the railway lines, is expected to cause disruption until 15:00.

The incident is affecting Chiltern Raildways, Cross Country and West Midlands Railway services.

Tickets are being accepted on other services and some bus routes.

View more on twitter

Clean Air Zone 'won't work in city'

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Tom Davis

A Clean Air Zone will not work in Coventry as the city is simply too small, a leading council cabinet member has said, fearing the move would be “shutting off the city”.

Coventry city centre
BBC

The government has rejected Coventry City Council’s measures to reduce high levels of pollution and ordered it to implement a clean air zone “as soon as possible”.

Such a change would force the most polluting buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs, HGVs LGVs and cars to pay a daily pollution charge.

But Councillor Jim O’Boyle has accused the government of ruling “with an iron fist”, adding a clean air zone would not work in a city the size of Coventry – and said it would fail to reduce nitrogen dioxide (NO2) quicker than the council’s own plan.

The council has been told to revise its plan by 14 June.

Knife offenders 'don't have anything to lose'

The Chief Constable of West Midlands Police says the £7m extra funding his force has been given by the government to tackle knife crime will help, but won't solve the problem.

Knife crime West Midlands
BBC

Figures published by the police showed in the year up to September in the West Midlands force area there were 3,108 offences recorded, a rise of 19% on the year before and almost double the number recorded in 2013.

Dave Thompson said some offenders "didn't have anything to lose" and were "not thinking about the consequences" of their actions.

"There's got to be a dread of detection, a dread of the consequences, but you know I've looked at some of the cases we had, cases where really the likelihood of the offender being caught is obvious and yet, you know, the incident results in a murder.

"Perhaps because they don't think they have anything to lose and don't live a life where they think anymore further than the immediate."

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

It will be a cool day with lots of cloud and highs of 16C (61F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

It will be a cloudy night with some light showers and lows of 6C (43F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

'A great honour' for Coventry's new mayor

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Tom Davis

The new Mayor of Coventry has described her appointment as a “great honour and privilege”.

Councillor Linda Bigham
BBC

Councillor Linda Bigham was sworn in at Coventry Cathedral today, watched on by her three children, three grandchildren, and husband Kerry.

The 71-year-old Labour councillor, originally from Birmingham, has represented the city's Longford ward since 2004.

“I cannot believe I am in this position and it is only now that you realise what a journey you have been on," she said.

2019 European elections: How many new MEPs might you get?

BBC News

Half of the existing MEPs in the West Midlands are not contesting the upcoming European Parliament elections.

European parliament
Getty Images

There are 72 UK MEPs currently serving, with one seat vacant. Of those, 43 are seeking re-election and there are 548 other new candidates.

That means at least 30 of those elected from 23-26 May might either never take their seats or serve only a few months if the UK leaves the European Union by the end of October.

Here are some facts and figures about the choice voters have about who represents them in Brussels and Strasbourg.

Man dies after mobility scooter crash

A man involved in a crash with a van while riding a mobility scooter in Coventry has been described as having an "enormous zest for life".

Mick Morrison
Family handout

Mick Morrison was crossing Allesley Old Road at the junction of Brookside Avenue at 10:30 on Monday 6 May.

He died in hospital on Wednesday.

The driver of the van, a 43-year-old man, remained at the scene and is cooperating with the inquiry, said West Midlands Police.

The 76-year-old victim, who had been living with Parkinson's disease, believed in "living life to the full", said his wife, including flying to Las Vegas "four or five times a year".

"His death has left an enormous void in our lives and he will be missed dreadfully as I have lost not only my husband but also my best friend," she added.

European Commission 'assessing' Ricoh sale to Wasps

The European Commission says it is currently assessing a complaint it has received in connection with the sale of Coventry's Ricoh Arena to Wasps.

Ricoh Arena
Getty Images

Coventry City's owner Sisu has taken its legal complaint to Europe after the Supreme Court threw out its appeal over a judicial review into the sale by Coventry City Council.

Sisu claims the Ricoh was undervalued by £28m, and is asking the European Commission to see if the deal breaks state-aid rules.

The European Union has rules on how much government money can be given to commercial enterprises to ensure one does not get an unfair advantage over another.

An EU spokesperson said: "The Commission has received a complaint regarding the sale of the Ricoh Arena to Wasps Rugby Club and is currently assessing it in line with its standard procedures."

Coventry City had been in talks to stay longer at the Ricoh Arena, but Wasps chief executive Nick Eastwood said the club had "entered such discussions in good faith" and that because the case had been taken to the EU, its conditions for negotiations hadn't been met.

English Football League clubs will discuss the issue on 29 May.

Government invests further £28m in Coventry electric car tech

The Government has given a further £28m to an electric car battery development centre in Coventry.

Electric vehicle
BBC

Business Secretary Greg Clark is set to announce the funding for the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, which is on top of an £80m initial investment.

West Midlands mayor Andy Street said the centre was a "major coup" for the city and the wider West Midlands.

The cash is part of the Local Industrial Strategy to boost the region's economy.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

After a fine start it will a dry sunny day with some cloud and highs of 17C (63F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

More dry weather on the way tonight

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

The dry, fine weather's set to continue tonight in the West Midlands - here's the full forecast for the night and tomorrow:

Shefali Oza

To get a latest forecast for your area at any other time, head to the BBC Weather website.

In the papers: Congestion charge ordered for city roads

Coventry Live

Here's a look at the headlines on the Coventry Live website today:

Coventry ordered to introduce clean air zone charges

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Tom Davis

Coventry has been ordered by the government to introduce a clean air zone, which would charge owners of the most polluting vehicles.

The city council had put forward alternative proposals, including electric taxis, cleaner buses and new walking and cycling buses, after being told to reduce nitrogen dioxide levels, but they failed to impress the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Coventry City Council
Google

The council has been told to introduce the clean air zone "as soon as possible", but the member responsible for jobs and regeneration, Jim O'Boyle said the economic impact of a congestion charge would be "pretty extreme”.

Coventry City Council has been contacted for a comment.

Makeshift spear found in drugs raid

A makeshift ‘spear’ made from a kitchen knife taped to a broom handle has been found during a drugs raid in Coventry.

Police officers smashed through two doors, one of them made of reinforced metal to get into a flat in Jenner Street, Foleshill, at 10:00 yesterday.

Spear
West Midlands Police

Other weapons and suspected drugs were also found at the property.

Two men, aged 18 and 19, were arrested in a rear garden having jumped from a window, while women, aged 19 and 34, a 46-year-old man and a 14-year-old boy were detained inside.

All six were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

Another dry, sunny day

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

Any early patches of mist should soon clear away leaving a dry and fine, sunny day.

Here's the full forecast for the West Midlands for Wednesday:

Alex Hamilton

You can get a latest forecast for your part of the region at any other time by going to the BBC Weather website.

City millennium project at risk of 'closing for second time'

One of Coventry's oldest heritage sites could close for a second time after failing to attract adequate funding for the site, a group says.

Priory Centre
BBC

The Priory visitor centre, which formed part of the city's £24m Millennium development, was closed in February 2016 after its grant was withdrawn by the city council.

A social enterprise group that reopened the centre now says it's at risk of closing later this month due to lack of funds.

Priory Centre
BBC

The centre was designed to showcase the remains of the city's original 12th Century cathedral and priory.

Founding director Carole Donnelly, who's been in charge of the centre for three years, says the "stunning site" is currently run by volunteers after failing to be awarded National Lottery funding.

"We've got a great story to tell," she added, "but unfortunately can't keep doing it for nothing."

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a dry night with mainly clear skies and lows of 3C (37F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Father of brothers killed in crash 'took his own life'

An inquest into the death of a father whose two sons were killed in a hit-and-run crash has recorded a verdict of suicide.

Reece Platt-May
PA

Reece Platt-May's body was discovered in a hotel on the island of Corfu in May 2018, three months after the deaths of Coventry boys Corey and Casper Platt-May.

The brothers, aged two and six, were struck in the city by a speeding driver high on cocaine.

Casper and Corey Platt-May
Family handout

Coroner Sean McGovern said he was satisfied no-one else was involved in Mr Platt-May's death abroad.

"It reminds us of the horror of [the crash] and the effect these events can have on people," he told the court.

Robert Brown, 53, who was jailed for 10 and a half years for killing the brothers, was later found dead in prison.

Transport museum to introduce admission charges

A tourist attraction previously free to the public is to introduce admission charges to help "secure its future".

Coventry Transport Museum is set to charge up to £14 for an adult from July this year, although city residents will still be able to enter without paying.

Coventry Transport Museum
BBC

Culture Coventry, which runs the venue, says the income will be used to "refresh and enhance" it.

The museum is funded through grants from Coventry City Council and Arts Council England and the changes to admission are designed to supplement this alongside income generated through other commercial activities.

Culture Coventry also manages the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum and Lunt Roman Fort.

The carefully considered decision to implement admission charges goes beyond income generation – the additional revenue gives us the chance to bring an exciting range of innovative, exceptional and interactive activities and exhibitions to the museum which will attract visitors from all over the country and beyond."

Paul BreedChief executive, Culture Coventry

Man arrested in human trafficking investigation

A man has been arrested in connection with a major investigation into human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation.

He was detained at an address in the West Midlands and is being questioned by officers from the National Crime Agency.

A number of other properties are being searched in the West Midlands, west London and Northamptonshire areas.

The operations are being conducted with the support of Immigration Enforcement, West Midlands Police, Metropolitan Police and Northamptonshire Police.

Man dies in tower block fire

A man has died in a fire on the top floor of a 16-storey block of flats in Coventry.

Faulkner House
Google

Crews were called to Faulkner House on Stoney Standon Road shortly before 18:00 on Monday.

One man died at the scene, said the ambulance service.

Investigations into the cause are on-going, but the blaze, which was contained to one flat, is not being treated as suspicious.

Boy hit by ambulance responding to 999 call

A teenage boy suffered potentially serious injuries when he was hit by an ambulance responding to an emergency call.

Ambulance
BBC

It happened in Lichfield Street, Walsall, just after 17:30 on Monday.

The teenager was treated at the scene before being airlifted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

No-one in the ambulance was injured, though they were badly shaken.

The ambulance service will be working with collision investigators to establish what happened, the West Midlands trust said.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a dry fine day with sunshine and highs of 19C (66F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands