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Friday night's weather forecast

Rebecca Wood

BBC Midlands Today

Any of the odd showers which have developed today should fade away this evening - here's the full weather forecast for tonight and the start of the weekend in the West Midlands:

Rebecca Wood

You can keep up to date with the latest forecast for your area by heading to the BBC Weather website.

Cannock crash: Roads 'heavily congested' with A5 shut

Allen Cook

BBC News

Roads around Cannock are heavily congested this morning, Highways England says, as part of the A5's still shut after two men were seriously hurt in a crash.

The DFS  on Longford Island roundabout
Google

Staffordshire Police said a white Volkswagen Scirocco left the road at Longford Island roundabout in Cannock and hit the front of a DFS Store.

It said prior to the collision, at about 03:45 BST, the car was being followed by a police vehicle.

Highways England says the A5 remains closed between J12 of the M6 at Gailey and Churchbridge.

Warm and sunny to end the week

Sara Blizzard

BBC Weather

This week's set to end with more dry, warm, sunny weather - here's your full forecast:

Sara Blizzard

You can get a latest forecast at any other time by heading to the BBC Weather website.

Severe accident: A5 Staffordshire both ways

BBC News Travel

A5 Staffordshire both ways severe accident, between A4601 Wolverhampton Road and M6 Toll JT7 Churchbridge.

A5 Staffordshire - A5 Watling Street in Cannock closed in both directions between Longford Island and Churchbridge, because of accident investigation work. Congestion to surrounding roads, including the A4601 and routes through Hatherton and Four Crosses. Diversion in operation - follow Hollow Square via A460 (Orbital) and M6 J11 to J12.

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

What's the weather got in store?

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

It will be a dry night with clear skies and lows of 5C (41F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Halfords' help for women prisoners

Retail chain Halfords is urging other businesses to help women prisoners train for jobs, citing the success of a scheme it's been running for two years at HMP Drake Hall in Staffordshire.

The Halfords Academy at the prison offers inmates the chance to train as cycle mechanics, with the prospect of employment at the end of their term.

Halfords said those on the programme were subject to the same standards as other trainees, and worked on bikes that needed to be reconditioned.

"The training programme is thorough and is designed to challenge participants and raise their aspirations," said a spokesperson, adding Halfords believed the scheme could reduce re-offending.

Among participants was former drug addict Leigh Bolton, who's been working at Halfords for more than nine months. "It changed my life, my future and how other people see me," she said of the programme.

European elections 2019: Polls are open

Polling stations have opened for the European Parliament elections.

Polling station
PA

Seventy-three members, known as MEPs, will be elected in nine constituencies in England, with seven elected in the West Midlands.

MEPs are elected by proportional representation, in order as listed by their party.

The number of MEPs each party gets is calculated using a formula called d'Hondt, except in Northern Ireland, where the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system is used.

Results will not be announced until all EU nations have voted over the next three days - with the voting process completed by 22:00 on Sunday 26 May.

Polling stations in the UK are open until 22:00.

View more on twitter

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

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

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Staying dry for the next 24 hours

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

More dry weather ahead tonight and tomorrow for the West Midlands, here's the latest weather forecast:

Shefali Oza

You can get a latest forecast for your area at any other time by heading to the BBC Weather website.

Staying fine and dry on Wednesday

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

More fine, dry weather today with sunny spells - here's the full forecast for the West Midlands:

Alex Hamilton

You can get a latest forecast at any other time for your area by heading to the BBC Weather website.

Ambulance service 'to rely less' on fast cars

Local Democracy Reporting Service

West Midlands Ambulance Service says it's going to be relying less on motorbikes and response cars and more on traditional ambulances in the future.

Mark Docherty, its executive director of clinical commissioning, said: “We invested a lot in response cars, a lot of motorcycles and even bicycles. But what we found was that it was all well and good getting a paramedic there, but what do they then do with the patient?"

Ambulance
BBC

Mr Docherty said he also wanted more defibrillators "on every street corner", so that if someone suffered a cardiac arrest, they could get help quickly.

Staying dry in the West Midlands

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

There's no end in sight for the dry weather over the next 24 hours, with more forecast tonight and tomorrow - here's the full report for the West Midlands:

Alex Hamilton

You can get an up-to-date forecast for your area at any other time by heading to the BBC Weather website.

Bid to regulate door-to-door charity collections

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Kerry Ashdown

Charities could have to get a council licence and guarantee 70% of what they earn goes to the cause under new proposals aimed at stopping bogus collections.

50p coin being dropped into charity container
PA

The Charitable Collections Policy is being planned by Cannock Chase District Council to regulate house-to-house calls in the area.

If agreed, organisations wanting to collect door to door would have to get a licence, with local charities given priority.

The plans would also see charities limited to a maximum of six collections each year.

The proposals are now going out to public consultation.

Dozens of arrests in county lines crackdown

Allen Cook

BBC News

Dozens of arrests have been made by Staffordshire Police and West Mercia Police as part of a national campaign in the past week targeting so-called county lines drugs gangs.

The practice sees gangs moving out of their usual urban territory and into rural areas, often coercing children and vulnerable adults to help.

Join police officers as they raid an address in Hastings

Nationally, police forces led by the National County Lines Coordination Centre made a total of 586 arrests, and seized cocaine worth £176,780, plus £312,649 in cash and 46 weapons.

Both Staffordshire Police and West Mercia Police said in addition to their arrests, they visited several "cuckoo" addresses, where drug runners commandeer homes to use as a base.

They said that 13 people in need of support were helped after their visits.

Cannabis
BBC

Meeting ambulance target in county 'would cost £45m'

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Andrew Morris

An ambulance service has said the chances of meeting response times for the most critically injured patients in a county would cost an extra £45m a year.

Side of an ambulance
BBC

West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) currently has 38 vehicles on the road in Shropshire.

In England, ambulance services are expected to reach patients within an average of seven minutes but, in the county, the average time was 10 minutes 44 seconds.

At a Shropshire Council health meeting, WMAS spokesman Mark Docherty said it would need another 75 ambulances to meet the target, costing £45m.

He said instead, it wanted to see more people trained in using defibrillators with more of the machines on street corners as "this is going to help save lives more than more ambulances".

Dry weather continues - here's the full forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

The dry weather's expected to continue this morning across the West Midlands with some sunshine around, here's the full forecast for today:

Alex Hamilton

If you want a latest forecast at any other time for your part of the West Midlands, head to the BBC Weather website.

School with 20 pupils to close this summer

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Kerry Ashdown

A 150-year-old school's going to close this summer after a council said it was financially unsustainable.

Henry Prince First School
Google

The Henry Prince First School, in Mayfield, Staffordshire, near Ashbourne, has space for 75 pupils, but currently has just 20.

Staffordshire County Council's approved proposals from the school's governing body to shut it, with its financial deficit forecast to rise above £400,00 by 2021-22.

Members of the local parish council called the decision premature, but the county council said there was no alternative but to close it from the end of August.

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

Post-mortems today into 'unexplained' deaths

Allen Cook

BBC News

Post-mortem examinations are going to be carried out today after the bodies of a man and a woman were found by police.

Hill Street, Hednesford
Google

Officers were called to a house in Hill Street, Hednesford, near Cannock, yesterday morning.

They say they're treating the deaths of the 27-year-old man and 49-year-old woman as "unexplained".

Crash closes M6 Toll carriageway

BBC News Travel

It looks like the crash on the M6 Toll is serious at junction eight northbound.

Traffic is at a standstill and Highways England says emergency services are on their way.

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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

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.

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.

Homecoming for Mini Coopers after Turkish charity trip

BBC Midlands Today

A group of friends who drove three Mini Coopers from Staffordshire to Turkey to raise money for cancer treatment in Birmingham will return home to Cannock tonight.

The minis when setting off
BBC

Inspired by the film The Italian Job, the idea came about after a relative of one of the drivers had life-saving treatment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

They said on their Facebook page they were hoping to raise £5,000, but have now raised almost double that amount.

Fresh bid for lottery cash for history project

Jodie Looker

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

A fresh bid for £3.9m of lottery funding for a new history centre is being launched.

Staffordshire Record Office entrance
Staffordshire County Council

In October, an attempt to get the cash from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the Staffordshire History Centre scheme was rejected.

But the county council wants to put in a revised application at the end of this month for the cash.

If successful, it'll be used with fundraising of £1.8m for a new extension and remodelling of Staffordshire Records Office and the William Salt Library in Stafford.

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.

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

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

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a dry night with largely clear skies and lows of 2C (36F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

After a chilly start it will be a dry and fine day with warm sunshine and highs of 18C (43F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands