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The headlines tonight: Saved after months of uncertainty,
over 700 jobs are secured at an engineering firm in Coventry.
The team have worked very hard. The workforce are very committed to the
business, and it's good to say that all that success will be realised.
The company's been bought up by an industrial group with 17 other
engineering businesses in the region.
Also this evening: A paramedic's recovering after being seriously
assaulted by a patient he was trying to help.
We go to people without question. If they need us, we go. It's not, you
deserve it, you don't. We don't deserve to be attacked for trying to
help people. Police apologise to a Birmingham DJ
after he was pulled over in his Bentley and told
it was a fact that black How the mighty are fallen and turned
into beautiful works of art. And the winds caused havoc today,
but mix rain with Arctic air and tonight and tomorrow,
wee could be struggling with snow. Join me for the detail
in a short while. Having spent Christmas
and the new year fearing for their jobs, at last some really
good news for more than seven hundred workers
at an engineering firm in Coventry. Covpress, which makes body panels
for Jaguar Land Rover and Renault, had been in administration since
September. But today they've been taken
over by the industrial group Liberty House.
Joanne Writtle reports. A bright day for 740 workers in
Coventry who have faced an uncertain future for months.
It is a relief, really, to realise that we have been taken over, and we
can only go one man that is forward. Covpress, major supplier for the
likes of jaguar Land Rover, went into administration four months ago,
despite doubling its turnover to ?100 million in the space of
three-year 's. Now, industrial group Liberty House has saved it.
There were lots of smiling faces today. Apps we allowed employees
today to spend a lot of time on their iPhones to eating their
friends, because generally, there is a feeling we have been underrated.
This woman was particularly relieved. She and her partner both
working and have a three-year-old son. The past six months have been
really worrying. Since we went into administration,
everyone is worried about their job security. Today, there is more of a
positive atmosphere about the factory.
The workforce is very committed to the business, and it's good to see
that all that success will be realised.
To give you an idea of the impact this company has, just about every
jaguar Land Rover car made in the Midlands has a part on it made here
at this company. Not only that, they make gas meters, panels for
recycling companies, all sorts of things.
The chief executive of the Global Liberty Industries Group has
travelled to the company's bases in Dubai and Poland this week alone.
Why, then, did they decide to buy Covpress?
Acquiring this has given us a real high-quality short window to the UK
market. It is a key supplier, and I'm reliably told this business is
part of a core platform for Jaguar Land Rover, meaning we are a
critical part of their supply chain, but also the UK automotive supply
chain. A year ago, they saved jobs snapping
up 17 engineering businesses in the Midlands, among them this one, 920
Engineering in Leamington spa. You know you have your mortgage and
your family, you can't plan anything else out in your life will stop so
you are just hanging on in there hoping someone will buy you out, and
frankly, Liberty did. I have been here 40 years, and I
think they will invest money, so hopefully, we are on the right
track. Back in Coventry, there are now
plans to expand, welcome news for workers at the newly owned Liberty
Pressing Solutions. Our Business Correspondent Peter
Plisner is at Covpress this evening. So, Peter, why was Liberty
so interested in this business? Well, Nick, this was a good business
and a good fit for the company. Another Liberty House business
already makes parts for the car giants Nissan, and now, as you say,
they are making parts through the acquisition of Covpress for Jaguar
Land Rover, GM and Renault. It is also a good fit strategically for
Liberty House, which is developing itself into a vertically integrated
business where they make the steel and then make parts, and those parts
are being sold to big companies, and of course, they are also -- they
also have interest in renewable energy. So they make the electricity
that makes the steel that makes the parts.
And how has this company survived, when so many others have fallen?
Well, it is an interesting one. Covpress went into administration
with full order books, practically unheard of. They had cash flow
problems, and I think the reason they were sold as a going concern
was because they have strong, loyal customers like jaguar Land Rover,
which has led to the good outcome, with 740 jobs secured. Unusually,
their pension fund is being transferred to tee two, and that is
normally unheard-of. Normally, they are rescued by the government's
payment protection fund. Thank you.
An ambulance technician is recovering after being viciously
assaulted by a patient he was trying to help.
Bob Burness was treating an unconscious man who had been
found in a stairwell in West Bromwich,
He agreed to talk to our reporter Nicola Beckford to raise awareness
of the rising number of attacks on ambulance staff.
The results of a brutal attack. Ambulance technician Bob Burness
thought he was on a routine call out, but it ended up with him being
the one taken to hospital. He just went straight into a
physical assault and head-butted me straight in the face. I was too
close to move out of the way, so he made contact with my nose and mouth.
This caused a significant nosebleed and watering of the eyes, and a bit
of disorientation. Bob joined the Ambulance Service in
2008. It is not the first time he has been attacked.
I have been scratched, beaten, pushed downstairs. The list is quite
long. Unfortunately, I am not unique. It has happened to most of
my colleagues at some point. Psychologically, it is by far
nowhere near the worst. When you get somebody with an infectious disease
is spitting in your face and you have three or four months of blood
tests to see if you have got something, that tends to play with
your mind a bit more. This is where the attack took place
last Tuesday. It is an area that Bob Burness says is low-risk, which goes
to show that attacks like there like these, can be hard to predict.
And attacks on West Midlands ambulance staff have been
increasing. Between April September 2014, there were 325 verbal and
physical attacks on staff. Last year, during the same period, there
were 469 attacks. The man who assaulted Bob Burness was sentenced
to 12 weeks in prison under ?250 fine a sentence the Ambulance
Service says is not tough enough. I don't think it is actually a
deterrent. I think overall, the stance on this
is that we want tougher sentencing for people that assault our
emergency service staff, because overall, they are there to help you,
not to hinder you. Bob has now recovered from the
attack and is back at work. He says it is an outrage that staff are at
risk of being assaulted by the very public they are trying to help.
Lots of you have been sending your best wishes to Bob
and expressing outrage about the attack over
on our Facebook page, where there's more on the story.
A couple who stole clothes valued at more than ?100,000
Ionut and Mirela Vasile were arrested after stealing high
end clothes from Harvey Nichols in Birmingham in December 2015.
CCTV footage then showed them shoplifting goods
from stores in Manchester, Edinburgh, London,
A 54-year-old woman's been arrested on suspicion of murder after a man's
body was found in the Henley Green area of Coventry.
Paramedics were called in the early hours of the morning to Henley Road,
following reports that a 50-year-old man had suffered a cardiac arrest.
The Midlands Air Ambulance is to receive ?1 million of Treasury
cash from banking fines to help pay for a new helicopter.
The charity, which covers the West Midlands and Staffordshire,
says it means they can now place an order for a new
The Metropolitan Police in London have apologised to a Birmingham DJ
who was pulled over in his Bentley and told it was a fact that
black men in gangster clothes commit crimes.
27-year-old DMO Deejay was stopped by officers near Leicester Square.
What the officers didn't know was that the whole incident
was captured on a camera set up in the DJ's car.
DMO Deejay joins us now from our London studios. Good evening to you.
Good evening. This has caused quite a number.
What do you make of it? It has been pretty crazy, to be
fair. How come you had a camera at the
ready in the first place? I had that car given to me to do a
promotional video for my supporters, where I was delivering me mixed CDs
to their house, quite a lot at night, and the cameras are actually
connected to the car so I can get the whole scenery of London, so when
I edit it I can add that into there. Luckily enough, I did not know it
was rolling, but was rolling when I got stopped, so when I went back to
edit it, I saw the footage and could just about hear it, so I had to turn
up the volume. So, what did you think when the
officer said to you what he said? When he said it to me, it registered
in my head, but it did not register in my head. I did say to him, you
can't say that to people. But he was saying, it is just a fact. It is not
racist, it is just a fact. I said, do you know what, that is just your
opinion. You must have been horrified.
It is humiliating, to be fair, it is humiliating.
And it is not the first time you have been stopped, obviously.
No, it is not the first time at all. So the Met Police and apologise now.
Have you accepted their apology, or do you want to take it further?
I accept their apology, but I would like to create some kind of
awareness about this. There are other black people who get stopped
in this situation, it is frustrating at times when you need to be
somewhere and they are taking time out of your day just to do stuff
they do not really need to be doing, especially when you have a NPR
monitors, and if something is up, you can tell already. These are
traffic officers, there were three people in the traffic car, and only
one officer who was really enforcing the kind of, it is a black thing.
The other two were all right, but there are all the facilities for
them to do their prior checks and find out the car was all right. In
the end, I was completely clean. They let me go, and after they tried
to educate me on why I got stopped, which I was quite confused about.
DMO, we will leave it there, thank you for talking to us.
As we mentioned earlier, the Met have apologised, and in a statement,
they said, we are aware of the footage circulating.
A blind man from Birmingham has won a national award for his efforts
Mohammed Rashid has had to overcome many cultural and religious
Some Muslims believe that dogs are unclean but,
thanks to Mr Rashid and friends at his local mosque,
his guide dog Solo has been welcomed into his community.
Our special correspondent, Peter Wilson has spent the day
Can I touch his poor? You certainly can!
Mohammed Rashid is well-known to the children of St John's Primary School
And Will 'S Park Hill. He And His Guide Dog Solo Are Volunteers. For
Many Of These Birmingham Children, A Guard Used To Be Something Fear, But
Not Any More. . Petrified. Where you? Why? Because
I have never met a dog before. I have never stroked a dog or seen
one. Two two has changed my life in any
different ways. He has given me back my eyes. -- Solo. He has given me
back my sense of independence. Mohammed was blind and got his dog
three years ago, but many Muslims do not trust dogs. Mohammed had to
convince his own family was the right thing to have Solo in their
home and their lives. My wife being from Pakistan,
obviously, she was saying, no, I can't have a dog in the house,
because it is not the norm. If you have the dog, I am going to have to
move, or you are going to have to move, one or the other. It is me or
the Dunhill Olivia. That has all changed, and his wife
loves Solo, and has even decided to keep her husband too! Mohammed's
cousin is also blind, and she has faced criticism for relying on a
guide dog. Rouble see me, the way I'm dressed,
and then they see the dog. I have had things said to me like, you are
not a proper Muslim. People say, if you have a dog, don't dress like
this. Choose one of the other which it will be.
Mohammed has won awards for his work for Guide Dogs For The Blind. A
local businessman has also helped win over the community inspired
Hill. Back home, we have the dog in our
family. People love dogs, and they love dogs here as well. But if the
dog is wet, we cannot touch them, because we cannot pray. When the dog
is Jaidee, you can touch them, you can play with the dog, there is no
problem, and we should be fine with dogs.
There are both positive and negative references to dogs in the ground,
but there is no getting away that many Asian people are very fearful
of dogs. But Solo have both done more than anybody else in the
country to overcome those fears. -- Solo and Mohammed. At the local
mosque, everyone has been positive about the guide dog.
They have even installed a kennel so that Solo is safe while Mohammed
praise. Not having eyesight doesn't mean I
can't still be a devoted Muslim, because with the help of my guide
dog, to come to the mosque, I can still have the same outcome and
achievement as people with sight. Solo and Mohammed have both changed
each other's lives, and they're working to help others too.
Good to have you with us here and Midlands Today. The top story this
evening: After months of uncertainty, over 700 jobs are saved
at an engineering firm in Coventry. Parts of the region are bracing
themselves for snow in the next 24 hours or so, but today one
of the big problems has Yes - these were some of our peak
gusts across the region today and as you can see, the strongest
were recorded at Leek in Staffordshire, which
is near to where this van was spotted being buffeted
by the winds, pinned to the bank while the wheels lifted off
the ground and many more incidents reported today including road
closures due obstructions caused by the winds.
And soon there'll be snow. I'll have all the details
on that later on. Also in the programme,
the craftsman transforming fallen Business owners in Kidderminster
are demanding to know what's being done to re-ignite
multi-million pound regeneration plans they were promised
to keep their High Street alive. Some shop keepers have told us today
they've had their worst Christmas in decades -
they're struggling to attract customers when there are so many
empty units in the town. Joan Cummins has spent
the day talking to traders. Worcester Street in Kidderminster
used to be the heart of the town. Now, with vacant shops and to let
signs visible everywhere, it feels in need of care. In 2015, we spoke
to this man, who had been business since 1979. Back then, he did not
think things could get worse, but they have.
We are down nearly 50-60% down in the last year. We are putting our
pension money in the shop to pay the bills. I got one customer on Monday,
nobody on Tuesday. It is nearly 11 o'clock, 12 o'clock in the morning.
Nobody comes inside the door, not even this morning.
It was hoped developers would flatten Crown House behind me,
described as one of the ugliest buildings not only in Kidderminster,
but also in the country. But that has been shelved.
The property developers are in the private sector, and at the end of
the day, if the money does not stack up for them, they have to make
commercial decisions for them and their shareholders. We are putting
in ?1 million to open up Worcester Street to traffic. There will be
learned in the latter part of this year.
In 1998, -- 19 88, this area was captured on camera. But nearly 30
years on, people are accepting that things have to change.
It is very sad. I was born in Kidderminster, and I find it awful
to look around here. High Street are probably becoming less necessary.
They are open for a few months, and then they go downhill.
The High Street is changing, and I think people need to be aware of
that. People themselves are aware of it. They are happy to use the
internet, but I think we shops and the retailers need to be cleverer.
But retailers on the street are being more pragmatic, saying 2017 is
a battle to survive, rather than thrive.
A new dance group launched in Gloucester last night,
hoping to draw on the popularity of Strictly Come Dancing.
Gloster Swing Dance attracted around 140 people to its opening night,
with many people trying it for the first time.
Have you ever wondered whether a winter of dancing
on the telly makes more of us have a go?
Well, this is what happened in Gloucester last night,
Well, this is what happened in Gloucester last night,
140 people turned up, and for those beginners
The one thing you need to remember about swing dance, you can go wrong
for the whole hour! See you later. And I'm sure many did go
wrong, but gradually, the room moved as one,
probably ahead of time. You can be fat, then, old, young,
black, white, enabled or disabled. You are welcome swing dancing.
I just want to do it properly. Never having done anything like this
before, it is good to feel like you are doing something new.
Just so friendly, getting together and dancing. Who doesn't like
dancing? We dance to New York, we dance in
Spain, we danced and loads and loads of places. Did lots of collaborating
for charity, and it is the best thing ever.
Anyway, back to the professionals, and a special moment.
Five weeks ago, Gary Boon had a heart attack.
If I wasn't fit, slim, a nonsmoker, a nondrinker, and if I didn't do
this, I may not be here now. This has saved my life. And it looks like
it could change many more. From the exotically mobile
to something that's stubbornly static, dead trees, and a man who's
been making a living out Robot Cossey is well know in region
for his sculptures and if you live anywhere near Hednesford
in South Staffordshire, So what is it that makes him turn
felled trees into works of art? Who better to find out
than our Arts Reporter Satnam Rana? Chipping away at his sculpture in
Hednesford Park in South Staffordshire.
I just love creating things out of something that would normally go on
the fire. Robot Cossey is a man who works
with nature's waste. He gives dead trees
a new lease of life. I think when I am on the chisels, I
am thinking about, obviously, I am focusing on the area that I am
carving, but I am also thinking about what I'm going to do next.
At the end of last year, 16 over-mature trees were felled
in the park to make way for new ones.
But some were pollarded for Robot's work.
These sculptures are all part of a Heritage Lottery Fund Will Toggle
Funded Project To Enhance Enjoyment For Passers-by. And If I'm Right,
there is so muddy behind me right now taking apart a graph of them. .
The Friends of Hednesford Park and Canncock Chase COuncil have
worked with local schoolchildren to come up with the designs,
I wish I was as talented as him to be able to bring them back in this
way. I have noticed them a the past few times I have gone through the
park, what a creative thing it is to do.
It is nice to see when you walk around the park. You follow the
statues around the park. If he does some on the other side, which he
probably will do, it is a nice journey around the park.
Robot's work stretches right across the region from Solihull
It is therapeutic. That is a word for it. Especially when you are
working in a park like this, it is really nice.
From stumps to sculture, he's the tree man who
Yesterday we took you back to a very cold 1982,
where Shropshire set the record for the lowest
Hundreds of you got in touch with your memories.
Karen Fryer told us it was a week before she got married,
her husband-to-be David got stuck in Wales, but he made it in time,
she says the day was "perfect, clear blue skies and pure white snow."
Hazel Hampton remembers "heating soup and water for tea on the log
"burner as the oil for the central heating had frozen in the pipes".
But we're in for a testing day or two, aren't we, Shefali?
Yes, gusts of 50 miles an hour in some parts today. And mortar come.
This was the scene at other stone railway station today, or a
trampoline was blown into the overhead lines. But elsewhere
throughout the region, more subtle. Beautiful, dreamy sunsets after day
here in Worcestershire. That get onto the meaty stuff, the rain and
snow heading our way for tomorrow. This is what is happening in the
next 24-48 hours. Winds will become lighter through tonight, then
tomorrow, my other, with this area of rain that across the southern
half of the country, which will bump into colder air sweeping down from
the North. At that meeting point, that snow will be created. It all
clears away, with high dominating by the weekend. A relatively benign
picture for this evening and overnight. A lot of dry weather
about, cloudy skies, a few clouds dripping in through the Cheshire
cat, with some having a wintry element, but nothing much to speak
of. Temperatures will be above freezing tonight. In the south of
the region, milder air starts to feed him. Into the morning and
overnight, we start to see the rain cutting across the southern half of
the region and the two central parts as well. Some will be light, a lot
will be heavy, and it will meet up with the colder air. We haven't
mentioned quantities as such for these areas subject to warnings.
That is Herefordshire, Worcestershire, in Warwickshire,
where there is a bit of a white out. The rain will last for several hours
and could be heavy in places. Temperatures only rising to 4-5.
Into tomorrow night and evening, the snow will persist in River Wear, and
we have showers moving into the Cheshire gap which could turn wintry
as well, so a warning for Shropshire as well. Perhaps 2-3 centimetres of
snow at low levels, ten centimetres in high places, but that is the
absolute maximum and it is localised. Ice will be a problem as
we head into Friday morning. Thank you. I am filming in all that
snow tomorrow! Water you thinking ?!.
I'll be back at 10.30 with the late bulletin.
Have a great evening. Goodbye.
I think my political beliefs are really quite straightforward.
I believe that our country needs to work for everyone.
Not just for the rich, not just for the privileged,
not just for those who know the right people or who've got