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This is East Midlands Today with Dominic Heale and me, Anne Davies.
Our top story tonight - hundreds of soldiers return from Afghanistan.
An emotional homecoming for the Mercians after months of gun
battles with the Taliban. We were getting three or four a-day F1
stage. And I'm live at 200 metre exclusion
zone because of fears of gas cylinders in a house behind me
could explode. We may be in recession but we are
reporting on this famous Leicestershire company where
business is booming. And I'm here Carsington Water to
spot one of the only wildlife species where the parents looked
nothing like their kids. That is it the sun decides to shine!
Good evening. Welcome to Thursday's programme. First tonight - hundreds
of soldiers from the East Midlands' largest army regiment have returned
from Afghanistan. The Mercians Second battalion fought several
hundred gun battles during their six month tour of duty, but
commanders say they've made huge progress. The final contingent of
troops have arrived at their barracks in Belfast. Our Social
Affairs Correspondent, Jeremy Ball, was there.
Together again after six long months. It was always going to be
emotional. Very relieved. This is my job done because they just want
their father! These soldiers first spoke to us before the tour started.
They took cameras and came back with powerful video footage. The
troops fought more than 130 gun battles to drive the Taliban out of
a small part of Helmand that the Afghan government did not control.
There were crazy contacts every day, just coming under fire, we took
casualties straight away. Before the first round comes over your
head you're not a soldier, you're just a normal bloke. But then when
they start flying, you're just a businessman. In the first four
months we had a lot of engagements with the enemy. After that we just
secured the road and cleared it of explosives. We literally drove the
Taliban out of there. Generally I think people are happy. But two of
their comrades lost their lives. Private Matthew hassled and died
when his patrol came under in five. -- under gunfire. You walk away and
say it does not affect you but of course it does. If you had seen
what the potential that country has, how much the British Army has
achieved, then absolutely, everything we have done has been
worth it. This is the official end of the
battalion's force deployment de Helmand province and soon there
will be providing Security much closer to home for the Olympic
Games. But for now they're just looking forward to spending time
with their families. And tomorrow, why one
Nottinghamshire soldier left the army, and took his family to live
in Afghanistan. Police have set up an exclusion
zone and evacuated dozens of houses in a Derbyshire village, because of
fears of an explosion. A house caught fire at Willington and the
emergency services say there are dangerous cylinders inside. Fire
crews were called to Willington earlier this afternoon and began
moving out families close to the scene. Our reporter Jo Healey is
there and can tell us more. I am at Willington Community Centre,
a special centre of which has been set up for people living inside
that exclusion zone for cannot go home. The house caught fire at
lunchtime today. How serious was it? Well when we arrived we found
that the fire involved a much of Michael by the side of the house.
Does - a motor vehicle. We were able to quickly extinguished the
fire but in the vicinity was an acetylene cylinder which had been
exposed to the heat. You are now calling those cylinders? We have a
policy that when such a cylinder it is involved in the fire it becomes
an explosive risk. So we can pull it for 24 hours. About an hour or
so ago people were coming home only to be told by police what was
happening. And earlier today children at Willington Primary
School were kept indoors. Here at the community centre people allowed
deciding what they're going to be doing overnight. What happened to
you? I was at work and got a phone call from my son. What are you
going to be doing tonight? We might be staying with friends, I'm not
quite sure. Basically I came home from shopping and I had just been
to pick up my youngest child. I came home to disruption, the area
was all cordoned off by fire engines and police cars. I did not
know what was happening. You are staying with family tonight? And
you're certainly not alone. Derbyshire County Council are co-
ordinating this. Tell me what exactly is the council doing?
have opened this centre for people who have been evacuated. Quite a
few are still returning home from work so we're trying to get contact
details. Quite a few are going to stay with friends and relatives so
we need to get details to be able to update them. People are coming
here to get advice and this could yet go on for a few more hours. It
may not all be over until lunchtime tomorrow.
Still to come on the programme - flood alerts in the middle of a
drought. After a very wet April and in spite of drought restrictions,
we have five flood alerts in force. All the details and your full
forecast later. Police say the scourge of dangerous
driving in the East Midlands has reached unprecedented levels.
A crackdown in Nottinghamshire resulted in 300 prosecutions in
just one week. And today police calculated that every three minutes,
drivers were being stopped for using mobile phones or not wearing
seatbelts. Carolyn Moses reports. Rush hour for drivers and a rush
for police keeping up with those of flouting the rules of the road.
Incredibly today on this road in Nottingham, at least 40 cars and
lorries were stopped in two hours. That is one every three minutes.
This is one road coming into Nottingham and how many roads are
their? It tells you the scale of the problem. It is sad to see it,
drivers being given fixed penalties, but this is about stopping road
deaths and casualties. And there is pressure on the police. Last year
saw the number of people killed or Sisley injured on the roads here go
up by almost 10%. So now after years of warnings, officers are
dropping the softly-softly approach. Drivers are going to be pulled over
at roadside checks and you can see the kind of numbers we're dealing
with. But it is the only way to get the message across. People use
their phones, they do not wear their seatbelts, that his habitual
behaviour. I think it is a good idea and is making the roads safer.
I should not be using my mobile phones sold McFerran a. If it helps
to cut down on accidents it is a good thing. -- so fair enough.
puts into perspective. We knew where it from now on? Yes. Police
say there will now be regular crackdowns across the county to
make sure that drivers do get the message, one way or another.
Portuguese police have refused to reopen the inquiry into the
disappearance of Madeleine McCann from Rothley in Leicestershire.
It comes after Scotland Yard released a new "age-progressed"
image showing what she might look like as a nine-year-old. It's now
almost five years since Madeleine disappeared and British detectives
believe she could still be alive. Portuguese police insist there is
no evidence to justify relaunching the search.
The Nottingham-based bike maker, Raleigh, has been sold to a Dutch
rival in a deal worth more than �60 million. The 125-year-old company
started life in a workshop on Raleigh Street. Last year the firm
sold 850,000 bikes worldwide. Raleigh bikes are still designed in
Nottingham although manufacturing has moved to the Far East.
This is 100% good news for the company, the brand and the
employees. There will be no job losses as a result of his
acquisition. And in fact we will be recruiting to aid our expansion
plans. The owners of a sheep farm in
Leicestershire say they've been left devastated after a dog killed
nine of their new lambs. The attack happened in a field near
Lutterworth. The lambs that were attacked were all rare breeds and
would have been exhibited in shows over the summer. Tom Brown has this
report, and you may find some of the images distressing.
The sight of a dead lamb is something no sheep farmer wants to
see. But this farm or recently found nine of her lambs slaughtered
in one of her field. Initially I just felt sick. That was just
inside the field gate, Al-Ahram dead with its guts out and it was
the most horrific sight. -- at Lamb. Caffrey runs the farm with her
father-in-law, Brian. He brought the first she appeared more than 20
years ago but has never seen a killing spree as bad as this.
are used to life and death as farmers but to have something like
this reduce preventable, which is just something that comes out of
the balloon, totally unexpected, it is quite devastating. This is one
of more than 400 lambs on this farm but the line but were killed last
week for sadly some of the best. These are the show stop and to have
lost nine of them from Championship animals that have won numerous
prizes, the impact of losing those particular animals is even greater
than it would be. I do not blame the dog because it's instinct took
over, it is the people who will not control their animals. And his dog
cost more than �1,000 to farmers. The police are investigating but
the damage to this blog has already been done. -- this clock.
Two men will appear in court this week, charged in connection with
the stabbing of a man in Nottingham City Centre before Christmas. The
35-year-old was seriously injured after being attacked on Pilchergate
on the 18th of December last year. 30-year-old Mujo Lamaj from
Nottingham, and 32-year-old Haleem Saeed from Bramcote, are both
charged with the attempted murder. The owners of a pub restaurant have
been fined after inspectors found filthy conditions in the kitchen.
The company that runs the Toby Carvery at Enderby in Leicester
admitted breaching food safety regulations. Inspectors found raw
meat and dried blood stuck to fridge shelving. They also found
dirty pots and pans on the floor during the visit in 2010.
Still to come on the programme - how crisps survived the credit
crunch. A rare event - our cameras are allowed inside Leicester's
giant Walkers factory, as the firm announces it's taking on over 100
more staff. A graduate returned to his former
university today bearing gifts. In fact, the biggest corporate gift
it's ever received. The chief executive of Glaxo-Smith-Kline
pledged �12 million to help pay for a new chemistry laboratory at the
University of Nottingham. A laboratory that will be the first
of its kind in the world. Quentin Rayner reports.
Today at top chief Executive officer and graduate of the
University of nudging him in front of an important audience set out
his simple aim. I want to make people understand the working in
Science and Industry is a cool thing to do. The company is to pay
much of the cost of the centre of excellence. The carbon neutral
building generates all of its energy from renewable sources.
Where does this put the University of Nottingham globally in terms of
research? The kind of work we are talking about puts Nottingham at
the leading edge. It will be one of the world centres in his critical
field. Glaxo SmithKline takes on more graduates from the University
of Nottingham and from anywhere else. And the company had a
surprise in store, announcing it would also pay for a new Chair of
chemistry. What a rabbit out of the hat at the end to offer up a new
professorship. Just wonderful. Building will start next year and
the low for a tree will open in 2014. -- the Laboratory.
Britain may have officially gone back into recession, but for one
East Midlands company, business is booming. PepsiCo, the firm which
owns Walkers Crisps, is investing millions of pounds in its Leicester
factory which in turn is creating 110 new jobs. Cameras are very
rarely allowed inside the factory which turns out millions of packets
of crisps every single day. But today, ours were. Here's our
reporter, Sarah Teale. Everywhere you look, crisps coming
off the production line. It is like this 24 hours a day, seven days a
week. Henry Walker started making the snacks after the Second World
War when meeting rationing saw his butchery business fall. Now the
site is one of the largest production plants in the world and
it is about to get bigger. PepsiCo which now owns Walkers crisps is
investing more than �15 million in a new production line. It will mean
the creation of 110 jobs. Britain has just gone back into recession,
so how good is the news for the economy? It is very good news.
Walkers has been in the Leicester area at since the 1940s and we have
seen sustained growth. Anything that keeps British production going
has got be great news. The company is supplied by 350 different
British potato farmers. Once a potato or rides are the factory is
peeled, sliced, backed, weighed and boxed up. The process which takes
just 20 minutes from start to finish. This factory gets through
800 tons of potatoes every single day. It is no surprise when you
think that each of these machines reduces 120 packets of crisps every
single minute. The factory has witnessed how technology has
improved production. This worker has been here an astonishing 37
years. I enjoy it here, everyone is friendly. In the last month, 27
people have retired, clocking up between them some 800 years of
service. The company says it hopes the 110 years - it is recruiting
will have similarly long careers. Time now for the sport.
So Nottingham Forest's future in the championship is secure. But
that's about all they know for certain at the city ground just now.
The Club is up for sale and with no word yet on potential buyers, it's
looking like there could be big changes come the summer.
The season began with high hopes. Steve McLaren at the helm and a
handful of new signings. But within months, McLaren was out and the
battle against relegation was on. Those times were tough and that is
when you need the support. Challenge on the pitch, a tragedy
off bid. The club was plunged into mourning and a decision to put the
club up for sale rings their future is far from certain. It has been a
terrible and tragic season. It has caused a lot of change which we are
still coming to terms with. We are aware that fans are eager to hear
what the future holds for the club. A late rally has secured
Championship status. But change is inevitable.
The loan players will go back to their parent clubs. Some players
will not be staying. Some by choice, but we just have to wait and see
what the future holds. This has been one of the most dramatic in
turbine seasons they have every year -- ever seen here at the City
Ground. The summer of uncertainty lies ahead.
Ice hockey, and there's been some surprise news from Nottingham
Panthers. They've axed Captain Danny Meyers, despite him leading
them to another cup double this year. Meyers has been at the club
for six years in all, becoming a firm fans' favourite in that time.
Big disappointment for Leicester's world number one snooker player,
Mark Selby. He's been knocked out of the world championships in the
first round. He was beaten 10-3 by qualifier Barry Hawkins. Selby has
a good excuse though, he's had a neck injury that's meant he's
hardly been able to practice for the past month. But it means Selby
is now at risk of losing his number one status. Elite cycling comes to
the East Midlands this weekend with the Rutland to Melton Cycle Classic.
Now in it's eighth year, the 114 mile race around Leicestershire and
Rutland is bigger and better than ever with 34 teams and 162
competitors taking part from around the world. Paul Bradshaw has more.
The cycle race passes through this sleepy village in Leicestershire no
less than six times and locals are looking forward to another vintage
contest. This event along with many other activities are making cycling
and increasingly popular sport and leisure activity. A mixed terrain
on offer makes a good draw for competitors and with 34 teams and
162 riders from around the world taking part, the race is growing in
international stature. Once we get into the small lanes around here
some of the crimes are not long but they, sharp and they take a toll.
What makes this road race a classic is that it features a little
everything, taking road bikes over mad, stones, cobbles and down
narrow lanes. It is the only international race of its kind in
Britain. It is a complex and a gruelling course which doubles back
on itself and covers 114 miles of rough roads around the two counties.
With wind and rain forecast for Sunday, we could be in for a mighty
epic. And finally cricket.
Nottinghamshire at the list was a treasure -- up against
Worcestershire and a decent day before the visitors.
As spring's been a rather grey affair so far, we have sent Sally
in search of something more colourful. So she went to
Carsington Water with the promise of something delicate and bright -
something that says spring has I'm here at Carsington Water in
Derbyshire where I have been told third 24 species of butterflies to
be seen on this site alone. The problem is that butterflies only
come out to play in the sunshine. So will we spot one? Volunteers
walk around Carsington Water each week to record butterflies. Kent is
the Derbyshire butterfly recorder. You have given me my volunteer
butterfly record in sheet. We are walking one of the transit winds
and we hope that when people come here they will see the butterflies
and record what they see. The sun is trying its best to come out.
This is quite a suntrap down here. It is, it is sheltered from the
wind and ideal habitat for many of the butterflies. The orange tip is
that harbinger of spring. We might just be lucky to see one at this
time of year. And in a brief moment of sunshine, we managed to spot one.
It is on a blade of grass, it is really camouflage. I thought it was
a leaf! When it opens its wings is when you see the orange on the tips.
That is the harbinger of spring. That was well spotted! My first one.
Good stuff. Good stuff.
Perseverance pays off. We are staying unsettled for the
rest of the week and right through to the end of the weekend. After
some significant rainfall in the past couple of days we do have
flood alerts in place. The River Trent and a river amber, just parts
of those rivers. You can keep an eye on the Environment Agency
website for any Updates. This evening we are expecting local
heavy downpours in parts of Derbyshire and North
Nottinghamshire which will cause localised flooding. And it is all
down to this area of rain which has been pretty relentless across the
north of the UK today. At the moment, just the scattering of
showers in places but those torrential downpours may give us
some rumbles of thunder for a time. Staying breezing through the night
and we go into Friday with the rain across much of the region.
Temperatures struggling throughout Friday. We will not reach double
figures. And with a north-easterly airflow you will notice it feeling
cooler than what we have been used to. Looking to Saturday, some
bright spells around but also scattered showers. On Sunday,