28/10/2011 Midlands Today


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Good evening, welcome to Friday's Midlands Today from the BBC.


Tonight: a suspended nine month jail sentence for the MP's wife


found guilty of stealing a love rival's kitten. I had no


recollection of taking the cat. In fact, I didn't realise I had a


Gunther life returned to their house and there it was, in the back


of the car. As long as we don't come under


attack, there is nothing to worry about.


They called it the Chancellor to cut the tax on flying.


And is a statue of the captain of the ill-fated Titanic on its way to


his home town, which once did not Good evening, welcome to Friday's


Midlands Today from the BBC. Tonight: a suspended nine month


jail sentence for the MP's wife found guilty of stealing a love


rival's kitten. Christine Hemming, who's married to


the Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming, was captured on CCTV


stealing the pet from the home of her husband's mistress Emily Cox.


She was found guilty of burglary by a jury at Birmingham Crown Court


last month. Before being sentenced, Mrs Hemming


said she still had no recollection of stealing the animal. Mr Hemming


said his wife should have pleaded guilty to the offence. Liz Copper


reports. Christine Hemming emerged from


court without commenting after avoiding a jail term for burgling


her rival's home. The love triangle involving her husband, the MP for


Birmingham Yardley, and his former personal assistant, Emily Cox was


described by the judge as an unconventional relationship. The


jury had been played this CCTV footage. It showed Mrs Hemming


crawling around the garden of the home her husband shared with Emily


Cox and their daughter. Mrs Hemming is then seen breaking into the


house. And three minutes later, leaving, clutching a kitten.


Speaking before she was sentenced, Mrs Hemming described the episode


as a blur. I did not deliberately take the catch. I went to the


property purely to give my husband his post and to then return to my


house. The events that transpired, I have no recollection of taking


account. In fact, I did not realise I had it until I returned to the


house and there it was, at the back of the car. Mrs Hemming later said


she'd tried to return the kitten, which was called Beauty, by putting


it under a fence. But the animal has never been recovered. Speaking


after his wife had been sentenced, Mr Hemming, together with Emily Cox,


gave their reaction. The judge said she was dedicated to her family and


had been under considerable emotional pressure. The sentence is


not surprising in the circumstances. She should have pleaded guilty. Had


she, she would have had a discharge. I think it has been worse for my


daughter, she has lost her cat. She has seen her parents dragged


through the courts and by the media in not a very nice way. But the end


of the day, nobody knows where the cat is full Stock -- where the cat


is. Mrs Hemming will be required to carry out 150 hours' upaid work as


part of her sentence. She's said the case has had a lasting impact


on her life. And you can see more of that


interview with Christine Hemming and read more about the case on our


website. Later in tonight's programme: An


Autumnwatch report on why hedgehog Leave us alone and there won't be


any trouble - that's the message from the leader of the English


Defence League ahead of a demonstration tomorrow in


Birmingham. It's one of three protests taking place in the city.


Hundreds of EDL supporters will gather in Centenary Square where


they're campaigning against Islamic extremism. Across in Chamberlain


Square at about the same time, there'll be a gathering of anti-


racists including trade unionists and local faith groups, while in


Victoria Square an anti-capitalist protest is continuing in front of


the Council House. Our reporter Holly Lewis joins us


now from Victoria Square. Holly, is this going to disrupt Birmingham


City Centre tomorrow? Depending on who you believe, there


could be several hundred protesters here tomorrow or several thousand.


The police say there will be a vastly increased police presence.


There have also moved the EDM event. It will now be in Centenary Square.


They are not very happy about it. The question is, when it put people


off visiting the town centre? Three squares, three separate


protests and one major challenge for West Midlands Police. Firstly


in Centenary Square where members of the English Defence League are


due to gather. Police are keen to avoid a repeat of 2009 when there


were 90 arrests following clashes between EDL members and anti-


fascists, but organisers say they aren't looking for trouble.


last 15 demonstrations have been peaceful. As long as we are left


alone to peacefully protest, and don't come under attack, there is


nothing to worry about. A short walk through the Forum will lead to


the next protest event, set up as a counterbalance to the EDL. In the


Chamberlain Square, a loose coalition including faith groups


will be gathering at the same time. They say they want to celebrate the


diversity and multiculturalism in the city. This is a very diverse


city and we are really proud of that. That is a good thing. Our


differences a dressing, a strength. It is something to celebrate. --


Allah differences are a blessing, a strength. Lastly in Victoria Square


anti capitalists have been given an eviction order for next Thursday,


but they'll still be there tomorrow. Business leaders say no one should


be put off coming into the city centre. The location of the protest


and the way we understand he was doing it, the policing around it


means that the rest of Birmingham probably will not notice and the


shopping and retail side of been there will be business as usual.


But many shoppers said they'd be playing safe. People have the right


to protest but it could be chaotic with three groups. The recent


history of protesting makes you wary. I would come in by myself but


could be wary of keeping -- bringing children in. A key part of


the way. It cannot kick-off. -- I will be keeping out of the way, it


can kick-off. All three protests have to be static, police hope


they've done enough to make sure they all go of peacefully.


Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion are also playing at home.


The police say they do not welcome the English Defence League protest,


saying they recognise it makes people feel insecure, coming so


soon after the August riots. They have also told them they can only


protest for two hours and the peaceful event here has also been


given four hours. A post mortem examination has revealed that a 49-


year-old woman found dead in Stafford died from a shotgun wound.


The body of Susan Gray was found in Oxford Gardens in the town. A 22-


year-old man has been arrested and is currently in custody. Police


have been unable to question him as he's being assessed under the


Mental Health Act. The number of seats available on


Virgin trains between Birmingham, London and Manchester is to be


increased by 25% to ease overcrowding. Three new trains will


be added to the fleet and some existing trains will have extra


carriages. It's expected to create 28,000 additional seats. Passengers


should see the benefits from next April.


Severn Trent has stepped in to help people in south Shropshire who've


been without water for months. Wells and springs around Clunton


have run dry after a severe lack of rainfall. Now the company's made a


goodwill gesture by sending water bowsers to the village.


Birmingham Airport has joined a campaign to urge the government to


cut the amount of tax paid by passengers. Air Passenger Duty


currently raises�2 billion a year in revenue.


Birmingham is one of eight airports lobbying the Chancellor to use his


Autumn Statement to reduce the tax. It's hoped this will encourage


airlines to use regional airports with spare capacity instead of


London. Here's Our Political Editor, Patrick Burns.


Dark days at the departure door. Like every other major airport


outside London, Birmingham's passenger numbers have been falling


for two years now and airport passenger duty doesn't exactly help


to win them back. It is scandalous. It is what you pay taxes for.


a great deal of money to put on top of the ticket price. To get an idea,


let's look at three of the flights on the destination screens this


morning. Belfast City, at 8:35am. Then New York. At 9:15am, Cancun in


Mexico. My 225 mile flight to Belfast is taxed at the basic rate


of �12. But for that flight to New York it's �60 and the for nearly


5,000 miles away, it's Cancun it's �75 per person, quite a


consideration for a long-haul family holiday. But


environmentalists think it's only fair for aviation to offset what is,


in effect, a generous tax break from the Chancellor. The aviation


industry pays no VAT on fuel that it uses. That is unlike anyone who


drives a motor car. Did pays no VAT on of the sale of planes, nor on


the sale of tickets. The aviation pays its fair way in tax. We pay


all the things that we do. The one area that is different is on fuel


VAT. The Chancellor more than covers the environmental impact


through the air passenger duty, which is set to raise �2.5 billion


next year. So stemming the flow of a significant revenue stream would


be a tough call for our cash- strapped Chancellor.


There must be a long line of people queuing up to lobby George Osborne.


Would he pay any attention to this? He is listening to Northern Ireland.


They had a situation where Continental Airlines threatened to


switch their services from New York to Belfast, to Dublin. That could


be so that passengers could escape UK airport duty. As you can imagine,


the political and business communities lobbed -- lobbied


George Osborne and the result of that is that from Tuesday of next


week, if you or I want to fly from Birmingham to New York, we paid out


�60 duty but for people flying to New York from Belfast, the duty is


�12. Of course, you can imagine that for the airlines here, there


is a chorus of, well, if it applies to Northern Ireland, it applies to


us as well. Oddity expecting to say?


The contents of the Autumn Statement are very closely guarded


but what we do know is that there will be a package of measures for


growth. Put that together with the fact the government is determined


not to build a third runway at Heathrow with George Osborne as


oft-stated commitment to rebalancing the economy and the


idea of a redistribution of routes from London to the regions fits


together with that logic. There is more about this on the website.


Significantly, David Cameron was recently asked in the Commons about


the effect of Airport passenger duty on regional airports and he


said that this was something which the government was, keeping its eye


And there'll be more on this plus a report on the high levels of fuel


poverty in the region on this Sunday's Politics Show which is


here on BBC One at 12 noon. A campaign's begun to try and move


a statue of the captain of the Titanic back to his hometown in the


Potteries. The monument to Captain Edward John Smith currently stands


in a park in Lichfield. It's believed it was originally put


there because the authorities in Hanley in Stoke-on-Trent didn't


want to be associated with the world's most famous maritime


disaster. Laura May McMullan reports.


A monument to honour Captain Edward John Smith stands in Beacon Park in


Lichfield. Yet it was 40 miles away in Hanley, where he was born and


bred. The only tribute to him though is here inside Hanley town


hall in the form of a plaque. One man hoping to change all that


though is campaigner Phil Ball. He's written to over 100


councillors in Stoke-on-Trent and Lichfield to get the statue moved.


Standing outside this house in Hanley where Captain Smith was born


in 1850, even the commemorative plaque has been stolen. He is one


of our greats. We have of the statues in the City. He is missing.


Why is there statue -- So why IS the statue of Captain Smith in


Lichfield? Will the statue ever be moved? No, we have no intention of


the statue moving from here. It is loved by local people. These


pictures dating back to 1911 show Captain Smith, the deck of the


Titanic's sister ship, the Olympic, six months before the doomed maiden


voyage. It is amazing that the son of a potter, born into a town which


is as far away from the sea as you can get, becomes the top sea


captain of the Atlantic. We have great talent here. We can make a


new statue if we wanted a statue. And people in Hanley agree. They


should be something. It was a point in history which we should


commemorate because so many people's lives were lost. With no


visual public memorial in Stoke-on- Still to come in tonight's


programme. Ben Rich is here with a look at what the weekend's weather


has in store. Rewind the clocks back an hour on


Saturday night. It is the end of British Summer Time but with a mild


weekend ahead, we will not be plunging headlong into winter just


Hedgehog numbers have plummeted over the last decade with the


population down by a quarter. In our final Autumnwatch report this


week, our Environment Correspondent David Gregory looks at the problems


they face. And while traditionally at this


time of year we're told to check our garden bonfires for hibernating


hedgehogs, it turns out there's In their garden the quinces are


ripening in the warm autumn sun but inside animal rescue centre is


working hard to get their hedgehog guests fit and ready to tackle


winter in the wild. Hedgehogs that have warned late in the year will


not survive hibernation through the winter so here, they have got some


babies that they will be keeping here and releasing next year. Let's


try and films on with our special camera. -- Film some more with our


But these youngsters face an uncertain future. Because the


British hedgehog population has decreased sharply in the last


decade. 25 % in 10 years is a pretty steep decline and it is


concerning. They have recently been added to for biodiversity action


plan which is a Schedule that highlights species which may be in


trouble and need extra protection. So hedgehogs are in trouble and one


of the problems they face is these red rubber bands that are often


used by postal workers to hold together bundles of letters. Once


dropped on the ground they can become potential death traps for


hedgehogs. This rubber band was surgically removed from this


hedgehog. He went on to make a full recover. This is a hedgehog that is


going back tonight. If you look at their spines, they are if... It


will be impossible for them to get it out themselves. They getting


quite a tangle. In paintings and pictures, they are organised, but


in actual fact, they are quite criss-crossed. It is free difficult


to get off. Important as it is not to drop litter, there are plenty of


other problems for our shrinking hedgehog population. One of the


biggest ones as loss of habitat and fragmentation of Habitat, where


gardens that used to be linked up on our high fences and walls,


securing the gardens. Unfortunately, they stop hedgehogs trundling


through. They will war and mile or two in a night so they need a lot


of fathers. Fees babies might enjoy better prospects when they recover


next year. -- these babies. David joins us now, on a street


where they are determined to help hedgehogs.


In this community, they are trying to help her shots. Martin Harrison


knows more about it. What are you trying to do? We are trying to ways


a rareness for these prickly man was to get local people involved in


looking after them and improve their habitat. What can people do


in their gardens? There are a few things in their gardens. A lot of


you cartons of very fenced off and there are no holes anywhere. --


gardens. Hedgehog needs -- Hague togs need holes in the fence. If


you've got a pond, they need someone -- somewhere to get out, a


round perhaps also Pichon also feed than some dog or cat food,


preferably not cow's milk. Also put some freshwater out for them.


and if people do all that, it is a lot of extra work? Not really.


Another thing I didn't mention is to leave a messy area, so they can


use the decaying leaves to foraged for food -- forage for food. Thank


you very much. If you want to learn how to make a garden more friendly,


I have rarely enjoyed and watching the wildlife this season.


Let's crack on with the sport now. There's nothing like a wining team


to drum up the punters. So after two derby wins the Albion club shop


was doing brisk trade today. traditional blue-and-white striped


shirt. Now there is a new shirt for sale. Like when you score a goal.


Paul Scharner was booked for displaying the new t-shirt designed


by his children at Villa Park last week. The rule is you cannot pull


your shot over the head. You are a naughty boy. Absolutely, yes.


the fans we spoke to love it. What you make of the shot? I would like


one myself. I think we will be getting a few of those for the kids.


Yeah, I think it's great, shows a bit of passion for the club and


that is what you want from your players. We've adopted him. It is


great for her man for us. He is one of those people that takes the club


to their heart. Fair play to him. Next week, the famous shirt is


going on sale in aid of DEBRA a charity to help children with a


rare skin disease. Likewise players shirts embossed with poppies will


be auctioned for the poppy appeal. But to keep sales bouyant they just


need to beat Liverpool and that means stopping in-form striker Luis


Suarez. He has had a magnificent start and at the moment, we must be


aware that he will be a key figure in their attacking play. We will


have to do our very best to keep him quiet. It will not be easy


because he is a quality player. Albion did indeed beat Liverpool in


April. Chris Brunt's penalties gave Albion a 2-1 win that day, and he's


likely to keep the duty despite missing one at Villa Park last week.


Albion have their tails up and they hope that's how it'll stay when


their charity shirts hi the shops. Birmingham City fans are meeting


tomorrow to form a supporters' trust. They're unhappy with how the


club's being run by the current board. And they hope the trust will


give the fans a greater say. They're meeting at the Phoenix


Community Hall, Towpath Walk at 11.30am tomorrow morning and


they've urged fans to get involved. And you can keep in touch with how


your team gets on this weekend with the build-up, full match commentary


and reaction on your BBC local radio station.


Now a reminder that you've only got until Sunday to nominate your BBC


Midlands' Sports Unsung Hero. You can send in your nomination to


recognise those individuals who dedicate their life to helping


He brought us blockbuster movies such as Alien and Blade Runner but


now the film director Ridley Scott is teaming up with the BBC to make


a brand new film about life in Britain.


Britain In A Day will feature and be filmed by members of the public.


James McDonald's been to Coventry meet some of the film's potential


stars. In Coventry, a class for budding


film makers. On November 12th all these people will be grabbing a


camera and recording a snapshot of whatever's going on. They, along


with many others across Britain are hoping their clips will eventually


be used in the finished feature. I'm toying with the idea of me


taking some bread. I'll have to a rope some volunteers in to hold the


camera. We had loads of great suggestions here today and it is


about what is important to individual people in this country.


By Mike that a lot. Many of these people have never picked up a


camera before. For them, it is a first experience of film-making.


Fortunately, they will get a little Last year the Production Company of


film Director Ridley Scott made this film, pieced together from


dozens of clips capturing everyday life around the world. The film has


provided the inspiration for Britain In A Day, which will be


broadcast on BBC Two next May in the build up to the Olympic Games.


People with no experience can bring something really special away from.


One of those things the spontaneity, capturing emotional moments on


camera. Life isn't perfect and if your material is rough around the


edges, those edges might be really interesting. Presenters including


Dan Snow will be joining in but the message from the film's makers is


that absolutely anybody can take And if you'd like to join in with


the film, take a look at the website: there are more details on


A mixed bag is a fairly over-used expression in weather forecasts but


this weekend, it really does apply. The elements are throwing


everything possible at us over the next couple of days. If we had to


some things up, we can say it will be milder, quite breezy, there will


be a little rain around but at the same time, there will also be a


little bit of brightness. A mixed bag, as I say. The can see this


weather front out to the West. That is eventually going to reach us. It


will bring us a little rain that later on Saturday. Behind it, rain


will come in or from the south-west. Ahead of that were the front, it in


the clear tonight. And it is clear skies, we will see mist and fog


patches forming. It will be a fairly cold night with the lows of


5-7 Celsius. Any early mist and Merck should clear away quickly


tomorrow morning. Things will brighten up, particularly for


further east you are. Parts of Staffordshire, down into


Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, we should see some sunshine. Out


west, as that weather front approaches, it will thicken up and


bring outbreaks of rain. Highs of 12 to 14 Celsius and you will


notice that brisk south-westerly breeze. If you are often end of the


football matches tomorrow, if you're heading to Manchester for


the game, we could see that light, patchy rain getting in here by the


end of the afternoon. In Sunderland, it should be fine. The card would


increase for all of us through tomorrow evening and eventually, we


will bring this rain across. It will fizzle out so becoming light


and patchy. Some of that will hang around as we go into Sunday morning


as well, particularly across southern and western parts of the


region. Further north and east, things will brighten up a little.


By this point, things feeling mild, at 216-17 Celsius. Sunday could be


a very pleasantly feeling day. Over the weekend, it will be quite mild,


often rather cloudy but with some brightness. Also a little bit of


rain at times. He starts next week on a dry and settled note but


things will go down hill as we head into mixed -- midweek. One more


thing to mention, the clocks go back an hour on Saturday night.


Don't forget to wind them back. It means an extra hour in bed but it


A look at tonight's main headlines: Vincent Tabak is sentenced to life


for the killing of Joanna Yeates. And a suspended jail sentence for


an MP's wife, found guilty of stealing a kitten from her


husband's mistress. That's all from us this evening but


on Monday's Midlands Today we'll be investigating the impact of the dry


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