01/12/2011 Midlands Today


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Welcome to my learned today. The headlines: Police spot checks as


metal thieves risk their lives and others for money.


They should be an audit trail. I question these cash transactions as


well. On the final day of the inquiry into the appalling day at


Staffordshire Hospital, it prepares to shut its a and the doors at


night. A tense meeting about police


station closures. He we had difficult conversations today.


cannot do everything. The public have to feel the cuts and we do too.


Family friends and celebrities turn out to pay their respects at the


funeral of the Red Arrow pilot, Good to have you with us this


evening. New calls to tighten the laws around sales to scrap dealers


after a sharp rise in metal fence. 7500 offences were committed in the


West Midlands alone in the last month. 20 thefts a day. These are


getting more brazen. One gang stole cable from the M6


motorway when it was shut after a four-year-old child died in a crash


at the weekend. In a moment, we will hear from an MP who wants


stricter controls as a priority. First this report.


Increasingly shocked at the tactics used by metal thieves, police in


Coventry went on the offensive today, pulling in drivers on their


way to scrapyards and rifling through their vans in the hunt for


stolen cargo. We have seen a 100% rise in metal thefts in the city.


We find people coming all over from the country into Coventry to sell


what they have acquired and quite often it is illegal. But it is hard


to trace. As the law stands, transactions at scrapyards can be


cashed in hands. This scrap dealer Paul Dover near Coventry airport


today felt the police were targeting the wrong people. It is


just people... I don't know scrap metal lads doing it. Just people


who don't work. Thieves get increasingly brazen. In the last


week in Coventry, metal pipes and boilers from central heating


systems in private houses have been stolen and scrap metal thieves


caused a fire at a sub-station was inhalers - Enter to close because


it lost his power supply. -- causing a leisure centre to close.


Five men were arrested last night on the M6 near Walsall allegedly


for trying to steal tables powering overhead signs. Most shockingly, at


the weekend thieves stole cabling after sneaking onto the motorway


whilst police were attending an accident. This return knows only


too well there links thieves will go to. Let has been stolen from


this church seven times in six months. Now it is being replaced by


fibreglass. The vicar wants to see the laws governing scrapyards


strengthened. There should be an audit trail. I question cash


transactions as well. It would be better if there was proof of where


the money came from. The reason the thefts are on the up is simple. A


tonne of copper fetches �4,400.80 and have led is worth �2,800. As


the kimono and -- criminals get greedy, the police decided to lobby


the government to do more to tackle the problem.


Joining us is Chris Kelly, the Conservative MP who is campaigning


on the law to be changed. It is a serious problem but is anyone


listening? Early in the Autumn statement, the government announced


a package to set up a task force to reduce scrap metal theft. We are


pushing at an open door with the government because there is an


intention to legislate to clamp down on stolen mettle. It is a


matter of finding the time to do that. We have put former it a Ten


Minute Rule Bill and we have six measures which include cashless


payments. Also, to make sure that when people steal metal, if they in


danger life and when charges are bought that will be a key aspect of


the charges. There are other measures to give people greater


powers. Most of the trade is very willing to adopt the measures and a


already doing so but there is an element outside the law that needs


to be clamped down on and that is why we are bringing forward this


bill. How difficult would it be two police? It is a really big industry.


There is a market for it, isn't there? Yes and it is being exported


to booming markets abroad but it is causing great damage to our


communities. And endangering life. Yes and it will be a matter of time


before there are serious fatalities and we must take action urgently.


Thanks very much. Later in the programme, we're live


at the Britannia Stadium with Daniel Pallett.


It could be an historic night for Stoke City. They need a draw and


they are through to the knockout -- knockout stages of the Europa


A year on and at a cost of �10 million and rising, the Stafford


Hospital public inquiry finally came to an end today. The report


into exactly what went wrong isn't expected until the spring of next


year at the earliest. Coincidentally, this evening also


sees the first night of three months of overnight closures at the


hospital's accident and emergency unit. Here's our Staffordshire


reporter, Liz Copper. For a small, dedicated group of


campaigners this has been a daily routine for more than a yurt -


arriving at the inquiry to hear evidence. Has it all been


worthwhile? Something really needs to change and we are hoping from


this inquiry that recommendations will ensure we get a very much


safer system for patients. It is not just about Stafford hospital


but the whole of the NHS and the future of it. It was necessary for


it to be looked at in this depth to find out what has gone wrong in the


past, not only here but in many other trusts across the country.


The inquiry has cost �10 million. It has sat for 139 days and there


have been over 1 million pages of evidence. It is now for Robert


Francis QC, the chairman, to assess the evidence and draw up a report


with recommendations. The question of nursing and management will be


looked at in great depth by Robert Francis and his team and when the


report comes out, people will be able to judge for themselves what


went wrong and what must be done about it.


Antony Sumara is the man who was drafted in to manage the hospital


in the wake of the scandal. He has followed the inquiry closely and is


now carrying out further work for the NHS on lessons to be learned.


The difficulty is that they have been other inquiries with


recommendations that have not been implemented. Robert has to try to


be creative and thoughtful about his messages and how they will


even as those recommendations are being worked on, the hosptial is


still dealing with the ramifications of what happened here.


From tonight, its A&E department will shut overnight for three


months. It's caused renewed controversy just as the public


inquiry closes. All the evidence has been heard. The final report is


not expected to be published until next year but its recommendations


are likely to be far reaching. Liz Copper joins us now from our


studio in Stoke-on-Trent. Liz, remind us again exactly what's been


decided about the A&E unit in Stafford.


It is a decision that was made by the board last month. From 10


o'clock tonight, the doors at a Andy in Stafford will close and


they will not reopen until tomorrow morning. Patients will be


transferred to other hospitals which will enable them to train


existing staff and recruited new doctors.


Changes are controversial so what have people been saying?


It has been hugely controversial in Stafford. 10,000 people have signed


a petition. You might remember it has echoes of concerns raised in


the 1990s regarding downgrading services in Kidderminster. We have


been speaking to Richard Taylor. If it is only for three months, the


implications are not too bad because Severe emergencies and that


-- at night are not common. It is important for the future that it is


not more than three months. If you lose the A&E department you fill up


other departments with minor cases who didn't need to go to other A&E


departments. Richard Taylor was formerly an MP.


The point he was making his what will be the impact on other


hospitals, particularly Wolverhampton and Stoke on Trent.


We will only know that when the plan gets under way.


Thank you. There is more detail and analysis of the inquiry on the BBC


stoke website. There was controversy today from


proposals to close 12 police stations. Many are open around the


clock but the force says it needs to shut them at night.


Campaigners handed in position -- petitions opposing the plans.


They faced a tough summer. Now comes a long winter of difficult


decisions for West Midlands police. It is a difficult issue that is a


mixture of emotional and practical. That Chief Constable defended one


idea to the police authority - a move to close a dozen police


stations overnight. Almost 4000 people have signed a petition


against the idea. It demonstrates the label -- the level of concern


areas. For 12 oz station -- for 12 stations, they are being closed to


save resources. They will be fitted with an intercom and they maintain


that 99% of the public will live between -- within four miles of a


station that is manned 24 hours a day. Under the new proposals, this


station will open at 10am and shut in the evening. It is taking the


safety of the public away. There is a bun ability there. I understand


that cut have to be made everywhere. Police started consultations two


weeks ago but critics say they should allow more time.


consultation has been extensive. We have contacted community leaders,


neighbourhood watch are followers and users of social media. We feel


we have touched about 43,000 people. To give the public an opportunity


to have an input and contribute and discuss things that affect their


day-to-day lives has got to be at the heart of what policing is about.


As a result of today's meeting, the consultation has been extended to


make January. But the police need to make �126 million of budget cuts


so the axe will have to fall Police are hunting a hit-and-run


driver who killed an 11-year-old boy as he was crossing a road to


get to school. It happened just after 7:00 this morning between


Southam and Farnborough in Warwickshire. The boy was hit by a


light coloured Ford Mondeo which was travelling towards Banbury.


Police want any witnesses to contact them.


Four West Midlands Police officers have been suspended over


allegations of misconduct. They're alleged to have mishandled property


taken from members of the public in Bordesley Green in Birmingham. If


the allegations are proven, then the officers could be charged with


theft. The investigation's been referred to the Independent Police


Complaints Commission. A serious case review into the


death of a 2-year-old girl, who died after she was scalded in a


shower, says lessons must be learned. The review says Kristiana


Logina's mother, Eva, and her boyfriend, former magistrate


Rashpal Chana, from Birmingham, could have prevented her death in


February last year. They were convicted of manslaughter after


failing to seek proper medical care for Kristiana.


Born to fly - that was how Red Arrow pilot, Flight Lieutenant Sean


Cunningham, was described at his funeral today. Hundreds of family,


friends and celebrities gathered to pay their respects to the 35-year-


old who died last month during a training exercise. His commanding


officer described the former Coventry schoolboy as "charming,


professional and dedicated." Joan Cummins reports.


Hundreds of mourners and friends today joined Flight Lieutenant Sean


Cunningham's family to pay their respects to the Red Arrows pilot.


The 35-year-old died when he was ejected from his jet while it was


still on the ground. During the service, the Red Arrows commanding


officer said how much Sean was missed. Life can be so cruel and I


have spent a lot of time searching deep within me for answers, as to


why Sean was taken from us on that foggy morning. But Sean would not


want us dwelling on such things. He would want us to carry on, to get


back in the air and to reclaim our place in the hearts of the


population of this great nation. What came out in today's service


was Sean Cunningham's love of life. The congregation heard how he was


born to fly. Weeks before his death, he had even gone back to his old


school here in Coventry, to try to inspire the next generation of


pilots. Amongst the congregation, the wife of John Egging, another


Red Arrows pilot who was killed in August, and celebrities who


personally knew the men and appreciated them. A fantastic


memory of Sean. Probably when he came to a couple of parties of mind


over the summer, probably when he was wearing an Afro wig and dancing.


I had spoken and said hello on a few occasions on those end-of-


season guest nights, I had had the pleasure to say hello. Also just


knowing the team in general, I do feel that strong connection with


the team of the Red Arrows. In a statement, Sean's family said he'd


be remembered for his huge smile that radiated warmth. Then


fittingly through the winter sun, a The funeral of Sean Cunningham at


Coventry Cathedral today. Still to come this evening, a


somewhat chilling weather warning from Shefali.


Yes, autumn may have been mild and dry but winter's mark is already


being made. Expect strong winds, more rain and a drop in


temperatures. You can find out how Aston Villa, Wolverhampton


Wanderers and West Bromwich Albion have signed up to an AIDS awareness


campaign called Saving Lives. On World Aids Day, the Aston Villa


captain, Stilyan Petrov, has urged people to get tested. It's a


campaign that's won the full support of Chris Kearl. 32 years


ago he contracted HIV and every day endures a painful struggle against


the virus. With more here's our health correspondent, Michele


Paduano. He has had two hip replacements and


is in constant nerve pain, but Chris Kearl's story is about


survival when so many others from his generation didn't make it.


They told me the life expectancy at that time was 18 months, no more.


That was it. That there were no treatments available for it. They


didn't even really know what was causing the virus. They could only


test for the antibodies at the time. My life kind of stopped. In the


late 70s, he had had everything to look forward to, but he didn't just


lose his health. He was cut off by his church and his family. I ended


up with the Sun newspaper coming around and taking pictures, with


the headline, church organist AIDS carrier. There is now a danger that


has become a threat to us all. need not be the killer it was back


in the 80s, if it's picked up early. And to give that message a kick


start, the Aston Villa captain today lent his support. It's


estimated that a quarter of HIV carriers in the UK don't know.


proud that I can be part of this cause. I hope we can get that


message across, especially with football. Getting Aston Villa


involved is a real coup for this Birmingham-based charity. They are


getting to just the people they want to test, the fans. The aim now


is to get every professional club involved. As well as Villa, Saving


lives has signed up Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Bromwich Albion.


If you don't know you've got it, you can't get life-saving treatment


and you could be passing it on to however many partners you would


have been a ten-year period. It is vital that we get people tested. If


we get them tested, we can save their lives with the treatment. You


can give somebody a normal life expectancy. But Chris Kearl wants


youngsters to take precautions, not Now it's another exciting night for


Stoke City supporters, with the club playing in Europe for the


first time since 1975. Tonight, they'll qualify for the knockout


stages of the Europa League if they draw or win against Dinamo Kiev at


the Britannia Stadium. Nick Clitheroe reports.


Stoke City's first European campaign for nearly 40 years has


been full of joyous occasions for the fans. They've made new friends,


like these Dynamo Kiev supporters playing the second leg of their own


football match against their Potteries counterparts this


afternoon. This was just for fun, but who'll come out on top tonight?


I think I am going to give them this match, but we are going to win


the big one. We need the win, at Stoke don't, we are going to win it.


It is the first time in my lifetime there have been in Europe, and I am


proud of them. The Stoke City players have been having fun of


their own growing the finest collection of moustaches in the


Premier League for the Movember charity, which raises awareness of


prostate cancer. But they'll be clean-cut tonight when they go in


search of the point which will extend this European adventure into


the knock-out stages. Dynamo Kiev have played more than 400 games in


Europe. Stoke are barely into double figures. But his is these


lads who are on the brink of qualification. The players and the


supporters have embraced it. We have really enjoyed it. It is a


massive game for us. We are hoping to get a full house. We are hoping


the crowd will come a long and really push us on. It would be a


great achievement for us as a club. It seemed unlikely when the draw


was made but Stoke are unbeaten in the group and will top it if they


win this evening. Dan Pallett is at the Britannia


Stadium for tonight's game. A big night for Stoke fans? Absolutely.


He would have believed this time last year they would be in Europe,


never mind unbeaten at this stage. Brian Shaw from the supporters'


club, can you believe it? No. To get into Europe is a wonderful


achievement. To play again some of the teams we have played against


and remain unbeaten is a fair achievement. Will they remain


unbeaten this evening? Fingers crossed. We need one point and we


hope to get it. A win would be very nice. What has been the secret?


togetherness of the team. I wish that after the grippier matches, we


could get the same result at the weekend. -- after the group matches.


You might be through without needing the game in Turkey, how far


can Stoke go? Given a decent draw, I think we can maybe go to the


semis or even the final. That would be a fantastic thing. Following on


from last year's FA Cup run, Stoke are still buoyant. Europe, you


better watch out. Yes, Stoke seemed to be flying.


Good luck to them. -- seemed to be And you can hear full commentary on


the match on BBC Radio Stoke this evening. They'll have all the


build-up from 7:00pm and the game kicks off just after 8:00pm.


For most people, retirement means relaxing and taking life a little


easier. But not for Bill Longmore. The 73-year-old former police


superintendent is now busier than ever, dedicating his time to help


community sport. He's the third of our five finalists for this year's


BBC Midlands Sport's Unsung Hero Award. Ian Winter's been to


Shropshire to meet him. It's Sunday afternoon and Bill


Longmore has invited me along to watch Hanwood Saints. They're up


against Shrewsbury Ladies, currently top of the Shropshire


League, so it'll be a tough match. Winning would be a bonus. But for


Bill, the best result is simply playing. Because now, for the first


time, Hanwood has a women's football team for the whole village


to be proud of. I was always disappointed I couldn't get the


ladies involved. It was probably a bit before my time. Now it is nice


to see them. I have no doubt that it would be long before they are


saying, can we have a second team. The power of sport has always been


one of Bill's passions. During 30 years with Staffordshire Police, he


encouraged his officers to forge community links through football


and BMX biking. And now, his most recent success is finding a home


for the Saints. What would Hanwood village be like without Bill


Longmore? It would be very boring, there would be no opportunity to


get everyone together playing sports. He is a credit to the


village, we are truly grateful for what he has done. He is definitely


my unsung hero, he is the best. There's no end to Bill's unsung


heroics. As chairman of the Village Hall, he's just received a lottery


grant of �50,000 to create a cycle track and an exercise area for


Hanwood people to enjoy. It is probably more important now than


ever. The more you can have on your doorstep, the better. There are


more people getting involved, they feel welcome. Next, we're off to


the bowls club - Bill's first sporting challenge, when he moved


into the village 12 years ago. The green was in bad shape, the ageing


membership was in decline and juniors were banned from playing.


They're not now. Under Bill's leadership, youngsters are actively


encouraged. Show them how it's done! And today, the club isn't


just surviving, it's thriving. Membership has doubled. Eight teams


compete in local leagues and young Hanwood bowlers are making their


mark at county level. Bill strives to make Hanwood a community. He is


so community based. He looks to create a community spirit at all


aspects of village life. Wherever you look in this quiet corner of


Shropshire, the sporting life is buzzing, thanks to the unsung


efforts of Bill Longmore. He is right when he says facilities


and the community activities are more important now than ever.


He is involved in everything, isn't It is amazing! We have another two


finalists to come. With more details of the chilly


It has been very cold. We've had bouts of quite substantial rain and


it's been needed after such a dry autumn. But winter is traditionally


defined by cold, and so for the start of December that's is what


we've had. It's turning frosty. It's because of this ridge of high


pressure that the winds have died down and the skies are going to be


clearing tonight. That's before the arrival of this next swathe of rain


before the weekend. We have Kraut - - cloud across south-east and


plants Baghdad parts, that will A widespread frost and pockets of


mist and fog. Under the gaze of the sunshine tomorrow morning, it is a


beautiful, sunny start to the day. That will disappear quite quickly.


It is a crisp, cold start to the day, all those sunny. Gradually


through the day, we start to see the cloud increasing through the


West which make produce a spot of rain for the north-west.


Temperatures, not very good at all. Highs of six or seven, a degree


down on today. But we have got light winds. Through tomorrow night,


this cloud will increase from the west, it will introduce a fairly


heavy rain, spreading right across the region. We have strengthening


winds as well. Because of it, to do just won't be quite as low as


tonight. Then we have the remnants of that to contend with on Saturday


morning. Still quite blustery through the weekend, more rain


later on Sunday. In between times, it is dry, sunny and it or feel


cold. A look at tonight's main headlines:


The Bank of England boss tells banks to build up their reserves,


even if it means cutting back on those big bonuses.


And calls to change the law on scrap sales after a big rise in


metal thefts. That's all from us this evening,


but on tomorrow's Midlands Today we'll be looking at online


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