20/12/2011 Midlands Today


20/12/2011

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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today with Nick Owen and Suzanne Virdee.

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The headlines tonight: Caught on camera - two Midlands

:00:10.:00:12.

members of a gang jailed over a �250 million international VAT

:00:12.:00:16.

fraud. As MPs debate Stafford Hospital,

:00:17.:00:26.
:00:27.:00:28.

the Trust says it's on target to fully re-open its A&E department.

:00:28.:00:33.

am confident, 80% confident it will be open to the timetable we have

:00:33.:00:36.

set. An investigation begins after a

:00:36.:00:43.

hospital failed to spot a pensioner had terminal cancer. My mother was

:00:43.:00:47.

sent home and the remaining 78 days of her life, she spent with no

:00:47.:00:51.

palliative care and in pain. And hope for the Potteries' finest

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- billionaire, John Caudwell, says he may buy the historic Wedgwood

:00:53.:01:03.
:01:03.:01:07.

Collection and save it from being Good evening, welcome to Tuesday's

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Midlands Today from the BBC. Tonight: Jailed for a total of

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almost 100 years - the fraudsters who tricked taxpayers out of a

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staggering �250 million. The gang of 15, which included six people

:01:21.:01:24.

from the Midlands, was captured after a ten-year operation by

:01:24.:01:29.

Revenue and Customs officials involving 350 officers. The

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investigation revealed a complex web of companies, set up with the

:01:32.:01:34.

sole intention of fraudulently claiming millions in VAT from

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mobile phone sales. The money was then spent to fund a lavish

:01:41.:01:46.

lifestyle. These are the faces of six Midlands

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fraudsters - two from Staffordshire, four from Coventry and Warwickshire

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- all part of a 15-strong gang. They imported and exported mobile

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phones for tax evasion and today saw the last of a series of court

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cases where they and nine others were jailed. This was an

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investigation into fraud on unprecedented scale, which led to

:02:12.:02:17.

the theft of �250 million from the UK Exchequer.

:02:17.:02:19.

Their crime is known as Carousel fraud. First mobile phones are

:02:20.:02:23.

imported VAT free but then sold on including VAT, which is not passed

:02:23.:02:26.

on to the tax office. Then the phones are exported by another part

:02:26.:02:29.

of the gang, but this time they claim what appear to be legitimate

:02:29.:02:35.

tax credits from the government. Father and son, Hashib and Eisa

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Apabhai, from Bedworth operated one bogus company involved from this

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address in the Holbrooks area of Coventry. They were filmed on CCTV

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at Luton Airport as part of the investigation and were jailed for

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seven and a half, and four years. In Staffordshire, Marcus Hughes,

:02:51.:02:56.

ran another fraudulent company at Blythe Business Park. It was used

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to move consignments of phones. This long-running investigation has

:03:00.:03:02.

highlighted connections between fraud and other types of crimes,

:03:02.:03:04.

for example when customs officers were searching the offices of

:03:04.:03:07.

Marcus Hughes in Staffordshire, a lorry turned up and on the back -

:03:08.:03:17.
:03:18.:03:19.

two tonnes of cannabis resin with a street value of �5 million.

:03:19.:03:28.

Hughes was jailed for six years for fraud and 12 for drug smuggling.

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This was a very complex investigation, not least given the

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international nature of the fraud and the number of people who

:03:36.:03:40.

participated and the huge number of exhibits that were lifted during

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searches. There were half-a-million documents, 130 computer hard disks

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to be scrutinised. The last of the 15 gang members was jailed for nine

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years today and his assets including a yacht and luxury homes

:03:53.:03:56.

in London and Spain have been frozen.

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And you can find more on that story on the BBC Coventry and

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Warwickshire website. Later in the programme: Celebrating

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the legend known as the father of football - the Scotsman who was the

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chairman of Aston Villa and founder of the Football League.

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A man's been arrested on suspicion of a terrorism offence after

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arriving at Birmingham Airport. Police say he was suspected of

:04:23.:04:27.

having a document which could be of use to someone planning a terrorist

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act. Ben Sidwell joins us now from the newsroom. Ben what more do we

:04:30.:04:38.

know? A 22-year-old man was arrested

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yesterday evening after arriving from Dubai. Police say he is a

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Pakistani national with a student visa. There won't say which

:04:49.:04:56.

university he is studying at. He was arrested after a random baggage

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check after them finding a document. West Midlands police say the man

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posed no immediate threat either to the airport or the public. Although

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he has been arrested on suspicion of carrying out a Terrorism attack,

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he was arrested under the terms of the Police and Criminal evidence

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Act, so he has to be held for four days before he is either charge,

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baled or released. Managers at Stafford Hospital say

:05:25.:05:28.

they're making good progress in recruiting the medical staff they

:05:28.:05:32.

need to fully re-open the A&E emergency unit in March. The news

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comes as MPs held a debate this afternoon into the controversial

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decision to close the doors of the unit at night for three months.

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It was always going to be a contentious decision and so it

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proved, a candle-lit vigil when A&E first closed overnight at Stafford

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demonstrated the strength of feeling. The hospital says the

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decision was taken because staff shortages were jeopardising safety.

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Today, an update on its progress in finding new recruits. It's set a

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target of having five permanent senior A&E doctors - including

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consultants. It now has three in post and a fourth starting at the

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end of January. As for other, middle grade, emergency doctors,

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the target is seven. The trust has four in post, another's soon to

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start and a further 14 applicants will be interviewed in January.

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am 80% confident we will reopen to the timetable we have set. So in

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March. I think the programme we followed so far is going reasonably

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well. We are reasonably pleased, but as you can tell from me, I am

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still cautious. The trust says arrangements with the Ambulance

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service to transfer patients to neighbouring hospitals have run

:06:48.:06:52.

smoothly. Only a handful of patients have arrived at A&E and

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been turned away. The closure came under scrutiny during a debate at

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Westminster today. Whatever its rights or wrongs it's unlikely to

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be reopened until a meeting of the trust board in February.

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Our Political Editor, Patrick Burns, joins us now from Westminster where

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MPs have been debating that temporary closure of the A&E unit

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:07:20.:07:22.

at Stafford. Patrick what was said? Opening the debate, the

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Conservative MP for Stafford said this temporary closure had been

:07:26.:07:30.

necessary. But he was joined by a succession of neighbouring

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Conservative MPs saying that once those problems have been dealt with,

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then those 24 hours services should be restored. I'm joined by the MP.

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The word confidence, you used it, the minister used it time and time

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again. By you confident that level of confidence can be reached and

:07:54.:08:01.

the March deadline can be hit? I am. Members of Parliament get it

:08:01.:08:05.

reports on what is going on and I am confident that everything

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necessary is being done. necessary note of caution was

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struck by the minister in reply. She spelt out what it would take to

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get 24 hours services up and running again. It would be unwise

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to return to 24 hours opening until it is safe to do so. To minimise

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the risk I understand the trust has set criteria which must be met

:08:30.:08:36.

before overnight operating would resume. One of the challenges that

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has been acknowledged by the NHS Trust is recruitment. Do you think

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maybe some health professionals may be deterred from applying for those

:08:45.:08:49.

jobs at Stafford because of its troubled history? It is

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increasingly not the case. We are seeing a number of people applying

:08:53.:09:01.

for those jobs. Clearly, the history has given us some problems,

:09:01.:09:06.

but I am confident the hospital is turning the corner, staff are

:09:06.:09:10.

working incredibly hard. I'm grateful to them for all they are

:09:10.:09:16.

doing. The next stage in this is a progress report by hospital

:09:16.:09:22.

managers on 26th January. The hospital trust with the worst

:09:22.:09:25.

complaints record in the country is being investigated once again,

:09:25.:09:28.

after staff at one of its hospitals failed to diagnose a case of

:09:28.:09:30.

terminal cancer. The Health Ombudsman is now going to

:09:30.:09:33.

investigate the case at the Heart of England NHS Trust, which had 171

:09:33.:09:35.

complaints last year. Here's our health correspondent, Michele

:09:35.:09:41.

Paduano. Clara Stant had kidney failure and

:09:41.:09:44.

a heart condition, but in her family's eyes that makes the 78-

:09:44.:09:47.

year-old's treatment more shocking. They were assured after she had

:09:47.:09:50.

been in Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield for nine days that

:09:50.:09:54.

she wouldn't be sent home. But they say that they had just ten minutes

:09:55.:10:00.

warning that she was already in an ambulance on the way home. I am

:10:00.:10:02.

extremely angry because basically my mother was sent home and the

:10:02.:10:06.

remaining 78 days of her life, she spent with no palliative care and

:10:06.:10:13.

in pain. The discharge from Good Hope Hospital was carried out by a

:10:13.:10:19.

second-year doctor, Hala Kanona. This discharge letter was dated the

:10:19.:10:24.

week before. It hadn't been updated. The consultant, Alan Jewkes, said

:10:24.:10:29.

he sent a letter to the GP requesting scans. There is

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confirmation that letter is not on Mrs Stant's record. Within two days

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of Mrs Stant leaving hospital, her infection had returned.

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emergency doctor had to come out and my mother still had a rampant

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urine infection. Her urine was like oatmeal and he was quite shocked

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that she had been sent home. Health Service Ombudsman has now

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agreed to investigate whether the discharge from hospital was

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inappropriate with inadequate paper work. The trust failed to diagnose

:10:59.:11:02.

cancer. The complaint handling was inadequate. Clara Stant was

:11:03.:11:07.

suffering with a large tumour in her stomach. The cancer had spread

:11:07.:11:11.

to her lungs. Her daughter was in Australia when she died two months

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later. She was sent home with absolutely no support whatsoever

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and I will always worry that I should have done more. In a written

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statement, Heart of England NHS Trust which runs Good Hope accepts

:11:25.:11:29.

that the discharge could have been managed better. In a statement it

:11:29.:11:39.
:11:39.:11:40.

Julia Hawkins hopes that means others will not endure her mother's

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suffering. A police investigation is under way

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into a suspicious death in Stoke- on-Trent. The body of a 58-year-old

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man was found at a house on Westbourne Drive, in Tunstall, last

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night. A 41-year-old man from Tunstall has been arrested as part

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of the inquiry. Detectives are investigating an

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armed robbery near Solihull in which a postmaster was attacked

:12:04.:12:08.

with a handgun and an axe. Two men walked into the Hampton in Arden

:12:08.:12:10.

Post Office and threatened the owner. The 58-year-old was attacked

:12:10.:12:14.

after he refused to open the safe. He was later taken to hospital with

:12:14.:12:24.
:12:24.:12:24.

facial injuries. The robbers escaped empty handed.

:12:24.:12:26.

The Staffordshire mobile phone tycoon, John Caudwell, has said

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he'll buy the historic Wedgwood Collection to save it from being

:12:29.:12:33.

broken up. It comes after a court ruled it could be sold to help pay

:12:33.:12:36.

off a pension fund deficit. The pension black hole dates from when

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Waterford Wedgwood collapsed into administration. Our Staffordshire

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reporter, Liz Copper's, been following the story and is at the

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Museum in Barlaston now. Liz, tell us more about this offer from Mr

:12:45.:12:55.
:12:55.:12:55.

Caudwell. He made this gesture following

:12:55.:12:59.

yesterday's Court ruling. He is the entrepreneur who made his fortune

:12:59.:13:04.

from a mobile phone business. In a statement today he said he felt it

:13:04.:13:08.

was grossly unfair that a law designed to protect people in

:13:08.:13:13.

totally different circumstances is causing such Warwick. When I spoke

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to him, he said he felt this museum was a huge part of Stoke-on-Trent's

:13:19.:13:23.

history and it would be a tragedy if the collection was spoke --

:13:23.:13:30.

broken up. That is why he wants to speak to the trustees. What do you

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make of this offer today? We are delighted to hear of this wonderful

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support. We are looking to talk to him as soon as possible. There has

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to be a consensus today that something needs to be done to make

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sure this collection stays together? It does need to be saved,

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it is a unique record of a manufacturing heritage. The

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uniqueness of this collection is that many of the pieces have

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remained together since they were made in the 18th century. It

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reflects the history right through to today. Thanks for joining us. In

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a separate development, an MP for Stoke-on-Trent has had a meeting

:14:10.:14:14.

with the cultural minister. What seemed to emerge from that it was a

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cross-party sense of support for the museum and also a sense of

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determination that some sort of arrangement and agreement must be

:14:22.:14:25.

made to make sure this collection stays together.

:14:25.:14:27.

Flood victims fear home insurance premiums will rise dramatically in

:14:28.:14:32.

the New Year. An agreement is due to end soon between the Government

:14:32.:14:35.

and the insurance industry which up until now has made flood insurance

:14:35.:14:41.

widely available. But as yet, no new deal has been reached.

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Helicopter rescues and streets submerged. The images of the 2007

:14:45.:14:55.
:14:55.:14:55.

floods are still shocking. If the water comes in, take these out and

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put them back in again. Judy Gibson's home in Uckinghall,

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Worcestershire was under four foot of water. She's made it flood

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resilient and has affordable insurance, but not all of her

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neighbours are so lucky. There is a house only 400 yards away from here.

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It has never been flooded and he was refused insurance. Another man

:15:16.:15:22.

was flooded with a very small amounts, he did not have to leave

:15:22.:15:27.

his home and he has a �6,500 flood excess. The high bills are in spite

:15:27.:15:30.

of the village having a new flood defence. Judy Gibson's hoping

:15:30.:15:33.

insurers come up with a better and fairer insurance system. But time

:15:33.:15:36.

is running out. At the moment an agreement's in place between the

:15:36.:15:38.

Government and the Insurance industry called the statement of

:15:38.:15:41.

principles. It's a quid pro quo: insurers make flood insurance

:15:41.:15:43.

widely available, the Government builds flood barriers. But the

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deal's due to end. The Government says both it and the insurance

:15:46.:15:49.

industry remain committed to making sure flood insurance is widely

:15:49.:15:52.

available. But not everyone is convinced. Campaigners fear that

:15:52.:15:55.

come the new year the cost of home insurance for thousands of flood

:15:55.:16:05.

victims will soar. The ordinary man on the street at risk of flooding,

:16:05.:16:12.

will we be able to afford it? We have to remember, if people cannot

:16:12.:16:15.

afford it palmate their mortgage and all and void and it will affect

:16:15.:16:19.

the saleability of their property. It could blight whole communities.

:16:19.:16:22.

Insurers say they're frustrated at what they see as Government

:16:22.:16:28.

inaction. If we let the statement of principles expire and we don't

:16:28.:16:33.

replace it, people will struggle to access affordable flood cover. Not

:16:33.:16:36.

everyone, it will be a small number of people but it might be a

:16:37.:16:40.

significant number of people. are continuing with an announcement

:16:40.:16:43.

due in the Spring. Still to come in tonight's

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programme: He's traditionally said to have robbed the rich to give to

:16:47.:16:52.

the poor. This Robin Hood robbed the rich too, but kept it himself!

:16:52.:16:55.

And if you're dreaming of a white Christmas, what are the chances of

:16:55.:16:58.

actually getting one? Find out all you need to know in the forecast

:16:59.:17:08.
:17:09.:17:10.

later. Now here's Dan with the sport.

:17:11.:17:13.

Another week, another crunch game for Wolves in the Premier League.

:17:13.:17:17.

Tonight they host newly-promoted Norwich City at Molineux. And with

:17:17.:17:20.

festive fixtures to come against Arsenal and Chelsea, defeat tonight

:17:20.:17:25.

could mean a miserable Christmas for Wolves fans. So they've got

:17:25.:17:30.

baubles - Wolves crackers and plenty of tinsel. But there's still

:17:30.:17:37.

something missing. There are plenty of signs of Christmas here, but not

:17:37.:17:41.

too much Christmas cheer. That would improve with three points

:17:41.:17:45.

against Norwich because after that the festive period is tough. And

:17:45.:17:49.

one thing's for sure, manager Mick McCarthy will be up for the fight.

:17:49.:17:54.

I have been doing that for about 30 years on and off as a player and

:17:54.:17:58.

manager. It doesn't take much for me to get up for the game. Have you

:17:59.:18:04.

seen me on the sidelines recently? Do I look relaxed and calm and not

:18:04.:18:11.

up for it? They have been here before. In November at the visit of

:18:11.:18:19.

Wigan was billed as a must win, and they did. Likewise, Sunderland's

:18:19.:18:24.

visit earlier this month. They fell behind but one. The manager hopes

:18:24.:18:29.

the big games bring out the best in his side. I hope so, because it is

:18:30.:18:34.

a big game. I look back over last season and we have had defeats and

:18:34.:18:38.

come back and beaten some of the best teams. Perhaps the biggest

:18:38.:18:44.

threat comes from a former Shrewsbury Town striker. Grant

:18:44.:18:49.

Holt's seven goals this season have helped newly promoted Norwich to

:18:49.:18:54.

9th in the table. Wolverhampton Wanderers will hope they will keep

:18:54.:19:04.
:19:04.:19:06.

their club and a Premier League through 20 trials.

:19:06.:19:12.

The Aston Villa midfielder Barry Banham has admitted today he is

:19:12.:19:17.

lucky to be alive after a drink- driving in a crash last month.

:19:17.:19:22.

Today, he spoke about the incident as part of an anti- drink-driving

:19:22.:19:27.

initiative. He admits he is lucky in more ways than one. As much as I

:19:28.:19:32.

regret it, I am so lucky to be still here. I could have hit

:19:32.:19:42.
:19:42.:19:44.

another car and killed someone else. I am lucky to be where I am today.

:19:45.:19:49.

Him back in 1870, a Scottish Draper left his home town of Perth and

:19:49.:19:54.

moved south to Birmingham. It was a life-saving -- life-changing

:19:54.:19:59.

decision for the game of football. William McGregor became the founder

:19:59.:20:03.

of the Football League and he has been honoured in a special service.

:20:03.:20:07.

From Accrington Stanley to Wolverhampton Wanderers - they

:20:07.:20:10.

gathered together in Birmingham to celebrate the life of William

:20:10.:20:14.

McGregor, the former chairman of Aston Villa, the Scotsman who

:20:14.:20:19.

founded the English Football League in 1888. And all 12 of those

:20:19.:20:23.

original member clubs were represented today. Aston Villa will

:20:23.:20:28.

never forget him, nor will the Football League. Never forget him.

:20:28.:20:33.

It is a special day. You can see by all of the people who have come,

:20:33.:20:39.

there must be hundreds. By the time the TV cameras captured the FA Cup

:20:39.:20:43.

final in 1923, the Football League was 35 years old and William

:20:43.:20:48.

McGregor's vision had caught the imagination of the nations.

:20:48.:20:52.

Football League is 100 ascends indebted to William McGregor. He

:20:53.:20:59.

was the brains behind it and he set the moral and persuasive framework

:20:59.:21:02.

that attracted a lot of competing clubs to be willing to work

:21:02.:21:07.

together for the common good. the service he was described as the

:21:07.:21:12.

father of all football leagues, a figure of courage and integrity,

:21:12.:21:17.

the driving force behind the first organised sports league in the

:21:17.:21:23.

world. 100 years ago today, he died aged 65 in a Birmingham nursing

:21:23.:21:27.

home. He was buried here alongside his wife in the grounds of St

:21:27.:21:32.

Mary's Church in Handsworth. this continue to be a place where

:21:32.:21:37.

the body of your servant, William McGregor rests in peace. And now

:21:37.:21:40.

thanks to the Aston Villa supporters trust, his headstone has

:21:40.:21:44.

been cleaned up and engraved with a permanent reminder of his unique

:21:44.:21:50.

place in English football. It was in a pretty poor state and now it

:21:50.:21:55.

is a magnificent rest are Reighton -- restoration. Two years ago

:21:55.:22:00.

statue was unveiled of him outside Villa Park, a Pennon reminder of

:22:00.:22:05.

the inspirational Scot who made the English Football League a role

:22:05.:22:12.

model. -- permanent reminder. You don't get as many men as

:22:12.:22:18.

influential as we MacGregor. I wonder what he would have made of

:22:18.:22:26.

it all today? He started it!

:22:26.:22:34.

The director of a new C Shakespeare production has defended his modern

:22:34.:22:38.

twist on the character of Robin Hood. The character stole from the

:22:38.:22:42.

rich and gave to the poor but in this version he keeps it for

:22:42.:22:48.

himself. The Icelandic director said he is inspired by a The

:22:48.:22:52.

Banking crisis and the riots of last summer. There is no women here,

:22:52.:23:00.

send her home. I won't go. Then you will die at my hand, woman or No 4

:23:00.:23:05.

star traditionally he stole from the rich but in a 21st century

:23:05.:23:08.

twist, this Robin Hood is not giving to the poor, he is keeping

:23:08.:23:15.

it. Prepare yourself for a leather- clad outlaw. I am Robin Hood.

:23:15.:23:19.

Icelandic director of the Royal Shakespeare productions says the

:23:19.:23:23.

world banking crisis has influenced this modern approach to a

:23:23.:23:28.

traditional legend. Probably most of us would be the same as Robin

:23:28.:23:32.

Hood. We were probably intend to go into the forest and rob the rich

:23:32.:23:37.

and give to the poor, and there were probably be a moment where we

:23:37.:23:42.

would go "hang on I'll keep the little bit for myself. I will keep

:23:42.:23:47.

the little bit more for myself. I will keep it all for myself".

:23:47.:23:52.

Keeping with the change of scene, it is Marion and not Robin who

:23:52.:23:56.

convinces the outlaw to change his ways, offering another lesson in

:23:56.:24:01.

life to the audience. It is interesting, it is good for little

:24:01.:24:09.

girls as well. The typical fairytale is a guy comes and saves

:24:09.:24:12.

you and rest Yushu. In this, Marion has to sort herself out, and I

:24:12.:24:21.

don't think it is a bad lesson for women to have. It Robin Hood was to

:24:21.:24:27.

symbolise a generation, he is angry and aggressive and annoyed at what

:24:27.:24:37.
:24:37.:24:39.

has been happening. I think Robin Hood personifies that. Putting to

:24:39.:24:44.

one side the messages about the economy and greed, the Royal

:24:44.:24:48.

Shakespeare Company are hoping the public will be entertained by the

:24:48.:24:52.

traditional tale of Robin Hood and Maid Marian romping through the

:24:52.:25:00.

forest. Sounds a bit risque to me. Was that

:25:00.:25:08.

an early form of Morris dancing? I have no idea. The heart of Robin

:25:08.:25:11.

Hood will be on at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre until the 7th

:25:11.:25:15.

January. How is the weather looking in

:25:15.:25:24.

Now the countdown for Christmas is under way, will it be a white one?

:25:24.:25:28.

At this stage it doesn't look like we will get a flake of snow. The

:25:28.:25:32.

temperatures will be rising as we head towards the weekend. The

:25:32.:25:36.

reason being, at the beginning of the week we were swamped by blue

:25:36.:25:40.

colours with cold air. Tomorrow we will be enveloped by this ocean at

:25:40.:25:45.

Yellow feeding off from the south- west. By the weekend it starts to

:25:45.:25:49.

spill south again before those yellow colours returned. I am

:25:49.:25:52.

afraid it does not look like it will be crisp and crunchy on

:25:52.:25:57.

Christmas morning, let alone a flurry of the white stuff. Nowadays

:25:57.:26:02.

it only takes one flake of snow for it to be constituted as a white

:26:02.:26:07.

Christmas as far as the bookies are concerned. The reason for the cold

:26:07.:26:11.

air and the dip in temperatures is because we have this cold front

:26:11.:26:18.

coming through. The further east you go, the higher the temperatures.

:26:18.:26:23.

As far as tonight goes, this is what is heading our way. We have a

:26:23.:26:28.

band of rain moving in which is heavy, but it will be patchy. We

:26:28.:26:31.

have heavier bursts through southern parts and perhaps to the

:26:31.:26:34.

north-east as it starts to clear late in the night. It is looking

:26:34.:26:39.

drier across most parts but tucked in behind his band of rain, milder

:26:39.:26:44.

air. To start with temperatures will be five or six ulcers which is

:26:44.:26:49.

lower than today's values and then begin to rise by dawn tomorrow. --

:26:49.:26:56.

Celsius. It is looking much drier by the afternoon with flickers of

:26:56.:27:00.

brightness. Over all it will be over cast tomorrow with highs of

:27:00.:27:05.

around 13 Celsius in the south. A huge jump and much milder

:27:05.:27:12.

conditions for the time of year. Tomorrow it is much milder as well.

:27:13.:27:16.

Occasional rain on Thursday with rain on Friday as well. But, it is

:27:16.:27:21.

rain on Friday as well. But, it is going to be mild once more.

:27:21.:27:26.

Before we leave, let's take a look at the main headlines: Police could

:27:26.:27:30.

use live fire arms when dealing with riots in the future although

:27:31.:27:37.

only in very limited circumstances. And, caught on camera - two

:27:37.:27:41.

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