28/12/2011 Midlands Today


28/12/2011

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Good evening. Trading standards officers have seized thousands of

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bottles of illegal alcohol in a crackdown across the Midlands. More

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than 1,800 bottles were removed from shops in Staffordshire, while

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the value of the alcohol recovered from Sandwell topped �40,000.

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Officers are also warning drinkers that the bottles of spirits can

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cause serious illness. Shirley Henry reports.

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Trading standards officers make an unannounced visit to an independent

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off-licence in Wolverhampton. They're looking for fake or bootleg

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alcohol. It may well be that this is an entirely innocent purchase,

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or it may be that there is something more. Over the last few

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weeks there have been hundreds of these inspections across the

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Midlands, and they have seized what they believe to be illegal, fake,

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or even highly dangerous to alcohol. Kirsty Dunn became ill after

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drinking what she thought was vodka. The smell of it was really bad, and

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also burning sensation in the back of your throat, I just knew that

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was not right. Obviously, it was quite a worry, for people who don't

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understand, especially youngsters. Tests showed it contained methanol.

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It's found in anti-freeze. It can cause dizziness, vomiting and even

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blindness. But lab technicians have made an even more worrying

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discovery. The last few bottles we have had had actually got

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chloroform in as well. That can be carcinogenic and it can kill.

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thought large, organised criminal gangs are behind the operation. It

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took five months for customs to track down this illegal vodka

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distillery in the East Midlands. Five gang members were jailed and a

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sixth was given a suspended sentence. Back in Wolverhampton,

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this shop owner was found selling several bottles of non-duty paid

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alcohol. He was given a warning. Everything I know that was on there,

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the duty paid was on there, that is all I know about it. A So what's

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the advice to consumers? Check the labels. If they are misspelled, and

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it looked as if they are going to peel off easy, it is cloudy, or if

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they're a bit at the bottom of the bottom. This is just a fraction of

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the illegal alcohol seized from a street, but it is thought thousands

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more bottles could still be openly on stale. -- on sale. Trading

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standards plan to continue their inspections. Those caught face up

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to two years behind bars. Police in Shropshire have launched

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a murder inquiry following the death of a 23-year-old man. He was

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taken to hospital last night after a dispute involving up to 20 youths

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near a recreation ground in the Monkmoor area of Shrewsbury. The

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victim's been named locally as Jason Cook, also known as Scottien.

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Three men in their twenties have been arrested. Detectives are

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appealing for witnesses. A two-year-old boy is in a serious

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condition in hospital after being injured in a road accident in

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Stourbridge. It happened in the Wollaston area yesterday afternoon

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when the child was hit by a car. The 66-year-old driver was

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uninjured. Police are appealing for witnesses.

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An off-duty soldier is being hailed as a hero after rescuing a woman

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from the River Severn in Bridgnorth. The woman, in her fifties, was

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spotted in the river at around nine o'clock last night. A 56-year old

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man and a 22-year old soldier, serving with the Mercian Regiment,

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came to her aid. All three were eventually brought ashore by

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firefighters. The woman was semi- conscious and is being treated for

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hypothermia in hospital. Conservationists have attacked

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plans by the University of Birmingham to close an

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environmental course that offers the only formal qualification in

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the UK for people who want to become Wildlife Recorders. The

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training enables them to track and identify British wildlife and

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identify the impact of everything from building development to

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climate change. The University has declined to give its reasons. Our

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Environment Correspondent David Gregory reports.

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The banks of the river Severn - the Wildlife Recorder in his natural

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habitat. But as a species, Wildlife Recorders are in danger of being

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swept away. I was amazed, really, I was very shocked and bewildered,

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because it is a very successful course, everyone who has done it

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goes on to great things, we have got some very good alumni who have

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done some good works, and it is the leading course to get recognised

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fields Gills. Although run by the University of Birmingham, the

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course is based here in Shrewsbury. Birthplace of Charles Darwin - this

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is his memorial - a man with more than a passing interest in wildlife,

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and it turns out he's not alone. When it became clear the University

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of Birmingham wanted to close the course, objectors launched an

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online edition which attracted hundreds of signatures within days.

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And that has had an effect. In a At the moment, more than 60

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students are on the course studying for their MScs. And despite these

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late concessions from the University, people are still

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concerned. It is a huge worry, really, because we don't know that

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at the end of this extended consultation, which is a year till

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autumn Quinn did well, we cannot be sure that another institution will

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not be ready to take us on in that period, and we will have to worry

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about the state of the course. Until at least spring 2012, the

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future of the work here remains unclear.

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Five wards at Warwick Hospital remain affected by the winter

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sickness bug norovirus. They've all been partially closed to restrict

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the spread of the bug. Staff say visitors are allowed but they need

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to follow strict guidelines being handed out at the hospital's

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reception, which are also available on the website.

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Phil "The Power" Taylor says he is thinking of retirement after

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suffering a shock defeat at the PDC darts World Championship. The 15-

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times world champion from Stoke-on- Trent was beaten 4-1 by Dave

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Chisnall in the second round last night. Taylor, who'd never failed

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to make the quarter-finals and has lost just five matches in the

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tournament since 1994, said he'd been handicapped by faltering

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eyesight and the heat. A look at the Midlands weather now,

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A very good evening to you, yes, a chilly and windy day for many of us

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today, setting it up for this evening as well. It will be a cold

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night ahead as you see the sky is starting to clear. Elsewhere, dry,

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with clear skies, temperatures falling away. It will be frost-free,

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as it is a windy night ahead. Tomorrow, a cloudy day, and another

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windy day as well, with outbreaks of rain through the morning. Then

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we will see showers for tomorrow afternoon, a few glimpses of some

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trying to end the day, but temperatures on be chilly side -- a

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few glimpses of sunshine. On Friday, this band of rain is waiting in the

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winter. We will see this band of rain spilling in through the day,

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turning very wet across the region of. We will see temperatures

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slightly higher to end the week. As for New year's Eve, things are

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