22/03/2012 Midlands Today


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


The headlines tonight: Protests as gypsies go to court for the right


to stay at the illegal camp they've occupied for almost two years.


will end when we find someone else to move to, won't it?


The alleged killer of a Warwickshire tennis coach - a


Florida court's told about the night he died.


We feared for our lives, says the millionaire attacked with his


fiancee by an armed gang. It was absolutely terrifying. We wondered


how it would end. And the end of a generations-old


tradition - the Potteries' last hole-in-the-wall oatcake shop is to


close. I cannot understand why it is going. I really can't. It is one


of the heritage parts of Stoke-on- Trent.


Good evening and welcome to Thursday's Midlands Today from the


BBC. Our main story tonight - gypsy families go to court to try to


prevent their eviction from an illegal site. Protesters have been


maintaining a 24 hour a day picket outside the encampment. The site is


on the outskirts of Meriden. Local people set up their picket within


hours of the gypsies moving in two years ago. Today's hearing was an


attempt to overturn a planning inquiry which said that even though


the gypsies had lawfully bought the land, they had no legal right to


live there. Sarah Falkland reports. Day 692 of their protest against


illegal development. Still fighting to save this patch of greenbelt.


It's been home for two years to a group of gypsies. The feeling among


the residents of Meriden today was that the end was in sight. Frankly,


enough is enough. The decision has been made at local authority level,


at planning inspectorate level and the Secretary of State has made a


decision. If we get the decision that the Secretary of State's


decision is lawful, it then that should be the end of it. The judge


has still to give his ruling though. But there's already talk among the


gypsies of another appeal and possibly going to the European


Courts. It will end when we find someone else to move to, or won't


it? We have been in contact with the Council for nine months, trying


to liaise with them to find somewhere to go. We have put offers


on the table. When there is somewhere that we can go that


everyone is happy with, then we will leave. But one MEP at today's


hearing warns they might not get much sympathy. They need to take


firm action on this so that when these abuses of procedure happen


again, taxpayers' money is not wasted. The Meriden camp is one of


four unauthorised travellers sites in the Solihull borough. In total


the borough has 26 caravans on unauthorised sites, compared to 264


across the whole of the West Midlands. It's an expensive


business protesting against illegal encampments. Some of the Meriden


gypsies are getting legal aid. Residents have spent �70,000 pounds


on lawyers so far. Sarah Falkland BBC Midlands Today in Birmingham.


That hearing has been going on all day. What is the result?


residents at the vigil heard the judge say that he would give his


verdict on Tuesday, that verdict on the appeal today. That is


coincidentally the day that he is due to hear the injunction put


forward by Solihull council, which would give a definite time, if you


like, to get the gypsies off the land, and to get the land


reinstated. You are chairman of Raid. How are you feeling?


Cautiously optimistic. Anybody that looks at the facts of the case


cannot help but come to the conclusion that this development is


unlawful, harmful, and damaging to the green belt. The hearing will


come on Tuesday. If the gypsies go to another stage of Appeal, does


that scupper everything for you? Yes. We are anticipating Dale Farm


style legal aid findings of appeals. That is the way the system works


and we do not like it. We will carry on campaigning until we win.


The gypsy families have said all along that pitches have not been


put forward by Solihull council and so they are in this predicament. Do


you blame the council? The council has to provide somewhere for the


gypsies and it is timely for them to speak to be gypsies and they


should have done this before this venture. I have spoken to the


gypsies before the hearing today. They are not confident about


getting a good results next week. They are not popping up the


champagne with the residents, but they are drinking tea and feeling


buoyant. The vigil will go ahead tonight as it has done for the last


692 nights. Thank you. Still ahead tonight: Dialysis


patients protest. They claim cutbacks in staff are causing


unacceptable delays. A jury's been told about the last


moments of a tennis coach from Warwickshire before he was gunned


down on the streets of a Florida city. James Cooper was killed with


his friend James Kouzaris in Sarasota last April. Today a court


heard a witness describe how they'd seen the pair being stalked moments


before they were shot. 17-year-old Shawn Tyson is accused of carrying


out the killings. Bob Hockenhull reports.


The murder weapon has never been found. But prosecutors in Sarasota


are convinced Shawn Tyson, just 16 at the time, fired the shots that


killed two British tourists. In the city's court today, a jury heard


how James Cooper, from Hampton Lucy near Warwick, seen here on the


right, and his university friend James Kouzaris from Northampton,


were on holiday when they were killed in the early hours of April


16th last year. The pair had been drinking in the city's bars but


ended up in the notoriously rough suburb of Newtown. Today this man


described how he'd seen the friends walking along the street. They both


had no T-shirts on. There are visibly drunk, staggering.


Staggering visibly. Mr Clyburn told how he'd also seen two other


figures, lurking in the shadows watching Mr Cooper and Mr Kouzaris.


They kind of crouched down in between the cars in the building to


make sure they did not see them coming. Moments later the witness


heard shots fired. The area where the killings happened is considered


dangerous by most people. But police chiefs said it was thanks to


local residents they were able to make an arrest so quickly.


arrest was made because neighbours came forward and testified against


one of their neighbours, saying that this was the person


responsible for the back. As a result, Shawn Tyson was arrested


and has been charged with murder. The trial of Shawn Tyson is


expected to last about a week. Today was pretty tense. Shawn


Tyson's mother and family members were there and they are on edge.


There is also a number of British reporters there, very interested in


the trial. Local reporters as well. A paramedic also told the hearing


that there was no hope of reviving the victims.


Tied up and beaten by armed robbers at their country home. A


millionaire businessman's been describing the horrifying ordeal he


and his fiancee suffered. The attackers escaped in the couple's


three luxury cars worth �300,000, with jewellery worth �50,000.


Richard Barnfather today put up �10,000 of his own money as part of


a �14,000 reward for help in catching the attackers. Joanne


Writtle's report contains flash photography.


Richard Barnfather runs companies turning over �14 million. Today he


faced the press to describe a terrifying armed raid at his home


in a country lane near Pattingham on the Shropshire-Staffordshire


border. When the reality of it hits, it is absolutely terrifying to


think that you are confronted with masked gunmen. You wonder how it


will end. This is Richard with his fiancee. The couple were tied up


and beaten. Debs Ledbetter is described as a broken woman since


raiders smashed windows with boulders. She has been physically


It -- she has been mentally and physically injured. She was only


wearing her nightie. It is embarrassing. It is a case of what


could have happened. They could have raped or murdered her and it


has destroyed her. Jewellery worth �50,000 was stolen including a


�25,000 diamond solitaire engagement ring, a Breitling watch,


a Cartier watch with a sapphire in the dial, and a diamond bracelet.


The thieves drove off in convoy in cars worth �300,000. This is the


couple's Aston Martin found abandoned in Tipton. Their Range


Rover was dumped in Smethwick, and a Mercedes SLK convertible was


found in Wolverhampton. One of the three raiders is said to have


distinctive features. Asian, Pakistani male with distinctive


teeth. He has gold teeth on the lower jaw and three gold teeth on


the pub. One is described as twisted or broken. A cashmere coat


like this was stolen. A �14,000 reward's on offer for information


leading to convictions. Richard Barnfather, owner of one of the


UK's largest independent wire manufacturers in Darlaston, is


putting up �10,000 of it. Joanne Writtle BBC Midlands Today.


An army officer from Wolverhampton who'd recently become a father for


the first time has been named as the most recent British casualty in


Afghanistan. 24 year old Captain Rupert Bowers from Wolverhampton


was serving in Helmand Province with the 2nd Battalion the Mercians.


He died in an explosion yesterday while working as an advisor to the


Afghan National Army. West Midlands Police will cut more


than 200 jobs as part of cost- saving plans. A report's been


approved today by the West Midlands Police Authority. Many of the posts


are vacant but 81 staff members are facing redundancy as part of job


cuts aimed to save �26 million. Nor more details will be released


A report into last summer's Birmingham riots has been


criticised by one of the city's MPs. It comes seven months after


disorder hit the city and the Black Country. The draft report was


commissioned by Birmingham City Council. It contains poems


highlighting tensions between ethnic groups. The author says the


poems have been misunderstood, but MP Khalid Mahmood says they've


caused deep anger. Things could get very serious and I am concerned


about it. One side of the community is saying the poem is good. It


starts to raise tensions within a small element of the community and


that extents and that ignites issues. That is what we have seen


in this area for a long time. A private health company has shed


30 staff who help with the dialysis of patients with chronic renal


failure. Fresenius made the cuts against the wishes of the NHS


Hospital which pays for the treatment. The company says the


changes will ensure the viability of the service but patients say


profits are taking priority over their treatment. Our health


correspondent Michele Paduano reports. We need more health care.


Chronically ill patients before dialysis vent their anger at cuts


to their service. They were told to move on because it was private land.


Every night since they have made these cuts, we have been getting on


to the machines late and getting home as late as midnight instead of


10:30pm. It is clear that they have not got enough staff to run the


unit properly. No ifs, no buts, no more dialysis cuts. People whose


kidneys have stopped working have to spend four hours on dialysis


machines three days a week to purify their blood. Half of all


healthcare assistants being made redundant across the country are in


the West Midlands. Nine will go in Tipton, six in Aston, four in


Walsall and five each in both Hereford and Kingson Norton. This


letter was sent to patients by a specialist doctors at the hospital,


and they said they shared their concerns about delays getting on


machines. They asked for a six- month moratorium but the company


went on with redundancies regardless. Fresenius' national


headquarters is in Kings Norton. The company's medical director says


records show that patients are not getting off the dialysis machines


later. The overall level of care that our patients will receive will


be exactly the same. We used the staffing levels in several of our


units and have done for several years. Dr Richards used to work for


the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. You must have had some impact into the


contract. You must have said how many staff members you must have


need. The more modern contracts that we have specified the level of


staffing, so it is really down to us to decide what it should be.


These patients have to rely on Fresenius' good track record in


New statistics show that Birmingham has low statistics in terms of


children getting their first choice of secondary school. It was only


68%, compared to 98% in Hereford. Often in inner cities, they have a


history of underperforming schools and it is tackling schools in


challenging areas that is a priority for the Government. We


want to close the attainment gap between wealthy and poor


backgrounds. One way to do that is to improve the quality of schools


in inner cities. The Royal Shakespeare Company has


appointed a new artistic director. Gregory Doran will take on the role


from Michael Boyd in September. Mr Doran joined the RSC 25 years ago


and has worked as an actor, assistant director and is currently


chief associate director. Still to come on tonight's


programme: How professional cricketers are preparing for life


after they've bowled their last ball.


And if it's warm today, it could be even warmer tomorrow. That's been


the trend so far this week. So will today's values be hard to beat?


The unique Wedgwood Museum pottery collection will now be sold after


the government decided not to appeal against a judge's ruling.


The Attorney General's decision affects thousands of treasures,


currently on display at the Wedgwood Museum at Barlaston in


Staffordshire. The valuable collection is under threat from


administrators because of a huge pension deficit left when Waterford


Wedgwood collapsed. The Wedgwood family are now preparing for a big


fund-raising push. We cannot be complacent. The Government is not


just going to produce the money. We will have to raise the funds,


millions of pounds to save the collection for the people of North


Staffordshire. We are not going to give up until we have ensured that


the collection is safe in Staffordshire for the next 100


years. The MP for Stoke on Trent Central, Tristram Hunt, has been at


the forefront of the campaign to save the Wedgwood Collection and


joins us now from Westminster. Good evening. Firstly, what is your


reaction to the Government's decision? It actually clears the


pitch, in a sense. If we had gone ahead with an appeal from the


Attorney-General, we would have had another year or 18 months of legal


fighting. We know the position now and what we need to do is work out


what is the sustainable future for this world class for election in


Staffordshire. What is the answer to that? What is a sustainable


future? The answer to that could be on the current side and it will


certainly be in Staffordshire. What we do know is that the museum as it


exists at the moment is not getting enough visitors. It is not getting


enough tourist appeal. In a moment, -- This is in a sense the moment of


crisis, but also how we can revive the collection for the people of


Staffordshire and of Britain into the future. We need to preserve it


but also have a proper business case for the museum. That will take


lots of money. Where will the money come from? Fund-raising? It will


come from fund-raising, trusts. Hopefully from the Heritage Lottery


Fund. Hopefully it might come from local philanthropists that value


the collection as part of the story of Staffordshire. Part of the story


of the Potteries. Part of the story of the West Midlands. It is a


fabulous collection telling the story of the Industrial Revolution,


the French Revolution, the great history of Wedgwood. It is not


something that we can leave to go to Moscow, Dubai, Paris. We are all


going to fight to keep it in Stoke- on-Trent. I was going to ask you


that. Do you think you can keep it in the Potteries? Absolutely. This


collection will remain in Staffordshire. Thank you.


Now the sport. Two hard-earned draws.


Yes, and both away from home. The Stoke City manager Tony Pulis


has set his team a target of a top half finish after their Premier


League draw at Tottenham. But finishing outside the


Championship's bottom three is all that's on the minds of Coventry


supporters. Nick Clitheroe rounds up last night's action. This game


took some time to get going. It was the second half until there was a


breakthrough. Some of the home fans were leaving when the board showed


five extra minutes, just enough for Spurs to equalise through Rafael


van der Vaart. We are desperately disappointed not to have picked up


three points, especially after coming back from a very tough game


in the quarter-finals against Liverpool, to come to Tottenham


with the side and the players they have got. It is a fantastic tribute


to the players and the effort that they have put in. Coventry City


must have thought it would be a painful night at Cardiff. Cody


McDonald's own goal saw them fall behind. Then Gary McSheffrey wasted


a great chance to equalise, blasting his penalty over. But


their second half performance was impressive and Jordan Clarke


brought the Sky Blues level. Even a stunning goal from Peter


Whittingham couldn't dim their enthusiasm and the clock had ticked


well past 90 minutes when Oliver Norwood's first goal for the club


sent the travelling fans home happy. Port Vale's administrators expect


to receive formal bids to buy the League Two club next week. Vale


went into administration earlier this month with debts believed to


be around �3 million pounds. Six parties have expressed an interest


in buying the club. The administrators will pick a


preferred option from any bidders. The new cricket season starts two


weeks today and it's uppermost in players' minds. But what about life


after they've bowled their last ball? Well, Worcestershire's


players have been asked to think about their long term future, as


I've been finding out. It's his first day at work and


they're showing him the ropes. Chris Russell is normally an


opening bowler for Worcestershire. Today he was doing work experience


at Worcester jewellers. After being shown the design process and the


workshop, he was onto the shop floor. Chris is 23 and has known


nothing but cricket before. I hope that cricket goes well enough over


the next couple of years and I can see where I am at. Maybe when I and


30 I will be looking at a different job, but opportunities like this


have given me an insight into something else that I might like to


do. And on a match day at New Road you can see the attraction. Playing


the sport you love in glorious weather. But careers can be short


and with starting wages of �15,000 a year, the Professional Cricketers


Association wants players to always think of life after retirement.


Players spend so much time now playing cricket but cricket does


not last forever. It is about fella pings key skills, networking and


developing confidence to achieve things in other areas. --


developing key skills. And for Worcestershire captain Darly


Mitchell that could involve joining the BBC. He joined Dave Bradley


this afternoon in the newsroom and then he was thrown in at the deep


end reading the sports bulletins in Andrew Easton's drivetime show.


Stuart Broad grabbed three wickets for England following a sprained


ankle. To be honest, it was uncomfortable but it was good fun


and good experience and it took me out of my comfort zone and into the


real world, if you like, outside cricket. Aged 28, Daryl hopes for a


few more seasons at New Road yet. But he's already got one eye on the


future. He did very well. We assume that


professional sports men are well paid and they will be financially


secure later. Certain cricketers are paid a fortune, but the �15,000


annual income for young players is only recommended. Some of those


lads might only play for a couple of seasons on that money and what


do they do next? It is certainly not a job for life. I think this is


so important because cricketers have a terrible problem when they


finish playing, some of them, serious depression. Absolutely.


Surveys have been done to show that unusually against other sports,


cricketers seem to suffer more. Having something to move into would


help that situation. In years gone by, cricket is played for only six


months of the year, but now it is a 12 month contract and they cannot


look beyond it because they have not got another job. But they will


be back to playing cricket for real in two months. Trent Bridge,


Worcestershire's first game of the season, that is on the BBC. And we


will be covering the rest of the season as well. Your eyes are


lighting up. Bentley. -- thank you.


For generations, families in the Potteries have queued up patiently,


waiting for a hatch to be opened so they can order their freshly made


oatcakes. But this weekend the last of those hole-in-the-wall shops


shuts for good. The family-run business has lost a battle to stop


the building being demolished. Here's Ben Sidwell.


They've been making them for hundreds of years and they're as


synonymous with Stoke-on -Trent as the Potteries themselves. But on


Sunday the last traditional oatcake shop will close for the final time.


I can't understand why it is going, I really can't. It is one of the


heritage parts of Stoke. It is a pleasure to watch the process. As


you probably know, we eat them like most people eat crisps. This area


of Hanley in the city is part of a major regeneration programme.


Despite thousands signing a petition to save the building it


will soon disappear for good. Glenn Fowler has run the Hole In The Wall


for 30 years, along with his wife Sue and son Robert. It is a very


sad time, yes. I am looking forward to Sunday but I am not looking


forward to Sunday. How do you weigh it all up? I don't know. It will be


emotional. What makes this shop so unique is that they still sell the


oatcakes in the traditional manner, through the window of a house. One


of today's customers, Betty Knight, has been coming here for 75 years.


I used to come to church on Sunday morning for the service and after


that we came down here, fetched oatcakes and went back for


breakfast. It is the classic here. So we are told. Some in the queue


were here for one final oatcake, some to try them for the first time.


Katie Gilbert travelled all the way from Kansas in the United States.


It is very nice. It is a shame it is closing. They have been serving


oatcakes from this window for more than 100 years, but when they


finally close on Sunday, they have been told this building will be


demolished and with it will go part of Stoke's history. The history of


serving oatcakes through the window will never ever come back. We did


think of the rebuild, but a hole in the wall will never come back. Once


the windows closed on Sunday, that will be it for the oatcakes as far


as we are concerned. Today so many people came, they had to close two


hours early. Those wanting to try a piece of Staffordshire's culinary


history have until lunchtime on Sunday.


Betty has been going for 75 years! Astonishing. They are fabulous with


melted cheese and bacon, wrapped up, delicious. I like them with fried


eggs and I had two only this week. From being a boy, I love them. That


is the Derbyshire way. It has to be bacon and cheese for me, the Stoke-


on-Trent way. Let's stop rambling It was a beautiful day today but it


did not quite live up to expectations. These were the


temperatures across the region, and most of the best ones were


concentrated in the West. Pershore got a highest values of 15.5. There


is more where that came from. We have got some brain because this


high pressure temporarily deserts us. -- rain. There is tantalising


rain in the West, in the Atlantic, but it will not reach us, so the


lack of rain is still an issue. Tonight, before that weather front


reaches us, the cloud thickens up. This cloud outlines where the


weather front will be, producing patchy rain later in the night. Not


very much. Temperatures on the mild side because of all that cloud. We


are looking at low temperatures of seven or eight with light winds.


Moving on to tomorrow, it starts off cloudy with patchy, light rain


initially, residual rain that dies away. The cloud breaks up nicely


and the odd shower will crop up during the afternoon. It is another


beautiful day with lots of sunshine and dry weather to be had with high


temperatures of 16-17. Hope for the higher than today's values. Lighter


winds from the south-easterly direction. We are looking at clear


skies across the board tomorrow night and the odd spot of rain. It


will be colder and that set us up beautifully for the weekend. We are


looking at sunshine for Saturday and cloud for Sunday.


That is very promising. Thank you. The main headlines tonight: The man


suspected of the murders at a Jewish school in France is killed


after the police stormed his flat. Meriden residents protest outside


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